Northwest Observer / Back to School 2021

Page 1

WHAT’S INSIDE Guilford County traditional schools calendar/bell schedule .......... 4 What’s NEW at our northern/northwest Guilford-area schools? .... 5 GCS addresses facility needs from most to least critical ................ 8 Vikings/Nighthawks football season schedules ......................... 10 Preview: Northern Guilford football season .............................. 14 Preview: Northwest Guilford football season ............................ 15 Marching band set to do the ‘Northern thing’ ........................... 16 Viking band program kicks off with high energy ...................... 17 Index of Advertisers................................................................ 23

published by pscommunications


Bringing the arts into the hearts of children

brought to you by (336) 740-6891

publisher of

Still Registering for Fall Classes!

contact us (336) 644-7035 • location: 1616 NC 68 North • Oak Ridge, NC 27310 mail: PO Box 268 • Oak Ridge, NC 27310

visit us online


Back to School!

2021-22 Academic Calendar (Traditional Schools)


Thurs.-Fri., Aug. 19-20: Teacher Workdays Monday, Aug. 23: First Day for Students


Monday, Sept. 6: Holiday (Labor Day)


Monday, Jan. 3: Mandated Workday Friday, Jan. 14: Second-quarter Grading Period Ends Monday, Jan. 17: Holiday (Martin Luther King Day) Tuesday, Jan. 18: Teacher Workday



Friday, Oct. 22: First-quarter Grading Period Ends Mon.-Tues., Oct. 25-26: Mandated Workdays


Thursday, Nov. 11: Holiday (Veterans Day) Wednesday, Nov. 24: Vacation Thurs.-Fri., Nov. 25-26: Holiday (Thanksgiving)


Monday, Dec. 20: Teacher Workday Tues.-Wed., Dec. 21-22: Vacation Thurs.-Fri., Dec. 23-24: Holiday (Christmas) Monday, Dec. 27: Holiday (Christmas) Tues.-Thurs., Dec. 28-30: Vacation Friday, Dec. 31: Holiday (New Year’s)

Mon.-Tues., Feb. 21-22: Mandated Workdays

MARCH 2022

Thursday, March 24: Third-quarter Grading Period Ends Friday, March 25: Teacher Workday

APRIL 2022

Friday, April 15: Holiday (Good Friday) Mon.-Thurs., April 18-21: Vacation Friday, April 22: Teacher Workday

MAY 2022

Monday, May 30: Holiday (Memorial Day)

JUNE 2022

Friday, June 3: Last Day for Students/ Fourth-quarter Grading Period Ends Monday, June 6: Mandated Workday Tuesday, June 7: Teacher Workday

Guilford County Schools2021-22 Bell Schedule (Traditional Schools)



AM Bus Arrival Time

AM Start Time

PM End Time

PM Bus Departure Time

7:00 - 7:10



2:20 - 2:30

8:00 - 8:10 8:10 - 8:20 9:05 - 9:15

8:20 8:30 9:25

3:20 3:30 4:25

3:20 - 3:30 3:30 - 3:40 4:25 - 4:35

Back to School!

Northern Elementary

... at our local schools

Time does indeed fly, and although it seems one school year just ended, another one is already upon us. To gain some insight into what’s new for the 2021-22 school year, we reached out to principals at the six public elementary schools, three public middle schools, two public high schools and three public charter schools in our readership area and asked how they and their staff are preparing for the students’ return on Aug. 23. The following is some of the feedback we got from them…

Colfax Elementary

9112 W. Market Street, Colfax (336) 275-4332 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

New principal Ashley Garcia says she will be ‘gracefully bold’ in her mission Ashley Garcia is the new principal at Colfax Elementary School this year, but although she is new to the position, she’s very familiar with the area. A native of Greensboro, Garcia attended Oak Ridge Elementary, Northwest Middle, Northwest High and Greensboro Middle College her senior year. This year marks her 15th year in education; she spent over 10 years teaching exclusively in Title I schools, where she taught various grades including kindergarten, third and fifth. She also spent four years as an assistant principal and left that position at Millis Road Elementary School to become principal at Colfax. Garcia said she is ecstatic to join the extraordinary team at Colfax and is looking forward to putting her stamp on the school. “My approach is student-centered, collaborative, and data-driven with a focus on growth and equity,” she said. “Every decision I make is with our students’ best interests in mind. I firmly believe all students can achieve at high levels when given equity of access and opportunity in a fun, engaging learning environment, and I will be gracefully bold in my mission to ensure this occurs at our school.”

3801 N.C. 150, Greensboro (336) 656-4032 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal: Robert Richmond Drum roll, please … students will get enthusiastic “welcome back” to school Aug. 23, along with new faces, ACES and more Northern Guilford Elementary School will welcome several new staff members this year, including a second, a fourth and a fifth grade classroom teacher, a speech pathologist, an Exceptional Children’s teacher assistant and a new physical education teacher, Guy Vann, who comes to Northern Elementary from Page High School. Vann’s three sons – ages 9, 11 and 15 – are current or former students of Northern Elementary. Other new staff members with previous connections to the school include Katie Brande, NEST (Northern Engineering Science and Technology) lab teacher, who was a student in Northern Elementary’s first fourth-grade class, in 2008, and graduated from Northern High School in 2016. Principal Robert Richmond notes Northern Elementary was one of four schools in Guilford County to be awarded a national PTA School of Excellence

Continued on page 18

Check out our SafeLease program instrument rentals made easy • transparent pricing • new/used instruments educator approved • rentals starting at $15 • curbside pick-up • delivery to school available

Garcia is especially excited that the school is offering a new STEM program this year, which will be included as one of the students’ special classes. “We’ve been building it from the ground up and have added staff to support the program,” she said. Another new thing this year is the creation of a Colfax alumni group, which will focus on keeping members of the school’s extended community up to date on what’s happening at the school. Garcia plans to produce a quarterly newsletter to help keep everyone connected.



local music store since 1939

615 West Market Street, Greensboro • 336.274.4636


your orthopaedic experts are here



and sports medicine care is now closer than ever. We cover the full range of orthopaedic needs, from joint pain and joint replacement to urgent care for adults and children. Let the most experienced team in the region help relieve your pain. Same- or next-day appointments, and open weekends.







our family caring for yours care for life Our primary care providers have one goal in common: keeping you and your family healthy. As part of a world-class academic medical center, we have access to a broad range of services focused on high quality, affordable care. Same- and next-day appointments often available.

