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

Fannin County School administration responds to parents’ concerns

Education, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Parents recently expressed concerns over the state of the Fannin County Athletics Department at the Jan. 11 Board of Education (BOE) meeting. These concerns were heard by members of the BOE as well as administration and staff within the school system.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Curriculum Director, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Rebels

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney.

Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, Fannin County Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey, and Fannin County Curriculum Director Robert Ensley spoke with FetchYourNews about the issues raised during the meeting.

Gwatney expressed concerns about parents being unable to speak directly with coaches or administration in the schools: “That can happen. There might be a parent that has concern with the administration at the school and they want to come see me or somebody in my office.”

Wanting parents to feel comfortable with approaching administration at the schools, Gwatney did advise that speaking with administration first would allow the parent “to speak to people closer to the issue than the board.”

Gwatney also wanted it to be clear saying, “I don’t ever want to dissuade anybody from speaking at the public comment (during the BOE meetings) if it’s on their heart to do so.”

Many parents were surprised to learn of the salaries of several of the coaches as the matter was publicly announced at the January BOE meeting. Gwatney broke down the process of how educators are paid in Fannin County: “These coaches, they are teachers. Legally on paper, they are teachers as well, which can speak to their salaries. They do receive a coaching supplement, but that supplement is a small percentage of their overall salary.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Curriculum Director, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Rebels

Fannin County Curriculum Director Robert Ensley.

In Fannin County, an educator’s salary is based on a number of components, the first being the level of education and experience an educator possesses. The higher the degree of learning (ex. bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) an educator has obtained will directly affect the base salary given to that educator by the state of Georgia.

The second factor in determining an educator’s salary is a local supplement that is given in Fannin County. This supplement is a flat percentage based on the salary being given by the state of Georgia. Both the supplement and the base pay increase based on years of service in the educational field.

Finally, there is a coaching supplement for those educators who take on the task of instructing Fannin County’s young athletes in their sporting endeavors.

Ensley spoke directly about his thoughts on Fannin County Athletics saying, “I think we’ve got great coaches. They’re building character. Obviously, we want to win.”

Ramsey agreed, “Obviously, we would like to be winning more. I don’t think there is anybody who would argue that, but I think our coaches are working hard. I think they are doing things that they can do to help our kids be successful.”

“The hurdles that we face is that we are a small AAA school. Third smallest in the state,” Ramsey spoke on the difficulties within the program.

Ramsey stated that there are many talented athletes in Fannin County but further explained the hurdles of being a smaller school. “What gets us is the depth. When we have an injury, or kids wear out, there may not be somebody sitting over on the sidelines or sitting on the bench that can come fill those shoes,” Ramsey stated.

“I’m not sitting here making excuses. Our numbers are what they are,” Ramsey clarified as he shared his thoughts on the athletics program.

There is also the problem of multiple sports within the same season. Having a smaller pool of athletes can cause some key players to miss opportunities in one area due to scheduling conflicts. The girl’s softball team and volleyball team was cited as an example of splitting the athletic pool among the two sports.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Curriculum Director, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Rebels

Fannin County Athletic Director and Fannin County High School Assistant Principal Dr. Scott Ramsey.

“Softball is very successful,” Ramsey pointed out despite this obstacle.”I think five out of seven years (Coach David Dyer has) made state, and finished in the top five in the state one year.”

Ramsey also addressed allegations made during the public commentary portion of the BOE meeting concerning his second job as an educator at a local night school: “My schedule at the second job is set around the schedule that Mr. Cioffi (Fannin County High School principal) makes for the after school stuff. Mr. Cioffi makes the schedule at the beginning of each season, not just for athletics.”

“It’s a two night a week job and one of those nights is always on Wednesday, and there is nothing athletically on Wednesday. The other is based on whatever the need is,” Ramsey further explained.

Ramsey also spoke of whether other administrators had been asked to cover for him. “If they’re there it’s because they were scheduled to be there. They’re not covering for me. Just like I’m not covering for them when I’m at a drama event or academic thing. We all have a schedule, and we go by that schedule,” Ramsey said.

As far as the future of Fannin County Athletics, Ramsey explained, “We evaluate programs every year. We try to look at it realistically, and we have made changes. This year won’t be any different. We’ll evaluate the programs this year, and if we feel based on the direction of the program that a change needs to be made, then we’ll certainly do that.”

Ramsey did point out that a coach in Fannin County is an educator first, and for a change in coaching to take place, there must also be a need and an opening in an academic department.

Ramsey said that he understood the parents’ frustration and shared a piece of advice given to him during his coaching days saying, “There is a natural conflict built in between coaches and parents because coaches watch the kids with their head, and parents watch the kids with their heart.”

He added that that is the way it should be. “A parent should be their kid’s biggest fan and biggest advocate,” Ramsey said.

Gwatney concluded, “It really is all about the kids. The kids here are our number one priority, and we want to provide them with what is best for them.”

 

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

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.”

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top