News & Notes Northeast LC

April 2014

A world-class community of schools that ignites students' passions to learn, lead and serve

NELC News & Notes is our monthly communication providing current news and information to interested stakeholders from each of our 22 schools and our learning community office.

Elementary Schools

Barnwell Elementary School

Barnwell Artist Day 2014

On Friday March 7 Barnwell Elementary celebrated a highly successful Artist Day. We were fortunate to welcome over 20 different Atlanta-area artists to our school, to celebrate and immerse our students in a variety of artistic lessons and hands on activities. Our students were able to engage in art-themed experiences ranging from hip hop dance, animation, pottery making, screen printing, improv acting, acrobatics, comic illustration, musical instrumentation, photography, and collaging, just to name a few! All of the art-themed activities were panned in conjunction with our teachers, parent volunteers, and artists themselves. Our students also journaled about their experiences during Artist Day, to ensure that academic rigor was woven into the amazing art fun they got to experience all day long! Barnwell Elementary School wishes to send a special thank you to all of our artists who so graciously volunteered their time and expertise with our students. We would also like to especially thank two parent volunteers who worked to coordinate and plan all of the logistics to ensure Artist Day was a smashing success: Mrs. Heather Davis and Mrs. Kathy Read! Thank you also to our many parent volunteers who donated their time to ensure our students were well-supported as they took part in the many art-themed activities on March 7. Thank you finally to our newly-named Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Nail, who worked hard to coordinate with our parent volunteers all aspects of Artist Day. Thank you, All!

Barnwell Football Fundraiser Wrap Up

On Saturday March 15, the Barnwell Education Foundation sponsored a football skills camp at Autry Mill Middle School for elementary, middle, and high school students. The camp was led by a collection of recently retired NFL players including: Ellis Hobbs, Dorsey Levens, CJ Mosely, Reggie Brown, Sean Jones, and DeMario Pressley. These former players graciously donated their time and energy to lead our students through a variety of football-related activities, while including some invaluable life lessons within the experience. The camp was well attended, with over 80 students participating, and nearly as many parent-spectators. The event was a fundraiser for the Barnwell Education Foundation, to support our school to renovate and update our backfield and track facilities. Barnwell Elementary wishes to thank the former players for sharing their expertise. We also wish to thank the parent volunteers on the Barnwell Education Foundation Board for their hard work setting up all of the promotion and arrangements for the day, including soliciting business sponsors’ support. It was a fantastic day to facilitate our students’ development of teamwork, resilience, and wellness. Check out pictures from the camp at and at 11Alive’s website:

Esther Jackson Elementary School

Most people know about March Madness, but last week at Esther Jackson students celebrated “Math Madness” in honor of Pi Day on March 14. For the week of March 10-14, students in grades PK-5 were challenged to dedicate their free time to enhancing their mathematical mastery. Students’ logged their time spent on practicing and learning math both in school and at home. As a school, we logged 77,004 minutes of time on math during the week - that’s the equivalent of working on math for 53.5 non-stop days!

Students in grades 3-5 utilized their ALEKS account to strengthen math concepts where they need the most help. ALEKS is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS is utilized in grades 3-5 math courses to support personalized learning for students throughout the school year. In grades PK-2, students used teacher-approved online math sites that support students in content mastery where they most need it.

The EJ staff would like to thank the our PTA for supporting Math Madness. The top 10 students in each grade level were recognized with a certificate of achievement, while the top-ranking classroom at each grade level will celebrate with a popsicle party this week. Most importantly, our students are talking about how much fun they had during Math Madness and gaining confidence with their mathematical abilities!

Hillside Elementary School

Hillside Elementary is the home of one of the NELC’s Advanced Strategies Labs. In its inaugural year, Mrs. Deas has done some incredible work with her students and has pushed them to try new things and create wonderful designs that have met standards across all content areas. As part of her curriculum designing, Mrs. Deas created a prompt that aligned with the community needs and the engineering design framework.

In the Roswell Community the mayor has released his desire to include more see-saws in the city parks. With that information Ms. Deas created a challenge for the students that included the creation of Mayor of Roswell, Mr. Jere Wood, charging the Kindergarten and 1st Grade students to design see-saws for the city parks. With this task at hand the Hillside students have worked over the past few months to develop and create see-saws for their city. The curriculum design used the concepts they have learned about pivots, levers, load, and effort to design a variety of see saws to present to Mayor Wood.

