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The Bibb County School District Newsletter

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April 15, 2016

Skyview Sees Significant Gains in Lexile Scores with New Literacy Strategies

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Students read to learn starting in third grade. Until that point, they're learning to read. That's why the District has identified literacy as a focus-area for students. If students aren't reading on grade-level by third grade, they're four times more likely to drop out of high school, research shows.

"It is important that we embrace this literacy initiative because it literally starts with us," Skyview Elementary School Assistant Principal Dr. Sylvia Rose says.

Third-grader Johnathan Brown points out that reading on grade level helps him comprehend his other subjects matter.

"I need to be able to do math and read at the same time."

Ashton Donaldson, a fifth-grader, agrees.

"My mind is clearer in class and I'm able to comprehend because of the extra daily reading time [in the mornings]."

Skyview Elementary School is taking a proactive approach to helping students increase their Lexile scores, a measure of literacy. "The Lexile scale is like a thermometer, except rather than measuring temperature, the Lexile Framework measures a text’s complexity and a reader’s skill level," according to MetaMetrics.

This year, the school is providing a lattice approach to helping students improve their reading ability. Dr. Rose says they're including all stakeholders: students, parents, staff and even the community to increase literacy. Before school starts in the morning, students generally have about 30 minutes from the time they step off the bus to the time they have to be in class. After breakfast, teachers roll out wagons full of books, marked with a Lexile level. Students pick out books to read based on their reading level. Students know their reading level because of their meetings with their teachers.

In class, they're meeting with their teachers who are helping them create personal strategies to improve their reading. Students are also taking Accelerated Reader tests on the books they read during their morning reading time. Then, faculty and staff are holding monthly meetings to discuss literacy progress and the approach to increasing literacy throughout the school.

Dr. Rose says faculty and staff held a parent workshop where they taught parents how to assist their children with reading at home. They taught them how to reinforce what children are learning while reading and provided free resources to use at home. The school also held a literacy night at Barnes & Noble.

Another literacy initiative the school utilizes is "Ticking for Fluency." Students read a piece of text for one whole minute at home with a parent. During that time, they get as far as they can. After one minute, they stop and parents go over words. The next day, they do the same thing again. "This allows students to develop fluency, which is a key piece students are often missing." Dr. Rose says.

She says they're seeing huge gains in the numbers. Many students have jumped hundreds of points on their Lexile scores thanks to their multi-faceted approach. One student in third grade for example, began the year reading at a sixth-grade level, and is now reading at an eighth-grade level. Students who were not on grade level are now at grade level or above.

Six District Students Selected for 2016 Governor's Honors Program

Six Bibb County School District students have been selected to participate in the 2016 Governor’s Honors Program.

Governor’s Honors is an annual four-week summer enrichment program for talented rising high school juniors and seniors, and is held at Valdosta State University. While there, students share the same commitment to learning and are given the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas under the guidance of the best instructors from around the state.

This year’s finalists from the District are all sophomores at Howard High School. They include include Savannah Banks, Dance; Madison Jackson, Communicative Arts; Jenny Lee, Science; Heeju Lim, Music (Music Voice: Alto); Hannah Strudwick, Theatre (Theatre Performance); and Dustin Testa, Engineering (Software Engineering). Howard High sophomore Sarah Mayfield was named an alternate in Dance.

Governor’s Honors is funded by the Georgia General Assembly and students participate in the program for free. This year’s program is scheduled for June 19-July 16, 2016.

Building Up Boys: Leadership Seminar for Burdell-Hunt Magnet, Carter Elementary Schools

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Boys in third, fourth and fifth grades from Carter Elementary and Burdell-Hunt Magnet Schools visited Mercer University for a leadership summit specifically geared to enhance their experience with "The Leader In Me," to learn more about college life, the Macon-Bibb community, and what it means to be a leader in their community.

The goal was to let boys see what leadership looks like at various stages, from high school to college to career and to have them engaged with local leaders. Through the experience, boys were also able to see what college has to offer and to have them begin with the end in mind for their future, especially since Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones has set a goal of achieving a 90-percent graduation rate by 2025.

Carter Elementary and Burdell-Hunt Magnet are two District schools to implement the “Leader In Me” program, a philosophy based on author Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that instills leadership skills and strength of character. The framework helps to equip students with skills that will prepare them to succeed now and in the future, making them college or career ready.

The seven habits are becoming a way of life for students from Burdell-Hunt and Carter. Students are taking more personal responsibility and ownership of their learning. In addition, both schools have begun seeing a reduction in discipline issues as students are learning soft skills and building character. The hope is that they apply these life skills beyond the school building as they interact with others.

The program has also changed the mind-set of the adults who work in the school buildings – from how they respond to discipline issues to having a better understanding of modeling the seven habits we want students to exhibit.

