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									 V      A      L      D     O       S        T   A           C      I     T      Y            S       C     H     O     O      L      S

Cat Chat
 Volume 16                 Number 6                  February 2006
                                                                                                     Dedicated to the
                                                                                                    Loving Memory of
                                                                                                  Mildred V. Wisenbaker

Valdosta Board of Education Update
                                                                              New VBOE members
    At the January 9 Regular Meeting of the Valdosta Board of
                                                                               take oath of office.
Education, VBOE Attorney Gary Moser administered the Oath
of Office to the following newly-elected members of the

     Jeana Beeland              At-Large
     Bill Love                  District 6
     Dr. Mike Pitts             District 4
     Trey Sherwood              District 5                                                     Bill Love

    As required, Board Officers (Chair and Vice Chair)
must be elected each January for the new calendar year.
Ricky Rowe was elected as the 2006 VBOE Chair;
Warren Lee was elected as the 2006 VBOE Vice Chair!
    Regular meetings of the Valdosta Board of Education                                           Jeana Beeland
are held the second Monday of each month, and VBOE
Work Sessions are held on the fourth Monday of the
month. Both meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Board
Room of the Superintendent’s Office, 1204 Williams
Street (unless otherwise noted). The public is invited to
attend all VBOE meetings. The February 13, March 13,
                                                                                              Dr. Mike Pitts
May 8 and June 12 Regular Meetings will be held in the
Board Room of the Superintendent’s Office, as will the
Work Sessions scheduled for February 27, April 24, May
22, and June 26. The April 10 Regular Meeting/Public
Forum will be held at Sallas-Mahone Elementary School.
    Valdosta Board of Education members include:

 Ricky Rowe (Chair)      Annie Fisher Dr. Mike Pitts                                          Trey Sherwood
 Warren Lee (Vice Chair) Willie Jones Betty Rogers
 Jeana Beeland           Bill Love    Trey Sherwood

    Information was incorrectly reported in the January Cat Chat that the VHS Financial Aid Workshop would be held January 26 in the PAC.
The CORRECT information should have been as follows: VHS, LHS & Valwood will host a Financial Aid and College Night Workshop on
January 23 at 6 p.m. in the James H. Rainwater Conference Center. The editor regrets this error!

                           INSIDE THIS ISSUE...
                                                                                                            Early Dismissal Times
                           Get Well Wishes... 2               Spotlight on Success... 3
                           Sympathy to... 2                   CPIE Happenings... 9            VHS . . . . . . . . . . 1:00 p.m.
                           Welcome to Our World... 2          VCS at a Glance... 11           Middle Schools . . 1:30 p.m.
                           Wedding Bells... 2                 Welcome To Our VSC Family... 10 K-5 Schools . . . . 2:00 p.m.
    2     V    A     L     D     O     S    T     A           C     I       T    Y       S     C    H    O     O    L    S

