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News to Know for the Week of January 21-24, 2020

Special Observances for January 


  • National School Choice Week is January 20-26. School choice is the process of allowing every family to choose the K-12 educational options that best fit their children. These options include all forms of education, from traditional public schools, to public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. For more information email [email protected] or visit



Save the Date


  • Fulton's first Early Childhood Awareness Summit will be held on Wednesday, January 29 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Atlanta Metropolitan State College at 630 Metropolitan Parkway SW, Atlanta, Georgia. The summit will open with breakfast and networking followed by a welcome from FCS Superintendent Mike Looney. Presentations will be given by Fulton and early childhood education leaders in a panel discussion. This event will provide resources and incentives for parents as well as partnership opportunities for other stakeholders.


  • Spalding Drive Elementary will hold a Career Fair on Friday, February 7.


  • Creekside High School's Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) program will host its annual showcase January 24 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. AVID showcases provide the opportunity for educators to see an AVID implementation, share best practices and learn more about AVID hands-on.

    Participants will have the opportunity to hear from AVID students, review data and results and observe an AVID elective class. For more information or to register visit


  • The candidate declaration phase for the 2020 School Governance Council (SGC) elections process begins February 3rd. Each FCS principal is receiving information on eligibility guidelines. February 26 ends the candidate declaration phase.

    Voting takes place March 17-24. If needed, run-offs will take place March 26. Winners will be announced March 27.



Awards and Honors


  • Riverwood International Charter School senior Hayes Miller was selected by the Sandy Springs chapter of the National Society Daughters of the Revolution (NSDAR), as the chapter's 2019-2020 Good Citizen.

    Created in 1934, the NSDAR Good Citizen Award and Scholarship Contest, recognizes high school seniors who demonstrate dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities. In addition to exemplifying academic performance and involvement in school and community, Miller wrote an essay on this year's topic "Our American Heritage and our Responsibility for Preserving It: You and your peers are our nation's leaders of tomorrow. How would you energize America's youth to fully engage as effective citizens?"

    Hayes' service and leadership roles are as follows: President of Riverwood Model UN, Spanish National Honor Society and Science Olympiad; Vice President of the Science National Honor Society; Riverwood Ambassador; four-year Student Government Association representative; biology tutor, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and the Riverwood Writing Center; member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club; Chair of the Health Committee for the Fulton County Youth Commission and graduate of Youth Leadership Sandy Springs Class of 2017.

    "It is a great honor to have won this award and I am highly appreciative of all of the opportunities that have been available to me to make this possible," notes Miller. "For me, this is an opportunity to thank the community that I serve and that has helped shape me into the involved and active citizen that I am today."

    As a local chapter winner, Hayes now can advance toward a national scholarship.


  • Six Fulton County Schools have been named Title I Distinguished Schools by the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE): Amana Academy; Elkins Pointe Middle, Hembree Springs Elementary, High Point Elementary, KIPP South Fulton Academy and Woodland Elementary. This designation indicates placement among the top five percent schoolwide as well as the top five percent of Targeted Assisted Title I schools in the state that have the highest absolute performance for the all-students group based on the current statewide assessment. GDOE's program rewards successful schools and school districts for significant progress improving student achievement and/or significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

    Congratulations to our students, staff, and parents for this amazing accomplishment.


  • Two Fulton County Schools students, Johns Creek High senior Zach Schuller and Autrey Mill Middle eighth grader Daylia Lian, were chosen from 1,000 applicants to participate in the State Superintendent of School's Student Advisory Council (SAC) 2019-2020. SAC is made up of two groups of students - middle and high school - who represent their school district. The groups discuss how decisions made at the state level can impact them. Council members attend three all-day session throughout the school year at the Georgia Department of Education office downtown. Superintendent Richard Woods allows students to serve as liaisons between GDOE and the students of Georgia.

    Zach and Daylia and their council member colleagues recently completed the second session in which they listened to presentations about how the department's various divisions, programs, and initiatives work. In small groups, they shared updates on the progress of their service projects concepts. Members also engaged in active discussions on the efficacy of school operations and how it affects student life as well as make suggestions for improvements.Students also engaged in active discussions on the efficacy of school operations and how they affect student life; and discussed suggested improvements.


  • Lake Windward Elementary (LWE) Principal Julie Morris and her team attended and presented at the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Conference in Orlando, FL in December. The conference included schools from across the country who came together to learn and share best practices. The LWES team presented on Response to Intervention (RTI), the 30-minute period every morning when all students participate in research-based interventions, reteaching of concepts, or enrichment opportunities based on data. LWE's RTI program has been proven to increase student achievement. The team attended sessions on a variety of topics including incorporating mindfulness into schools, providing enrichment for all students, integrating art and literacy, and how to build a positive school climate.


  • Alpharetta High School Swim and Dive took top awards at the Clarke Oconee Invitational. The boys team took first place, the girls team took second and the team placed second overall.


  • The Milton High School Wind Ensemble, Taylor Road Middle School Band and Johns Creek Orchestra will be featured performers at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) 2020 Conference held in Athens this upcoming weekend. Several FCS music teachers will present workshops, demonstrating how Fulton music teachers are industry leaders in Georgia. Last weekend, the Milton ensemble joined the Atlanta Wind Ensemble for a pre-conference concert at Lassiter High School in Marietta at which Atlanta-area audiences had an opportunity to hear both groups perform the music they prepared for their GMEA debut.


  • River Trail Middle won the 2019 Fulton County Middle School Academic Bowl Tournament for the district. The event was held at the Teaching Museum South with 10 middle schools participating. On January 16 at Webb Bridge Middle the top six schools competed in a championship round to determine the final rankings for the district. Webb Bridge Middle earned second place.


