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M. Ann Levett, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Savannah-Chatham Co.
Public School System

208 Bull Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 395-5600


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208 Bull Street
(Admin. Offices)

2 Laura Avenue
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SCCPSS > Divisions > Communications > Community Partner Spotlight
SCCPSS and Savannah State Partner to Support Professional Learning for Middle School Science Teachers 

 

 

SCCPSS and Savannah State University have received funding for year two of the Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Grant which supports professional learning for middle school science teachers.  Although many participants from year one are continuing their participation in year two, this will enable the program to expand to new applicants as well.

 

The SSU grant application calls for significant professional development activities to be offered to a cohort of 45 SCCPSS middle school science teachers over a two year period. Specifically, each participating teacher will receive a minimum of 80 hours of professional development yearly. The trainings will include instruction provided by SSU College of Science and Technology faculty to increase the teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical skills. In order to make the training as powerful as possible, three cohorts will be formed, one for each middle school grade level. Each cohort will focus on a specific strand of the middle school science curriculum- earth, life, or physical science.

 

NFL FLAG Essentials Program Comes to SCCPSS Schools 

Falcons Bring NFL FLAG Essentials Program to SCCPSS

On Friday, April 22, 2016, physical education teachers from the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System participated in the Atlanta Falcons NFL FLAG Essentials Program. Nearly 40 Elementary Physical Education Instructors along with other faculty members engaged in a training session at Jenkins High School’s gymnasium. This was a first for both the SCCPSS District and the Atlanta Falcons NFL FLAG Essentials Program in Chatham County.

 

The Atlanta Falcons are providing NFL FLAG Essentials Kits to elementary schools in Chatham, Muscogee and Bibb counties. The kits, which include footballs, flag belts, posters and a PE curriculum, are hoped to result in getting kids to be more physically active. In addition to the schools receiving NFL FLAG Kits, Physical Education teachers from each school are trained on the NFL FLAG curriculum book. These sessions are intended to help guide P.E. teachers on the new kits so that they can be implemented fully in the school’s physical education or after school programs.

NFL FLAG Essentials Training

The training was led by NFL FLAG Essentials Trainer Ellen Abbadessa. Former Falcon Buddy Curry and mascot Freddie Falcon were also in attendance for autographs and photos. NFL FLAG Essentials Kits are designed to provide a turn-key package of equipment, curriculum, training and recognition for P.E. teachers and students to increase participation and excitement in physical activity through FLAG football.

To see more photos from the training click here.

 

Foundations in Personal Finance

Fifth Third Bank Georgia is expanding the sponsorship of Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance course in the Savannah Chatham County Public School System for the 2015-2016 school year. After successfully sponsoring the program at Beach High, Groves High, Jenkins High, Johnson High, Woodville Tompkins, and Savannah High during the 2014-2015 school year, Fifth Third Bank Georgia is providing the funding to expand the program and reach more students during the upcoming school year. The bank will sponsor the course for an additional four schools on top of the six from last year. The additional schools include Islands High, Savannah Arts, New Hampstead, and Windsor Forest High.

 

This year marks the fifth consecutive year that Fifth Third Bank has sponsored Foundations in Personal Finance. Since 2010, the Bank has helped educate more than 600,000 students across the bank’s footprint. In the current fall 2015 semester, Fifth Third expects that more than 140,000 students will take the course in the Midwest and Southeast and more than 600 students in Savannah. “The students enjoyed the applicable life situations and were able to create both long term and short term financial goals,” said Beach High School teacher, Monica Daughtry. 

 

“Fifth Third Bank is committed to improving lives in the communities we serve,” said Chris Kirkpatrick, Savannah Region President, Fifth Third Bank Georgia. “Here in Savannah we have made a concerted effort to provide our workforce the necessary skills to be successful gaining employment with our ever growing local economy.  We have world class organizations, excellent public school offerings and quality universities in place to make that a reality for Savannah.” 

