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News to Know for the Week of January 19, 2021

News to Know


News to Know for the Week of January 19, 2021


Awards and Honors

  • Liberty Point Elementary was No. 1 on a list of “30 Best Elementary Schools in the Atlanta Suburbs that are Hidden Gems.” The list included schools from all over metropolitan Atlanta and was compiled by School Sparrow Equitable School Rankings. School Sparrow publishes public K-12 school rankings. The list provides an equitable school ranking system that accounts for parent income and allows for a fairer evaluation of schools in mixed and lower-income neighborhoods. In naming Liberty Point as the No. 1 school, School Sparrow said, “All students from grades 3-5 are earning an overall A or better.”


  • Westlake High has six finalists for the Governor’s Honors Program. The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students who will be rising juniors and seniors during the program.  The program offers instruction that is significantly different from the typical high school classroom and is designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment necessary to become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders. The finalists: Cameron Bell, 11th Grade, Dance; Solace Davis, 11th Grade, Engineering; Zion Hall, 11th Grade, Social Studies; Austin Heath, 11th Grade, Mathematics; Quentin Huguley II, 11th Grade, Visual Arts and Kristen Robinson, 11th Grade, Dance.


  • Alpharetta High French teacher Nathalie Ettzevoglou won the 2020 Award for Excellence for Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Ms. Ettzevoglou was chosen from a wide field of nominees from across the country. Her years of experience, success using technology for instruction, and her commitment to keeping students engaged in a remote learning environment contributed to her win. The award was conferred at the annual virtual ACTFL convention. ACTFL collaborates with the International Association of Language Learners of Technology (IALLT), another professional organization which Ms. Ettzevoglou has been involved with for years, which supports K-6 educators in integrating technology in world language classrooms. Together, these organizations present this annual award to recognize excellence in integrating technology in world language instruction.


  • Foster Michaelis, Chattahoochee High (CHS) Class of 2020 graduate, won the National Championship title at the virtual High School National History Bowl and Bee in December. Both the school’s Academic Team (Quiz Bowl) and History Bowl Team had qualified to compete in the national championship scheduled for the end of the school year in spring of 2020, but the pandemic changed the competition plans. The Quiz Bowl was canceled, but the History Bowl allowed those who graduated earlier in the spring to return to participate.

    Foster’s Academic Team Coach Mike Mathis called him a child prodigy in history and geography, and Foster had placed high in the national championship back in elementary school. Transferring to Chattahoochee midway through his freshman year, he joined both bowl teams. During that year at the History Bowl state competition, he won many top honors for Varsity and JV State, making himself an enormous asset to the team.

    His last victory as national championship title winner was in the History Bee for Sports and Entertainment History. Presently, Foster is a freshman at Oglethorpe University.


  • Roswell High senior Jordan Freeman was named College Board National African American Recognition Program winner in the fall of 2020 for her remarkable academic achievements and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. This award will distinguish her for college acceptance and scholarship opportunities. Jordan already has a long resume in her short years as a high school student. Besides participation and leadership in many school activities, she has work experience at a property management company and community service hours with Atlanta Urban League, an organization that coaches and empowers Black Atlantans' lives. An honor roll student, she has won some eight academic awards and honors. Jordan considers debate the most rewarding school activity and has noted her progress in experiencing stage fright early on to a comfort level with presentation and argumentation. She plans to continue debating competitively in college and desires to be a voice for minorities and under-represented groups like Debate and Robotics.


  • Creekside High students have been selected to participate in a popular Yale University course, ‘Psychology and the Good Life,’ this spring. Once completing the course, students will earn three widely transferable college credits and a transcript from the University of Connecticut — for free. The course is offered at Creekside and other Title 1 schools during the school day, so they will have the support and guidance needed to succeed. The partnership was created through the National Education Equity Lab.

    Also, Creekside High has solidified a partnership with Clayton State University to offer Dual Enrollment courses on the Creekside campus. This is special, as Creekside is the first High School in Fulton County to host Clayton State on its campus for Dual Enrollment.

    These partnerships and opportunities allow students who attend Creekside High School to gain exposure to rigorous high-level courses to prepare them for the college and university experience.


Cool Kids (and schools and staff) Doing Cool Things

  • Camp Creek Middle has formed a partnership with The Clean Cargo Project of Atlanta. Families will be provided personal hygiene products monthly. The Clean Cargo Project allows businesses and organizations to take part in a hygiene drive for economically disadvantaged students. Items collected include soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and lotion to ensure students feel confident in going to school every day.


  • Stonewall Tell Elementary has launched their Miles of Smiles project on the Flipgrid video tool. Instead of their annual beautification project, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the event was virtual. Students were asked to pick up trash to beautify their neighborhoods or a neighboring street. They were also asked to help senior citizens in their areas with clean-up projects while creating socially distanced spaces. While completing their projects, students will post two-minute videos of themselves on Flipgrid beautifying their neighborhoods. The school's Junior Beta Club is leading Miles of Smiles.


