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Press Releases from Blue Ridge PBS

Lynchburg, Roanoke teachers win McGlothlin Awards

2012 WinnersTwo top educators each receive $25,000

(Radford, Va.)—The winners of the 2012 McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence are first-grade teacher Katherine Lear from Penn Forest Elementary School in Roanoke County, Va., and Thomas Foster who teaches earth and physical science at Paul L. Dunbar Middle School for Innovation in Lynchburg, Va. 

These top teachers accepted their awards and $25,000 checks during the McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching at Radford University on April 19. The annual ceremony is conducted by the McGlothlin Foundation of Bristol, Va. and Blue Ridge PBS, and hosted by the Radford University College of Education and Human Development.

Both Lear and Thomas must use $10,000 of their award for international travel. Thomas D. McGlothlin, president of the Bristol, Va.-based McGlothlin Foundation, said the travel requirement was added “as a way to broaden the teacher’s mind and bring the world back to the students. We think traveling the world is the best teacher there is.” The McGlothlin Awards are among the largest education prizes given in the United States.

“Blue Ridge PBS has been part of the McGlothlin Awards since their inception 13 years ago,” said James Baum, president and CEO of Blue Ridge PBS. “It’s always a privilege to work with the exceptional teachers who dedicate their lives to student success. We congratulate Kate and Thomas on their achievements.”

Four other McGlothlin finalists were each presented with a trophy and a check for $1,000: Jennifer Shamy, Roanoke Academy for Math and Science Elementary, Roanoke City Public Schools; Stephanie Johnston, Kipps Elementary, Montgomery County Public Schools; Stephen Biscotte, Cave Spring High School, Roanoke County Public Schools; and Evandro Valente, Tennessee High School, Bristol City Public Schools (Tenn.).

Prior to the announcement of the winners, all six candidates were featured in video segments produced by Emmy Award-winning Blue Ridge PBS. Coach Ken Carter, famed for his tough-love approach to his powerhouse high school basketball team in California, provided the keynote address.

The McGlothlin Foundation has given more than $600,000 to exceptional educators since 1999. Only teachers in selected portions of Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky are eligible for the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence. Two winning teachers, one from grades K-5 and one from grades 6-12 are chosen every year by a panel of distinguished educators. Blue Ridge PBS administers the months-long candidate application and judging process. 

More information about the McGlothlin Awards is available at www.BlueRidgePBS.org.

About Blue Ridge PBS
Blue Ridge PBS is the winner of the 2010 and 2009 Regional Emmy Awards for community service for “JobQuest.” Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS offers outstanding informational, educational and cultural programming, along with an award-winning local production team devoted to regional issues and interests. Further, over 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning.  Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV/DT in Roanoke, WSBN-TV/DT in Norton, and WMSY-TV/DT in Marion, Va. www.BlueRidgePBS.org

About the McGlothlin Foundation
Beginning in a farmhouse nestled in the mountains of Buchanan County, Va., the McGlothlin family was sustained in their early years through farming and coal mining. As their success grew, the family business became involved in oil, gas, real estate and financial services. The McGlothlin Foundation was created in 1998 to support worthy causes in higher education, health care, and the arts in southwest Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and northeast Tennessee.

About Radford University
Located in the heart of the New River Valley, Virginia, RU features a student body of approximately 9,000, and nationally recognized faculty-student collaborations. RU offers 67 degree programs at the undergraduate level and 20 fields of study at the graduate level that have 18 options or specializations and seven post baccalaureate certificates. RU has recently opened a state-of-the art visual and performing arts center, renovated three major campus buildings and added doctoral degrees in nursing practice, physical therapy and psychology, and a master’s in occupational therapy. Outside the classroom, RU supports a culturally diverse student population through a wealth of co-curricular activities and events, outstanding NCAA Division I athletics, a commitment to environmental sustainability, and a beautiful campus.
 

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The 2012 McGlothlin Award winners are Katherine Lear, Penn Forest Elementary School, Roanoke County Public Schools and Thomas Foster, Paul L. Dunbar Middle School for Innovation, Lynchburg City Public Schools.

 

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Blue Ridge PBS announces 2012 PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest

PBS Kids GO! Writers ContestBlue Ridge PBS is now accepting entries for the 2012 PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest for children. Open to students in grades K-3 who live in the Blue Ridge PBS viewing area, the national-local contest is designed to promote the advancement of children’s writing skills through active learning. 

To enter the contest, students submit original stories or poems with at least five original illustrations, along with an entry form.  Classroom sets of stories sent in by teachers are also accepted, but each story must have a completed entry form.  Entries must be received at Blue Ridge PBS by March 23.

“The PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest is very popular with children and families throughout the region,” said James Baum, Blue Ridge PBS President and CEO. “The imagination of children shines through when they have an opportunity to combine writing with drawing to express their own ideas.” 

