Berkeley Lake ES

"Bear Essentials" Weekly e-Newsletter, September 11, 2020

Principal's Message

Dear Parents,

Now that we have 4th and 5th grade students in the building, it feels like the new school year has truly started! I want to remind everyone that we are no longer accepting requests to change students from digital to in-person or vice versa. While extreme situations may warrant an exception, it is our expectation that students remain in their placement through the rest of this semester.

I want to let you know about some changes to our staffing plan that will be made in the coming weeks. Due to low enrollment across the county, we are being asked to cut our personnel plan by the equivalent of three and a half teachers. We have worked to make that change in way that impacts classroom teachers (and student placements) as little as possible. For the most part, the changes will not directly impact students at all. If your child will be changing classes, you should already know about that change, but I did want to be transparent about this unfortunate change of events.

If you have questions about how we staff the school or anything else school-related, my upcoming Coffee Talk is a great opportunity to learn more about BLES. I hope you will join us!

Your Principal and Partner,

Dr. Pendleton

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Did Your Family Borrow a Chromebook from Our School?

If your child borrowed a school chromebook and/or hotspot but is now coming to school in person, please return anything borrowed to the teacher. (Chromebooks, powercords, and/or hotspots).

If your child is still a digital only learner and borrowed a chromebook or hotspot, you may keep the device(s)for now. When your student returns to in person learning, the devices will need to be returned at that time.

Deadline to Let Us Know You Want to Have Your 1st, 2nd, or 5th Grader CoGAT Tested is TODAY

If your child is a digital learner in 1st, 2nd, or 5th Grade, you have the option to bring him/her to the school for the Cognitive Abilities (CogAT) test. If you would like to do this, please fill out this form by the end of the day TODAY, Friday, September 11th. If you do not want to do this, please do NOT fill out the form.

A Message from Mr. Green, our Music Specials Teacher

Dear Parents and Students,

Whether your child is an in-person, or a digital learner, I am asking that all students sign up for a Quaver music account at using the directions below.

Please follow these instructions to sign up for your free account and let me know if you need any help!

Mr. Green

Imagine Learning

Imagine Learning Literacy launched this week and Imagine Learning Math will launch for our students on September 14th!

Both Imagine Learning programs are web-based, so they can be accessed anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. If your student will be using a tablet or iPad to use the program, it is best to download the Imagine Learning app. If your child is using a chromebook or laptop, he/she can access it through the Imagine Learning website.

When students first begin both programs, they will take an assessment to see what their current level is.

It is VERY important that students take this assessment without any help from parents, tutors, day care workers, or older siblings, in order for the student to be placed at the correct level for support.

If your child is working on Imagine Learning at home, you are welcome to help him/her get logged in, but after that we ask that you do not help your child with answers.

Once the initial assessment is complete, your child will automatically be given content in the program that is specific to the level at which she/he tested.

In order for Imagine Learning to best support your child academically, we encourage you to have him/her get on the program for 15-20 minutes per day if at all possible. The more time students spend on the program, the more gains they will make; however, the program is meant to be used in short but frequent time blocks so a session longer than 30 minutes would be too much.

Usernames and passwords to access the programs will be the student ID number. Our school code for access is 1302550. All of this information can be found on the student log in cards.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email Jessica Hill at

Mobile Food Pantry

Gwinnett County Public Library in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank will hold a drive-through food pantry September 15th & 29th – 11:00 AM (until supplies run out) at the Norcross Branch (6025 Buford Hwy., Norcross, GA 30071). Food will be distributed starting at 11:00 AM on a first-come, first-served basis, one package per family while supplies last. Each package will contain up to 20 lbs of produce in addition to shelf stable items. Distribution will be a drive-through process with volunteers bringing food packages out to cars.

Help for the Holidays

During these difficult times, many families will need help for the holidays. We will share information as we learn of programs in this newsletter. Programs for holiday help fill up quickly and can require several steps to sign-up. The Salvation Army is currently taking applications for children and seniors to receive a gift for the holidays. Please see the attached for information on what needed to apply, and then call (770) 724-1667 or go to

Title I Annual Meeting

Our next Title I meeting will take place on September 24th, from 5:30 - 6:30 PM, and will be the Annual meeting. This meetings will take place as Zoom video call and the link to the meeting will be shared out closer to the date through teachers' eClass course pages, Class Dojo, and School Messenger.

If you would like to learn more about our Title I program, click here to visit the Title I page on our BLES website and click here to watch a video that will tell you more about the program.