 

“Being the curious bank, we asked ourselves, how can we help that mission? We decided to help our future workforce learn the financial skills enabling them to handle their personal finances once they are part of the great workforce we have here in Savannah. We sponsor Dave Ramsey’s course at an important juncture—as these teens embark on first jobs, college planning and expenditures independent of their parents. We know that Foundations is a great course that will teach students how to avoid debt, save deliberately and spend wisely,” Kirkpatrick added.   

 

Foundations in Personal Finance is a comprehensive, flexible and turn-key personal finance curriculum. It is designed to be taught by the teacher in school, aided by video lessons from Dave Ramsey and his team of experts. It has been recently updated and features a blended learning site with calculators, tools and resources, a new 504-question TestGen® computerized test bank, a brand new print and digital teachers’ guide and four new chapters. The program also includes 100+ classroom activities focused on providing 21st century personal finance knowledge and skills in a student-centered, competency-based approach to learning. Foundations in Personal Finance is presented in 12 chapters, divided into four units: Saving and Budgeting; Credit and Debt; Financial Planning and Insurance; and Income, Taxes and Giving. 

 

The program has been in place in Savannah Chatham Public Schools since 2014 and adds to the rich learning experiences offered in the classroom.  Students are challenged with rigorous academic expectations and the teachings of the program add an enriched element to the advancement of problem solving and critical thinking skills.  The combination of personal finance with mathematical lesson plans is an effective process that blends instruction and real world scenarios to create relevant experiences for students.  “Community partners can make a real difference in education,” said Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Ann Levett.  “We are thankful for the commitment from Fifth Third Bank and look forward to another successful school year where students gain the benefit of high quality learning experiences that prepare them for the next step in college or a career.”

FAST Parent Event! Join us for information on GMAS and more!

It’s no secret that an involved parent is one of the most influential factors contributing to the success of a child.  And when a parent is engaged in their child’s education, students reap the benefit through improved academics and a positive behavior toward school.  SCCPSS is excited to offer events that bring students, parents, and our schools together as partners in education to improve the outcome of all students.

We’re targeting Saturday, April 18, 2015, as a day for Parental Engagement!  The school district’s Academic Affairs team knows the importance of planning a student’s educational roadmap to set the foundation for a successful future.  Family Academic Strategy Time (FAST) is a new initiative designed to engage our students and parents.

The FAST team is inviting all parents to join us for a day of fun, food, and great information.  Parents will get updates and answers to questions they may have on many topics including testing, tutorials, summer programs, CTSO pathways, and so much more!  It all happens on April 18 starting at 9:00am at the Woodville-Tompkins Technical & Career High School.

FAMILY ACADEMIC STRATEGY TIME

An initiative to equip parents with tools to aid children in academic achievement.

Pre-register now: http://tinyurl.com/SCCPSSFAST

  • GMAS (Georgia Milestones Assessment System): A parent’s guide to what you need to know
  • GMAS (Georgia Milestones Assessment System): Test strategies for students
  • Transition to Middle, High School, & Post-Secondary: A time for change
  • Building Character: Empowering the inner greatness in your child
  • Digital Literacy: On-line tools for parents and students

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Woodville Tompkins Technical &

Career High School

151 Coach Joe Turner Street

Savannah, GA 31408

 

9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

(Parent & Student Sessions)

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

(Career Technical Student Organizations Field Day)

 

FAST INVITATION

Don’t miss it! 

 

Ø  Free Admission

Ø  CTSO Carnival Games

Ø  Petting Zoo

Ø  Enjoy food, prizes & giveaways

Ø  Learn valuable resources that will help your child be successful on the GMAS!

 

FAMILY ACADEMIC STRATEGY TIME: Saturday, April 18 starting at 9:00am at the Woodville-Tompkins Technical & Career High School.

Welcome to MySchoolBucks.com!

