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Surry County News

Read about new business, events and news that effects life and commerce in the western Piedmont Triad.
Surry Community College Training Saves Renfro $1.2 Million

Surry Community College Training Saves Renfro $1.2 Million

Dobson, NC – October 29, 2019.  Seven Renfro Corporation executives completed the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course through Surry Community College’s Customized Industry Training program, resulting in a total projected annual savings of $1.2 million for the company.

Renfro Corporation is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing, merchandising and selling of legwear products in North America and selected international markets.

“We are fortunate to have a partner like Surry Community College to guide us through the Six Sigma process. The identified savings are substantial, and the learnings that were garnered through the training will continue to provide value to Renfro. We look forward to continuing to work with the SCC team,” commented Stan Jewell, Renfro Corporation CEO and President.

Dr. Ronald Fite, Continuous Improvement Industry Trainer for the North Carolina Community College System, taught the class at Renfro Corporation’s location in Mount Airy. He is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Lean Master. The course was attended by Renfro Corporation employees: Aaron Alldaffer, Supply Chain Analyst; Tom McCluskey, Industrial Engineer; Chris Sparks, R&D Project Manager; Jonah Buelin, Vice President of Distribution; Taylor Shaw, Compliance and Logistics Analyst; Phil Thacker, Director of Engineering; and Kundan Karna, Director of International Accounting.

The eight-week training included a full-day of classes each week plus project assignments. At the course ending, students took an exam and then presented to upper level management cost reduction practices implemented from the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training. The students received Lean Six Sigma Green Belt graduation certificates on Sept. 26.

Surry Community College is annually rated in the top five community colleges in North Carolina for the number of training projects that assist new and existing industries.

“We are proud to say for the last two years, Surry Community College has been ranked No. 1 in the number of customized industry training projects, competing against metropolitan community colleges in Raleigh and Charlotte,” said Dr. David Shockley, SCC President. “That speaks volumes about how hard working our staff is in reaching out to business and industry in Surry and Yadkin counties and providing training solutions and assistance in our rural service area.”

Sam Brim is the Director of Business and Industry Services for Surry Community College and the contact point for these training resources.

“Through our Workforce Technologies and Community Education Division, Surry Community College offers programs and training services to assist new and existing businesses and industries to remain productive, profitable, and within the local communities. Surry Community College can bring employee training directly to you at your facilities, designed to accommodate your specific business needs.”

Training topics cover regulatory methods, continuous improvement practices, leadership skills, technical preparation, pre-employment requirements, and international import/export procedures.

“Surry Community College’s Customized Training Services continues to be a great resource that helps our local companies grow and become more sustainable from a business perspective,” said Todd Tucker, President of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Inc. “This service is also a great marketing tool that we use when talking to other companies interested in Surry County. I recommend all companies reach out to Surry Community College to discuss their training needs.”

To learn more contact about Customized Industry Training through Surry Community College, contact Sam Brim at (336) 386-3684 or brims@surry.edu.

Photo Caption

Renfro Corporation employees are recognized for graduating from Six Sigma Green Belt training provided by Surry Community College. They are accompanied by representatives from Renfro Corporation and Surry Community College.  (Pictured left to right): Sam Brim, Director of Business and Industry Services, Surry Community College; Stonie Stone, Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing,  Renfro Corporation; Dr. David Shockley, President, Surry Community College; Taylor Shaw, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Phil Thacker, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Jonah Buelin, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Jay Robinson, Senior Vice President Performance Brand Development, Renfro Corporation; Chris Sparks, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation;  Bob Buckman, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain, Renfro Corporation; Tom McCluskey, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Stan Jewell, Chief Executive Officer and President, Renfro Corporation; Aaron Alldaffer, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Cathleen Allred, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Renfro Corporation; Kundan Karna, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; and Michael Everly, Chief Information Officer, Renfro Corporation.

