Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kingsley Charter School's Destination Imagination Team

At Global Finals

courtesy of Kingsley Charter ES School Facebook

Kingsley's Destination Imagination team sends this picture from the Global Finals closing ceremony last week. The team is deeply grateful to the Kingsley community for its support in making its trip possible. The D.I. Doughnuts had an amazing experience in Knoxville, joining teams of other kids from states across the nation, and countries all over the world, including Korea, China, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Poland, and more. The team made a good showing in competition. Stay tuned for more great creativity in 2013-14!

Kingley's Destination Imagination Team, the D.I. Doughnuts,
is pictured with a team from Mexico

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dunwoody High School Quiz Bowl Team

National Championship Tournament News

Congratulations to the DHS Quiz Bowl Team on its performance in the NAQT National Championship Tournament! In its first year ever qualifying for the tournament, the team went 3-7, ending up ranked 219th in the nation.   Being in the tournament was a major step for the team, and sets a bar to exceed for next year. We had great performances from seniors Erin Thomas and Sahima Godkhindi. Our leading scorer was junior Thomas Dellaert, who is now ranked as the 173rd best individual player in the United States (although NAQT now includes teams from Canada, and American schools abroad).
Thank you to everyone who bought Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee to help us get to the tournament! 

Click here to view the results from the NAQT Championship Tournament.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Georgia Tech Admissions Profiles by High School

I have provided a link to the Georgia Tech Admission Profiles by High School. Below is the profile for Dunwoody High School for the years 2008-2012.

Click here to view reports for other high schools.

It would be interesting to determine if other Georgia colleges and universities provide the same type of profile information.

Hightower Elementary Awarded STEM Certification

Article courtesy of Stem Georgia:

DeKalb County School’s Hightower Elementary School was awarded STEM Certification in a ceremony at the school. State School Superintendent Dr. John D. Barge presented the official banner and certification to the school’s principal, Mr. Oliver Lewis in an assembly of the entire staff and student body. Hightower is the second elementary school in DeKalb County to receive the rigorous certification status from the Georgia Department of Education. The school’s unique STEM program where every student from kindergarten to the fifth grade has two and a half hours of integrated math, science, and engineering every day set the standard for what STEM should look like in schools. Students are actively engaged daily with the engineering design process where high level math and science instruction is applied in a student-centered environment. Once a month the school offers an Engineer for a Day program where the students work on engineering design challenges for the entire day. Additionally, the school employs daily two and a half hour integrated blocks of social studies and English language arts where all language arts is taught from the social studies context.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dunwoody Elementary School Participates in

First World-Wide Stem Day

ATLANTA (May 3, 2013) - TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), the Technology Association of Georgia’s charitable organization dedicated to preparing the next-generation workforce, celebrated the first Georgia STEM Day on May 3, 2013. Over 260,000 students and educators from across the state participated in innovative STEM-based learning activities.
“Georgia STEM Day is about raising awareness of the importance of STEM to our state,” said Chris Reinking, TAG-Ed board chair and partner and co- founder at Jabian Consulting.~“It is vital that students embrace STEM concepts at an early age in order to compete in Georgia’s future technology workforce. STEM Day is one way educators can introduce STEM in their classroom, ultimately providing a channel to encourage life-long
STEM learning.”
STEM Day participants ranged from individual classrooms to entire school districts. At Dunwoody Elementary School, Jenn Mattison, a fourth grade gifted teacher, planned a STEM project called “The Chicken Mummy” to compliment studies of ancient Egypt. Students worked to understand the Egyptian mummification process by salting, adding scents, and drying out Cornish game hens. As part of Georgia STEM Day, Mattison’s class
reprocessed the chickens and compared their weights. At the end of the unit in May, the students will bury their mummies. The goal is for next year’s fourth grade students to dig up the mummified hens as part of an archaeological excavation.
“I wanted to participate in the 2013 Georgia STEM Day because I believe that STEM is an opportunity for my students to take more responsibility of their own learning and increase rigor in my classroom. Students are able to predict, observe, and test their theories. STEM activities prepare students to become globally competitive,” Mattison said.


DES Teacher Jenn Mattison with DES 4th grade
students on STEM Day

Dunwoody Elementary School

"Teachers Make a Difference"

Photo (left to right) of Georgia United Credit Union’s Tilly Mill Branch
Manager Colette Leal with Klare McKee, DES Discovery teacher, and DES
second grade teacher, Avis Holbrook with Logan Mason, Business Development
Officer at Georgia United.
Klare McKee, Discovery teacher, and second grade DES teacher, Avis Holbrook were in the “top ten” runners-up for Georgia United Credit Union and Star 94’s 2013 "Teachers Make a Difference" recognition! Teachers could be nominated by parents, coworkers, and/or students. There were well over 400 nominations. Ms. Holbrook and Ms. McKee received a trophy, a $100 Visa gift card, a “goodie bag,” and an ice cream sandwich party for their class. Kim Wall, representative from the Credit Union, also came out to distribute the awards.