Mayor Wood will visit Hillside Elementary First Grade students to listen to their presentations about the steps of the engineering design process on May 19th at 8:15am. The presentation will last about 40 minutes.

River Eves Elementary School

STEM 2014-15

River Eves STEM Committee Members continue to share plans to increase STEM opportunities for students next school year. The most recent conversation started with a quick STEM activity for teachers. Teams of teachers competed to build the tallest freestanding structure that would support a marshmallow using only spaghetti, tape, and yarn. Teams were very creative with their designs and excited about the possibilities for the students. Members of the STEM Committee have visited at least 3 GA STEM-Certified or STEM-Focused Schools over a 3 month period and participated in numerous professional development sessions to redeliver to the staff in preparation for the 2014-15 school year.

Foundation Fundraiser for STEM

The River Eves Education Foundation (REEF) spring fundraiser, “Caddyshack: An 80s Golf Par-Tee” raised over $44,000. Since its inception, the foundation has now reached over $250,000 raised for technology and science enhancements at River Eves Elementary School. All proceeds from the event will benefit technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) investments at the school. Most notably, REEF will continue to fund part-time Technology Coach Lizzie Fragale, Fulton County’s first foundation-funded technology teacher. In her role, Fragale supports the integration of technology into the curriculum to improve the overall academic experience for students. We are reaching new heights through REEF’s success -- from the education Mrs. Fragale provides, to the 100-plus iPads and iPad minis for use by teachers and students, to the interactive ActivBoards and projectors in the classrooms,” said River Eves principal Neil Pinnock. “The partnership with REEF has enabled us to keep River Eves students at the forefront of the broad range of digital lessons that make learning more engaging and interactive.”

Reflections Entries Placed at State Level
We are so proud to announce that 4 River Eves students have placed at the state level for their Reflections entries. The students are:

Alicia Buteau – Dance Anna Cangelosi – Dance
Sasha Etingof – Dance Erik Zepeda-Tobar – Visual Arts

They will attend the state reception later this month to find out where they placed and if we have any students moving on to compete at the National level.

Destination Imagination Tournament
River Eves is proud of our two 3rd and 4th grade teams that participated in the Destination Imagination Tournament at Duluth High School on Saturday. Both teams worked hard, incorporating STEA(art)M and collaboration, to complete their team challenge and present it at the tournament. The students created well-developed characters and a story with a beginning, middle, and end to introduce their challenge to the audience and show how they solved it. Jessica Vu and Felicia MacFarland were the Destination Imagination team managers who kept them on track and pushed them to think outside-the-box.

Middle Schools

River Trail Middle School

The leaders from the Student Government Association( SGA) at River Trail chose to support the African Library Project. This project encourages families to clean off their bookshelves and donate unused books to the school. In addition to collecting and organizing the books, the members of SGA also organize fundraisers to pay to ship the books to Africa. The books are used to build libraries for under-privileged children. The books (pictured below) will soon be in the hands of a young Africa children as they make their way to their new home.

Taylor Road Middle School

Four Taylor Road students competed at the state level at the Georgia Educational Technology Fair in Macon on March 8, 2014. We are proud to announce that Apurva Nemala won 1st place for 3D Modeling, Sireesh Ramesh and Madhav Ghatpande (a team) won 1st place for Internet Applications, and Charles Overton won 3rd place for Non-Animated Graphic Design. We are very proud of these students.

The annual Taylor Road Middle School Flag Ceremony and reception was held on Wednesday March 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm in the school gymnasium. This event, sponsored by the PTA and Diversity Committee, recognizes our students’ and staff’s cultural heritage by displaying flags from their native country, sharing in traditional foods, and enjoying cultural student entertainment. Parents and students involved in this special ceremony are asked to bring an authentic dish from their country of origin. Students are also encouraged to dress in traditional clothing. It was another great success this year.

