Friday, December 20, 2013

School Choice Workshops for Parents January 8 and 9--Choosing the Best School for your Child and Family!

This is a special workshop we are hosting here at Cooperative Extension in January.  Please join us if you have questions about choosing a school for your child.

School Choice Workshop:
Choosing a School for Your Child K-12

Are YOU….
Overwhelmed by all the school options at Elementary, Middle, or High School?

Wanting to better understand how the DPS magnet school lottery works?

Just wondering how to make the best choice for your child?

This School Choice Workshop is for any parent with a child who wants to explore your K-12 public school options, including charter, and look at how to choose the best school for your child and family.  The Durham Public Schools (DPS) lottery is January 13-31 with many charter applications due around the same time.  Bring your questions and join us for this hands-on workshop to learn:
·        What options are available
·        What to look for in a school
·        How to evaluate schools based on your child’s and your family’s needs
·        Tips for the magnet school lottery

2 Workshops to choose from:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014, 6:00-8:30PM


Thursday, January 9, 2014, 12:00-1:30PM
   Lunch N Learn—Bring your lunch, Drinks Provided

Durham County Cooperative Extension
721 Foster Street

Registration Requested

For more information, email or call Donna Rewalt 
or (919) 560-0538.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Triangle Youth Leadership Conference Deadline Extended to December 31--Great Opportunity for High School Students

This is a great opportunity for High School Aged Youth...

5th Triangle Youth Leadership Conference

The application deadline for the Triangle Youth Leadership Conference has been extended to December 31.
We are seeking motivated students in any high school grade to apply.
The two-day conference will take place on NC State’s campus from February 28 to March 1, 2014. The conference will cost $75 per student. This cost includes lodging for one night and five meals. Check-in will start at 8:30am on Friday, and checkout will begin Saturday evening. TYLC is put on by Triangle Youth Leadership Services (TYLS). Based out of N.C. State University, we are a completely student-led organization of current Park Scholars and ambitious Wolfpack undergraduates dedicated to community development in North Carolina through youth leadership and empowerment.
Some highlights of this year’s conference include:
  • Workshops presented by N.C. State students on tangible skills such as charismatic leadership, design thinking, harnessing your own personality, followership and other types of leadership, becoming legendary through professionalism and team dynamics.
  • Real-life problem-solving challenges such as fish kills, homelessness, voter apathy, urban congestion, obesity and environmental degradation.
  • Guest speakers and panelists from the N.C. State student body, local industries, and organizations such the N.C. Legislature, the Krispy Kreme Challenge, SAS, and N.C. Special Olympics.
Students can apply to the conference through December 31, 2013 by visiting our website ( For more information, direct questions to Joe Bond, at We hope to hear from you soon!
Devan Riley
TYLC General Director

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Join DPS for the final Community Conversation on Suspension and School Discipline on 12/16

We  have been fortunate to participate in a few of the DPS conversations on discipline and suspensions.  While we have found them valuable and been impressed by the diversity of opinion and ideas, it would be great to see more community members, especially parents and young people as well as those who work with them, at the final conversation.  

On Monday, December 16, DPS will host this fourth Community Conversation with parents, youth, non-profit and faith-based organizations, local businesses, government officials, higher education, housing communities and employees to discuss discipline and suspensions with a particular intent to address the disproportionate impact on African-American males and students with disabilities. 

Final DPS Community Conversation on Suspension and Discipline
Monday, December 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m., White Rock Baptist Church, 3400 Fayetteville St. 

Spanish Translation and Child care are available and there was pizza at the last one.  If this is an issue you care about, either up close or from afar, please make every effort to attend.  This is a conversation that ALL can contribute to.  As well, this is an important conversation for the entire Durham community and school board members and administrators are there listening closely. We realize this is a busy time of year, but perhaps you can consider your participation a gift to your community.   Please consider making the time to participate and share your concerns and ideas.   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Learning about Twice Exceptional Kids--Addressing the Needs of A Child who has a Learning Disability and Gifted at the Same TIme

Families with gifted kids or kids with a learning disability sometimes find that their child is both gifted and has a learning disability, often called Twice Exceptional or 2e.  It sometimes happens that these 2e kids are supported more in one area than the other in the school setting or not identified at all, which can causes challenges in getting the appropriate education for them.  2e students often have vastly different performance in different subjects or skill sets, such as the student who can give a brilliant researched presentation, but who can't put those same thoughts coherently on paper or the kid who is two grades ahead in language arts but doesn't perform at grade level in math.  We've run across several good articles and resources about this topic and wanted to share a few of these with you. Please share your ideas and resources.

We just received this interesting article from Duke TIP which goes into how RTI (response to intervention) is used to address needs.  Be sure to click on some of the links provided.  DPS uses RTI, so this might be helpful for Durham parents.

