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

Board of Education Public Notice

posted May 19, 2017, 1:54 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, May 22, 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.  The agenda for the meeting is below.  

Posted this 19th day of May, 2017

Sunrise readers form club at Forest Hill Elementary

posted May 17, 2017, 5:53 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning at Forest Hill Elementary School you’ll find a group of students who enjoy arriving at school early to read together. English Language Learners teacher Wendy Hammerstone sponsors the FHES Sunrise Readers club, which got its start at the school 10 years ago. The club continues to grow as students learn about it through word of mouth. Interested students arrive at school at 7:30 a.m. three mornings a week, and reading mentors are matched with reading mentees who need a little extra help mastering the skill. The mentee picks the book to read and the two students read it together. Principal Sara LeCroy said, “The students love the program and consider it a privilege to be a part of it. Many students who were once mentees are now mentors. The mentors say they learn about responsibility, helping other students learn to read, and making new friends. The students take it very seriously and are very committed to the program. It is a beautiful thing.”

Icard Elementary wins walking challenge

posted May 17, 2017, 5:51 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Burke County Public Schools nurses challenged employees to get moving and “walk across America,” and 354 employees accepted the challenge. The employees recorded their steps each week Feb. 1 through April 30 with schools competing against each other. Oak Hill Elementary School had the most steps the first month and received a ribbon-shaped sign and a fruit bowl. The next two months belonged to Icard Elementary School, who in the end won the overall challenge. Icard’s school custodian, Tina Buff, won the individual challenge. On Tuesday, Icard employees who participated in the walking challenge enjoyed a duty-free lunch as well as a meal from Chartwells. Ms. Buff received a gift certificate for a one-hour massage from Therapeutic Massage and teacher Andrea Gladden won a drawing for a gift certificate to Beanstalk Journey Zipline. All total, Burke County Public Schools employees recorded 194,067,485 steps, or the equivalent of making 10 round trips across America. Each school kept up with their combined total of steps by marking them on a map.

Public Notice: The Burke County Board of Education

posted May 12, 2017, 11:26 AM by Bcps Bcps   [ updated May 13, 2017, 7:32 AM by Melanie Honeycutt ]

Public Notice:  The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, May 15, 2017 at 6:00 PM.  

 The Burke County Board of Education will have a work session on Monday, May 15, 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. This is a work session and “no action will be taken”.

FHS's McRacken named Morehead-Cain Scholar

posted May 12, 2017, 7:59 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Freedom High School senior Andrew “Drew” Philip McRacken is one of 66 Morehead-Cain Scholars who will enter the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as freshmen in the fall. The Morehead-Cain Foundation, home of the first merit scholarship program in the U.S. and founded at the first public university in the country, announced its class of 2021 last month. Drew, the son of Lisa Moses, the school counselor at Oak Hill Elementary School, and Mark McRacken of Mooresville, said he was in “awe” and “excited” when he received word that he was named a Morehead-Cain Scholar following a lengthy and stressful process.

He said, “My application process started with a school nomination from Freedom. From there, I was invited to a semi-finalist interview in Asheville. The semi-finalist stage was followed by an offer to attend Finalist Weekend at UNC Chapel Hill. I was then able to spend four days surrounded by some amazing individuals while exploring campus, visiting classes, and taking care of a few interviews.

“Honestly, I was pretty overwhelmed and rather discouraged going into the process, especially the finalist weekend. I had never expected to be able to meet the standards and expectations set by my fellow applicants.

“After the stressful interview process, I was able to relax, enjoy myself, and explore campus. After a week of stress and anxiety, I got the news, and I was able to just lay back in awe and excitement.  At the time, trying to grasp the sudden availability of a lifetime of opportunities was impossible.  I was able to hug my mom's neck and send up a blissful prayer of thanks that God chose to open this door.”

            Drew is in the band at Freedom, on the Math Team, in Quiz Bowl, Key Club, 3D Printing Club (which he co-founded), Student Government Association and National Honors Society and plays football and tennis and swims.