***ATTENTION PARENTS: Payments made through this third party vendor are completely optional. You may also make payments the traditional way in the cafeteria. There is a small transaction fee per transaction of 4.5% when adding funds to your students account that is assessed for using this service that goes to the third party, Heartland Payment Systems. To contact the School Nutrition Program 912-395-5548. ***Questions about MySchoolBucks.com? Call 1-855-832-5226!

 

Did you know that SCCPSS offers a secure and convenient way to help parents manage their child's school lunch expense?  No more sending cash to school for lunch!  Parents enjoy the ease of maintaining an online account that can be funded from anywhere at any time!

 

Many have successfully used myschoollunchmoney.com, and now you'll have all the great benefits and more with MySchoolBucks!  All through the month of January 2015, SCCPSS will transition to a new online meal payment website called myschoolbucks.com that will continue to offer the secure and easy online funding for your child’s school lunch.

 

Each week a new group of schools will be converted to the new system and the process will be finalized by the end of January. We are excited about the many benefits that our new system will have including real time availability of funds!

 

In advance of this transition, please make sure to register for a new user account by visiting www.myschoolbucks.com.  After you have registered for a user account, you may locate your child by finding his/her name, student ID, and date of birth. Once your child’s school has been converted, you will be able to begin making lunch payments.

 

If your child’s school has not yet been converted, you may still continue to use mylunchmoney.com until the transition is complete.  Please know that any funds currently available in your child’s lunch account balance will be carried over to the new system.

 

New or existing users should make sure to take advantage of this secure and convenient system that makes paying for school lunch an easy, no hassle process! 

 

If you have any questions about registering for a new parent account at www.myschoolbucks.com, or need assistance with the new website, please contact Parent Support at 1-855-832-5226 or call the SCCPSS School Nutrition Program at 912-395-5548.

Student Expo - A Major Success!
For the sixth year in a row, the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) presented the Student Success Expo and STEM Festival to help students prepare for the future.  The event took place on Saturday, January 10, 2015, and could not have been realized without the support of community and business partners who all contributed in various ways to ensure that parents and students had an opportunity to learn about school academic pathways, college opportunities, and the wide range of career opportunities offered in the Savannah-Chatham area.
 
 Student Expo   Welcome Expo
 

The Expo was designed to showcase SCCPSS programs and give students and parents a first-hand opportunity to connect with our schools, and other professionals in various industries.  The response was amazing.  With almost 13,000 in attendance on the day, visitors learned about school pathways in Medical and Allied Health, Engineering, Logistics, Visual and Performing Arts and so much more! 

 

Dr. Angie Lewis, the Director of the SCCPSS Office of College & Career Readiness, says the annual event exemplifies how the business and education community can come together to enhance a student’s transition into college and careers. “We are grateful for the support of our business partners and the leadership from our Career Education Advisory Council,” she said.  “Our parents and students benefit by seeing the connection educational pathways have with local industry and career options.”

 

With student performances at center stage, school informational booths, and exciting student competitions, there was certainly something for everyone.  Students of the Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School helped to host the VEX Robotics competition where young engineers competed with the robots they designed and built for this game-based engineering challenge.

 

Deshaun Williams of Woodville Tompkins  Robotics Competition  Robotics Competition

 

In an interview with WSAV News, Woodville student Deshaun Williams was excited about his future outlook.  "I feel more prepared and more confident in what I'm going to do when I graduate and graduate college," he said.  Programs like those found at Woodville Tompkins, and many other schools across Savannah-Chatham County, are having great impact on student preparation for college and careers.

 

And for parents looking to explore academic options, the Expo was just the place to learn what SCCPSS schools have to offer.  The Specialty Program application process for the 2015-16 school year also kicked off on January 10th, and with 23 specialty options offered, students are finding great opportunities that set the foundation for future doctors, lawyers, and engineers. 

 

Expo Visitors  Butler Elementary  Coastal Middle  Savannah Tech

 

Plus, new this year, parents enjoyed Family Academic Strategy Time from the SCCPSS F.A.S.T. Committee.  Informational sessions about assessments, technology, after-school programs and other important topics were offered to help students get the best possible educational experience from our school system.

