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News to Know for the Week of January 13-17, 2020

Special Observances for January


  • National School Choice Week is January 20-26.  School choice is the process of allowing every family to choose the K-12 educational options that best fit their children. These options include all forms of education, from traditional public schools, to public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. For more information email or visit


  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday Observance is January 20. The civil rights leader, minister, and winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize was born in Atlanta, Ga. on January 15, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968. A federal holiday honoring him is celebrated on the third Monday in January. Fulton County Schools (FCS) will be closed January 20 in observance of this national holiday.



Save the Date


  • Fulton's first Early Childhood Awareness Summit will be held on Wednesday, January 29 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Atlanta Metropolitan State College at 630 Metropolitan Parkway SW, Atlanta, Georgia. The summit will open with breakfast and networking followed by a welcome from FCS Superintendent Mike Looney. Presentations will be given by Fulton and early childhood education leaders in a panel discussion. This event will provide resources and incentives for parents as well as partnership opportunities for other stakeholders.


  • Creekside High School's Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) program will host its annual showcase January 24 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. AVID showcases provide the opportunity for educators to see an AVID implementation, share best practices and learn more about AVID hands-on.

    Participants will have the opportunity to hear from AVID students, review data and results and observe an AVID elective class. For more information or to register visit


  • The candidate declaration phase for the 2020 School Governance Council (SGC) elections process begins February 3rd. Each FCS principal is receiving information on eligibility guidelines. February 26 ends the candidate declaration phase.

    Voting takes place March 17-24. If needed, run-offs will take place March 26. Winners will be announced March 27.



Awards and Honors 


  • A team of Riverwood International Charter School culinary arts students won first prize in the 2019-20 Fulton High School Chef Competition. Their winning recipe, "Chicken, Spinach, and Ricotta Calzone," will be served in school cafeterias throughout the district. The recipe creators, Huntly Connery, Fernanda Guerrero, Ava Murray, and Johnny Rodriguez are in Chef Elissa Oliver's Culinary Arts classes.

    The contest, administered by the Fulton County Schools Nutrition Program, required students to develop a nutritious (under 400 calorie), student-friendly recipe that included local foods and USDA foods to be easily incorporated into a school cafeteria menu. The young chefs were tasked with providing a nutritional analysis of the recipe along with results of a scientific taste-test conducted at their school. They also had to submit a photo of the finished dish. The winning team received a certificate and first place medals from the Nutrition Program.

    Culinary student Fernanda Guerrero remarked, "It was quite difficult to get a great tasting entrée with such tight nutritional restrictions. But I loved this competition because it encompassed so many things we learn in Culinary Arts."

    The students submitted their winning recipe to the Georgia Farm to School Student Chef Competition, administered by the Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Division. Selected teams from the state competition will be invited to compete in the State Cooking Competition, Thursday, February 20 at Helms College in Macon.


  • Alpharetta High School (AHS) senior debate students Suchetas Bokil and Shivan Moodley recently took top honors in two national debate competitions. These two students placed first at the University of Kentucky Debate Tournament in Lexington and second in the Alta Debate Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two have competed in hundreds of debate competitions together and have won many rounds on the national level. Suchetas and Shivan are currently ranked as the tenth best debate team in the U.S. They won a $7000 scholarship to attend a debate camp at the University of Michigan last summer. AHS debate coach Lauren Ivey credits them with being an unstoppable force together as well as kind people who serve in leadership roles at school and in their community.


  • North Springs Charter High School (NSCHS) senior N'Kira Hailey was recently named a Posse Scholarship recipient. N'Kira is a dual enrollment student who takes college courses at Gwinnet Technical College while enrolled at NSCHS. She is a dual-magnet student, excelling in both the Math and Science as well as Visual Performing Arts magnet curriculum. In its 30th year, the Posse Foundation provides full tuition scholarships to six colleges and/or universities for 60 selected students from 1,400 nominations per year. Serving in leadership roles is a key factor sought by scouts, and the program provides intensive support once the students are on campus. Posse boasts a 90% graduation rate with students moving on to 11 graduate partner schools.


  • NSCHS senior DeAndre Johnson was selected as a QuestBridge Scholar to attend Stanford University where he plans to major in aerospace engineering. DeAndre is a dual-magnet student and enrolled in both magnet curricula programs. He also participates in Principal Scott Hanson's Advisory Committee. ;QuestBridge is a platform that connects high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds with leading higher education institutions. The National College Match application gives a student extra space to tell his or her unique story. Scholarship recipients are granted admission to one of QuestBridge's college partners with a full, four-year scholarship worth over $200,000 each.


