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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Natalie Kissel

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Fannin County High School uses national movement as a chance to connect with students

Community, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – March 14 marked a nationwide movement among America’s youth. School-age children from across the country banned together in solidarity in a campaign labeled Walk Out.

This protest comes as a response to one of America’s deadliest mass shootings in modern history. Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, experienced terror in their hallways as a lone gunman and former student went on a killing spree that claimed 17 lives.

In the wake of this tragedy, discussions have opened up about school safety and what can be done to prevent situations like this from occurring in the future.

The Walk Out campaign was organized for students to take a stand against gun violence and to lobby for gun legislation reform. The nationwide walk out was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. and last for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost in Parkland, Florida.

A counter-movement spurred as Ryan Petty, a father of one of the students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spoke of a different option than walking out.

Petty released the following message via Twitter:

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Fannin County School Systems, Fannin County High School, Walk Out, Walk Up Not Out, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Principal, Erik Cioffi, Acts of Kindness, Ryan Petty

Fannin County High School (FCHS) chose to combine these two movements and provide students with a more politically neutral environment to express themselves and honor the lives of the 15 students and 2 staff members who tragically died.

FCHS conducted one of their mandatory safety drills prior to 10 a.m. and then allowed students to remain outside if they wished for 17 minutes following.

“I had heard where other districts were discussing suspension of students,” Erik Cioffi, principal of Fannin County High School, spoke of the decision made by administration to work with the students during this time, “and that’s not right. We wanted to give our students the ability to express themselves.”

In a statement released by Cioffi via Facebook, students at FCHS conducted a normal school-wide advisement period prior to the safety drill. This advisement period focused on “Acts of Kindness” and how to treat one another with respect.

“It is very real, and it has affected these students,” Cioffi spoke of local impacts from the tragedy. “Some of these students truly question their safety, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to talk and to remember and honor those who lost their lives.”

Staff members were present during the 17 minute demonstration and spoke with the different groups of students that had gathered outside.

In a Facebook statement, Cioffi described his own interactions: “As I walked around outside, I had the opportunity to speak with students and discuss the tragedy that took place and how our number one priority will always be student and staff safety.”

Some students, moved by the demonstration, discussed with Cioffi their plans to follow through with 17 acts of kindness in honor of the Parkland victims. Another group focused on being kind to someone they did not know for 17 seconds.

Cioffi concluded his statement with a plea to parents and a commitment from FCHS:

“Please take the time if you have not done so already and talk with your child about the many issues regarding the horrific event that took place one month ago today at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida. Thank you for allowing us to work with your student(s) each and every day. We are very fortunate to have the student population that we have and we are committed to helping them navigate their way through very difficult times.”

 

 

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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East Fannin Elementary Presented With Family Friendly Partnership Award

East Fannin Elem, Education

BLUE RIDGE, GA – East Fannin Elementary School (EFES) came together in celebration as the school received the Family Friendly Partnership Award. EFES held the ceremony in their gym on Wednesday, October, 11, 2017.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, East Fannin Elementary School, Morganton, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Principal, Matthew Price, Music Teacher, Kimberly Huffman, Richard Woods, Adam Born

Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods presents award to EFES.

The gym was filled with students, staff, and family as the school met with Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods. Excitement was high as only five schools are chosen annually for this award.

The Georgia Department of Education launched the Georgia Family Friendly Partnership award in the summer of 2010. This honor is for Title I schools who place importance on the role of the family in a student’s education.

Schools are judged on a number of factors including friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, displays of student work throughout the building, and the school’s ability to provide “unique and innovative parent and family engagement programs.”

Fannin County School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney was present to speak at the ceremony. Gwatney has a long history with EFES. He attended the school in the late 1980s when it was a junior high school. He then taught at the school as an educator, and later became principal.Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, East Fannin Elementary School, Morganton, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Principal, Matthew Price, Music Teacher, Kimberly Huffman, Richard Woods, Adam Born

Gwatney said, “As member of this community, as well as former student, and former member of this faculty, I can honestly say that welcoming and family are two great words to use when describing East Fannin Elementary School.”

Parents were also present to speak of their experiences with EFES. Parent Adam Born said of EFES and the parent involvement, that it is more than just a school, it’s a community.

Born stated that it’s “a community where parents always feel comfortable at their child’s school. Where they can be engaged in their child’s development. A community where a student knows that their parents and teachers are working together to help them achieve higher results.”

The entire student body worked with Music Teacher Kimberly Huffman to prepare a song for the visitors. Smiles of enjoyment were seen on the state representative’s faces as the students performed “Kick It Up A Notch”.

The unique song choice reflected EFES’s staff involvement and dedication, both of which are key components to having won this award.

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods spoke at the presentation. He explained the process on which the schools are chosen, and stated that within the three years he has presented this award that the EFES’s presentation was the first time where he had seen family presented as speakers for the school.

Woods stated, “Hats off to your presentation.”

He went on “This is something that is extremely hard to get. Roughly we have about 2,300 schools in the state of Georgia. There are only five schools that get this each year. You’re really in the top 1% of the 1%.”

 

 

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

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