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News to Know for the Week of February 3-7, 2020


Special Observances for February 


  • National African American History Month, created by Carter G. Woodson in the 1920s, is observed during the entire month of February. In 1976, the month-long celebration was established as a time to reflect on the history, teachings, and achievements of African Americans. For more information visit


  • National School Counseling Week 2020, "School Counselors: Helping Build Better Humans," will be celebrated from Feb. 3-7, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by American School Counselor Association (ASCA), highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. For more information email: [email protected] or visit


  • Take Your Family to School Week is February 16 – 23.  For over 120 years, the National PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) has been encouraging families to get more involved in their children’s education. You can learn more by visiting


  • National Parent-Teacher Association Founders’ Day is February 17. It is an occasion to mark the work of the PTA and to rally together with other parent groups to pledge anew their commitment to children. Sponsored by the National PTA, learn more at


  • President's Day is observed on the third Monday in February. It combines the observances of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays. This year it will be celebrated February 17. Fulton County Schools will be closed.



Save the Date 


  • Spalding Drive Elementary will hold a Career Fair, supported by the Sandy Springs Education Force, on Friday, February 7, 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. All grades will have the opportunity to hear from parents and area business professionals about their careers. Each speaker will present to three classes.


  • 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.


  • Wilson Creek Elementary will present “Frozen KIDS” on March 31, April 1 and 2 at 6:30 p.m. at 6115 Wilson Road, Johns Creek, 470-254-3811. Tickets can be purchased on the night of the performance at the door. 


  • Langston Hughes High, in partnership with the South Fulton Arrow Youth Council, will host the Inaugural South Learning Community Literacy Festival February 15 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  The Literacy Festival will feature a Young Authors Showcase, Poets Café, Literacy Workshops, and a Spelling Bee. The Spelling Bee is for Grades 3-5 only. A highlight of the festival will be a “live” Black History Museum. The festival will be held at Langston Hughes High School and is open to students Pre-K through 12th grade. To register visit:



Awards and Honors 


  • FCS Museum Curator, Jena Sibille was named winner of the 2020 Southeastern Region Museum Education Art Educator Award by the National Art Education Association (NAEA). The award goes to an outstanding NAEA member who is recognized for their exemplary contributions, service, and achievements. 


  • Creekside High’s Mekia Troy was named Region 5-6A Athletic Director of the Year for the second time. Ms. Troy will be recognized at the Georgia Athletic Directors Association conference in March.  


  • Amana Academy’s “Outside Da Box” Robotics Team won the first-place trophy at the Super Regional Tournament in mid-January in Athens. Over the weekend, the team represented their school and the District at the State competition. The team had a special opportunity to present to Georgia State Senator John Albers. The group hopes to present their project - an innovative solution to tackling illegal parking in handicap spaces - to a larger group of legislators.


  • The FCS Budget Services Department received the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO).  The award represents excellence in the preparation and issuance of its budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. This honor goes to districts that demonstrate commitment to sound fiscal management and budgetary policies according to ASBO’s Meritorious Budget Award criteria. 



Cool Kids (and Schools and Staff) Doing Cool Things


  • Banneker High welcomed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recruiters to talk about internship programs last week. Dr. Lester Morales and Louis Thompson of NASA informed students of the process to secure internships. They also critiqued the students’ resumes, answered questions, and showed them how to access the STEM Engagement Internship program online.

    NASA internships for high school students provide training, mentoring, and career development opportunities. Students who want to apply for the STEM Engagement Internships must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 grade scale.

    Congratulations to Dr. Jason Stamper and Dorothy Walter for landing NASA as a recruiter for high school students. For more information visit https://intern.nasa/gov/


  • Langston Hughes High students received hot spots as part of the 1Million Project. Langston HS Math teacher Ryan Haire helped distribute the devices to students along with representatives from the 1Million Project and Communities in Schools.

    The 1Million Project is providing free, high-speed internet access to students in their homes. “We’re also hoping students will use receiving the hotspots as an opportunity to be brand ambassadors,” said, 1Million Project’s School Implementation Lead, Dadrianna Williams.  Nearly 50 percent of America’s students say they’ve been unable to complete a homework assignment because they didn’t have internet access at home, according to the 1Million project which is representative of America’s homework gap. Project 1Million and 100 Black Men of America are seeking to fill this gap.  “A barrier has been removed for our scholars,” said Haire. 



