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October is College Application Month!

posted by Valerie Newton   [ updated ]

Take advantage of activities at East and West Bladen high school this week (Oct. 15-19) to help you complete residency, FAFSA, and admission applications during NC Countdown to College in October. Many colleges waive application fees during the third week of the month.

Find details at nccountdowntocollege.org.

Johnston County SNA donates to Bladen County Schools

posted Oct 1, 2018, 1:27 PM by Valerie Newton   [ updated Oct 1, 2018, 2:08 PM ]

Thank you to the Johnston County Schools School Nutrition Association (SNA) for collecting and donating over 50 hygiene kits to Bladen County Schools. 

Jamie Narron, the president of Johnston County Schools SNA, and  Mary Catherine Talton, a Johnston County Schools School Nutrition Supervisor presented the hygiene kits to Bladen County Schools School Nutrition Director and SNA-NC President Amy Stanley.

The kits will be distributed as part of Bladen County's hurricane relief efforts.

Taylor selected as NCAAHPERD-SM Superintendent of the Year

posted Oct 1, 2018, 12:23 PM by Valerie Newton   [ updated Oct 1, 2018, 12:27 PM ]

Bladen County Schools is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert P. Taylor has been selected as the 2018 Healthy Schools Superintendent of the Year by the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport Management (NCAAHPERD-SM).

Dr. Taylor’s work to advance the belief that no child should go hungry has also been recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the No Kid Hungry state and national organizations, and the North Carolina Governor’s  Office of the First Lady. His leadership as the superintendent has ensured that every child in Bladen County Schools has the opportunity to receive breakfast and lunch at no cost every day.

NCAAHPERED-SM serves as advocates of healthier children and supports progressive reform of health and physical education policies at the state legislature in order to enhance and promote the health of North Carolinians.  Their vision is to be the leading organization promoting and supporting a healthier, more creative and active North  Carolina.

Dr. Taylor will be recognized as the recipient of the 2018 Healthy Schools Superintendent of the Year during a formal ceremony at the NCAAHPERD-SM state convention in November .



Hurricane Florence update

posted Sep 11, 2018, 8:34 AM by Valerie Newton   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 8:35 AM ]

Due to the projected path of Hurricane Florence, and to allow Emergency Management Operations time to open shelters, Bladen County Schools will be closed for students on Wednesday, September 12 through Friday, September 14 with an optional teacher workday on Wednesday, September 12.

Shelter locations in Bladen County are Bladen Lakes Primary School, East Arcadia School, East Bladen High School, and West Bladen High School. The pet friendly shelter will be located at West Bladen High School. All shelters will open to the public beginning at 12noon on Wednesday, September 12 and are operated by Bladen County Emergency Management personnel.

We will provide updates as we are able throughout the duration of the storm. Continue to monitor our Facebook and Twitter pages along with your local news outlets for updates as well.

Please ensure that you and your family members remain safe during this storm.

State Superintendent to reduce testing

posted Aug 28, 2018, 7:47 AM by Valerie Newton

For immediate release

Aug. 27, 2018

State Superintendent Mark Johnson announces changes to help reduce testing for North Carolina’s youngest students
iPads in the classroom

As many students in North Carolina public schools begin school this week, State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced that he has taken steps to reduce the time spent testing for many of the state’s youngest scholars. The move follows a survey Johnson sent to teachers last school year that showed that 76 percent of North Carolina teachers think their students are tested too much.


“One of my top priorities is to reduce the time you must spend assessing and testing students,” Johnson said in a message to elementary-grade educators Friday. “Your input guides our work. We want to give you time back to do what you entered the profession to do: teach.”


Past guidance from the Department of Public Instruction resulted in strict requirements for how often kindergarten through third-grade teachers had to assess students via the mCLASS reading diagnostic tool, which is used in all but a few North Carolina kindergarten-through-third-grade classrooms. New guidance issued for this school year moves those from requirements to recommendations and allows for more teacher discretion in the state’s Read to Achieve program. 


Following up on Johnson’s use of Read to Achieve funds to purchase new Apple iPad devices for use in K-3 classrooms, the department has made additional content available to allow teachers to monitor second- and third-grade students' reading progress online while the students work independently. This represents a major step toward replacing testing with personalized learning. But devices can be used for more than monitoring progress with the reading diagnostic tool. 


“Teachers can access a wealth of early-reading resources via their devices,” said Pamela Shue, deputy superintendent for early education. "In addition to the time-saving policies and the new, more rigorous book-set provided statewide, we've made other options available. For example, schools may opt to use a few additional measures, which combined with the existing Read to Achieve assessments, provide extra screening for students at risk of reading difficulties, including dyslexia."