Sympathy to . . .                                                   February 2006
•   Bill Aldrich (CO) and family on the death of his father.            1 – 28   National Black History Month
•   Susan Futch (WGN) and family on the death of her mother.
•   Carolyn Haigler (WGN) and family on the death of her mother.        1        SLM Penny Drive Begins
•   Patricia Tomlinson (SM – 3rd) and family on the death of                     March Cat Chat Deadline
    her brother.                                                        2        Groundhog Day
•   Marilyn Johnson (NMS -- 8th social studies) and family on
    the death of her father.                                                     SM PTO Board Meeting (2 p.m.)
•   Sterling Brantley (NMS – SpEd) and family on the death of           3        SLM “Jump Rope for Heart”
    his aunt.
•   Kaye Meadows (SLM – 2nd) and family on the death of her                      WG Group and Club Pictures
    husband’s aunt.                                                     6 – 10   National School Counseling Week
•   Georgianna M. Nash (SLM – 2nd) and family on the death
    of her great aunt.                                                  6        VMS/NMS/SE/WG Interim Reports
•   Barbara Carter (SE) and family on the death of her sister.          7        Parent Conferences – Early Dismissal
•   Idella Griffin (SE) and family on the death of her aunt.                     VTFCU Annual Meeting @
•   Cheryl Copeland (SE) and family on the death of her
    grandfather.                                                                     VMS Cafeteria (4 p.m.)
•   Sheila Robinson (SE) and family on the death of her aunt.                    JLL PTO/Open House (6 p.m.)
•   Roosevelt Lowther (VHS – science) and family on the
    death of his mother-in-law.                                         9        JLL Parent Session (10 a.m.)
•   Taurence Phillips (VHS – chorus) and family on the death                     SM Winter Carnival (5-7 p.m.)
    of his mother-in-law.
•   Kay Bolton (VHS – guidance clerk) and family on the death       9            VCS System Spelling Bee @
    of her mother.                                                                   NMS Media Center (9:30 a.m.)
•   Wesley Force (VHS) and family on the death of his father.                     SE Valentine Dance (6-8 p.m.)
•   Doris Callaway (CO Retired – Transportation) and family
    on the death of her daughter.                                   11           ACT
•   The family of Mildred V. Wisenbaker (Retired)                   13           VBOE Meeting (7 p.m.)
                                                                    14 – 18      Multicultural Awareness Week
Get Well Wishes . . .                                               14           Valentine’s Day
                                                                                 WGN School Council (11 a.m.)
• Kathryn Alyssa Swilley, daughter of Al Swilley (VMS – 6th math)
• Jerry Meadows, husband of Kay Meadows (SLM) and father            15 – 16      Multicultural Arts Festival @
  of Georgianna M. Nash (SLM)                                                        PAC (7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.)
• Kevin Thompson, son of Mike Thompson (CO – Warehouse)
• Judy Martin (VHS – English)                                       15           SLM School Council (2 p.m.)
• Alonzo Miller (CO – SNP)                                          17           SLM Multicultural Day
• Deborah Jackson (JLL – SNP)
• Regina Roberts (WG – SNP)                                                      WG Georgia Day
• Mamie Williams (Retired SLM – SNP)                                             SM Spring Pictures (Group & Individual)
• Sterling Brantley (NMS – SpEd)                                                 LP “Jump Rope for Heart”
• Vikki Hardin (WG – 5th)
• Husband of Avia Johnson (NMS – CAI Lab)                           20 - 21      Mid-Winter Break
• Bernetha McCray (SE)                                              22           VHS February Student of the Month Luncheon
• Ann McLeod (SE)
• John Davis (SLM)                                                  23 – 25      All-State Band & Orchestra (Savannah)
                                                                    23           JLL Parent Session (10 a.m.)
Welcome to Our World . . .                                                       SE Wax Museum
                                                                                 WG Wax Museum
• Dovan Zaiver Scott, grandson of Verma Gordon (SLM – SNP)                       WGN Spring Carnival (5 – 7 p.m.)
  was born October 25.
• Lacy Anne McLeod, daughter of Anne (SE – SLP) & Blake                          VHS School Council (4 p.m.)
  McLeod, was born January 9. Proud grandparents include            24           SE Career Day (9 a.m.)
  Mary Ann Drumheller (SLM).
• Kenneth David Spinks, son of Scott (CO – Technology) and                       SE Black History Program (1:30 p.m.)
  Dawn Sprinks, was born December 22.                               27           GKAP-R Window 3 Opens (K)
                                                                                 JLL School Council (4:30 p.m.)
Thinking of You . . .                                                            VBOE Work Session (7 p.m.)
                                                                    28           VMS PTO Student of the Month (2 p.m.)
• Pat Denmark (WG)
• Dara Chilton (JLL – 1st)                                                       SE School Council (6 p.m.)
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Spotlight on Success . . .                                         • A room full of gifts were collected by VHS for needy
                                                                   families of students enrolled in the Valdosta City School
                                                                   System. These families were identified as affected by poverty,
• Brett Stanton (VHS – Principal) announces that Valdosta          natural disaster and other hardships that would prohibit the
High School was selected and approved for a Charter School         family from purchasing gifts for the children's Christmas.
Planning Grant during the December State Board of Education        Brian Law (VHS – guidance), George Ward (VHS – Assistant
meeting. VHS was one of only two high schools in Georgia to        Principal), and Jaime Christpher (VHS – Assistant Principal)
receive the Charter School Planning Grant – North Springs          personally delivered these gifts to the families.
High School (Fulton County) was the other high school
selected. Brett said the funds would be available in early
January, and they will have until June 30 to spend the funds –
reviewing strategies and visiting other high schools to evaluate
school improvement measures associated with academic
achievement. This is a vital process as VHS faculty/staff
realistically view their long-term goals related to the areas of
improvement by possibly pursuing Charter School status.

