About Us‎ > ‎

District News

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

Patton, Liberty artists recognized for talents

posted Apr 18, 2018, 11:10 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


By Student News Ambassador Robin Heeralall


Morganton, NC – Tuesday, April 17, 2018


The Asheville Museum of Art has recognized students from Patton High School and Liberty Middle School with Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Winners from Patton are:

·       Cloe G. a sophomore, won the Silver Key for her drawing.

·       Marissa T., a junior, won  an Honorable Mention for her drawing.

·       Joel V., a senior, won and Honorable Mention for his ceramic teapot.

·       Dillion Z., a senior, won a Honorable Mention for his ceramic blowfish.

Winners from Liberty are:

·       Katelyn T., an eighth grader, won the Gold Key for a drawing titled “Fox and Feather,” and an Honorable Mention for her piece titled “Mothers Skirt.” Katelyn’s  “Fox and Feather” will be on display at the Biltmore Estate through May.

·       Annabel M., a seventh grader, won a Silver Key, for a self portrait.

·       Hannah S., a seventh grader, won an Honorable Mention for an acrylic painting titled “Desert Wasteland.”


Robin Bias, the visual art teacher at Patton, said, “I was so thrilled to know these students won the Scholastic Contest Art Awards. It's a great feeling when you see your students achieve success in the classroom, but especially when they gain recognition outside of the classroom. I'm very proud of their achievement.”


Amber Rickertsen, the visual art teacher at Liberty, said “I am so proud of these three young ladies who worked so hard and are being recognized for such a high honor for middle school students to achieve.”


As a Gold Key winner, Katelyn is eligible for the National Scholastic Art Awards Program. Judges look for works that incorporate creativity, originality, technical skill, and the artists’ personal voice or vision.


Photos: Scholastic ar phst: Dillion Z. left, Joel V., Mrs. Robin Bias, Marissa T. and Cloe G.; Scholastic art lms: Hannah S., left, Katelyn T., & Annabel M.

Burke middle school students qualify for Duke Gifted Program

posted Apr 18, 2018, 11:06 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Four middle schools students from Burke County Public Schools have been invited to join the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s prestigious 7th Grade Talent Search. The students are Karsen H. from Liberty, Ella S. from Liberty, Riley S. from East Burke and Sarah M. from Heritage.


Each year, Duke TIP identifies a group of academically talented students in the United States based on their exceptional grade-level standardized test scores. Only those who score at or above the 95th percentile qualify. Those students are invited to participate in the 7th Grade Talent Search and to take the ACT or SAT, which are designed for college-bound 11th and 12th graders. Taking an above-grade-level test is an experience that allows these gifted seventh graders to more accurately gauge their academic abilities and potential, as they need more advanced examinations than they find in their grade level.


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “I am both very proud of and excited for these four, bright, young students. I encourage them to take advantage of all of the wonderful benefits the Duke TIP program offers, and I look forward to seeing how far they go with their futures.”


Participants in the 7th Grade Talent Search receive a variety of support services and gain access to research and other information about using their academic abilities more effectively. Visit www.tip.duke.edu.

Student baristas learn work skills

posted Apr 18, 2018, 11:00 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Student News Ambassador Natalie Ollis


Libra Deaton’s class at North Liberty is running a coffee shop for the teachers and faculty. Thanks to a donation from Jimmy Warlick, the classroom is stocked with a Keurig, coffees and teas that students can make and then deliver. Deaton said the goal of this project is to “teach the students about small business and how to count money.” She added that her students work toward that goal every day. There is a small price for the beverages they deliver, but it just covers the costs of the K-Cups needed to keep the project going. Deaton said she chose to start this project because Keurigs are easy for the students to operate, and it is a way to teach them how small business works, which is a valuable skill for them to learn.


There are many other projects going on in Deaton’s class as well. Since she has a vocational class setup, the students are greatly involved with learning how to do helpful and important tasks for the school, as well as the school system. Thanks to a DonorsChoose grant, the classroom has two raised beds used for flowers, and they also have an indoor rack in their classroom to grow food plants. They also shred documents in an industrial shredder and separate binder clips for teachers all over the county. They also rake leaves around their school campus and separate recyclables.


