Dr. Fehrman's Friday Follow-Up
Stronger Together Shout Outs
Teacher Appreciation Week
This week is teacher appreciation week, and I want to share my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the teachers in CSD. I was in an Uber a few weeks ago, and the driver was asking me about my career and how I ended up as superintendent. I shared information about my career path from a teacher to instructional coach, then to AP, principal, and district office administrator. When he asked me which position was my favorite, I was able to respond without thinking - TEACHER!!! He asked me why and the answer to that was also easy. Teachers have the greatest impact on our students above any other position in public education, which is true in City Schools of Decatur.
I want to recognize that more has been asked of teachers in the past two years than ever before. Teachers are the heart and soul of schools and school districts. Teachers give so much of themselves to ensure the success of each student and that their diverse needs are met. I see CSD teachers buying extra supplies for their classrooms, spending their weekends and evenings working on lesson plans or grading papers, attending student events, coaching teams, and mentoring students. Teachers, I see you and all that you do for the students. I know that CSD is an amazing system with the best schools because of our teachers. Thank you, teachers!
Also, thank you to the parents, students, and principals for giving our teachers all of the fun treats this week. Our schools shared a few fun pictures of their celebrations.
School Lunch Hero Day
Today (May 6) is School Lunch Hero Day, and I think our school nutrition staff are heroes! Thank you for all of the healthy and delicious meals you prepare for students and staff each day.
National Principal’s Day
May 1 was National Principal’s Day, and I want to take this opportunity to give a shout-out and say thank you to our principals. City Schools of Decatur is fortunate to have a team of highly qualified and dedicated principals leading our schools. Our principals are passionate about supporting their staff so they can bring their best to the classroom each day for our students.
Thank you, principals, for all of your hard work, long hours, and most importantly, your dedication to ensuring all students in your schools are safe, seen, and successful.
AANHPI Heritage Month Staff Spotlight
May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I would like to highlight some of the fantastic work and people in our district. This week I am highlighting DHS teacher, DHS Asian Culture Club Sponsor, and AAPI Sidekicks Coordinator Beth Lewis. Thank you, Beth, for sharing about your background and your family. I appreciate all that you do for the students in our district!
My mom, Ayako Sunahara, was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and met my father, Michael Timmons, on a tennis court when both of their doubles partners did not show up. They were married in 1973, 6 years after the Supreme Court declared interracial marriage legal in the USA. My siblings and I were raised in Ithaca, NY, by my parents and grandmother, and we enjoyed growing up in a college town with an international community. The sport of swimming brought me from NY to Georgia, where I was a captain for the University of Georgia, and we won the school’s first NCAA Division I National Title.
My first job was teaching English at a high school in northern Japan in a rural fishing village. This was a wonderful job, and the natural world was an embedded component of the curriculum. Throughout the year, we would hike both the mountains and the trails along the ocean, including a weeklong educational unit where students and faculty spent each day skiing down the local mountain and finishing up each day with hot noodle bowls.
Here is a picture of me and the students at the local mountain - you can see the mountain overlooked the bay, and the school was about 1 mile from the water.
This is a picture of my grandmother who lived half the year in Japan and half the year in NY with our family when I was growing up. She lived to almost 100 years old. She is the youngest of 10 children and is pictured here as the littlest girl in the kimono.
The Sidekicks strive to build connections and community within our AAPI CSD community and beyond. DHS students applied to be a part of the program and were selected based on their strengths in academics, character, identifying as AAPI, and enthusiasm to be a part of this new initiative. We are thankful for each of the 30 high school and elementary students participating this year, the school leadership support of Dr. Brookins, Ms. Tolsma, and Ms. Lofstrand, our Wilson Center Equity leader Dr. Banks who championed the start of this program, and finally, for each of the parents for allowing their children to be a part of this program.
Asian Culture Club
The Asian Culture Club (ACC) is in its 6th year at DHS. The club was originally created by Emily Park - Emily was a student in my IB CAS Advisement and she created the club for her CAS project. Emily's sister Natalie is our current ACC president, serving in this leadership role during her junior and senior years. The club is led by a wonderful group of passionate students who make time to plan thoughtful gatherings both inside and outside of school each week. ACC has done everything from creating appreciation goodie bags for health care workers at Emory Decatur, to make your own sushi day, to connecting with fellow authors, clubs, and affinity groups that identify as or are allies of the AAPI community.