• Hilda Edgerton (VMS – 8th language arts) applied for
and received a $250 grant from the Junior Service League.
Hilda will use the funds received to help her 8th grade
language arts students publish their own autobiography
through the Student Tales Publishing Company. The students                              l-r George Ward & Brian Law
had to write an introduction and include interesting
information such as things about their family, community,          • Chantil Davis (JLL) was recently selected by her peers at
hobbies, favorite vacation, friends, accomplishments, and          J.L. Lomax as the December Teacher of the Month.
goals. It was amazing to see so many students excited about        Congratulations, Chantil.
writing. The students are looking forward to sharing their
hardback books with teachers, family, and friends.                 • Congratulations to Dr. Dan Altman (WG – Principal) for
                                                                   being accepted in the Leadership Lowndes Class of 2006.
• A very special thanks to Badcock Furniture for loaning
furniture to Toni Jarvis (VMS – chorus) and the new VMS            • Diane Sanderbeck (NMS – 6th)) is seeking National
Drama Department for the set of their production of Beauty         Board Certification this year. Good luck, Diane.
and the Beast.
                                                                   • Several NMS teachers are attending a workshop to
• Dawn Rodgers (mother of Britt Rodgers – VMS media                improve reading skills in the content area. Through the
specialist) generously donated her time and lots of goodies for    guidance of Sue Ellen Patterson (RESA – formerly with the
the Winter Holiday Celebration held by the Literacy Cats of        VCS family) and Dr. Al Jacobs (South Georgia History
VHS and VMS. Thanks so much! It was delicious!                     Project), teachers are implementing strategies in their daily
                                                                   lessons to strengthen comprehension skills through the use of
• Valdosta State University’ SIFE program (Students in             share alouds, graphic organizers, and various other activities.
Free Enterprise) has given so much of their time tutoring          The teachers involved in this project are Diane Sanderbeck
students at VMS through the Time to Read program. Thanks           (6th), Maggie Roan (6th), Leslee Lampert (6th), Robert
for being such great role models.                                  Sullivan (7th), Arnita Howard (7th), Sandra Monlyn (7th),
                                                                   Marilyn Johnson (8th), Sterling Brantley (SpEd) and Betsy
• Thanks so much to South Georgia Regional Library,                Suber (SpEd).
specifically Suzy Butts for reading to and inspiring Shana
Cook’s (VMS – SpEd) students twice a week. Also, a special         • NMS welcomes Marguerite Gravelee to the SpEd
thanks to manager David Peeples for donating shelving and          Department.
supplies to the VMS media center and for also donating his
valuable time to the VMS Junior Literacy Cats. Thanks also to      • Libby Allen (VHS – gifted), Tammy Brooks (VHS –
the SGRL Outreach program for donating books for our               math), Heather Dowdy (VHS – math). Helen Jachson (VHS –
teachers to check out and read. We greatly appreciate              guidance), Gnann Moser (VHS – English), and Brett Stanton
everything SGRL does for us.                                       (VHS – Principal) attended an SAT workshop conducted by
                                                                   the DOE.
• Denise Ronn (VHS – guidance) completed her extensive
General Ordination Exam for the priesthood January 3-6.
Completion of this 4-day test allows Denise the opportunity to
obtain a job as a priest in any Episcopal church in the country.          V                                           S
Congratulations, Denise!                                                                         C
• Jana Whitehead (VHS) was recently named the new VHS
Health and PE Department Head. Congratulations, Jana.                  “You must be very careful, if you don’t
• Keith Middleton (VHS – DCT) was recently selected by
                                                                            know where you are going –
his peers as the VHS January Teacher of the Month.                           you might not get there.”
Congratulations, Keith.                                                                      -- Yogi Berra
  4     V     A     L     D      O      S     T      A      C      I     T    Y          S     C     H     O     O     L     S