About Surry Community College

Surry Community College was founded in 1964 and the campus is located in Dobson, North Carolina. As one of the state’s 58 community colleges, it serves Surry and Yadkin counties. The college also operates four off-campus learning centers: The Yadkin Center, Yadkinville; the Center for Public Safety, Mount Airy; The Pilot Center, Pilot Mountain; and The Elkin Center in Elkin. Surry offers degrees, diplomas or certificate programs in Advanced Manufacturing; Agricultural Science; Arts and Design; Business and Computer Technologies; College Transfer; Construction Technologies; Emergency Medical; Fire and Rescue; Health Sciences; Law Enforcement; Public Service; and Transportation System Technologies areas along with hundreds of continuing education courses and seminars in a variety of fields. The college, under the direction of President Dr. David R. Shockley, has a mission to promote personal growth and community development to a diverse population through excellence in teaching, learning, and service. For more information, go to www.surry.edu. The college also has a strong social media presence. To visit these sites, go to www.surry.edu/follow-us.

SCC hosts Manufacturing Day luncheon

SCC hosts Manufacturing Day luncheon

DOBSON — In 5-10 years, 60% of working adults will need some kind of post-high school training in the workplace.

That’s the viewpoint of Peter Hans, president of the N.C. Community College System, who spoke to manufacturers at a luncheon Friday.

Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, said it was no surprise that the group was holding this National Manufacturing Day luncheon on the campus of Surry Community College. A cost-effective education is invaluable to manufacturing, he believes.

Dr. David Shockley, SCC president, said it is important that people supply good opportunities to their children and grandchildren.

There are great quality-of-life jobs right here in their community that they don’t know about or understand, Shockley said of today’s students. He was glad to look around the room and see public school partners as they and himself can work together to help lead children toward those good opportunities and help them to become future leaders of this county. They will contribute to the economic well-being of Surry one day.

“It is all of our jobs to make sure we maintain this. So thanks for coming out for this day,” Shockley said.

Shockley introduced Hans, saying he was a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a master’s degree from Harvard.

Hans said that yes he has college degrees himself, and that is a great option, but there are many other paths students can take to prepare for the workplace.

He applauded the relationships that SCC has formed with manufacturers because they can open students eyes to pathways that they may never have considered. And they can pursue these fields without the large student debt that can come with four-year schools.

More than 40% of Americans now have some sort of high-value credentials beyond high school, he said. And there is a need to get that above 60% in the next 5-10 years. He told the audience to notice he didn’t say 4-year degree, but high-value credentials beyond high school, which could include a two-year degree or a technical/vocational certification.

Sen. Deanna Ballard, whose District 45 includes most of Surry County, was in attendance. Hans gave thanks to Ballard and Sen. Phil Berger, whose District 30 covers the rest of Surry. Hans said the two senators have shown their support for education.

He said during one conversation with Berger he was explaining how a community college welding class was only being funded at two-thirds the rate of a university sociology course, despite the vast increase in cost (such as machinery and supplies) necessary to teach welding.

He said Berger instantly understood the problem and answered, “But we need more welders than sociologists.”

“We’re an enrollment-based funded institution,” said Hans. So, when students take more classes, the college can get more funding. When manufacturers make use of the community colleges, the colleges can offer greater variety of courses.

Surry County has a lot of competitive assets here that Todd Tucker is selling to outside companies, said Hans.

Manufacturing jobs today, he pointed out, these are not the mills of folks’ grandparents, but rather offer sophisticated machinery and better pay. Companies and colleges are working to change perceptions and awareness.

“There are multiple paths to success,” he said.

After his speech, Hans took a question from the audience.

What about when a company doesn’t want to wait two years for a good candidate to get training, but would rather have eight weeks or 12 weeks of training, then the employer can train on the job from there?

“I think that is the future of education, shorter term acquisition of skills,” he said.

One of the problems with how state officials view community colleges, he said, is “we’re being judged on graduation rates.”

The idea of education is to prepare young people for adulthood and a career, he explained, and if that can happen in less than two years, then the school has done its job. A graduation rate doesn’t capture the profile of the students.

Shockley chimed in to say the college spent $20,000 recently to offer a truck driver training program; the course created enough certified drivers to equal $2 million in potential job earnings when they get hired.

The government spending on four-year schools compared to two-year schools is 15 to 1, said Hans.

“We’ve got enough sociologists. We need more welders.”

Article by: Mount Airy News

New name, new logo for hospital

New name, new logo for hospital

Northern Hospital of Surry County is no more.

At least the name no longer exists.

The hospital itself is still standing, under the same management, same ownership, but with a new logo and name — Northern Regional Hospital — to better reflect the hospital’s emphasis on reaching a wider market.

