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Education

Bridging Online and Hands-On Learning

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Greater Atlanta Christian School
Kelsey Dixon of Peachtree Corners with worms on plate

The ELC Prize Wagon has been on the move since school went to online learning at Greater Atlanta Christian School.  Every week, teacher Lisa Chase, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) specialist, has used her car to deliver prizes to her K4-5th grade students spanning from Braselton to Alpharetta, Atlanta, Peachtree Corners, Norcross and nearly every edge of the 13 counties the school draws its students. 

The reason the prizes are so coveted is that winning them doesn’t come easy.  Kids have to get dirty, be quietly observant and be extra creative to stand out in the array of “challenges” that Mrs. Chase provides.  “We are fortunate to have really involved parents who also want their kids to continue the “hands-on experience” that GAC is known for.  Our ELC has sparked incredible curiosity about how nature provides for us, and my job has been to continue their desire to learn more.  There is a lot of hands-on “work” in growing our crops, hydroponics, caring for the chickens and fish.  We want our students to get time away from their computer screen and still feel connected to the normal “ELC work” by doing some things in their own backyards. Students have made discoveries in their yards and neighborhoods they never knew existed.”

Digging for worms, finding pill bugs, and locating centipedes was one of the weekly assignments.  They were tasked to find where they lived, what they were doing, how big they were, and why they were in different parts of their backyards.  The lesson taught the value of these little composters and how they cultivate healthy soil. Their prize was an edible “dirt and worm” kit of chocolate pudding and organic gummy worms along with scratch and sniff book “worms.”

The students have loved the weekly challenges, but it’s especially exciting when Mrs. Chase pulls up with a prize.  “I miss these kids and it’s fun to see their faces, even if we are all “masked.”  GAC’s Environmental Learning Center is one of the places our kids cannot wait to come back to…and I can’t wait for them to be back too!  It’s a unique and fun way to teach science, reap the bounty of their labor, and care for the God’s beautiful earth.”

Editor’s note:  Mrs. Chase delivered 13 bags of kale from the ELC on May 1st to the North Gwinnett Co-Op in Buford, GA.

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Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Announces Cornerstone Christian Academy as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School

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At 1 p.m. September 24, Betsy DeVos recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. Cornerstone Christian Academy was recognized due to its exemplary high performance. This is the first time Cornerstone, located in Peachtree Corners, has submitted an application. After five years, schools are once again eligible for nomination if they so choose.

Cornerstone Headmaster Colin Creel said the following, “We are honored and humbled by this public acknowledgement of our community’s effort. I say community because this was truly a team effort. Cornerstone’s mission is to partner with parents to provide a quality academic education designed to develop students who will follow Christ, embrace biblical truth and live lives that glorify God. We are so thankful for the parents’ trust to educate their children intentionally and thoughtfully. As an administrator and a parent, I am grateful that my children as well as many others are the beneficiaries of this truly exemplary staff.

Even though this is a team effort, I do want to acknowledge a few individuals who spearheaded the application process. A special thank you goes to Scheduling and Testing Coordinator, Terri Childers, for crunching all of the data and our division principals, Melissa Dill and Dr. Kevin Jenkins, for submitting the narratives and shepherding the two divisions well. In addition, I would also like to thank De Ann Crawford, former head of school and current Director of Admissions, and Theresa Tamel, former principal, who laid an excellent foundation for which the school to grow and thrive.” 

Cornerstone Christian Academy serves students kindergarten through eighth grade. For more information, please visit them at cornerstonecougars.org

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Education

Nearly 2/3 of Cornerstone Christian Academy’s 7th Grade Class qualified for Duke TIP’s program

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The Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) recognizes academically talented students, using scores on standardized tests at or above the 95th percentile as its criteria. This year, nearly 63 percent of Cornerstone Academy’s current 7th grade students -the most in school history- qualified for the program. The students are as follows:

 Clara Allen, Sadie Archibald, Madeline Austin, Hudson Barrett, Katherine Beck, Kelsey Brown, Addison Brown, Rett Bush, Cole Creel, Jackson Dill, Juliette Dill, Jack Dowling, Callie Edwards, Charlie Frame, Will Hawkins, Gigi Gracie Henderson, Ben Hester, Hannah Hightower, Avery Hoffstedder, Ellie Hudgins, Ethan James, Lacie Jones, Derek Lee, Ryan Moleta, Kaitlyn Moss, Chloe Nylund, Eli Rickell, Hunter Rodgers, Spencer Schenke, Maddox Thomas, Abby Thorpe, Caroline Trice, Jackson Vanke, Cole Young

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City Government

Information on Gwinnett Property Taxes

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As the county approaches the 2020 property tax season, Tax Commissioner Richard Steele is sharing information about what taxpayers can expect to see on their tax bills this year.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners adopted its 2020 millage rates on August 18. The new property tax for economic development, a tax of 0.3 mills, was included in the resolution. According to the Board’s resolution, the new tax will “provide funds for financial assistance to the Development Authority of Gwinnett County for economic development purposes.”

Also, according to the BOC resolution, taxpayers in unincorporated Gwinnett, and those in cities that use Gwinnett police services, will see an increase of 1.3 mills on the police line of the tax bill. The resolution also calls for a 0.05 increase for recreation taxes. All other county tax rates will remain the same as last year.

With the County’s 0.259 mill rollback of the Maintenance and Operations rate, the total millage rate for unincorporated Gwinnett will increase to 14.71 mills, which is 1.391 mills higher than 2019.

The Tax Commissioner’s office was notified of the new economic development tax on August 17. Adding the new tax to the tax bills will require additional programming; therefore, the estimated mailing of the 2020 tax bills is now Oct. 1, with a Dec. 1 due date.

Any questions regarding county millage rates should be directed to the Board of Commissioners.

Gwinnett County Public Schools Taxes

Due to numerous emails and phone calls received by the Tax Commissioner’s office, Richard Steele is also reminding taxpayers that the Tax Commissioner has no authority over the amount of school taxes paid, and therefore can neither reduce nor refund any portion of school taxes due to the fact that schools are not open for in-person learning.

The Gwinnett Board of Education sets the millage rates for school taxes. This year, the school M&O millage rate is 19.70, and the school bond rate is 1.90, the same rates as in 2019.

Questions regarding the school millage rates should be directed to the Board of Education.

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