Other teachers that were nominated at DES: group photo, left to right:
Avis Holbrook, Klaretta Young, Chrissie Shelton, Klare McKee, Jenn
Mattison, and Mary Margaret Warshaw (not pictured) with Logan Mason (from
Ga. United Credit Union). All teachers that were nominated received a
certificate and a goodie bag.

Dunwoody Elementary School

Certified Wildlife Habitat

(Left to right) DES third graders displaying sign: Tanvi Singhal, Zariah
Wade, Matt Kotzbauer, Mia Arrigali, Katie Donovan
Kneeling: Max Erfani and Jackson Nguyen
Dunwoody Elementary School received certification this year as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The school received a certificate that said, “Your  habitat is certified in National Wildlife Federation’s worldwide network of mini-refuges. Because of your conscientious planning, landscaping and sustainable gardening, wildlife may find quality habitat – food, water, cover and places to raise their young. Thank you for your dedication to our nation’s wildlife! The school also received a sign.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dual Accreditation Update from

Terry Nall


Thank you for a great job in getting out the word via your networks throughout DeKalb County regarding the need for dual accreditation by Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) of all DeKalb County School System high schools. This began as and continues to be a county-wide request for the benefit of all high school students, whether in high school today or moving up to high school over the next several years. Restoring SACS full accreditation will take multiple years, so dual accreditation will also be needed for multiple years as a safety net for our graduating students.

From the news links below, the message to Michael Thurmond and the DeKalb BOE is loud and clear from all over DeKalb County, whether it be North, South, East, or West. From my personal experience of helping to lead this initiative and from reading other school board members' quotes in the below news articles, I am pleased that at least our school board members are listening to the stakeholders.

As a reminder, the school board discussion and its decision on this action item is expected on Monday, June 3. Please keep up your diligent efforts by asking all those who haven't already written the school board members about supporting this request to do so before June 3. 

Thanks again for your assistance.

Terry Nall
Dunwoody City Council Member (At Large)
Cell: (404) 915-6693

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Congratulations to Dunwoody High School

Class of 2013

Co-Valedictorians and Salutatorian

Courtesy of the Dunwoody Crier.  Click here to read the bios of other Outstanding Students in our area as compiled by the Dunwoody Crier!!

Seniors Hayley Hopkins and Hardika Dhir are Dunwoody’s 2012-2013 class co-valedictorians, maintaining a 4.3115 grade point average. Hopkins and Dhir were both members of the debate team. Hopkins, captain of the debate team, qualified for national debate tournaments and spent summers at debate institutes across the country. 

Hopkins will attend Northwestern University, where she will be a member of the Wildcat debate team, and will pursue a degree in political science and mathematics. Dhir will be attending Georgia Tech and is looking to major in bio-medical engineering and pre-medicine.

Will Koval was named this year’s salutatorian with a 4.301 grade point average. Koval was active in extracurricular activities at Dunwoody High School, earning varsity letters in cross country, and track and field. He served as treasurer of the senior class cabinet, and captain of the math team. While at Dunwoody, he began Grow Dunwoody and the Dunwoody Environmental Coalition, with help from co-founder and co-president Hardika Dhir.

He will be attending Emory University this fall on a full tuition and merit scholarship. Koval is seeking a degree in environmental sciences and ecology, and is hoping to become an ecological field researcher. 

All three students earned prestigious academic awards and were nationally recognized for their efforts, by being inducted into the National Honor Society.

Valedictorian Hayley Hopkins and salutatorian Will Koval qualified as a National Merit Finalists, and Hardika Dhir earned the Presidents Education Award, as well as the Wellesley College book award.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dunwoody High Girls Track and Field Team

AAAAA State Champions!!

Dunwoody High School girls dominated 5A Division events at the GHSTA State Championship in Albany this past week with 69.33 points. Wildcats took first in:

 - 4x400 relay (Molly Jackson, Monika Nwajei, Erika Banks, Asya Yavuncu)

- 1600m & 3200m - Alex Cameron

- 800m & 400m - Molly Jackson

Other awards: 
  • Asya Yavancu won 7th place in the 400m dash.  
  • Erika Banks won 4th place in 200m dash.  
  • Erika Banks won 3rd place in 100m dash. 
  • The 4x100 relay team of Molly Jackson, Erika Banks, Madison Beecher and Asya Yavancu brought in third place points.
  • In field events, Erin Berger captured 8th in pole vault.