  • Cambridge High Winter Guard competed in the first competitive show of the guard season at Mill Creek High taking first place honors. The guard also performed at such a high level on the first weekend, that they were elevated to a higher competitive class for the rest of the season.


  • The Riverwood International Charter School wrestling team won the Region 6AAAAA Wrestling Dual Championship held at Decatur High School this month. The final score was 54-30 and Riverwood led with five consecutive pins. The team also traveled to Macon this past weekend to compete in the State Dual Tournament.



In Case You Missed It


  • Julia Bernath Moves into FCS Board's President Role

    The Fulton County Board of Education underwent leadership changes at its January 14 work session as current President Linda Bryant, who took the term last January, stepped into the role of vice president. Julia Bernath, who was serving as vice president, moved into the president's role.

    "This time last year, this Board was searching for a Superintendent and we believed that leadership continuity was important for the search process and transition of our new leader," said Bryant. "The Board decided that I would continue as president through 2019 and Mrs. Bernath would be elected vice president. We also agreed that beginning at this meeting in 2020, I would assume the vice president's role and Mrs. Bernath would assume the presidency for the second year of my term. Next year, the Board will return to its process of electing a president for two years and a vice president for one year."

    President Bernath, who represents District 7 and is in her fifth term, represents portions of Sandy Springs, Roswell, Johns Creek and Alpharetta. She served as school board president from 2007 to 2009 and as vice president from 2009 to 2010. She also has served on the Fulton County Schools Employee Pension Plan board as vice chair and chair. In addition, she has represented the school board on the Fulton Education Foundation's Board of Directors.


  • Cambridge High School Resource Officer Xavier Wilson became a local celebrity after appearing in a national television commercial for Chick-fil-A's Couch Conversations, part of the company's #thelittlethings program. The commercials highlight inspiring or heart-warming stories of everyday people.

    The officer went to lunch at the Windward Parkway restaurant in Alpharetta and decided to eat in for a change instead of going through the drive-through line. As he left, a restaurant employee ran after him saying a patron wanted to buy him a cookie to show her appreciation for a police officer. A month later, Officer Wilson was invited by Chick-fil-A to join Allie and the patron, Rebecca, to fly to New York and film a retelling of the happy incident for #thelittlethings. The commercial aired during the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship in mid-January.


  • Officials from the Government of Wales recently paid a visit to Autrey Mill Middle sixth graders. Lowri Llewelyn, a Welsh representative from the British Consulate in Atlanta, attended to encourage international thinking and provide exposure to the country of Wales. She showed a brief film and shared some fun facts about Wales including geography, government, history, learning the Welsh national anthem, and a Q&A.


  • Slalom Atlanta celebrated Martin Luther King Day by performing a day of service at Tri-Cities and Westlake high schools. Volunteers planted trees, painted, designed murals, organized the pantry, and more.


  • Banneker High School's Student and Family Engagement (SAFE) Center held a Community Food and Toy Giveaway. The event served over 300 families during the holidays. For more information on the SAFE Center email [email protected].


  • Renaissance Middle School was the recipient of a Thrive Lounge, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. Star94 radio personalities were on hand for the reveal to Principal Creseda Hawk and staff. The new lounge features a new refrigerator, tables, coffee station, custom couches, and art. "The Renaissance faculty and staff are truly excited about the possibilities of our new KP Thrive Lounge," said Principal Hawk. "Not only will the newly designed lounge serve as a multi-functional space for teachers to eat, work, and socialize, but it will also serve as a space for faculty and staff to reset, refuel, and recharge!"


  • 11 Fulton County Schools have been awarded Project Lead the Way CTAE grants from the Goizuetta Foundation. Project Lead the Way provides transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers. The grant provides funding for teachers to create engaging and hands-on classroom environments that empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills. Funding will support STEM and CTAE pathways. Congratulations to the following schools:

  • . . . .
    PLTW Launch Expansion $5,000.00 Summit Hill Elementary
    PLTW Launch Expansion $5,000.00 Feldwood Elementary
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Holcomb Bridge Middle School
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Haynes Bridge Middle
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Ridgeview Charter Middle
    PLTW Gateway Expansion $10,000.00 Renaissance Middle School
    PLTW Gateway Implementation $20,000.00 River Trail Middle School
    PLTW Gateway Implementation $20,000.00 Sandy Springs Middle School
    PLTW Engineering Expansion $10,000.00 Banneker High School
    PLTW Engineering Implementation $35,000.00 Creekside High School
    PLTW Engineering Implementation $35,000.00 North Springs High School
    PLTW Computer Science Implementation $20,000.00 Banneker High School


  • Flu Season Update - Georgia is currently experiencing widespread flu cases as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health. According to the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others. The AAP states that the flu can cause 10 days of fever and lead to serious complications even for healthy kids. Therefore, we are sharing this information to remind you to take precautions and to work together to help prevent the spread of flu. To ensure the safety and health of students, staff and parents, we encourage you to take proactive measures that can help reduce the spread of flu and other communicable illnesses. For more information, please visit:


  • Text4Help, a program for teens in crisis to anonymously find resources and support, will be expanded to Fulton County Schools middle schools. Initially launched to FCS high school students in 2018 in collaboration with Fulton County Government, the program is an anonymous crisis text line aimed at providing a valuable resource for students seeking support or an outlet to share concerns. The program allows teens facing stress or in crisis to reach a licensed clinician who will respond within three minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One year after its launch, the program will now be offered to students in middle schools. Fulton County Government and FCS were the first in the Southeast to launch the Text4Help program.