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News to Know for the Week of March 29, 2021
Save the Date
- March is Music in our Schools Month (MIOSM). The National Association for MIOSM has officially designated the month for more than 30 years. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children. Some of the planned celebrations across the district include special lessons in elementary music classes, performances by middle and high school ensembles for Large Group Performance Evaluation, and a video release from FCS' Music Therapy department to coincide with Exceptional Children's Week.
March is also Youth Art Month. This year's theme is "Art Connects Us." The Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) created Children's Art Month in 1961 to emphasize the value to children from participating in visual art education. In 1969 the celebration expanded to include secondary school students, and the Children's Art Month event officially became known as Youth Art Month. Youth Art Month exists to recognize art education as a viable factor in the total education curriculum that develops a global society.
Here are some of the various projects, celebrations, events, and competitions that students across the district have recently engaged in.
Ocee Elementary music teacher Damarys Klausman has partnered with her students' parents to share their experiences for Music in our Schools Month via Microsoft Teams. Face-to-face students can view videos on the classroom whiteboard. This month, one parent guest illustrated how to play the piano while another, who had previously played with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, demonstrated the violin. Each held a question-and-answer session afterward for students to inquire about the instrument and the industry.
Cambridge High hosted the Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE) for orchestra, an annual school ensemble assessment, in mid-March. Adjudicators gathered, socially distanced on the school's stage, and observed large screen, videotaped school orchestras performances.
Westlake High will host a VIP showing of its new "Wellness Room" for staff April 1. SGC member, Willie Davis, and Principal Jarvis Adams will thank partners who have made the room possible. "The room is a great way to acknowledge and provide resources for the mental well-being of our team," Davis said.
Awards and Honors
- Several schools have been recognized as a National Beta School of Merit. This award is given to honor Beta Chapters' dedication and commitment to academic excellence. To achieve this honor, a school must include members from all eligible grade levels in their Beta Chapter.
Schools that have achieved this honor are Bethune Elementary, Chattahoochee High, Conley Hills Elementary, Feldwood Elementary, and River Trail Middle School.
- Nine Fulton County Schools students have won state and national level awards for information technology. These students were selected for the Aspirations in Computing Award with the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). They are among 400 9 th through 12th grade female students who were nominated by their teachers and chosen for their computing experience and related activities, leadership experience, tenacity, and plans for post-secondary education.
Asmi Kumar of Milton High was named a national winner. Divya Nori of Milton, Apurva Sharma of Chattahoochee, Nicole Li and Sanjana Wadhwani of Johns Creek and Nikita Jha of Northview High Schools received National Honorable Mentions.
Georgia affiliate top winners include Apurva Sharma and Purvi Nandakumar of Chattahoochee, Priya Soneji of Milton, and Nicole Li, Sanjana Wadhwani, and Emily Cory of Johns Creek High Schools.
Over 4,288 students applied for the awards, and the winners are chosen from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and all U.S. overseas military bases. Winners receive trophies and NCWIT swag.
- Twenty-Two Chattahoochee High students won a top national literary award with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) for the school's magazine, "Chrysalis," the REALM First Class. Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines (REALM) is a program that publicly acknowledges excellent literary magazines produced by students with the support of their teachers.
The editorial staff, composed of student writers, editors, and artists, will be recognized at the NCTE Annual Convention in November 2021.
The theme, "Camp and Carnivalesque," which lasted from 2019 to 2020, is now being celebrated because the pandemic caused a delay. Former club sponsor Jessica Scaggs (now on the Chattahoochee counseling staff) is proud of the students considering the magazine is not part of the curriculum, as is common in most schools. As an extra-curricular club, the project has fewer resources devoted to it. Students had to produce the piece independently and during the pandemic shutdown at their homes for no academic credit. The club met virtually every week once school closed in March 2020. They also met throughout the summer to design and proof spreads.
There was no regional or state competition for this award program. It has traditionally been held exclusively at the national level. The annual NCTE convention where the students will be recognized is one in which English teachers worldwide meet, share best practices, and showcase new English classroom technologies.
- Four students on Alpharetta High's Debate Team won the Policy Debate Awards in the 2021 First and Second Year National Championships, hosted by Woodward Academy on March 19.
Coached by Alpharetta teachers and debate coaches Adam Smiley and Lauren Ivey, the students in teams of two included Eshan Momin, Sameer Jivangikar, Anish Thatiparthi, and Anish Nayak. They competed against 49 other teams from across the U.S. and finished as co-champions of the tournament. They are now nationally ranked as the top two debate teams composed of sophomores debating other sophomores. Additionally, all four debaters earned individual speaker awards for their exceptional presentation skills. Winners receive a plaque for both team and speaker awards.
- The Northview High Speech and Debate Team won the state championship in three events on March 13 at the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association (GFCA) Speech and Debate State Tournament. Winners included Sreyaash Das for the Lincoln Douglas event, Valerie Shim for Informative Speaking, and Grace Chawla for Oral Interpretation.
The Northview team's success also earned the team, as a group, second place in the Debate, Speech, and Overall Sweepstakes events. Northview was one of only two schools to place in the top three of all sweepstakes awards.
