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Cheryl M. Shuffler
Public Relations Officer
Burke County Public Schools
(w) 438-2989 | (c) 432-6212

BCPS honored with public relations awards

posted Feb 10, 2017, 12:12 PM by Cheryl Shuffler


School public relations professionals across the state were honored Friday, Jan. 27 for the products of their craft during the North Carolina School Public Relations Association’s (NCSPRA) annual Blue Ribbon Awards for Effective Communications celebration at the O. Henry Hotel in Greensboro. Thirty-seven school districts were recognized for outstanding work and received a total of 237 awards in eight categories. 

Included in the list of winners is Cheryl M. Shuffler, public relations officer for Burke County Public Schools. Burke County Public Schools received 10 BlueRibbon awards in six categories.

In addition to Shuffler, Board of Education Members R.L. Icard, Buddy Armour and Seth P. Hunt Jr., Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam and Human Resource Director Sharon Colaw accepted the awards on behalf of the school system.

The story “Icard Elementary Teacher Selected for Engineering Program” won a Gold Award in the Excellence in Writing category and the stories “STEM Rocks” and “East Burke Senior Credited with Saving Life” won Silver Awards in the Excellence in Writing category.

In the Digital Media Engagement category, the district’s hashtag: #IgniteLearningBCPS, won a Silver Award and the Facebook photo album “You Wanna Build a Snowman?” won a Bronze Award.

In the Electronic Media category, a 30-second promo video “Igniting Learning” that aired at Morganton’s Marquee Cinemas over the summer won a Bronze Award.

In the Marketing category, a year-long focus on employee morale won a Silver Award.

Two photographs, “Makersapce Thinker” and “Class of 2016 Returns to Elementary School” both won Silver Awards.

And in the Publications Category, “Burke County School & Family Magazine” won a Bronze Award.

Dr. Putnam said, “Cheryl Shuffler has emerged as a school public relations professional since joining BCPS in June of 2013. She enjoys writing and reporting all of the great things that take place daily in our schools. Many of publications can be found at local restaurants and the Burke County Chamber of Commerce. By focusing and promoting positive attributes in our community, we hope this will help attract newcomers to our great county and school system.”

NCSPRA President Charlie Glazener, executive director of community relations & communications for Asheville City Schools, said entries of the award winners rivaled the best work of public relations practitioners in any field.  “Blue Ribbon Awards are the highest honor in our organization and they validate the superior work done by my colleagues this year,” Glazener said. “This roster of excellence is tangible evidence that NCSPRA's public relations professionals are among the Nation’s finest and that they are producing cutting edge communications and products that support their schools and school systems.”

Georgia School Public Relations Association Board of Directors judged the entries. Prior to the awards ceremony attendees heard a presentation from Keith Posten, president and executive director of the Public School forum of North Carolina, entitled “Top 10 Education Issues in 2017.”  W. Jeffrey Booker, Gaston County Schools superintendent and NCSPRA superintendent liaison, also offered congratulatory remarks during the ceremony on behalf of the state's school superintendents.

NCSPRA’s mission is to build support for public education through well-planned and responsible public relations. For more information visit the NCSPRA Facebook page or www.ncspra.org.


Photo: Sharon Colaw, BCPS HR director, Charlie Glazner, NCSPRA president, Cheryl Shuffler, BCPS public relations officer, Buddy Armour, Board of Educaiton member, Dr. Larry Putnam, BCPS superintendent, Chris Fuller, executive director NCSPRA, RL Icard and Seth P. Hunt Jr., BCPS Board of Education members. 

Supper is served

posted Feb 10, 2017, 7:42 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


    Mountain Crest Elementary School’s cafeteria is now serving three square meals a day. Chartwells and Burke County Public Schools recently added a supper program at the school, which previously served only breakfast and lunch to students. The supper program is open to anyone in the community and is free to all children ages 3 to 18. The supper price is $3 for adults. The hot meal is served between 4 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and includes an enrichment activity for children. Menu items include barbecue chicken, baked spaghetti and a pancake breakfast for supper, just to name a few. The program is federally funded through the USDA, and, since it started on Jan. 24, an average of 80 suppers have been served each day at Mountain Crest.

    Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “We are excited about this opportunity through the USDA to provide another hot meal to students and their families. Mountain Crest is the perfect location for this program as it is within walking distance for many of our families. Parents don’t have to worry about cooking, and they can feed their children a good, healthy, hot meal for free. It really is a relief on their pocketbooks and their time. We are grateful for our partnership with Chartwells and for the fantastic job they have done the last few weeks in helping make this new supper program a success.”

    With the program in its infancy, Putnam has asked the Chartwells team to extend the dinning hours until 6 p.m. to better serve parents who work later. The request has been sent to the USDA for approval. He added that the free supper is a great opportunity for faith-based organizations in the area who hold services on Wednesday evenings to take advantage of the program and visit Mountain Crest as a group for a meal.

New Burke School & Family Magazine

posted Jan 30, 2017, 12:04 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

Burke County Public Schools is excited about the latest edition of the “Burke School & Family Magazine.” Click this link: https://joom.ag/XNzW  to access the digital version of the winter issue. Inside you’ll find stories about students welding in our high schools, recent competitions, a former BCPS gradate who is illustrating for Dr. Seuss books, our band students’ trip to Hawaii, a Golden Leaf grant we received and recognition from the state on our outstanding graduation rate. Also featured in this edition are Hallyburton Academy, Table Rock Middle School, Icard Elementary School, Drexel Elementary School and Ray Childers Elementary School. If you or someone you know would like to advertise in this special magazine about BCPS and our schools, email advertising@efpages.com.

Board of Education Public Notice

posted Jan 20, 2017, 2:42 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, January 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM.  The meeting will be held in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton, North Carolina 28655. 

Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Jan 16, 2017, 9:31 AM by Bcps Bcps

Board of Education

Public Notice

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 6:00 PM

The Burke County Board of Education will have a work session on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 6:00 PM. The meeting will be held in Conference Room #10 at Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton, North Carolina 28655. The agenda for the meeting is attached. This is a work session and “no action will be taken”.

Posted this 13th day of January, 2017

BCPS and Chartwells launches a new dinner program

posted Jan 10, 2017, 1:53 PM by Bcps Bcps   [ updated by Cheryl Shuffler ]

Burke County Public Schools and Chartwells K12 will launch a brand-new dinner program on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at Mountain Crest Elementary School, located at 201 Tennessee St., Morganton.  The dinner program will run Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and will follow the BCPS school schedule for operating days. Meals are free for children ages 3 to 18 who are enrolled in BCPS pre-k through 12th grades. Adults will be charged $3 for their meal. For more information, please contact the Child Nutrition Program at 828-439-4318.

Reminders for inclement weather procedures

posted Jan 6, 2017, 10:46 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

            Communication between school and home is a priority for Burke County Public Schools, especially during periods of inclement weather. Burke County Public Schools uses a variety of means to notify parents and guardians of school delays, closings or early dismissals, including SchoolMessenger, our website, social media and local and regional media outlets.

The SchoolMessenger broadcast system allows Burke County Public Schools to contact households by phone, email and text messaging simultaneously and within minutes of district leaders making a decision regarding a school delay, closing or early dismissal. In addition, the announcement immediately goes up on www.burke.k12.nc.us, Facebook and Twitter (@BurkeCoSchools). To be among the first to know about a weather-related decision, follow Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam on Twitter @LarryLputnam. The News Herald, WMNC The Big Dawg 92.1 FM / 1430 AM and Foothills Weather Network, as well as regional radio stations and TV stations also are immediately notified once a decision is made. If the school system and media sources are not announcing information concerning Burke County Public Schools, schools will operate on a normal schedule.

Dr. Putnam said during threats of bad weather, district officials constantly monitor several weather models and communicate closely with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, N.C. Department of Transportation, local law enforcement and Burke County Emergency Services.