Chris A. Lumsden, president and CEO of the hospital, said the rebranding is really meant to align with the hospital’s purpose: “To provide quality affordable health care to the region,” he told more than 200 people gathered Tuesday night for an unveiling ceremony at the Mount Airy facility. “Not to a part of the county. Not to the county. But to the entire region.”

Lumsden, who assumed his post with the hospital 14 months ago, said the hospital contracted with a firm to do a market survey over the winter and into the spring months. That consisted of 400 telephone surveys and more than a dozen in-depth focus groups, reaching out to people throughout Surry County and contiguous counties.

The survey probed what people thought of Northern Hospital, what was the primary medical facility they used and why they used it.

“We found that people who had used us loved us,” he said Tuesday night. “The people who use us, almost across the board, have very outstanding things to say about our hospital or our system,” he added during separate comments outside Tuesday’s ceremony.

Those who didn’t use Northern, he said, largely didn’t know about the hospital.

”They didn’t have bad things to say about us, they just don’t use us. They don’t know us very well, they don’t know our history, our scope of clinical services as well as they should. That made us think about future strategies going forward, aimed at how do we grow, not only as a health care provider but as a economic engine for this area.”

Already, Lumsden said the hospital had been attracting more people from the region as it expanded medical services it offered.

“We’re already regional,” he said prior to Tuesday evening’s ceremony. “It’s just that few people view us as a regional hospital because it’s a county hospital…many folks outside of the immediate community just haven’t been exposed to what all the hospital can offer.”

That led to months of consideration, working, and, ultimately, the rebranding unveiled Tuesday.

“This isn’t the answer to everything,” Lumsden said. “This is a springboard for greater things to happen further down the road.”

“Our comprehensive rebranding campaign has been received very positively by our physicians and employees, and we are confident that our patients and other members of the community will enthusiastically embrace our more accurate identity, as well,” said Ashly Lancaster, director of marketing for Northern Regional Hospital. “We are excited about the next-generation look and feel of our new signage, logos, and tagline – all of which will be introduced into the community over the next several weeks and months.”

Lumsden also shared with those gathered Tuesday that the 133-bed hospital was recently named to the “Top 100 Great Community Hospitals,” list compiled by Becker’s Healthcare Review, a service that ranks hospitals based on a wide range of factors, including patient care and safety, financial strength, and others.

“There are more than 2,400 community hospitals in America,” the CEO said. “That puts us in the top two percentile.”

Additionally the hospital has been named to the Top 10% in the Nation list for patient safety and medical excellence by CareChex, and the hospital earned the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Four Star Designation.

Although its name has changed, Northern Regional Hospital will continue to function under its legal business name, Northern Hospital District of Surry County with the same management team in place.

Lumsden said that’s important for people to know.

“Northern, that name, does have a legacy here, does have some respect,” he said of how hospital officials decided upon the new name. “We just added the regional part because we are a regional hospital.”

Now, he said, the name reflects that, and a new marketing campaign will hopefully take that message to the counties surrounding Mount Airy.

Tuesday night, Lancaster unveiled a commercial which will be airing on area television stations, as well as explaining the new logo and adding the tag line: “Choose well. Choose Northern.”

“We want people to choose well,” she said. “We want them to choose wellness. And we want them to choose Northern.”

SURRY COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP TO HOST MANUFACTURING WEEK

Surry County, September 25th, 2019 – Manufacturing Day is an annual national event executed at the local level supported by thousands of manufacturers and local organizations. Please help us celebrate Manufacturing Day as a variety of companies open their doors to host local community members on industry tours and engage in presentations at Surry Community College designed to showcase modern manufacturing and careers.

In celebration of Manufacturing Week, the Surry County Economic Development Partnership will offer multiple events in conjunction with Surry Community College and local manufacturers during the first week of October. The coordinated activities during Manufacturing Week include multiple tours of local industries and a Manufacturing Day appreciation luncheon event on the main campus of Surry Community College, Friday, October 4th. Approximately seven companies will open their doors to elected officials and community leaders as part of an effort to change people’s perceptions about today’s manufacturing environment and draw attention to the outstanding opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide. Manufacturing representatives who attend the luncheon will also have an opportunity to tour the Machining, Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Welding, Construction, and Carpentry departments at Surry Community College following the Manufacturing Day appreciation luncheon.

