Berkeley Lake Elementary

"Bear Essentials" Weekly e-Newsletter, October 9, 2019

Principal's Message

Dear Parents,

We need your help. Every year our students, parents, and staff members are required to take the Georgia School Health Survey.

The Parent Survey contains 24 questions about our school. You may complete the survey using your personal computer, smartphone, or tablet. If you do not have access to a device or internet at home, you are welcome to come take the survey in our BLES Parent Center. We would like as many parents as possible to take the survey because the data will be used as part of the calculation of our School Climate Star Rating. Survey responses are anonymous, self-reported, and will be submitted directly to the Georgia Department of Education for analysis. This survey is also available in Spanish. You can select Spanish or English once you click on it to begin the survey. Thank you in advance for taking the time to do this.

Here is the link to the parent survey:

Students in grades 3rd - 5th will also be taking the survey in school. As a parent, you have the right to view the student survey questions or to opt your student out of taking the survey. Copies of the student survey questions and parent opt-out forms are available on the Georgia Student Health Survey webpage at

Also, please remember there is no school tomorrow, Friday, or Monday, due to Fall Break. I hope you have a lovely break and safe travels if you are going out of town.

Your Principal and Partner,

Dr. Pendleton

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Thank You to the Following Parents for Volunteering in the Lunchroom this Week:

Grace Agbaje

Jaim Heredi

Barbara Babroff

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conference week will be October 21st, with students getting released at noon on both Wednesday, October 23rd and Thursday, October 24th. The button for you to sign up for a conference with your child's teacher is now on the BLES website and will remain until October 17th. Please visit the BLES website or click here to access the sign up. If you need any help with this, please reach out to our parent liaison, Sandra Orci at 678-291-4232 or email her at

Opportunity for you to Preview Safety Lessons Counselors Will Be Presenting to Students

We all share a common goal for our children to be safe and protected from all things harmful. Related to that goal, school counselors are required to present annual personal safety lessons designed to prevent sexual abuse. The Think First & Stay Safe™ program is a research-based program that teaches specific personal safety education by way of interactive classroom lessons, classroom posters, role playing and corresponding activities. During the months of November and December, our school counselors will offer the sexual abuse prevention and safety lessons to all K-5 students.

Due to the importance of this topic, the school counselors want you to know when and how you may preview the materials and when the counselors will be presenting this information to your child's class. Please contact your child's counselor, Sara Penland (grades 1st, 3rd, and 5th) at 770-582-7523, and Laura Marantz (grades KG, 2nd, and 4th) at 770-582-7522 to schedule a preview or if you have any questions or concerns. The materials will be available for preview during parent teacher conferences on October 23rd from 1:00- 5:00 and October 24th from 1:00-4:30 in the front lobby of the school.

Field Days a Big Success

The kids had a blast last week during their Field Days Activities! You could feel the excitement in the air, and see the joy on their faces as they played so hard with purpose and fun!

Field days are successful because of our wonderful parents at Berkeley Lake. Thank YOU to all our volunteers who devoted their precious time to the field days.

A special thank you goes to Cathy Shumate who coordinated and followed up with you all through emails, notes home, phone calls and set-up for the Sign-up Genius document that was a new way for you to sign up! This lessened our paper trail for sure! Cathy, you are AMAZING and thank you for your 7 years so far of service to our school and field weeks!

Thank You to PTO for their donation of our delicious popsicles! Popsicles were sorted and divided up amongst the classes, and once again Cathy came to the rescue for organizing, sorting, and labeling all those bags!!

More special "angels" came in time of need to help with set-up, transition of equipment from K-3rd grades to 4th and 5th grades and taking down of equipment! Our wonderful dads were Sam Sims, Stephen Wagner, Jason Ouimette and Kevin Vickery. You were the greatest helpers ever, and I thank you!

We look forward to calling on you all once again next year! Have a great year with your kids and have a great Fall break!

Play On,

Ms. Birozes!

Book Fair Volunteers Needed

Calling all Berkeley Lake Parents! It's Book Fair time at BLES. This year's theme is "Arctic Adventure" and all proceeds benefit our school. The students look forward to the book fair all year, and we need your help to make it a success. The Book Fair will run from October 17 - October 25. Please sign-up to assist students with book selection and check out. Thank you for volunteering! Book Fair Volunteer Sign-up

District Assessments Continue for Students Next Week

Students in grades 2nd - 5th will continue taking Interim District Assessments next week, with make up testing running until October 29th. District Assessments at the 9 week mark are entered in the grade books and count 5% of the final grade for that subject. Please encourage your student to do his/her best on the DA and make sure he/she is at school those days, if at all possible.
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International Night is Coming

Berkeley Lake Elementary School is filled with International culture. Help us celebrate our broad range of ethnic backgrounds on Thursday, October 17th, from 6:15 to 7:45pm

If you have something you'd like to share, please contact: Mrs Oviedo at 678-582-7526 or Mrs. Orci at 678-291-4232