Johnson also told elementary-school teachers that he will maintain his focus on reducing high-stakes testing in a variety of ways, including urging the State Board of Education to eliminate certain tests in grades K-5 caused by board policies rather than state or federal law. Johnson also will work to change DPI policies around how end-of-year tests are administered based on educator feedback and his own experience serving as an EOG proctor in May.


“Teachers and parents have been telling me that the tests are too long, the testing environment is too stressful, and the rules placed on students, teachers, and volunteer proctors are unreasonably strict,” Johnson said. “Last year I saw it for myself when I proctored a test in a fourth-grade classroom. 


“I can’t change federal law about standardized testing. But where we can, we will be revising the testing protocols to remove unnecessarily strict guidelines to alleviate at least some of the stress and disruption that testing causes in the early grades.”


Many of the changes in testing protocols and guidelines will be in effect before students take end-of-course and end-of-grade exams for this school year.

Local School Nutrition Professionals Participate in N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute

posted Aug 7, 2018, 10:28 AM by Valerie Newton   [ updated Aug 7, 2018, 12:14 PM ]

School nutrition managers from across the state had the opportunity to participate in the North Carolina K-12 Culinary Institute. Bladen County Schools school nutrition managers, Erica Bridwell, Jeannie Powers and Marie Chavis from Bladen County Schools  participated in a K-12 Culinary Institute regional workshop on July 31, 2018 through August 2, 2018 at Ashley High Scool in Wilmington, NC. The N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute, designed to enhance nutrition offerings, has been funded in part by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Professional Standards Training Grant received by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) School Nutrition Section.


"The K-12 Culinary Institute is a unique opportunity for our school nutrition professionals to enhance culinary skills and glean tools and information critical to their important roles in providing quality, nutritious school meals," said Amy Stanley, director for Bladen County Schools  School Nutrition Program. 

The face to face and online institute was developed by the NCDPI, School Nutrition Section, and Chef Cyndie Story's K-12 Culinary Team, in order to meet five core objectives:

§  Improve student health, well-being and academic success through nutritious, appealing meals at school,

§  Increase participation in high quality, enticing school nutrition programs,

§  Expand capacity of local school nutrition programs to purchase, prepare and serve fresh, locally grown produce,

§  Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grain-rich foods, and

§  Provide continuing education opportunities for school nutrition personnel.

The menus and recipes developed for the K-12 Culinary Institute include:

§  Scratch, convenience, and modified scratch products and techniques,

§  Instructions written for production amounts consistent with pack or pan sizes commonly available in school kitchens, and

§  Nutritional analysis files for easy import into software programs and adjustments for standardization in Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

Planned instructional segments include topics such as knife skills, weighing and measuring accurately, preparing foods for just-in-time service, work simplification and scheduling, effective use of equipment, and quality food preparation and service for a variety of meats, grains, fruits, vegetables, and condiments.

The N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute participants graduate as chef ambassadors and culinary specialists. These ambassadors will be prepared to teach other school nutrition professionals at the local education agency/school level. Equipping School Nutrition professionals with needed equipment, educational resources and skills can positively impact the preparation, service and consumption of school meals.


USDA and NCDPI are equal opportunity providers and employers. Additional information regarding School Nutrition Programs in North Carolina can be found on the School Nutrition Services website.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) available online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

*  mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

*  fax: (202) 690-7442; or email

Mobile Unit to be auctioned

posted Jul 16, 2018, 8:37 AM by Valerie Newton

Bladen County Schools will be conducting an Auction on the Spot at Elizabethtown Primary School on Tuesday, July 17 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The item to be auctioned to the highest bidder is an early 1970s single wide mobile trailer unit – 12 feet wide X 50 feet long. No Title.

The mobile trailer unit is located at Elizabethtown Primary School and can be viewed in advance of the sale by contacting the BCS Maintenance Department at 910-862-2899.

Terms announced the day of the sale. Payment is restricted to cash, money order, or cashier’s check.

Purchasers are required to remove their purchases within the time prescribed for each sale but merchandise cannot be removed before payment is made. Removal is the purchaser's responsibility.

Special Called Board meeting

posted Jun 27, 2018, 12:40 PM by Valerie Newton   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 12:41 PM ]

The Bladen County Board of Education will meet in special session on Thursday, June 28 2018, at 6:00 p.m.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss budget related issues.  This is an official meeting and action items may be on the agenda.  The meeting will be held at the Board of Education Administration Building located at 1489 US Hwy 701 South, Elizabethtown, NC.

Response to media about handicapped seating at graduation

posted Jun 19, 2018, 5:43 PM by Valerie Newton

Media Release

June 19, 2018

During the week of June 4, the daughter of Jessica Parnell spoke to West Bladen principal Peggy Hester asking if her uncle, Josh Parnell who is wheelchair bound, could sit with family members at the bleachers during the graduation ceremony. Ms. Hester explained to the daughter that the school has a floor-level designated handicapped accessible seating section for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.  According to the niece Mr. Parnell said he did not want to sit in the handicapped accessible section.