FAMILY MEDICINE – SUMMERFIELD 4431 US Highway 220 North Summerfield, NC 27358 336-643-7711 | A Wake Forest Health Network practice.

Spending of $300 million school bond to be a ‘several-years process’ No immediate plans are in the works to upgrade or replace school facilities in northwest/northern Guilford County, but school board members say they will ‘work up to the schools with the least need’

by CHRIS BURRITT NW GUILFORD/GREENSBORO – A familiar distinction awaits the return of students to Northwest Guilford High School – the largest number of mobile classrooms in the county. Twenty-seven trailers populate the high school’s campus, followed by a village of 19 mobile units at adjacent Northwest Guilford Middle School, according to Guilford County Schools (GCS). The number of trailers is far

Summerfield Merchants Association wishes the students in our community a great 2021-22 school year

Be curious Pay attention Do your homework Make new friends Devour knowledge Seize all the opportunities a new school year offers Summerfield Merchants Association (SMA) is dedicated to supporting our local businesses and community. We meet the first Tuesday of each month, at various member host locations. For more info about SMA, or to be our guest on Tuesday, Sept. 7, email


fewer at other schools in the northwestern and northern areas – four at Stokesdale Elementary, two at Pearce Elementary and three each at Northern Guilford Elementary and Kernodle Middle.

Guilford County voters approved the bond sale in last November’s general election. Actual spending of the $300 million “is going to be a several-years process,” Napper said.

The district currently has more than 500 mobile or temporary classrooms in use, according to a recommended $2 billion facilities master plan that Cooperative Strategies, a school facility planning firm, presented to GCS in November 2019. The trailers aren’t going anywhere any time soon, according to GCS’ plan for spending $300 million from the sale of bonds for repair and upgrades. Schools in northwestern and northern Guilford County didn’t make the list of facilities slated for improvements planned for schools elsewhere in the county that were determined to have more serious renovation needs.

“No matter where you are located in Guilford County, it may be years before you see the benefit” of spending.

Longer term, the plan does address easing student overcrowding in northwestern and northern schools with a commitment to spend $10.66 million for the acquisition of land for several new schools. They include sites for the replacement of Northwest Middle School, a northwestern Guilford-area aviation high school and a northern Guilford-area elementary school, according to GCS.

“We are starting with the schools in the worst shape and working up to the schools with the least need,” school board member Deborah Napper said in an interview in May. She represents District 5, which includes Summerfield Elementary School and Northern Guilford middle and high schools.

Spending on other projects – such as the replacement of Northwest Middle School and the construction of a new northwest-area aviation high school – is going to take even longer because of their dependence upon future bond sales. Nora Carr, GCS’ chief of staff, told the school board in March that the district’s staff is talking to county commissioners, community leaders and others about putting another bond issue on the ballot. The district’s plan recommends eventually replacing all mobile classrooms. For now, the deteriorating condition of the units is a problem across the county, according to District 5 county commissioner Carly Cooke, who represents Summerfield.

“We can all agree there is a need,” Cooke said in an interview in May. “I wish we were doing more in the first phase, but with the dollars that we have, I think it was a fair way to allocate them. I appreciate the process we used to pick the projects. It is based upon the need.” The spending plan resulted from a 2019 countywide study that proposed a mix of new construction, renova-

Back to School!

tions and demolition of schools in Oak Ridge, Summerfield and Stokesdale. The recommendations were aimed at relieving overcrowding and improving security and technology in schools. All of the elementary, middle and high schools in northwest Guilford County are operating “at or over capacity,” according to a report by Cooperative Strategies, the school district’s facility planning consultant. A spreadsheet posted on GCS’ website lays out the recommended school projects for northwest and northern Guilford County and their estimated costs. The projects include: • $47.6 million for replacing and relocating Northwest Guilford Middle School • $68.5 million for construction of Northwest Area Aviation High School • Constructing an elementary school for northern Guilford County, at an estimated cost of nearly $26.8 million

GCS northern/northwest Guilford school facilities Schools

Year Constructed

Colfax Elementary Northern Elementary Oak Ridge Elementary Pearce Elementary Stokesdale Elementary Summerfield Elementary

1955 2008 1923 2007 1953 1936

Kernodle Middle Northern Middle Northwest Middle

2000 2007 1970

Northern High Northwest High

2008 1962

Renova�ons/Addi�ons ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 1983, 1999


1957, 1974, 2005 1956, 1960, 2007 1939, 1955, 1959, 1983, 2011 MIDDLE SCHOOLS 2012 HIGH SCHOOLS 1965, 2002, 2012

Permanent Current Mobile Capacity Enrollment Classrooms 594 576 700 678 457 594

560 620 694 650 480 580

7 3 0 2 4 0

1,016 904 896

750 825 989

3 0 19

1,417 1,583

1,332 2,075

0 27

• Repairs to Oak Ridge Elementary totaling $1.44 million

• Repairs to Stokesdale Elementary totaling nearly $3.1 million

• Repairs to Northern Guilford Middle School totaling $574,717

• Repairs to Pearce Elementary totaling $298,665

• Repairs to Summerfield Elementary totaling $2.56 million

• Repairs to Northern Guilford High School $793,150

The Triad’s Expert Dr. Mark Reynolds is an expert when it comes to new smiles! He has created them for more than 20 years and is the Triad’s only Diamond Invisalign provider, placing him among the country’s top 1% of providers. Trust your smile–in braces or in aligners–to the area’s expert! Call today for a free exam.