“We also have our own people out driving around different areas of the county to survey the road conditions for ourselves,” Dr. Putnam said. “At the same time, we are conferring with surrounding school systems to take into consideration the decisions they are making regarding a cancelation, delay or early dismissal. The bottom line is we are well equipped to make the best decisions for our students, and we have their safety as our top priority.”

Dr. Putnam explained variables district leaders consider when making a decision, including inexperienced student drivers and their safety, school bus safety, bus drivers’ schedules and the school cafeterias as they prepare what may be the only hot meal some students get each day.

Other variables are the county’s size and diverse terrain. Dr. Putnam said, “Burke County is a large county and weather conditions can vary from one end of the county to the other. With the mountains that surround us, we always seem to be on the unpredictable line. Will we get ice, sleet, freezing rain, snow, all of the above or none of the above? And if the white stuff falls and sticks, in some areas of the county it melts faster than in others.”

Dr. Putnam encouraged parents to prepare now for inclement weather by thinking ahead and developing a plan should school inclement weather disrupt the normal school day.

“No matter what decision we make,” Dr. Putnam said, “we realize someone will be inconvenienced. We respect our hard-working moms and dads and their work schedules and struggles with child care when inclement weather disrupts our routines. We do not take lightly the impact of the decisions we make during inclement weather and the resulting domino effects. It’s a big responsibility with 13,000 students and 2,000 staff members. We ask for patience, understanding and that you do your part and plan ahead.”  

Childcare programs follow the school system’s policy on severe weather. If school is cancelled, then the childcare program also will be cancelled. A decision to hold extracurricular events will be made on a case-by-case basis. School decisions related to the weather will be made as soon as possible and by no later than 5:30 a.m.


SchoolMessenger Tips

·       Make sure the school office has your up-to-date contact information. If you change phone numbers or no longer wish to receive SchoolMessenger calls, notify the school.

·       To receive text messages, your cell phone number has to be on file at the school, and you have to opt-in to the service by texting YES to 68453. If you wish to no longer receive text messages, text STOP to 68453.

·       The caller ID number from SchoolMessenger is your school’s main phone number for school-specific calls and 828-433-8047 for Burke County Public Schools district-wide calls.

Schools launch fourth annual food drive

posted Jan 4, 2017, 1:49 PM by Cheryl Shuffler



    Burke County Public Schools is gearing up the fourth annual Souperintendent’s Souperbowl Canned-Food Drive Jan. 9 through Feb. 6. Collection barrels can be found at all 28 Burke County Public Schools campuses plus the Central Office, the Olive Hill Resource Center, Auxiliary Services/Bus Garage and College Street offices.

    Four local charities are the beneficiaries of the annual drive: Burke United Christian Ministries, East Burke Christian Ministries, Abernethy Memorial United Methodist Church in Rutherford College and the East Burke High School food pantry.

    “We started the Souperintendent’s Souperbowl Canned-Food Drive in 2014, and I am proud of the way it has grown over the past three years,” said Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam. “Hunger is such a big issue in our community and affects so many of our own students. Time and time again the community has rallied around our schools and this is our way of giving back to local charities in our area who directly impact families in need."

    Schools decorate their collection barrels and staff, students and community members are invited to fill them with non-perishable food items. To date, the annual food drive has collected nearly 20,000 pounds of food.

BCPS receives Golden LEAF grant for technology

posted Dec 16, 2016, 11:11 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


Project DETAIL (Digital Education Teaching and Individualized Learning) -- an initiative by Burke County Public Schools -- has received support from the Golden LEAF Foundation in the form of a $200,000 grant. The purpose of the grant is to provide funding to Burke County Public Schools for implementation of a one-to-one digital learning initiative for middle school students and teachers.

The initiative will have a strong focus on building teacher leaders, said Dr. Melanie Honeycutt, chief information officer for the district. The funds will assist the district in purchasing devices for sixth-grade students and teachers and assist in professional development through a partnership with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to strengthen the district’s evaluation plan.

