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Dual Language Japanese-English State Charter School Accepting Applications for August 2019

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International Charter Academy

International Charter Academy of Georgia (ICA Georgia), a new dual language Japanese-English charter school, will start accepting applications for August 2019 on January 10, 2019. Applications will be available online at www.internationalcharteracademy.org.

As a statewide charter school located in Peachtree Corner, GA, the school is open to any K-5 student residing in the state of Georgia. ICA Georgia uses the Dual Language Model for Japanese and English instruction, which is supported by a wealth of research and recommended by experts in dual language acquisition. In this innovative model, the ratio of time spent in each language favors Japanese in younger grades and shifts to balance more evenly with English as students age. All core subjects will be taught in both languages, exposing students to a wide range of content learning areas in the target language and enhancing academic achievement in general.

The school will employ a number of other state-of-the-art techniques to further enhance students’ education. English and Japanese teachers will use a team teaching approach, and pull out classes will be available in both languages to ensure the success of non-native speakers. Hands-on inquiry based learning and a student-centered environment conducive to lifetime learning and open-mindedness will be hallmarks of ICA Georgia’s program. A special emphasis will be placed on writing in all grades, particularly research paper writing. Effective use of IT will further enhance cooperative learning and differentiation.  A high level of Japanese will be attained by using the Japanese Ministry of Education curriculum in the Japanese department.

Beyond learning the Japanese language, ICA Georgia students will also be exposed  to Japanese school life, including Japanese physical education, music, haiku, cultural events, healthy Japanese food (recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO), and Japanese calligraphy.

School days begin at 8:00 am and end at 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday, with Friday’s dismissal at 2:00 pm. After school care is available until 6:30 pm from Generation in Focus (www.generationinfocus.com). To balance the academic benefits of the year-round calendar for students while at the same time maintaining the convenience of the traditional calendar for parents, the school will have 190 school days per year.

ICA Georgia aims to broaden the horizons of students in Georgia so that they may become global citizens who promote peace around the world. ICA Georgia students will be expected to contribute to the local and global community through various service learning projects, and ICA Georgia will promote parental involvement and build a community that learns from one another.

According to Georgia State Representative Tom Taylor (District 79), “Our state needs employees who can speak more than one language, and there is no better time for its citizens to acquire language skills than when they are young. This charter school will also be an excellent educational environment for children with parents who come from Japan to do business in Georgia.”

Barbara Kennedy, Ed.D, Director of Dual Language and Bilingual Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics, states, “We are excited to see the progress in the preparations for the opening of International Charter Academy of Georgia. Multilingual education is a research-validated approach to promoting second language acquisition among students of various language backgrounds. Additionally, multilingual education can provide opportunities for the promotion of cross-cultural understanding among students, who, in turn, develop important lifelong skills that enhance their ability to interact effectively in our increasingly globalized world.”

Chenyi Zhang, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Georgia State University, states, “In recent years, given the trend of globalization and international collaboration, supporting children’s early foreign language learning has become an important educational issue in early childhood and elementary education. ICA Georgia employs a unique dual language immersion approach to promote children’s foreign language skills through environment exposure and adult-child interactions without interrupting typical English early literacy development…In short, ICA Georgia will provide an early learning experience that is valuable for preparing future generations of ‘global citizens.’”

The US State Department designates Japanese as a Critical Language, and there are more than 600 Japanese companies in Georgia. Yet despite the increasingly globalized nature of our society, research indicates that Global Literacy is low in American youth (Council on Foreign Relations, 2016). Studies show that immersion students develop greater cognitive flexibility, increased attention control, better memory, and superior problem-solving skills compared to their peers. (See Lindholm-Leary, Dual Language Education. (2001)). ICA Georgia’s mission is to provide the students of Georgia with the skills they need to succeed in our increasingly globalized society.

For further details about the school, visit www.internationalcharteracademy.org, call 770-604-0007, or email info@internationalcharteracademy.org.