Sponsors who helped fund the pilot program at the two schools for 2015-2016 include the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Macon, The Easter Family Fund, Macon Occupational Medicine, Cox Communications, WGXA Fox 24/ABC16, and the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

Girls attended a similar leadership experience at Wesleyan College in December 2015.

High Schools Compete in Gravity Challenge in Historic Soapbox Derby Race

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High school teams competed in the historic Magnolia Soapbox Derby in downtown Macon's Magnolia Street on April 9 where hundreds of people watched from behind hay bales.

Teams from Westside, Rutland, Hutchings, Southwest and Northeast High Schools built STEM cars to compete in the Gravity Race Challenge.

Next Level Community Development Center, an after school program, won the Gravity Challenge.

NFL, Georgia Southern Athlete Spreads Positive Message at Bibb Schools

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NFL Chicago Bear and Georgia Southern football star Adrian Peterson visited a variety of Bibb Schools last week to share his story of overcoming adversity with students.

"A lot of kids just get to see [football players] on Sunday or Monday night football. But to see someone in person, get a high five, take some pictures, they can see that we have obstacles to overcome and that we are successful too.

He told students how he grew up going to speech therapy for a speech impediment and how every time he gives a media interview, he is reminded of that obstacle that he overcomes.

"It's a great thing whenever I leave these types of events and have students come up to me and say, 'I talk like you. I go to speech like you.' I want them to see that yeah, I went to college, I graduated, I spent eight years in the NFL, but I also have a speech impediment. I still struggle, but I speak more fluently now."

During an assembly, Peterson gave students some practical advice to take home with them. He told students that it's great they have idols and look up to celebrities and athletes, but that they should find a role model in their current periphery who can mentor them now. He says watching his older brother play football is what made him want to play football, not a famous athlete. "Start working on your dream now."

Four Students Honored at "The Art of Reading" Reception

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Four Bibb County School District students were honored at a reception for “The Art of Reading” on April 7 at the Washington Memorial Library.

The Bibb County School District and the Board of Trustees for the Middle Georgia Regional Libraries partner annually to conduct “The Art of Reading” contest. Students throughout the District are given the opportunity to read any book and create an artistic piece reflective of that book. Entries to “The Art of Reading” are submitted to the Middle Georgia Regional Libraries for judging.

Winners of “The Art of Reading” include Joma Viloria, a Springdale Elementary School first-grader; Maggie Walker, a Vineville Academy of the Arts fifth-grader; Etta James, a Westside High School sophomore; and Isabel Newberry, a Central High School senior. Each winning piece of art and the book that inspired it will be displayed in one of the branches of the Middle Georgia Regional Libraries.

Rosa Taylor Elementary Celebrates Earth Day with Community Partners

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Community partners Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful, Georgia Power, Georgia 4-H, Macon-Bibb Parks and Beautification Department generously donated their time to helping Rosa Taylor Elementary students celebrate Earth Day. Students made bird-feeders with cereal, potted seeds in planters they decorated, ran recycling relays, read books about Earth Day and more!

They celebrated early to make way for the Georgia Milestones Assessment.

REACH Students Put on Inventor Hats for Vineville's First 'Invention Convention'

Vineville Academy of the Arts hosted its first Invention Convention on April 8, 2016. The REACH students showed just how creative they can be when it comes to solving problems and inventing solutions to them.

The invention curriculum throughout the year focused on:

1. Identifying a Problem

2. Problem-Solving and Critical-Thinking Processes to Solve the Problem

3. Developing the Invention Idea and Designing a Prototype of the Solution

Students not only became problem-solvers but communicators and thinkers. They gained confidence in themselves and have learned about hard work, failure, perseverance and pride in their work. Our Young Inventors demonstrated the impact of inventions and innovations on society.

GEAR UP Students Introduced to Georgia Senate During Legislative Session

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GEAR UP students at Howard High School had the privilege of visiting the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, March 10, 2016. The students had the opportunity to meet and converse with several Georgia State senators, including Senator John F. Kennedy. Students visited with Governor Nathan Deal for a picture and handshake.

Many of the senators, representatives, lobbyists and even the governor were very impressed with our students’ knowledge of the political and law-making processes in Georgia. This trip offered these students the opportunity to be introduced on the floor of the Senate during a session. The students also toured the CNN center and learned about broadcast news. This trip was sponsored by Communities in Schools and GEAR UP.

Rutland Junior Wins Congressional Art Competition...Again!

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Alexa Martinez, a junior at Rutland High School, won first place in the Congressional Art Competition for 2016. Her winning piece will be displayed in the House of Congress in Washington D.C. for the next year.

Martinez also won last year's competition.

Along with first place, Alexa received two round-trip tickets to Washington D.C. and two days lodging.

