Bear Essentials

Weekly eNews from Berkeley Lake Elementary, Sept. 15, 2022

Haga clic aquí para leer este boletín en español

This link will take a visitor to the same newsletter but in Spanish

Principal's Message

Dear Parents,

It's been another great week of learning at Berkeley Lake Elementary School! We held our first School Council meeting and our first Coffee Talk of the year. Many thanks to those who attended. One of our school improvement goals this year is to reduce barriers for parents who want to be more involved and more informed about the school. If you have ideas or requests for how to improve our processes, please let me know!

Here are links to some of the topics we covered in Coffee Talk:

GCPS Blueprint for the Future

Morning Meeting example

GCPS AKS for Social Emotional Learning

What is Social Emotional Learning?

AKS at Home

Notes from our meeting with links

I shared our enrollment and staffing updates during these two meetings and there was lots of good news to share! As you may know, we have been searching for a teacher to fill our kindergarten opening. Ms. Mary Hudson will be starting as our new kindergarten teacher on Monday! We are also creating an additional 4th grade class, which will be taught by Ms. Candice Monts. We will be sending letters home on Friday to 4th grade parents whose child will be changing classes. Opening a new class after school has started is not our favorite thing to do, but it will reduce class sizes in 4th grade and bring those numbers down from 25 to 21.

I hope that you will consider volunteering a little bit of your time to support our upcoming Field Days on October 3, 4, and 5. This is a great opportunity for our students, but we can't make it work without you. Look for the sign-up below, so that you can sign up to help.

Also, don't forget tomorrow is a Digital Learning Day, so students will not come to school in the building. Teachers will be sending home Chromebooks and powercords this afternoon with the children, so they can complete assignments from home tomorrow. If you have any questions about the Chromebooks or assignments, please reach out to your child's teacher(s).

I hope you have a great weekend!

Your Principal and Partner,

Dr. Pendleton

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Next Week's Calendar:

Saturday, September 17 & Sunday, September 18

  • Charleston Wrap Fundraiser continues

Monday, September 19

  • Charleston Wrap Fundraiser
  • 3:00pm Chess Club
  • 3:15pm Green Team meets

Tuesday, September 20

  • Last Day of Charleston Wrap Fundraiser
  • 2:45pm Peer Mediator Training
  • 9:30am Play to Learn
  • 5:00pm Title I Annual Meeting via Zoom

Wednesday, September 21

  • Peer Mediator Training
  • 9:00am Basic English Class in the Parent Center

Thursday, September 22

  • 3:00pm Club Invention- 3rd Grade Only
  • 3:15pm Robotics Team
  • 6:00pm BLES Parent Workshop: Logical Consequences, Respect Agreements, & Restorative Practices at Home

Friday, September 23

  • 7:45am K-Kids Meeting in Ms. Ashadele's room

Saturday, September 24 & Sunday, September 25

  • Duluth Fall Festival

Our Blueprint for the Future: Building the Bridge from Empathy to Excellence

Please take a moment to look over our district Blueprint for the Future. Our Local School Plan for Improvement is designed to support the district initiatives of Empathy, Equity, Effectiveness, and Excellence. We will highlight each of our local goals in future Bear Essentials. The Blueprint is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Blueprint for the Future

PTO News and Updates:


The PTO Operating Budget has passed. Thank you to everyone that took time to review and vote on it.

Spirit Night

Thanks to everyone for supporting our Spirit Night at Panda Express. It was a great success. Our next Spirit Night will be announced soon.

Classroom Directories

Parents please click a link below to be added to your child's voluntary class directory. If you have multiple kids, please click each link. Your room parent will contact you when the list is completed. This will help aid in classroom volunteer opportunities and classroom donations (such as extra snacks and class supplies).

Charleston Wrap Sale is in Full Swing!

Register and share the sale with friends and family. When sales are made turn in tickets for a chance to win the huge plushie Googly. The classes with the most items sold in EACH grade level will win an ice cream party! The sale will end on September 20th, so don't delay placing your orders.

Field Day

The sign up for field day volunteers is now open! Click here to sign up to volunteer.