3rd Grade Concert

3rd Grade concert, "Our Colorful World!" will be performed on Thursday, October 17 to kick off BLES International Night. Students should meet in their home classrooms between 5:00 and 5:30 pm. We will begin walking to the gym at 5:35. Students may wear a costume (colors or dress representing a country), or may wear a bright colored shirt. The concert will begin at 5:45 pm in the gym. If you have any questions about the 3rd grade music performance, please email our music teacher, Matt Green at

Bear Cub Cookout

Twice a year, our school holds a "Bear Cub Cookout." On Bear Cub Cookout days, our wonderful lunchroom ladies grill cookout-type food like burgers and hotdogs for our students, and we invite parents to join the students for lunch as they picnic outside with their class. Our first Bear Cub Cookout of the year will be Friday, October 18th. Parents, if you would like to join us, please see your child's lunch time in the chart below and be sure to bring a blanket or chair. The weather this time of year should be nice, and we hope to see a lot of our BLES parents there!
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Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition-

We are excited to announce Young GA Author Writing Competition begins today! All KG through 5th grade BLES students are encouraged to participate! Unlike many writing competitions, Young GA Authors does not provide a prompt for which the writers need to respond. Writers are encouraged to choose their own genre in which to write. For example, a student may choose to write a short story, poetry, expository writing, essay, personal narrative, or any other original writing.

Entry forms, as well as other very important information about the contest can be found in the folder outside Mrs. Asztalos and Mrs. Shaw’s room or on the BLES website.

The entries MUST be the student’s original work- no revisions or edits by anyone other than the author!

All entries must be turned in WITH a completed entry form to Mrs. Shaw no later than Friday, October 18th. Grade Level Winners will be announced the week of October 28th. The district winners of this writing competition will also be entered in the Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition in the spring.

Please click here to view the official guidelines and entry form.

K-Kids Club News

The next K-Kids meeting will take place on Monday, October 21, 2019. During this meeting, the K-Kids will be making videos.

Attendance Matters

Missing only two days of school a month can have an serious negative academic impact, even for children in Kindergarten. Attached is a fact sheet from with the research on the negative effects of poor attendance and what parents can do to help.

Click here to read the English version

Click here to read the Spanish version

Positive Behavior Focus for this Week:

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PTO News

Canned Food Drive Continues

Do you know that we have a food pantry at our school to assist our students in need? It’s extremely low on food items and we need our community’s help. We’re hosting a Helping Hands canned food drive Oct. 15 - Oct. 31. Students can bring in pantry donations to their classrooms. The classes that donate at least 10 items will be entered into a drawing for a doughnut party. As you go grocery shopping during the fall break, please grab something for our food pantry. The donations go directly to the children and families of Berkeley Lake Elementary School. Items we need the most are as follows:

Canned meat and fish

Canned fruits and vegetables


Powdered milk

Peanut butter


Pasta and rice

Next Spirit Night

The next PTO spirit night will be Tuesday, Oct. 23*, at Marlow’s Tavern on Peachtree Parkway. *This is a new date. The previously scheduled Black Walnut Café event had to be cancelled due to its store closing. Marlow's is located at 5210 Town Center Blvd Suite 260, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Come by anytime between 5:00 - 9:00 PM for dinner and be sure to tell them you are there to support BLES. Wear your school spirit wear too.

Turkey Trot & K-Kids Pancake Breakfast

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! The annual Turkey Trot & K-Kids Pancake Breakfast is almost here! Save the date for Saturday, Nov. 9, for the 4-mile run that wraps around the very scenic Berkeley Lake or the 1.5-mile fun run/walk that goes through the Berkeley Walk neighborhood. Registration forms came home in last week’s backpack mail. Sign up early to get the best price. Know of businesses that would like to sponsor? Email Also, we’d love to have volunteers to help with planning and on the day of the event.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who volunteered for Field Days. The PTO would like to especially thank our Field Day committee chair, Cathy Shumate, for all the work she does behind the scenes.

We Need Board Members

The PTO is in need of executive board members. Recently, we’ve had parents move on to other schools. This leaves us with a need of a secretary, two vice presidents and a junior treasurer. If you have questions about any of our roles, take a look at the bylaws on our site. We’d love to talk with you. Contact us at

October 21st - 25th is Unity Week

October is National Bullying Prevention Month! We are celebrating by dedicating a whole week to showing that we stand for kindness, acceptance and inclusion at BLES.

All students may participate in the Unity Week dress-up days, but we are suggesting for $1.00 donation that will go directly to the United Way student campaign. The United Way helps non-profit organizations focus on education, financial stability and health. Students should turn their money into their teacher. Half of all the money we raise in our student campaign will come right back to Berkeley Lake Elementary School.

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Digital Learning Days

The Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) 2019-2020 school calendar includes two make-up days to address school days missed due to inclement weather. In addition to these days, GCPS also has the option of making up days missed due to inclement weather using Digital Learning Days.

A Digital Learning Day is considered a school day, so students will be accountable for completing the teacher assignments from home, just as they would do at school. The assignments will be found on the teacher’s eClass course page under the Digital Learning Day icon and will be checked by the teacher and considered in the grading process.

As our teachers begin to prepare for the possibility of Digital Learning Days this year, it is important for them to know about devices and internet available to your student at home. A letter will be sent home in Friday folders in the next week or two to gather more information on whether or not internet & devices are available to your student at home. Please complete the questions at the bottom of the letters and return to your child's teacher so we can begin to plan for the possibility of Digital Learning Days in the future.

Upcoming Duluth Middle School Event

Our first ever DMS Family Fun Day is scheduled for October 19 from 10 am until 2:00 pm. This event is designed to bring our entire community together and Berkeley Lake Elementary staff and families are all welcome to attend!

We have great entertainment and games for all ages, a DJ, a Photo booth, Spanish and English language family education sessions led by our experienced teachers, a car wash and the county library with coding games all for the low cost of FREE!!! We will also have several food trucks with yummy treats for purchase.

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Do You Have a Parent Portal Account?

You may have heard about Gwinnett's Parent Portal. The Parent Portal is a website that will allow you to log in and see your child's information, such as attendance, grades, standardized test scores, etc.

If you need to register with the portal, please print and complete this registration form and turn it in to the main office. Along with the completed form, you are required to show a photo I.D. for verification.

Spring Milestones Schedule Released - 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade Students

If your child is in the 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, he/she will be taking the Georgia Milestones Assessment in the spring. Attendance is very critical during the testing window, so please note the dates below and try not to schedule any appointments or vacations during this time frame. You may also click here for a printable version of the testing schedule.
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Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) Event


Friday, October 18th


All Ages

This is an event that your students are sure to enjoy as they experience the wonders of nocturnal animals! We will have live presentations, tram rides, night treks into the GEHC forest, games, and more!

Admission will be $5/person for Gwinnett County residents

See the flyer below

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A Look Ahead...

Monday, October 14

Student Fall Break Holiday/Teacher Work Day

Tuesday, October 15

1st Semester District Assessments (Interims) continue grades 2nd - 5th

9:00am Advanced English Class

3:00pm Green Team

3:15pm Drama Club in room 3.124

Wednesday, October 16

1st Semester District Assessments (Interims) continue grades 2nd - 5th

7:15am Art Club

9:00am Beginner English Class

3:00pm Soccer Club

Thursday, October 17

1st Semester District Assessments (Interims) continue grades 2nd - 5th

Book Fair

7:00am Chorus Club Semester 1

3:00pm Good News Club (Media Center)

3:00pm Robotics Club

3:15pm Club Invention

5:30pm 3rd Grade Music Concert "Our Colorful World"

6:15pm International Night

Friday, October 18

1st Semester District Assessments (Interims) continue grades 2nd - 5th

Book Fair

Bear Cub Cookout during student's regularly scheduled lunch time

Falcon's Friday- Wear Falcon's Colors!

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We Have a School Store

Berkeley Lake is proud to have our school store open daily before school starts! It is run by highly qualified 5th grade students. Each morning the school store volunteers are in charge of setting up the store, selling items, closing the store, and counting and depositing the money collected. They do all of this before 8:15 in the morning! Our store features school supplies and snacks. All profits go to our Care Team, which helps families in economic need, and the BLES School Counseling Department.

Berkeley Lake Recycles

Berkeley Lake recycles aluminum cans and old clothes and shoes (in any condition) in the two bins in the upper parking lot. The Green Team receives 10¢ per pound of donations, which helps pay the fee for the weekly paper and cardboard pick-up. The aluminum cans are recycled at Progressive Recycling on Simpson Circle. Please support our Green Team by recycling these items here at Berkeley Lake. Thank you!

Remember to Save Those Box Tops!

One easy way to support your school is through the PTO Box Tops for Education collection. Send in Box Tops from products you purchase. To help with counting, you can download this Box Tops Collection Sheet.

Make sure to put your Box Tops on the sheet or in a bag with your name and teacher on it. Drop it into the wooden box in the main hallway near the water fountain. Doing this automatically enters you into a contest.

Each month, we’ll hold a random drawing of all students who submit Box Tops. Winners will be announced on the morning announcements at the end of each month. The prize? A coupon for a free ice cream or an item from the student store. This fundraiser has helped us earn hundreds of dollars for our school!

We Are On Twitter

Follow our school on Twitter @BerkeleyLakeES

Our Parent Center

The Berkeley Lake Parent Center is open each day from 7:30-3:30. The Parent Center is located across from the front office. For Parent Center support please call Ms. Sandra Orci, Parent Liaison, at 678-291-4232.

Our Mission

To provide learning experiences in a secure and stimulating environment where every child can develop to his/her fullest potential academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our Vision

BLES 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.

Contact Us:

Berkeley Lake Elementary

4300 S. Berkeley Lake Rd.

Duluth, Georgia 30096

P: (770)446-0947

F: (770)582-7514

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