 

Special thanks to our partners from the SCCPSS Career Education Advisory Council, Georgia Power, Gulfstream, and the Georgia Department of Education for helping to making the annual Student Success Expo and STEM Festival another great success!

 

SCCPSS EVENT PHOTOS

 

EVENT PHOTOS ON FLICKR

 

WJCL EVENT COVERAGE

Meet STEPHEN ROUTH - Makerspace Innovator!

Imagine as a middle-school student, taking a class where your primary mission is planning how to inhabit another planet!  You and your fellow classmates will experiment in various ways to grow and sustain a viable food source, construct communication systems, and develop inter-stellar transportation options.  Sounds more like something from NASA’s Planetary Science Division, but it’s all a part of the innovative educational practices that are happening right here in Savannah-Chatham Public Schools!  Welcome to Stephen Routh’s Maker Class!

 

   

 

After the STEM academy’s first year in operation, the staff worked to bring the content alive through a schoolwide storyline that would evolve with a student over their 3-year middle school experience. In 6th grade, students spend their time learning all about what humans need to inhabit planet earth (Earth Science).  In 7th grade, the planet becomes uninhabitable and students are challenged to figure out what conditions they’ll need to live on another planet (Life Science).  By the time they are in 8th grade, the students will be designing a rocket to take them to the stars (Physical Science).

 

A “Makerspace” looks something like an engineer’s handy-space and they are popping up in classrooms all over the country. These learning environments are animated by the “what happens if” mindset of scientists, the creative spirit of artists, and the formulas and codes of tech geeks.  Above all else, these creative common spaces reflect the way people are showing innovation and problem-solving in today’s modern world.

 

Thanks to our SCCPSS Innovative Educator, Stephen Routh, students in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System are getting a unique instructional experience that combines technology with project based learning in a way that develops powerful problem solving skills.

 

                   

 

We recently caught up with Stephen to learn more: 

 

Why did you choose teaching as a profession?

 

It took me about 40 years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I worked as a subcontractor for Southern California Edison, in construction, specialized in wooden boat construction for museums, worked in restaurants. Most of that was geared around engineering. That’s what makes this (The Maker Class) a good fit for me. Everything I’ve ever done has kind of prepared me to teach this class at this school.

 

What is a Makerspace and what do you do here?

 

Makerspace is all about taking concepts that are abstract and applying those concepts in the classroom.  I try to tie it in with the curriculum students experience in their other classes. Based on that, we build things. Anything from electronics-based to wood-based, we’ve done clay this year with pottery, since they were studying minerals and rocks in 6th grade. A little bit of anything you can image when it comes to making things.

 

What specific things have your students made this year?

 

Right now, they are building models of plate tectonics boundaries to tie in with their earth science class. With the 7th grade kids, we’ve done hydroponic units and built compost bins. We’ve built communicators to communicate with a new species of plant that was discovered on a fictional planet that’s tied into the Nevermore story line that we’re doing throughout the school. The 8th graders built catapults to tie into what they’re doing in physical science. Right now, 7th and 8th graders are doing electronics with arduino microcontrollers. The 7th graders are building devices that, when something steps on a pressure plate, it sounds a warning. The 8th graders are working on two projects. One is a laser trip wire that sounds an alarm. The other is a temperature sensor, that when the temperature goes above a certain degree, it sets off an alarm.

 

Do these things actually work? 

 

Yes. They work. They create a prototype, then we have working prototypes when we’re done.

 

I’m guessing there's a lot of trial and error and failure.

 

Absolutely.

 

How do you handle that?

 

That’s all built into it. Anytime they work on these projects, there is learning that goes on in the beginning. Which, I try not to go overboard with. I want students to have time to explore on their own. So I give them the basics. Then they have enough time built into their project that they're able to build something, try it out, then, OK, it doesn’t work. We need to go back and redo it. So that’s a big thing for me. It’s all about failures. Because that’s the only thing that’s going to truly get them to understand why things work the way they do, particularly when you are working with arduinos and coding. They could just copy and paste code and make something work, but that’s not what it’s about.

