After receiving feedback from our community we've decided to revamp Crossties to become an interactive look at the North Cross experience. We're going on camera to show you the 'More' that happens here every week.
If you miss one, you can always binge watch on our YouTube channel. Other important news and bulletins will be posted in onCampus (in the Featured Content section), on our social media sites (links in the footer), and on our Crossties Blog. Division-specific notices will come to you directly from your Division Assistant.
This week's videos:
More than 100 people from our North Cross Community gathered outside Lemon Dining hall on Monday to celebrate the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The last time there was a coast to coast eclipse was nearly 100 years ago, and it was inspiring to see so many in our community collectively looking up at the sky watching the moon slowly rotate into position as the sun was eliminated sliver by sliver. Though we didn’t have complete totality here in Roanoke, getting to see 92% coverage—a witness to the orchestration of the solar system which is amazingly complex—was such a treat. Along with the awe inspiring celestial spectacle, participants were able to view a showing of NASA’s live streaming of the eclipse as well as work on demos and activities.
Some highlights from event included modeling activities to help children wrap their heads around the movement of our Sun-Earth-Moon system. Pin-hole sun dials were provided for those who preferred to utilize the properties of diffraction for viewing the eclipse. Older students had the opportunity to work through algebra and geometry problems which exemplified how scientists were able to predict the path of totality so precisely. Younger children were provided UV beads so they could explore electromagnetic energy emitted from our sun. Light and temperature probes were set up to collect data that will be further used by North Cross science teachers during the school year. And of course, what eclipse party isn’t complete without delicious, eclipse-themed snacks!
A special thanks to our science department who made all of the magic happen (well, almost all; we have to give the solar system some credit).
It is with great sadness but also best wishes that we report Andrew Miller's departure. He leaves his position as our choral and spring musical director after 7 years to work in the Roanoke County school system. Mr. Miller has set the bar quite high for our choral and musical theatre performances but we are confident that Danielle Pate Mouser, whom you may recognize from her student teaching experience with Mr. Miller last year, will keep the momentum and the eye (and ear) for quality for which her predecessor was known and celebrated. The two instructors keep in close contact and his mentorship continues with Danielle as he's made himself available to her for guidance and advice. We are excited to see where Mrs. Mouser will lead our young singers. The spring musical director, due to its labor intensive and time demands, will be hired as a separate position and the administration is currently working with a group of volunteer parents who have experience in past musicals to help guide that decision.
Known and New Faces in New and Returning Places
Along with a shift in the music department, following are the new hires and returning faculty members for the coming school year.
Audrey Osborne has taken a job in the Botetourt school system to be closer to home and family. As such, Katherine Clark will move up to be the 5th grade math and science teacher and Betsy Cook will be the 4th grade math and science teacher. Because of reduced numbers in the third grade, there is only need for one section, therefore, Meade Martin will be the third grade teacher.
Lee Kephart has returned from her maternity leave to teach Lower School art classes and Middle School Art 7 and Art 8 classes.
Miranda Greear is moving into ECP-1 with Jennifer Luckay from her time as a second-grade teacher.
Alison Vagts returns to teach in the 2nd grade after a year's absence. She has a MA in teaching from Hollins University and is a graduate of North Cross School (class of 2003).
Amy Hanson, also in ECP previously as an assistant, will now be a full-time faculty member.
Katie Sultze joins Emily Votta in ECP-2. Katie, who has a BA in English from Roanoke College, taught at Second Presbyterian Preschool for three years and one year as a Behavioral Assistant in the Roanoke county public schools. She has a BA in English from Roanoke College.
Lily Angus, who returns after her maternity leave, joins ECP-2. Mrs. Angus taught fourth and fifth-grade math previously and has also been tutoring students in the CrossWalk classroom over the past year.
In the Lower School, instead of an end-of-the-year exam in Spanish, students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades have a different type of assessment to exhibit how far they've come: the end-of-school-year skits. Students have the chance to display their oral skills in front of an audience of parents, family members, and friends. The events are the culmination of a year of hard work with oral skills (including reading out loud), vocabulary items specific to each skit, grammar structures explored according to plot and story line, reading comprehension, and writing/spelling—not to mention teamwork!
The skits are only one part of a series of activities conducted before, during, and after students have the final draft of their scripts ready. There are individual, group, and whole-class activities and conference sessions that provide key information about the skills students have in Spanish by the end of the school year. While Señora Hermosilla watches the evolution of these productions, she evaluates commands, classroom language, expressions, fillers, connectors, linkers, and sequence words that students review while prepping for this final day of skits. The students create the story, scripts, furnish the costumes and "sets," and then answer questions after their performance about what they've learned throughout the process.