Free and Reduced Lunch Applications

Parents, please remember that it is not too late for you to complete a free/reduced lunch application. This is something that must be done every new school year, and you may think you do not need to apply since Gwinnett Schools are currently providing free breakfasts and lunches for students, but we do need you to apply, as it may effect our Title I status. Click here to complete the online application.

Meals Available

Both lunch and breakfast are now offered at no charge through December 31, 2020.

What this means:

  • Face to face instruction – meals are available at no charge to all students.
  • Curbside Pick-up – meals are available to anyone 18 or under at no charge and the child does not need to be a GCPS student (curbside service is still Monday through Thursday).
  • ID cards do not need to be scanned.

If you think you may be eligible, please complete a Free & Reduced meal application so you will have meal benefits when this waiver expires.

Parents of Children from Birth to Age 5

Play to Learn

Looking for a free program for your younger child that will encourage them and you to play, learn, and grow? Play to Learn is that program! Play to Learn is for children up to age 5 and the parents and caregivers. The program supports learning through play. We offer it here at Berkeley Lake Elementary for 90 minutes, once a week, from September to May. If you are interested in enrolling your child in our Play to Learn program, please reach out to Diana Diazgranados at or call Sandra Orci at (678) 291-4232.

Gwinnett Grows

If you are a parent of a child from birth to preschool age, please visit this link to see more early learning resources offered by Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Parent Tips for Digital Learning from Our Counselors and Teachers

As we all journey through this unprecedented school year together, we know that it takes a village to raise kids, now more than ever. We’ve learned some things along the way that we want to share with you. Below you will find some helpful tips for those continuing with digital learning, and something to file away just in case for those who have had their children return to school. Also, your child’s teachers and counselor are always a great resource, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

  • Need help creating a system for managing behavior, breaks, and/or motivation? Check out these helpful ideas from GCPS.

  • Be mindful of where your child’s computer is during class and remember that what is happening behind them is viewable for everyone on their Zoom meeting. Why not have students sit with a wall behind them? Perhaps they could even color pictures and decorate their own virtual space! It could be fun for the whole family.

  • Even though most children are very good at using the mute button in the virtual class at this point in the year, be mindful of the noise at home. Whether it is a busy household, or a conversation, we can hear you when your child is not on mute.

  • We are trying to teach the children good virtual classroom manners and want to see digital learning resemble school as much as possible. With that in mind, if there is a possibility of someone being on camera, please dress children and ask other family members to kindly dress as they would if you were coming to our building.

  • Make sure that your child is using breaks for lunch and recess to get away from their screen. Encourage physical activity, time outside, and hobbies. Kids love to play, and learn many important skills through physical activity!

  • This is very important: Remember to check your Class Dojo messages and email regularly to read important communications from your child’s teacher. With students at home, we need family support to communicate with your child.

  • If your child is doing digital learning at daycare, or away from you, please check eCLASS regularly with them to keep up with their assignments and help them plan how to complete their assignments.

  • Our job as teachers, counselors, school administrators, and parents is to encourage learning through respect, encouragement, self discipline, and active learning. We love to see everyone involved in a child's learning. We are here for you if you need us in any way. Please reach out to the child's teacher if you need tips or tricks related to school, or anything that you might need to help your child succeed in a virtual classroom.

PTO News

  • Don’t Forget Grandparents Day is This Sunday. Let’s Celebrate - Digitally! We’ve created a picture frame for you to snap your photo and send to your grandparents. It’s free to use to make your grandparents’ day! Download your PNG or JPEG file, snap a picture with the frame and send it. (We typically sell these at our Grandparent’s Day luncheon as for $5. If you’d like to provide a donation, please see MyPayments Plus, PTO section, and type in the amount you’d like to give.)

  • We’re still in need of someone to manage an online fall fundraiser. Let us know if you have any questions about what’s involved with something like that or if you’re ready to jump in.

Self-Guided FREE Learning Resources

Self-guided learning resources have been made available to all through a collaboration between Gwinnett Public Libraries, GCPS, and By following this link you will be taken to the Gwinnett County Library webpage. At the bottom of the page, follow the directions.

  • Students' log-in and password are the student ID and login password
  • For all others: Library Card number from back of card and 4 digit password that you created with your library account.

