In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

September 28, 2017

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Homework Question Update

Dear Bulldog Families and Friends,


Thank you for your input as we think through our homework strategy. Some in our community have been kind enough to weigh in on whether they were “pro” or “con” homework. Perhaps nuanced, but I would gently urge that we peel back a few layers and first seek the pros and cons of homework in general, then craft an appropriate strategy.


I will say that it has been a far more interesting question than I first appreciated and I’m looking forward to our conversations as a larger community. Our first homework “Town Hall” will be on October 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the theater. I hope all can join us.


We will also have a Coffee with the Admin Thursday, October 5th. Please note this is an evening meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the theater. (We will alternate morning and evening times for the coffees as we want to make sure all have an opportunity to attend. September was morning, so October will be evening.)


Finally, I understand that several of you are reading The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn. The faculty will also look at an often cited 2006 study out of Duke University called Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research 1987-2003. It is readily available online and is a little wonkish (a lot wonkish, really), but there are several summaries (also readily available online) that give you the gist of their findings.


Thank you for your interest in your child’s education and in helping us get this right.


Dan

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GWA Lunch & Learn

We are less than a week into fall, but admission season is in full swing. Our first prospective family event is only two weeks away. Spread the word to friends, neighbors and other family members who would like to learn more about our school!


Details: Lunch & Learn About GWA

Join us in the Alumni Commons for an informal lunch with current parents, students and teachers to learn a little more about GWA. Lunch will be followed by a short campus tour. Space is limited; reservations are required. Click HERE to register.

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Spanish Exchange Students Arrived This Week

This week George Walton Academy welcomed six students from St. Paul’s School in Barcelona, Spain to campus for the next four weeks. Inés Pérez, Nicole Medina, Laia Giménez, Nicolás Gutierrez, Juan Pi, and Juan Camilo are being hosted by GWA families while attending classes as part of our first official exchange program. We began this partnership with St. Paul’s in January of 2017, and the arrival of these students is the culmination of months of planning and preparation. The Spanish students are being hosted by six ninth grade students: Katlyn Hughes, Julia Waldo, Jolie Lanier, John Hart, Marcus McMain, and JP Sheehan. The exchange students were able to make their schedules ahead of time, following their host students for some classes and venturing on their own to alternative classes for others.


They arrived at just the right time to take in our homecoming week, and have already experienced a Braves game this past weekend. A host dinner was held this week where exchange students and their hosts had an opportunity to meet and mingle.


While here, they will see the World of Coke, do some shopping at the Mall of Georgia, take the PSAT, and travel with their host families to various destinations over fall break. GWA is excited to host these students and give them a taste of what it’s like to be an American high school student over the next month!

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See You at the Pole

On Wednesday, FCA president Claire Rowan organized GWA's See You at the Pole. This is a day of prayer for students across the nation. They gathered this morning at their flag poles to pray for the nation, school and community. Athletic Director Mark Whitley lead the morning with a devotion followed by a time of prayer.

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Peer Tutoring Center Now Open

NHS and Beta Club officially opened the Peer Tutoring Center in Mrs. Jackson’s room this week! They are open Tuesday & Thursdays from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. A sign up link was sent out to all students in ninth through 12th grade. Questions about this program can be emailed to Rachael Jackson at rjackson@gwa.com.
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Alia El-Sawi - Victim Assistance Specialist For Immigration and Customs Guest Speaker

Alia El Sawi, a Victim Assistance Specialist for Immigration Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security spoke to students in ninth through 12th grade on Tuesday, Sept. 26. She discussed the human trafficking industry and shared the tragic stories of victims she has encountered and assisted. Sawi also stayed after the presentation to answer questions from AP government students. This presentation was preceded by a debate on Friday where students in AP Government discussed the the role of the U.S. government at all levels of combating human trafficking.

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Spanish Students Travel To Calo Gitano Flamenco Academy

Last Thursday Señora McElveen's second period middle school Spanish language and culture class traveled to Calo Gitano Flamenco Academy in Atlanta to learn the music and dancing associated with flamenco dancing. The students heard the history of flamenco and learned about various tools (drums, castanets, fans) used in this particular style of Spanish dancing. The students also performed the steps (pasos and golpes) that they learned!
Fourth period middle school Spanish language and culture class are attending the academy today.