High Schools

Johns Creek High School

For the past two years, the Johns Creek High School Counseling Office has been hosting a monthly event called Cookies with Counselors. Johns Creek High School parents are invited and encouraged to attend Cookies with Counselors, which provides them with the opportunity to enjoy refreshments while participating in an open question-and-answer session with JCHS counselors. Topics of discussion vary and often include information about course offerings and selection, standardized testing, and college planning and placement. Daytime and evening sessions are offered to accommodate parents’ busy schedules.

Cookies with Counselors originated when the counseling office saw a need for alternative ways to relay pertinent information to parents. The one-hour sessions allow parents to address their common questions and concerns with knowledgeable counselors. Parent feedback about Cookies with Counselors has been overwhelmingly positive. Many parents have indicated that the question-and-answer sessions have better prepared them to assist their students with high school and postsecondary planning. In addition, the face-to-face time between counselors and parents has fostered a positive rapport and increased the likelihood of parents reaching out to their student’s counselor if necessary. Cookies with Counselors, when used in conjunction with our website and larger scale parent nights, has been an effective way to keep the parent population informed.

Northeast Learning Community Office

Dr. Will Rumbaugh, Area Superintendent

Engagement…it’s a characteristic all the NELC principals are wanting to see in their schools and communities. There are some really great examples above of that engagement coming to life in our schools. It’s interesting to see kids and adults “getting their hands” on the learning, as well as their minds.

Andre Wright, Area Executive Director

Not only are the students in the NELC preparing for their big exam next month, but so are the Aspiring Assistant Principals. The NELC Assistant Principals just wrapped up the last series of leadership development workshops for the Aspiring Assistant Principals group in preparation for their mock interviews next month. Let’s wish them all success as they prepare for the final phase of their leadership program.

Alvin Thomas, Behavior Specialist

I would like to give special recognition to all the schools in the NELC implementing the No Place For Hate initiative. No Place For Hate is an initiative of the Anti-Defamation League offered free to schools. The initiative is designed to rally the entire school around the goal of creating a welcoming community committed to stopping all forms of bias and bullying. No Place For Hate provides a unique framework to incorporate new and existing programs with one consistent message. No Place For Hate helps schools to foster a culture of respect and create a safe, bully-free learning environment for students at all grade levels.

Alyssa Swan, Title 1 Math Specialist

At Holcomb Bridge MS, I got to support the AP with her instructional rounds by observing teachers in the building based on instructional strategies and differentiation. I saw one teacher doing a Mystery Lesson where the students discovered the learning for themselves!!!

At River Eves, teachers shared their lesson plans for differentiation school-wide. Each grade level was able to give the other grades feedback on their lessons. It was a great culminating activity for our year-long professional learning!

At Esther Jackson, I continued to work with the continuous achievement teachers. One teacher in particular has worked all year to make two levels in one classroom work, and I am so proud!

At Hillside, I worked with the math coach and her fellow coaches to create CRCT review materials by strand. This work will support the teachers in the Title I buildings with CRCT prep!

Susan Walker, Strategy & Innovation Division Specialist

News from Governance & Flexibility

The 11 Northeast Schools in Cohort 2* of the Charter System are up and running! Each of these schools is beginning to hold their School Governance Council meetings. Over the next few months, these schools will engage in a strategic planning process to articulate their vision and plans for the next three years.

The Governance team is supporting and guiding these schools’ planning process by conducting Strategic Planning trainings and providing technical assistance. At the end of March, all Cohort 2 schools throughout the district came together for a training. Pictured here are principals and school staff engaging in “The Change Game,” an opening activity designed to get our schools thinking about the inherent challenges involved in implementing changes in their buildings.

In Cohort 1 news, the 5 Northeast Cohort 1 schools* will hold spring elections in May for open teacher and parent Council positions. These schools are busy getting the word out to parents and teachers who may be interested in being part of the great work that is happening in these schools.

*Cohort 1 NELC Schools: Abbotts Hill ES; Autrey Mill MS; Centennial HS; Northview HS; Shakerag ES

*Cohort 2 NELC Schools: Chattahoochee HS; Dolvin ES; Haynes Bridge MS; Holcomb Bridge MS; Johns Creek HS; Medlock Bridge ES; Ocee ES; River Trail MS; State Bridge Crossing ES; Taylor Road MS; Wilson Creek ES