Notes from the March 13th Chatham County school board meeting

Pittsboro, NC – Here’s a summary of what happened in the March 13th Chatham County school board meeting.

Congratulations to Chatham Central High School for being re-certified as an AVID National Demonstration School, completing a rigorous process to reach demonstration status.

Chatham Central High School serves as a model for those around the state and nation who are interested in learning about the impact of AVID and continues to ensure college and career readiness for all AVID Elective students and improved outcomes for students.



Ryan Serem

The annual district Spelling Bee was held on Monday, January 30, at Seaforth High School. Thirty-five participants from across the district competed in the 2022-2023 District Spelling Bee for a chance to represent CCS at the Carolina Panthers Regional Spelling Bee. Students in second through eighth grades exhibited impressive spelling skills from their months of studying.

Our overall winners are as follows:

• First place — Ryan Serem, eighth grade, Margaret B. Pollard Middle School
• Second place — Lyra Benjamin, eighth grade, Margaret B. Pollard Middle School
• Third place — James Adkins, eighth grade, Silk Hope School

First-place winner Ryan Serem represented CCS at the Regional Bee on March 5th in Charlotte, where he placed eighth.


The Middle School Cross Country Meet was held on October 18, 2022 at Jordan-Matthews High School. The Margaret B. Pollard Middle boys and girls teams took home both of the team titles in dominating fashion.
The top 7 individual runners were as follows:

Girls Teams

  • Emily Jump ((Margaret B. Pollard)
  • Athena Dispenette (Silk Hope)
  • Madison Putnam (Margaret B. Pollard)
  • Tatum Dell (Margaret B. Pollard)
  • Harper Clark (Margaret B. Pollard)
  • Reese Colwell (Margaret B. Pollard)
  • Charlotte Lloyd (Margaret B. Pollard)

Boys Teams

  1. Jameson Douglass (Bennett)
  2. William Forester (Margaret B. Pollard)
  3. Brayden Meulendyke (George Moses Horton)
  4. Drew Yell (George Moses Horton)
  5. London Crowling (Margaret B. Pollard)
  6. Jack Simpson (Margaret B. Pollard)
  7. Sterling Smith (Margaret B. Pollard)


The 2023 Middle School Basketball Tournament was held during the week of February 13, with the semi-finals played at JS Waters School, and the championship games played at Chatham Central High School.

The girls game between the Chatham Middle Lady Rams and the Moncure Lady Panthers showcased some excellent players on both teams. Moncure girls edged ahead for the win and finished their championship season with a record of 14-3.

The championship boys’ game was played between the Margaret B. Pollard Middle Mustangs and the Chatham Middle Rams. The Chatham Middle team ended a dominant championship season with an undefeated 17-0 record.


Chatham County Schools has long been the home of successful basketball teams, which have played for and earned a number of state championship titles. This year CCS was honored to have two of our high school basketball teams play in their respective state championship games.

photo by Kenneth Sullivan

In only their second year of existence, Seaforth High School Lady Hawks started their post-season run as the #5 seed for the eastern region. Congratulations on bringing the 2023 2A State Women’s Championship runner-up honors home to Seaforth High School.

photo by Gene Galin

The Northwood High School Men’s Chargers team started the post season as the #1 seed for the eastern region. In dominating fashion, they brought the 3A State Men’s Championship runner-up honors home to Northwood High School.


J.S. Waters’ Crystal Gaines was honored as the February Power of One recipient.

Here’s what her nominator, Ms. Phillips, had to say: “Crystal Gaines is a ray of sunshine that spreads throughout this building day in and day out. She interacts with everyone she meets — adults and kids, and always greets them with a smile. She’s built relationships with our students and often serves as a caring, invested adult checking in with some of our highest needs students. She’s also always willing to pitch in and help wherever she is needed. She’ll work circles around most folks and also happily says “yes” to any request she can grant. She’s here at sporting events and after-hours events helping out, too. Specifically earlier this year, at our big Goldston World Series event, she was one of the first ones here and one of the last ones to leave, working the entire time while not feeling 100%. She’s a gem and true gift to our students, staff, and community. She puts others first and leads by example in work ethic and how to treat each other. She’s the embodiment of the Power of One.”


The February Excellence and Opportunity Champion is Ms. Samantha Davis from Virtual Academy.

