Independence Insights - Fulton County Schools

Independence Insights - Fulton County Schools

October, 2017 Volume 8, Issue 1 86 School Drive Alpharetta, GA 30009 Phone: (470)254-7611 FAX: (470) 254-7621 Mrs. Taba...

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October, 2017 Volume 8, Issue 1 86 School Drive Alpharetta, GA 30009 Phone: (470)254-7611 FAX: (470) 254-7621 Mrs. Tabatha Taylor, Principal

Independence Insights OUR LAST, FIRST DAY IN ALPHARETTA Dear Stakeholders, The usual level of excitement that accompanies the beginning of a school year was elevated to new heights in August when we welcomed more than 200 students to Independence for what was our “Last, First Day” at this location. Anyone visiting our school will observe us conducting business as usual. We are educating our students, providing opportunities for them to explore postsecondary options and making sure the seniors have dotted all the “I”s and crossed all the “T”s regarding their Graduation Plans. What they won’t see, however, is the amazing behind-the-scenes flurry of activity involved with opening a new building! We are studying the layout of the facility, space allocation, scheduling, equipment needs and hundreds of other details that will be worked through by the time our students report for Mini-Semester III on January 10, 2018. We are excited, energized and looking forward to returning “home” to the location where Independence HS first opened its doors in 1991; 791 Mimosa Boulevard in Roswell. Stay tuned for additional updates as the big day draws near! Adding to the positive energy of our return in August was the End of Course data shared by the Georgia Department of Education. Seventy-six percent of IHS Geometry students achieved Developing or Proficient levels on the test, an increase of 29% and the highest Student Growth Percentile in the county! Twenty-one percent of IHS American Literature students achieved Proficient Level, an increase of 18% over last year’s scores and the second largest increase in the county! I am very proud of our students, faculty and staff as we continue to work together to reach new levels of success. When I think of all that has been accomplished since Day 1, it’s hard to believe that school has only been in session for a little more than eight weeks! We have witnessed a solar eclipse, had the device roll-out to put Surface tablets into the hands of interested students, hosted a Spotlight on Independence event and honored our Star Students of Mini-Semester I. Thus far, it has been a great year for the Independence family and I look forward to even bigger and better things in the months ahead. Sincerely, Tabatha Taylor Principal

One Vision, One Mission, One Goal: Success for All Students! 1

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Personalized Learning............. 2 The Big Shout Out ................... 2 Student Services ...................... 3 Academics................................ 4 Student Recognition................ 5 Extra-Curricular ...................... 6 Partners in Education……...…..7 Media Center………………..…….8

THE NEXT LEVEL OF PERSONALIZED LEARNING In support of Fulton County Schools’ One-to-One Personalized Learning Initiative, Surface tablets were distributed to interested students on August 31. In addition to the training provided by IHS Media and Educational Technology Instructor, Ms. Sara Allegood, recipients of the devices were assisted by “The best combination,” U.S. Secretary of Education fellow students and members Arne Duncan has said, “is great teachers working with technology to engage students in the pursuit of of the iSchool Advocacy the learning they need” (Duncan, 2010).” Team. ― Peggy Grant, Personalized Learning: A Guide to Engaging Students with Technology

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ― Phil Jackson THE MS I BIG SHOUTOUT HONOREES Andrew Foster Candace Gates Chantelle Christensen Chase Provost Christina Crawford Conley Dellinger Corey Wolfe Danilo Velasco Deon Mayfield Destiny Banks Edwin Ortiz Felix Rafael Fernanda Alexis Gabriel Reed Isabelle Sanchez Jackie Longacre JaCorienTyus Jacqueline Jimenez James Dittman Janae Faison Jazzeka Carter Jordan Hunt Keith DeMartino Kianu Louis Lauren Diehl Leo Zapata Max Hayden Melissa Trejo Miles Alexander Natalia Paris Peyton Doubleday Ronaldo Hernandez Spencer Norman Tavish Lebert Tristin Cook Tyler Shields