We are proud of our team of 5A State, Region and County champions!

Thank you, Coach Shannon Miller and Antonio McKay, for a fantastic and memorable 2013 season.

Kingsley Charter Elementary Parent Tom Lambert

PTO Superstar Volunteer!


Tom’s Story:Inspiring Others to Action

There are volunteers who like to help out behind the scenes, and then there are those who can inspire others to get up and do something. Tom Lambert is the rare volunteer who can do both. Lambert has motivated countless parents to volunteer more during his years as a parent at Kingsley Charter Elementary in Dunwoody, Ga., a suburb north of Atlanta.

"Captain Kingsley” is a prime example. Lambert is the mastermind behind the superhero mascot who has stirred up lots of excitement with his antics and captured the imagination of students and parents alike. While the identity of Captain Kingsley is a closely held secret, Lambert is the one who dreamed up the idea of a superhero appearing in videos to cheer on students and encourage families to attend school events. He writes basic scripts, shoots the videos, and edits them on his home computer.

This stay-at-home father of two recalls leaping into volunteering with a single bound the moment his son started preK. And while the boy has since moved onto middle school, Lambert is still a powerful presence at Kingsley, where his daughter remains a student. “I love doing things for the school that help make it a better place. I find it very rewarding,” he says.

He previously served as chairman of the charter council, which oversees the school’s charter and doubles as a parent group. School spirit and participation lagged at the time, so the council issued a challenge to parents to volunteer for at least twice the school’s required hours. “The idea was once we got people more involved, they’d stay more involved, and it really worked,” Lambert says. But how could they keep the momentum going? The situation was thus primed for Captain Kingsley, the school’s very own superhero, to arrive upon the scene.

Captain Kingsley and his more recently added sidekick, Princess Comet, appear in videos broadcast during morning announcements. They promote upcoming school events with a special emphasis on fitness and occasionally show up in person the day of. Students can’t seem to get enough of their capers, nor can parents who have been able to watch the duo in action on YouTube. In the videos, Captain Kingsley wears his trademark red hooded cape and wide belt emblazoned with a flaming letter K. He always sports sunglasses to maintain an aura of mystery.

Lambert’s not revealing the identities of Captain Kingsley or Princess Comet. That’s all part of the fun. One thing is certain, however—the dynamic team have done much to advance programs like Walking Wednesdays, one of Lambert’s pet projects.

Most Wednesdays you’ll find Lambert and a core group of parents shepherding students through the streets of Dunwoody and safely onto the Kingsley campus. Lambert jump-started the idea of walking to school five years ago, mainly to promote fitness but also to alleviate traffic congestion. The program proved so popular, other schools in the area were soon seeking out Lambert’s advice on how to implement it at their own facilities. He was recognized by the City of Dunwoody as the Sustainable Hero of 2012 because of his work with the schools and the Safe Routes to School program.

Lambert’s enthusiasm is contagious. It has trickled down to kids who now walk to school whether it’s Wednesday or not. It’s apparent when students and parents alike eagerly await the next installment of the adventures of Captain Kingsley and Princess Comet.

Of his volunteering efforts, Lambert has this to say: “It may sound like a cheesy cliché, but I get more out of it than I put into it. I really do.” It’s apparent to even a casual observer that Kingsley has gained much from this volunteer parent whose dedication clearly has no bounds.

Click here to learn more about the SLBI/PTO Superstar Volunteer Award.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dunwoody Elementary School

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Dunwoody, GA May 2013– This summer, more than 960 students at Dunwoody Elementary will try to set a new world record for reading. They are participating in the Scholastic Summer Challenge, a global literacy program designed to prevent summer reading loss by encouraging kids to read for the world record.

During the summer-long challenge, DES students will compete for top reading honors with schools around the world by logging as many reading minutes as possible from May 6 through September 6, 2013. The top 20 schools – those logging the most minutes – will be listed in the 2014 edition of the Scholastic Book of World Records.

Last year, more than 4,000 schools participated in the challenge, logging a total of 95,859,491 reading minutes. Top honors went to Brooksville Elementary School in Brooksville, Florida, where students logged more than three million reading minutes during the summer break.