Local entries will be judged by a panel of community professionals. Winners from the Blue Ridge PBS contest will receive prizes and an invitation to a celebration party held in their honor. Blue Ridge PBS first-place winners also advance to the national competition where winners will be announced in summer 2012. 

The entry form and contest rules can be found under the Educate tab at BlueRidgePBS.org. Creative suggestions for 2012 and samples of award-winning work from prior years are available at pbskids.org/writerscontest/. Entries may be submitted by PDF to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Students may also mail in their materials to Blue Ridge PBS, 1215 McNeil Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24015. 

For the sixth consecutive year, local support for the 2012 PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest is provided by Lanford Brothers of Roanoke. StudentPublishing.com is the official national sponsor of the 2012 PBS Kids GO! Writers Contest.

 PBS Kids Go! is a collection of national PBS television, online and community-based programs designed to help early elementary school children explore new ideas and new worlds. Popular PBS programming for this age group includes “Arthur,” “WordGirl” and “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman.”  pbskids.org/go/

About Blue Ridge PBS
Blue Ridge PBS is the 2010 and 2009 winner of the regional Emmy awards for community service for “JobQuest.”  Founded in 1967, it is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller, Blue Ridge PBS offers outstanding informational, educational and cultural programming, along with an award-winning local production team devoted to regional issues and interests. Further, over 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV in Roanoke, WSBN-TV in Norton, and WMSY-TV in Marion, Va.

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Six teachers named finalists for 13th annual McGlothlin Awards

Local educators vying for $25,000 prizes 

(ROANOKE, Va.)—Six of the Blue Ridge region’s best teachers have been selected as finalists for the 2012 McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence. Two winners, who will be awarded $25,000 each, will be announced April 19 at a ceremony conducted by the McGlothlin Foundation, Blue Ridge PBS and Radford University’s College of Education and Human Development.

The six finalists (shown left to right) are: Katherine Lear, Penn Forest Elementary, Roanoke County Public Schools; Jennifer Shamy, Roanoke Academy of Math & Science, Roanoke City Public Schools; Stephanie Johnston, Kipps Elementary, Montgomery County Public Schools; Stephen Biscotte, Cave Spring High School, Roanoke County Public Schools; Thomas Foster, Paul L. Dunbar Middle School for Innovation, Lynchburg City Public Schools; and Evandro Valente, Tennessee High School, Bristol City Public Schools (Tenn.).

2012 McGlothlin Award Finalists

The awards ceremony, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in Bondurant Auditorium at Radford University’s Preston Hall. Coach Carter will be the guest speaker for the event. The awards ceremony concludes an afternoon of activities marking the McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching, which starts at 4 p.m. at various locations on campus. 

“Blue Ridge PBS is proud to honor teachers with the McGlothlin Awards, one of the largest teaching awards in the nation,” said Dr. Rose Martin, director of education services for the station. “We don’t need to wait for Superman in our schools. We have unsung heroes right here in our region’s classrooms. The McGlothlin Awards celebrate their work, their excellence and innovation in teaching.”

Blue Ridge PBS administers the months-long candidate application and judging process for the McGlothlin Awards, now in its 13th year. The awards are given annually by the McGlothlin Foundation of Bristol, Va. Only teachers in selected portions of Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky are eligible. Two winning teachers, one from grades K-5 and one from grades 6-12, must use $10,000 of the $25,000 award for international travel, and then apply that experience to enrich their teaching.

The finalists, who were selected from 20 semi-finalists, were judged based on a standards-based lesson plan with a 20-minute video of themselves teaching the lesson in their classrooms. Judges will next conduct interviews to further evaluate the finalists. Criteria include classroom instruction, classroom management, interaction with students, and use of instructional technology such as computers, video, or digital cameras. 

“The judges are challenged to finalize their selections,” said Adele Morris, technology director for Craig County Public Schools and McGlothlin Awards judge. “This is an elite group of individuals who are extremely dedicated, talented and appreciated by their students, school and community.”

Blue Ridge PBS has administered the McGlothlin Awards since 1999. For more information about the awards, the April 19 ceremony and the McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching, visit www.radford.edu/mcglothlin/ 

About Blue Ridge PBS
Blue Ridge PBS is the 2010 and 2009 winner of the regional Emmy Award for community service broadcasting. The winning production, “JobQuest,” exemplifies how the station is able to address the history, arts, culture, educational needs and economic health of an entire region. Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller and a locally owned entity, Blue Ridge PBS pursues stories and issues that speak directly to viewers. Further, 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV/DT in Roanoke, WSBN-TV/DT in Norton, and WMSY-TV/DT in Marion, Va. www.BlueRidgePBS.org                      

About the McGlothlin Foundation
Beginning in a farmhouse nestled in the mountains of Buchanan County, Va., the McGlothlin family was sustained in their early years through farming and coal mining. As their success grew, the family business became involved in oil, gas, real estate and financial services. The McGlothlin Foundation was created in 1998 to support worthy causes in higher education, health care, and the arts in southwest Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and northeast Tennessee. 