Top Dog Awards
I am recognizing another set of outstanding employees as our Top Dogs this week: Cindy Aldridge, Laura Varley, and Charity Duernberger.
Click here to nominate a staff member for the Top Dog Award.
Cindy Aldridge, Instructional Coach at Oakhurst Elementary
“Cindy is the logistics manager for the Oakhurst crew! Last week all K-2s held their first-ever K-Day. Our process was so easy and smooth for parents, incoming kindergarteners, and Oakhurst staff. Cindy planned all the details with such precision. She met multiple times with the Oak team to ensure all involved parties knew their roles and responsibilities. The way she thinks through every step and anticipates and plans for challenges is incredible. As we were welcoming our guests, Cindy was busy observing the process she laid out and was able to make a few tweaks in the moment to improve our process. We are so fortunate to have Cindy on the Oakhurst team!”
Laura Varley, Teacher at Renfroe Middle School
"I have had a lot of confidence knowing Ms. Varley is playing point— she continues to be excellent in every way: professional, caring and positive, detail-oriented, and up-to-date on best practices. Many times she has printed out extra social stories for my son when I have expressed a particular concern or recommended specific additional materials to help push him to be his best. This Friday, she is taking extra time out to chaperone the kids at an inclusive dance at the high school. And it means so much that she treats her students like typical teens rather than talking down to them. She consistently is advocating for her students, as well as being a resource for other teachers and students in the building.”
Charity Duernberger, Teacher at Talley Street Elementary
“It’s obvious that Ms. Duernberger is made to teach. She is nice, and she explains things very well. She expects a lot from us and is also very funny. I love being in her class!”
Congratulations! Great job! Way to go!
Bulldog Sports Wrap Up Successful Spring
Spring has been a wildly successful season for Decatur Sports at RMS and DHS. Our teams competed and qualified for the GHSA State Tournament in Baseball, Golf, Lacrosse, Tennis, Track & Field, and Soccer. We are proud of our student-athletes who continue to impress in competition and in the classroom. Thank you to all of our coaches who dedicate their time and energy to providing positive experiences for our student-athletes and their families. Shout out to our Girls’ Soccer program, whose terrific season ended last week. The Bulldogs faced neighborhood rival Midtown Knights in the Final Four of the GHSA State Tournament. The game ended with a final score of 0-2. And thank you to fans for showing up and supporting the teams! Great job, Bulldogs!
While most sports have wrapped up, we are excited to have the continued opportunity to celebrate our DHS Baseball and Track & Field programs. Our Track & Field team will compete this Saturday in the 5A Sectional Meet at Apalachee High School. We wish our athletes and coaches good luck and look forward to supporting them at the 5A State Meet next week! On Tuesday, the Baseball Bulldogs defeated Veterans High School in two games at McKoy Park. The team displayed both quality pitching and defense, as well as timely hitting, to move on to the Elite Eight. Decatur will face Starrs Mill on Monday afternoon at McKoy Park. Let’s all show up to support the team and create an exciting baseball atmosphere. Good luck, Bulldog Baseball and Track & Field!
Annual DHS Poetry Slam Sees Incredible Talent
The Annual Decatur High School Poetry Slam exhibited the many talents of our artists and poets here at Decatur High School. On Tuesday evening, spectators in the DHS Courtyard witnessed a variety of poetry styles as our students performed. Guests also watched as [artist’s names] completed a live painting during the show. We are proud of all of the student participants listed below. Thank you to DEF for once again sponsoring this event. Special thanks to DHS student Kayla Evans, who organized the event with guidance from Dr. Bolton at RMS.
Poets: Seven Baker, Kendal Henderson, June Lee, Ephram Otey, Amani Saleem, Munira Sharif, Nashon Smith
Artist: Chrys Brown (Sareene Roberts - Assistant)
Second Runner-Up: Seven Baker
First Runner-Up: Amani Saleem
Winner: Nashon Smith
DHS Final Concert of 2022: Thank you, Mr. Ehrlich
Our Decatur High School Concert Band had their final performance of the year last Friday. As usual, the night was filled with elegant music played by our talented students and led by Band Director Tyler Ehrlich. The concert marked Mr. Ehrlich’s final performance with our DHS Band. We appreciate all he has done over the past two years to elevate our Marching Band and Concert Band to new heights.