Manufacturing is alive and well in Surry County, and our local economy is positively impacted directly by the manufacturing community. There are approximately 4,036 people employed in manufacturing positions in Surry County, making up 12.7% of our total labor force. The average weekly wage for those employed in manufacturing is $772 in Surry County.

Surry County has a rich tradition of manufacturing quality products and is home to the men and woman who make these products every day. We are proud of our history, variety of advancing products and a dedicated labor force to make this possible each day.  Manufacturing Week is also a dedicated time to also expose the technical training available through our schools and community college and also a chance to highlight rewarding and lucrative careers with Surry County Manufacturers.

For more information, contact the Surry County Economic Development Partnership (336)-401-9900   Website: www.surryedp.com or www.facebook.com/Surry-County-Economic-Development-Partnership

Visit www.mfgday.com for additional information about National Manufacturing Day 2019

Elkin City Schools ranked 5th in state

Elkin City Schools students delivered one of the top performances in the state on North Carolina’s end-of-grade and end-of-course exams, according to the 2018-2019 accountability results presented to the State Board of Education on Sept. 4.

Elkin City Schools ranked fifth among the state’s 115 school districts for student performance on the annual exams in the 2018-2019 school year. Across the district, 71.8 percent of all students met grade level proficiency. Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools, at 75.5 percent, had the best performance among all public school districts in North Carolina, followed by Polk County Schools (73.8%), Union County Public Schools (73.6%), and Carteret County Public Schools (72.7%).

“Quality leadership, high expectations and ongoing evaluation of student performance drive our daily work,” states Dr. Myra Cox, Superintendent of Elkin City Schools. “We focus on our strategic goals and operate on our beliefs. We envision a school system that ignites the desire to learn in every student by providing them with unique, varied and authentic learning experiences. Undeniably, our highly trained and dedicated faculty and staff are utilizing the most effective school processes and practices. For that, I am very proud!”

Elkin City Schools had eleven end-of-grade and end-of course subject areas ranked in the top 10 in the state. Eighth grade Science ranked number one with 94.4% proficient. Third grade Reading (77%), 8th grade Reading (74.2%), and Biology (80.8%) ranked number two. English 2 topped out at number three in the state with 75.3% of students proficient. Ranking fourth were Seventh grade Reading (75.5%) and 7th grade Math (74.5%). Sixth grade Reading (75%) and 5th grade Math (73.6%) took fifth place in the state. Plus, 5th grade Reading (69%) placed sixth in the state, and 4th grade Reading came in tenth at 68.1 percent.

School districts also received student outcomes for school performance grades and academic growth measures. Elkin Elementary, Elkin Middle and Elkin High Schools earned a school performance grade of a B. Only twelve of the 191 schools in the Northwest Region earned an A. Those schools operated an early college or academy in the 2018-2019 school year.

The grade is determined by several factors. Student proficiency counts as 80% of the grade and student growth counts as 20% of the grade. The percentages are converted to a 100-point scale and corresponding letter grade based on a 15 point scale. Elkin Elementary earned a performance score of 72. Elkin Middle earned a 79, and Elkin High School earned a performance score of 81, narrowly missing an “A” by four points. In addition, Elkin Elementary School met the state’s growth expectations, while Elkin Middle and Elkin High Schools exceeded growth. This is the second consecutive year that Elkin High School has exceeded that measure.

“Elkin City Schools is a special place,” says Cox. “Building and maintaining strong relationships are our main priorities because when students and families know we care, they feel supported and thrive academically. The entire community believes in the importance of education. When all stakeholders value education and do whatever it takes to ensure students are successful, the results follow. To be in the top five is amazing! It is certainly a collaborative effort between the students, staff, administration and our community.”

In addition to the traditional end-of-grade and end-of-course proficiencies, school performance grades and growth target measures, the state also released ACT and ACT WorkKeys results. ACT Benchmark is the score colleges use when reviewing student applications. The score of 17 or better is required for acceptance. Elkin City Schools had 70.1% of eleventh grade students meet this requirement ranking as 8th in the state.

ACT WorkKeys is reviewed for students that earn a Silver achievement level or better upon the completion of upper level content and scoring proficient on the WorkKeys exam. Elkin district ranked 28th in the state with 70.5 percent proficient.

For those interested in viewing the 2018-2019 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools, visit the Accountability and Testing Results on NCDPI Website.