Deaton said future plans involve expanding the garden and also giving the plants to Morganton restaurants to grow local vegetables to use in their food. These projects greatly benefit the students of North Liberty because they are learning at such early ages how to be involved in the community and in business.


Burke principals complete leadership program

posted Apr 10, 2018, 6:56 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


The following principals recently completed the Distinguished Leadership Program (DLP), a year-long leadership development program for practicing school principals designed and provided by the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principal’s Association and sponsored by the American Express Foundation through the North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD.)


Lora Austin, principal of East Burke Middle School

Rob Gregory, principal of Oak Hill Elementary

Christie McMahon, principal of W.A. Young Elementary School

Charles Williams Jr., principal of Chesterfield Elementary


The Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program (DLP) uses a non-traditional professional development model that is aligned to the performance evaluation standards adopted by the State Board of Education for North Carolina’s school leaders.  This unique cohort-based program is designed to limit principals’ time away from their schools by allowing them to attend face-to-face sessions once every other month while accessing on-line assignments, materials and coaching in between face-to-face sessions.  Principals engage in a series of authentic activities throughout the year-long experience that are designed to build the capacity of their schools and their own capacity as “Distinguished” school leaders.


“The leadership of the school principal is by far one of the most important factors in school quality.  By completing this very rigorous program, our DLP graduates have demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement by working to improve their leadership skills as they simultaneously improve their schools.  We are proud to include them in the ranks of successful DLP completers,” said Dr. Shirley Prince, NCPAPA Executive Director.


This program is offered in two locations- Chapel Hill and Charlotte- in order to serve principals in all eight regions of the state.


The North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA), in existence since 1976, is the preeminent organization and state voice for principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders.  NCPAPA represents 5,000+ members from across the state and serves as the state’s principal affiliate of the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP.)

Heritage Destination Imagination team places 2nd in state

posted Mar 26, 2018, 12:03 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Student News Ambassador Garrett Moore


Morganton, NC – Monday, March 26, 2018


Heritage Middle School’s Destination Imagination team finished second in the state in a recent competition. Destination Imagination is an international competitive S.T.E.A.M program that blends science, art, technology and engineering together in a creative setting for everyone. The program is a personal and hands-on skilled program that promotes thought and ideas in the minds of students and teachers.


Heritage team member Kaisey Jones said Destination Imagination “encourages us to work together to solve problems.” Fellow teammate Abigail Jones said it “brings people together.” And McKinley Clark likes it because you get to be “really creative.


The engineering challenge Heritage Middle School took on required them to design a tower made from wood, monofilament fishing line, rubber bands, cork and glue that could not exceed 180 grams, and be between 7.5 and 9 inches tall and at least 3.5 inches wide. Then they placed it in a tester and dropped 5 and 10 pound weights 3 feet on it to see how much it would hold. The HMS team’s tower weighed 34 grams and held 500 pounds. They also had to design and engineer an “event depictor,” said Michael McQuaid, a Heritage teacher and the Destination Imagination team manager. It visually and/or audibly displayed a “sudden event,” McQuaid said, in a play that they wrote, directed and produced. Their event depictor was a zoetrope. The zoetrope was made from a broken record player that was re-wired in order to make it work. The anime style animation inside the zoetrope displayed a boy and girl falling in love. Their play was a love story about a boy that spends too much time playing games on his phone but later recognizes that girls exist once he powers off his phone.


A third part of the competition was called Instant Challenge.  “This is where the team is was required to engage in quick, creative, and critical thinking skills where the team members must think on their feet by applying appropriate skills to produce a solution in a period of just 5 to 8 minutes,” McQuaid said.


During the recent competition, the team scored 344 out of a possible 450 points. Their tower held 500 pounds before breaking. They also finished first in the state in the Instant Challenge part of the competition. McQuaid said, “The first place team beat us by 40 points, which is not much in the world of DI. In practice, the team’s towers were holding 760 pounds. If the competition tower held what the kids were holding in practice, we would have finished first in the state and beat a team that finished 14th in the entire world last year.”