6161 Lake Brandt Road • Summerfield 1304 Beaman Place • Greensboro 336-274-7649





Northwest Vikings

Northern Nighthawks

Northwest Guilford High School

Northern Guilford High School

5240 Northwest School Road, Greensboro

7101 Spencer Dixon Road, Greensboro



DATE OPPONENT LOCATION Aug. 20 ..........East Forsyth ......................... Home Aug. 27 ..........North Davidson .....................Away Sept. 3 ............R.J. Reynolds .........................Away Sept. 17 ..........Western Guilford* ................ Home Sept. 24 ..........Grimsley* ............................ Home Oct. 1 .............Page* ....................................Away Oct. 8 .............Northern Guilford*.................Away Homecoming Oct. 15 ...........Ragsdale* ............................ Home Oct. 22 ...........Southeast Guilford* ............. Home Oct. 29 ...........Southwest Guilford.................Away

DATE OPPONENT LOCATION Aug. 20 ..........Eastern Guilford ................... Home Aug. 27 ..........Ben. L. Smith .........................Away Sept. 3 ............Eastern Alamance ..................Away Sept. 17 ..........Ragsdale* ..............................Away Sept. 24 ..........Southeast Guilford* ............. Home Oct. 1 .............Southwest Guilford* ...............Away Oct. 8 .............Northwest Guilford* ............. Home Oct. 15 ...........Page* ....................................Away Homecoming Oct. 22 ...........Western Guilford* ................ Home Oct. 29 ...........Grimsley* ............................ Home

* Conference games (4A West Conference)

* Conference games (4A West Conference)

SPRING 2021 SEASON RESULTS (6-2, 3-1 conference)

SPRING 2021 SEASON RESULTS (5-2, 5-2 conference)

DATE OPPONENT SCORE Feb. 25 ...........Ben L. Smith .......................................... 48-6 (W) March 5 ..........Western Guilford .................................... 31-12 (W) March 12 ........Page* .................................................... 41-0 (W) March 20 ........Grimsley* .............................................. 48-12 (L) March 26 ........Ragsdale* .............................................. 33-7 (W) April 2.............High Point Central* ................................ 35-6 (W) April 9.............Hoke County ......................................... 48-12 (W) April 16 ...........Myers Park*** ....................................... 63-22 (L)

DATE OPPONENT SCORE Feb. 26 ...........McMichael ............................................ 27-0 (W) March 5 ..........Northeast Guilford ................................. 67-6 (W) March 12 ........Eastern Alamance .................................. 28-24 (L) March 26 ........Rockingham County .............................. 40-7 (W) March 31 ........Person ................................................... 37-36 (W) April 5.............Morehead.............................................. 49-7 (W) April 9.............Western Alamance ................................. 40-34 (L)

(all games start at 7:30 p.m., except Aug. 20 and Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.)

* Conference games


*** Playoff games

(all games start at 7:30 p.m.)

(All spring 2021 games were 2A/3A Mid-State Athletic Conference games.)

** Due to game postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 football season didn’t begin until February 2021.


Back to School!

No time to cook on a busy school night? Try out our

Rio Family Meal delivery or curbside

Family Fajitas chicken, steak or mixed

$24.99 FEEDS 4

Taco Bar beef, chicken or mixed

ACP Meals chicken, rice, cheese dip entrees

All meals come with chips, salsa and large cheese dip

Trusted Care. Close to Home. Don’t Delay Care.

Schedule your in-person office appointment or virtual video visit to ensure that you and your family continue to stay healthy. With LeBauer HealthCare, your whole family can count on exceptional care, same day appointments, and access to local Cone Health specialists.

at Oak Ridge 1427-A NC Hwy 68 North, Oak Ridge (336) 644-6770


B LeBauer HealthCare



at Summerfield Village 4446-A US Hwy 220 N, Summerfield (336) 560-6300


Oak Ridge

Joseph M Bryan Blvd

e Av

at Horse Pen Creek 4443 Jessup Grove Road, Greensboro (336) 663-4600

D LeBauer Primary Care

nd ou gr ttle Ba

C LeBauer HealthCare



W Friendly Av


et S W Mark


er Ave

v Wendo

Jamestown High Point

Benjamin Pkwy



at Brassfield 3803 Robert Porcher Way, Greensboro Wendover Ave E (336) 286-3442

S Ohenry Blvd

A LeBauer Primary Care

In-person and virtual visits available

Extra safety precautions implemented at all locations

Same Day Appointments | Accepting New Patients Immunizations | Well-Child Checks | Sports Physicals Physical Therapy | Behavioral Medicine | Bilingual Providers On-Site X-ray and Lab (most sites) | Local Cone Health Specialists in your area Access to your secure online electronic medical records through MyChart

Call today for an appointment with one of our providers!

Northern Guilford steps up to 4A, prepared for the challenge by CHRIS BURRITT

Last season’s starting quarterback, Will Lenard, signed to play at Randolph-Macon College.

Country Store & Working Mill Open daily 9am-5pm | (336) 643-4783 | 1340 Hwy 68 N, Oak Ridge

Muffin, pancake, biscuit and scone mixes Flour • Cornmeal • Grits • Oats Everything your student needs to start their day off right!


On defense, Westberg is counting on linebacker Nkwenti Achina and Ishmel Atkins, a safety who has committed to play at Elon University.

“Our strength is definitely our experience,” Westberg said. “We’ve got a lot of players returning who started or played significant snaps. We have a lot of team speed on both sides of the football.”



The performance of the two players during scrimmages before the start of the season will help determine which one gets the starting nod, according to Westberg. The team plays its first game this Friday, Aug. 20, against Eastern Guilford High School.


“We were two plays away from being undefeated going into playoffs, whereas we finished 5-2 and didn’t make the playoffs,” head coach Erik Westberg said.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us,” Westberg said. Most of the Nighthawks’ games will be against schools in its conference, putting a greater emphasis on winning week after week to qualify for the playoffs.