 

County testing results among top in state

Recently released details of state testing scores show Surry County Schools among the top 20 school systems in the state in several categories, while Mount Airy City Schools is touting widespread improvement in its scores.

The county school system also recorded its highest graduation rate ever, at 93%, putting the system in the top 10 in North Carolina, while the city’s rate ticked up from 88% to 89%.

Surry County Schools ranked 20th of 115 school systems in the state in Overall Academic Performance with 64.9% of all tests in all subjects at Achievement Level 3 or higher, according to information released by Dr. Tracey Lewis, director of communications/teacher recruitment and retention. Achievement Level 3 is considered grade-level proficiency.

This is the fourth-consecutive year Surry County Schools has ranked in the top 20 school systems in the state, according to Lewis.

Across grades three through eight on the reading, mathematics, and science end-of-grade assessments, 67.6% of Surry County students scored at Achievement Level 3 and above compared to 60.4% across the state.

Surry County Schools had seven end-of-grade subject areas ranked in the top 20 in the state: third-, fourth-, and sixth-grade reading, as well as eighth-grade science, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade mathematics. Additionally, math results for sixth and seventh grades ranked 10th in the state.

For several years the Surry County Schools system has experienced a steady climb in graduation rates, noted Lewis, with the 2018-19 year seeing a record 93% of students from the 2015-16 ninth grade cohort graduating in the spring of 2019, with the 10th-highest district graduation rate in the state. The state graduation rate for the cohort was 86.5%.

The Surry Early College graduated more than 95% of all students; East Surry’s graduation rate was 92.4%; Surry Central’s rate was more than 95%, and North Surry graduated 88.5% of all students, which was an all-time school high for the school. Surry County high schools also continued to outperform the state in N.C. End-of-Course assessments.

Six schools across the district, in addition to high performance, also had high academic growth. Cedar Ridge Elementary, Copeland Elementary, Dobson Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Pilot Mountain Middle, and White Plains Elementary exceeded state academic growth targets for the 2018-19 school year. Surry County Schools had an additional 10 schools meet growth targets.

North Carolina also released the sixth-annual School Performance Grades to the State Board of Education, showing that about 74% of traditional public schools earned grades of C or better. In Surry County Schools, 100% of schools received grades of C or better.

The Surry Early College received a School Performance Grade of A; one of 31 schools to receive an A out of 451 schools in the Piedmont/Triad.

Nine Surry County Schools received a School Performance Grade of B: Copeland Elementary, Dobson Elementary, East Surry, Flat Rock Elementary, Gentry Middle, Mountain Park Elementary, Pilot Mountain Middle, Shoals Elementary, and White Plains Elementary. Nine schools received a C: Cedar Ridge Elementary, Central Middle, Franklin Elementary, Meadowview Magnet Middle, North Surry, Pilot Mountain Elementary Rockford Elementary, Surry Central and Westfield Elementary.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of the 2018-19 school year and will continue to work diligently in each of our schools and in our community to ensure students are well-prepared for college, to enter the workforce or the military,” said Dr. Travis Reeves, county school superintendent.

“Our team are hard at work and are focused on ensuring each student has the tools to not just design their dreams but to achieve them.”

City Schools

Mount Airy City Schools is celebrating its leap in overall achievement, while at the same time noting that it believes that measuring a child’s success goes beyond looking at standardized tests.

“MACS is celebrating a jump in ranking from 54th in the state to 35th in the state for overall achievement, with Mount Airy Middle School in the top 12% and Mount Airy High School among the top 24%,” stated Carrie Venable, Mount Airy City Schools public information officer and special projects facilitator.

“Mount Airy City Schools has a tremendous amount to celebrate,” said Venable. “The partnership between staff, parents and community members continues to positively impact students and the district’s success.

“Recently released data showed that in most areas of End of Grade/End of Course, WorkKeys, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), and Career and Technical Education (CTE), Mount Airy City Schools outpaced the state. 61.4% of all students in thirrd-twelth grade scored a 3 or higher on EOG/EOCs.”

“We are excited about the great progress and being in the top ten in many areas,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, city schools superintendent.

“Mount Airy City Schools has prided itself on academics and innovation, so while academic accountability scores are important, our innovative programs are also important,” said Morrison.

“Many of our students are learning two languages, participating in paid internships, taking college classes, participating in the arts and athletics as well as starting their own businesses. We are proud of the academic performance of our students, but we are also proud of our students for their hard work, effort and accomplishments outside of the classroom to prepare for their future.”