 

What do you like best about this class?

 

It was a club one day a week, but based on what we believe, what needs to happen in education, we decided it needed to be more than just a club; it needed to be an actual class. Every day is a little bit of an experiment.  I’m learning a lot and changing things as I go. It was a struggle at first because obviously there is no standard curriculum and we work very hard to tie our learning experiences to other curriculums in a way that carried high rigor and relevance.

 

What keeps you motivated?

 

For me, I think it’s when the kids actually are able to make that connection, “Oh this makes sense now with what we were learning in science class.”  Or, when they actually pull something off they’ve been working on for a week and a half - something they’ve been working on where they couldn’t get it to work and now it actually works. It’s about the feedback I get from them when that happens.

 

Are you a techie?

 

I consider myself a maker. I’m a tinkerer. I pull things apart, figure out how they work, put them back together. I was always trying to get the newest gadget that was out.

 

So, you’re curious?

 

Yes. I’m a lifelong learner.

 

What advice would you give to a first-year teacher?

 

Don’t be afraid to try things that are new or different.  Don’t be afraid if they’re not working to stop and say, “Hey, this isn’t working, we need to try something else."

MEET MELISSA MAIKOS - Beach High School

MEET MELISSA MAIKOS - Beach High School

When many people think of teaching in the classroom, images of chalkboards, erasers and pencils come to mind. But if you haven’t visited a classroom lately, what you would find might just surprise you. Chatham County teachers have made new strides with innovative instructional practices that leverage technology to reach students and inspire learning.

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System has always encouraged teachers to be innovative with instructional strategies and best practices that bring teaching to life. Technology enhances instruction with tools like Interactive Whiteboards, Student Response Systems, and Mobile Learning Devices. A teacher at Beach High School is stepping up to meet this challenge and has never missed the opportunity to utilize a variety of tools as a way to enhance instructional delivery.

Melissa Maikos is dedicated to the daily challenge of finding new methods that engage and connect with students. She bridges the gap between technology and learning by making her classroom interactive. From using computers to presenting her lessons using an iPad, she gives students a chance to work with tools that are often available to them 24 hours a day – making the window for learning available anytime and anywhere.

“I grew up where the primary method of teaching was with the paper and pencil, and now when a student tells me I don’t have paper and pencil, it’s ok. I give them a computer,” explained Maikos. “I’m constantly looking for what to put in a new app or how I can put new information online, so the students can have access to it. How they receive it is up to them, but I want to give them that option.”

However, it’s her work with a new application called Aurasma that puts her at the top of educational innovation. Maikos is passionate about the Aurasma application because it captures the attention of her students.

“Aurasma is unique in that it gives that extra engaging factor for the simple fact that kids haven’t seen anything like it and they can use their phones,” Maikos said. “Plus, it’s pretty ‘cool.’ I use it in the classroom for easy access to the lessons or materials.”

 

For example, during an American literature lesson, Maikos recorded the class discussing character analysis in the assigned novel. Then she edited the video and connected it to a trigger image. Using the Aurasma app, students could easily scan the trigger image and immediately have access to the video discussion to review.

“If a student is absent, they can use their phone or tablet to scan the trigger image for video lessons they may have missed,” Maikos said. “They can scan pictures around the room, and the pictures come to life with information pertaining to what we’ve learned.”

Students aren’t limited to using the app in class. As long as they have the trigger image, they can access the interactive material from anywhere. Maikos implements trigger images for the Aurasma application in her science and English curriculum. She also uses the technology for bulletin boards, like the teacher of the month board. Students, faculty, and staff can scan the trigger image to immediately see a video of that teacher in action in the classroom.

“It brings the lesson the life,” she said. “The kids are blown away by it. It’s visual and moving images, almost like watching a highlight reel. It adds an element to the lesson that keeps it fresh.”