Honeycutt said, “Outcomes of the project include individual student growth as reflected in their digital portfolio, improvements in math proficiency scores and increased use of technology as an educational tool.”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said the emphasis is on sixth grade as a continuation of the one-to-one learning opportunities students are exposed to in elementary school. He said, “Federal Title 1 allotments have allowed the district to focus on digital learning in the elementary grades and now, thanks to this opportunity from the Golden LEAF Foundation, when our students enter middle school, they will not take a step backward in instruction and student-centered learning due to the lack of devices available for staff and students.”

Over the past few years, the Burke County Board of Education has been committed to improving the technology infrastructure and increasing the number of devices in our schools. Project DETAIL comes on the heels of a rollout of 2,000 Chromebooks taking place now in the middle and high schools.

Putnam said, “Project DETAIL will add another 900 devices to secondary education and will not only put more devices in the hands of students but also allow for professional development for teachers on how to get the most out of the devices for instructional purposes. I thank our school board members for their support in this and other technological initiatives.”

Honeycutt said the district started working on the Project DETAIL proposal in August and received official word from Golden LEAF on funding earlier this month. Professional development for teachers will start in February and current fifth graders can look forward to using the devices in August in their sixth-grade classrooms.

Successful implementation of this grant could lead to future grants, and the Project DETAIL grant committee already has plans in place to apply for future Golden LEAF grants to further the mission of the initiative.


Photo: Salem Elementary School students participate in the Hour of Code in this file photo. Each Burke County Public Schools elementary student has access to a digital device in the classroom, and Project DETAIL, funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation, will afford the same opportunity to all sixth graders as well. 

Gladden recognized as finalist

posted Dec 12, 2016, 8:37 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Icard Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Andrea Gladden was among the education superstars the State Board of Education recognized on Dec. 1. Gladden is a 2016 NC Finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

                  The PAEMST is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of The White House. Finalists devote time to professional development, incorporate innovative approaches into classroom teaching and use technology in their classrooms. Gladden is one of three state finalists in the science category.

Gladden said she learned much about herself as an educator through the process of being nominated for the Presidential Award, which included her completing an administrative, narrative and video component. She also has made contacts and formed partnerships with educators across the country.

She said, “I believe that it is vital in today’s society for children to learn to become problem solvers at a young age. Problem solving is a skill that must be encouraged and nurtured so that it can grow over time. My students learn that in life we will experience failures, but it is how we recover from those failures that is most important.

Gladden also received recognition from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the National Science Foundation in the Research Triangle Park on Nov. 30 where she presented a speech and was awarded a plaque and gifts. There she met current and previous awardees of the PAEMST award and supporters from NCDPI.  

This past year, Gladden was awarded her first Prism Grant funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.  She was awarded $2,000 for science equipment for her project entitled, "What's in a Drop of Water?"  She was also awarded the Citgo Fueling Education Award of $1,000 this summer to spend on classroom supplies.  

Gladden also has been a part of the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teacher's Academy, the E4 Study (Exploring the Efficacy of Engineering is Elementary) Study through the National Science Foundation, the Museum of Science, Boston’s Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program, and NC State University. This summer she became a certified extended network provider for EiE. This allows her to provide EiE professional development trainings for western North Carolina. 

Icard Principal Daniel Wall said, “Icard Elementary is very proud of Mrs. Gladden's accomplishments. Her excellence in teaching science and caring for all her students has made a positive impact on our school and community. We celebrate with Mrs. Gladden in this wonderful achievement.” 

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, “I have observed first hand in Ms. Gladden's classroom. During one lesson, students were simulating an actual oil spill and which materials would absorb oil better than others. The students were so engaged because it was a ‘real world’ problem to solve.”

Gladden is a graduate of South Caldwell High School and Appalachian State University. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in elementary education K-6. She also has her National Board Teaching Certification and AIG K-12 Licensure. Gladden is married to Tommy Gladden, also a Burke County Public Schools employee, and they have two daughters.

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