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A Delicious Way To Learn New Words

Nothing is more exciting than learning how to cook a delicious dish while learning new words. On Tuesday French I students practiced the French word for "egg," "milk," "sugar" and "jam" while taking turns adding the ingredients into blender. French teacher Ms. Cecile Gervais demonstrated how to cook crêpes in a pan . "We filled them with either "sucre" or jam "confiture" and we enjoyed "crêpes,'" said Ms. Gervais. For several in the group, it was their first time to taste this delicious dish.

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Socratic Circle Creates a Culture of Student-Led Discussions

The Socratic Circle, in its third year at GWA, is a club established for and by students. The group’s mission has four parts: to encourage open-mindedness; to promote respect for those with different backgrounds and world views; to promote civil discourse within the GWA student body on controversial topics; and to put ideas on trial. Students meet for a couple of hours the fourth Sunday afternoon of each month at the Wayfarer Music Hall to talk about current news and debatable topics, both domestic and international. The first topic of this school year dealt with the feasibility of Advanced Placement classes, and the September discussion was on capital punishment. Discussion leaders elected for the 2017-18 school year are Megan McGoldrick, Jeffery Craven, and Grayson Eady. Faculty sponsors are Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Van Wyk.
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Learning About the Past

Third graders are currently reading a historical selection, "William's House," about a family building their home in 1637. The students visited the William Harris Homestead in Monroe and learned how early Georgia settlers carved out a self-sufficient lifestyle in the wilderness area of our state. The field trip included a hayride, cellar tour, house tour, information about candle making and food preservation plus a Civil War soldier reenactment. This educational experience brought the story students were reading to life and gave them a first hand look into the everyday lives of early homesteaders in the nineteenth century.
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Diamond Del's Visits GWA

On Monday the sixth grade hosted Diamond Del’s Gem Mining Adventure as an extension of the rocks and minerals unit being covered in class. This is an opportunity for students to gain experience with the process of identifying and classifying fifteen different rocks and minerals. Students got hands on practice in panning, one of the many ways used to separate minerals from the less desirable mining ore without leaving campus.

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Thank You from Athletic Director Mark Whitley

I want to send a message of gratitude to our student section, our parents and our community for the turnout at last week’s football game at Prince Avenue. What a joy to look up in the stands that were filled with fans, young and old and seeing everyone in their “white out” attire, even standing along the fence cheering on YOUR TEAM!!


Thank you all so much for getting behind our boys last week to achieve “Game of the Week.” Although we fell a little short on the scoreboard, you showed up and now we have to hold up our end of the bargain to “Show Out!” Please join us this week on the field after the game as the band will be playing our Alma Mater and the coaches will be giving their words of encouragement to the players. We are a family and we want you all to be a part. Nothing like Friday Night Lights. It can be done! We lead! Again thanks for your continued support. It does not go unnoticed. See you on Friday.

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Middle School Softball is Hitting It Out of the Park!

Congratulations to our Middle School softball team. They are 11-0. Their last game is today, Sept. 28 away at Oglethorpe Middle in Crawford at 5 p.m.
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Middle School Volleyball Wraps Up Their Season

Congratulations to both of our middle school volleyball teams for a great season!
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ParentsWeb (RenWeb) Got You Confused?

Not sure how to check your child's grades, assignments, change your family information or access school news? Sign up for our ParentsWeb class for parents on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Session will be held in the auditorium. Click HERE to sign up.

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Show Me the Money!

The two most famous lines from the 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire, are “You Complete Me” and “Show me the Money!” On October 11 at 7 p.m. Ms. Brenda Vaughan of GA Futures will give a presentation to senior parents in the George Walton Auditorium on how to complete the forms that will show them scholarship money.


Speaking of money for college, 2017 will be the first year when the online FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will open on October 1st https://fafsa.ed.gov/. However, before you can complete FAFSA both the student and one parent are required to have an FSA ID. Request one at www.fsaid.ed.gov.


High school parents need to be on the lookout for an upcoming email from Mr. Clancy with valuable information on available scholarships.

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