The 2e Twice Exceptional newsletter is a monthly newsletter resource for parents.  You can read the back issues, which you can search, and sign up here.

Uniquely Gifted is a website dedicated to the concerns of twice exceptional students. There is a quite a lot to weed through on this one.  We would recommend picking one topic, resource, or article to explore at the time. 

Wrightslaw has some great resources in this area; some pertaining to the policy and legal constraints and opportunities. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Riverside Engineering/STEM program has Information Session on 12/4

A Riverside STEM /Engineering pathway information session will be held at the Staff Development Center at 2107 Hillandale Road this Wednesday, December 4 from 6-8 pm in the main conference room M1.  Students outside of the Riverside district can also apply for this well-respected rigorous and engaging program.

There will be a presentation of the history, curriculum content, timeline, program features, current student q & a panel, and more.  A student does not have to want to be an engineer to be in the program--this national curriculum also emphasizes critical thinking, planning, perseverance,  teamwork, and other essential skills 

The organizers recommend that you arrive before six to sign in and to allow for a timely start to the session.  
For more information, the contact information for the Program Coordinator is below:
Tim Velegol
Engineering Teacher and Program Coordinator
CTE Department Chair
PLTW School Representative
Riverside High School
3218 Rose of Sharon Road
Durham, NC  27712
Phone:  919-560-3965  x 65170
Fax: 919-560-3798

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DPS Community Conversations on Discipline and Suspensions--December 7, 9, 10, or 16

You may recall that DPS is hosting Community Conversations about school suspensions and discipline generally.  Recent attention around concerns about disproportionate suspensions of  African-American males and students with disabilities have led to this conversation.  This month,  DPS will host four Community Conversations with parents, community members, non-profit and faith-based organizations, local businesses, government officials, higher education, housing communities, and DPS employees.  Students who are of the age to meaningfully participate are also welcome to attend.  It would be a valuable experience for our high school-aged youth.  Childcare is offered for ages 4-12.   

Here are the dates:
·Saturday, Dec. 7, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Staff Development Center, 2107 Hillandale Rd.
·Monday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., Northern High School at 117 Tom Wilkinson Rd.
·Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., Southern School of Energy and Sustainability, 800 Clayton Rd.
·TBA Monday, December 16, Location TBA—This date is being added and a site is sought, so you won't see it on the registration.

Registration is requested, particularly if you need childcare.  To REGISTER for any of the dates, please click the link below:     

Community moderators and facilitators will be participating along with DPS staff at the conversations.  Martinette Horner (UNC) and Donna Rewalt (Cooperative Extension), both co-chairs of the Superintendent’s Closing the Gap Task Force and DPS parents will be alternating as the moderators for all of the sessions.  The conversations engage participants on concerns, what might be working, and strategies and solutions to address the concerns. This is a really important conversation for our community.  Please consider attending one of the sessions to share your ideas or encourage others to participate.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

EOC Fall Saturday Academy in December--Help for High School Students

The Saturday Academy is an enrichment and enhancement program that provides additional support and instruction in the tested, End-of-Course subjects:  Biology, Common Core Math I, and English II for DPS high school students. 

The program meets on these Saturdays prior to the spring EOC testing: December 7 and 14 and January 4 and 11. The Academy sessions run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Durham School of the Arts, located at 401 North Duke Street. For more information, visit 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Early Childhood Conference for Parents and Professionals with children ages birth to five on 12/9

This is a early childhood conference that has something for everyone, parents and professionals.  The theme of the conference focuses on addressing the social and emotional development of young children and their families--a great topic!  There is also a discounted rate for parents of children with special needs.

Click on the link
REGISTER for Early Intervention Conference

Monday, November 11, 2013

DPS Offers Free Financial Aid Nights for Students and Parents starting in December

Durham Public Schools will host four free Financial Aid Nights throughout the district. All high school and middle school students and their parents are invited to attend. Information provided will focus on: 
  • filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 
  • avoiding too much debt, 
  • finding scholarships and grants, 
  • saving for college and more.  

Students and parents will learn how and when to apply for federal and state student aid.  A representative from CFNC and/or DPS will be available to answer questions about financial aid and paying for college.  Additional FAFSA assistance will be available on FAFSA Day, Saturday, February 22, 2014.  For more information about FAFSA Day visit or call toll free 866-866-CFNC.