Due to space constraints, handicapped accessible seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. To accommodate as many family members and guests with disabilities as possible in the designated handicapped accessible seating section, each individual may only be accompanied by one companion.

Ms. Hester told the niece that if Mr. Parnell wanted a family member to sit with him in the designated handicapped accessible seating section that would be allowed.  

Accommodations are made available for guests with limited mobility. The family was made aware in advance of graduation of the designated handicapped accessible seating section.

Handicap parking is available for vehicles with proper placard/tags along with a drop-off and pick-up area in front of the school. Marshals and school personnel are available to assist handicapped persons as needed when entering and exiting the school building during graduation.

The Parnell family arrived at graduation on Friday, June 15 and sat on the first row of bleachers by the stage and entrance doors. Mr. Parnell positioned his wheelchair along the bleachers with his family.

A short time later, the principal (Ms. Hester) approached the bleachers and spoke to Mr. Parnell explaining that the marshals, graduates and JROTC would be processing through the doors directly beside where he was sitting; would he mind moving to the designated handicapped accessible seating section. Ms. Hester explained that the graduates had practiced processing with clearance in front of the doors and bleachers and needed to be able to process into the ceremony as they had practiced. Although sound equipment was set-up along the front of the bleachers, it was located two sections down from the entrance doors and not blocking the processional.  

Mr. Parnell stated he did not want to sit in the designated handicapped accessible seating section because he would not be able to see the stage as well and was not willing to move.  The family also indicated they had spoken to school board member Roger Carroll and were told by Mr. Carroll they could sit where they wanted.

Ms. Hester ended her conversation with Mr. Parnell.  Approximately 1 minute later a Sheriff’s Deputy asked Mr. Parnell to move to the designated handicapped accessible seating section.  Mr. Parnell, along with a family member did move for the remainder of the graduation.

* In speaking with Roger Carroll on the morning of June 19 as a follow-up to the incident, Mr. Carroll verified to me that he did in fact speak to Jessica Parnell, sister of Josh Parnell during the week prior to graduation concerning the handicapped seating section. Mr. Carroll advised Ms. Parnell to talk to the school principal about her concern. Mr. Carroll also told the Parnell’s they could sit out of the designated handicapped section if they wanted but that if they were asked to move they would need to comply or otherwise leave graduation. Ms. Parnell responded that they would stay and Mr. Parnell would move to the designated section.

Response to media about military cords at graduation

posted Jun 19, 2018, 5:39 PM by Valerie Newton

Media Release

June 18, 2018

RE: Student not allowed to wear cord

A letter from the West Bladen High school principal was mailed to students homes on May 24, 2018 and was also emailed on the same day to students in their school Gmail account. * A copy of the letter can be located at the bottom of this page. Additionally, the letter was read aloud to students at both Tuesday, June 12 and Thursday, June 14 graduation rehearsals. Students also received an additional copy of the letter at Tuesday’s, June 12 rehearsal. All requirements and expectations for graduation are outlined in the letter.

Nationally recognized Academic cords are the only cords allowable or permissible during high school graduation.  These guidelines serve as a function of a school’s legitimate interest in celebrating academic achievement and showing class unity.

Any group or organization can provide a cord for any reason, and students are allowed to wear such other cords at Baccalaureate and awards programs, but not during the official graduation ceremony.

Typically, high schools (even colleges and universities) limit what cords/stoles graduates can wear to graduation ceremonies to ensure a unified ceremony. Honor cords are given to those students who have met the standards of a State or National organization which sponsors an Honor Society and to which the local organization has an active affiliation.

Cords/Stoles that are allowable during the official graduation at West Bladen High School are:

·       Honor Graduates (Summa cum Laude – Purple cord, Magna cum Laude – Silver cord, Cum Laude – White cord)

·       CTE Completers – Red cord

·       National Art Honor Society – Multicolored cord

·       National Technical Honor Society – Purple/Silver cord

·       National Beta student – Gold stole and Gold tassel

* West Bladen High School does not have a National Honor Society (NHS) chapter.

The school nor the JROTC program do not issue military cords to students. Any military cord that a student receives is given by the enlisting officer.

Refusal to comply with the published graduation guidelines can justify excluding a student from the graduation ceremony or from receiving their diploma on the day of graduation. No student’s diploma is taken away but instead is held by school administration for pick-up by the student the following week .

While not allowing a student to wear a military cord may lead to the perception that we are not patriotic … this could not be further from the truth. Our mission, in part, is to develop responsible citizens. We cannot think of a more responsible citizen than the ones who select to or are chosen to serve the United States of America.

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