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NC Teacher of the Year tours Johnston County Public Schools

Johnston County Public Schools welcomed North Carolina Teacher of the Year Eugenia Floyd to three of its schools, Selma Elementary, Smithfield-Selma High, and Swift Creek Middle, on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

During her tenure as the Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Floyd will tour schools throughout the state to get a firsthand look at education in other districts. Floyd is a fourth grade teacher at Mary Scroggs Elementary school, part of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools where she, too, was a student.

As Teacher of the Year, she will spend the school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession as supported by Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Her first stop in JCPS was Selma Elementary where she was met by fourth and fifth grade ambassadors and school administrators. As she made her way to different classrooms, Floyd noticed kindergarten students utilizing the organizational binders that are part of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program.

AVID is a kindergarten through postsecondary college readiness program designed to increase the number of students who enroll and succeed in higher education and in their lives beyond high school.

“I was impressed with the fact that AVID is available to JCPS students beginning in kindergarten,” Floyd remarked.

An AVID student herself growing up, Floyd is a champion of the program and its methods for teaching students how to become organized and prioritize their school work.

“I was excited to see it in action at that level.” she said.

Next stop on Floyd’s tour was Swift Creek Middle. She was escorted through the school by Principal Dr. Kerri Evans and AVID students, who were proudly wearing their AVID shirts.

She sat down and spoke to those students one-on-one. “There were some dynamic students in front of me,” she said emphatically. In each classroom, Floyd said that she felt a sense of ownership from the students about their curriculum and an overall pride for the school.

Floyd then went to Smithfield-Selma High School and toured the school with Principal David Allen. There she participated in a roundtable discussion with students involved in the International Baccalaureate® Programme (IB).

The IB Programme is exclusive to Smithfield-Selma High, yet is open to all JCPS students with bus transportation to those who need it.

Smithfield-Selma High is one of 33 North Carolina public high schools out of 686 in the state that offers an IB programme. Students complete an application, which is then reviewed by trained IB teachers. Applicants are then interviewed, and selected students are then officially invited to be an IB Learner.

The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

The organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Floyd then met with Band Director Brian Jones, JCPS Teacher of the Year. She was welcomed by the sounds of the Spartan Thunder, an extracurricular percussion ensemble, who were practicing for the upcoming Christmas Theater performance.

She and Jones spoke about the importance of having a supportive administrator, like Principal Allen. “He is so supportive that it allows Mr. Jones to do what’s best for his students, “ Floyd said.
“Mr. Jones feels empowered by his principal and that allows him to shine.”

Floyd’s biggest impression of Johnston County Public Schools is its commitment to providing any and all available resources to its students. “It’s the season of kids and we just have to tap into their genius,” she stated.

Robin Koppen, JCPS Communication Specialist