Letter from Cathey Goodgame – February 5, 2020

Dear ANCS Families,

Second semester for our 8th graders is always exciting and challenging and this one will be no different. Tomorrow our 8th graders will all make the short walk over to Maynard Jackson High School to tour the school and hear about course options and after Mid-Winter Break they will begin making choices about their 9th grade schedules. These events always signal to the students that a transition is near but we’re not ready for them to go just yet! Over the next few months they have several culminating experiences and one of those is their Community Project presentations, happening next week for most students. Since September, our 8th graders have been researching issues in their communities, performing service, and reflecting on the impact of this service to complete their Community Projects. The projects can be done as individuals or in groups of 2 or 3 and are largely independent, with guidance from project supervisors and weekly learning sessions with Somer Hobby, our MYP Coordinator. We are very proud of our 8th graders for their hard work and dedication and below is a sampling of the topics being explored by this year’s students:

  • Mentoring young athletes of color
  • Partnering with East Atlanta businesses as allies for people who experience homelessness
  • Building bee houses at MJHS
  • Advocating to improve health education and health care for women of color
  • Providing feminine products to those in need in the ANCS community
  • Creating an app to help teens manage stress and anxiety
  • Advocating to preserve/build affordable housing in Grant Park
  • Writing a children’s book to educate about deforestation
  • Educating about concussion prevention and football helmets
  • Starting a club to provide middle school girls with the opportunity to learn how to play a variety of sports
  • Upcycling plastic bottles to create planters for the Middle Campus courtyard

In last week’s Courier letter I mentioned that the application enrollment window is now open.
Remember, there is no need for you to complete an intent to return for next year as current students will be automatically rolled over. However, if you have an incoming sibling for next year, you do need to complete an application by the deadline.

During Morning Meeting last week, we were fortunate to participate in a moving experience led by Laurel Snyder and Tova Baruch in connection with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Laurel spent some time sharing about the significance of the Holocaust, both from a personal perspective and one of education. She shared the story of her own family and as well as the bigger picture through meaningful statistics, groups targeted as part of the Holocaust, and some of the early events that happened years before Kristallnacht, well before millions ultimately lost their lives. At the conclusion of Laurel’s words, Tova led student volunteers, who learned of the opportunity earlier in the week as part of Advisory conversations, in the lighting of Yahrzeit candles in memory of those lost in the Holocaust. All of the students were amazingly attentive and respectful throughout the event and I am both proud of them and grateful for the learning opportunity for all of us.

Through the support of a PTCA Mini-Grant and a generous donation from Laurel Snyder we will be able to continue this work, in connection with our ongoing Diversity and Equity work, through two upcoming events. On Friday, the 7th and 8th graders will participate in a Step Up! Assembly brought to us by facilitators from the Anti-Defamation League. The assembly “helps students understand the different roles people play in bullying situations, the dynamics of typical incidents of bias and the range of responses available to them”. Learn more here. On the Tuesday after Winter Break, the 6th graders will visit the Breman Museum and their experience will include the opportunity to hear from a Holocaust survivor. Thank you to the PTCA and to Laurel for funding these meaningful events for our students.

Finally, mark your calendar for a very special extended Morning Meeting on Wednesday, February 26 as we kick off our Celebration and Teach-In to honor and recognize Black History. The Morning Meeting Celebration is always an amazing display of student dance, song, and spoken-word and it is not to be missed! After Morning Meeting, the students will spend the rest of the day moving through learning experiences led by their peers, teachers, and other community members. It’s an extraordinary day each year and I am so excited to engage in the learning again this year.

Wishing you well,