Two players are vying for the job of starting quarterback. Jack Mercer called the plays on Northern’s junior varsity team last year, and he’s competing against Larenz Smith, who transferred from Glenn High School in Kernersville.

rt e

The Nighthawks lost 28-24 to Eastern Alamance High School and then 40-34 in overtime to Western Alamance High School, dashing the Nighthawks’ hopes for a spot in the playoffs.

“You want the wins out of your conference,” Westberg said. “Our focus has been getting everybody to understand their job at each snap.”


NORTHERN GUILFORD – Northern Guilford High School’s varsity football program returns 27 seniors from a team that finished last season 5-2 but came close to going undefeated.

This season, Northern is trying to build upon the close losses as it steps up from 3A to 4A, putting it in the same conference with Northwest Guilford, Grimsley, Page and several other larger high schools.


| E rik W

c e st be rg , h e ad



Northern hosts Northwest Guilford High School Oct. 8, giving the Nighthawks the chance to extend their winning streak to three games against the Vikings. They last played in 2019, when Northern decidedly won 42-10.

Westberg and Northwest’s coach, Kevin Wallace, coached together at Greensboro College and Apprentice School in Newport News, Virginia, cementing a friendship that’s flourished despite their rivalry. Westberg said they talk often and usually get together on Friday nights during the season to compare notes about how their teams played. “A big part of our friendship is that we grew up in the coaching culture,” said Westberg, explaining he and Wallace are of the same mind when it comes to teaching youngsters offense and defense. “Off the field, we’re really good friends,” he said. “But we are rivals, and we talk a little smack to each other, no question.’’

Back to School!

“He’s got a great arm, and he’s a smart kid,” Wallace said. “He really works at it.” One of the quarterback’s targets will be Trent Cloud, a sophomore wide receiver who started as a freshman and has already received offers from Michigan State University, the University of South Alabama and UNC-Charlotte, Wallace said. Senior Jake Sowards returns as a two-year starter at tight end.



r te


Ballou takes over as starting quarterback.


“Offensively, we’ll be young, but we’ve got some good pieces in place,” head coach Kevin Wallace said. “We’re ready for the season.”

ot o

The Vikings kick off their fall season this Friday, Aug. 20, against East Forsyth High School after finishing 6-2 last season, which was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team lost to Grimsley High School, which went on to win the state Class 4-A title in May, and Charlotte’s Myers Park High School in the first round of the state playoffs.


NW GUILFORD – A front line of underclassmen will protect sophomore quarterback Tanner Ballou, illustrating how Northwest Guilford High School’s offense is going to depend upon youth.

Linus Lingle returns as the starting center while Walter Turner is back as a starter at tackle. Northwest’s defense is anchored by senior defensive end Xavier Simmons, one of the top-rated players in North Carolina. Recruited by more than 25 colleges, Simmons has signed with Virginia Tech and plans to enroll early, starting next January, according to Wallace. Simmons is “a great kid, quiet and very coachable on the field,” his coach said. “We’re proud of how he’s prepared himself over the past four years. He’s done a great job helping others, motivating others and challenging others in practice to be better.” The team is looking forward to playing in front of fans in the stands and hopes the surging Delta variant doesn’t prompt county officials to alter the plans. “Everybody is ready for a return to normalcy,” Wallace said. The young Vikings offense will be tested in a Sept. 24 rematch against Grimsley and its nationally ranked defensive lineman Travis Shaw. He is mulling offers from Clemson University, the University of Georgia, UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina A&T State University. Northwest travels to Northern Guilford High School Oct. 8 for their first match since 2019. Northern won that game 42-10. This season, Northern moves from 3A to 4A, putting the Nighthawks in the same conference as Northwest and




ac h

Vikings football team young, but ‘coming together’ sy


L if e

to u c


heightening the rivalry. It also gives the coach of the winning team even louder bragging rights over the other. Wallace and Northern coach Erik Westberg are such good friends that Westberg served as a groomsman in Wallace’s wedding in 2017. The two coached together at Greensboro College and the Apprentice School in


| Kev in W

ce alla


Newport News, Virginia, before taking their jobs at Northwest and Northern.

“We know what they do and they know what we do,” Wallace said. “It’s quite interesting to have a friendship in a rivalry.”

NWHS Alumnus ‘79


Custom-built homes for over 35 years (336) 362-0969 15

Marching band set to do the ‘Northern thing’ and celebrate the season by ANNETTE JOYCE In his third year as Northern Guilford High School’s band director, Kiyoshi Carter remains impressed with the school’s culture.

“The really cool thing about Northern is the sense of community,” he said. Nowhere is that more evident than at a Friday night home football game. Carter recently talked about how at

most schools, different groups are doing their own thing and staying largely separate from each other. Not at Northern. “Everyone celebrates anyone in purple. It feels like everyone is doing the ‘Northern thing,’” he said, noting it’s a really fun atmosphere for all involved. The Nighthawks’ marching band is right in the middle of the frenzy, helping to drive the crowd crazy with its impressive half-time show and interactive activities throughout the game. This year’s half-time show

Be A VOICE for a child. Over 250 children in Guilford County will go to court alone. Learn how to be an advocate for an abused or neglected child by becoming a Guardian Ad Litem.