The Heritage team qualifies for a wild card spot at the DI Global Tournament to be held at the University of Tennessee Knoxville at the end of May. However, the team will not find out if they qualify for a wild card spot until April 23. If given the chance to attend Globals, They will compete with teams literally from all over the country and  world. Last year, there were teams from China, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Singapore, South Korea, and 40 states in the U.S.


“The kids would not have done as well as they did if it were not for the amazing administration and staff here at HMS. Mrs. Moore, Mr. Hallyburton, and the rest of the HMS family have supported this team from the get go and has continually encouraged them along way this season,” McQuaid said. “We will continue next year with DI at HMS and hope to expand the program to Draughn High School because some of our eighth grade team members want to do it in high school.”


To learn more, visit https://www.destinationimagination.org/


Photo: Team members are seventh graders Wyatt Bevins and Libby Toole and eighth graders Dallas McCall, Kaisey Jones, Carmen Morales, McKinley Clark, and Abigail Reyes-Calderon.

The Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Mar 23, 2018, 12:04 PM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, March 26, 2018, at 6 pm in the Olive Hill Room at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street Morganton, NC 28655.  The agenda and notice are attached below.

The Burke County Board of Education Meeting

posted Mar 16, 2018, 10:44 AM by Melanie Honeycutt

The Burke County Board of Education will meet on Monday, March 19, 2018, at 6 pm.  The meeting will be held in Conference Room #10 at the Olive Hill Resource Center, 509 West Concord Street, Morganton, North Carolina 28655,  T  This is a work session and no action will be taken. 

Freedom names Luke Little as football coach

posted Mar 14, 2018, 7:11 AM by Cheryl Shuffler


Morganton, NC – Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Freedom High School Principal Felicia Simmons announces Luke Little is slated to be the Patriots new head football coach. Little has 17 years of teaching and coaching experience and has been a high school head football coach since 2007. He comes to Freedom after six seasons as head football coach at Whiteville High School in Columbus County, North Carolina.   


Little said the region, the tradition at Freedom and the Burke County school system attracted him to Freedom High. “We are excited,” Little said. “The sky’s the limit for us, and my family and I are looking for a successful transition on and off the field.”


Simmons said, “I am excited about Coach Little’s stability, organizational goals and his vision for the Patriot football program. He has a passion for students to not only succeed as great athletes but also as great citizens.”


Freedom Athletic Director Casey Rogers said, “Coach Little will bring a foundation of toughness and stability to Freedom High School football, which is something our football program has been looking for. He has a proven track record, and he’s a guy I think our kids will respond well to and play hard for. Good things are in store for us.”


Little played linebacker and running back at West Stanly High School before going on to play college baseball at Appalachian State University. A shoulder injury sidelined his football playing career. Little completed his bachelor’s degree in recreation management at ASU and in addition to coaching, teaches physical education.


As a high school head football coach at Whiteville and South Stanly high schools, Little has a combined record of 88 wins and 55 loses. At both schools he turned around losing football programs. Little’s coaching experience also includes assistant football coach and head baseball coach at West Brunswick High School.


Whiteville High School’s football team was conference champions four times under Little between 2013 and 2017, and Little was named 3 Rivers Conference and Columbus County Coach of the Year four times.


Little’s father, Mark Little, is a retired, long-time high school football coach, and the two coached together at Whiteville and against each other in Stanly County.


“My dad taught me how to treat my players and the importance of having a relationship with the kids,” Little said. “I believe in building good, strong relationships and treating each other like family. When you do that, the wins and loses take care of themselves.”


Little said he has great expectations from his players. He said, “My teams are disciplined and well behaved on and off the field. We are hardnosed and give a lot of effort. As far as the Xs and Os, we will be well balanced with the run-pass game. I want people when they leave the game from watching us on Friday nights to say, ‘That is a well-disciplined, well coached team.’” For Little, it’s not all about his players’ work on the field. “I will keep up with their grades and check in with their teachers on their academics and their behavior. That’s the main goal. That they succeed in the classroom. That they have a background of a strong work ethic and are prepared for life after high school whether they are going on to college or the military or the workforce.” Little also expects his players to be disciplined outside of school and ballgames. “Their actions are a direct reflection of me and this football team and the high school.”