CSD Announcements and Updates
Launchpad for Learning Camp
It's finally here! Launchpad for Learning registration is now open! Just log in to your Infinite Campus Parent Portal, choose the appropriate school store, click on the Launchpad for Learning icon, choose the week that you would like to register your student for, and checkout! Watch this video for a brief, step-by-step demonstration of how to register on the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.
What is Launchpad for Learning?
Launchpad for Learning is an exciting, 2-week summer camp hosted by the City Schools of Decatur for students in grades K-8 in the 2022-23 school year. The Launchpad for Learning Summer Camp will be held July 11-22. Launchpad for Learning Summer Camp is an exciting opportunity for students to be introduced to upcoming grade-level standards with hands-on activities, field trips, and much more!
Questions? Contact Eddie Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading Event for Parents
Please join us on Wednesday, May 18th, from 6:30-7:30 pm
in the Wilson Center PLC (125 Electric Avenue) for an event to discuss “What parents need to know about Reading.” Please see the picture below for more information.
CSD Super Saturdays for K-5 Students
Come get hands-on experience with grade-level standards!
The next Super Saturday is on May 14 from 9:00 am- 12:00 pm at Fifth Avenue Elementary.*
Super Saturdays are open to all K-5 CSD students, but space is limited.
Click here to register and to learn more about the program. (*Location subject to change.)
Extra Mile Award
Students: Do you know a teacher or CSD employee who has gone “the extra mile” this year? Nominate them for the CSD Extra Mile Award! The Extra Mile Award is an annual award that allows students to show their appreciation for the teachers or staff they feel go above and beyond what is expected of them.
Students (not parents) at any grade level can write an essay describing how their teacher (or staff member) goes the extra mile (parents can help younger children write the essay). The essays should be detailed and describe how the employee goes above and beyond.
These awards will be presented at the CSD Opening Day Celebration in July.
Questions? Contact Courtney Burnett at email@example.com
District CLIP Input Meeting
Please join us to share your feedback on the CSD 2022-2023 Comprehensive Local Education Agency Implementation Plan (CLIP).
Please use the link here to review the current CLIP document prior to the meeting.
ESOL and Federal Programs Family Engagement Session
CSD Families and Students- Are you Interested in learning more about financial literacy? Please use the registration link below to sign-up for this workshop. We will discuss:
Saving for Emergencies
Finance 101: Part 2
Thursday, May 19 at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Community Partner Announcements and Updates
Decatur Parents Network
Join us for the next Parent Chat on May 9th, 7:30 pm-8:30 pm. The timing isn't quite right to get back to in-person parent meetings, but nothing stops us from gathering on Zoom.
A member of the leadership team will facilitate the event. There will be a suggested theme for discussion at each meeting, but the primary intent of these chats is to foster connection with those in attendance. PLEASE NOTE: These chats will not be recorded.
Register and learn more at https://www.decaturparents.net/events/parent-chats.
Decatur Education Foundation
It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! Your words of love and appreciation mean everything to our teachers -- Express your appreciation for a teacher or CSD staff member with a Step Up tribute: Go to www.stepupforteachers.com, make a $25 contribution and you can leave a tribute message for your favorite CSD employee, and we’ll notify the honored person. For $50 you can honor two CSD staff members AND have a yard sign delivered to your Decatur address! To celebrate our DHS seniors, we also have yard signs for the Class of 2022! Your contributions support Teacher Innovation Grants and provide an encouraging boost that our teachers need to finish the school year!
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our Renfroe and Talley snack program! Those programs have enough snacks for the rest of the school year! There are still a few items left on the Weekend backpack program, to which you can donate from this link: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1IVCVGY0GCF9S?ref_=wl_fv_le
To our DEF treasure hunters – we’ll be announcing the winners of the treasure hunt raffle NEXT WEEK, so stay tuned to DEF social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter). It could be YOU! The treasure hunt is still active for anyone who would like a fun family activity, click HERE for info.