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Seniors’ Last Day of High School is Celebrated with a Campus Car Parade

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Greater Atlanta Christian Senior's Car Parade
Kaitlyn Williams of Peachtree Corners, bound for Brown University

May 8th had special meaning for the seniors from Greater Atlanta Christian School. It was their official last day of classes, and the administration wanted them to have a special memory-moment.

One of GAC’s end of year traditions includes a Senior Walk-through of the Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and High School buildings, ending with a buffet of donuts.  A campus parade was a way to have that experience under social distancing provisions.

A Senior Drive Through was organized for the 172 seniors and their families to cruise through GAC’s 88-acre campus in Northeast Atlanta. A heartfelt message by HS Principal, Shane Woodward, greeted them on their personal devices as their parade began. Personalized photo signs for each senior marked the path of the guided route led by a sheriff’s escort. The students’ colorfully decorated vehicles were cheered on by the K-12th grade faculty and staff, who held congratulatory signs, cheered and used noisemakers. At the end of the route, students received a dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts to continue their celebration at home.

“Today’s Drive Through has been extremely uplifting for all of us.  As a parent of a senior, it was incredible to see the faculty and staff lined up clapping, waving and shouting words of love and encouragement to the seniors and their families.  It was an inspiring way to culminate the seniors’ last day of high school. Who knows, it may become a new tradition!” shared GAC president, Dr. Scott Harsh.

GAC is planning a graduation in late summer if permitted by health protocol.

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Education

What’s Your Tutoring Plan?

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Photo from Kumon.

Local and virtual educational resources

After a year of normalcy lost to the pandemic, parents and educators have observed how students have fallen behind academic benchmark standards, and they’re coming up with innovative tutoring plans to ensure each student’s success.

The need for tutoring persists throughout both schools and private tutoring companies, such as Kumon and Mathnasium.

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) was proactive in fighting the spread of COVID-19. To minimize contact between students and teachers, GCPS offered Digital Learning Days as well as access to Tutor.com, which offers daily live tutoring support 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Verywellfamily.com recognizes Tutor.com as a resource that provides the best variety of services. The site offers over 250 subjects ranging from kindergarten to college level, and employs professional, expert tutors to aid students. Their packages are personalized and based on the needs and goals of each individual student.

GCPS also grants students access to “drop-off support” where they can upload a document and receive tutor feedback.

AKS At Home

However, the burden of the pandemic still prevents students from reaching their full potential. Research provided by the U.S. Department of Education suggests COVID-19 “[widened] pre-existing disparities in core subjects like math and reading.”

While some students thrived in the self-paced environment of their homes, others who are more prone to distractions, as well as younger learners, struggled to keep up. To bolster the resources available to their students, GCPS provides parents with Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) At Home, “To empower parents with tools that allow them to help their children at home.”

According to the GCPS website, “The AKS at Home project provides math and language arts resources to support families of children in grades K-5 so that they truly are partners in their children’s learning.”

AKS is designed to suit the needs of each family. Families can “attend virtual meetings, view recorded information at a time that best fits their schedule, and gain tips and suggestions on how to [best] help their children through tip sheets on a wide variety of topics.”

Registration for live AKS Virtual sessions during the month of October is open for students K-12. For more information and to sign up, visit gcpsk12.org/Page/26993.

Kumon

For a more tailored approach, most private tutoring companies have a selective studying method and devise lesson plans around student needs.

Lakshmi Nagamohan, Instructor at the Kumon Math and Reading Center of Peachtree Corners, outlines Kumon’s concentrated methods.

“The Kumon of Peachtree Corners tailors lesson plans specifically for each student. We monitor our students closely and instruct accordingly as they solve worksheets. Students work at their own pace to complete each worksheet and progress through the levels of the program,” Nagamohan said.

With over four million students enrolled around the globe, Kumon is the world’s largest after-school math and reading program. However, they stress that their company isn’t just tutoring. Kumon differentiates itself through their continuous approach to learning and their ability to identify the root cause of why students are struggling.

Photo from Kumon

Kumon parent Anne Lapoire attests to Kumon’s specialized techniques and how it fits into her children’s classwork. “I love that they are accountable and need to complete a packet every day. I feel like it complements their school homework very well and gives them a good routine,” she said.

Mathnasium

Similarly, Mathnasium is a mathematics education franchise that reaches a broad range of students in grades K-12 with 1,000 learning centers in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Mathnasium customizes learning plans based on assessments taken by each student.