• Karen Cook (VHS – dance) and her 21st Century Leaders            official director is a big honor for Gary. What’s even more
Organization coordinated with Taurence Phillips (VHS – chorus)     impressive is that this is Gary’s second tour with the Georgia
and Wanda Hunter (VHS – math) on the Multicultural Black           Ambassadors of Music.
History Month presentation. The 21st Century / Academic                 This all-star group, which is comprised of students from
Service Learning participants gave morning speeches on             around the state of Georgia, will meet in Atlanta on June 9 for
African Americans and others who have changed our country          rehearsals and will depart on June 11 for a 17-day concert tour
over the years. The actual presentation will be presented to       of European countries. The band will perform in England,
VHS faculty and staff throughout the day in the Performing         France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. The various
Arts Center February 15-16. They also hope funding will            Concert venues include: London’s Westminster Cathedral;
allow some VCS elementary and middle school students to            Paris’ Luxembourg Gardens; Champery, Switzerland; Seefeld,
attend the educational event.                                      Austria; and Rothenburg, Germany. The group will also visit
                                                                   Venice, Italy and many small Austrian, Swiss, and Bavarian
• Brian Law (VHS – guidance) made a presentation recently          villages.
at the Georgia School Counselors Fall Conference in Augusta.            In addition to being selected to tour with the Georgia
He presented “Tech-knowledge-y                                     Ambassadors of Music, Gary has been invited to adjudicate
for School Counselors: “What’s                                     the Dougherty County School System’s pre-festival evaluation
Hot?” and “Becoming a Winner                                       on February 23. Bands from throughout the system will
When You Are a Rookie –                                            perform in preparation for the upcoming Georgia Music
Transitions.” The presentation                                     Educators Performance Evaluation Festival. Gary served as a
was centered on a teamwork                                         band director in Dougherty County system for 14 years before
theme, so Brian wore a VHS                                         joining the Valdosta City Schools in 2004.
Wildcat Football jersey in the                                          As you can see, Gary Bradley is a busy, but well-
presentation. Brian and his co-                                    recognized band director. Valdosta Middle School is very
presenter, Erin Mason (Cobb                                        honored to have Gary serve as our band director. Keep up the
County) will be making the same                                    great work, Gary!
presentation at the American
School Counselors Association
Conference in Chicago in June.                                     J.L. Lomax
• For the past seven years Brian Law (VHS – guidance) has               Over the past few months, JLL second grade students have
judged/read questions at the PAGE Academic Bowl for the            been studying a unit entitled “Kindness.” Students worked
Middle School Region 10 meet in Moultrie at Colquitt County        diligently to learn parts to perform in the PTO program
High – and he did so again this year. Valdosta Middle won first    entitled, Kindness around the World.
in their division and 2nd overall. The event was held at               After studying this unit, students were able to spread
Colquitt County High January 7 – sponsored by PAGE. Ten            kindness locally during a visit to Crestwood Nursing Home on
area middle schools competed this year. Judges and timers          December 8. The students serenaded the residents with
were area educators (the rest from Moultrie) who volunteered       Christmas Carols (Jolly Old Saint Nicholas; Jingle Bells;
to work the event.                                                 Children Go Where I Send Thee; Rudolph, the Red-Nosed
                                                                   Reindeer; Go Tell It on the Mountain; and We Wish You A
                                                                   Merry Christmas).
                                                                       As they walked through the halls wishing the residents a
                                                                   Merry Christmas, the students distributed handmade Christmas
                                                                   cards and peppermints that were donated by the parents. They
                                                                   were very well-behaved.
                                                                        The students had a joyous time and learned about sharing,
                                                                   caring, being kind, and showing generosity to others.