Venable pointed out some of the areas where the city schools shined in the results: Mount Airy City Schools was first in the state for seventh grade math and ninth for sixth grade math; eighth for seventh grade reading; fourth for English II; and fifth in the state for ACT WorkKeys. Science in grades three through eight improved an average of 10%; reading in those same grades was above the state average; and the graduation rate improved from 88% to 89% with a 100% graduation rate for all Career and Technical Education.

Mount Airy News

SPX plans small operation in Pilot Mountain

SPX Corp., a global maker of HVAC equipment based in Charlotte, plans to open a small operation in Pilot Mountain by Sept. 30, according to the Surry County Economic Development Partnership Inc.

The company will lease the former Elastrix building, also known as the Intex building, at 523 S. Stephens St.

SPX spokesman Paul Clegg said the facility will have at least 10 employees. Clegg said SPX chose the Pilot Mountain facility after a lease ran out of a facility in Pennsylvania.

“We looked around for where we wanted to move the operation, and Pilot Mountain and the Surry County area came up high on our radar,” Clegg said. “We liked the location relative to our customer base and the quality labor pool … and it’s easy for us to get to.”

SPX has operations in 15 countries with annual revenue of $1.4 billion. It supplies infrastructure equipment with scalable growth platforms in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, detection and measurement, and engineered solutions. It has about 5,000 employees worldwide.

“There are a number of positions open, mostly shop floor, equipment operation and maintenance,” Clegg said. “We ask that anyone interested visit the facility between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the facility.”

Todd Tucker, the partnership’s president said SPX “will not employ a lot of people, but it is a good Fortune 1000 company that will bring some life back into a vacant building and invest in our community.”

North Carolina’s Best School Districts 2020: Rankings Released

North Carolina’s Best School Districts 2020: Rankings Released

NORTH CAROLINA — Data compiler Niche has ranked North Carolina’s best school districts for the 2019-2020 school year. The rankings were released Monday as part of the website’s 2020 K-12 rankings.

Each North Carolina school district received a letter grade in the following categories: Academics; Diversity; Teachers; College Prep; Clubs & Activities; Health & Safety; Administration; Sports; Food; and Resources & Facilities.

To arrive at the rankings, Niche looked at data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as test scores, college data, and ratings collected from Niche users. (You can read more about the methodology here.)

The top-ranked school district in North Carolina is Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Niche gave the school system an A or an A+ in every category. Last year, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools was also No. 1. (See last year’s list as a comparison: New Report On NC’s Best School Districts: How Mooresville Ranks)

Here the top 50 from the list of top school districts in North Carolina as ranked by Niche.com:

  1. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  2. Polk County Schools
  3. Union County Public Schools
  4. Elkin City Schools
  5. Asheville City Schools
  6. Dare County Schools
  7. Carteret County Public Schools
  8. Mooresville Graded School District
  9. Wake County Schools
  10. Watauga County Schools
  11. Orange County Schools
  12. Mount Airy City Schools
  13. Newton Conover City Schools
  14. Henderson County Schools
  15. Davie County Schools
  16. Yancey County Schools
  17. Chatham County Schools
  18. New Hanover County Schools
  19. Lincoln County Schools
  20. Buncombe County Schools
  21. Surry County Schools
  22. Burke County Schools
  23. Moore County Schools
  24. Macon County Schools
  25. Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools
  26. Cabarrus County Schools
  27. Cleveland County Schools
  28. Guilford County Schools
  29. Catawba County Schools
  30. Iredell-Statesville Schools
  31. Transylvania County Schools
  32. Graham County Schools
  33. Rutherford County Schools
  34. Ashe County Schools
  35. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  36. Swain County Schools
  37. Caldwell County Schools
  38. Johnston County Schools
  39. Jackson County Public Schools
  40. Pender County Schools
  41. Avery County Schools
  42. Davidson County Schools
  43. Wilkes County Schools
  44. Asheboro City Schools
  45. Jones County Schools
  46. Whiteville City Schools
  47. Yadkin County Schools
  48. Cherokee County Schools
  49. Craven County Schools
  50. Haywood County Schools

Niche looked at more than 94,000 public schools, 4,100 private schools and nearly 11,000 school districts across the country. The rankings are meant to help parents and students find schools that best fit their needs.

