Dougherty County School System Notebook

Good news from around the DCSS

Dougherty County Teachers of The Year named

The Georgia Teacher of the Year program is a statewide public-private partnership that seeks to bring positive attention and honor to the teaching profession. Last month, each school took the first step in the process by selecting their Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to the 24 Dougherty County School System Teachers of the Year. While all are winners and represent their schools as Teacher of the Year, the in-house screening committee has reviewed the nomination packages and selected eight finalists to compete for the title of DCSS System Teacher of the Year. Below is a list of all winners with the eight finalists indicated by an asterisk following their name.

The community selection committee convened on February 21 and finalists’ observations will take place between February 25 and March 8. The district winner will be announced at the annual Teacher of the Year and Retired Educators Banquet on April 17.

2014-2015 Teachers of the Year:

Victoria Green Brackins, Albany High School *

Sarah Bivins, Dougherty Comprehensive High School *

Tyleen Jeter, Monroe Comprehensive High School

Mitchel Carthon, Westover Comprehensive High School

Zelda White-Davis, Albany Middle School

Jonathan Pierce, Merry Acres Middle School

Tracey L. Wingfield, Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts *

Kivea Burroughs, Robert A Cross Middle Magnet School

Renee Shackleford, Southside Middle School

Lisa Williams, Alice Coachman Elementary School

Tammatha K. Graddic, International Studies Elementary Charter School

Sandra Kay Masters, Jackson Heights Elementary School *

Donna Butler, Lake Park Elementary School

Yolanda Maria Bryant, Lamar Reese Magnet School of the Arts *

Jennifer Lewis-Polite, Lincoln Elementary Magnet School *

Patricia Ann Littleton, Live Oak Elementary School *

Jocylin B. James, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School

Sheila Dyson, Morningside Elementary School

Yolanda Kendrick, Northside Elementary School

Katrina Crawford, Radium Springs Elementary School

Martez Favis, Sherwood Acres Elementary School *

Samuel McPhee, Jr., Turner Elementary School

Katrena Robinson, West Town Elementary School

Priscilla Thomas, South Georgia Regional Achievement Center

Merry Acres takes 1st place in MathCounts competition

Students from Merry Acres Middle School and Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School recently participated in the 27th annual Darton State College MathCounts competition. Each year, students from area schools participate in MathCounts to test their skills and knowledge of mathematics. Other area schools in this year’s competition included Lee County Middle School, Sherwood Christian Academy and St. Teresa’s School.

Merry Acres continued MathCounts winning tradition placing 1st in the competition. Robert Cross came in 3rd place. The winning Merry Acres team is captained by Dylan Holland. Team members are Landon McCoy, Sarah Norton, Olivia Bell, Carterion Whitlock, and Christine Chung. Merry Acres school sponsors are Tracy Stolze and Brett Rey. The Merry Acres team will advance to state competition at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on March 17. Community contributors to MathCounts were Buffalo Rock Pepsi and MARS Chocolate North America.

DCSS 4-H’ers attend Southwest District Project Achievement

Seven 4-H members from Dougherty County attended the Southwest District 4-H Jr-Sr. District Project Achievement at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in February, returning home with honors in their project areas.

Senior 4-H’er Charlie Baker won 1st place in Performing Arts Dance. Charlie will compete in Atlanta at State 4-H Congress in July for Master 4-H status, the highest honor in Georgia 4-H. Lamancia Martin won 2nd place in Companion Animals and A’Jay Jones took 3rd place in Physical, Biological, and Earth Science. Jayda Robinson (public speaking) and Nubia Griffin (performing arts other instrumental) were honorable mentions in their project areas.

First place Junior 4-H’ers were Kiedon Bryant in Science of Engineering and Mechanics, and Nicholas Perry in Wildlife.

Charlie Baker was elected to the 2014-2015 Southwest District Senior Board to serve as vice-president. His duties will include planning and leading assemblies at district and state events.

4-H Agent Randy West and FACS agent Suzanne Williams accompanied the students to the weekend event.