(336) 412-7580 |

features songs from Bruno Mars, the award-winning singer/songwriter known for his catchy pop music and energetic live performances. Carter said there was one song he really wanted to do, “Leave the Door Open,” which is a soulful song with a ‘70s sound. Once he found the arrangement for that song, he built the rest of the program around it. “24K Magic” will be the lead-off song, and will segue into “Leave the Door Open.” If the crowd’s not already on their feet dancing at that point, it surely will be when the band brings the show to a close with the very popular “Uptown Funk.” While the half-time show is a highlight of the night, what happens on the sidelines is just as spectacular. The band has a playlist of about 20 or so “stand tunes” to keep the crowd pumped. And then, when the drumline spreads out across the front of the stands and starts performing after the third quarter, fans are sure to go wild. This almost always ends with the drummers forming a tunnel and cheerleaders, students, and even an administrator or two dancing through to be individually “celebrated.” One thing Carter and his students are celebrating this


Kiyoshi Carter, band director Photo courtesy of Strawbridge Studios

year is a return to a more normal school year. With pandemic-related restrictions destroying the traditional high school experience for the last two years, the marching band didn’t go unscathed. The number of band members is down a bit, and members have lost opportunities to learn and grow.

“This is a rebuilding year for us,” Carter said. “Most of our band members are returning folks. They’re playing well and they’re stepping up to take on leadership roles. I couldn’t be more pleased.” Celebration through music is very important to Carter, who discovered his love of music early in life. He sings, plays several instruments, teaches and conducts – all in an effort to share the impact of music. Along with the marching band, Carter is responsible for two concert bands, a percussion ensemble, jazz band and an AP music theory class. Even though he admits to having “a full plate,” he still finds time to conduct the Greensboro Concert Band, comprised of about 100 non-professional musicians.

Back to School!

Viking band program kicks off football season with high energy by ANNETTE JOYCE Brian McMath, Northwest Guilford High School’s director of bands, sets his sights each year on offering a performance that’s over the top. When the Viking marching band and color guard take the field this football season for the halftime show, fans will be happy to see they’ve managed to achieve that goal once again. Titled “Circuits of Clarity,” this year’s performance transforms the field into circuit boards and features high-energy electronic sounds and contemporary music that will be new to the audience. Halfway through the performance, however, the band will break into the popular and wellknown electronic dance song “Clarity” by Zedd, which is sure to bring everyone to their feet. “One of the fun things this year is that the band won’t be wearing their uniforms,” McMath said. Instead, they’ll be dressed in wildly multi-colored T-shirts paired with hoods which McMath said will bring a more robotic feel to the performance. This year’s performance was originally slated for the 2020-21 school year, but like most other plans, that changed due to COVID-19. Among the many effects of the pandemic, the band missed an entire year of marching. As a result, many of its second-year members are marching for the first time. Also, McMath has allowed a small, select group of seventh graders to join the marching band this year.


“It’s a young band and I love it,” he said. Since taking over as band director in 2004, McMath has worked tirelessly to ensure the band is always evolving and improving – and as one way of achieving that goal, each year he goes on the hunt for a production that’s new and unique. It’s this ambition that has propelled the approximately 125-member band into the competitive arena. This year’s band members have been practicing in the sizzling summer heat since the end of July – five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – to learn the music and moves that will make this show dazzling. They’ll perform at every Friday-night home football game, either at half-time or after the game. Come Saturday morning, you’ll find the band back on campus preparing to hit the road for one of many competitions scheduled between September and the end of October.

This year, the band has been invited to perform at the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. “It’s a great honor and we’re very excited about this opportunity,” McMath said. “Right now, we have 144 people including kids and parents signed up.”

Brian McMath, band director Photo courtesy of Brian McMath

Because the band is an extracurricular activity, it receives no funding from the school, county or state, so it’s up to the band members and Band Boosters to fund the band program, which includes all of the school’s bands – jazz ensemble, concert band, symphonic band, winter percussion and wind ensemble – as well as the marching band. Band Booster member Lydia Kirkman explains this means there’s always some sort of fundraiser taking place. The group kicks off the year with a donation-

based fundraiser in which band members simply ask family and friends to make financial contributions to the band program. One of the program’s biggest fundraisers will take place Oct. 30, when Northwest Guilford High School will host its annual fall band festival, which draws as many as 20 bands from across the region. Other fundraisers will include the sale of soup, fruit, Autobell coupons and mattresses; a significant portion of funds historically also come from corporate sponsorships.

Hiding your smile? We can help!

Matthew J. Olmsted, DDS MS Diplomate, American Board of Orthodontics Board certified | Complimentary exam | Financing available | Insurance accepted Specialist in braces & Invisalign for children & adults

(336) 441-7007 Oak Ridge Commons Shopping Center, 2205 Oak Ridge Road, Suite CC, Oak Ridge


What’s new? (Northern Elementary) ...continued from p. 5

earlier this month, something the school is very proud of. “My administration really believes the PTA is vital to helping with our kids through the activities and funding they provide,” Richmond said. The year prior to COVID, the elementary school partnered with Northern High School as much as possible, and Richmond looks forward to the high school’s drumline once again greeting Northern Elementary students when they arrive Aug. 23 for the first day of school. The ACES (After School Enrichment Service) program will return this year to Northern Elementary, one of 28 elementary schools in Guilford County where the program will be offered beginning with the first day of school. The program offers academic, enrichment and recreational after-school activities for kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Oak Ridge Elementary

2050 Oak Ridge Road, Oak Ridge • (336) 643-8410 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal Penny Loschin says classrooms will be less sterile than at the beginning of COVID, and added layers of security will be in place There are a lot of new things at Oak Ridge Elementary this year, from teachers to added layers of security to the return of the ACES program. “The district is doing a lot with security,” Principal Penny Loschin told the Northwest Observer. “We’ll be using the OneCard again, which is basically a student ID and access card.” New this year are OneCard scanners which will allow staff to know which students are in the building, and enable students to use their card for a variety of things, such as paying for their lunch and checking out books in the media center. Additionally, security cameras have been upgraded as have the intercom and buzzer systems in place for those entering the school building. There are also plans to install cameras on school buses. Due to retiring staff and some who moved from the area, there will be several new teachers throughout all grades, and a new front-office person. Robin Holland, formerly a kindergarten teacher’s assistant at the school, will oversee the front office and take over the position held for many years by Debbie Fox, who retired in June. Loschin said several elementary schools won’t offer the ACES (After-School Enrichment Services) program, at least at the beginning of the school year, but thanks to a very favorable survey response from parents, the afterschool program will kick off the new school year at Oak Ridge Elementary with over 100 kids participating. One thing that won’t be new this school year is the traffic pattern for those