                Brian Law and his timer at the PAGE
             Academic Bowl for Middle School Region 10

Valdosta Middle
    Now days, you hear about companies left and right going
international. Not to be left out, Valdosta Middle School’s very
own Gary Bradley (VMS – band director) is going
international, too! Gary has proven very talented at what he
does and has shown to be a very hard worker.
    For these reasons, Gary has been selected to be part of the        “School is not the end; rather, it is only
staff of the 2006 Georgia Ambassadors of Music's European
Tour. He will serve as a staff member, as well as one of the              the beginning of an education.”
official conductors of the performing group. Serving as an                              -- Calvin Coolidge
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S. L. Mason                                                                     “No act of kindness, no matter
    School pride is playing a contributing role in maintaining                   how small, is ever wasted.”
and improving all aspects of the environment at S. L. Mason.                                      -- Aesop
Programs and activities are adding to the betterment of our
students, faculty and school.                                            However, "typical" days are often few and far between.
    In an effort to promote unity, students and staff were given     Recently, Dara was in Tifton for GPS training on a Monday.
SLM polo shirts to wear every Wednesday and Thursday. The            On Tuesday, she attended a Professional Learning meeting. On
shirts were purchased from donations from the SLM                    Wednesday, she attended an I.L.T. meeting. On Thursday, she
Community Partners in Education, the SLM Parent Teacher              worked with the end of 9 weeks benchmarking for an ill
Organization, and school fundraisers. Also, on Tuesdays              teacher and prepared for a GPS in-service (for which she is the
everyone exhibits their spirit by wearing SLM tee shirts. These      English/Language Arts Trainer for all of the K-5 schools).
school shirts have assisted the children in developing respect       Fridays are always the same – checking the mountain of
for themselves and their school.                                     teacher lesson plans books for the coming week.
    Students also have the opportunity to participate in the
decision-making process of the school. The Student Action                While all this seems like more than a full-time job, Dara
Team, consisting of a representative from each classroom,            does have another life, too. She is the wife of Bill Holt
works with the Leadership Committee to plan school activities        (LODAC counselor), and she is Mom to William (3rd grade)
and solve problems. The SAT members promote school spirit,           and Wesley (K). Depending on the season, she is also a soccer,
encourage classmates to have positive behavior to earn POPS          baseball, and football Mom. In addition, the Holts are active
points, and help all students work together at SLM. They             members of Crossroads Baptist Church.
sponsor canned food drives and school-wide campus clean-up               After graduating from VSC, Dara began teaching 3rd grade
days.                                                                at WGN. She has since received her Master's and Specialist
    The first SAT meeting gave the Leadership Committee              degrees from VSU. Three years ago, she was approached by
insight into the thoughts and opinions of boys and girls             Gary Mims (WGN – Principal) to consider a new position that
throughout the school. The SAT members met with their                was to be funded with Title I funds. While she had to "think
classmates prior to the meeting to discuss their likes and           about it," she's happy with her decision to become WGN's first
dislikes. Remarks about why students like SLM included,              I.L.T. Dara says, "I am able to have a broader impact in the
“The teachers are great,” “Ice cream sales,” and “Writers            I.L.T. position. It's satisfying to watch the progress of teachers
Workshop.” Changes to the school were to paint the walls, add        and all students at W.G. Nunn."
more lighting, and to put the lunchroom tables in a circle. It           What do teachers have to say about Dara and the I.L.T.
was unanimous that the children enjoy the POPS activities, and       position? The comments below speak for themselves:
they offered ideas for future events – including a Tacky Day,
Juice Day, and Parties in the Park Day. The Committee was            "Mrs. Holt always listens when we have problems."
impressed that a suggestion was made for SLM third graders to        "She'll go to bat for the teachers."
