Teacher on "Ellen" show to speak at three-day event at New Bern HS

Michael Bonner and Ellen DeGeneneres ( photo)

NEW BERN, Craven County - Michael Bonner, the Greenville teacher who appeared on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" will be part of the three-day Craven Summit 2017 that begins Wednesday at New Bern High School.

Below is a press release on the event.


Craven County Schools will feature a three-day professional development opportunity for staff called Craven Summit 2017 starting on June 14th-16th at New Bern High School. Over 180 sessions will span over the three days offering a variety of learning opportunities for educators. A few of the sessions available include technology, teaching strategies, classroom management, and webpage development to assist teachers in preparing for the upcoming school year. Michael Bonner, Nationally Acclaimed 2nd Grade Local Teacher Featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be the opening speaker tomorrow, Wednesday, June 14th at 8:30 a.m. in the gymnasium at New Bern High School. Mr. Bonner's message is titled INNOVATION = MOTIVATION (TRANSFORMING SCHOOL CULTURE) Creating new and innovative strategies within the classroom is an exciting task but can seem daunting to the teacher who is worn down by the profession. Due to many reasons (negative student behavior, poor scores, etc…), the school climate can become toxic and suffocate the life out of teachers. In order to shift the school culture, it begins with individual teachers making the decision to change their classroom into an engaging learning environment. Michael Bonner will share how he utilized the power of self-reflection to evaluate his qualities as a teacher, navigate negative criticism and stereotypes from working within a Title 1 school (100% FRL free and reduced lunch), to understanding the value of not discarding ideas. Michael Bonner BIO: "I wish I could go back to second grade, so Mr.Bonner could be my teacher," were the words Ellen Degeneres released on her social media accounts in early January 2017. This is when she learned of how Mr. Bonner's unique, rap-filled teaching methods encouraged students to go above and beyond on a reading test. Mr. Bonner is an inspiring second grade teacher at North Carolina's South Greenville Elementary, where the majority of students have strenuous familial dynamics and many are homeless. The school is 100% FRL (free and reduced lunch) and is located in an impoverished neighborhood in Eastern North Carolina. In early 2017, Bonner was honored by Ellen DeGeneres in recognition of his positive and innovative educational approaches for children coping with the challenges of poverty. Ellen presented Bonner and his school with technical equipment to assist in the creation of music videos serving as aids to education. Additionally, Wal-Mart presented the school with $25,000, and the Ellen Show created a Go Fund Me site for South Greenville, which has raised over $88,000 for the Title I school. However, the amazing journey did not stop there! One month after he first appeared on her show, Ellen flew Mr. Bonner and his entire second grade class to visit with her again at her studio. Twenty children from Mr. Bonner's class received an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California. The students recorded in a professional studio had class on a Hollywood set, and made a professional music video with Ellen, Big Sean, Ice Cube, Migos, Ty Dolla Sign, and Lin Manuel Miranda! Mr.Bonner's class was then awarded another $20,000 from Wal-Mart to assist in creating a more prosperous learning environment. His efforts to change the proficiency learning culture have also captured attention from other national news outlets. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Flocabulary, the Ashton Kutcher Foundation, and Remind all released stories on how Mr. Bonner is utilizing music as a tool to help counter the negative statistical data concerning children living in poverty. He's had the privilege of speaking at NC State University, the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education, and various other institutions, delivering powerful messages on improving student performance and resilience. With only four years in K-12 education, Mr. Bonner is consistently seen as a visionary leader who strives to create a positive mindset among all of his students. He understands that his students come to class each day with diverse backgrounds, strengths, needs, and challenges, and seeks to identify strategies to ensure the growth of their social, emotional, academic, and psychological needs. Because of his approach to education, students leave feeling a little more hopeful, challenged, inspired, and forever a part of Bonnerville!