As many of you are aware, there is a change in the math program this year at Jackson. The math program we had in the past featured an accelerated component that is no longer being offered. Several parents have reached out to me with their concerns and I am currently gathering information on this matter. The issue with the program was just brought to my attention this past weekend. I ask that you please allow me time to gather information on the program and the decision to discontinue it. Once I have all of the information, I will be able to make an informed decision as to how Jackson will proceed.
During that time however, the needs of our students are being met. Teachers are differentiating instruction in their classroom to ensure that students are being challenged on their level. Teacher will be administering the STAR Math Diagnostic Assessment within the next week to determine individual student's areas of strength and need. Based on the data that we collect, instructional plans will be developed by the teacher to meet student needs. Parents will receive a copy of the report outlining their child's instructional level and need.
Teachers are also focusing on delving deeper into the content beyond "computation" in the classroom. The teachers are presenting students with real world problem solving opportunities that are higher order in thinking. We are also providing resources that are more rigorous so that students are required to take learned mathematical concepts and apply them to solve problems. The Eureka Math curriculum that the teachers are using embeds this rigor into it's lesson. Another source are Exemplars. Attached is an example of an exemplar where students are asked to extend their thinking to an expert level. An exemplar is just one form of challenge that teachers will incorporate into their classrooms. Many resources will be used. Please note that the tool is not important, but what is important is the extending of applied mathematics.
We are currently reviewing data and consulting with the district to come to a resolution on this matter. I am taking steps to ensure that the communities concerns are heard. Once I have fully researched the matter, I will better be able to discuss a possible solution. I realize that this issue is a timely one and I am working as quickly as possible to address your concerns. In the meantime, please take a few moments to review the level of work students will be engaged in.
Melissa is a passionate educator who believes in fostering the development of the whole child. She has sixteen years of experience in public education spent in California, Georgia and South Carolina as well as five years of being a mom to her daughters Hartison and Solara. After nine years of teaching, Melissa became a Literacy Instructional Coordinator where she coached and trained teachers. It was from this experience that Melissa was able to support the learning beyond her single classroom. Continuing to grow her skills, Melissa became a Compliance Facilitator and trained Principals to implement Response to Intervention (RTI) within their schools. For the past three years, Melissa has been a RTI/SST Specialist where she implemented systems of supports for all students. Most recently, Melissa was the Summer Site Administrator at Fred Armon Toomer Elementary School for 10 APS elementary schools. Melissa holds degrees from San Francisco State University and Georgia State University. Melissa lives in the Southeast Atlanta neighborhood of Ormewood Park, with her family, where is the current President of SAND (South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development) and an active member of SEACS (Southeast Atlanta Communities for Schools).
What an amazing first day at Jackson! Here are a few things that we celebrated today!
We began the day greeting all of our new students and familiar faces on both the primary and main campuses. The students were all smiles as they headed to their classrooms to see their teachers! Many students were greeted at the door by our staff. Teachers were waiting at their doors to meet their students.
We met our new parents at our New Parent's Coffee (thank you volunteers)! There were a lot of questions about the busses and transportation! I assured all new parents that our NUMBER ONE priority is the safety of our students. We work hard to ensure that all of our students arrive safely at their destination.
For those who had a bus issue...we are sorry. We are working with transportation to have these issues resolved. This morning there was a break down that cause major delays. We have been assured that this issue has been resolved and that tomorrow busses will be on time.
Students LOVED the new play structures that were installed and completed over the summer...THANKS PTA!
We appreciate all of the support and understanding we've been given in getting DAY ONE off an running. Please give us a few days to settle into our routines and rituals. There are always adjustments that are being made the first few days of school. We will be off an running in no time.
Don't forget to contact your child's teacher for volunteer and mystery reader opportunities....ALL students - no matter the age - LOVE to be read to. Spend a few moments this week to read to your child's class or to your child at home. We love literacy at Jackson.
If you have any questions or concerns, please remember that your child's teacher is your first point of contact!
Today was just a GREAT day of TEACHING and LEARNING @ Jackson.
On Main Campus today - CARPOOL only lasted 15 minutes!!
We would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Dr. Patrice Austin in her promotion to Program Administrator of the Primary Campus! Dr. Austin has loyally served the Jackson community for the past 18 years and is excited to continue serving the community in her new role. Dr. Austin is an invaluable member of the Jackson family. A search for Dr. Austin's replacement as Assistant Principal at the Main Campus has already begun. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Austin on this wonderful accomplishment.
I am very excited to be a part of the Jackson family.
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and give you a little of my background. I join the staff of Jackson Elementary after serving three years as principal of Kingsley Charter School in DeKalb County and the six years prior as the assistant principal and principal of Heards Ferry Elementary in Fulton County. During my time at Kingsley and Heards Ferry, I saw tremendous gains in enrollment as well as student achievement indicators. Prior to my nine years of administrative experience, I served as an Instructional Technology Specialist in Forsyth County and a classroom teacher in Bibb County. Each of my experiences has given me the tools necessary to move Jackson forward in our continued pursuit of excellence.
As I transition to my new role as principal of Jackson, I see great potential as well as challenge. The staff and parents of Jackson Elementary have shown their dedication and support in numerous ways in just the few days that I have been a part of this community. One of my first goals will be to get to know the students, teachers and community of Jackson so that we can align our efforts to ensure that Jackson's tradition of excellence in education continues.
I hope that you plan to join us for our Celebration of Learning on August 1st. The Jackson teachers are already hard at work preparing to make this year the best for our students. I want to assure you that although the leadership of Jackson has changed, we will continue making our school and lessons engaging and student-friendly to ensure an enjoyable elementary learning experience. With the continued support of Dr. Austin and Ms. Atwell, I know that this year will be a great year!
We are happy to have you join us for another successful year of teaching and learning at JES. Thank you in advance for your support of our school as we work to provide a memorable learning experience and a solid foundation in education for the BEST students in this district – OURS! Thank you for such a warm welcome to Jackson, I look forward to getting to know you and your family!!