Ms. Davis has students in her class with a variety of backgrounds and have experienced obstacles. One thing that stands out for Ms. Davis is her practice of embedding student choice and interest. When she presents History, she lets students drive the conversation and choose topics that are interesting to them.
When she presents novels in English Language Arts, she has students vote on which book is of interest to them based on a list of relevant topics. Despite the challenges her students face, she maintains high expectations and ensures their collective success.


For the month of March, the EC Parent Advisory Council recognized Mr. Robert Hicks, ECS Teacher at Siler City Elementary, and Ms. Rachel Hill, Occupational Therapist at multiple schools. Mr. Hicks is a new staff member to Chatham County Schools and Siler City Elementary this year, but has been a part of Chatham County for many years. He has created a warm and inviting classroom where everyone is welcome, no exceptions. His students come from a variety of backgrounds and with a diverse skill set, but he comes up with ways for all of them to participate in classroom activities. Whether it is completing an errorless learning activity, using a voice output device to communicate or following along with a musical transition. Even when a student is having an especially bad day, Mr. Hicks meets them right where they are at. He doesn’t push them to enter a situation before they are ready and willingly adapts his classroom environment or schedule when needed. Chatham County Schools, Siler City Elementary, Mr. Hick’s students and all those who work with him are blessed to have him as a part of One Chatham!

Ms. Hill has been an Occupational Therapist with our district for several years. She is a “gem” as described by her peers. She is always the first person to offer support, both personally and at work. Ms. Hill has a great sense of humor and always works to be thoughtful and considerate to others. Despite a full caseload, she extends herself to support when there are vacancies, is always available to process and solve problems with the schools she serves, as well as when called on to support at other schools. Ms. Hill has a calm nature, is encouraging, and a tremendous support to her school-based teams, the district EC team, and most importantly to her students.



The approved 2022-2023 Board of Education meeting calendar had several meetings listed to be held in the new Central Services board room. Due to the delay in receiving the Certificate of
Occupancy for the new Central Services building, the location of the April 3rd and May 8th regular session Board of Education meetings have been shifted to the multipurpose room at George Moses Horton Middle School (79 Horton Road, Pittsboro)

The meeting dates and time did not change, only the location. Currently, the June 5th board meeting is slated to take place in the new Central Services board room located off Renaissance Drive in Pittsboro.


In an ongoing effort to mitigate staffing shortages, district leaders evaluated a full service substitute program (ESS). ESS is the industry leader in substitute and permanent talent management for K-12 school districts. They provide support services, administrative relief, assistance in recruiting and reporting on program feedback.
Money is saved by eliminating the constant onboarding and training of substitutes, eliminating social security taxes on wages earned, dealing with unemployment claims, eliminating the cost of absence management substitute software and several others.




The Federal Communications Commission that oversees the E-Rate program requires all E-Rate participants to be CIPA compliant. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) outlines internet safety policies and procedures to protect children online from material that may be considered obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.

In compliance with these requirements, Chatham County Schools restricts students’ internet access through filtering technologies (such as Z-Scaler) and through Chromebook device management.

More information about board policies, Technology Services procedures, and federal technology requirements for K-12 schools can be found on the district website.




The Chatham County Schools Board of Education approved the purchase of 1,850 student Chromebooks as part of the 1:1 initiative. These Dell 3110 2-in-1 devices will be deployed in grades 2, 6, and 9 as part of the ongoing refresh and sustainability cycle for this program. Purchasing student Chromebooks in March
will allow for a June delivery, ensuring devices are prepared and ready for deployment at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

Technology Services also requests the approval of a Network Cabling project to upgrade cabling for connectivity across 17 of its 19 school sites. (As the newest schools, Chatham Grove Elementary and Seaforth High schools are not included in this project.)


The Chatham County Schools Board of Education approved the proposed academic calendars for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.

The proposed calendars were created in consultation with a committee of teachers, classified staff, administrators, and parents. Each school in the district was represented on the committee.

Chatham School of Science and Engineering early college high school academic calendar will be constructed and presented for consideration at the next Board of Education meeting.


The Chatham County Schools Board of Education approved awarding a three-year contract for the Smart Bus Pilot Program to Education Logistics (EDULOG) subject to final review of the documents by the Superintendent and Board attorney. The Smart Bus Pilot Program (House Bill 256) is a legislative grant program designed to modernize the transportation of public school students through technology in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chatham County Schools is one of seventeen LEAs selected to receive funding for this pilot program. The funding allotted will provide internet connectivity to all 111 yellow buses in the Chatham County Schools fleet. It will also allow for GPS tracking of all district buses and optimize time, expenditure, and safety of all bus routes.