Since we've had a couple of days of vigorous contention and debate, I thought I'd post a few things I've read about that are good things happening in NC right now. No primaries mentioned!
- The North Carolina Zoo flipped the switch on the largest solar project in the state. Students from the zoo school were there for the unveiling and got a lesson in alternative energy. One student said, "Solar energy is going to be the future, it has to be. I think this is an amazing start of what's to come." Teachers from the school (and presumably other schools who visit) will be able to use the display as a hands-on learning site - teaching through observation and research. One of the teachers described this as a "dream come true". The panels are expected to produce about 130,000 kilowatt hours a year - enough to keep the lights on in about a dozen homes.
The solar panels are mounted on three picnic pavilions and eventually it will provide a unique covered catering space for 1200 people. “It being in such a great setting, it's just such a cool setting to be under a solar system and know that it's providing power to the North Carolina electric grid,” Pugh said.
Maybe that would be a good central location for a BlueNC Bash as well...hmm.
- The Northern Moore Family Resource Center, located in Robbins, recently received a grant of $86,500 to help Latino children prepare for school. The program, Unidos para Ninos, is designed to increase parental involvement and skills and English language skills of parents and small children.
"We're thrilled to receive this funding," said Clare Ruggles, executive director of the Center. "We hope the program will be a success and will be replicated in other communities across the state."
The funds come from a new dropout prevention problem established by the 2007 session of the NC General Assembly. Most Dropout Prevention programs focus on older children, middle school aged or high school. By focusing on early education and family involvement at the preschool level, NMFRC is taking an approach that personally pleases me, and is supported by research going back as far as the Abecedarian study done at Frank Porter Graham. By giving firm foundations to children in the early years, they will be less likely to fall behind in elementary school, and will be more likely to stay engaged through their middle and high school years. Clare Ruggles, the Executive Director of the NMFRC, who wrote the grant, serves as Treasurer to the Moore County Democratic Party. In my opinion, this is a great example of how Democrats involved in their communities make a huge difference. Kudos, Clare. Well done.
- Taptu Music Cube Game. OK - it's not an NC thing, but it will keep you busy for hours. And yes, I have, in the words of my teen dems, "beasted the cube." Can you?
- It's raining, and the wind chimes are making music. If I can't sleep, that's good, right? Especially with a nice glass of plum wine.
- Roy Cooper still kicks butt.
In a victory for social networking safety, Attorney General Roy Cooper and 49 other attorneys
general today announced that MySpace has agreed to significant steps to better protect children on its web site,
including creating a task force to explore and develop age and identity verification technology.
As a parent, I'm really happy about this development. As a voter, I'm going to remember. (He's not in any primaries, so I can include him here.)
- North Carolina Ready Schools Initiative. In 2000, North Carolina embarked on a mission to help children get ready for school. Thanks to visionary programs created in local Smart Start partnerships, the More at Four program, and giant steps forward in child care quality, we're well on our way to acheiving the goal of all children ready to enter school. In Oct of 2007, the second phase of this mission was launched: Making Sure all Schools are Ready for All Children. I've been involved in this at the local level, and I have to say, this is a terrific antidote for the one size fits all teach to the test approach that federal No Child Left Behind. legislation has given us.
This initiative, which provides resources, grants, training and support to communities through their local Smart Start partnership and school district. By providing the latest research as well as practical, real world applications and advice, this initiative will make it easier for children to transition from home to school, or from child care to school, as seamlessly as possible. This initiative will ultimately support counties in developing a Ready Schools planning process so that All Schools will be ready for all children - no matter their background, abilities, skills, etc. It's fantastic. If you know the Smart Start director in your town, or if you have contact with your school superintendent, ask about the Ready Schools Initiative and how it's going in your county. Encourage them, and thank them for the work they're doing for North Carolina's children.