In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

August 5, 2021

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Fall Sports/Band Picture Day: Aug. 9
  • Meet & Greet with Mr. Hobbs: Aug. 15, 2 - 4 p.m.
  • Open House: Aug. 16
  • Senior Class BBQ: Aug. 17
  • First Day of School for All Grades: Aug. 18
  • MS Mega Relay: Aug. 18
  • Ice Cream Social: Aug. 26
  • Curriculum Night: Sept. 21 (see details below)
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Current COVID Guidelines

An email was sent to all GWA families on July 29 outlining a comprehensive three-tiered COVID-19 plan with guidelines and options for the 2021-22 school year. The school’s plan provides guidelines for each tier including social distancing, transportation, campus visitors, dining, symptom monitoring and more. It also provides families with detailed information regarding necessary protocols in case of suspected COVID exposure or a positive COVID test result.


At this time, George Walton Academy plans to open school in Tier 1 with a mask-optional policy. We will continue to consult with health experts and monitor community transmission and make any adjustments to our policies as needed. Please click HERE to access the COVID-Plan as well as the COVID Decision Making Guide or find the information at gwa.com (under About).


We hope your family enjoys the final days of summer break and we can’t wait to welcome you back to campus very soon!

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With our Open House date and times finalized - we are getting ready to welcome everyone for the 2021- 2022 school year! Please note the following regarding the upcoming Open House event:


  • Open House is not a drop-in event, please choose one of the two sessions (sign up is not required) and arrive no later than the start time.
  • Lower School sessions will start in students' homerooms, class lists will be posted outside the teachers' doors.
  • Middle and Upper School students will start in their first period class, schedules will be released prior to Open House.
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Important Schedule Details

Please take time to familiarize yourself with the daily schedules for the upcoming school year linked below. The start and release times vary from last year and in middle and upper school - students will be dismissed at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesdays. Please see special schedules for the first week of school pictured below.
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Please click the links below to view and print daily full week schedules for middle and upper school for the 2021- 2022 school year. These schedules may also be found in ParentsWeb under Resource Documents.


Middle School Daily Schedule

Upper School Daily Schedule

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Welcome Back From the PARC!

The PARC (the Place for Academic Reinforcement and Coaching) is designed to extend educational support to students of all levels. Whether a student wants to improve a class grade or has other educational needs, the PARC is here to support every learner. The PARC is committed to providing opportunities for students to discover their personal learning styles and/or learning differences to reach their academic potential. Our goal at the PARC is to equip all students with the learning strategies and skills necessary to be successful, life-long learners. Here are some of the great things students can find in the PARC:


· Tutoring (faculty and peer)

· Academic Coaches

· Privately Contracted Tutors, SLP, OT (additional fee)

· Study skills and learning strategies

· Critical thinking support

· Test-taking accommodations (qualifying students)

· Educational workshops (faculty and student)


The PARC is also where parents can find support and direction for their child’s learning!

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the 2021-2022 PARC staff:


Julie Howard,

Lower School Academic Coach

Jackie Vadney,

Lower School Academic Coach

Angie McElveen,

Middle School Academic Coach

Angela Williams,

High School Academic Coach

Tonya Coe,

High School Academic Coach

Lynn Robinson,

Testing & Tutoring Coordinator

Lisa Garrett,

Lower School Testing Coordinator


We are so excited and honored to be entrusted with such an important role in your child’s education. We look forward to supporting you and your child.


Sincerely,

Doretta Power, PARC Director

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Please click HERE for the (highlighted) updates to the dress code for the 2021 -2022 school year. Please contact Dean of Students Matt Reynolds with any questions.
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Give Us Your Feedback!

Please take a minute to help our counseling team better support your student this year. Remember to complete the additional page to be entered for a $15 Amazon Gift Card raffle! Click HERE to take the survey. Thank you!

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Welcoming New Team Members

We are pleased to introduce our newest faculty and staff and ask you to join us in welcoming them to our GWA family!

Jennyffer Reed - K5 Teacher

Jennyffer has worked in education for six years teaching kindergarten and second grade. She graduated from a small liberal arts school with a double major and says her journey and passion for education began with her work with Teach For America.


“I am so excited to be a part of the Bulldog family!” said Jennyffer. “I love what GWA stands for and the beautiful impact the school has on students, families and the community. I would like for our families to know that I will love their child and spark curiosity for being a lifelong learner. I can’t wait to get involved and get to know everyone!”

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Josh Jameson - Upper School Art Teacher

After graduating George Walton Academy in 2005, Josh studied theater stage craft and fine art painting at Berry College. In 2006, he transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated in 2011 with a BFA in Illustration and a Minor in Painting.


Since 2015, Josh worked as a freelance illustrator and also contracted for costume and prop fabrication and creature sculpting for television series and films.


“As a GWA alumnus, I’ve always known the Academy has been an amazing school to grow up in, but returning to campus this year I am amazed by its evolution and look forward to teaching the up-and-coming young artists,” said Josh. “I intend to still be very active in my art field while teaching at GWA. I hope to use that as an advantage when finding opportunities to my future students for their collegial and professional careers.”