  • Riverwood International Charter School is proud to announce four Posse Scholarship winners: Tyara Thompson, Jermyle Jones, America Betancourt-Guevera, and Zion Vital. These students will receive a full-tuition scholarship for four years to attend a Posse college and university partner school. Posse chooses students who demonstrate leadership ability, communication, and team-building skills. Tyara, America, and Zion will attend The College of Wooster in Ohio, while Jermyle is headed to Texas A&M in College Station.



Cool Kids (and Schools and Staff) Doing Cool Things


  • The Fulton County Schools Humanities Department held its 59th Annual Spelling Bee, Saturday, January 11 at Heards Ferry Elementary School in Sandy Springs. The winning word, "lorikeet", was spelled by River Trail Middle eighth grader Arushi Cumer (also last yea's winner). In second place was Findley Oaks Elementary sixth grader Amaan Jabrani. The other top five FCS finalists who will join Arushi and Amaan in the regional competition are Ingrid Schmitz from Northwestern Middle, Samy El-Zahabi from State Bridge Crossing Elementary, Zaira Qureshi from Alpharetta Elementary, Aryan Batchu from Wilson Creek Elementary, and John Philip Kramer from Manning Oaks Elementary.

    These seven FCS finalists will head to the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) Region Four Spelling Bee which will be held February 22 at the Decatur Library Auditorium. The regional winner moves on to the GAE state spelling bee at Georgia State University in March. That winner advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship in Maryland in late spring.


  • 11 Fulton County Schools have been awarded Project Lead the Way CTAE grants from the Goizuetta Foundation. Project Lead The Way provides transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers. The grant provides funding for teachers to create engaging and hands-on classroom environments that empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills. Funding will support STEM and CTAE pathways. Congratulations to the following schools:


    . . . .
    PLTW Launch Expansion $5,000.00 Summit Hill Elementary
    PLTW Launch Expansion $5,000.00 Feldwood Elementary
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Holcomb Bridge Middle School
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Haynes Bridge Middle
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Ridgeview Charter Middle
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Renaissance Middle School
    PLTW Gateway Implementation $20,000.00 River Trail Middle School
    PLTW Gateway Implementation $20,000.00 Sandy Springs Middle School
    PLTW Engineering Expansion $10,000.00 Banneker High School
    PLTW Engineering Implementation $35,000.00 Creekside High School
    PLTW Engineering Implementation $35,000.00 North Springs High School
    PLTW Computer Science Implementation $20,000.00 Banneker High School


  • Renaissance Middle School was the recipient of a Thrive Lounge, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. Star94 radio personalities were on hand for the reveal to Principal Creseda Hawk and staff. The new lounge features a new refrigerator, tables, coffee station, custom couches, and art. "The Renaissance faculty and staff are truly excited about the possibilities of our new KP Thrive Lounge," said Principal Hawk. "Not only will the newly designed lounge serve as a multi-functional space for teachers to eat, work, and socialize, but it will also serve as a space for faculty and staff to reset, refuel, and recharge!"



In Case You Missed It


  • Banneker High School's Student and Family Engagement (SAFE) Center held a Community Food and Toy Giveaway. The event served over 300 families during the holidays. For more information on the SAFE Center email


  • Flu Season Update - Georgia is currently experiencing widespread flu cases as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health. According to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others. The AAP states that the flu can cause 10 days of fever and lead to serious complications even for healthy kids. Therefore, we are sharing this information to remind you to take precautions and to work together to help prevent the spread of flu. To ensure the safety and health of students, staff and parents, we encourage you to take proactive measures that can help reduce the spread of flu and other communicable illnesses. For more information, please visit:


  • Text4Help, a program for teens in crisis to anonymously find resources and support, will be expanded to Fulton County Schools middle schools. Initially launched to FCS high school students in 2018 in collaboration with Fulton County Government, the program is an anonymous crisis text line aimed at providing a valuable resource for students seeking support or an outlet to share concerns. The program allows teens facing stress or in crisis to reach a licensed clinician who will respond within three minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One year after its launch, the program will now be offered to students in middle schools. Fulton County Government and FCS were the first in the Southeast to launch the Text4Help program.