A few things to remember: Parents who come to Field Day are expected to volunteer, not just visit. You can sign up to be a greeter and also volunteer for your child's field day, too. The times we are listing on the sign up are times when we need you for volunteering - please plan to be there the full time slot, as you will be working a station for all the groups to visit. We have a lot of volunteer spots to fill, but hope we can fill them so our kids can have a great Field Day this year!

Volunteer Dates and Times

Monday, October 3rd

  • 4th Grade (8:15-10:15 AM)
  • 5th Grade: (11:45 AM-1:45 PM)

Tuesday, October 4th

  • 2nd Grade (8:15-10:15 AM)
  • 3rd Grade (11:45 AM-1:45 PM)

Wednesday, October 5th

  • Kindergarten (8:15-10:15 AM)
  • 1st Grade (11:45 AM-1:45 PM)

Fine Arts Night

Thank you to all of the BLES students and families that came out to Duluth High School last Friday night. Below are some photos from the event. Special thanks to Mr. Green, our BLES Music teacher, for helping prepare and leading our 4th and 5th grade students for the event.

Thank you to the following parents for helping in the cafeteria... We truly appreciate you!!!

  • Cassandra Moreno
  • Emilia Colotl
  • Marcelina Solis

Picture Day is Coming

Fall picture day for our students will take place on Wednesday, September 28th. Ordering information will be sent home in folders this week. Order online using this link and school code B127


click here to view and print a hard copy of the order form.

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Details About Next Week's Events:

Monday, September 19th:

Green Team

Students on Green Team will meet until 4:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 20th:

AKS at Home Sessions for Parents of Students in Grades 4th and 5th

AKS at Home provides math and language arts resources to support families of children in grades K-5. Through live virtual grade-specific Zoom sessions and helpful AKS tip sheets, families of students in grades K-5 can learn ways to help their children practice foundational skills in language arts and math.

How: Register for Zoom sessions on the AKS at Home webpage

Workshop for Parents of Special Education Students, Tuesday, September 20th

If you are a Parent/Guardian of a student receiving Special Education services in our school system, you are invited to a parent mentor presentation, “Starting the New School Year on a Positive Note.” Click here for more information.

The event will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022:


Annual Title I Meeting Over Zoom, 5:00 PM

Parents and families are invited to attend our BLES Annual Title I Parent Meeting over Zoom.

Click here to join the Zoom meeting

Meeting ID: 954 6147 9303

Passcode: Bears

PTO Charleston Wrap Sale Will End at Midnight

Wednesday, September 21st:

AKS at Home Sessions for Parents of Students in Grades 2nd and 3rd

AKS at Home provides math and language arts resources to support families of children in grades K-5. Through live virtual grade-specific Zoom sessions and helpful AKS tip sheets, families of students in grades K-5 can learn ways to help their children practice foundational skills in language arts and math.

How: Register for Zoom sessions on the AKS at Home webpage

Basic English Class

Join us every Wednesday from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the Parent Center

Bring a notebook, a pen and your enthusiasm to learn!

If you have any questions, please email Mrs. Orci at


Play2Learn is a free program for younger children that encourages them and you to play, learn, and grow!

  • Who? Children ages birth to 5 years and their parents or caregivers
  • What? Learning through play
  • Where? Here at Berkeley Lake Elementary
  • When? Tuesday mornings from 9:30 - 11:00 AM
  • Why? Early learning is important. Simply put, a child's early years lay the foundation for all that is to come. In recent years, researchers have learned that the human brain develops the vast majority or its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age.
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Thursday, September 22nd:

Chorus Club Begins at 7:00 AM

Chorus club will begin Thursday, September 22nd, for any 4th and 5th grade students who want to join. Applications are in the music room and are due Friday, September 16th. Chorus will meet at 7:00 AM every Thursday morning, beginning September 22, and running through December. A $12.00 T-shirt fee is required to join.

AKS at Home Sessions for Parents of Students in Kindergarten and 1st Grades

AKS at Home provides math and language arts resources to support families of children in grades K-5. Through live virtual grade-specific Zoom sessions and helpful AKS tip sheets, families of students in grades K-5 can learn ways to help their children practice foundational skills in language arts and math.

How: Register for Zoom sessions on the AKS at Home webpage

Parent Workshop: Logical Consequences, Respect Agreements, & Restorative Practices at Home, 6:00 PM

All parents, we invite you to attend a parent workshop, hosted by our counselors. The topic will be Logical Consequences, Respect Agreements, & Restorative Practices at Home.