According to their website, the Mathnasium assessment “reveals each specific skill area that needs to be mastered so kids aren’t wasting time reviewing concepts they already know.”
Over the course of tutoring with Mathnasium, all teaching occurs during the sessions and students are given assessments to track their progress. The Mathnasium of Berkley Lake currently offers in-person and online instruction and serves the Berkeley Lake, Duluth, Peachtree Corners and Norcross communities. Their team of math experts provides math tutoring, training and homework help so students receive the tools and confidence to go further in school.

Education is not one size fits all. These are confusing times and learning from home can often lead to distractions and growing homework piles, so a helping hand can be much appreciated.
We hope that this information proves useful and helps fuel a fulfilling school year.

Tutoring Resources

Here are links to some of the tutoring services offered in the Peachtree Corners area.

Club Z!
clubztutoring.com/alpharetta

Kumon
kumon.com/peachtree-corners

Mathnasium
mathnasium.com/berkeleylake

The Tutoring Center
duluth.tutoringcenter.com
johnscreek.tutoringcenter.com

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Education

School Superintendent Watts Addresses Troubling Trends on TikTok by students

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tashatuvango - stock.adobe.com

Special message from GCPS Superintendent Watts

Hello, I am Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts. In addition to leading Gwinnett County Public Schools, I am a parent. As a parent, I am reaching out to you regarding social media trends we are seeing that are troubling. Lately, a number of students have made threats toward others on social media. In addition, you may have heard about recent TikTok challenges that have circulated on social media encouraging students to engage in inappropriate and destructive behavior.

Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts.

In September, the “Devious Lick” challenge focused on vandalism, inciting students to steal something from their school. Unfortunately, several students in the district participated in this type of behavior. Those students faced disciplinary action and criminal charges when appropriate.

In October, a new social media challenge has emerged, calling for students to slap a teacher on the backside. Let me be very clear. Each and every person, especially each teacher, deserves our utmost respect and this behavior will not be tolerated. Encouraging others to strike another person is not funny. It is not appropriate to behave in this manner toward anyone, much less a teacher. In fact, it is sexual assault and will be treated as such in our school district.

As a fellow parent and someone who cares deeply about our students, I ask that you speak with your children about their social media use, the types of behaviors and “challenges” they see on social media, and the decisions they make and actions they take. One of the most important actions we can take as adults is to help our young people develop their instincts… instincts that can serve them well in the real world and in the online world. Please continue to help your children understand that, while social media can help them to feel connected, not all information or people on social media can be trusted. Explain to them that they are responsible for their own words and actions on social media and that many of those actions may follow them for the remainder of their educational and professional careers. And, as a result, they need to realize that some behaviors encouraged on social media can get them into trouble… at home, at school, and even with the police.

If you would like more information about these types of social media challenges or ideas on how to talk to your children about their social media use, please contact your school.

I want you to know that this communication comes from a place of love and compassion for each and every student, as well as for the adults who love them, who believe in them, and who want them to thrive as successful GCPS students and beyond. Thank you for partnering with our schools as we work to support our students. Together we can help each of our students be successful in school and in life.

In partnership and service,

Dr. Calvin J. Watts, Superintendent

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Education

Pinecrest Academy High School Remains #1 Ranked Catholic High School in Georgia

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Pinecrest Academy, a private PreK3-12 Catholic school in North Atlanta, retains its ranking as #1 Catholic High School in Georgia! This ranking by Niche.com is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents.

Ranking factors include SAT/ACT scores, the quality of colleges that students consider, student-teacher ratio, Catholic school ratings, and more. Data is sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, Niche users, and the schools directly. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3EHv1Bh

Other Niche rankings place Pinecrest Academy as #9 of 182 Private High Schools in Georgia, and #9 of 154 Private K-12 Schools in Georgia.

The school has also been named the “Best Private School” in Forsyth County for seven consecutive years in the Forsyth County News “Best of” ratings, has been a Cardinal Newman Catholic School of Excellence since 2007, and was named a 2014 Blue Ribbon School. Pinecrest Academy has maintained a one hundred percent graduation rate since its first graduating class of 2007, and the Class of 2021 received numerous academic accolades, with three acceptances to military colleges, and high acceptance rates to the Georgia Institute of Technology and The University of Georgia.  Two young men are in their first year at Westpoint Military Academy.  

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