Students Gain Educational Leadership at Georgia College & State University

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On March 17, 22 students from Bibb high schools participated in the Call Me MISTER seminar at Georgia College & State University. The Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role models) program was founded originally at Clemson University in 2000. The program strives to increase the pool of available teachers from a more diverse background, particularly among the State’s lowest performing elementary school. Call Me MISTER serves students at 18 participating colleges within South Carolina and 8 national partner institutions, including Georgia College & State University.

The Call Me MISTER program builds educational leadership by recruiting and training students from underrepresented backgrounds to become transformational teachers within the state of Georgia. MISTERS will become Master Teachers who are not only effective educators, but valuable mentors for their student as well. Students participated in a panel discussion about education, heard from MISTERS who are currently enrolled at GC\SU, participated in group discussion with GCSU professors, toured the college campus and had lunch with staff and other GCSU students.

Westside DECA Students Give CTAE Presentation to Mayor, Macon-Bibb Commissioners

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The Westside High School DECA Diamonds were given the honor of conducting a presentation for Mayor Reichert and Macon-Bibb Commissioners. The topic of their presentation was The Importance of CTAE Courses in the Educational System. The Diamond presenters for the evening were Abdul Davis (Assistant VP of Hospitality), Jaron Jackson (VP of Leadership), Jada Lowe (VP of Communications), Kendrez Neal (VP of Hospitality), and Marquez Pitts (Asst. VP of Marketing).

The scholars presented an interactive Prezi video showing the correlation between Career Student Technical Organizations (CTSO) and the CTAE curriculum. After the culmination of the presentation each student briefly spoke about how their CTAE courses and pathways have played an integral role in their academic success and future endeavors.

Mayor Reichert told students, "It is always an honor and a privilege to have the Westside DECA members on our agenda. The information you have provided us about the importance of CTAE classes in the educational system was very thorough and I can assure you the City of Macon will continue to support and vote to keep these programs in our school system."

Schools Ready for Georgia Milestones Assessments

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Students in third through fifth grades at elementary schools throughout the District have enjoyed ‘prep’ rallies in anticipation of doing their best on the Georgia Milestones test.

Pictured are above at Lane Elementary School: Keyantae Blash, Xzavier Foster, Willis Johnson, Amyah Moses, Laela Freeland, Jamillah Cone, Danielle Robinson, Kobe Dixon, Georglyn Stephens, principal, Catherine Castain, Assistant Principal with Power 107.1 FM's DJ A.D., Lil G, Moma deee, Shelz and Buffalo Wild Wings' mascot, Blazin' Bill.

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Porter Elementary School hosted a "Prep Rally" featuring Rutland Middle School cheerleaders.

Southwest High JROTC Receives Positive Marks on Evaluation

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Southwest High School Air Force JROTC program received passing marks during their Headquarters Unit Evaluation.

The Unit Evaluation has eight sections that are inspected; we received a "Meets Standards" in seven sections and an "Exceeds Standards" in one section. Overall, the unit received a "Meets Standards." The evaluation only occurs every three years.

Howard Middle Principal to Serve on Georgia's K-12 Mathematics Advisory Council

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Howard Middle School Principal Lindsey Allen has been selected to serve on Georgia's K-12 Mathematics Advisory Council through June 2017.

Allen was invited to serve because of his "expertise" and "willingness to advance the efforts of mathematics education in Georgia," according to Georgia Department of Education Mathematics Program Manager Sandi Woodall.

"It is essential to be able to express Bibb County's viewpoints and ways to improve our direction when it comes to mathematics and how to prepare our students for a 21st century global society. It's essential for us to be in the know when conversations are being had and decisions are being made. As we move forward with the vision of our District, it's important we have a seat at the table and offer a perspective that lets the Georgia Department of Education know how their decisions affect school districts. This is an honor, and I'm very appreciative of Dr. Curtis Jones for allowing me to serve on the council."

Allen, a Macon native and Central High School alumnus, has been an educator for 18 years. He is currently enrolled at Columbus State University in the Educational Leadership Specialist Program, has earned his Master of Education in Middle Grades, his Educational Leadership Certificate and his Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education from Georgia College & State University.

Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones Reflects on First Year in Bibb County

2016-2017 Kindergarten Registration Begins

The Bibb County School District will kick-start the kindergarten registration process for the 2016-2017 school year this month. For the first time, parents will be able to pre-register their children for kindergarten online at www.bcsdk12.net beginning April 13-21. Once the information is processed, schools will work with parents to schedule an appointment for the parent to visit their child’s school and complete the registration process May 2-13. Parents will not be required to register a child for kindergarten if they are currently enrolled in a Bibb County School District Pre-K program.

Click for more kindergarten registration information.

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Bibb County School District


Each student demonstrates strength of character

and is college or career ready.


The Bibb County School District will develop

a highly trained staff and an engaged community dedicated

to educating each student for a 21st century global society.

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