  • When: Thursday, September 22 from 6:00-7:00 PM (Spanish interpretation will be provided)
  • Where: BLES Media Center for those wanting to attend in-person OR through through Zoom for those wanting to attend virtually. (Click here for the Zoom information.)

During the workshop you will:

  • Gain understanding about what Restorative Practices are and how we use them at BLES

  • Gain an understanding of how Restorative Practices can be used at home

  • Learn how to use Logical Consequences when dealing with misbehavior at home

  • Receive the tools you need to write a Respect Agreement at home

  • Learn about the relationship between Respect Agreements and Logical Consequences and how they work to help avoid power struggles at home.

Friday, September 23rd:

K-Kids Meet

The next meeting for K-Kids will be Friday, September 23rd, in Mrs. Ashadele's Room. There is no need to come early, the meeting will not begin until after the bell has rung.

Saturday and Sunday, September 24th and 25th

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More School News:

Save the Date - International Night is Coming

Look in your child's Friday folder this week for a flyer coming home about International Night. This year, the event will be held on Friday, October 14th from 5:00 - 7:00 PM, and we would like as many families to participate, as possible.

Bilingual Site for Families of English Language Leaners

Check out the Colorin Colorado website. It is a bilingual site for families of English Language Leaners. There are activities, articles, videos, books, and parent and family tips to help your child learn to read, write, listen, and speak English.

What is iReady?

In this 2 minute video, you will learn about the iReady program. An online program for reading and/or mathematics that will help your student’s teacher(s) determine your student’s needs, personalize their learning, and monitor progress throughout the school year.

Click here to watch the video in English. If you would like to change the language on the video, click the top-right corner and the website and video will change to your selected language.

Building Babies Brains

Building Babies' Brains is a website designed with Gwinnett families in mind. Their strategy is to ensure that all parents have access to the information and tools they need to be their child's best teacher so that all children have access to high quality early learning at home or elsewhere.

Please take a moment to visit this website to find great resources for your family.

Fire Prevention Week Poster Contest

Mailing information found below

During Fire Prevention Week, the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire works to find every possible way to make learning about fire safety fun and exciting. This year, we will be teaming up with the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association for the 2022 Fire Safety Tips Calendar Poster Contest. To utilize the creativity of children across the State of Georgia we are hosting a contest with the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association that provides a fun way for them to bring out their inner artist all while learning about fire safety.

The poster entries should focus on 12 different fire and life safety tips.

Every year, the NFPA puts out a theme for Fire Prevention Week and this year's theme is "Fire Won't Wait. Plan Your Escape", highlights why having a home escape plan is so important in the case of an emergency. The other 11 themes will cover related safety tips.

The winners of this contest will have their drawings placed in a Fire Safety Calendar, which will be handed out to all 3rd grade teachers across the State of Georgia, so that every time they turn the calendar, they can review the safety tip with the students. The main topic will be used for the cover of the calendar and in the month of October.
(Details below)

2022 Calendar Contest Themes


NFPA Fire Prevention Week Theme
"Fire Won't Wait. Know Your Escape"
Home escape plans are so important and having all family members practicing the plan ensures that everyone knows what to do in the case of an emergency.

"Give Space Heaters Some Space"
Always keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from combustible materials, such as your clothes, furniture or bedding.

"Firefighters are Your Friends, Never Hide from Them"
Firefighters and all emergency personnel are are your friends, so please remember to never hide from them in the case of an emergency.

"Matches and Lighters are Tools, Not Toys!"
When you find matches or lighters always give them to an adult.

"Always Be Careful Around Hot Liquids"
Hot liquids are the number one cause of burn injuries in the State of Georgia. Always remember to stay an arm's length away from the stove and always be cautious around things such as bathtub water, soup, and coffee.

"If Your Clothes Catch On Fire, STOP DROP AND ROLL."
Always remember to stop where you are and do not run around, lay flat, clover your eyes and mouth, and roll over and over until flames are out.

"In the Case of an Emergency, Call 911"
If you have a fire in your home and you are outside safely outside at your designated meeting place call 911. Always remember to speak clearly, give the type of emergency, along with your name and your location (always know your home address) and always remain on the phone until emergency personnel arrives.