He said he has been blessed to have wonderful teachers at Freedom. “My favorite has been Mrs. Kelly Baker, the most fabulous Calculus teacher in Burke County,” he said. “Through one of my favorite subjects, Mrs. Baker has instilled with in me a lifelong passion for learning and critical thinking.” 

Drew described his mom as his role model. He said, “She has been my motivator from day one, constantly standing by me with undying support and encouragement. Without her, I would not be the young man I am today. I look to my mom for guidance and use her as a model for overcoming the obstacles that life likes to throw. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for teaching me to follow my heart and to not lay down when the going gets tough.”

Drew plans to study biomedicine and health science engineering, which is a dual program between Carolina and N.C. State University. “From there, I hope to form a career in the design and development of artificial organs, medical equipment, and prosthetic devices,” he said.

Drew spent last summer sharing his love of science at Oak Hill Elementary School’s daycare where he taught science-based lessons in a program he called “Bulldogs in the Lab.” He led lessons on static electricity, acids and bases and Newton’s Laws of Motion, to name a few. Students built volcanoes, model cars and baking soda rockets as part of the lessons.

Burke County Board of Education Chair Randy Burns, the engineering technologist at the NC Center for Engineering Technologies, is Drew’s advisor for his graduation project. Burns said, “Drew is very deserving of this prestigious scholarship. I have gotten to know him through his participation on the Direct Digital Manufacturing Team for the STEAM Academy and supervising his senior project. He is a very bright young man with a bright future ahead of him.”

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “I knew Drew when he was a kindergartner at Oak Hill Elementary School and have enjoyed watching him grow and succeed over the year. I look forward to seeing what he does next.”

The 2021 Morehead-Cain Scholarship class includes 37 students from North Carolina plus students from 15 other states, the United Kingdom, Canada, Albania and Singapore. The scholarship covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC-Chapel Hill. It also features a distinctive program of summer enrichment experiences designed to support students as they learn and grow. During the course of four summers, scholars will have opportunities to complete an outdoor leadership course, commit themselves to public service in the U.S. or abroad, conduct research at sites around the world and gain experience in private enterprise.

Past scholarship recipients include Gov. Roy Cooper, Ann Livermore, current board of directors member and former executive vice president at Hewlett-Packard, and Bobby Evans, general manager of the San Francisco Giants.

For more information on the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, visit http://uncnews.unc.edu/2017/04/28/morehead-cain-foundation-announces-class-2021/.



Morehead-Cain Scholarship recipient Drew McRacken with Freedom Principal Mike Swan and Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam.

Morehead-Cain Scholarship recipient Drew McRacken, right, with STEAM Academy Direct Digital Manufacturing teammates as well as instructor Wayne Whaley and Board of Education Chair Randy Burns. 

Public Notice Board of Education Planning/Training Session

posted Apr 28, 2017, 1:45 PM by Bcps Bcps

PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that the Burke County Public Schools Board of Education will hold a Planning/Training Session Monday, May 1, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, May 2, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The session will include a closed session for personnel and attorney-client matters and possible action may be taken.  This public meeting will be held at 31 Woodfin Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801. 

Posted this 28th day of April, 2017

Student readers compete in Battle of the Books

posted Apr 27, 2017, 6:09 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Burke County Public Schools recently held Battle of the Books competitions for elementary and middle school. Oak Hill Elementary won the elementary school event held Feb. 28 and East Burke Middle won the middle school event on March 8.

Each year, elementary and middle schools form teams of avid student readers who plunge their noses into a variety of books from the official Battle of the Books reading lists. The elementary school teams this year read 15 books, including “Soft Rain,” “Kenny & the Dragon” and “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.” The middle school teams read 27 books, including “To Kill and Mockingbird,” “Serafina and the Black Cloak” and “The Emerald Atlas.”

