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Education

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

Simpson Elementary Cuts Ribbon on New Track

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Students now have facilities suitable for exercising the body as well as the mind.

For something to be important and special, it doesn’t necessarily have to be huge. That’s what Simpson Elementary students, staff and Peachtree Corners officials realized on Nov. 7 with the ribbon cutting of the school’s new track.

“Today is a joyous occasion because we’re here to celebrate the renovation of our school’s playground,” said Simpson Elementary Principal Dr. Taffeta Connery.

The four-month long project took a lot of effort. In addition to trimming the overgrowth of trees beyond the fence surrounding the track and a playground area, numerous potholes needed to be filled. The playground was leveled with truckloads of dirt and gravel, and the actual track was rubber striped.

What was once a potential hazard and mini wetland has been transformed into an inviting recreational space for students and staff to exercise. For safety reasons, the track isn’t open to the public.

“Not only is it attractive, but it’s also safe and enjoyable for all of you to run around and play,” said Dr. Connery.

Previously, the Simpson Superstars had to meet for Kilometer Club at the nearby YMCA. The renovated space now allows for a closer option right on school grounds.

Great schools, great communities

City representatives Councilmembers Lori Christopher, Phil Sadd and Mayor Pro Tem Weare Gratwick, along with City Manager Brian Johnson, were presented with an award of recognition and appreciation by Dr. Connery.

The officials received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and an abundance of thank you cards from the kindergarten class of the school before officially declaring the track open for walking, running and just enjoying the outdoors.

The kindergarteners gathered for the ceremony and applauded the efforts of the city as Dr. Connery presented Peachtree Corners with a plaque and flowers as tokens of appreciation.

“We always say that great schools build great communities, and in turn, great communities build great schools,” said Dr. Connery. “This Community Service Award is with our deepest appreciation for the City of Peachtree Corners.”

The students presented the thank you cards they’d made to city officials before everyone took a victory lap to break in the new track. The weather was a little warm for early November, but everyone agreed that it was perfect for a mid-morning stroll.

Simpson Elementary PTA Co-Presidents Mary Catherine Jennings and Dana Zamuel were also present to celebrate the school’s new addition. They both agreed that exercising the body is just as important as exercising the mind — especially with energetic elementary students.

The teachers are just as excited about the improvements as the children. Prior to the renovations, that area had such poor drainage that it often couldn’t be used for recess, nature walks or other school functions.

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Arts & Literature

GCPL’s 2023 Student Film Fest is Opened for Submissions

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Gwinnett County Public Library Announces Its First Annual Student Film Fest for the 2022-2023 School Year

When it comes to bonding and quality time among students, nothing proves more effective than a premium film fest. In light of this, Gwinnett County Public Library has taken this initiative down in its playbook by presenting the first annual Student Film Fest for the 2022-2023 school year.

According to the GCPL media alert, the festival will be held on March 11th, 2023, and it promises to showcase a lot of film screenings, an award ceremony, and an after-party with possible networking benefits, especially for young filmmakers.

Everyone in and outside the county was pretty excited about the news, more so when the video and film production company and media group, East2West, was announced to be the major sponsor for the program. This news, coupled with the fact that cash prizes and awards would be in abundance at the festival, has kept students and spectators on their toes as they wait for the day of the film fest in unbridled anticipation.

Subsequently, invitations were spread worldwide to students around the age of 11 and above from every grade in middle school, high school, and higher education. For a landmark project, the Gwinnett County Public Library might just make this Student Film Fest the best of its kind yet.

GCPL’s Rules for the 2023 Student Film Fest

Following the announcement of this film fest, calls were made to students from reputable institutions around the world to submit films of any genre. These films will be arranged into their respective categories, and winners in each category will receive awards and cash prizes. Submissions will open on November 1st, 2022, and close on January 22nd, 2023.

For a much wider reach, the GCPL decided to include other members of the public by demanding a representative from each student group who would attend the awards ceremony. This would form an eligibility clause for students seeking to win prizes.

But the directives did not stop there as the GCPL proceeded to outline several rules of conduct for the Film Fest. Here are excerpts of these rules:

  1. Students below the age of 18 must submit a completed entry form and video release form duly signed by a parent.
  2. The name of the school and year of study must be submitted.
  3. Films must include credits and an opening title.
  4. Films should run between a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes.

For some semblance of order to take place throughout the Student Film Fest, it was paramount that these regulations be implemented thoroughly.

As for the prizes, GCPL stated that only the winners of the Best Picture award in each category would win $250. Trophies and certificates will be awarded to other winners, and the GCPL’s Learning Labs team will provide access to library resources for young filmmakers.

Additional information can be found at the library’s website.

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Education

Seven Norcross High School Students Named as National Merit Semifinalists

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Norcross High School

Nina Ballerstedt, Dylan Christensen, Jordan Katz, Logan Lewis, Holden Thomas, Jonah Wu and Sean Zhong — all students at Norcross High School — have been named as Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The Semifinalists were determined by the students’ scores on the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). They are among 16,000 students from across the nation competing for National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and the high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July.

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