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Sign Up for Fall LAX

Fall lacrosse is a modified version of the game we play in the spring. It's a great opportunity for new and inexperienced players to come out and try the fastest game on two feet.


Practices: Practices begin on August 25, and they will be held on Wednesday & Friday throughout the fall. For those who are participating in other fall sports, you must attend those practices and games first. Fall sports must take priority! Team practices will start with the following times:

Bantam (Grades 1 - 3) & Lightning (Grades 4 & 5): 4 - 5:30*

Junior (Grades 6 & 7) & Senior (Grades 7 & 8): 5:30 - 7:00*

*Practice times are subject to change. Coach Scott Jackson will update everyone if we need to make any changes due to field availability.


Games: The schedule will be released at the end of August. Games are held on Sundays after church.

· September: 12, 19, 26

· October: 3, 17, 24, 31


Cost: $150: You can pay by cash or check and drop off at the front office or give it to Coach Jackson on the first night of practice. Please put your payment in an envelope and write your child's name on the envelope.


Equipment: Players are required to provide their own equipment. We have a limited amount to loan out to players. A team store will open for those who need to order equipment. Please reach out to the coach before your child or a sales associate at a sporting goods store has you order overpriced or unnecessary gear. The link will be emailed as soon as the store opens.


Registration Links:

Boys Youth Registration

Girls Youth Registration

Boys Middle School Registration

Girls Middle School Registration

Boys High School Registration

Girls High School Registration


Please reach out to sjackson@gwa.com if you have any questions.

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"Beyond the Shadows" Takes Shape

With summer band camp in full swing - the GWA Marching Bulldog Band is taking a walk on the spooky side of life in their new show production entitled "Beyond the Shadows."


The Band has new leadership this year, including their top five leaders or Top Dawgs:


  • Drum Major: Emma Barley
  • Band President: Gracie Wood
  • Co-Vice Presidents: Mac Geoffroy and Will Bowick
  • Band Sergeant: Ren Grimsley


The Marching Bulldogs would like to invite any rising sixth, seventh or eighth graders who might like to give band a try to stop by and sign up with Directors Mr. Smith or Mrs. Castro. It's never too late to join the band team and enjoy making music! Be a part of one of the best and most recognized groups at George Walton Academy with a 23 year history of excellence!


Photo credit: Frank Byers

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Award-Winning Artists

GWA student artwork will be on display at this weekend’s Atlanta Dogwood Festival in the Atlanta High School Art Exhibition. Award-winners Breena McGraw ’22 and Alana Thorpe ’21 have their works on display in drawing and photography, respectively, while nine other GWA students will have pieces presented digitally, in large format. The exhibit is in the Piedmont Park Community Center (use 12th St., Willy’s Mexicana Grill entrance).
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It's Dawg Season

Join Dawgs 360 this year and reap all of the benefits! Dawgs 360 is simply the best way to get involved at GWA! It is the clearinghouse for all volunteer opportunities on campus. It’s a 360 degree turn, a full circle of influence that promotes and celebrates Bulldog school pride.


We encourage parents to become involved in our GWA community. Attending events and volunteering are great ways to meet other parents, interact with students and collaborate with GWA faculty. There’s no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together.


Enjoy the perks and convenience of being a Dawgs 360 member including:

*Admission to all concerts, plays, and performances

*Admission to all home athletic competitions, except playoffs

*Field trips, for both the student and the member chaperone (overnight field trips require additional fee)

*Class parties

*10% discount on all regular-priced apparel at the Dawg Shop


An annual family membership is $250 and the deadline to join is Sept. 30. Click HERE for the membership form. Email Elizabeth McDonel, Director of Dawgs 360, at if you have any questions.

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Ice Cream Anyone?

Dawgs 360 is thrilled to announce the return of a Bulldog favorite tradition - the Ice Cream Social! We look forward to welcoming our new GWA families and reconnecting with old friends. If you are interested in providing and serving ice cream - please contact Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com or complete the sign up form and return it to school.
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Kawonka What?

Don’t be concerned when you visit campus and find yourself at the intersection of Bulldog Drive and Kawonka Lane – the sign company did not make a mistake. Thanks to the generous support of the McFarland family (who had the winning bid at the Lucky Dawg Benefit Auction and won the right to rename the lane that runs across the front of the school) – we a have new name and a story behind the name.


To keep bedtime stories more interesting for his three daughters, Mr. McFarland created a fairytale place – a town named Kawonka that included a playground, cottages and even, a mayor. The whimsical stories about Kawonka have been passed down to the McFarland’s grandchildren and the town’s cottages and playground has been created at the family farm for them to enjoy.


We think Kawonka is perfectly fitting for us at GWA. We are a very real place, but we hope that whimsy, play, and imagination are woven into the school day. We thank the McFarlands for their sense of humor and their gracious support over the years.

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If you are interested in becoming a GWA substitute teacher this year, please contact Tina Jordan at tjordan@gwa.com and plan to attend a mandatory sub meeting on Wednesday, August 25 at 9 a.m.
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Summer Hours Reminder

Our summer front office hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.