Neighborhood Celebration: Check out Jackson Elementary, Sutton Middle

We swear that we started out this week hoping to get everyone excited about Saturday’s inaugural Neighborhood Celebration by providing little sneak peeks at each particpation school. So we were going to send out some emails asking for each school to tell us a little something special to share with the community as we lead up to the event.

But a funny thing happened as we started sending out those emails: Good news already was pouring in from some of these schools! So it’s almost like these little sneak peeks will write themselves.

For example, we just learned that W. T. Jackson Elementary and Sutton Middle schools recently received the Excellence in International Education Award, presented recently by the Center for the Advancement and Study of International Education (CASIE) at the 2009 International Education Summit, hosted by the Carter Center. Jackson and Sutton were two of five schools to receive this honor.

“We are very proud of our growth and achievements in international education,” said Alexis Schneider, Jackson’s International Baccalaureate coordinator. “Last spring, just before we let out for the summer, CASIE announced its application process for all international schools in the state of Georgia to apply to present their school as a case study at the summit. There were many questions/essays that I had to fill out about how international education has changed our school for the better.”

CASIE read all of the state’s applications and chose five schools to represent the state at the summit. These five schools (including Sutton) were named as receiving Excellence in International Education titles. The summit is held every few years in an effort to gain support for international education in Georgia.

During the summit, Schneider presented Jackson’s case study to the audience. “I made a speech about what the International Baccalaureate has done for our school,” Schneider said. “I also presented a Movie Maker presentation showcasing the positive changes. I am VERY proud of the growth of our school!”

Listen to Schneider’s audio presentation here.

This is just one example of Jackson’s success as an International Baccalaureate school. “Jackson students learn to apply their knowledge to the world around them,” said Principal Lorraine Reich. ” We believe we have a responsibility to ourselves, to our community, to our country, and to our world, to make a positive difference.  When we learn communication skills, we use those skills to communicate with each other, as well as to soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we learn about natural resources, we help to protect ours through recycling. ”

That’s the kind of commitment schools in our district show as members of the community. “Jackson students find ways to make a difference in the everyday lives of people through visits to nursing homes, planting trees to help the environment, supporting the Humane Society, and a myriad of other ‘actions’ taken daily by the school, particular classes, and individual students,” Reich said.

At the Neighborhood Celebration, Jackson will highlight several of its “Action” teams, specifically Green Think (environmental club), Root and Shoots (Jane Goodall service organization), Wellness Team (incorporating healthy living) and IB (how our inquiry learning leads us to action).  The students are quite active in the school and in the community, and believe action is an integral part of their education.

Jakcon also has been named a Distinguished School and have made Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall‘ s targets for the past three years.

We also learned recently that Sutton’s boys soccer team captured the city’s middle-school soccer championship. And earlier in September, the kicked off its No Place For Hate Campaign with a school-wide assembly . No Place For Hate is an initiative of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offered free to schools and designed to rally the entire school around the goal of stopping all forms of bias and bullying. The event was hosted by the Positive Action Committee (PAC), a group of 12 students nominated by their teachers to represent their respective grades.

So needless to say, these two schools will have plenty to share with the community when the Neighborhood Celebration comes around!

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