2017-2018 Foundation Highlights

Mission Accomplished! #1 Wish List Item Fulfilled!

This summer 15 Mary Lin teachers will attend an Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator Level Training right here at Mary Lin. Orton-Gillilgham is a renowned method for teaching reading, focusing specifically on a multi-sensory approach to reading acquisition in all learners as well as the nature and needs of the dyslexic learner. Teachers will engage in 70 hours of onsite instruction facilitated by an Orton Academy Fellow; then, throughout the year the fellow will return to do five classroom observations of each teacher who attended the training to ensure they are properly preparing and implementing the lessons. We are so fortunate to be able to offer our teachers this training on site during the summer so they do not have to miss regular teaching hours to complete this important training. 

Professional Learning

SCAD Educator Conference (July 2017)

Elizabeth Tolmach attended this two day workshop to learn how to incorporate arts into her classroom curriculum; she reported back that it was an excellent experience and she plans to share what she learned with other interested teachers. 

 

Greg Tang's Smart Strategies Workshop (9/15/17)

Teacher reps in grades Kindergarten - 3rd grade in addition to a GATE teacher and an administrator attended this workshop focused on bringing a visual approach to solving word problems with the goal of turning even struggling learners into confident and creative problem solvers. 

Institute for Multi-sensory Education (IMSE) Orton-Gillingham Training: Comprehensive and ISME Orton-Gillingham Training: Advanced Continuum (Sept. 18th-22nd and Sept. 25th-28th). 

Teachers from Mary Lin's Early Intervention Program (EIP) attended this training to gain an in-depth understanding of the Orton-Gillingham methodology for reading instruction for students with dyslexia and other challenges. This multi-sensory approach incorporates the three learning pathways: auditory, kinesthetic and visual and can be implemented in small groups settings or with individual learners. Emily Fuller and Amanda Howard referred to the conference as "life-changing" and teachers like Katie Zubrowski implemented the new techniques the very next week with success!

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference 

Denise Bringslid and Emily Fuller were accepted as speakers at this important annual conference. Ms. Bates (4th grade) and Ms. Tabor (1st grade) joined them to collaborate and learn with leaders in the field of mathematics education. Since a school-wide focus this year is differentiation, teachers attended sessions that focused on small group instruction, formative assessment, rigorous enrichment and targeted remediation. 

Georgia Educational Technology Conference

Victor "Coach" Hicks will attend this conference, alongside the technology instructors from SPARK and Morningside, focusing on the newest and best practices in technology education.  

National Association for Gifted Children Annual Conference (Nov. 11-13) - Principal Briscoe, Ms. Snyder (GATE) and Ms. Arillo (K) attended this conference from NAGC whose mission is to "enhance the growth and development of gifted and talented children through education, advocacy, community-building and research." Ms. Briscoe is hoping to increase face-time with gifted teachers for all students in the building and to ensure that content in gifted education at Mary Lin complements the general education curriculum. This conference offered presentations and materials to help the administration move forward with the most effective gifted model for our school. 

Engaging Academics with Doug Lemov (Jan. 11-12) Ms. Briscoe and six classroom teachers (Bonilla, Baldwin, Evans, Binner, Phalen and Barnes-Ferraro) will attend this training focused on "teaching like a champion." In the words of Ms. Binner and Phalen who wrote the grant: "The purpose of this training is to learn and practice specific teaching strategies that work regardless of subject, age, or socioeconomic status. We will learn how to teach, not what to teach. Much of our professional development is spent participating in large district wide learning days where we are given the next unit of study for the entire district - a district with 76% of the students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. What about those schools that do not fall in that category? We need strategies that can give our classrooms that extra rigor so that our high achieving students can show growth. “Engaging Academics” seeks to provide concrete strategies to give our classroom extra rigor so high achieving students can show growth. APS tells us what to teach. The Mary Lin Foundation can provide the rigorous professional development we need to grow as teachers for our students."

Greg Tang's Reasoning, Rigor & Results Workshop (Jan. 22nd) - Six Mary Lin teachers (TBD) will attend this one day Atlanta-based workshop focused on developing reasoning skills and computational fluency. Many Mary Lin teachers have attended Greg Tang workshops and found them so interesting and inspiring that it is a goal of the MLEF to send every classroom teacher to a Greg Tang workshop at some point. This one in particular focuses on helping students solve tricky word problems, a foundation of the new Common Core State Standards. 

Evidence Based School Counseling Conference (March 18-20) - Our award-winning school counselor Ms. Huguelet will attend this conference where she will also be a presenter – "I will be sharing the data collected through my small group interventions aimed to teach school success skills in kindergarten through games and play therapy." The Evidence-Based School Counseling Conference (EBSCC) is a national conference held each year to provide school counselors with critical information and successful practice, evaluation, and relevant research to create dynamic and powerful school counseling programs. The conference uses a unique format to incorporate both peer-reviewed research presentations and small group consultation with leaders in the field.

Lucy Culkins Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project Writing Institute (June 17-22).

