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News to Know for the Week of April 26, 2021

News to Know


Save the Date  

  • April is School Library Month.  Sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians, the month celebrates school librarians and their programs that transform learning. Click here for more information.


  • National Poetry Month is celebrated in April. Founded by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, involving tens of millions of readers, writers, librarians, teachers, and poets. Click here for more information.


  • April also is set apart as World Autism Month, an opportunity to learn how to help the 1 in 59 children on the autism spectrum. For more information, click here.    


  • Westlake High’s Lady Lions will be celebrated with a parade April 28 at 3 p.m. The City of South Fulton sponsoring the parade which will line up at Wolf Creek Library and proceed in a caravan to Westlake.  The parade is honoring the Lady Lions basketball team for their fourth straight state basketball championship and their national win at the GEICO National basketball championship.  


Awards and Honors  

  • On April 22, Cliftondale Elementary was named a National Beta School of Merit. The award is given to honor Beta Chapters and their commitment to excellence. To receive the award, a school must include members from all eligible grade levels in their Beta Chapter.


  • Tri-Cities High has been nominated in six categories for the Schuler Hensley Musical Theater Awards. The Visual & Performing Arts Magnet (VPA) has been nominated for Best Ensemble; Show Must Go On Spotlight; Best Overall Production; Best Direction-Jade Lambert Smith; Best Choreography-Briana Bunkley and Jade Lambert-Smith; and Best Actor-Nicholas Wilkinson. The Tri-Cities VPA is celebrating 30 years. Click here for more information on the 30th anniversary celebration.

    The Art Department at Tri-Cities High has three students who placed in the Kevin Cole South Fulton High Schools Juried Art Competition. The winners are Paola Vasquez, Overall Winner, First Place; Zion West, First Place; and Philip Dunwoody, Honorary Mention.


  • Alpharetta, Chattahoochee, and Milton High School Winter Guard and Indoor Drumline groups took home awards at their state championship competitions last month.

    At the Southern Association for Performance Arts (SAPA) competition, Alpharetta and Chattahoochee’s Winter Guard won gold medals in their various classifications among the 11 school teams. At the Georgia Indoor Percussion Association (GIPA), Alpharetta and Milton won gold, and Chattahoochee won bronze. At the Winter Guard International (WGI) event, the national level for both art programs that offers regional and championship competitions, Milton Indoor Drumline and Alpharetta Varsity Winter Guard earned WGI World Championship Finalist titles.

    All teams were required to wear masks while competing and maintain social distancing during practice and competition with fewer practice times compared to previous years.

    Winter Guard


    Milton Drumline


  • The Georgia Congress of PTAs honored Hillside Elementary’s PTA. The group received the Outstanding Family School Partnership Award by the Hearst Family-School Partnership for exemplary all-around achievement in the organization's National Standards. The award recognizes one local unit in the state that effectively shows a framework for how communities can collaborate for success in their local schools. Each standard is rooted in the values of mutual respect, trust, and courtesy.

    Hillside's PTA implemented a successful Science Day, Fine Arts Day, and a Math Night at Home Depot to support student success. The team hosted a Bingo Night, Spirit Nights with local businesses, and an International Family Fun Night for Family Engagement. The Hillside PTA also worked with the special education department to ensure the school's programming matched the needs of all students. One of Hillside's special education teachers said, "In the nine years I have been an Autism teacher, I have never had a PTA reach out to me about programming and events. Your support of our classes is nothing short of amazing!"


  • The Johns Creek High Math Team are finalists in a national competition. The 2021 Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge (aka M3 Challenge) charges students with modeling a real-world problem using calculus, statistics, programming, and other mathematical techniques to create potential solutions.

    Johns Creek participated in the M3 challenge over the last eight years, placing third in 2017 out of over 1,000 teams across the U.S.

    This year’s team includes Mehul Dhoot, Jason Bao, Aditya Bora, Austin Tang, and Joseph Suharno. Each competitive team chooses 14 hours on a weekend day in March to write a paper describing their solutions, showing all computations and programming. This year, following the second round of judging, the Johns Creek team’s paper emerged as one of six finalists among 535 teams. Winning scholarship prizes range between $6,500 and $22,500 per group.

    Normally, teams travel to New York City to present their findings to a panel of judges. Due to the pandemic, judging will take place via Zoom on Monday, April 26, with the awards ceremony taking place that afternoon.Johns Creek HS Math Team
  • Students from Milton, Riverwood International Charter, and Roswell High scored top placements in the 2021 Japan Academic Challenge held virtually on March 20. Hosted by the Japan-America Society of Georgia, the event was open to high school students from across the southeast. The competition included challenges in Japanese language, business and economics, current events, geography, history, politics, and modern and popular culture. Participants competed at their instructional level of the language.

    First place winning results of Fulton County Schools are:

    Level 1: Pablo Alvarez-Barboza andFrancois Van from Milton High
    Level 2: Luke Morneweck and Rebecca Mier from Riverwood International School
    Level 3: Victor Fontanez, Tricia Bui, and Erin Mattson from Milton High
    Level 4 (top level of competition): Sadie Arnett and Adriana Choun from Roswell High

    Temple University Japan Campus and The Japan Foundation sponsored the event. Other supporters include The Japan-America Society of Washington D.C., The Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta, and the Georgia Association of Teachers of Japanese.