The Financial Aid Nights are as follows:

Southern School of Energy & Sustainability on December 5th at 6:30 p.m. (Auditorium)
Hillside High School on January 14th at 6:30 p.m. (Auditorium)
Northern High School on January 16th at 6:30 p.m. (Room V-1)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Free Seminar at UNC on 11/19 on Success in High School and College for Young Adults with ADHD/LD

There is a free seminar on Nov. 19 in Chapel Hill regarding a self-determined and successful approach to high school, college and beyond for youth and young adults with ADHD/LD.  The program is geared for both teachers, parents, professionals working with students with learning differences.  This event can be attended live, but it will also be streamed and accessible later on YouTube.  Please see the link below for more info and to learn about other avenues for viewing. 

2013 Burnett Seminar
The 12th Timothy B. and Jane A. Burnett Seminar for Academic Achievement

Looking Forward, Living Now: A Self-Determined Approach to Success in High School, College and Beyond for Young Adults with ADHD/LD
Keynote Speaker: Sharon L. Field, Ed.D.Tuesday, Nov. 19 | 1-4:30 p.m.
George Watts Hill Alumni Center
Free and open to the public - Register today!
Here is a link to complete information about the program.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reminder: DPS Magnet Fair Saturday, November 2 from 10am-1pm

Check out the DPS Magnet Fair with Details

The Durham Public Schools (DPS) Magnet Fair takes place Saturday, November 2nd from 10am-1pm at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability on Clayton Road.  This is an annual event that is earlier than usual this year.  It is a great opportunity to learn about Magnet Schools, including Year Round and other choice options, for your child grades PK-12.  This is the beginning of the School Choice season with school tours and other opportunities available from now through the application period in January.  If you are interested in learning about public charter schools, you will need to check directly with the schools you are interested in to learn about their information sessions and tours.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

School Suspensions and Discipline to be subject of Public Conversation in December

School discipline policies and practices have long been the subject of conversation in the Durham community. Suspension rates, while experiencing a decline in recent years, are generally considered to be too high with a disproportionate impact on minority students. A complaint to the federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) was filed earlier this year.   

To address concerns and develop community solutions, DPS will host Community Conversation sessions about discipline and suspension this December. The district is reaching out to all community stakeholders who want to make a difference--teachers, parents, faith communities, non-profit and public agencies, government officials, and anyone else who wants to address this issue, including our young people. There are three choices of meetings to attend:

Saturday, Dec. 7, 10:30-noon, Staff Development Center at 2107 Hillandale Road.
Monday, Dec. 9, 6:30-8 p.m., Northern High School at 117 Tom Wilkinson Road.
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6:30-8 p.m., Southern School of Energy and Sustainability at 800 Clayton Road.

DPS staff will also provide an overview of current initiatives to reduce suspensions and support suspended students.  A few we plan to highlight on the blog in the month of November.  

We hope that you will consider participating and encourage others, especially parents and youth, to attend.  Making sure the schools hear from stakeholders in this issue is important.  Here are two articles concerning the upcoming sessions:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Durham Public Schools Magnet Fair on Saturday November 2nd

The Durham Public Schools Magnet Fair will be on Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 10:00am-1:00pm at Southern High School.  School tours will begin in November and run through January.  The lottery application period will be January 13-31.  We'll have more information and tips on the Durham Education Resources about the lottery as we get closer to the application period.  DPS' magnet website has not been fully updated for 2014-15, but much of the information on the various offerings is current
Here is the DPS flyer about the magnet fair.

AIG 101 Session with DPS Advanced Academics and Durham PAGE on Thursday

With a new three year plan emphasizing rigor and consistency across DPS AIG programs and a renewed emphasis on parent communication, this is a good time to get more knowledgeable about Gifted student / AIG programming in Durham Public Schools.  We want to encourage parents of AIG students to attend this program.

AIG 101 for Parents of Gifted Children
Learn about gifted characteristics and identification procedures, differentiated curriculum and instruction, gifted personnel working with your children, enrichment opportunities available for interested students, and partnerships.

DATE:  Thursday, October 24, 2013
TIME:  6:00-7:30 PM
LOCATION:  Staff Development Center, 2107 Hillandale Road, Durham, NC

The event is co-sponsored  the DPS Department of Advanced Academics and Durham PAGE (Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Children) and will feature Beth Cross, the DPS Director for Advanced Academics.

Register at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kids Quiz the Candidates--Kids Voting Durham Youth Candidate Forum on Thursday 10/17

This Thursday evening, students can interact directly with City Council and Mayoral candidates at Kids Voting Durham’s Youth Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 17th from 6:30-8:30p.m. at the Holton Career and Resource Center at 401 N. Driver Street.  All candidates are currently scheduled to attend the Forum.  Bring your student...older elementary through middle and high school can participate most effectively, but all are welcome.

Children, Youth, and Adults are invited, but only young people get to ask the questions and lead at this popular forum. The forum is conducted in a unique roundtable format where 1 or 2 candidates sit together at a table with a small group of youth and engage in genuine conversations instead of pre-planned answers.  The candidates rotate between each of the small groups.  Adults can listen in and learn quite a bit about the candidates for themselves. These young people are tough questioners.