THE BIG SHOUT OUT “ESCAPE THE BUS” IHS students have become quite familiar with and just a bit competitive regarding the Shout Out! posters each teacher has posted outside his/her classroom. Students’ names on those posters indicate that they have done something terrific in class, something beyond the norm, possibly outside of their comfort zones. They are recognized for academic success, leadership, citizenship, or any other factor their teachers choose to highlight. Those names are then submitted weekly and qualify for The Big Shout Out, a special event celebrating their efforts to excel. This mini-semester, the students were invited to Escape the Bus Mission to Mars, a fun and challenging experience designed to foster a positive culture around educational technology through problem-based learning. iSchool Initiative, creator of the program, saw a huge need in today’s education system to reinvent what active teaching and learning look like. Escape the Bus demonstrates the Four C’s using core components of Escape Rooms, educational strategies, and technology to create an unforgettable experience. Teams of students and staff members boarded the bus and with open minds and no instructions given, had 30 minutes in which to escape, using team work and technology. We are happy to report that all are safe and sound, having “escaped” successfully!

News From Upcoming Events: October 11-PSAT Administered to Underclassmen; SAT Administered to 12th Graders October 23-27 Career Week October 23-Financial Aid Workshop October 25-Speaker Series

MS I Apply to College Day – GA Gwinnett College

October 27-College, Career and Military Fair November 9-Spotlight on Independence

“While my time at Independence was short, I have found myself easily making friends with the students and teachers alike. The teachers demonstrate patience and respect towards the students and constantly encourage them to succeed.” Spencer, 2017

Students from Johns Creek HS visit during Spotlight

During the week of October 23-27, Independence will be hosting its annual Career Week, a time for students and their parents to explore post-secondary options for our graduates. A representative from the GA Student Finance Commission will conduct a Financial Aid Workshop for students and their parents on Monday, October 23th at 8:30 a.m. This session will explore many different ways in which to finance two and four year college educations as well as give attendees the chance to begin the FAFSA filing process. More than a dozen area professionals from various fields will share their expertise and personal experiences during the Speaker Series on October 25. The week will conclude with the College, Career and Military Fair, featuring more than 30 representatives from two and four year colleges and universities, trade schools, branches of the military and area businesses.


Parents are welcome to attend!

This school helped me to be able to have a second chance and to start a new life.” Jane, 2017

“Every teacher I have had in this school (and I have had nearly all) has gone above and beyond for their students. They are always willing to work with you whether it be extra help after class or help in making up grades. They truly do care.” Corey, 2017


MATH AND SCIENCE—CHOICE AND VOICE To engage students from the very first day of class, a variety of activities is offered to allow them to put classroom concepts into real life settings. This “Choice and Voice” opportunity helps develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, involving hands-on participation and team work.


Ceramics II Clay Pot Projects



IHS Star Students are nominated by their teachers for demonstrating academic success, leadership, positive attitudes, responsibility and the qualities of a role model. Honorees were joined by family and friends during a ceremony and reception in their honor on October 3. Congratulations to these MS I Star Students! Holly Burks

Jazzeka Carter Chantelle Christensen

Keith DeMartino

Conley Dellinger

Lauren Diehl

Janae Faison

Preston Heaver

Jaqueline Jimenez

Tavish Lebert

Spencer Norman

JaCorien Tyus (2)

Deon Mayfield Gabriel Miller (2)


N T S 5


Upcoming Events: Interact Club Meetings—Fridays during the lunch period Habitat for Humanity Meetings-the last Thursday of the month in Room II 103 Toy Drive-Habitat for Humanity-Now through November 30 -gently used books, stuffed animals and new toys (no electronic games that require a computer or gaming system, please) Atlanta Humane Society’s Walk for Animals-October 15 Blood Drive at IHSDecember 1

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Mr. Ahmad Eidizadeh, Independence High School’s faculty advisor of the Habitat for Humanity Club, is passionate about the organization that states as its vision, “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.” In addition to local projects, Eidizadeh has long been involved with Global Village, the international segment of Habitat for Humanity. He has served as a volunteer on various builds and, most recently, as a team leader for international trips. Mr. Eidizadeh participates in these efforts during summer breaks from school and has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Chile, Portugal and Thailand. Eidizadeh shares that the motivation behind his involvement with Habitat includes the “desire to help others who are in need, the opportunity to connect with fellow team members while working side by side for a worthy cause, the chance to learn new skills, visit new places and discover new cultures.” This summer’s Habitat build in Thailand