    Japan Academic Challenge


Cool Kids (and Teachers) Doing Cool Things

  • Taylor Road Middle (TRMS) hosteda spirit day for their ongoing seventh grade One Well Project on April 24. The project aims to raise money to build a well for the Baptist Primary School in the small rural village of Idanre, Nigeria. Following a social studies unit on Africa, students expressed a desire to ensure that the village residents would have equal access to clean water for health and to positively impact local irrigation, trade, and industry. Collaborating with Chattahoochee High students involved in Student Leadership Johns Creek, TRMS students and staff began a campaign to fund and implement the charitable project. After a Hat Day fundraiser at the school, their second event was held at a local McDonald’s owned by one of the school’s business partners and former Idanre resident. Members of the TRMS community collected funds from patrons and brought flyers about the project to be placed in to-go bags.


  • Taylor Road Middle seventh-grade student, Santhushi (Sunny) Dharmawardhana was a featured performer in an online classical music show “Pahan Eliya” on April 24. The show served as a fundraiser to benefit a housing project in the rural Polonnarauwa district of Sri Lanka, Asia. Sunny was one of three vocalists, one of whom is a Sri Lankan celebrity musician. Event proceeds will provide funds for building safe homes for families in desperate conditions. The organization partners with dedicated and reliable construction groups to build substantial houses based on income, disability, family size, and other special needs criteria. The cost to build one house is 500,000 Sri Lankan rupees, roughly the equivalent of $2,570 U.S. dollars. Project organizers aim to build a minimum of two to three homes.


  • Centennial High students came together to dedicate a program they’ve been working two years. The Daffodil Project is an international effort to plant 1.5 million daffodils worldwide as a living memorial to the 1.5 million children who were murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe. The project also exists to support children who continue to suffer in humanitarian crises around the world today. As part of Centennial High School’s commitment to becoming a No Place for Hate designated school, Centennial became the first public high school in Fulton County to commit to a Daffodil Garden and annual planting.

    In 2019, students planted 500 bulbs. Last year, they planted 250 more in the Centennial High School Daffodil Project Memorial Garden.

    On March 31st, the school held a traditional dedication ceremony for the garden featuring a ribbon-cutting and plaque installation in the garden around the flagpole with several special guest speakers. Project founder Dr. Andrea Videlefsky addressed the group and Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat. Mr. Greenblat shared his experience in a Ukrainian family in which he spent the first two years of his life in the early 1940s in hiding in a cave. When the German invasion of the former Soviet Union began, Greenblat’s parents frequently moved to avoid capture. Life for the Greenblat family changed dramatically upon arriving in the American-controlled zone of Austria. They lived in displaced person camps for five years before receiving permission to immigrate to the U.S.

    North Fulton Daffodil Ambassador, Lisa Winokur, presented closing remarks along with the Jewish Student Union Executive Director Rabbi Chaim Neiditch.

    Centennial HS Daffodil dedication


  • Mountain Park Elementary successfully employs the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) to promote experiential learning across the curriculum. To move beyond worksheet learning, the school established the SEM teaching model to use all the senses, including design thinking and increased the applications of one lesson concept. Curriculum Support Teacher Renisha Smith – also FCS’ 2020 Professional of the Year - inherited the program when she came to Mountain Park and has taken it to the next level.

    Currently, first grade is planting literacy gardens inspired by books by author Eric Carle. Students are involved in all aspects of planting and harvesting in the school’s gardens. Second grade is researching and practicing for their Famous Georgian Living Museums. Third grade plans advertising campaigns for the “Lemonade Wars,” where students learn business strategy through a friendly competition to distinguish their lemonade by enhancing the sale with a value-added product. Fourth-grade students are preparing for Pioneer Day, a celebration of westward expansion in which students make yarn dolls, candles, and butter. They engage in square dancing, laundry, and cow-milking. Fifth-grade students are using Design Thinking to gain empathy through developing product prototypes for the Mustang Market. They are challenged to create business plans involving establishing company names and logos, determining a chosen product prototype based on a set amount of warehouse supplies, and determining a budget for the product design and manufacture.

    Last month, third-grade students mounted a “Trashion” Show, an eco-sustainable event in which they create outfits made of recycled items. Mountain Park is staying extremely busy with these hands-on, all-encompassing learning activities.

    Mtn Park ES SEM teaching model

    GArden Students


  • Roswell North Elementary is on a roll with its humanitarian projects. Students collected pre-packaged snacks for local COVID warriors - healthcare employees at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. Students raised just over $21,000 (the highest in Fulton County Schools) in the Kids Heart Challenge in partnership with the American Heart Association. The school community raised just over $2,000 during the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Hero Squad Campaign, more commonly known as Pennies for Patients.


In Case You Missed It

  • Oakley Elementary hosted the Georgia Ag Experience, a mobile classroom powered by the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture. Agriculture is Georgia's Number 1 industry, but many students do not know where their food, fiber, or plants come from, how they are grown, or what they become. "Beginning this Fall, we will be the only elementary school on this end of Fulton County Schools to offer an elementary Agricultural Education program," said Principal Estella Cook. "We appreciate this opportunity to create excitement and interest in agriculture and our new agriculture program."