The school's debate team has grown to approximately 70 active competitors with an unusually high level of success in terms of bids to the upcoming national Tournament of Champions, held in April. The team has also qualified as a participant or participating team in every debate event and will advance to the National Speech and Debate Association in June.
- Riverwood International Charter Teacher, Patti Lawrimore, has been recognized as a Harmony Hero by national pest prevention brand EarthKind. Lawrimore's extensive efforts include educating over 400 students about sustainability and the environment through her local experiential eco-education programs.
The Harmony Hero Award program is part of EarthKind's 2021 Year of the Monarch national initiative. Through a rigorous selection process, EarthKind recognizes one K-12 teacher from across the country each month who is committed to implementing eco-education initiatives into their curriculum, focusing on getting kids outdoors and connected to nature.
Each teacher who is recognized will receive complimentary in-service training from an entomologist on Integrated Pest Management practices for their school to help them become safer, healthier places. They will receive free, sustainable product essentials for eco-education and are considered for the grand prize of an all-expense-paid trip to Mexico in March 2022. The trip includes a visit to the Kingdom of Monarch's habitat.
- Georgia Thespians selected Alpharetta High Director of Theatre Sarah Stoffle to be the 2021 Outstanding Theatre Educator at the annual ThesCon event in February. The organization, part of the national Educational Theatre Association, recognizes an individual who has dedicated themselves to the cause of theatre education and the promotion of the fine arts in their community. Colleagues and students know Stoffle is extraordinarily devoted to her students, offering countless hours of her time coaching them in acting and preparing them for college auditions. Alpharetta's fall production of "The Puffs" won the GHSA Region 6AAAAAAA championship and placed fourth statewide. They recently produced their spring musical "Chicago."
Stoffle has led the drama department productions to win numerous awards. She has been with Fulton County Schools for 17 years and is in her sixth year at Alpharetta.
- Exemplary community service gets an award for a Riverwood International Charter Junior. Isabella Stahlman received the Princeton Club of Georgia Community Service Award for Fulton County.
Established in 1985 by the Georgia-based Princeton University alumni association, the award honors metro-Atlanta-area high school juniors who, through community involvement and personal initiative, best exemplify the unofficial motto of Princeton University: "Princeton in the nation's service and the service of humanity."
Riverwood nominated Isabella and she represented Fulton County as one of four winners. The ceremony will be virtual this year instead of at the State Capitol.
Stahlman's service work includes the 2020-2021 PTSA Student Advisory Board and the Recycling and Environmental Club of which she is president. For the past two years, she has led outreach for the arts-based charity Art For Art, in which she helped raise thousands of dollars to support art education in vulnerable communities around the world. Additionally, she founded a nonprofit initiative, Tutor Corps, that provides students in at-risk communities throughout the state with free tutoring services by high school and college-age teams. In the community, she is a volunteer Soccer Coach in the YMCA league and a summer camp counselor.
Cool Kids (and Teachers) Doing Cool Things
- Tri-Cities High welcomed Grammy Award-winner Q Parker to its Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) 30th Anniversary symposium. VPA Director Dr. Tiffany Mingo organized the series of discussions with persons who excelled in music, dance, and the movie industry as gifts to students and the community. Parker answered questions from students and discussed the importance of the business of music.
Dr. Tiffany Mingo, Nicholas Wilkinson, Grammy-winner Q Parker , & Josiah Mitchell at Tri-Cities VPA magnet symposium.
In Case You Missed It
- The City of South Fulton named March 18 "South Fulton Educators Day" in South Fulton. Mayor William Edwards presented a proclamation at the FCS Board meeting on March 18, honoring the 2,411 educators who instruct in Zones 1, 2, and 3 for their service.
Mayor Bill Edwards proclaims March 18 2021 South Fulton Educators Day
- Leah McDaniel, the new principal of Camp Creek Middle was principal of Campbell Elementary for four years. Under her leadership, Campbell increased CCRPI (Career and College Readiness Performance Index) scores. She also served as an assistant principal at Creekside High and Elkins Pointe Middle.
- Westlake High's annual Career and Technical Instruction (CTI) Career Fair was held virtually March 23 due to COVID-19. "It was still a success, with over 100 students participating," said organizer "Dr. Triaka Larry. Companies presenting this year include Georgia Power, LexisNexis, Morehouse School of Medicine, Grady Comprehensive Medical Care Center, and Planet Muzik Studios. Dustin Davis-Austin, FCS Director of Career/Technical Education, greeted students and business partners.
- Graduation season is almost upon us. For the Senior Class of 2021 in Fulton County Schools, we want them to know they have the support to finish strong. The #FCSFinishStrong campaign was launched to help motivate all FCS Seniors to stay connected and/or catch up and graduate. FCS has created an easy way for students, principals, business, elected, and civic leaders to support them with messages encouraging them across the finish line toward graduation. We want them to know we are rooting for them. Join us on social media at #FCSFinishStrong, share your words of encouragement on a YouTube video, and direct them to resources on the website.