“The Scholastic Summer Challenge is a great way to encourage our students to read as much as possible during the summer months, while giving them a fun incentive to compete against other schools across the country,” said Lauren Long, EIP Reading Teacher, DES. “Our goal is to expose more kids to the joy of reading and, of course, we also want to try to make it into the Scholastic Book of World Records top 20.”

To learn more about the program, visit

Students in Robin Hollis’ third grade classroom
enjoying reading
 Lauren Long (EIP Reading Teacher, DES) with some
second grade DES students

Mr. Frank Brake

Auxiliary Staff Member of the Year

Dunwoody Elementary 2012-2013

Frank Brake (Plant Engineer, Dunwoody Elementary School) with
4th grade students (left to right): Sierra Tianyvu, Anna Zhao, Justin
Kaufman, Daijah Kelley, Jasiah Daniel, and Justin Nettle

Dunwoody Elementary School is proud to announce that Mr. Frank Brake received recognition as our 2012-2013 Auxiliary Staff Member of the Year. Mr. Brake has worked for Dekalb County for seven and a half years and at Dunwoody Elementary as Plant Engineer since July 2009, before the school opened. Mr. Brake is an integral part of the Dunwoody Elementary family. He is an extremely dedicated and hard worker and is loved by all. Mr. Brake is one of those employees that goes “above and beyond” and is available to assist everyone with a smile on his face. He keeps the school running smoothly and efficiently. Mr. Brake’s work philosophy is “If you are not going to do it right, don’t do it at all.” And one can be certain that when a task is performed by Frank Brake, it is done right! Congratulations, Mr. Brake! You certainly deserved this recognition!!

Will Morriss

October 2, 1992- May 8, 2013

William O. Morriss, 20, of Atlanta and Athens, Georgia, died 8 May 2013. He was born 2 October, 1992 in Atlanta to Charlie Morriss and Joan O'Brien. He attended high school at Dunwoody High School in Atlanta, GA, and Mt. Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, CA. He was a student at the University of Georgia, majoring in Business. Will played football in high school, and he enjoyed traveling with family and friends. He was naturally adventurous and loved to hunt with his uncle Rick. He caddied and drove the beer cart during the summers at Dunwoody Country Club and loved working there. He enthusiastically sought out new adventures and was game for anything. He wrote avidly about his passions, which included football and baseball and loud discussions with family and friends as they would watch the games together. Will is survived by his parents, Joan and Charlie, and his sisters, whom he loved very much, Lindsey and Meagan. He also leaves his paternal Grandparents George and Helen Morriss, and his maternal Grandmother Jean Robertson Beall. Will also leaves behind a large and loving family, all of whom will miss him.

A memorial gathering will be held at the Dunwoody Country Club, 1600 Dunwoody Club Lane Atlanta, GA, 30350, at 11am Saturday, the eleventh of May.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Click here if you wish to leave your condolences via the AJC Guest Book.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dunwoody Cluster Schools

CCRPI Report Cards

The Georgia Department of Education has released their new “report card” – the College and Career Readiness Performance Index.

A school and district’s overall score is made up of three major areas: Achievement (70 points possible), Progress (15 points possible) and Achievement Gap (15 points possible). In addition to the three major areas, some schools receive “Challenge Points” to add to their score (up to 10 points). They receive these points if they have a significant number of Economically Disadvantaged students, English Learner students and Students with Disabilities meeting expectations. They also receive points for going beyond the targets of the CCRPI by challenging students to exceed expectations and participate in college and career readiness programs. Beginning in 2013-2014, schools will also receive ratings based on their financial efficiency and school climate, but these ratings will be for the public’s information only and will not factor into the school’s overall CCRPI score.

Click here to view the State DOE’s CCRPI Website. You can view each school’s report card online via a drop-down menu.

The reports reflect data for the 2011-2012 school year.

School Name
Austin Elementary
Chesnut Charter Elementary
Dunwoody Elementary
Hightower Elementary
Kingsley Charter Elementary
Vanderlyn Elementary
Peachtree Charter Middle School
Dunwoody High School

Monday, May 6, 2013

Vanderlyn Teacher, Georgiana Hendrickson, Winner

"Teachers Make A Difference" Award

Congratulations to Mrs. Hendrickson! She is one of 5 Teachers who will be recognized this week with a $500 prize, plus $250 for their school and a catered lunch with “swag bags” for their schools.