“Unlike traditional school rankings, which rely almost exclusively on test scores and academic performance, Niche’s rankings provide a real-life view of what it’s like to attend a given school,” the company said in a news release.

Comments from current students, alumni, and parents are included in the analysis, as well as observations about things like campus life, extracurricular activities, sports options, diversity, and programs for gifted and special needs students.

“Parents and students need more than test-score data,” Luke Skurman, CEO at Niche, said in the news release. “They need to understand what it’s really like to attend a school before they start the application or registration process.”

River access expands in county

River access expands in county

Surry Parks and Recreation has increased its number of river access points in the county with the recent addition of one in the Dobson area.

With the launching of the Fisher River Park River Access — for which a ribbon-cutting program was held earlier this month — six such locations are now being maintained by the county recreation division. These sites are making it more convenient for citizens to take advantage of recreational opportunities along four different waterways.

“It’s for fishing and canoeing/kayaking,” Chrystal Whitt of Surry County Parks and Recreation said Thursday regarding the main activities targeted.

The newest access point just outside Fisher River Park just beyond the Dobson town limits will greatly aid the usage of that river, according to Daniel White, county recreation director.

“This access will add a much-needed parking area close to the river for fishing and launching boats at the park,” White explained. “This will be our northernmost access on the Fisher River.”

The recent ribbon cutting held for the site at 162 Clearwater Lane, Dobson (close to the recycling center across Prison Camp Road from the park), was attended by county officials, representatives of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and others.

They were invited to stick around for the throwing of the first disc on a new disc golf training area at Fisher River Park, which is mirroring the growth of that sport. Tours of the county park, via a hayride, also were offered for anyone interested, which enabled participants to view a stream-restoration project there.

Other access points

In addition to the latest river access point at Fisher River Park, others operated by Surry County Parks and Recreation include:

• The Hamlin Ford River Access, also for the Fisher River, located at 592 Hamlin Ford Road, Dobson.

• The Burch Station River Access at 116 Greenwood Circle, Elkin, for the Mitchell and Yadkin rivers.

• The Mountain Park River Access in the State Road community, for the Mitchell River, which Whitt said Surry County Parks and Recreation didn’t build, but maintains. It is located at 803 Zephyr Mountain Park Road.

• The Highway 268-East River Access, for the Ararat River, at 2520 N.C. 268, Pilot Mountain.

• The Bray Ford River Access, at 2308 Rockford Road, Dobson, for the Fisher River.

All six sites include a car-top launch/fishing type of access. “Basically, you bring your canoe/kayak and carry it into the water because there is no ramp that will allow you to back it into the water on a trailer,” Whitt described in reference to the car-top launch access.

Car-top boating caters to watercraft that can easily be transported on the roof of a passenger vehicle.

The new Fisher River access point is the only one of the six listed with a boat launch ramp, with the others including either steps or natural surfaces as the types of boat launches available.

In addition to the access points overseen by Surry County, Mount Airy Parks and Recreation maintains two for the Ararat River, at Riverside and Tharrington parks. Elkin Parks and Recreation maintains a trailer boat launch site for the Yadkin River in Crater Park, which includes a ramp.

NC Trail Days celebrates outdoor activities

NC Trail Days celebrates outdoor activities

Hikers, bikers, climbers, runners and paddlers have a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region at NC Trail Days, an event which begins today.

Activities are planned for Elkin, Jonesville and Stone Mountain State Park today through Sunday.

This inaugural festival has been a year in the planning for organizers from Elkin Valley Trails Association, Explore Elkin and the town.

“I think we have come up with a festival that will appeal to many age groups and many interests,” said Denise Lyon, festival director.

“We have such a diversity of trails and outdoor opportunities in our area, and we wanted to highlight them all. So you’ll find not only hiking, paddling, running, biking and climbing opportunities, but activities that appeal to kids, history buffs and folks who aren’t quite as physically inclined. For example, our speakers forum happens all day on Saturday and features luminaries in the world of hiking and trail development speaking on some very interesting topics.”

“You can see the full schedule of speakers on the festival website, but they include two MST through-hikers who will talk about their long distance hikes, a celebrated mountain bike trail builder, a long time trail advocate and the executive director of the Friends of the MST,” Lyon continued.