The teams receive their approved book lists in the fall and start reading to prepare for competition. On Battle of the Books day, the teams compete by answering questions about the books they have read and earn points to advance through several rounds.

Oak Hill’s winning team consisted of students Madison Banner, Jenna Brown, Michael Cates, Wilson Cates, Jordan Dula, Jennifer Gaspar, Kaylen Hall, Abigail Keller, Logan Masencup and Trenton Waycaster and coaches Carolyn Little and Ann Morris. Oak Hill will compete in the regionals on April 27.

East Burke Middle’s winning team consisted of students Anna Crist, Lydia Davis, Caleb Duncan, Caroline Ingle, Daisy Jantes, Jasmine Spencer, Payne Stilwell and Colby White and coaches Lori Eggers and Yvonne Fletcher. The team went on to place third in the regionals. 

Meet our teacher of the year - Lisa Wall, Burke Middle College

posted Apr 26, 2017, 1:53 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

Watch Lisa Wall's Teacher of the Year Video 

Lisa Wall, an English Language Arts teacher at Burke Middle College, has been named the Burke County Public Schools 2017 teacher of the year. Wall is in her seventh year at Burke Middle College and has 22 total years of experience teaching.

Wall has a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a National Board Certified teacher and is licensed to teach Advanced Placement classes. She started her teaching career at Forsyth County Schools in 1992 and came to Burke County Public Schools as a high school English teacher in 1998. Wall has taught at East Burke High, Draughn High and Burke Middle. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and the North Carolina English Teachers Association and has been a presenter at various district, regional and state conferences.

Wall first wanted to become a pediatrician, but fell in love with English in college. She said, “The more classes I took in English and literature, the more I began to realize my passion was not to be found in the healthcare field, but in the classroom molding the minds of young people. I had many great teachers who inspired and encouraged me. They nurtured my creativity and encouraged me to think deeply and to express my opinions. As I contemplated what direction to take, I knew I wanted to make that same kind of lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives through my devotion to the teaching profession.”

Burke Middle College is a special program for high school juniors and seniors on the campus of Western Piedmont Community College. The students have to apply to the program and once accepted, work to complete their high school diploma as well as a two-year associate’s degree. In addition to the impact Wall has made on her students in the classroom, she has left her mark on the school through a textbook scholarship program and by composing the school’s alma mater.

“Since coming to this innovative program seven years ago,” Wall said, “I have used my teaching skills far beyond the walls of my English classroom. I believe quality education must involve the total student. Therefore, I address the needs of my students in areas related to their family situations and their extracurricular interests.”

One of those needs is college affordable textbooks, which can be a hardship for families of Burke Middle School students. Wall reached out to a local foundation to start an emergency scholarship fund in 2010 to help students in need buy textbooks. Burke Middle College received $10,000 to create the Burke Middle College Enhancement Fund, which now is managed by the Western Piedmont Foundation.

Wall’s love for music led her to start a chorus program at Burke Middle College. She received grants and purchased a keyboard, instruments, sheet music and tracks. She said, “When students commit to come to our program at Burke Middle College, they must leave behind their participation in sports, clubs and music programs from their previous schools.”

Wall’s vision was for the chorus program to give students a creative outlet, a chance to build relationships with classmates and a place to showcase their talents. The chorus inspired Wall to compose the alma mater for Burke Middle College.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Congratulations to Mrs. Wall on being our teacher of the year. She has such a passion for her students, her school and her profession and that shows in everything she does. We are proud to have her represent Burke County as teacher of the year and she is truly deserving of this honor.”

Burke Middle College Principal Kathy Amos said, “A poet, songwriter and devoted mother – Mrs. Wall is the ultimate high school teacher. She is enthusiastic, energetic and she truly cares for her students. Mrs. Wall goes above and beyond to help her students learn and grow.”