About Radford University
Radford University is a comprehensive, mid-sized university located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwest Virginia. Serving a student population of approximately 9,400, Radford features small class sizes and a strong service orientation on a beautiful 191-acre campus. The university offers 67degree programs and two certificates at the undergraduate level; 16 master’s programs with 19 concentrations and three doctoral programs with four concentrations at the graduate level; and five post-baccalaureate certificates.  A NCAA Division I member, Radford currently participates in 19 varsity sports, 11 for women and eight for men. Radford University is recognized for its commitment to sustainability and responsible stewardship of economic, social and environmental resources.  www.radford.edu

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New Blue Ridge PBS program focuses on bullying in schools

Episode 3 in the “What It Takes” series

(Roanoke, Va.)—Blue Ridge PBS premieres a new local production, “What It Takes to End Bullying,” on Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. The program is part of a unique series called “What It Takes,” created by Blue Ridge PBS to strengthen K-12 education in the region. Each episode features top educators and experts from local communities who share vital information for students, teachers and parents. 

“Bullying is a serious issue in this region as well as across the country,” said Dr. Rose Martin, Blue Ridge PBS Director of Education Services and host of the series. “It goes far beyond the teasing most parents experienced as children. Today, one in five students in an average classroom experiences bullying, causing 160,000 children to miss school every day. We look forward to sharing valuable strategies in addressing this growing problem.”

A diverse panel of experts will discuss bullying in schools, including the legal implications, cyber bullying and the long term impact for students. Also part of the program will be specific suggestions and tips for students, schools, parents and communities. Panelists are Darby Lowe, Deputy Commonwealth Attorney for Albemarle County; Kathy Kenley, Prevention Services Supervisor, New River Valley Community Services; and Catherine Moffett, Ed.D., Director of Bully-Free Virginia.

Support for the “What It Takes” series is provided by ITT Exelis.

Prior episodes of the series, “What It Takes to Teach” and “What It Takes to Graduate” are available online here.

About Blue Ridge PBS
Blue Ridge PBS is the 2010 and 2009 winner of the regional Emmy Award for community service broadcasting. The winning production, “JobQuest,” exemplifies how the station is able to address the history, arts, culture, educational needs and economic health of an entire region. Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller and a locally owned entity, Blue Ridge PBS pursues stories and issues that speak directly to viewers. Further, 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV/DT in Roanoke, WSBN-TV/DT in Norton, and WMSY-TV/DT in Marion, Va.                    

 Download a copy of the press release

Blue Ridge PBS premieres “On the Crooked Road”

Blue Ridge PBS premieres “On the Crooked Road”

Two half-hour specials focus on the region’s culture

On the Crooked Road(Roanoke, VA)—Blue Ridge PBS will celebrate the region’s culture with two new half-hour local productions featuring venues along The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, its affiliated partners and other special places that keep alive bluegrass and old-time music. These “On the Crooked Road” specials premiere Tuesday, November 22 at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

In the 7 p.m. broadcast, viewers will be treated to an overview of The Crooked Road’s founding and mission, followed by segments about the Blue Ridge Institute, Floyd Country Store, Old Fiddlers Convention, Rex Theatre, Blue Ridge Music Center, famed luthier Wayne Henderson, Smyth County Jams and Virginia State Parks on the trail including Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, Natural Tunnel State Park, Breaks Interstate Park and Grayson Highlands State Park.

The second special airs at 7:30 p.m. focusing on the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, ETSU Bluegrass program, Carter Family Fold, Lays Hardware, Country Cabin II, Pickin’ in the Pound, The Music of Coal, Ralph Stanley Museum and Jettie Baker Center.

“Blue Ridge PBS is proud to recognize the legendary artists, rising stars and historic places that make our region such an important part of American music,” said James Baum, Blue Ridge PBS president and CEO. “The Crooked Road itself falls entirely within the wonderful area served by Blue Ridge PBS, not to mention the places where country music was born.”

“On the Crooked Road” captures the sights and sounds along and near the Trail, providing a wide range of interviews with visitors, musicians and people who keep the venues in operation. Blue Ridge PBS’ production team spent over a year visiting more than 20 locations, and talking with dozens of people, while creating these high-definition programs.

The production of “On the Crooked Road” was made possible in part by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, with additional support provided by Alpha Natural Resources, Dominion, the Williams-Berry Charitable Foundation and the Mooneyhan Family Foundation.

