February 2016 Newsletter

Chestatee Elementary School

A Letter From Mrs. Tennies, Our Principal

Dear Families of Chestatee,

There are four core subjects in elementary school: English Language Arts (this includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking), Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. One of the challenges of Social Studies is making the topic real for kids. Honestly, a lot of times history seems like old stories told about a time that has nothing to do with today’s 8-year old. So how do you make it really important?

Just recently our third grade teachers took a leap of faith and make the government unit more “authentic.” They asked me to take a role in it as well as I considered “taxing” the third graders for their excessive use of technology! Let me tell you, this hit close to home and all of a sudden, there were a bunch of vocal protesters on campus. I feel quite fortunate that the Boston Harbor was located far from our borders. Our third graders learned how to stand up to an unfair proclamation from the King, I mean Principal, of Chestatee. Impassioned speeches and thoughtful alternatives were presented, and government became an important tool to learn.

Thankfully the idea of no longer allowing third grade students to purchase ice cream was defeated. Alternative ways to satisfy the high cost of electricity were shared, and civil discourse was shown to be an effective way of solving problems. The representatives from the classroom had an experience of stating their case and outlining their arguments. I feel certain that a number of future lawyers will be in the class of 2025.

What did the teachers and principal learn? Finding a personal connection is powerful. Our goal is to monitor student engagement and to find ways to make school exciting and relevant, especially as we address instruction in Social Studies, which is a goal in improving our school.

We hope to see you on campus soon!

Kind Regards,

Polly Tennies


What's Coming up at the T?

February Break

There will be no school Friday February 12th, Monday February 15th, and Tuesday February 16th for students. Enjoy your time off with your family!

Literacy Night : Thursday, February 18th

You’re invited to Literacy Night on Thursday, February 18th! We are so excited! After pizza, the kids will have some fun with Chestatee teachers while adults listen to Steve Straughan’s presentation on the standards and how they build from kindergarten- fifth grade. Then the whole family will choose a grade level to visit to learn a motivating game you can use at home. We hope you’ll join us!

5:30 Pizza starts

6:00 Presentation for adults/ Fun for the kids

6:45 Choose a grade level and learn a game

7:15 Raffle Drawings

Principal's Chat

Come join Mrs. Tennies from 8:30- 9:30 in the Parent resource room. This is an informal time to sit and chat with our Principal about things that are going on at Chestatee.

BINGO NIGHT! February 26th

Come join us for a fun evening of BINGO!

There will be food, fun and prizes!

Kindergarten Registration for 2016/2017 School Year

Do you have a child that will start Kindergarten next year? Do you know someone who has an upcoming Kindergartner?

Registration for students who are entering kindergarten at Chestatee will be the week of March 21-25 at the Hill Center.

For more information visit our website HERE.

Milestones Information

In April, third through fifth grade students will be taking the Georgia Milestones assessment. The state of Georgia has outlined a plan to move all schools toward full implementation of online testing over the course of five years.

Last year, Forsyth County and Chestatee, began by testing a small number of students online. This year we will be increasing those numbers. As part of that movement, all fourth grade students will take the Georgia Milestones in the online format.

Students are already familiar with online learning through their use of itslearning, so this should be a smooth transition for them. Throughout February and March, with the assistance of our Instructional Technology Specialist, all fourth grade students will be working more in depth with the online format. They will receive the opportunity to interact with the testing platform in a practice module that will familiarize them with the format.

If you have any questions about the online testing, please contact Kristen Miskovsky at 770-887-2341 ext. 722432.


Tech Fair 2016

Congratulations to Eric Faro for winning 1st place in the Animation Category at the Forsyth County Technology Fair!
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Congratulations Mrs. Nizialek!

Please join us in congratulating Mrs. Nizialek! She was selected as Forsyth County's Elementary Teacher of the Year! She was surprised by our Superintendent Dr. Bearden and James McCoy(Forsyth Chamber of Commerce) in her classroom with the great news!

We love you Mrs. Nizialek! You are a great representation of the quality of teachers we have here at the T!

Check out the news story HERE from the special announcement!

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Chorus Sings for the County Commissioners Meeting

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We know how to "Boogie Down" at the T!

We had a great time at our family dance! We danced the night away as we transported ourselves back to the 80's!
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itslearning Tip of the Month

Typing Practice

Looking for a fun way for your child to practice their typing skills?

The Chestatee website has several fun links available for typing practice. You can also access those HERE.

Could Snow Days be in our Future??

We could have snow days just around the corner! Do you feel ready?

Check out this video that explains our Online Learning days procedures, also check out the video from our Parent Involvement Coordinator about Snow Day Help for Parents.

Online Learning Days 2015-16
Snow Day Video For Parents

A Few Words from our Parent Involvement Coordinator

Surveys are in! Thank you for your feedback. We got great ideas for teacher trainings and some classes that families would like to see offered. We can’t thank you enough for all of the ideas and comments that you wrote.

Here are some of the results:

Staff training needed:

*Crisis and emergency response

We are working on the details now for a training in February or March. Always know that your child’s safety is our number 1 priority.

Top Parent trainings Suggested:

  • Strategies to Help Children Learn at Home
  • More technology trainings on itslearning, Parent Portal, Infinite Campus (but different days)
  • The New Math

#1 item needed more in the Parent Resource Room:


Come on by and check out an itouch for your child. You can keep it for 3 days, and it is loaded with learning apps! We are offering this resource because it was so widely noted on the surveys!

Best times for trainings:

6:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:30 AM

Other comments:

Families were very complimentary of Chestatee, our staff, and the work we do to help children. So thank you for all of the nice comments written!

In Title I, we are always looking for input and feedback. Thank you so much for the surveys that you returned. We will have lots of opportunities at our Family Nights for you to tell us what you would like to see.

Hope to see you soon!

Meg Killingsworth

770-887-2341 ext 722302


School Climate Parent Survey

Your Participation is Needed!

Each school receives a School Climate Star Rating, and we could use your help.

Please take a brief moment and fill out the survey below. We want to hear how we are doing!


Don't Forget.... You can Help the "T" Earn "Money for Nothing"!

Target Red Card

When you enroll your Red Card at target a certain portion of the proceeds goes straight to Chestatee! To create an account go HERE.

Box Tops/ Soup Labels

We collect Box Tops and Soup Labels all year Long to raise money for our school.

Remember if you full up a box tops page, Ms. Donna has a prize you can earn!

Kroger and Publix will donate money too...

If you ask to connect your Kroger Plus card to Chestatee Elementary, they will donate a certain percentage of the profits to our school. You can find out more about how to do this if you CLICK HERE.

Publix Partners key-ring cards are available in the front office for to you scan every time you buy groceries at Publix. Publix will donate a certain percentage of their profits to Chestatee as well!

See Ms. Donna in the front office for one of these cards, or send a letter with your child asking for one, and we will send one home for you!

We love our Partners in Education!