dropping off and picking up students. “We’re following the same route that we did last year,” Loschin said. “That is what the sheriff’s department has recommended. I realize the surrounding neighborhoods are not going to be ecstatic – the sheriff’s goal is to get as much traffic off N.C. 150 as possible. We do know it will take the first week for everyone to get into that routine and we ask everyone to be patient and mindful that the reason these routes were chosen is not to inconvenience anyone, but for the safety of everyone.” An earlier start and end time to the school day is also new this year. And, while students and staff will be required to wear masks when indoors and remain 3 feet apart, as of mid-August there were not plans to check everyone’s temperature before they enter the building. Students will be eating in their classrooms at least at the beginning of the school year, but they will be able to go to other classrooms for special classes like music and art. And whereas classrooms were virtually stripped bare at the beginning of COVID, “we will be able to have furniture, rugs, etc., in our classrooms so it won’t be as sterile,” Loschin said. Visitors or volunteers won’t be initially allowed inside the school building, so Loschin said “we’ll have to be creative” – for example, the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) can set up outside to engage with students and staff.

Pearce Elementary

2006 Pleasant Ridge Road, Greensboro (336) 605-5480 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal: Michelle Sciandra A New Jersey native, Michelle Sciandra came to North Carolina to attend High Point University and intended to return home after graduation. Her plans changed, however, when she completed her student teaching at Pilot Elementary in Greensboro and was offered a full-time job at the school. That was 18 years ago. Since then, Sciandra has worked as a curriculum facilitator, spent six years as assistant principal at Pearce Elementary School and this year takes over as the school’s principal. A finalist for assistant principal of the year in 2020, Sciandra has proven her leadership skills. During her tenure as assistant principal, Pearce Elementary realized a 3% reduction in the achievement gap between white and Black students, based on grade-level proficiency. Sciandra is set on continuing that trend as she moves forward in her new position. Ivolyn Bonaparte steps into Sciandra’s former position as assistant principal. Originally from Jamacia, Bonaparte has taught at Rankin Elementary, National Heritage Academy and recently was a full-time administrative intern at Northern Middle under the North Carolina Principals Fellow Cohort. “We’ve connected so well due to our drive to put students first. Plus, we have the same positivity and flexibility,” Sciandra said about her working relationship with Bonaparte. As with all Guilford County schools, Pearce is using OneCard, a student

Back to School!

ID and access card which students wear on lanyards and use for school entry, attendance, and checking out library books at both the school and public libraries. The goal of OneCard is to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff, a concept which Sciandra hopes to use to further create a sense of unity and pride in being part of the Pearce Elementary School community.

Stokesdale Elementary 8025 U.S. 158, Stokesdale (336) 643-8420 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

New principal Allison Bennett says community has been very welcoming; school will put even more emphasis on literacy this year – and “Food Truck Thursdays” are back! Allison Bennett started her educational career with Guilford County Schools as a kindergarten teacher 23 years ago, has held several other positions along the way, and spent the last six years as an assistant principal at Kernodle Middle School.

Summerfield Elementary 7501 Summerfield Road, Summerfield (336) 643-8444 summerfield_elementary Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Denise Ebbs transitions from the school’s assistant principal to principal; spirit rock installed courtesy of Vulcan Materials Company, and technology will be further integrated into classroom lessons There’s a new, yet familiar face in the principal’s chair at Summerfield Elementary School. New principal Denise Ebbs was assistant principal at the school last year. Ebbs has 25 years of experience in the educational field, including 11 years as principal at Joyner Elementary School. Summerfield also has 11 new staff members, including assistant principal Carrie Page, who has served as a curriculum facilitator at Madison Elementary and more recently worked in the data and analytics department for Guilford County Schools. A resident of Summerfield, Page is also the parent of a Summerfield Elementary student.

Continued on page 20

This year the Northwest Guilford High School graduate and Summerfield resident moves closer to her roots as she takes over as principal of Stokesdale Elementary School. Bennett’s excitement for her new role is evident as she talks about building relationships with staff, parents, students and the community and her plans for the coming year. Literacy is a hot topic this year as the school implements a new literacy program and institutes DIBELS, a literacy assessment program that has been around for a few years but hasn’t been in use recently.

We’re In This Together. Let us know how we can help!

“We’re focusing on literacy to make sure all of our students’ needs are being met,” Bennett said. The school’s PTA is once again making positive contributions to the school and the community. “Our relationship with this PTA has been phenomenal,” Bennett said, adding that the volunteer organization has already spent hours helping prepare for the students’ return Aug. 23. Community members will be happy to know the popular “Food Truck Thursdays” will continue this year. The PTA started this event last year during COVID, and food trucks will once again set up in the school parking lot from 5 to 7 p.m. and provide residents with different dinner options each week. Everyone is invited to stop by and pick up dinner. During a recent Food Truck Thursday, Bennett was on hand to meet and greet those who came through. “The staff and parents have been so welcoming,” Bennett said. “Having grown up (in the area), it means a lot to me.”


Live Drive-Thru Assistance • Convenient Curbside Banking Mobile App & Online Banking • Client Connect

336.644.9944 Member FDIC


What’s new? (Summerfield Elementary) ...continued from p. 19

As students arrive at school this year, they’ll notice something else that’s new. Vulcan Materials Company in Stokesdale recently donated and placed a spirit rock on the school grounds and it has been decorated by the school’s art teacher. Ebbs said the spirit rock will give staff and students an opportunity to write messages and leave their own creative stamp. Ebbs said she is looking forward to incorporating new ideas to further enhance the students’ learning experiences. As an example, she said staff will be integrating more technology into their lessons and also more art. Staff will also be relying more on Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), a program that focuses on the positives in student behavior. The PTA is already working hard to make the new school year a huge success, Ebbs said. The organization recently hosted a number of events to allow families to connect with the school, including a “Meet the Principal” Kona Ice Day and “Popsicles in the Park” for kindergarten students and new student families moving into the area.