Ms. Arillo and Ms. Howard will attend this five-day summer institute designed for educators, classroom teachers, school administrators, and curriculum specialists who are committed to turning classrooms into richly literate reading and writing workshops. They will participate in small and large group sections that will tackle the following topics and much more: the central role of curriculum development and planning in the teaching of writing, units of study in writing workshop, helping students write well about reading, genre studies in reading and writing memoir, poetry and short fiction, the importance of assessment-based instruction, methods of holding our students accountable for doing their best work, using literature to help students craft their writing, and classroom structures that support inquiry and collaboration.

66th NSTA National Conference on Science Education

Leda Everett, Lyanne Brennan and Stephanie Shumacher attended this local conference to gain knowledge about incorporating more STEM activities into the Mary Lin science curriculum. 

National Principal’s Conference

Ms. Briscoe, along with the Principal’s from other APS schools, will attend this important national conference on Principal best practices across the nation.

ISTE Conference 

Coach Hicks will attend this national conference for Technology Educators this summer to connect to the best minds in edTech and specifically with the intention of gaining information on how to improve the instruction in areas deemed important by the Lin community and the Career and College Readiness theme of the Grady Cluster. 

Curriculum Enrichment / Resources

Bridges Math Intervention System - This early intervention resource will be used to provide targeted instruction and research based math interventions in grades K-5. The system allows grade-level and EIP teachers to identify areas of weakness early and fill in the gaps in understanding as they progress through elementary school. Grant written by EIP professional Emily Fuller. 

Greg Tang Weekly Tuesday Puzzle Packs* - This curriculum resource is very popular with teachers, student and parents who love to see kids developing math skills in innovative and entertaining ways. Even kids who claim not to love math love Greg Tang's puzzles like Numtanga, Ten Frame Mania and Kakooma. Grant written by Math Instructional Coach Denise Bringslid. Curriculum used in grades K-5.

Keyboarding Without Tears - Keyboarding Curriculum for Grades Kindergarten through 5th that serves as an instructional complement to Handwriting Without Tears. KWT follows age ISTE standards to encourage the development of 21st century learning skills. The program supports differentiation by diagnosing where individual students need help and assigning leveled activities accordingly. Grant written by Technology Instructor Victor Hicks. Curriculum will be used in grades K-5. 

Wordly Wise 3000 - Grades 3 through 5 will benefit greatly from this specialized curriculum used by high performing schools nationwide to enrich students' vocabulary through weekly lessons that focus not only on the spelling and meaning of new words but the etymology and stories behind the words. Grant written by 4th grade teacher Ms. Barnes-Ferraro. Curriculum will be used in grades 3-5. 

Greg Tang Family Math Night Kit - Parents often express an interest in learning more about what and how their kids are learning at school. This kit will help our staff teach parents how to play Greg Tang math games and puzzles at home so they can support the work the kids do in the classroom with these popular resources. Expect two family math nights (a K-2 and 3-5) in the new year!

Kathy Richardson Developing Number Concepts and Assessing Math Concepts (A Grade 3-5 Math Intervention system) and Kathy Richardson "Do The Math" (a K-2 Math intervention System) 

The past few years the Foundation has spent heavily in the reading and language arts areas (Saxon Phonics and the Scholastic Leveled Book Room were last year's biggest expenditures in addition to the Outdoor Classroom investment) so this year it was important to invest in math, particularly in interventions for all grades. Data collected over the years shows that Mary Lin has done a great job nurturing high level learners and pulling up middle level learners but not doing enough to pull up remedial learners. By investing heavily in math interventions this year (these in addition to the Bridges system), we are already seeing meaningful changes in these students scores and should continue to do so. 

* Saxon Phonics 

* Handwriting Without Tears

* Silicon Valley Math

** Complete Reading Series

 

* Denotes a resource purchased in the a prior year but renewed this year

** Denotes a resource which was paid in installments but completed this year 

Technology Enhancements

This year the Foundation was able to purchase 60 Acer Chromebooks and a traveling cart so that they can be moved safely from class to class. The Chromebooks will be used in daily classroom instruction, for many different reasons. From a very early age (third grade), children are expected to understand how to properly utilize a computer in order to demonstrate achievement and show what they have learned. The more students work with and on computers, the more comfortable they will be using computers to respond to questions (like on the Georgia Milestones Assessment). In addition to ensuring that kids are comfortable in a testing environment, the reality is that children will need to be fluent in computing skills by the time they get to middle & high school. Chromebooks can also be used to support the work we do in school- doing research, creating slideshows, publishing writing pieces, reading and responding to questions, and making interactive presentations. 

Outdoor Classroom

At the end of the 2016-17 school year, the Mary Lin Education Foundation granted $33,000 for the implementation of Phase 1 of our school’s new Outdoor Classroom. These funds were put to use this year in the following ways: provide new planting areas and handicapped accessible pathways, install a 500+ gallon cistern and rain barrels which collects rainwater from the roof that supplies an irrigation system for the garden beds in the Learning Garden, widen and grade the Habitat hill to create a Butterfly and Bird Pollinator Habitat which also mitigates erosion and drainage problems, remove and replace a few trees, install a weather station so the students can collect data for weather forecasting, build a tool shed filled with garden tools and supplies for the students to use, install a sail shade over the art patio for sun protection, assemble new picnic tables and benches with ample seating so that students can participate in hands-on learning in a natural wetland area like they did for many years pre-construction.

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586 Candler Park Drive NE  

Atlanta, GA 30307

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