Last year, the Gwinnett County Public Library teamed up with Gwinnett County Schools to offer a free online tutoring program to help students who needed some additional support with daily digital learning assignments. We are happy to announce that the program is continuing this fall by offering online homework support. Click one of the help links below for more information:

Click here to learn how to use

Click here to learn how to access

Click here to log into

Gwinnett Cares

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Duluth High School National Honor Society Students Offering Free Tutoring

Hello parents! For this on-going fall semester, Duluth High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) has offered to provide an exciting and innovative free tutoring service. Through Covac Education, a student organized corporation that strives to support the community through academic enrichment, student instructors from Duluth High School’s National Honor Society are providing free tutoring sessions for elementary students (1st-5th) in math. These sessions take place on Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

As well as being completely free, these tutoring sessions are paired with Common-Core/Georgia Standards worksheets to help students make the most of their time. Sessions are 20 minutes long, and all instructors are trained and have access to teaching directions based on specific Georgia standards.

For students to take advantage of this, you will need to sign up online using an appointment form provided on Covac Education’s website (links below). After doing so, students are individually paired with an instructor from an NHS or other honor societies/volunteer organizations. Considering the hardships of digital learning, we believe that this is a great opportunity for every student!

This free tutoring service will begin on September 8th and sign-ups will begin September 4th. Please feel free to visit this link to learn more and sign up using this form.


Duluth National Honor Society

GCPS' Return to Learning Hub

Click here for information, resources, how-to’s, and more related to Gwinnett County Public Schools’ plans for Fall 2020. No matter if you are learning digitally or plan to transition to in-person... this is your go-to source.

Meals Available for Students During Digital Learning

On Wednesday, August 13th, we began our curbside meal pick up to provide our students meals during digital learning. If you are interested in picking up a meal for your child, there will be a table outside in the front of the school. You will pull into the front drive and walk up to the table outside to pick up the meals. Meals will only be available for pick up between 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM, Monday-Thursday. Thursday’s pick-up will include meals for both Thursday and Friday. Students will be offered the choice of both a breakfast and a lunch each day. Students no longer need to present their Student ID cards. In order to limit direct contact, we strongly encourage parents to add money to their child’s account via MyPaymentsPlus.

Need Tech Help During Digital Learning?

Please follow the steps below if your child is having technical issues during digital learning:

  1. Check the BLES website for troubleshooting guides.
  2. If you are not able to resolve your problem with the help guides, reach out to your child's teacher.
  3. If the teacher is unable to help you resolve the issue, complete the form in the Technology Help section of the website and someone in Tech Support will get back to you.

A Look Ahead...

Monday, September 14

Students can begin Imagine Learning Math

Tuesday, September 15

9:00am BLES School Council Meeting -Virtual

Wednesday, September 16

12:30pm Play 2 Learn

Thursday, September 17

9:00am Coffee Talk with Dr. Pendleton in English

10:30am Coffee Talk with Dr. Pendleton in Spanish

Wednesday, September 23

12:30pm Play 2 Learn

Thursday, September 24

5:30pm Title I Annual Meeting Virtual (Zoom)

Do You Have a Parent Portal Account?

You may have heard about Gwinnett's Parent Portal. The Parent Portal is a website that will allow you to log in and see your child's information, such as attendance, grades, standardized test scores, etc.

If you need to register with the portal, please print and complete this registration form and turn it in to the main office. Along with the completed form, you are required to show a photo I.D. for verification.

Berkeley Lake Recycles

Berkeley Lake recycles aluminum cans and old clothes and shoes (in any condition) in the two bins in the upper parking lot. The Green Team receives 10¢ per pound of donations, which helps pay the fee for the weekly paper and cardboard pick-up. The aluminum cans are recycled at Progressive Recycling on Simpson Circle. Please support our Green Team by recycling these items here at Berkeley Lake. Thank you!

We Collect Box Tops (Online)

Box Tops for Education is Online: Starting this year, Box Tops are being collected online only. Here are instructions for how to continue to give to our school using the new Box Tops process.

We Are On Twitter

Follow our school on Twitter @BerkeleyLakeES

Our Parent Center

The Berkeley Lake Parent Center is located across from the front office and it's providing services by appointment. For Parent Center support please call Ms. Sandra Orci, Parent Liaison, at 678-291-4232 or email her at

Our Mission

To provide learning experiences in a secure and stimulating environment where every child can develop to his/her fullest potential academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our Vision

BLES is a positive safe, nurturing environment that fosters respect among all students, teachers, parents and community members, while forwarding world-class achievement that successfully maximizes each student's individual potential through engaging instruction.

Contact Us:

Berkeley Lake Elementary

4300 S. Berkeley Lake Rd.

Duluth, Georgia 30096

P: (770)446-0947

F: (770)582-7514

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