As the school year comes to a close, we say goodbye to our beloved seniors, but this year, we also bid farewell to two dedicated and long-time teachers, Mr. Richard Cook, and Ms. LeeAnn Sigmon-Farley. We have compiled some reflections, including testimonials from colleagues and students, past and present. Click "Read More" to download.
On Thursday, the Upper School held a special assembly in the commons to recognize Richard Cook's upcoming retirement. Everett Ward ’18 spoke of his experiences with Mr. Cook as a history teacher and golf coach. Afterward, Mr. Thompson presented him with a framed print that included signatures from every student in the Upper School. To further honor the legacy that Mr. Cook created for himself, the Upper School presented him with a box of Hershey's bars and Lays potato chips (Mr. Cook's daily snack). To make the deal even sweeter, Mr. Cook will get unlimited chips and chocolate bars from the Snack Shack on days that he subs.
When we visited Mrs. Farley and her students, they were knee-deep in fabric markers, designing their Hobbit T-shirts (below), a favorite tradition among many of her students. Adding these extra layers of creativity and dedication to a subject is what makes her so special to her students and as Ms. Sandy Patterson put it in her remarks, "Another teacher might step into her job, but LeeAnn will never be replaced."
This morning, leading members of the Upper School faculty and Head of School Dr. Proctor gathered on stage to honor those students who have shown outstanding accomplishment in various disciplines, in campus life, and overall academic achievement. Also, the names of the Class of 2017 valedictorian and salutatorian were revealed as Ashtyn Gerhart and Margaret Lawrence, respectively. Below is a complete list of awards given, and we congratulate all of those who were honored and the entire Class of 2017 for their impending graduation.
Monday afternoon, surrounded by their families, members of the Lower School Spanish Society, which consists of the fifth-grade class, held its annual awards ceremony. The awards given recognize academic excellence, community involvement, and for promoting the Spanish language and culture in a spirit of friendship. This year's members all received the Service to School award; 18 members were recognized for Academic Excellence; and three received an Honorable Mention for Academic Commitment. Other awards included recognition for those student's and their families who hosted an international student or are planning to in the coming year. Ashton Shannon ’24 was recognized for The Friendship Award—for which members vote to recognize a member who displays all the qualities of a good friend and a loyal and active member of the Society.
Señora Hermosilla sponsors the Society and distributed the awards in Fishburn Auditorium. The members are as follows (alphabetical by homeroom): Selden Burns, Amelia Cullen, Austin Frantz, Dajah Garrison, Teea Hash, Eleanor Lake, Hudson Lawrence, Uzair Mirza, Xavier Mitchell, Mason Murchison, Hania Raza, Ashton Shannon, Paula Storm, Ned Tower, Dami Bankole, Attilio Ciccozzi, Cate Cook, Harry Daugherty, Alexandre Dickenson, Nilaa Elangovan, Thomas Greer, Maddox Haskins, Alexandria Helmer, Lydia Horner, Kaeleigh Howlett, Umair Rasul, Paul Schueler, Torri Tickle and Elle Williams.
On April 29, 2017, eight students and Upper School math and computer teacher Amy Bagliani traveled to Bethesda, Maryland to compete in Lockheed Martin's CodeQuest coding competition. There were three North Cross teams which competed, two novice teams and one advanced. The students were given 2-1/2 hours to complete 19 programs with increasing rigor and point value. Our advanced team showed a 600% increase in points from last year. The competition also included a panel discussion with engineers from Lockheed Martin for the coaches. There were also engineers monitoring the competition who made themselves available to the students to learn about their jobs. Any participant in CodeQuest who is 16 or over is allowed to apply for an internship at Lockheed Martin.
Ever wonder if there's a snake that can bite you after it's dead? Or, how high a dolphin can jump? Or, if there's any animal that can eat a poisonous dart frog? The fourth graders did, and they answered all these questions and more with the grade's annual PowerPoint presentation. Led by science teacher Betsy Cook and assisted by librarian Amy Holley, the students worked for several weeks learning useful skills in researching their chosen animal, organizing their facts, choosing which information to present and using design and layout as visual aids. The culmination was a forty-minute presentation (total, not each!) in which each student stood on stage and led the audience through his or her research findings.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.