  • Lake Forest Elementary (LFE) Counselor Kendra Hutcherson was honored with the 680 The Fan, T-Mobile Front Line Hero Award for going above and beyond to support LFE families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. LFE Principal Taylor Barton nominated Hutcherson for her extensive efforts to help students, purchase home supplies and food, and raise funds in the community to boost the school’s Lion Pride initiative. Hutcherson works collaboratively with LFE’s psychologist and social worker in a school population. The distance created by universal remote learning forced her to get creative in maintaining a connection with students. From offering individual virtual counseling featuring her dog as an ice breaker, to shopping for a student needing clothes, to organizing donations for a family after an apartment fire, the list of her selfless acts is long. She never misses an opportunity to gauge students’ emotional and physical states and be a listening ear. Kendra’s ultimate goal is to empower students for success in the classroom, but for some, getting to the starting line requires a helping hand.


  • Milton High's (MHS) 100th anniversary kicked off with a celebration at Milton City Hall in early January in a socially distanced, in-person, and online gathering. The school received a proclamation from the City. To celebrate this milestone, the school will hold themed activities throughout the year, featuring current students, alumni, and faculty. Live interactive events are planned for the fall semester, assuming conditions have improved for safe participation. 

    Opened as Milton County High School in January 1922, the school began by serving grades one through 11 and graduating two students that year. An MHS history exhibit is on display in the atrium through December. As the school population surged in the 20th and 21st centuries, the school outgrew its Alpharetta campus, and in 2005 moved to its current home on Birmingham Highway. MHS is ranked by Niche as Georgia's ninth-best in the country, 21st statewide by U.S. News and World Report, and is a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.


  • Centennial High is continuing its participation for a second year in the Daffodil Project. This initiative seeks to plant 1.5 million daffodils worldwide as a living memorial of the 1.5 children murdered in the Holocaust. It also supports children currently suffering from global humanitarian crises. Centennial was the first public high school in Fulton County to create a Daffodil Garden, completing an initial planting of 500 daffodil bulbs by students in the fall of 2019. The goal is to gear the program mostly towards freshmen who can pass it on to subsequent classes. While the COVID-19 shut-down cut short the planned spring 2020 dedication, participants organized a small group planting in December. Socially distanced and masked students planted 250 bulbs with hopes for a spring 2021 garden dedication. The first public schools in Fulton County to start a Daffodil Garden were Haynes Bridge Middle and Webb Bridge Middle.


In Case You Missed It

  • The REACH Georgia Scholarship Signing Ceremony was held virtually January 19. REACH Georgia is the State of Georgia’s first needs-based mentorship and college scholarship program. Beginning in the 8th grade and through high school, REACH Scholars are paired with a mentor and an academic coach and must maintain good grades, behavior, and attendance throughout middle school and high school. Fulton County Schools REACH Scholars for 2021 are:

    Aiyana Benford, Sandtown Middle; Gabriela Bermudez, Webb Bridge Middle; Keziah Bradley, Camp Creek Middle; Yachaiyah Halahawi, Bear Creek Middle; Deborah Mebrate, Holcomb Bridge Middle; Eduardo Velazquez Modesto, Jr., Ridgeview Middle; Orlando Myers, Autrey Mill Middle; Camilo Rodriguez-Rivera, Holcomb Bridge Middle, and Livia Santos, Sandy Springs Middle.


  • Findley Oaks Elementary (FOES) was awarded a $1,500 grant from Fulton community partner Delta Community Credit Union. The company has stated that they highly value STEM education. Sharon Ferguson, STEM Coordinator for FOES, is excited to purchase a 3D printing filament, WEDo2 Robots, and other educational items and supplies used in the STEM Lab with students. Delta also works with FOES fifth graders in their Finance unit in the spring. Ultimately, the grant will enhance problem-solving and critical thinking opportunities, essential components in a STEM program.


  • Each year, on the third Monday of January, we observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. Dr. King was a Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. His life and achievements are remembered and celebrated on January 18.


  • South Fulton Mental Health Collaborative (SFMHC) aims to connect parents and youth of the South Fulton community to resources that enhance support, education, and empower the health and wellness of the next generation. The collaborative is facilitated by Odyssey Counseling, South Fulton Parents for Education, and Fulton County Schools promoting mental health and wellness strategies and resources for South Fulton students and families. The SFMHC kicked off 2021 with newly elected Board member Mrs. Francesca Warren and Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Gyimah Whitaker, who shared 14 FCS’ Social Emotional Learning resources during its monthly Wednesday Wellness on Facebook Live.


  • During last Tuesday’s work session, the School Board celebrated a major milestone in the district’s financial history – paying off its final outstanding general obligation bond backed by the FCS property tax digest. The $32 million bond was secured in 1998 but was paid off on January 1, 2021, thanks to SPLOST [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] funding. Each five-year SPLOST has earmarked funds to pay off long-term debt so that Fulton County property owners do not face an additional burden through their school taxes. Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef presented each School Board member with a framed copy of the “Paid in Full” notice, each adorned with shiny pennies, to commemorate the pay-off.