Wall is married to Tripp Wall, a pharmacist at Broughton Hospital and they have two daughters, Scarlett, a junior at UNC Wilmington, and Molly, a junior at Draughn High. Wall grew up in Burke County and went to Icard Elementary, Drexel Junior High and East Burke High. Her parents are Tom and Mary Keller of Drexel.

When she’s not grading essays or leading the school chorus, Wall enjoys writing poems, songs and skits, sings in her church choir and is active at East Valdese Baptist Church. She also is committed to exercising each morning.

All 27 schools in the district selected a teacher of the year. The school-level recipients completed a written portfolio and submitted videos in which they talked about teacher leadership, student-centered classrooms, accountability and their platform as teacher of the year. A committee reviewed the portfolios and videos and selected six finalists for an interview.

Putnam said, “The selection committee had a tough job in choosing our teacher of the year. We have passionate and creative teachers throughout our district and that was evident in their essays and their videos, which was new to the selection process this year. I look forward to sharing some of these videos with the public so they can hear from our talented teacher leaders. Congratulations to all of our school-level teachers of the year. Consider it an honor to have been chosen by your peers for this distinction. You are the best of the best.” 

The Board of Education will recognize Wall and all school-level teachers of the year at the May 22 Board of Education meeting. Wall is now eligible for the regional teacher of the year.


Chesterfield                           Jonie Daniels

Drexel                                     Josh Peterson

Forest Hill                               Angie Crawford

George Hildebrand               Stacey Springall

Glen Alpine                            Addie Brittian

Hildebran                               Brandy Moody

Icard                                       Amanda Rollins

Mountain Crest                     Connie Fox

Mull                                        Angela Anders

Oak Hill                                   April Morgan

Ray Childers                          Lori Vestal

Rutherford College               Stephanie Mull

Salem                                      Katie Huffman

Valdese                                   Stormi Bingham

W.A. Young                             Janet Lawson

East Burke Middle                Laura Edall

Heritage Middle                    Keisha Bowman

Liberty Middle                       Erin Snyder

Table Rock Middle                Cindi Bradshaw

Walter Johnson Middle        Donna Lindecamp

Hallyburton                           Susan Erickson

North Liberty                         Laura Livingston

Burke Middle College           Lisa Wall  

Draughn High                        Laura Cook

East Burke High                    Hampton Boggs

Freedom High                        Meghan Welty

Patton High                            Christopher Collins 

BCPS launches bully reporting system online

posted Apr 10, 2017, 2:22 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

              Burke County Public Schools now offers a new way to report bullying. An incident form is available at on our homepage under the “Parent” tab (or Click here to report an incident). The link allows anonymous reporting of bullying.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Here at Burke County Public Schools we take bullying very seriously. Bullying is not acceptable under any circumstance, and we will not tolerate it. We created this method of reporting bullying as a safe place where victims or witnesses could feel comfortable in letting their principal know what is going on. Please know that if you are being bullied or know of someone who is, the only way we can help stop it is if we know about it. The process doesn’t put anyone out but instead moves us the in right direction of finding a solution to the problem. No one deserves to be bullied.”

The person filling out the report does not have to share his or her name, but is asked to answer questions that are required in order for school officials to investigate the report. Anyone can fill out the form: the person being bullied, a student, employee, parent, community member or friend.

The form asks if the incident has been reported to the school, what type of bullying, harassment or discrimination is being reported and when and where the incident(s) occurred. The form does ask for the name of the person being bullied and the name of the person doing the bullying. There is a space to list witnesses, if anyone has been told about the incident and a space to describe what happened.

Once the form is submitted, it goes to Jamie Reinhardt, BCPS school-community liaison, and the school’s principal. The next step is for the principal to open an investigation into the report.

For those unsure of what constitutes bullying, the bully report under the “Parent” tab also offers definitions and descriptions, as well as tips for students, parents, educators and the community to prevent and deal with bullying.


Board of Education Meeting

posted Apr 7, 2017, 10:49 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, April 10, 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. The agenda for the meeting is attached.

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