By combining the Aurasma interactive technology with traditional textbook instruction, Maikos is able to provide a classroom environment rich in differentiated instruction.

The administration at Beach High School is in full support of teachers using technology in the classroom. Principal Derrick Muhammad has seen the way students react to the use of technology. He makes sure teachers like Maikos have the resources needed to satisfy their students’ needs.

While adults might have a learning curve transitioning from traditional pen-and-paper, students are thriving with digital instruction. “I like that Mrs. Maikos is not afraid of trying new technology in the classroom,” Muhammad said. “An innovative approach to teaching and learning will always be one of the most beneficial aspects an educator can have.”

Maikos’ connection with the students is what drives her to work hard in order to provide a valuable education for students in the 21st century. She wants to make sure students are equipped with the knowledge it takes to navigate an ever-changing world. “For me, innovation is all about finding creative ways for building relationships with your students,” Maikos said. “It’s a way to relate to them. If you’re able to meet them in the middle, then it shows them that you care.” 

2014 Medical Preceptorship Program
Medical High School Preceptorship Program

During the 2013-2014 School Year, the Georgia Medical Society, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, Memorial Health University Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s/Candler Health Systems celebrated the sixteenth year of an innovative collaboration that provides high school seniors and internship with local physicians.

Ten high school students shadowed Savannah physicians for an entire day of observations in operating rooms, on hospital rounds, and in doctors’ offices.

The Medical High School Preceptorship Program is the first of its kind in the State of Georgia sponsored by a medical society.  Such preceptorship programs more often occur at the college level.

Principals at all Savannah-Chatham County high schools were asked to choose student participants.  The outstanding student success could not have been possible without the support of our community partners who make this beneficial program possible.

This program gives bright and promising high school students a unique opportunity to see first-hand the human side of medicine and surgery.  The student participants are now moving on to the top colleges and university systems in the country, taking with them a first hand experience in the medical field.

Congratulations to the 2014 Medical Preceptorship Program Students:

Surjania Awer, Johnson High School

Winter Beaton, Groves High School

Francesca Bowman, Islands High School

Aliyah Curtis, New Hampstead High School

Briana Fennell, School of Liberal Arts at Savannah High

Terica Harris, Savannah Early College

Jordan Howard, Jenkins High School

Shakti Vinod Patel, Windsor Forest High School

Paula Small, Savannah Arts Academy

Daijah Thibodeaux, Beach High School

Teacher Spotlight - Sarah Lucas

In a series of educator profiles, SCCPSS will showcase talented teachers from across the district who are using innovative teaching practices that bring learning to life!

Sarah Lucas is a third grade teacher at Georgetown K-8 School and she’s having a great impact on students with teaching that is full of energy, hands-on, and filled with innovative instructional practices. 

Ms. Lucas is a winner recognized by Governor Nathan Deal in the Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for teachers available through Georgia’s Innovation Fund which is a competitive grant program created through Georgia’s Race to the Top plan.  

         

Her classroom practices have drawn the attention of the Governor’s Office and the school recently received a visit from the First-Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal. 

The Georgia Department of Education caught up with Ms. Lucas for a Teacher Spotlight to showcase positive educational strategies that that are making a difference right here in Chatham County.

Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Lucas of Georgetown K-8 School

About this feature: The 100,000+ classroom teachers in Georgia’s public schools are on the front lines of education. They’re nurturing dreams and showing children what’s possible. And they’re making sure students have the tools they need to make those dreams a reality. Teacher Spotlights, a recurring feature from the Georgia Department of Education, introduces you to those educators.

In this edition of Teacher Spotlights, meet Sarah Lucas. She’s a third grade teacher at Georgetown K-8 School in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, and a project on ocean pollution she created for her students led to her being named a recipient of the Governor’s Innovation in Teaching Award. We talked with her about innovative instruction, project-based learning, moments of inspiration and the passion that makes learning fun.

Read the full article on the Georgia Department of Education’s Website: TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

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