Westover ninth grader accepted to Duke talent search program

Mary Rachel, a ninth grader at Westover Comprehensive High School, recently applied to the Duke University Talent Search Program (TIP). She was accepted to her first choice of courses offered and will be studying “Villains in Literature and Popular Culture” for three weeks at Rice University in Houston, Tex., this summer.

Mary qualified to apply to the program based on her SAT scores from 7th grade. The Duke (TIP) 7th Grade Talent Search helps educators and families determine the level of advancement of their students’ academic abilities. Traditional testing sometimes fails to measure variations among academically talented students who reach the upper limits of scoring on grade-level exams. Above-level testing at least two years above a student’s current grade offers gifted students and their families a better understanding of how the student compares to other gifted peers and what level of educational challenge is appropriate.

Leadership Albany Class of 2015 visits DCSS

The Leadership Albany Class of 2015 visited the Dougherty County School System on Feb. 13. Twenty-four members, along with board member Tonia Jordan and executive director Mary Ligon, traveled around the county to receive information about a variety of school offerings on every level. The day began in the board room with a welcome from interim superintendent Butch Mosely and Valentine’s wishes from young members of the county pre-kindergarten program.

First stop on the tour was the International Studies Elementary Charter School where the group observed classes and learned about the International Baccalaureate primary years program and experienced a public charter school. Next, the group advanced to Albany Middle School and were guided through classroom visits by the AMS Divas. They learned about magnet offerings and advancing student achievement on the middle school level.

To showcase the collaboration with post-secondary education options in Dougherty County, the class was hosted for lunch at Albany Technical College where vice president Linda DeJesus and staff described the many career learning opportunities available to DCSS high school students through dual and joint enrollment programs. From that campus, the tour visited the newest of those opportunities at the College and Career Performance Learning Center where 65 students enrolled in January for a program that accelerates high school credit earning for diplomas while allowing joint enrollment in a career program at Albany Tech for those that qualify for admission. The group then moved down the street to tour the Career, Technical, and Agriculture Education (CTAE) wing at Monroe Comprehensive High School.

The late afternoon brought the return of the class to the central office where eight principals offered insight into special opportunities and challenges in their schools and the superintendent and cabinet answered questions about all that was seen during the day.

Lake Park participates in “Go Red” for Heart Health Month

On Feb. 7, Lake Park Elementary School’s staff and students took part in “Go Red,” a national campaign to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke, especially in women, as well as congenital heart defects. For a small donation, Lakers could wear jeans and a red uniform shirt to school for the day. More than $600 was raised, all of which will be donated to the American Heart Association for the Albany Heart Walk on March 8. Also, as part of Heart Health Month, students have been learning fun facts about the heart and the importance of keeping it healthy.

Radium Middle Drama Department presents “Pickin”

On February 6-7, the Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts drama department performed the widely acclaimed play, Pickin’. This play about bullying in schools was written by Tyrone Butler, a 1971 graduate of Albany State University and executive director of the Augusta Mini Theatre. Pickin’ , which addresses the consequences of bullying, has been performed across the nation. In attendance were Chianti Davis, founder and executive director of Sounds of Joy, an enrichment program designed to cultivate the creative talents of students, actor and director Curtis Williams from Albany State University, several youth groups from local churches, and a host of family supporters.

An additional day of theater activity at Radium featured a master’s class which included staging, body positions, and vocal exercises. The workshop was conducted by Judy Simons Butler, drama instructor and co-founder of the Augusta Mini Theatre. The day ended with the presentation of What Black Folk Say About Black Folk, also written by Butler followed by a reception hosted by Valerie Williams, principal.

Merry Acres holds “Math with Mom” Workshop

The Merry Aces Middle School math department hosted a” Math with Mom” interactive workshop on February 6 in the school cafeteria. During the workshop, parents engaged with their children in hands-on activities that promoted fun and exciting ways to learn the math concepts that are being taught in class. More than 30 moms took part in the event which was coordinated by parent facilitator Latarsha McGowan. Several community partners donated to make the workshop possible.