Young voters (and grownups too!) can also educate themselves about the candidates by downloading the Kids Voting Candidate Guide for City Council and Mayor from   The guide was prepared for youth by youth with students from Durham School of the Arts Octagon Club with answers from the candidates themselves.  It is our opinion that the Kids Voting Guide is the best one out there!   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Workshop on Advocating for Your Gifted Child Wednesday, October 16th

This Wednesday's Advocating for your Gifted Child workshop with Durham PAGE is a great opportunity to get together with other parents and talk about advocating and supporting your child in school.  Any parent can attend.  Your child does not have to be formally labeled as gifted or in a particular program to attend. Come and find out more about the unique challenges in advocating for gifted and advanced students and learn some strategies for your advocacy toolkit.
Parent & Educator Information Session
Advocating for Your Gifted Child
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Durham Cooperative Extension, 721 Foster Street, Durham, NC

Advocating for Your Gifted Child
This workshop equips parents with practical ideas and suggestions about how to effectively advocate for your gifted child.
·      Learn about local and state policies and resources to support advanced students. 
·      Ask better questions and find ways to address common parent-school communication challenges. 
·      Build stronger collaborative partnerships with your school and teachers to support your advanced learner and help your child meet their potential.   
About the Speaker
Donna Rewalt is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Durham Cooperative Extension Agency.  Donna is also the Program Coordinator for the Strengthening Families Coalition.  The Coalition offers Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training (PFAST), Latino PFAST (LPFAST), and Parents as Leaders (PAL) Academy.

Register online at
Seating is limited.  Durham PAGE members have priority through October 7 then registration will open to the general public. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bullying Workshop on October 12 and Bullying Prevention Month

We have found that workshops offered by FAN and ECAC are of great quality and well worth our time.  This Bullying workshop is very timely with Bullying Prevention Month in October.  It is a great time to learn more.  For additional information, look at the National PACER Center website for more about Bullying Prevention Month and Bullying Resources.

Workshop:  When a Bully Provokes: Things Every Parent Should Know 

Sat., October 12, 9:30am-12n, Freedom House, 102 New Stateside Dr., Chapel Hill

Once again, the Family Advocacy Network (FAN), a program of Mental Health America of the Triagirls bullyingngle (MHAT), teams with the Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (ECAC), to provide a unique learning experience for parents of children with mental health conditions and other special needs. In recognition of BULLY AWARENESS MONTH, FAN and the ECAC will bring important information to your attention about the harmful effects of bullying and what strategies parents can implement to prevent and empower your child as they navigate bullying situations.
This workshop is offered free of charge, though a $10 donation is suggested to help organizers with expenses.  Training materials and refreshments are provided. This workshop will start at 9:30am.  For more information and to register, go to

Click for Bullying Workshop Info and Registration

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Seminar on College Admissions and Financial Aid

Planning for college can be a confusing and complicated process.  Many parents (and students) find it stressful.  A local college planning organization, A2Z College Planning, is offering free seminars for parents of high school students interested in college.  The seminar focuses on scholarship opportunities and what students and families need to be working on right now to be ready.  The seminars are free with required registration.  It is a one time workshop with multiple dates.   More information can be found at: 

A2Z College Planning

Workshop Dates: 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 (6:30-8:00 PM)
Location: South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Avenue, Durham, NC
Registration link: Click here

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 (6:30-8:00 PM)
Location: Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro Street, Durham, NC
Registration link: Click here

Wednesday, October 30 (6:30-8:00 PM)
Location: Carrboro Parks and Recreation, 100 N. Greensboro St, Carrboro, NC
Registration link: Click here

Monday, September 30, 2013

Web Resource of the Week--Exceptional Children's Assistance Center

Our web resource this week is one of our favorite parent resources ever--the Exceptional Children's Assistance Center (ECAC), which is based in North Carolina.   ECAC provides information, education, outreach, and support to improve the lives and education of all children through a special emphasis on children with disabilities.  

Why is it a favorite?  They are advocates for parents and families who combine helpful web resources, a parent hotline (in English and Spanish), and some really great workshops and learning opportunities that are meant to help parents get the knowledge they need to support their child's learning and success.

Here's the link...

Disability Employment Awareness Month Poster Contest

The Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities is doing a poster competition for youth ages 5-21 to promote Disability Employment Awareness Month in October.  The contest is open for any youth to promote the idea that people with disabilities can perform well in the world of work.  Prizes will be awarded in 5 age groups.  Please see the flyers for details.  The deadline to enter is October 14.  Please see the following links for the flyer and more details:

Disability Committee Poster Contest Ages 5-21