5 teachers you should know about

Plus more good news about our kids than you can shake a stick at

By Toni Garrard Clay
AISD Communications Coordinator

👩‍🏫❤️ The primary reason Athens ISD switched over to a four-day instructional week was to help retain and recruit the very best educators. As Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims so often reminds us: Even with the wonders of technology, nothing benefits a child more in the classroom than an excellent teacher. So we are thrilled to announce — drum roll, please — our Campus Teachers of the Year! They are (see photo below, from left) Lisa Ford, a math interventionist at Bel Air Elementary; Audrey Haley, a GT and STEM enrichment teacher at Central Athens Elementary; Jane Johnson, a reading interventionist at South Athens Elementary; Melissa Weenink, an eighth-grade science teacher at Athens Middle School; and Phyllis Walker, a tenth-grade English teacher at Athens High School. Check out the video below to get an actual look at the Fab Five engaging with their students. (It’s best with sound.) A lot of love is poured into our students.

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🎓 As we write this, there are just over 30 days until the last day of school. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? That means we’re really ramping up the end-of-year activities. One of our favorite spring traditions is having kindergarten portraits taken. So we popped over to South Athens Elementary recently and caught these three cuties just after they had theirs made. 🥺🤗 ❤️❤️

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🌱 Athens Middle School is doing the neatest thing. Students in the agriculture class planted herbs — which were selected by students in principles of hospitality — into planters made by construction students. It was a great collaborative project between the middle school’s three CTE classes (Career & Tech Education). As we’ve mentioned before, those three classes were previously only available to high school students.

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🏆🏅 Athens High School has several students heading to regional or state competitions now and in the coming days. The girls and boys track teams are competing in regionals today (and, hopefully, Saturday as well); the culinary arts barbecue team is competing in the Texas High School State Barbecue Championship today and Saturday; the Athens FFA dairy cattle judging team competes at State this coming week; and one of our AHS fishing teams (below) competes at the Texas High School Bass Association’s State tournament in May. We are #AHSproud!

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📺 Did you see Athens ISD make the news about a week ago? KLTV Channel 7 news anchor and reporter Sydney Shadrix visited with Superintendent Sims and South Athens Principal Nikki Mason to discuss “the COVID slide” and what Athens ISD is doing to combat it in the coming school year. (If you missed the last newsletter, here’s a link to the podcast and summary of the district’s $2.1 million plan to help our students recover lost learning.) You can watch the news story by clicking here.

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Guess who got a Sweepstakes Award? Hint: They’re pretty vocal about it. 😉 The Athens High School Choir recently competed in the UIL Concert & Sightreading Competition, which involved singing pieces they practiced, and then singing by sightreading music cold. No easy task, but they aced it with perfect scores from all judges! Check out this video of their last practice run (in masks!) the day of competition.

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😃 Being an effective educator and leader takes continuous education, determination, and innovation. It also takes a willingness to be flexible and enjoy the people you’re with — even if that means kicking off your shoes and jumping rope … maybe especially that. Watch Central Athens Elementary Principal Claudia Stiles literally jump right in there.

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🏕📖 It’s hard to beat pretend sometimes. That’s why Bel Air Elementary second graders are crazy for Camp Read-A-Lot. They read with flashlights (because it’s dark at night in the wilderness, you know), eat S'mores that are "heated" over fake-but-fun fires, and create posters about what is needed to go camping. The purpose is to create an imaginative and fun environment that encourages excitement around reading. And it works!

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😆 South Athens Elementary has been posting videos on their Facebook page of kids sharing what they love about school. They’re all adorable, but Princeton Coleman wins the prize to date for most outspoken. Watch the video to hear him talk about three things that top his list of favorites.

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Quick bites:

  • Hornet basketball and football camps are scheduled June 1-3 for incoming 1st through 9th graders. If your child is interested in either or both, call the athletic office at 903-677-6992 Monday through Thursday.

  • Click here to read an info graphic for the May 28 AHS commencement ceremony.

  • Kinder Roundup for pre-K3 through first graders (who have never been an AISD student) was held April 20-22. If you or someone you know still needs to enroll a child, it’s not too late. Call 903-677-6900 Monday through Thursday, and ask to be transferred to an elementary campus registrar for enrollment.

  • There will be a second round of beginner band instrument testing for incoming sixth graders who 1) have signed up for band, but have not tried out on an instrument, or 2) have not yet signed up for band, but would like to be in the sixth-grade band next year. Dates: May 3-6, 5-6pm. You can find the sign-up link at ahs.athensisd.net/band under the beginner band testing tab. Sign-ups will open April 26 and run through May 2.

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Athens ISD: A great place to live & learn!