"Leave the fireworks to the professionals."
Fireworks may be pretty but they are not toys! Did you know we only bake cakes at 350 degrees, while sparklers burn at 1200 degrees? At 1200 degrees this can cause extreme burn injuries.

"Home Fire Sprinklers Help Control and Extinguish Fires"
Did you know that home fire sprinkler system often can extinguish a fire before the fire department even arrives? This could save your life!

"When the Smoke Alarm Sounds, Get Out and Stay Out"
Did you know that smoke alarms should be installed in every level of your home? When there is smoke in your home your alarm will make a loud "beep, beep, beep, pause, beep, beep, beep pause. When you hear, this remember to get out and stay out!

"NFPA Fire Prevention Week Theme "Fire Won't Wait. Know Your Escape"
Home escape plans are so important and having all family members practicing the plan ensures that everyone knows what to do in the case of an emergency.

"Always Cook with Caution"
The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Always stay alert and aware while cooking and keep all items that can catch fire away from the stove, such as oven mitts, food packaging, paper towels or even your loosely hanging clothing.

"Keep Your Holidays Bright, Always Turn Your Lights Off and Blow Out All Candles."
Always remember to keep flammable items at least one foot away from burning candles. Always remember to turn off your holiday lights before leaving your home and before you go to bed.


Contest Application

Awards & Prizes

Mailing Address

All submissions will be reviewed and winners will be selected by a committee established by the Georgia Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire.

GCPS is Hiring

Bus Drivers:

Our drivers enjoy competitive pay rates ($19.07 - $27.03 per hour), outstanding health benefits with employer contribution, and a work schedule that fits their busy lifestyle! GCPS provides 100% fully Commercial Driver’s License training – our training team is one of the best in the nation and we will make you successful. Make a difference in the life of a child today, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with preparing the children in your community for their future. Click below to learn more about our upcoming recruiting events, and to apply today!

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School Nutrition Employees

We are looking for caring individuals who want to make a difference in our students' lives by preparing and serving nutritious meals. No experience is required and training is fully paid. GCPS provides outstanding health benefits with employer contribution for you and your family. Join the Café Gwinnett Team for a family-friendly work schedule and competitive pay.

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Other Reminders from Our School

Reminder About Afternoon Transportation Changes:

Parents, please remember that afternoon transportation changes must be made by 1:30 and there are only two ways for you to make an change for your child:

1. Use the PikMyKid app

2. Send in a signed note.

Dojos, emails, or phone calls to change afternoon transportation will not be accepted.

Thank you for helping us enforce this rule and keep our kids safe!

We Can Help

Many of us face economic hardships at various times in our lives. Due to these hardships, we may need additional help with basic needs like food. At this time, Berkeley Lake Elementary can help by providing a small amount of groceries for your family each week. They will be sent home in your child’s backpack on Fridays. The food is provided by donation. Your name and your child’s name will not be revealed to the donor. The Berkeley Lake Staff will get the food to your child in a discrete manner.

To participate, please email one of us, call either school counselor, or Mrs. Orci (Spanish speaker) to request participation.

Please call us with any questions or concerns:

Lyndsay Murphy

School Counselor

School Counselor


Laura Marantz

School Counselor


Sandra Orci (Spanish)

Parent Liaison


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COVID-19 Surveillance Testing for Students in Our Cluster

The GCPS COVID surveillance testing program is currently available to students and staff members in the Archer, Berkmar, Collins Hill, Dacula, Duluth, Grayson, Lanier, Norcross, and South Gwinnett clusters. If you have a current student in one of these clusters and are interested in participating in this pilot, click this link to sign up. Note: If you signed up for the program last year, you would not need to complete the sign-up again.

Did You Know BLES is on Various Social Media Apps?

Follow us on all of our social media accounts by clicking the links below:

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!

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.

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.

Do You Have a MyPaymentsPlus Account?

Gwinnett Public Schools uses MyPaymentsPlus as a site for school-related payments and documentation sign off. If you do not yet have an account with this site, you will need to set one up. Click here to learn more.

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.

We Thank Our Business Partners

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Contact Us:

Berkeley Lake Elementary

4300 S. Berkeley Lake Rd.

Duluth, Georgia 30096

P: (770)446-0947

F: (770)582-7514