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The first three weeks of the 2023-24 school year have brought Roanoke Rapids Graded School District much to celebrate. 

The State Board of Education released last year’s accountability results and announced that RRGSD exited “low performing district status.” 

This is the result of living out our motto of “Together We Succeed” because exiting this status is no small feat: It represents many, many hours of hard work and dedication from our amazing staff, students, and families working together. 

In addition to celebrating Laura Manning (RRHS), Teacher of the Year; Sydney Smith (RREC), Beginning Teacher of the Year; and Trina Robertson (Belmont), EC Teacher of Excellence, at Convocation; we are proud to announce that Ashley Lynch (RREC) has been awarded the 2022-23 Outstanding Secondary Mathematics Teacher by the NC Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 

We were also excited to celebrate with Halifax Community College’s President Dr. Patrena Elliott, at her inauguration and gala. 

RREC scholars attended the inauguration, which was held in conjunction with HCC’s Founders’ Day celebration.

Our students have jumped into the new year with enthusiasm and engagement. 

I enjoyed visiting our schools this week and spent time getting to know some of our youngest during their lunch time as they enjoyed the meal provided by our amazing School Nutrition staff.

Our youngest at Clara Hearne have been making pizza, learning with puppets, and participating in “ocean yoga.” 

Elementary students at Manning and Belmont have engaged with hands-on, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) activities including building towers, graphing, constructing animal habitats from LEGO bricks, making clay models of the human brain, designing self-portraits, and learning through science experiments (including exploring changes in matter with ice cream floats and learning about density while observing what happens to different objects dropped into a cup of oil and water). 

Manning kindergarten students proudly displayed their book boxes in the yearly parade. 

Also, if you’ve talked with our elementary students recently, they may have told you about our new 95 percent Phonics Curriculum, or they may have described working with chips and boxes in reading. 

The official name of this strategy is Elkonin boxes, and it is a research-based approach to teaching phonics. 

It helps students build phonological awareness by segmenting words into sounds or syllables and teaches students how to count the number of phonemes (or sounds) in the word. 

It helps students better understand the alphabetic principle in decoding and spelling. Our teachers are busy adapting their instruction based on current research in the science of reading and students are enjoying this hands-on approach as they apply their learning in decoding, encoding, and showcasing their learning by responding to comprehension passages. If you’re interested in this strategy, you can learn more at this link

Our secondary students are also off to a great start. 


Chaloner students have started Jacket Jump Start, which is a structured time for interventions and enrichment and encourages students to participate in clubs. 

Our first club day was a success, and students had the opportunity to engage in passport, cheer, Spanish, DECA, STEM, and yearbook clubs with more forthcoming. 

Our eighth-grade band students joined our RRHS Marching Yellow Jackets for the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before our fighting Yellow Jackets football team took the field against Franklinton. 

On a related note, I could not be more proud of our student athletes. 

In addition to playing hard and with good sportsmanship whenever they take the field or the court, they demonstrate our district core values of family, honesty, respect, and integrity on and off the field. Come out and cheer loudly with me for our fall sports (football, volleyball, cross country, soccer, and tennis) teams. 

Our high school students participated in CFNC Family Night as they prepared to complete college applications, financial aid, and scholarship applications. 

Lastly, our RREC scholars participated in experiential learning through field trips to HCC and Elizabeth City State University; learned from guest speakers Donna Hardy (retired RRGSD educator) with Hope for Hardy and Captain Gorton Williams with RRPD; and served the community through monthly food distribution sponsored by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, donations to Tracy Story and the Rewritten Foundation for individuals impacted by Hurricane Idalia, and volunteering at the Miracle Robinson carwash sponsored by Jakota’s Auto Detailing.

Lastly, don’t forget to mark your calendar for Homecoming on September 29th.