Newton-Conover Middle School—From Failing Student Performance to National School to Watch


In 2014, Newton-Conover Middle School in Conover, North Carolina experienced the biggest drop in student performance in the state. In terms of student growth, the school fell 17 points on the state-mandated Growth Index, more than two standard deviations below the mean.

“Statistically speaking, we would have been almost as well off if we hadn’t taught them at all,” describes Dr. David Stegall, Superintendent of Newton-Conover Schools. Furthermore, discipline referrals were at an all-time high.

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The Science behind Classroom Audio

Classroom Audio Systems help all students hear the teacher at a normal speaking tone, despite where they are sitting in class. It is not about making the teacher’s voice louder. No matter how loud a teacher speaks without a classroom audio system, the kids in the back simply can’t hear as well as the kids in the front. That’s due to the Inverse Square Law, which says when the distance from the source of sound doubles, the intensity of the sound is reduced to a quarter of what it started as. Think of it like the siren on a police car. When it’s about 100 feet away, you can hear it about 140 decibels (dB). That’s louder than a rock concert! But as the siren moves to 200 feet away, its intensity is reduced to only 35dB—about a whisper.
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Newton School System trains Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow

COVINGTON — The Newton County School System is training its teachers in technology of the future.
Recently, the system held its Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow Boot Camp, which was designed to educate teachers and other officials in the program’s tools such as Canvas, Google, ClassFlow, Office 365, Discovery Education and ViewPath.
“As technology leaders, Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow are to stay abreast of cutting edge technologies and strategies,” said Adam Phyall, director of technology and media services for the Newton County School System, in a press release.

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Westpointe Elementary opens on MetroWest campus

When MetroWest Elementary’s nearly 1,600 students went back to school next week, they all headed back to the same campus they know and love.
But, half of them aren’t MetroWest Orcas anymore. Instead, they are Westpointe Dolphins.

Westpointe Elementary is one the newest elementary schools in West Orange, and it shares a campus with MetroWest Elementary. The new school was built to relieve the inflated student capacity at MetroWest, which ballooned to an enrollment of 1,585 students during the 2016-17 school year, making it one of the largest elementary schools in the county.

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Canandaigua gets approval for its Smart Schools plan

CANANDAIGUA — Within two years, every student in the Canandaigua City School District will be assigned Chromebook computers for new learning methods in a technological world. The classroom technology project is among 154 Smart Schools Investment Plans recently approved by the state to help close what is being called the digital divide and equip students with the technological skills they will need to succeed in the modern economy.

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Audio Enhancement Supports Education, Safety

Audio Enhancement of Bluffdale, Utah, didn’t start out as a school safety firm; it began in an attempt to solve a problem. In 1978, founder Claudia Anderson, mother of two profoundly deaf children, sought a way to ensure all students – regardless of hearing ability – could benefit equally from standard classroom instruction. Even today, the company remains primarily committed to its original mission of providing classroom audio solutions that distribute and amplify instruction. However, after receiving feedback from multiple longtime clients, the company has expanded its mission to include classroom safety.

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Stop Using Your Teacher Voice! Audio Enhancement Offers Sound Field Solutions for Every Classroom

Audio Enhancement has been around for 38 years, providing audio system solutions to classrooms worldwide.
Every classroom in my school district (Palm Beach Co.) has the Audio Enhancement sound-field system in place, Does your classroom have a sound system installed? Are you using it? If not, why not? Many teachers say they don’t need it because they have a good “teacher voice” or just “don’t like to use microphones.”
Well, here’s something to consider. What if you went to a concert, paid lots of money for your ticket, and the musician decided not to use a microphone? You would want your money back, right? What if the musician instead decided to stroll through the audience and sing and play louder, but still refused to use the microphone? Would that satisfy you? Probably not (and it shouldn’t). For one, you would likely only hear the musician when she was near you, and if you could hear her, the music would be distorted because she was playing and singing louder than natural.

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Kimber Halliburton talks about audio in the classroom

“Audio Enhancement surround sound which research says students lose about a third of information presented because they simply don’t hear a third of what’s presented during the school day. So the audio is very critical and then a camera that is controlled by the teacher in every classroom. When the teacher turns their back to write on the interactive panel sometimes the information can be lost because you’re not hearing the teacher as she has her back turned. She will be wired with a microphone; every teacher will be required to wear an Audio Enhancement microphone. Students also use a microphone. On the mic there is also a panic button so if an incident like a medical situation happens with a student then we know exactly what we are walking into when he or she pushes that button we’re sent a digital photograph of what’s actually occurring in that classroom.”

High-tech classrooms could be coming to every Washington County, TN school

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- Washington County, Tennessee commissioners will soon vote on a plan that could transform your students’ classroom. The school board last night voted to build a brand new kindergarten through eighth-grade school in the Boone’s Creek area. That proposal will now go before the full county commission later this month.

While that new school is years away, Washington County’s new Director of Schools, Kimber Halliburton, already has a vision to build it around technology. She said, “I’d like to equip every classroom in Washington County tomorrow with all of this technology.”
Halliburton says technology can greatly improve students’ learning with elements like the clear touch panel that’s being used in Ridgeview Elementary’s technology demonstration classroom.

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How Much More Could You Get Done With 50% Fewer Behavior Issues?

About 2 weeks ago, a co-presenter (Alex) from an audio/visual (“A/V”) vendor at a start of year professional development offered me a wearable mic for my 3-hour stint – which I declined out of teacher-voice pride (maybe hubris?). When it was offered to me again about an hour into the training I was glad I accepted because my vocal cords came to appreciate the benefits of sound reinforcement. Regardless of where I stood or which direction I pointed, I could speak at a conversational volume and every single person in the room could hear me as if I was standing next to them. This experience got me super interested in the research and work behind Audio Enhancement, who have somehow slipped under my radar until this point.

At its simplest level, their sound solution is a wearable mic that projects a teacher’s voice at the ideal learning volume for every student, in every part of the room. I followed up with Alex to get some research on what effect this has on student learning and teacher retention. I was blown away by some data points from independent research institutions (non-Audio Enhancement sources):

  • Sustained year over year achievement gains in core academic subjects >10%
  • Fewer discipline issues and greater on-task behavior (up to 17% increase)
  • Reduction in vocal fatigue symptoms and as a result teacher absenteeism (as high as 36% improvement)

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