);
Connect with us

Education

School Superintendent Watts Addresses Troubling Trends on TikTok by students

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Education

What’s Your Tutoring Plan?

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Education

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

Published

on

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.  

Continue Reading

Education

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

Published

on

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. 

GCPS’ 2021-22 Local School Teachers of the Year (TOTYs)

Alcova Elementary School, Jennifer Bishop, 1st Grade Teacher

Alford Elementary School, Natalia Pyle, 1st Grade Teacher

Anderson-Livsey Elementary School, Taylor Nicole Thomas, Kindergarten Teacher

Annistown Elementary School, Felica Williams, Kindergarten Teacher

Arcado Elementary School, Jamie Garcia Caycho, 1st Grade Teacher

Archer High School, Lee Allen, Algebra Teacher (Grade 9)

Baggett Elementary School, Lucas Findlay, Science Teacher (Grades K-5)

Baldwin Elementary School, Rebecca Patterson, STEM Teacher (Grades K-5)

Bay Creek Middle School, Rebecca Brown, Science Teacher (Grade 7)

Beaver Ridge Elementary School, Christine Bhachech, 4th Grade Teacher

Benefield Elementary School, Rachel Howard, Local School Technology Coordinator and Computer Science Teacher (Grades K-2)

Berkeley Lake Elementary School, Bonnie Walsh, 1st Grade Teacher

Berkmar High School, Dr. Sonia Howard, Chemistry Teacher (Grade 10)

Berkmar Middle School, Taniesha Pooser, Orchestra Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Bethesda Elementary School, Diana Ramirez-Gomez, Dual Language Immersion Teacher – Mathematics and Science – Spanish (Grade 2)

Britt Elementary School, Breana Vining, Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grades 2 and 3)

Brookwood Elementary School, Dr. Nancy Kluge, Kindergarten Teacher

Brookwood High School, Erin Thompson, AP Statistics and Gifted Pre-calculus Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Buice Center, Shanice Turner, Special Education Teacher – Mathematics (Grades 9-12)

Burnette Elementary School, Christy Cochran, Physical Education Teacher (Grades K-5)

Camp Creek Elementary School, Jennifer Gebczyk, Music Teacher (Grades K-5)

Cedar Hill Elementary School, Allison Quevedo, Gifted and Advanced Content Teacher (Grades 4-5)

Centerville Elementary School, Denise Baccus, Media Specialist  (Grades K-5)

Central Gwinnett High School, Judith Chavarria, Biology, AP Biology, and Ecology Teacher (Grades 9 and 12)

Chattahoochee Elementary School, Debby Torak, 1st Grade Teacher

Chesney Elementary School, Martine Legagneur-Alcin, 1st Grade Teacher

Coleman Middle School, Brittany Davis, Spanish Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Collins Hill High School, Maggie Harper, English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Cooper Elementary School, Pamela Hart, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 1)

Corley Elementary School, Jafria Wooden, Early Intervention Program and English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades K-5)

Couch Middle School, Jasmine Clay, Special Education Teacher – Mathematics (Grade 8)

Craig Elementary School, Chimere Burns-Filonenko, 2nd Grade Teacher

Creekland Middle School, Jessica Schiereck, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 7)

Crews Middle School, Sabrina Robertson, Chorus Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Dacula Elementary School, Susan Hunter, Kindergarten Teacher

Dacula High School, Brandi Poore, Special Education Teacher – Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (Grades 9-12)

Dacula Middle School, Katrina Clavon, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource – Language Arts (Grade 6)

Discovery High School, Brandon T. Baker, Chorus Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Duluth High School, Shawn M. Morton, Orchestra Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Duluth Middle School, Lien Huynh, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 7)

Duncan Creek Elementary School, Jennifer Chandler, 3rd Grade Teacher

Dyer Elementary School, Jamie Sturgeon, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource – Language Arts and Mathematics (Grades 3 and 5)

Ferguson Elementary School, Diane Cawthon, Special Education Teacher – Autism Spectrum Disorder (Level 1) (Grades K-5)

Five Forks Middle School, Matt Tankersley, Band Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Fort Daniel Elementary School, Kevin Glausier, Physical Education Teacher (Grades K-5)

Freeman’s Mill Elementary School, Lisa Brownlee, Art Teacher (Grades K-5)