2nd Mt. Zion Mentors Making a Difference at Alice Coachman

Jalen Walker’s life has changed since the Rev. Theodus Drake came into it last fall. Drake is the pastor of 2nd Mt. Zion Baptist Church, one of Alice Coachman’s Partners in Excellence. He is also one of seven church members who mentor boys and girls at the school. The mentoring program started at the beginning of this school year when principal Dr. Gail Solomon expressed a need. Drake and the other mentors watch over their students’ behavior and school work and communicate with their teachers. Drake told Jalen that he would help him get a basketball uniform and pray for him if Jalen promised to be honest, keep his grades up, and be a leader in his class. On a recent Sunday Jalen read a letter he wrote Drake that included the words “When you came into my life, I began to change for the better. I want to say thank you for believing and praying for me.”

Lincoln Elementary Magnet holds Career Day activities

After being postponed a week due to winter weather, Lincoln Elementary Magnet School recently held its 3rd annual Career Day. Booths were set up in the gym for presenters which students in grades K - 5 visited to learn about a variety of careers. Presenters gave information about the education needed for their jobs and described a typical day. Both students and teachers enjoyed learning about new and different careers.

The school held its annual Career Dress Up Day during which students dressed to represent the career they want to have when they grow up. They shared with classmates the career they chose and at least one fact about that career. Students were dressed as principal, teacher, counselor, president, doctor, lawyer, policeman, fireman, engineer, veterinarian, nurse, and countless other professions.

Dinner Theatre comes to Live Oak Elementary School

Live Oak Elementary School students experienced a live dinner theater event February 12-14 at the school. Students dressed up for the occasion with photos and face masks making the event special for them. Live Oak parents worked as volunteers serving students each day. Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts students provided entertainment for each grade level in the form of dance, orchestra, and drama. During the presentations, students and parents filled the cafeteria with laughter, smiles, and conversation. Live Oak faculty and staff planned, decorated, and facilitated the event.

Sherwood holds parent workshop on “Understanding the CRCT”

Sherwood Acres Elementary School parents participated in a workshop on February 7 facilitated by testing and evaluation coordinator Renee Bridges. The workshop, “Understanding the CRCT,” educated parents on the purpose of the CRCT as it relates to CCGPS and CCRPI, the academic domains tested, requirements, scores and reports, ways parents can assist students with improving their scores, and test-taking tips. Bridges also shared sample CRCT questions and online resources for practice. Parents enjoyed lunch donated by Papa John’s Pizza. Sherwood’s parent facilitator, Frieda Snead, coordinated the workshop.

Former coach returns to speak to Monroe High business students

On February 13, Jerome Hubbard, a former Monroe Comprehensive High Basketball coach, served as guest speaker for Monroe High small business development pathway students. Hubbard, who is now a local insurance agent, gave a presentation about auto insurance along with sharing tips for a successful life. Kathie Stewart is small business development teacher at Monroe.

Elementary counselors recognized by GSCA

Dougherty County elementary school counselors were recognized at the Georgia School Counselors Association (GSCA) region 10 meeting on February 12 at Moultrie Technical College. Dr. Jackie Melendez, program specialist from the Georgia Department of Education and director of guidance/counseling for the state, commended DCSS elementary counselors for their highly developed career guide booklet. The guide provides strategies, lessons, ideas, and activities that support the 17 career clusters for students in grades K-5. Dr. Melendez publicly announced that the DCSS Career Resource Booklet will soon be available on the GaDOE website to make DCSS career lessons and activities available to school counselors throughout Georgia.

Teachers attend ESOL conference

On February 4-6, Kennesaw State University held its 13th annual ESOL Conference, “The Power of ESOL: Building a Better Future for All.” Keynote speakers included Dr. Robert Avossa, Superintendent of the Fulton County School System, and Jim Warford (Senior Advisor and Keynote Speaker for the International Center for Leadership in Education.) The conference offered a variety of sessions including CCGPS Differentiation for ELs, Using Symbaloo to Organize your Internet, English Acquisition Learning Models for Migrant Out of School Youth, Immigration Lawyer, and New G.A.M.E.S. for the Common Core. The sessions allowed attendees to engage in relevant professional development to facilitate the learning of students who are acquiring language proficiency.