Local corporate support for the specials comes from Heartwood, King College, Mitchell Music Company and Virginia Highlands Community College. 

About Blue Ridge PBS

Blue Ridge PBS is the winner of the 2009 and 2010 regional Emmy Award for community service through its production of “JobQuest.” Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving 4 million individuals in portions of five states. The station’s 26,000 square-mile coverage area includes southwestern Virginia and bordering counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and North Carolina. As the region’s storyteller and a locally owned entity, Blue Ridge PBS pursues stories and issues that speak directly to viewers. Further, over 200,000 schoolchildren and their teachers benefit from the station’s education services that provide a safe, trusted environment for innovative on-air and online learning. Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of WBRA-TV/DT in Roanoke, WSBN-TV/DT in Norton, and WMSY-TV/DT in Marion, Va. www.BlueRidgePBS.org

 

Download a copy of the press release

 

Blue Ridge PBS wins EMPixx Awards

Empixx Awards(Roanoke, Va.)—The Blue Ridge PBS production “Virginia State Parks: 75 Years and Still Growing,” first broadcast in June 2011, has been honored with a Platinum EMPixx Award from the American Pixel Academy. The award, announced August 2, put the station’s new documentary among the top U.S. and Canadian contenders in the regional television documentary category. Blue Ridge PBS also won a Gold EMPixx Award in the television education category for “Shaping the World: Conversations on Democracy – Thomas Jefferson & Patrick Henry.”

“The documentary category was particularly strong, with a number of Emmy-winning pieces that were selected among the EMPixx winners this year,” said David E. Carter, Executive Director of American Pixel Academy.The Academy is a coalition of professionals and educators in the pixel media. The distinctive EMPixx statuette signifies the industry’s transition from film to pixels.

“We’ve had great viewer response to the ‘Virginia State Parks’ documentary,” said James Baum, Blue Ridge PBS president and CEO. “We are proud to share this award with our partners at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. An EMPixx Award affirms viewer comments that this is a local production worth watching.” 

Grayson Highlands State Park“Virginia State Parks,” created as part of Virginia State Parks’ 75th anniversary celebration, invites viewers to share in the natural beauty and compelling stories behind many of the commonwealth’s most spectacular public treasures. The Emmy Award-winning Blue Ridge PBS production team visited all 35 state parks for the production, crisscrossing Virginia from the mountains to the coastal beaches. American Pixel Academy judges described “Virginia State Parks” as “Well done,” and commended it for a “powerful opening with excellent music, excellent visuals, well edited.” The documentary also received high marks for “good use of vintage photos, and black and white film.” 

“The Gold award for ‘Conversations on Democracy’ is also well-deserved recognition,” Baum added. “This wonderful series is made possible thanks to a long-standing partnership with Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, a stellar example of our commitment to producing engaging educational programs for students and teachers in our region.”

Jefferson & Henry“Shaping the World: Conversations on Democracy – Thomas Jefferson & Patrick Henry” is the 10th episode from a popular interactive history project. Fifth graders from Brookneal Elementary School gathered in the Blue Ridge PBS studio where they met and interviewed Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, portrayed by living history interpreters from Colonial Williamsburg. These “conversations” have been broadcast on Blue Ridge PBS and other Virginia public broadcasting stations, and is also available to educators online. The project includes extensive curriculum materials to help teachers meet Virginia Standards of Learning.

“It is our hope that these programs are inspiring today’s public, school students as well as adults, to discuss democracy and other pressing issues facing America, just as Jefferson and his contemporaries did as they set about creating a new nation,” said Octavia N. Starbuck, Director of Interpretation and Education at Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest. 

For more information about “Virginia State Parks: 75 Years and Still Growing” and “Shaping the World: Conversations on Democracy – Thomas Jefferson & Patrick Henry,” visit BlueRidgePBS.org.

 Download a copy of the press release

Library of Congress selects “Virginia in the Civil War” for Web Archives

Blue Ridge PBS multimedia production added to Civil War Sesquicentennial collection

(Roanoke, Va.)—The U.S. Library of Congress has selected award-winning “Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance," a Blue Ridge PBS production, for inclusion in its Web Archives. Associated Web material from the multimedia project, including video segments from the three-hour documentary, will be included in an historic collection of Internet materials related to the American Civil War Sesquicentennial. “Virginia in the Civil War” was produced by Blue Ridge PBS in partnership with the Virginia Tech Center for Civil War Studies and the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

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Blue Ridge PBS nominated for second consecutive Emmy Award

"JobQuest" series recognized again for outstanding community service

(Roanoke, Va.)—Blue Ridge PBS has been nominated for another regional Emmy Award for "JobQuest," the series that helped get people back to work in the worst economy since the Depression. This is the second consecutive nomination for "JobQuest" in the Emmy’s community service category.

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