“This will be held in the comfort of the Heritage and Trails Visitor Center. We also have live music, a 5Point Adventure Film Reel and a Main Street Exhibitors Village in downtown Elkin all day on Saturday. You can even bring your camp chairs and watch tree climbing demonstrations all day on Saturday near the Elkin Library.

“Jonesville has a 5K run/walk the morning of Saturday and then an entire day of food and live music on the Jonesville Greenway. You can bring your bike, boats and boots and get out and enjoy our trails, or you can take it easy and relax. This is what we wanted to create — a great festival that celebrates our trails, our river, the great outdoors and the fun and welcoming people who live in the Yadkin Valley.”

The earliest event of the festival will be the National Trails Day workday on the Mountains to Sea Trail at Stone Mountain State Park from 8:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this morning. Volunteers are invited to help finish a new trail by removing roots, finishing tread/slope, and other tasks.

A Revolutionary War encampment to celebrate the Overmountain Victory Trail with reenactments and educational activities will take place all day today and Saturday at the Heritage and Trails Visitor Center, located at 257 Standard St.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Jonesville Greenway Trail and Sgt. Gregory K. Martin Memorial Park will be held at 11:30 a.m. today.

At 1 p.m. that afternoon, Bill Blackley, of Elkin Valley Trails Association, will lead a mile and a half hike to the Piedmont Village Native American dig on the greenway where they will meet with Eric Jones, Wake Forest University archaeologist, who will show the dig site and Native American artifacts. Attendees can park at Hometown River Company.

A 5K and live music will take place on the Jonesville Greenway Trail on Saturday.

At 4:30 p.m. today, a stream clean-up from the Elkin Public Library upstream to the Shoe Factory dam is planned through Watershed NOW (Nurture Our Waters). A Yadkin River clean-up also is planned beginning at 4 p.m. from Ronda to Crater Park, coordinated by Yadkin Riverkeeper.

The official kickoff will be a Trail Days Gathering at Elkin Municipal Park today from 6 to 8 p.m. featuring live music by Time Sawyer and a low country boil food tent. The music is free, and everyone is invited to bring a camp chair and enjoy themselves. A food truck will be at the gathering for those not participating in the low country boil. Advance tickets for the low country boil are available on the event website.

Following the gathering will be the 5Point Adventure Film Night at Reeves Theater sponsored by Appalachian Gear Company and Reeves Theater. Tickets are available on the Reeves’ website.

Other weekend events include a Stone Mountain Hill Climb Trail Race at Stone Mountain State Park, a birding hike by the High Country Audubon group, Tour de Trail Days 40-mile group cycle ride, multiple guided hikes, a dutch oven cook-off, the Main Street exhibitor village with food on Main Street and at downtown restaurants and a beer garden, a children’s fishing event by Trout Unlimited, fly-fishing demonstrations, a full weekend of photography workshops with Julian Charles, a Speakers Forum featuring talks by well-known MST thru hikers, trail development specialists and trail advocates, a photography exhibition, yoga for hikers, a women’s kayaking event, a nature-inspired quilt show, a kid’s activity area, and music and a bonfire at the Foothills Arts Council and Martha Bassett Show at the Reeves Theater to wrap up Saturday evening.

One of the highlights of Saturday will be a fun foot parade beginning at 4 p.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Hwy 21 to the Elkin Heritage and Trails Center along Main Street, which is part of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Contest for things like coolest dog costume, best bike decorations, cleverest use of kayak or canoe and wackiest wheels will be held.

Sunday will be a short day, said Lyon, noting that a pancake breakfast at the Masonic Lodge and the family paddle flotilla on the Yadkin River will take place then. Visitors and residents are encouraged to spend the rest of the day exploring the Elkin area as well as the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail.

While most events are open for people to come and go as they please, Lyon said there are a few which require registration such as the free guided hikes which will be limited to the number of people on a hike at one time, or for events that require tickets such as the low-country boil and film night.

For more information visit nctraildays.com.

“The resources and assistance provided by the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, the City of Mount Airy, the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Surry Community College were essential to the success of our start up venture.”

Andrew Clabough

President, Willow Tex

Contact Us

Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Inc.
1218 State St.,
Mt. Airy NC 27030
PO BOX 7128
336.401.9900

Contact Us

Surry County Economic Development Partnership Inc. 1218 State St., Mt. Airy NC 27030
PO BOX 7128
336.401.9900

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