In Case You Missed It


  • Fulton County Schools (FCS) held its first Early Learning Awareness Summit January 29 to share data on school readiness in Georgia and announce the district’s plan for improving student achievement outcomes. Over 100 staff, administrators, community partners, and early childhood agencies gathered to learn about supports and resources presented by early education and behavioral health leaders. FCS Superintendent, Dr. Mike Looney welcomed participants and pledged his support for early childhood education.

    Local experts presented comprehensive information on the status of Georgia children entering Kindergarten. Arianne Weldon, Director of Get Georgia Reading, expounded on the discovery process that revealed significant data points indicating predictors of success, or lack thereof, in young children. From this data, a framework for shared language was developed. “When children don’t have language,” Weldon noted, “their behavior becomes their language.”

    In a panel moderated by Mindy Binderman, Executive Director of Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEARS), five professionals shared valuable information about their programs’ available resources that help families achieve early success. Panelists included Ebony Section, Program Manager of Parents as Teachers; pediatrician Dr. Jay Berkelhamer, Reach Out and Read Advisory Board Member; Kathy Brag, Project Director of New Generation Infant Early Childhood Mental Health with CHRIS180; Nisey Dunbar, Program Manager at the Fulton County Board of Health; and Leah Carroll, Instructional Coordinator of FCS Services for Exceptional Children. Topics included language deficits, access challenges, housing and health issues, need for collaborative partnerships and more. Ms. Section expressed the importance of creating a positive pipeline through partnerships, while Dr. Berkelhamer provided medical insights and stats on how healthcare affects performance. For instance, sixty percent of Georgia children receive medical treatment through Medicare.

    Montreal Bell, FCS Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs and event organizer, outlined Fulton’s plan for changing the school readiness landscape and reducing the achievement gap. The goal of the district’s initiative is to achieve literacy by third grade and middle school proficiency on standardized assessments in core subjects with students on track to graduate. First, the six-week summer school program will include a kindergarten option called Kindergarten Jumpstart. Second, Fulton will offer its first Kindergarten Roundup on April 18 and April 25, 2020 in two locations to accommodate north and south communities. Kindergarten Roundup will provide resources and support to parents and their incoming kindergarteners to ease the transition. Third, a series of workshops called Fulton County Schools PREP - for parents, designed by parents - will be offered in the fall to parents of children up to 5-years-old.

    FCS currently offers Pre-K with more than 1,800 spaces for students. The early learning curriculum focuses on reading/writing, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, social/emotional development, and physical development to set a positive tone and create a love of learning.

    Cliff Jones, FCS Chief Academic Officer, concluded with a call to action: “We need your help,” he said. “We need books, games, funding and activity packets to empower our students.” Jones’ encouragement to work together aligns with an important pillar in FCS’ strategic plan: Community Collaboration, a critical component in achieving academic success and social gains. 


  • Banneker High had twenty dedicated educators who decided to participate in a rigorous, year-long program to obtain STEM Certification. The program was recognized by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.  “This was not only an investment in their professional growth, but an investment in the students of Banneker High, thus strengthening our international certified STEM program,” said BHS Principal, Dr. Jason Stamper.

    These extraordinary educators completed the program: Cassandra Allen-James, ELA instructor; Ebony Alexander, Science Instructor; Valencia Bradshaw, STEM Director; Roxanne Comegys, Math Instructor; Ashley Dawson, Testing Coordinator; Mackenzie King, Math Instructor; Taylor Lane, Science Instructor; Natasha Lang, ELA Instructor; Samantha Lucas, Math Instructor; Latrelle McFarlane, Science Instructor; Cassandra Ming, CTAE Instructor; Constance Morgan, CTAE Instructor; Caryl Moreland, Math Instructor; Brandon Perkins, Social Studies Instructor; ShaNeal Robertson, CTAE Instructor; Keith Sims, Math Instructional Coach; Sharon Smith, CTAE Instructor; Estelle Snoddy, Math Instructor; Tarrie Traylor, CTAE Instructor, and Robert Williams, Science Instructor.  


  • 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 us 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: