West Fannin Elementary Hosts STEM Open House Night!

Rebel's Corner, West Fannin Elem

By: Lucas Roof, Principal

 

As a Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) STEM Certified school, West Fannin Elementary was chosen by the GaDOE to host multiple STEM Open House Days throughout this school year where educators and educational leaders throughout the state are invited to visit West Fannin.  West Fannin’s first STEM Open House of the school year took place on September 26th, 2018.

 

Approximately 20 visitors from across the state came to observe best practices in STEM education, to receive support and advice from West Fannin teachers and administrators on the topic of STEM education, and to have conversations with West Fannin’s students about STEM projects.  Many West Fannin business partners and stakeholders were also present for this STEM Open House to work with the students.  The visitors were impressed; this was an exciting and rewarding day for West Fannin.

 

 

West Fannin will also have STEM Open House Days on November 16th, 2018 and March 12th, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEM Open House: 1st and 3rd grade working together in the orchard – Conner Reddin (1st grade) and Keats Miller (3rd grade)

STEM Open House 2: Chelsea Osborne (1st grade), Sadie Patton (3rd grade), Karlyn Martin (1st grade)

STEM Open House 3: 2nd grade students Owen Man and Luke Strobel. Second grade students are working to make plaques for the butterfly garden in Braille that identify the plants. Owen is using our Braille typewriter.

STEM Open House 4: Kindergarten students (left to right, front row) Ellee Gibbs, Rylee Burk, Tinsley Plush. Back Shaun Simmons

STEM Open House 5: 2nd grade students using the STEM Engineering Design Process to create windmills – Netalie Freeman, Kaylee Callahan, Triston Cross, Brody Ingle

STEM Open House 6: 5th grade investigative research team is working on the Phenology of leaves they are finding the average temperature outside – Natalee Reeves (sitting) and Kalyn Martin

West Fannin Elementary School becomes STEM certified

Community, News, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – A vision led to a goal, and diligent work led to accomplishment as West Fannin Elementary School (WFES) officially became STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) certified by the Georgia Department of Education.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, West Fannin Elementary School, WFES, Georgia Department of Education, Board of Education, Principal, Lucas Roof, Assistant Principal, Alison Danner, Cirriculum Director, Robert Ensley, STEM, Certification, Project 1954

Students from all grade levels meet with a STEM certification team.

Out of thousands of elementary schools in the state of Georgia, WFES is only the 36th school to have this recognition, and only the fourth in the north Georgia area.

Assistant Principal Alison Danner spoke about how this vision came about: “Five or six years ago there were several of us at the STEM conference at Athens at the University of Georgia, and we all said this is what we want.”

Danner spoke of Fannin County Curriculum Director and previous WFES Principal Robert Ensley: “He was the one that was kind of the forefront, that saw this as a part of the vision for West Fannin in years to come.”

Seeing this vision become a reality took years of hard work from WFES. After initiating a school STEM program and integrating its teachings into day-to-day classroom activities, the school then had to apply for certification.

WFES went through a series of pre-visits in which a team consisting of representatives from math, science, CTAE (career, technical and agricultural education), technology, and business would come to West Fannin and give feedback on how to reach certification level.

“When they do these pre-visits they give you tons of feedback on anything and everything,” Principal Lucas Roof said, describing the process, “and so we received all the feedback that we could possibly receive from them, and the cool thing about it is that we didn’t just sit on that feedback.

“We used that feedback. Our teachers used that feedback, and we got better and better.” Roof added. “We took that constructive criticism, and we put it to use.”

Nov. 3, 2017, was the third and final pre-visit to WFES, and the team at that time felt that the school was ready for a final visit.

“When the team comes in, they don’t talk to us. They don’t talk to the teachers. They talk to the kids. It’s all about what the kids can articulate to them,” Roof added, explaining the final visit, “and kids are going to tell the truth.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, West Fannin Elementary School, WFES, Georgia Department of Education, Board of Education, Principal, Lucas Roof, Assistant Principal, Alison Danner, Cirriculum Director, Robert Ensley, STEM, Certification, Project 1954

Students at WFES show a STEM certification team how they use skills used at school to solve real world problems.

What this means for WFES is that they are teaching children these fields in ways in which the children become critical thinkers and can apply the skills they are learning to real-world problems.

“It means you are doing what’s right for the kids in terms of hands on learning, in terms of math and science integration, involving the community,” Roof explained of what the Georgia Department of Education looks for in the certifying process.

The students at WFES have applied the skills taught and integrated them into improving their own school environment through Project 1954.

According to Danner, this project involves each grade level to focus on a particular area and come up with ways to improve these areas. An example can be scene in the nature trail created by fourth-grade students.

Roof says that none of this would be possible without the effort of an entire team: “I would like to thank our entire faculty and staff for working so hard and so diligently. I also want to thank our parents, community business partners, our Fannin County School System county office directors, and our Board of Education members for always supporting us throughout this lengthy process. Most of all, I want to thank our students.”

Danner pointed out that while Roof would not acknowledge it himself, a huge thank you is due to him as well: “He was the integral part that took us to the final phases. Mr. Roof just came in and filled that piece that solidified that this was what was going to happen.”

Ensley, the educator credited with the vision of STEM certification, commented on the news that WFES had finally reached its goal. “It has been a dream of mine. I cannot be more excited for West Fannin. They put a lot of time, a lot of effort into making this a success. They did a phenomenal job,” Ensley said.

“Hands down, so proud of them,” Ensley added with a beaming smile.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G Bee champion moves forward to regional competition

Community, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After a lot of practice and many rounds, Fannin County School System (FCSS) named their champion speller. Eighth-grader Chloe Carter will advance for a third year to the Region 1 Competition held in Rome, Georgia, later this month.

FCSS held school-wide spelling bees in the month of January, and the winners from each school met on Jan. 31 at the Board of Education to determine a champion.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Blue Ridge Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, East Fannin Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Cirriculum Director, Robert Ensley, Keith Nuckolls, Literacy Coach, Sarah Welch, Principal, Lucas Roof, April Hodges, Matt Price, Jade Dlugokinski, Cole White, Chloe Carter, Fox Sharp.

Spelling Bee contestants at the Board of Education. From left to right, Fox Sharp, Jade Dlugokinski, Chloe Carter, and Cole White.

“Before I say anything else, I would like to say how proud I am of each of you for reaching the Fannin County School System spelling bee,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney said, welcoming the competitors.

With family and faculty present, each principal introduced their respective champion.

From Blue Ridge Elementary School, Principal April Hodges introduced school champion Jade Dlugokinski. Cole White, winner of East Fannin Elementary School, was presented by Principal Matt Price. Principal Keith Nuckolls announced the Fannin County Middle School Champion Chloe Carter, and West Fannin Elementary School Principal Lucas Roof introduced their champion Fox Sharp.

Curriculum Director Robert Ensley read the rules and formalities of the spelling bee. These rules must be strictly adhered to within each district for champions to move forward in hopes of reaching the national bee.

Fannin County High School Literacy Coach Sarah Welch was the official caller for the event, giving each student his or her word and further clarification if needed.

The second round saw two competitors eliminated, with a third contestant being eliminated in the following round.

Students Chloe Carter and Cole White battled it out for another round with Carter spelling the winning word for the round, “cruiser”.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Blue Ridge Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, East Fannin Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Cirriculum Director, Robert Ensley, Keith Nuckolls, Literacy Coach, Sarah Welch, Principal, Lucas Roof, April Hodges, Matt Price, Jade Dlugokinski, Cole White, Chloe Carter, Fox Sharp.

Spelling Bee winner Chloe Carter will advance to the Region 1 Competition in Rome, Georgia, later this month.

As dictated by the rules Carter then had to spell an additional champion word. “Ninja” was spelled with ease by Carter and solidified her as Fannin County spelling champion.

“We are proud to have Ms. Chloe Carter as our eighth grade spelling champion,” Welch announced, officially bringing the bee to a close.

Carter is no stranger to this honor. It is Carter’s third year winning the Fannin County School System spelling bee. Last year, Carter also advanced from the Region 1 Competition to compete at the state level.

The Region 1 competition will take place on Feb. 24 in Rome, Georgia. Carter will face other district champs in hopes of progressing to the state finals.

“Your achievement sets a fine example for the students across our county,” Gwatney beamed to the contestants and congratulated all of the students on their achievements.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

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Fannin Board of Education Announces Savings

Education, News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County’s Board of Education shared news of tremendous savings at their regular monthly meeting held on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

Since its implementation in 2005, the Energy Cap system has saved Fannin County Schools an approximate $5,408,511.

The Energy Cap software, which is used nationally, is a utility bill tracking and sustainability system. This software streamlines billing and accounting, as well as provides analysis reports. It then rates the school system’s buildings for energy efficiency.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Education, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Energy Cap, Fannin County High School, Erik Cioffi, West Fannin Elementary, Lucas Roof, STEM

Presenting information on the Energy Cap Program.

Fannin County High School showed the largest cost avoidance since the system’s implementation with approximately $1,773,267 in projected savings.

This news was met with approval from all board members. Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney pointed out, “As we make our facilities better and more appropriate for our kids, we’re able to save money in the operation of those facilities.”

West Fannin Elementary School’s (WFES) Principal Lucas Roof presented the board with an update on the happenings of WFES. The school is seeing great success with its Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) program.

The STEM program was put into action by former principal Robert Ensley and STEM teacher Kim Patterson. The program has grown in the last four years, and WFES is hoping to become STEM certified by the state of Georgia this year.

A pre visit by the state is scheduled for November of this year. Roof stated about the STEM certification, “We feel like that it is something that is going to happen for us this year, and if that happens that is going to be big for our school.”

Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi was also present with a request to revise policy in regards to early graduation.

Cioffi stated that with the current policy a student may be denied early graduation for “missing just one piece.”

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Education, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Energy Cap, Fannin County High School, Erik Cioffi, West Fannin Elementary, Lucas Roof, STEM

The Board listens to possible change in early graduation policy.

The current policy contains nine requirements that students must meet to qualify for early graduation. Cioffi said that some students might fail to meet one of these requirements due to circumstance beyond their control.

He used the example that a student may face medical issues which would require the attendance rate to drop below 95%. He said, “that just didn’t make sense to us that that would prevent them from going.”

The change would add wording to the policy that states the Superintendent or designee could waive any of the criteria on a case-by-case basis.
This change in policy will be tabled for a thirty day period, after which board members will meet to vote on the approval or denial of the changes.

The Board of Education will hold its next Workshop and Meeting as regularly scheduled in the second week of November.

 

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

West Fannin Elementary Hosts STEM Night

Education, West Fannin Elem

BLUE RIDGE, GA – West Fannin Elementary School (WFES) hosted STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) night on Thursday, September 21. It is one of three STEM nights that the school will host this year.

Students in Kindergarten and Fifth grade, along with their families, enjoyed an evening dedicated to engineering and science. WFES will be combining grade levels this year for their STEM evenings. The remaining two nights will be dedicated to First and Third grade levels and then Second and Fourth.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, STEM, West Fannin Elementary School, Lucas Roof, Robert Ensley, Kim Patterson

Robert Ensley (L), Principal Lucas Roof (C), and Kim Patterson (R) help students and families at STEM night.

Principal Lucas Roof credits the creation and success of the STEM program to former principal Robert Ensley and STEM teacher Kim Patterson. Roof states that Ensley pushed for STEM in the beginning, and Patterson confirms that, going into the fourth year, the program has grown.

Roof says that there are numerous benefits to the program. For example, “It shows students that mathematics is in our real world all around us.”

Patterson says there is a definite benefit to the science and math subjects since the program’s implementation. She states, “The children’s interest levels have really gone up in these areas.”

Along with STEM night, WFES integrates STEM projects into their regular school year. Patterson, with the help of grade level teachers, evaluate the current curriculum and base specialized projects on what is being taught in the classrooms.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, STEM, West Fannin Elementary School, Lucas Roof, Robert Ensley, Kim Patterson

The Jones family working on “Spider Webs”.

The K and 5th STEM night showcased students and families working on three separate projects. There was a fun Autumn theme for each assignment.

Families were tasked with the “Spider Web Bridge”. Given two cups and yarn, families were asked to construct a bridge that would hold as many spiders (blocks) as possible. This was a creative assignment that not only focused on engineering but also gave students a lesson in mathematics.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, STEM, West Fannin Elementary School, Lucas Roof, Robert Ensley, Kim Patterson

A student working hard on the “Candy Tower”.

The second assignment also focused on engineering by asking families to create a “Pumpkin Catapult”. Teachers scaled down the catapult experience by providing spoons, candy pumpkins, and various items needed to complete the task.

The last assignment, “Candy Tower”, asked participants to build a tower as tall as possible that stands on its own. Various candies, along with toothpicks, were given to create the towers. This particular exercise allowed students to see first hand the struggles faced in engineering, as they tried to figure out weight distribution and the most stable shapes to hold their towering candy masterpieces.

The success of the STEM program was evident in the smiles and laughs heard throughout the participants as they experienced a fun way to view the sciences.

Principal Roof is very proud of his staff and of the program itself stating, “We are hoping to become STEM certified by the state of Georgia this year.”

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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