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Education News & Notes: Aug. 1 to 7

Peter Panico

Peter Panico

Area educator discovers new technology techniques 

Rama Road Elementary School teacher Peter Panico joined 149 educators from across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, for a weeklong professional development experience hosted by Discovery Education’s Discovery Educator Network (DEN). 

The six-day DEN Summer Institute featured various seminars and hands-on workshops designed to support educators in using the latest technologies to create digital learning environments that engage students and improve achievement, according to a news release. 

“I am honored to have been selected to participate in the 2014 DENSI. This experience has allowed me to learn from and connect with other enthusiastic educators who share a passion for incorporating digital resources in our students’ education,” Panico said in the news release. “I am excited to inform my colleagues in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools about these new, creative strategies and techniques for advancing student achievement, and to apply them in my classroom for the 2014-15 school year.”

Panico heard from professional speakers, including Adam Bellow, founder and president of eduTeacher and eduClipper; Dr. Lodge McCammon, an educational consultant specializing in curriculum-based music composition; Greg Siers, director of live production and technology at Discovery Communications; and Wyatt Channell, executive producer of Science Channel. He also connected with other educators from various institutions around the world.

“Peter’s selection for the DENSI demonstrates his outstanding leadership and commitment to using the most innovative methods to enhance students’ learning and classroom experiences,” Lance Rougeux, vice president of learning communities and instructional implementation for Discovery Education, said in the release. “The skills and knowledge Peter has gained from this learning experience will increase his students’ engagement in their own learning and better prepare them with the critical skills needed for college, careers and citizenship.”

Panico plans to return to Rama Road Elementary in the fall with numerous classroom-ready multimedia projects, as well as new strategies and techniques to integrate digital resources in the classroom. 

Providence Day summer programs feature fairy tales

Creative Kids Productions will present “Into the Woods, Jr.” as part of Providence Day’s summer programs. Students participated in a production class throughout the summer to learn about acting and set design, guided by a team of professionals in the fields of acting, choreography and set design. 

The musical, based on classic fairy tales, features familiar characters such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk) and the Witch. 

The story centers on a baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the king’s festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and wife learn they cannot bear a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. 

Attendees can see the show in the Providence Day Fine Arts Theatre Friday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 2, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at and cost $7 in advance or $8 at the door. 

Providence Day is located at 5800 Sardis Road.

Charlotte Secondary looking to fill positions for academic year

Charlotte Secondary, a charter school, is looking for high school math and science teachers, a middle school technology teacher and a part-time PE teacher/athletic director for the 2014-15 academic year. 

Interested applicants should send their resume, CV or application to Donna Rogers at Go to for more information about the position or to find an application. 

Charlotte Secondary is located at 8601 McAlpine Park Drive.

CMS to hold high school summer graduation

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will hold its 2014 high school summer graduation on Sunday, Aug. 4, at 9 a.m. at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The high school graduation projected number of summer graduates is 210 as of July 29, according to Yaviri Escalera, a media relations specialist for CMS. 

CMS to compete in national building competition

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will partner with Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte to compete in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Team Challenge. 

More than 5,500 buildings and more than 100 teams across the country are battling it out to see who can save the most energy in one year. All participants compete to work off energy waste through improvements in energy efficiency. 

The EPA will maintain a website devoted to the competition featuring a list of competitors and their results, a map of competitor locations and a live Twitter feed where competitors will post updates on their progress.

The CMS, Charlotte and Mecklenburg County team will enter seven buildings in the team competition while CMS also will enter more than 150 facilities, individually. 

“Our district has a proud tradition of working to lower energy use in our schools and other buildings,” CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison said on the CMS website. “We are excited and honored to be part of this team approach to energy and resource conservation. It’s a great way to remind everyone that conservation is important and a shared responsibility.”

The EPA will award recognition in April 2015 to the individual and team competitors that demonstrate the greatest percentage-based reduction in energy use intensity, and to the competitors with the greatest percentage-based reduction in water use intensity. The EPA also will recognize a top building-by-building category using the same metric, as well as all individual and team competitors who reduce energy or water use by 20 percent or more.

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