was especially meaningful to Mr. Eidizadeh, as he was accompanied by recent Independence High School graduate, Mr. Francis Cronley. While attending Independence, Cronley served as president of the Habitat for Humanity Club and participated in several local builds last year. Eidizadeh states, “This was the first time I was fortunate enough to take one of our students along with me. We had a diverse group of young people from various states. Francis greatly contributed towards this construction project in Thailand and he worked hard alongside his fellow volunteers.” Mr. Eidizadeh is already looking ahead to the summer of 2018. He hopes to recruit another Independence student, and faculty/staff members, to serve on the construction team for his recently approved Global Village Build in Paraguay. The IHS Habitat for Humanity Club meets the last Thursday of the month in Room II 103 during the lunch period.

Francis Cronley, second from the left, Mr. E, third from the right

Holly Burks, IHS Interact Club President, recently attended the 2017 Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, a leadership program coordinated by Rotary Clubs around the globe. Young people ages 13–30 are sponsored by Rotary Clubs to attend the event run by the club's district committee and are chosen for their leadership potential. The Alpharetta Rotary, sponsor of the Independence Interact Club, covered all expenses for Holly to attend. The format of the event varies from district to district, but commonly takes the form of a seminar, camp, or workshop to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice.


Many Thanks to Our Partners in Education! YOUNG WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT GROUP The September meeting of the Young Women’s Empowerment Group (YWEG) featured guest speaker, Mr. Jamal Cornelious, Community Development Representative from Delta Community Credit Union.

Welcome to our newest Community Partner, Alpharetta Zaxby’s! Thank you for your support of our MS I Star Students!

Mr. Cornelious presented information and led discussions regarding fiscal responsibility.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams GENTS-GETTING EDUCATED NOW FOR TOMORROW’S SUCCESS The young men who participate in the GENTS program at Independence were fortunate to get solid business advice from Mr. Jay Tropf, Manager of the Windward Chick-Fil-A, during their September lunch meeting. Mr. Tropf spoke to the students from the perspective of a potential employer and highlighted the attributes most employers are seeking in job applicants. He provided tips on preparing for and participating in a successful interview and then took it one step further. Mr. Tropf outlined what was expected of someone who has been hired for a job. He touched on professional appearance and conduct, teamwork and customer service. Thanks to Jay Tropf for his time and expertise and to Windward Chick-Fil-A for providing lunch for the student participants!


Our thanks go out to Ms. Gloria Mattei, owner of Nothing Bundt Cakes on Windward Parkway, for her support of our Open House. It was a great way to begin the year! Easy Ways to Support IHS Pick up a Publix card in our Main Office. Use it every time you shop and money will be donated to our school. Kroger shoppers simply need to register their Kroger Plus cards and list Independence as the organization of choice to receive Community Rewards funds.


MEDIA CENTER The IHS Media Center has a new look! Ms. Allegood and Ms. Riemenschneider have reorganized the Fiction Collection by genre, changing the appearance from a traditional library and giving the center the feel of a contemporary book store . Students may now search for their selections by the type of book rather than the catalog number. CONTESTS: Weekly Trivia—One trivia question per week is posted in the Media Center and on the Daily Announcements. Students may submit their answers for the prize drawing held each Friday. Monthly Reading—Students have the opportunity to write reviews of the books they are reading. Completed forms are submitted by month’s end and a drawing is held with the winner receiving a gift card. Pumpkin Picking—For the month of October, students must study the shelves of decorated pumpkins and determine which characters and which novels are represented. At the end of the month, a winner’s name will be drawn from all correct entries and that student will win a gift card.

Independence HS 86 School Drive Alpharetta, GA 30009

“IHS is an amazing school!” Nazaire, 2017

Phone: (470) 254-7611 FAX: (470) 254-7621

IHS Office of Student Services: Phone: (470) 254-7530 FAX: (470) 254-7617

“(IHS) was a very good experience. I liked how the teachers would help out with the students.”

“I wish I could’ve attended this school sooner. The teachers, counselors and staff here have provided so much help for me to graduate, and I’m glad to thank everyone here. I couldn’t have done it without this school and I’m honored to say I graduated from Independence High School.” Josefina, 2017

Oliver, 2017 YOUR LOGO HERE


It is the policy of the Fulton County School System not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, natural origin, age or handicap in any employment practices, educational programs or activities.