From the entry on Georgia United Credit Union:

My favorite part of teaching is getting to know the unique personalities of each child in my class every year, and loving and nurturing their little souls. I also love their parents as much as I do them. The most important word in teacher is "each." It's absolutely amazing to me how they are all so special and different. I especially love kindergarten, because it is truly a garden of beautiful children all blooming at different times. Teaching and learning is so much fun at this young age. "

Vanderlyn Elementary School - Dunwoody, GA

I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Elementary Ed. I'm certified Pre-K through 8th. I also have my Gifted endorsement. I am certified in Kansas, Missouri, Maryland, New Jersey, and Georgia. I have taught Pre-K, K, lst, and 2nd grades for a total of 28 years. I've also taught 5 year olds in Private Pre-K's and was a Music teacher in a Private Pre-K.

Parent Molly Peled had this to say about Mrs. Hendrickson: "There aren't many teachers like Mrs. Hendrickson. She is the warmest, kindest, sweetest person I know. Mrs. Hendrickson teaches from the heart, she makes sure that every student of hers feels safe and loved. She not only teaches her students to read and write beautifully, she teaches them to be good human beings. She teaches them manners, she teaches them to care for one another, to care for their families and for the world they live in. She teaches them all of this through songs and games. I myself am a teacher. She by far is my role model and I thank God my son has her for a teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Hendrickson!!!!

Click here to view all the winners.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

DeKalb Schools Dual Accreditation Update 

DeKalb Board of Education Resolution  

The DeKalb County BOE vote on a resolution regarding the dual accreditation of all high schools has been moved to Monday, June 3, 2013. The dual accrediting agency, Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC), has offered a number of financial and procedural details that will be beneficial to all high schools county-wide. More time is needed to hammer out these new details. 

The new details result in level equity for all high schools, provides a financial savings to the District, and uses the summer productively to have all individual DeKalb County high schools ready for accreditation approval by GAC in time for its September 8 Board meeting.

While the original BOE agenda date of Monday, May 6 would have worked well for some high schools, a delay to Monday, June 3 ensures these new details will work well for all high schools county-wide.

How can you help? If you haven’t already, communicate with school board members to encourage them to support GAC dual accreditation for all DeKalb County high schools. Every student in DeKalb should be able to graduate from an accredited high school. GAC dual accreditation is a “safety net” back-up at the local schoolhouse in the remote possibility of uncontrollable governance events that may or may not adversely affect the SACS District-wide accreditation status. That said, we all support restoration of full District-wide accreditation with SACS. GAC dual accreditation at the individual high school level will not interfere with the District-level SACS process.

Terry Nall
Dunwoody City Council Member (At Large)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dunwoody High School Alumni News

Eilidh Geddes Presents Results of

Vinson Institute Fellows Program Research Project

Posted May 1, 2013
Contact: Courtney Yarbrough,; 706.542.6221 

Three University of Georgia undergraduate students in the Vinson InstituteFellows Program concluded their spring semester projects by presenting their research results to Institute of Government faculty and staff at a gathering Friday morning.

Vinson Fellows work with faculty mentors on hands-on projects that allow them to delve into the inner workings of government, both in Georgia and abroad. Fellows meet elected officials, examine critical issues in government and education, and investigate international concerns. The fellowships give fellows the opportunity to explore the possibility of future careers in public service.

Eilidh Geddes, a double major in economics and mathematics from Dunwoody, investigated the effects of preschool education and later learning opportunities on advanced placement (AP) test performance. She worked with faculty mentor Wes Clarke, a finance and economics specialist with the Institute.

Click here to read additional information on the student research projects.

Dunwoody Elementary School

Science Olympiad 2013 Results 

Winning two golds and a bronze, Dunwoody Elementary School's science team finished strong during the 2013 DeKalb County Elementary Science Olympiad on April 27. Fourteen DES students in grades 3-5 participated in the yearly event, sponsored by Fernbank Science Center, in which teams from 27 schools gathered at Druid Hills Middle School. DES team members competed in 20 of the 28 categories ranging from on-site "builds" to model races and demonstrations of knowledge. A solid one third of our students came home with medals. The team consisted of Priya Abiram, Adyasha Aruk, Reuben Covey, Filippo Di Benedetto, Max Erfani, Ian Hopkins, Spencer Hopkins, Will Frame, Austin Kirkley, Matthew Kotzbaur, Charlie Martinez, Nic Poole, Erik Wang and Cameron Weeks. The team was led by guest coach Karen Baker and teacher sponsor Jeannette Beck and parent coordinator Dee Dee Martinez (back row left to right) .
Ian and Spencer Hopkins dazzled in their maiden Olympiad with a first place win in Circuit Wizardry. Adyasha Aruk topped her silver performance last year with a gold in Starry, Starry Night. Filippo Di Benedetto and Erik Wang teamed up to place third in Rock Hound. Congratulations to all members of the DES team and their families as they look forward to future events.