October 2011

Hollydale Elementary Teacher Maggie Phillips Shares Classroom Leadership Strategies With Fellow Educators
Author and keynote speaker Dr. Leonard Pellicer and Hollydale teacher Maggie Phillips shared effective leadership strategies with teachers.

Author and keynote speaker Dr. Leonard Pellicer and Hollydale teacher Maggie Phillips shared effective leadership strategies with fellow educators.

Maggie Phillips never thought she’d be addressing an auditorium full of the teacher leaders and one of the country’s top educational leadership experts. But after receiving her endorsement in teacher leadership and then becoming Teacher of the Year at Hollydale Elementary, she was an ideal choice to address the region’s Teacher Leadership Conference and talk to the theme, “Caring Enough to Lead: How Reflective Thought Leads to Moral Leadership.” Phillips was one of nearly a hundred teacher leaders from Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale and Atlanta Public Schools to attend the first-ever conference, “Caring Enough to Lead: Teachers Leading Teachers,” held at the DeKalb County Administrative and Instructional Complex. The conference was targeted at teacher leaders, administrators and potential leadership candidates in southeast Georgia.

Phillips told the crowd she loves teaching, and leading from the classroom, rather than leaving it for administration. She credited her former principal with seeing leadership capabilities she didn’t realize she had in only her second year of teaching. Kennesaw Elementary Principal Wanda Floyd, also there to share in the celebration of teacher leaders and their good work, took the podium to tell of Phillips’ understated but effective leadership, “leadership that inspires and guides, with enthusiasm that never wanes, that influences and improves student engagement and achievement.” Floyd said Phillips embodies the best qualities of a teacher leader; she positively impacts student learning at Hollydale and increases teacher expertise both formally and informally, and has also taken on the role of technology specialist helping teachers train and improve in their use of electronic whiteboards and other technology and equipment. Floyd was Phillips’ principal at Hollydale for her first three years of teaching.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Leonard Pellicer, author of several books including “A Handbook for Teacher Leaders,” and “Caring Enough to Lead,” said Phillips is one of many teachers today taking on a leadership role and becoming a “change agent” in order to make a positive difference in public schools. He said leadership is a “sacred trust, not a right,” and that great teacher leaders give children “power over their lives, and touch every person in the community.” Pellicer said Phillips’ willingness to take on roles outside of her comfort zone, like public speaking, shows a vulnerability and strength that’s needed for leadership growth. He says schools that make the most of their teacher leaders are the ones experiencing the most success and greatest student achievement. Pellicer says he believes in three general principles when it comes to the success of teacher leaders in schools today; that teacher leaders know everyone can do a good job, that everyone wants to do a good job and that high quality leadership – especially that of teacher leadership – helps everyone succeed.

Other sessions included “Utilizing Teacher Leaders Effectively,” a session geared toward school and district administrators, professional learning coordinators and directors; and “Teaching Tips that Work,” for teacher leader endorsement instructors. This is the third year Cobb County schools have offered the endorsement to teachers wanting to become certified in Teacher Leadership.

Submission by Jennifer Gates, school PR rep for Norton Park Elementary.

Oakwood Digital Academy Hosts Inaugural Career and Education Fair


The Oakwood Digital Academy hosted its first Career and Education Fair Oct.18 in the school gymnasium. Representatives from several local post-secondary education institutions were on hand, including the University of West Georgia, Chattahoochee Tech, Georgia Perimeter College, Southern Polytechnic University, Georgia Highlands College, and Westwood College. Businesses that participated included the Georgia Association of Black Women’s Attorneys, Alston & Bird, and IBM. There were also military recruiters from the Navy and the Air Force, as well as the Georgia Student Finance commission, Favor Academy, and the 5 Star Youth Alliance College Tour Program.

More than 80 Oakwood students visited the different tables, asked questions, and received information to help guide them in their post-secondary discoveries. It was also our first “Dress for Success” Day, and many students participated. The staff of Oakwood Digital Academy wants to thank all of the presenters for taking time out of their busy schedules to visit with our student body.

Wheeler Magnet Student Pradeep Prathiba Reaches Semifinals In 2011 Siemens Foundation Math, Science & Technology Competition

PPrathibaPradeep Prathiba, senior at the Wheeler High School Center for Advanced Studies in Science, Mathematics, and Technology, is a semifinalist in the 2011 Siemens Competition, the nation’s leading original research competition in math, science and technology for high school students.

Pradeep’s research is titled, “Expression of Cyan Flourescent Protein (CFP) in Hepatitis C Viral Genome for Direct Visualization of Infected Cells and Potential Use for Rapid Drug Discovery Inhibitors.” Her research was conducted at Emory University with mentors Raghavan Chinnadurai and Arash Grakoui.

The Center for Advanced Studies has had six Siemens semifinalists and two regional finalists since 2006.