Greensboro Academy (public charter school) Grades K-8

4049 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro (336) 286-8404 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

New principal Tracey Dulhaime says getting back into a “normal routine” of five days a week of in-person instruction is a top priority; EXCELERATE program will offer new opportunities for students ready to advance beyond grade level Tracey Dulhaime takes over as the principal of Greensboro Academy, a free public charter school on Battleground Avenue/U.S. 220 in northwest Greensboro. Dulhaime previously served as the school’s dean of grades 6-8; she’s succeeded in that position by Jeff Kinlaw. Dulhaime is starting her 14th year at Greensboro Academy where “we are trying to get back into a normal routine of five days a week of in-person instruction. That is our top priority.” Masks are required for the start of the academic year, with plans to reevaluate the policy after four weeks, Dulhaime said. “We’ve not had 100 percent of the kids in the building since March 13, 2020,” she added. “So we wanted to be able to get everyone back in the building as safely as possible.” This year Greensboro Academy is happy to introduce a new advanced


learning program, EXCEL-ERATE. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade who are ready to advance beyond grade level will be given accelerated content; middle school (sixth through eighth grade) students will be able to take advanced courses for high school credit. Greensboro Academy is managed by National Heritage Academies.

Revolution Academy (public charter school) Grades K-7*

3800 Oak Ridge Road, Summerfield (336) 203-3690 *Grade 8 will be added in 2022-23



(as of mid-August)

Principal: Mary Catherine Sauer Revolution Academy is adding the seventh grade this year and also adding new kindergarten through sixth grade students to its Summerfield campus that opened last spring on N.C. 150 in Summerfield. The additions will bring in 250 new students, bringing the school’s total enrollment to about 650, according to principal Mary Catherine Sauer. To accommodate the new students, the school is adding 15 staff members, bringing the total to 44. “We are filling out our grade levels as part of our planned growth,” Sauer said. The school opened a year ago, occupying temporary space in the Church at 68 in Greensboro until moving into its Summerfield campus. Revolution Academy is also starting an athletic program for sixth and seventh graders. This fall, volleyball, coed soccer and cross country teams will participate in the Central Carolina Conference.

Summerfield Charter Academy (public charter school) Grades K-8

5303 U.S. 220 North, Summerfield (336) 643-1974 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal: Rudy Swofford Staff looks forward to “moving back to the basics,” and resuming in-person club meetings and sports programs At Summerfield Charter School, a free public charter school located on U.S. 220 in Summerfield, the staff is “concentrating on moving back to the basics” a year after

Back to School!

the disruptions of COVID-19, principal Rudy Swofford said recently. “We are going back to what we would normally do, but it’s probably going to feel a little new,” he said. The school is resuming sports and in-person meetings of clubs such as student council and the National Junior Honor Society, Swofford said. “We will have volleyball, soccer, cross country this fall,” he said. “At least that is our plan right now. They will feel new because we haven’t done them in almost a year and a half.” Summerfield Charter has a new athletic director, Bill Stoll, who had assisted the school coaching basketball and baseball. Just as its sister school, Greensboro Academy, Summerfield Charter School will also introduce a new advanced learning program, EXCEL-ERATE, this year in which students in kindergarten through fifth grade who are ready to advance beyond grade level will be given accelerated content; middle school (sixth through eighth grade) students will be able to take advanced courses for high school credit. Summerfield Charter School is managed by National Heritage Academies.

Kernodle Middle

3600 Drawbridge Parkway, Greensboro (336) 545-3717 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal: Thea McHam Kernodle Middle School principal Thea McHam is stressing COVID-19 health precautions as students and staff return for in-person classes. “Masks will be required by everyone who enters the school building,” said McHam, adding that open houses for students were staggered earlier this month to control the number of people in the building at one time. The school has a new assistant principal, Susan Orr, who most recently served as curriculum facilitator at Northwest Guilford High School.


Sports are resuming at Kernodle, with tryouts for many fall sports starting Monday, Aug. 23. The PTA welcomes volunteers interested in serving on the PTA board. “I look forward to a great year and together we will soar to success,” McHam said.

Northern Guilford Middle 616 Simpson-Calhoun Road, Greensboro (336) 605-3342 Enrollment:



(as of mid-August)

Principal: Karen Ellis Northern Guilford Middle School principal Karen Ellis is reminding students and parents that Guilford County Schools is “sticking with the mask mandate,” making it possible for the reopening of schools five days a week with no virtual component. “We are really excited that all students will be in the building for face-to-face learning,” Ellis said. Sports will return to Northern Guilford Middle this fall under the oversight of a new athletics director, Chase Cochran, who also serves as the middle school’s football coach. Schedules will be posted and general athletics-related announcements will be made this year via a new app called “Band,” which will streamline the way the school communicates to parents about athletics-related info such as tryout dates, paperwork, sign-ups and more. Northern Middle School will have a new start/end time to the school day this year; the school day will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

Continued on page 21

Local Matters Serving northwest Guilford County since 1996

Saturday, October 2 Sparky’s Dash and 5K walk/run begin at 9am

Enjoy chili from Summerfield Fire Department after the run

Summerfield Fire Department, 7400 Summerfield Road

To register online, visit stopdropandroll5k Interested in being a sponsor? Contact Jenna at




What’s new? (Middle Schools) ...continued from p. 21

Northwest Guilford Middle 5300 Northwest School Road, Greensboro (336) 605-3333


to our 2021



“It’s always a great day to be a Viking, and we are excited to kick off the 2021-2022 school year!” Northwest Middle


(as of mid-August)

Principal: Denise Francisco Sports, extra-curricular activities and clubs return

please tell them you saw their ad in this year’s Back to School Northern Guilford High publication 7101 Spencer Dixon Road, Greensboro