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Education

2021 Gwinnett County Teachers of the Year, including Paul Duke HS teacher for HS TOTY

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Katie Blum

During the annual Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year program on December 10, 2020, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks announced Katie Blum of Sugar Hill Elementary School as the recipient of the school system’s highest teaching honor. Due to pandemic restrictions, the celebratory event for the six TOTY finalists, their guests, and a small audience took place at the school district’s Instructional Support Center. While the event—which recognized all 139 local school Teachers of the Year—was live streamed, a recording is available on the GCPS website and via the GCPS TV app.          

Prior to earning the school system’s top honor, Blum was first named the 2021 Gwinnett County Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She was selected as Gwinnett’s top teacher from a group of six finalists, which had been narrowed to three level winners. Kelley Donovan of Coleman Middle School is Gwinnett’s 2021 Middle School Teacher of the Year and Philip Peavy of Paul Duke STEM High School is Gwinnett’s 2021 High School Teacher of the Year.

The TOTY selection process began at the start of the school year when thousands of teachers from throughout the district nominated and selected 139 teachers to represent their local schools. A selection committee later narrowed the group to 25 semifinalists, and finally to the six finalists. In addition to the three level winners (Blum, Donovan, and Peavy), the other three finalists were Lena Alonso of Lilburn Elementary School, Julianne Purnell of Five Forks Middle School, and Danielle Swaby of South Gwinnett High School.

High School Teacher of the Year- Philip Peavy, Cyber Security and Game Design Teacher at Paul Duke STEM High School

Philip Peavy

As a Cybersecurity and Game Design teacher at Paul Duke STEM, Philip Peavy is in uncharted territory and he loves it. He explains, “The ‘Cable Unit’ in Introduction to Cybersecurity is unique to my classroom because it is not done anywhere else in the state or country. Cybersecurity is a new subject around the nation so I develop my entire curriculum. I make the content relevant by providing [students with] skills that are authentic to real-world experience.” As a lifelong learner himself, Peavy is committed to professional development, attending monthly GCPS Career and Technical Education professional development as well as industry conferences to stay on top of the latest industry trends, and to sharpen his teaching skills and methods. 

Source: GCPS

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Education

Paul Duke STEM HS, one of Six Gwinnett schools to receive Bosch STEM Grants

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Alcova Elementary School, Jackson Elementary School, Northbrook Middle School, Osborne Middle School, Mill Creek High School, and Paul Duke STEM High School have been awarded a combined total of nearly $50,000 by the Bosch Community Fund (BCF). The six Gwinnett County schools were selected as grant recipients based on their commitment to and excellence in STEM education. The schools will use the grants to fund STEM-related projects. This is the fifth year that schools in the Gwinnett district have been the recipient of BOSCH grant funds.

The BCF, the corporate foundation for Bosch in North America, was established in 2011 to provide community engagement and philanthropic support. It seeks to support STEM education with a focus on three goals:

  • Support the talent pipeline and address the science knowledge gap
  • Support environmental education with stewardship
  • Support conservation and restoration of natural resources

The grants provide educational resources for teachers and increase student access to hands-on STEM and environmental sustainability programming.

The BCF awards up to $3 million in grants annually to projects with a science, technology, and environmental focus.

SchoolSTEM Focus of GrantGrant Award
Paul Duke STEM HSSTEM Team’s Hoop Dreams—This grant will support the construction of a hoop house and associated costs including hoop house building supplies, aquaponics supplies, water filtration supplies, water reclamation supplies, a wind turbine, and a solar energy collection system. $8,000.00

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Education

Wesleyan School Senior Named National Merit Semifinalist

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Wesleyan School is pleased to announce that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation has named senior Alexander Thorne a National Merit Semifinalist. This honor is extended to only 1% of seniors (approximately 16,000 total) nationwide receive based on their PSAT scores. Thorne will now submit an essay in the hopes of becoming a finalist and earning scholarship money. The finalists will be announced later this school year.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Wesleyan School is a Christian, independent K-12 college preparatory school located in
Peachtree Corners, Georgia. At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Wesleyan enrolled 1,193
students from throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. To learn more about the school, visit
wesleyanschool.org.

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