GIVE Center East, Brenda G. Clark, Chemistry Teacher (Grade 10)

GIVE Center West, Emily Eigel, Algebra I Teacher (Grade 9)

Grace Snell Middle School, Amelia Massey, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource – Language Arts (Grade 6)

Graves Elementary School, Elanna Worthy, 3rd Grade Teacher

Grayson Elementary School, Kristen Davis, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science Teacher (Grade 3)

Grayson High School, Linn Zamora, Visual Arts and Photography Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Gwin Oaks Elementary School, Sara Stephenson, 1st Grade Teacher

Gwinnett Online Campus, David Wise, Science Teacher (Grade 6)

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Laurie Duke, Chorus Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Harbins Elementary School, Katie Walker, 1st Grade Teacher

Harmony Elementary School, Hannah England, Computer Science Teacher (Grades K-5)

Harris Elementary School, Carly Spivey, 1st Grade Teacher

Head Elementary School, Rachel Stallworth, 1st Grade Teacher

Hopkins Elementary School, Dr. Melissa L. Cable, Science and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Hull Middle School, Kanisha Sherman, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 6)

International Transition Center, Andrea Anderson, Mathematics and Ecology Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Ivy Creek Elementary School, Angela Williams, Dual Language Immersion Teacher – Language Arts and Social Studies – English (Kindergarten)

Jackson Elementary School, Sara Hersch, 4th Grade Teacher

Jenkins Elementary School, Stacey Lackey, Kindergarten Teacher

Jones Middle School, Alyson Carroll, Special Education Teacher – Emotional Behavioral Disorder – Core Subjects and Affective Skills (Grades 6-8)

Jordan Middle School, Vonda Smalls, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 7)

Kanoheda Elementary School, Pamela Singh, Special Education Teacher – Specific Learning Disabilities (Grade 2)

Knight Elementary School, Verenice Romo, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 5)

Lanier High School, Jordan Brannen, AP U.S. History Teacher (Grade 11)

Lanier Middle School, Angelique Sharpe, Algebra I Teacher (Grade 8)

Lawrenceville Elementary School, Katie Rawlins, 2nd Grade Teacher

Level Creek Elementary School, Stacey Speicher, 2nd Grade Teacher

Lilburn Elementary School, Kemmer Tsirigos, 1st Grade Teacher

Lilburn Middle School, LaTonja DeCambre, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)

Lovin Elementary School, Vema Edwards, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grades K-2)

Magill Elementary School, Suzette Kinsey, Kindergarten Teacher

Mason Elementary School, Kumari A. Baker, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grades K-5)

Maxwell High School of Technology, Brandon Myers, Career and Technical Education Teacher – Manufacturing (Grades 10-12)

McClure Health Science High School, Katie Kangas, Algebra I and AP Statistics Teacher (Grades 9-12)

McConnell Middle School, Toosdhi Ashley, Physical Science Teacher (Grade 8)

McKendree Elementary School, Amanda Rowberry, 5th Grade Teacher

Meadowcreek Elementary School, Crisleyda Almonte, Dual Language Immersion Teacher – Mathematics and Science – Spanish (Grade 2)

Meadowcreek High School, Wanda L. Moon, Accelerated Geometry, Pre-calculus, and AP Calculus AB Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Mill Creek High School, Laurel Christopher, Economics Teacher (Grade 12)

Minor Elementary School, Jessica Carlson, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grades K and 1)

Moore Middle School, Sonta Murray, Mathematics Teacher (Grade 7)

Mountain Park Elementary School, Emily McGilvray, 4th Grade Teacher

Mountain View High School, Gretchen Galvin, Special Education Teacher – Autism Spectrum Disorder (Level 4) (Grades 9-12)

Mulberry Elementary School, Terry Spalding, Speech-Language Pathologist  (Grades K-5)

Nesbit Elementary School, Monique DePass, Kindergarten Teacher

Norcross Elementary School, Dr. LaTonya Parker, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 5)

Norcross High School, Maria Peña, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 10)

North Gwinnett High School, John Rhilinger, Latin Teacher (Grades 9-12)

North Gwinnett Middle School, Jenny Stark, Media Specialist  (Grades 6-8)

Northbrook Middle School, Tricia Boston, Visual Arts Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Norton Elementary School, Dr. LaDonna Hollis, 4th Grade Teacher

