Congratulations to Ms. Gaganjot Singh, Science Teacher, Department Chair and Interact Club Advisor, for being named Independence High School's 2020 Teacher of the Year. Congratulations, as well, to Ms. Brett Szymendera, Head Counselor, for being named the IHS Professional of the Year.
Ms. Gaganjot Singh Ms. Brett Szymendera
In February, Mr. Jimmy Adams and Ms. Rosibel Arias were voted the Outstanding Head Custodian and the Outstanding Custodian for the Northwest Learning Community.
Ms. Ashley Ellis, Ms. Kerry Shorr, and Ms. Tashema Atkinson traveled to Denver, Colorado to present on the topic of “Personalized Learning in Alternative Education” at the 2019 National Dropout Prevention Center. The conference was attended by educators, principals, program specialists, consultants and coordinators who were engaged in learning different techniques and strategies to help reduce the dropout of today’s youth. The focus was sharing expertise to improve the graduation rates of school systems, individual schools, and communities. Strategies and programs were featured from across the country that have proven effective in engaging and sustaining students through graduation. The conference was designed to enhance the leadership skills of those seeking to strengthen interventions among school, community, and families, especially those in at-risk situations. Ms. Shorr, Ms. Atkinson, and Ms. Ellis were able to provide fellow educators with different tools and strategies that they are currently implementing at Independence to help increase the graduation rate and therefore decrease the number of dropouts for the school. These three teachers presented on the various technology tools that are being utilized daily at Independence such as Edgenuity, Nearpod, Educreations, Padlet, Canvas, etc. Other educators were able to learn how mastery-based assessments are used to gauge where students currently are (upon entering Independence) and where they need to be in order to graduate. Ms. Atkinson spoke about the various tools that are employed to facilitate the learning process and how each individual student’s learning plan is personalized to meet his/her needs. The teachers also focused on the new pilot program that Independence has adopted from the Fulton County Schools District called, “Check & Connect.” This is a mentoring program in which each teacher at the school is assigned a group of students who he/she will mentor throughout the school year. This allows for teachers to personally get to know their groups of students and follow their progress throughout their time at Independence. The implementation of personalized learning, along with this new mentoring program, will allow Independence to identify at-risk students early in order to help prevent dropouts and increase the school’s graduation rates.
Kudos to Mr. John Chase Campbell, IHS Art Teacher, for being asked to present his Master's thesis, "Teacher Self-Care," at the Atlanta High Museum of Art on November 5, 2019.