Berkeley Lake Elementary

Bear Essentials - January 29, 2016

Science Night a Success

Thursday evening was exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning for students and parents to experience hands on activities. Thank you to all who came out to learn with the engaging presenters. PTA volunteers, Julie Frick and Margo Williams, and Ms. Bentley, our science specialist, organized and hosted our sensational STEM Night. We also appreciate Ms. Parker and Ms. Bentley for providing the parent workshop, "It Is All About Science,” to help support children with science skills and standards at home. Science Fair projects were full of inquiry and on display. Congratulations to the following students for their projects: 4th grade 1st place winners are Pamelyn Rubin and Eric Xu; 5th grade 1st place winners are Gianna Erazo and Sonia Jain.

Redistricting News

The GCPS Board approved the Duluth Cluster redistricting last Thursday. This brings some changes to our school for next school year. In August we will be sending 157 students from our currently enrolled students to Chattahoochee Elementary, just up the road from Pleasant Hill. Parents who have students involved in the redistricting for the 2016 – 2017 school year will receive a letter from the district office with information about the change to Chattahoochee ES. With the Duluth redistricting, some teachers will be transferring to other schools in the cluster as well. While changes may be difficult, Chattahoochee is a wonderful school in our cluster in which to learn and grow.

Class Placement for Next Year

You should have received a parent input letter regarding your child’s class placement for next school year in the Friday Folder. These forms are for students zoned to BLES for next school year. This input form is due February 22, 2016, but please do not put this off and forget to give us this important information. As parents, you know your child best. Please share with us the learning environment in which your child flourishes so as we begin making class lists, we can assure a great fit to give your child his/her best opportunity for optimal learning next year. Thank you in advance for your help with this.

Communication During Critical Times

Last Friday, we had the possibility of inclement weather approaching during dismissal. I considered sending an auto dial message to let parents know that we were going to be releasing the buses five minutes early, but did not. In the past when sending phone messages during the school day the office is flooded with many calls from parents asking why the school is phoning instead of listening to the message. You can imagine trying to answer over 100 nonstop phone calls with two people in the front office when we are about to dismiss school. It is a challenge. When you receive an automatic phone message from the school, please listen to the entire phone message prior to contacting the school, if you still have questions. The pertinent information will be in the phone message. In an effort to be more efficient in communicating with you, we will continue to institute our auto dial service. This does not tie up the phone lines or slow the process down. This week we renewed our auto dial service for another two years. This is a costly tool but I believe it is so important to have this communication in the event of poor weather closing, an emergency and as a way to send school events information. Please be sure phone numbers are updated and correct in the front office since the auto dial pulls from our records. Another way for communication is to be sure you sign up for Remind by texting @ble to either 81010 or 678-337-8678, to receive messages via text.

WordMasters Challenge™

A team that represented Berkeley Lake Elementary achieved Highest Honors in the recent WordMasters Challenge™—a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually. The fourth grade team scored an impressive 180 points out of a possible 200 in the first of three meets this year, placing eighth in the nation. Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the WordMasters Challenge™, fourth graders Samson Samuel and Eric Xu each earned a perfect score of 20 on the challenge. Nationally, only 50 fourth graders achieved this result. Other students from Berkeley Lake Elementary who achieved outstanding results in the meet include fourth graders Sophia Carlton, Mili Patel and Meredith Santoso. Congratulations to these students for their Word Masters accomplishment! The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge™ first semester by Ms. Doroff, who recently retired.

Student Safety

Safety continues to be a number one priority at our school and I am pleased to say that our new buzz-in system has been up and running and the transition has been smooth. Thank you for your cooperation and support with this security upgrade. Also I wanted to let you know that on February 3rd, we will be participating in a statewide Severe Weather Drill to be sure all the children and staff are familiar with the procedures in the event of a weather emergency.

Fifth Grade Promotion and Celebration Day

I know it seems far off, but it's time for us to start planning our Fifth Grade Promotion and Celebration Day. If you are interested in being on this committee, please contact Bernina Jones or Mary Mansfield Mr. Carter is the fifth grade AP working with our PTA volunteers to plan this very special occasion for our fifth grade students. If there are no delays due to inclement weather, mark your calendars for the Fifth Grade Promotion Day Program, May 24 at Duluth High School. Celebration Day will be the last day of school, May 25. This is such an important event, I wanted to get the information out as early as possible so you can make plans to attend.

Partnership Gwinnett Community Survey

All families who live and/or work in Gwinnett are being given an opportunity to participate in the Partnership Gwinnett Community Survey. Community input is being sought via this survey. The survey will be available from now until Feb. 5. This is your chance to help shape Gwinnett! Your input will be used to help plan and implement Partnership Gwinnett’s 5-year strategic growth and development plan. For more information, visit or click here to access the survey.

Early Release Parent Conference Days

Next week we will begin planning for our Early Release Parent Conference days on February 24th & 25th. I want to be sure to have you mark your calendars with these important dates. Information regarding the online sign up with your child’s teacher will be sent out next week. We look forward to you visiting school to discuss your child(ren)’s progress on these special conference days.

Have a restful enjoyable weekend with your family.

Dr. Bearse

Important Dates

2/1—9:00 Gr 4 Cultural Arts

2/1—3-4:00 Chess Club

2/2—7:00 IT Girls Club

2/2—9-11:00 English Class

2/2—3-4:00 Green Team

2/3—7:15 Art Club

2/3—9:00 State Wide Tornado Drill

2/3—2:45-4:45 Strings Club

2/3—3-4:30 Good News Club

2/3—3:15-4:30 Student Council

2/4—7:15 Chorus

2/4—7:30 Readers Rally

2/5—Mid Terms Go Home

2/5—7:30 Witzzle Pro

2/5—7:45 K-Kids

2/5—8:30 Gr 3 Cultural Arts

2/5—10:00 School Tour

2/8—3-4:00 Chess Club

2/9—7:00 IT Girls Club

2/9—7:30 PTA Exec Bd Mtg

2/9—9-11:00 English Class

2/9—3-4:00 Green Team

2/10—7:15 Art Club

2/10—Gr 4 Inhouse Field Trip

2/10—2:45-4:45 Strings Club

2/10—3-4:30 Good News Club

2/11—7:15 Chorus

2/11—7:30 Readers Rally

2/11—8-10:00 Local School Council Mtg

2/11—8:30-2:30 Book Fair

2/12—7:30 Witzzle Pro

2/12—8:30-2:30 Book Fair

Our Parent Center

The Berkeley Lake Parent Center is open each day from 7:30-3:30. The Parent Center is located in room 1.122 in the Media Center. Ms. Angela Schoenknecht, the Parent Instructional Coordinator (PIC), is available by appointment. Please call 678-291-4233 for Parent Center support or Ms. Sandra Orci (Parent Liaison) at 678-291-4232.

Berkeley Lake's Vision Statement

Our Vision : Berkeley Lake Elementary School is a positive, safe, nurturing environment that fosters respect among all students, teachers, parents, and community members while forwarding world-class achievement that successfully maximizes each student’s individual potential through engaging instruction.