Oakland Meadow School, Sandra Lisic, Special Education Teacher – Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (Grades 9-12)

Osborne Middle School, Nicole Merrill, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource – Language Arts (Grade 7)

Parkview High School, Anela Buljubasic, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 9)

Parsons Elementary School, Sheri Phillips, Speech-Language Pathologist  (Pre-K)

Partee Elementary School, Tonya Merl, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Patrick Elementary School, James Mack, Special Education Teacher – Emotional Behavioral Disorder (Grades 3-5)

Paul Duke STEM High School, Brooke Skelton, Career and Technical Education Teacher – Audio-Visual Technology and Film (Grades 9-12)

Peachtree Elementary School, Yuenye Yolanda Sato, 5th Grade Teacher

Peachtree Ridge High School, Dr. Andy Edwards, Music Technology Teacher (Grades 9-12)

Pharr Elementary School, Heather Perry, Special Education Teacher – Autism Spectrum Disorder (Level 1) (Grades K-3)

Phoenix High School, Paige Lutes, Language Arts Teacher (Grade 11)

Pinckneyville Middle School, Josie Ebert, Algebra I and Accelerated Algebra I Teacher (Grade 8)

Puckett’s Mill Elementary School, Kelly Powell, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Radloff Middle School, Demetrius Polk, Social Studies Teacher (Grades 6-8)

Richards Middle School, Lauren Glover, Gifted Mathematics Teacher (Grade 7)

Riverside Elementary School, Rita Arsenault, Kindergarten Teacher

Roberts Elementary School, Shea Criss, 2nd Grade Teacher

Rock Springs Elementary School, Leigh Ann Lacey, Kindergarten Teacher

Rockbridge Elementary School, Sahar Samani, STEM Teacher (Grades K-5)

Rosebud Elementary School, Monica Manis, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Shiloh Elementary School, Racquel Samuels, Kindergarten Teacher

Shiloh High School, Dr. Krystal Tomlin, Career and Technical Education Teacher – Essentials of Healthcare and Pharmacy (Grades 9-12)

Shiloh Middle School, Alexis Paige Pritchett, Physical Science Teacher (Grade 8)

Simonton Elementary School, Traci Rojo, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Simpson Elementary School, Nicole Charloff, 2nd Grade Teacher

Snellville Middle School, Lynn Thacker, Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource – Mathematics and Science (Grade 7)

South Gwinnett High School, Kandra Malone, Career and Technical Education Teacher – Business and Marketing Education (Grades 9-12)

Starling Elementary School, Heather C. Lewis, 1st Grade Teacher

Stripling Elementary School, Melanie Owens, Kindergarten Teacher

Sugar Hill Elementary School, Margaret Tontillo, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science Teacher (Grade 4)

Summerour Middle School, Edith Holbrook Riehm, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 8)

Suwanee Elementary School, Karen Phillips, STEM Teacher (Grades K-5)

Sweetwater Middle School, Justice Ejike, Physical Science Teacher (Grade 8)

Sycamore Elementary School, Cynthia Bennett, Science and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 5)

Taylor Elementary School, Nancy Blumenthal, Reading Recovery and Early Intervention Program Teacher (Grade 1)

Trickum Middle School, Bianca Woods, Social Studies Teacher (Grade 6)

Trip Elementary School, Amanda Dysart, Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher (Grade 4)

Twin Rivers Middle School, Andrew Cox, Science Teacher (Grade 8)

Walnut Grove Elementary School, Laurie Rundqwist, STEM Teacher (Grades K-5)

White Oak Elementary School, Melissa Neely, Local School Technology Coordinator  (Grades K-5)

Winn Holt Elementary School, Becca Brown, 4th Grade Teacher

Woodward Mill Elementary School, Monica Gassman, Local School Technology Coordinator  (Grades K-5)

Source: GCPS

Continue Reading

Read the Digital Edition

Subscribe

Peachtree Corners Life

Capitalist Sage

Topics and Categories

Recent Posts

Authors

Trending

Copyright © 2020 Mighty Rockets LLC, powered by WordPress.

Get Weekly Updates!

Get Weekly Updates!

Don't miss out on the latest news, updates, and stories about Peachtree Corners.

Check out our podcasts: Peachtree Corners Life, Capitalist Sage and the Ed Hour

You have Successfully Subscribed!