(336) 643-8449 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal Janiese McKenzie and staff find ways to be “creative” and allow students to socialize while adhering to public health guidelines; assistant men’s basketball coach steps up to head coach’s position, and flex period will offer students more options Principal Janiese McKenzie looks forward to welcoming Northern High School students back to in-class instruction this year. While public health guidelines with regard to wearing masks indoors and remaining three feet apart (when indoors) will be in place, McKenzie and her staff have looked for ways to be “creative” while “keeping students far enough apart, but close enough to be social.”


principal Denise Francisco said. “We are looking forward to each school day being engaging, productive and fun! Our middle school Vikings can expect to be challenged and affirmed with meaningful classes while also seeing a return of sports, extra-curricular activities and clubs.” As with all schools within the Guilford County Schools system, Northwest Middle staff will be following public health guidelines, including ensuring that everyone is wearing face masks while indoors. Francisco said students 12 and older are also strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated. Northwest Middle School will have a new start/end time to the school day this year; the school day will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. A copy of the Student/Family Handbook was recently emailed to parents via Connect Ed.

“We’ve added 10 more picnic tables outside, which gives us a total of 20,” McKenzie said. “Last year we rolled extra tables out of the cafeteria and let seniors eat lunch outside, and we’ll probably do that again when the weather is nice.” Although there were 17 staff vacancies at the beginning of the summer, most due to staff members retiring or moving to another area, all positions have been filled with new faces ready to greet students when they return Aug. 23. On the athletic front, Northern transitions this year from NCHSAA’s Class 3A conference to the Class 4A West conference, where it joins Grimsley, Page, Ragsdale, Southeast Guilford, Southwest Guilford, Northwest Guilford and Western Guilford. “So we won’t be traveling as far for some of our games, but the level of competition will be challenging,” McKenzie said. Kent Phillips, who served as an assistant coach for the men’s varsity basketball team last year, will step into the role of head coach. And, the school will offer a girls’ weight training class this year. A later start and end day will also be new this year, with the high school day beginning at 9:25 a.m. and ending at 4:25 p.m. Zero-period classes, which are offered before the regular school day gets underway, have been expanded to give students more options. A half-hour flex period is also being

Back to School!

offered in the afternoon between fourth and fifth period, which will give students an opportunity to go to club meetings, have a study period, participate in enrichment opportunities, teacher-led tutoring, small group sessions with counselors on specific topics, intramurals, etc. OneCards will be fully used this year for the first time, adding a “huge piece of safety,” McKenzie noted. Students will wear the cards in a visible place and use them for accessing the building, buying lunch, checking out books, and more.

Northwest Guilford High

5240 Northwest School Road, Greensboro (336) 605-3300 Enrollment:


(as of mid-August)

Principal: Ashley Young A later start and end to the school day, a “ton of new faces” including administrators, coaches, front-office staff and teachers, and more options for the lunch period are some of what’s new at the county’s largest high school Northwest Principal Ashley Young notes the high school’s day will start and end about 30 minutes later this year – beginning at 9:25 a.m. and ending at 4:25 p.m. A flexible lunch schedule has been incorporated which will allow students to attend tutoring, club meet-

ings, etc. during the school day. Amanda Burnett-Collins has joined Northwest’s administrative staff as assistant principal for the ninth grade. Several other new staff members will greet students when they return on Aug. 23, including Amanda Overmyer, who is taking over the full-time front-office position for Sherrie Brooks when Brooks retires at the end of August. Students will be required to wear masks when indoors, but as of this writing, temperature checks and COVID-screening questions were not going to be required. To allow more space for students to spread out while eating, they’ll have multiple places to eat at the beginning of the school year besides the cafeteria, such as in the commons area and in hallways. Pending a surge in COVID cases and a change in health safety-related restrictions, students and visitors outside the school building will not be required to wear masks, and unlike last year, there will be no capacity limitations for fans in the stands. Young said unvaccinated students may have to be tested for COVID if involved in sports, band and chorus, which are deemed higher risks with regard to spreading germs. “I don’t know how, when or how frequently,” Young said when we spoke with her in early August. Effective last month, Jason Allred is Northwest’s athletics director; Allred coached varsity boys soccer for 17 years, the last 11 of those being at Northwest. Allred takes over the AD position from Mike Everett, who will continue teaching at Northwest through this December, when he retires.

Advertiser Index Thank you to our advertisers for making this free community resource possible! BANK

Bank of Oak Ridge ...................................................................19


Tim Frazier Builders ..................................................................15


Guardian Ad Litem Program ......................................................16


Summit Church ........................................................................... 2


Summerfield Fire Department .....................................................21 Summerfield Merchants Association ............................................. 8


Destination Arts .......................................................................... 2 Moore Music Company ............................................................... 5



LeBauer HealthCare ........................................................... 12-13 Oak Ridge Physical Therapy ........................................................ 3 Wake Forest Baptist Health .................................................... 6,



Olmsted Orthodontics ...............................................................17

Reynolds Orthodontics ................................................................ 9


Weyhill Properties .................................................................... 24


Rio Grande Kitchen & Cantina ................................................... 11


Old Mill of Guilford ..................................................................14



it local

Why leave town when everything is right here? Our shopping centers offer everything from dining and banking to medical services and groceries. Keep it local and help make our community a better place to live, work and do business.

Oak Ridge Marketplace

Oak Ridge Commons 2205 Oak Ridge Road

Marketplace Drive

Located at the corner of Hwys 150 & 68

Located at the corner of Hwys 150 & 68

The Village Shops

The Small Shops at Oak Ridge Marketplace

Located at the corner of Hwys 150 & 68

Marketplace Drive

68 Place

Located at the corner of Hwys 150 & 68

1692 NC Hwy 68 North

1427 NC Hwy 68 North About ½ mile south of the Hwy 150 intersection

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.