Hightower Trail Sixth Grader and Young Author Will Mathison Honored For Community Service, Leadership

Mathison_HTMSEast Cobb Patch published this week a feature about Hightower Trail Middle School Will Mathison, who was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle for his community service. Will is also a budding writer, having self-published two fiction books. Click here to read the article on Patch.com.

King Springs Kindergarten Students Conduct the ‘Wedding of Mr. Q and Ms. U’

Kindergarten students at King Springs Elementary learned about an important grammatical rule in a fun way: the ‘Wedding of Mr. Q and Ms. U!’ Watch the video below:

Lassiter Marching Trojan Band Selected To Perform In 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA

The Lassiter High School Marching Trojan Band has been selected to march in the world-famous Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2013! The Trojan Band, one of the most decorated bands in the country, was one of 20 bands chosen from over 475 high school applicants from the United States and abroad to participate in the 124th Rose Parade. The Trojan Band will showcase its award-winning sound and precision on New Year’s Day as it marches five (5) miles down Pasadena’s famed Colorado Boulevard. This performance will mark the Trojan Band’s fourth appearance marching in the Rose Parade with previous performances in 1988, 2001 and 2005. The January 1, 2013 performance marks the 25th anniversary of the Trojan Band’s 1988 performance- a Rose Parade-Lassiter Band tradition that spans 25 years. “We are proud to represent Marietta, Metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, as we travel to Pasadena and participate in our fourth Rose Parade,” said band director Alfred L. Watkins. “We have a talented group of individuals who are looking forward to sharing their skills with the world.”

The Tournament of Roses parade is seen by approximately one million in-person spectators, a domestic television audience of 65 million viewers and an additional 350 million viewers in over 200 countries worldwide (including China), each New Year’s Day.

The invitation to participate in the Rose Parade is one of the most prestigious invitations a marching band can receive. Rose Parade President for 2013, Sally Bixby, called Lassiter Band Director Alfred L. Watkins on September 27 to personally invite the Lassiter Band to join the line of march. As Georgia’s lone representative, the Trojan Band’s 7-day/6-night trip to Southern California will include: 6-night accommodations at a southern California area hotel, a performance at Disneyland, a day at Universal Studios Hollywood, a group photo in front of the Rose Bowl Stadium, a tour of Los Angeles which will include visits to Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Stars Walk of Fame, the Kodak Theater (home of the Academy Awards), the Walt Disney Theater, a field show performance at BandFest, stops in Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, Malibu and Santa Monica Pier, Farmer’s Market, NBC Studios in Burbank, dinner at Medieval Times, a possible trip to the San Diego Zoo and New Year’s Dinner (and band dance) for family and friends at their hotel.

The band will begin fundraising efforts just after Thanksgiving 2011. The Trojan Band expects to take around 250 band members and 30 staff members and chaperones on the trip.

South Cobb ESOL Students Visit Armstrong Atlantic State University, Tour Historic Savannah


Getting up on an early, cool Saturday morning is not what teenagers usually do, but this didn’t matter to 14 students in the South Cobb High School ESOL program. The group, along with teacher Florence Hardney-Hinds made a trip south to Savannah, GA to visit Armstrong Atlantic University. Students learned about the academic programs offered by the university and spent time touring the historic city of Savannah and Tybee Island.

South Cobb High School ESOL students will visit several colleges and locations during the school year to improve cultural awareness and explore options for their post-high school studies. The District’s International Welcome Center works with ESOL programs at all Cobb high schools to create these college exploration opportunities.

Submitted by Michael A. Johnson

Jeff Dess of Prevention/Intervention Center Honored By Georgia PTA

Jeff Dess of the District’s Prevention/Intervention Center recently served as guest speaker for the Georgia PTA 9th District Fall Conference. Dess spoke to parents and teachers about developing leaders and prevention of bullying behavior among students. State PTA president Donna Kosicki was also on hand and presented Dess with a surprise honor, the Honorary Founder Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service to our Youth and Children!

Cobb Board of Commissioners Recognizes Timber Ridge Elementary For Blue Ribbon School Honor


Timber Ridge Elementary was recognized during the Oct. 25 meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners for being one of only eight public schools in Georgia to be named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Osborne High JROTC Programs Excel At Raider Competition; Women’s Team Brings Home State Championship


Cadets in the Osborne High School JROTC faced five challenging military-focused events during the 2011 Georgia State Raider competition held Oct. 22 in Winder, GA. Osborne’s teams competed against 80 other programs from across Georgia in the Raider Fitness Test, One-Rope Bridge, Cross Country Rescue, a Map Reading/First Aid challenge and a Team 5K run. The Female Raider Team finished in first place, earning the 2011 Raider championship and a trip to compete in the national championship Nov. 4-6 in Molena, GA! The men’s team finished in second place by a single point.


The Raider competition tests cadets’ mental and physical prowess and supports JROTC learning objectives, including ethical values and good citizenship, leadership / follow-ship, effective communication and logical/critical thinking, improved physical fitness, geography, incentive to live drug-free, positive self-motivation, management skills, the skills to work as a team member and motivation to graduate from high school and pursue a successful career.

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