Little will be moving to Morganton with his wife, Nikki, who is a teacher, and their three children. He said, “I have a 13-year-old son who is very athletic and a fifth-grade son who also is athletic and a daughter in kindergarten who is our biggest cheerleader on the sidelines.”


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “I appreciate the Freedom High School administration for taking their time in the selection process and using their professional judgement to hire a teacher and a coach that will have the best interest of our kids in mind.”


Freedom had planned a meet-and-greet for Coach Little and the community at the school in the teaching theater from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, but due to school being closed because of the snow, that event will be held at a later date. 


Luke Little’s coaching highlights include:

January 2012 – present - Head Football Coach at Whiteville High School

53-24 overall record (Previous 5 years Whiteville was 27 wins 30 loses)

Conference Champions - 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017

3 Rivers Conference and Columbus County Coach of the Year 4 times.

August 2007 - December 2011 – Head Football Coach at South Stanly High School

35 - 31 overall record (Previous 5 years South Stanly was 28-37)

August 2006 - June 2007 - West Brunswick High School

Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator, JV Head Baseball Coach and Physical Education Teacher

August 2002 - June 2005 - Whiteville High School

Varsity Offensive Coordinator, Varsity Assistant Baseball Coach and Physical Education Teacher

August 2001 - June 2002.  West Brunswick High School

Assistant Varsity Football and Head JV Baseball Coach          

Freedom High School finished 1st place in Catawba Valley Quiz Bowl League Spring Competition

posted Mar 7, 2018, 7:14 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Freedom A Team: Brandon W., Will K., Jack S., and Randy W.


The Catawba Valley Quiz Bowl League held its spring final round of competition in Lincolnton on March 5. The League, now in its ninth year, provides area high school students with opportunities for participation in high-quality, low-cost academic competition in our area. Any school in the greater Hickory, NC area can send up to four teams of six students each to participate in three local competitions per year. After a successful first season, the league has grown to include teams from area high schools such as Caldwell Early College, Freedom, Patton, Hickory, North Wilkes, West Lincoln, Lincolnton, St. Stephens and South Caldwell. The winter round of competition was held in February at Freedom High School for the fourth time since 2011.


Freedom High School’s Varsity A team consisting of seniors Jack S., Will K., and Randy W., and junior Brandon W. went 3-1 on the night.  The finals were a rematch between Freedom and North Wilkes High School.  North Wilkes accomplished an upset in an early round by defeating Freedom in a match that went down to the last question.  Freedom worked their way back into the finals and was able to defeat North Wilkes to take home the trophy.  Freedom B Team finished on top of the exhibition division, which bodes well for next season.  Freedom B consisted of Junior Nikalus W. and sophomores Noah H. and Donald P.


League director Jonathan Haas of South Caldwell presided over recognition of players and award winners. Will K., the top individual scorer in the league this season, was selected to the All Star Team for Freedom and was named Most Valuable Player. Noah H. from Freedom received the Most Improved Player award. 

Freedom B Team: Donald P., Noah H., and Nikalus W.

It Takes Heart

posted Mar 1, 2018, 1:25 PM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Triniti Bryant, Draughn High School Student News Ambassador

Heritage Middle School students replayed games from their past and raised money for a good cause during a recent P.E. class on Feb. 23. Games such as Duck, Duck Goose, pinball, Battleship and Tic-tac-toe transported students back in time to their preschool and elementary school days. Called “The Great Replay,” the event raised money for the American Heart Association. The fundraiser consisted of each grade level going into the gym for roughly 90 minutes. Before the event, students were asked to find up to 14 people who would sponsor their games. They ended up raising $159 during the event, and proceeds will go to the American Heart Association, which focuses on heart health and research. Heritage P.E. teacher Rusty Vinay, said, “It’s a chance for the kids to play the games they used to play when they were young, and it keeps them moving.” The kids exercised the whole 90 minutes and learned that exercise can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and strokes. They also had fun. Eighth grader Addie Heart, whose favorite game is “Duck, Duck Goose” said, “It makes me feel young again.”

1-10 of 216