visit schools in the system to see what other third grades were      "I taught with Dara for years. She was an excellent classroom
doing.                                                                    teacher, too.
    Everyone does his or her part, both students and faculty, to     "She really knows what she's talking about."
do whatever it takes to make SLM a place where every person          "No one could do a better job than she does."
is an important part of the school. We are connected to each         "Mrs. Holt is really smart."
other, and school pride is the vehicle to drive us to be the best!   "I hope one day that I'll be as good a teacher as Dara Holt."
                                                                     "She gathers resources for us and gives us ideas."
                                                                     "She's right where she needs to be."
W.G. Nunn's I.L.T.                                                      Perhaps it's not the job – perhaps it's the person doing the
Wears Many Hats                                                     job that makes the difference. What does Dara have to say? "I
                                                                    could not do all that I do without the wonderful support of the
     Dara Holt, W.G. Nunn's Instructional Lead Teacher (I.L.T.) people with whom I work. I attend conferences with other
freely admits that her job description is no different than that of systems, and I compare the things we do with what they are
her counterparts at the other elementary schools. The thirteen- doing. Most of the time, we have accomplished much more –
point list includes GPS trainer, classroom teacher coach,           sometimes much less. I am blessed to be working with such a
professional learning coordinator, instructional strategist, data   wonderful group of people."
collecting and analyzing, and "other miscellaneous jobs such as         WGN appreciates our I.L.T., Dara Holt!
SACS." Dara does all of the above, while executing #7 on her
thirteen-point list, “Helping to foster a positive school climate."
Maybe that is what teachers and administrators appreciate most
about Dara – the fact that she is able to fulfill her job
description, while promoting and possessing a positive
professional attitude.                                                                                         Dara Holt (WGN – I.L.T.)
     Dara says that her job requires her to be a "reactionary."                                                 helps a 1st grade teacher
She goes when and wherever she's needed, whether the call                                                     by benchmarking one of her
comes from system, school, grade, or an individual teacher. If
Dara had a "typical" day (which she does not), it would read
similar to the following: reading and answering email until 9
a.m., modeling in classrooms, testing, data collecting and
observing until noon – the rest of the day addressing
curriculum matters and organizing the information she
collected in the morning.
 6      V     A     L     D     O     S     T     A          C      I    T      Y           S      C      H      O      O      L     S

West Gordon                                                         Southeast
    West Gordon Elementary spent the holiday season helping             Thanks goes to Attorney Roy Copeland for the purchase of
our community. With our many extracurricular activities, we         a computer from B. C. Starkson, a computer tutor for the blind.
have plenty of students that are always looking for ways to         Shaneka James, a blind student at Southeast, was the recipient
involve themselves in community service.                            of this computer. Dr. Cheryl Copeland (SE – Assistant
    Kids Healing Kids practiced before and after school to          Principal) presented the check in the absence of her husband.
learn holiday carols. They then traveled throughout our area,
singing carols that blessed the ears of those for whom they
performed. The students performed at nursing homes,
shopping malls, and other locations throughout Valdosta.
    The Junior Fire Marshals supported two children in need
this Christmas. In addition to doing chores to earn money for
purchasing gifts, they also hosted a bake sale that raised money
to buy gifts. The project was such a success that we were able
to give a brand new bike to not two, but THREE children!
    K-Kids club sponsored the Toys-for Tots toy drive.
Students collected many gifts that were given to the Toys-for-
Tots program. These toys were then passed on to children that
needed them.
    The 4-H Club sponsored a canned food drive. The purpose         (l-r) Dr. Cheryl Copeland, Mary Jane Washnock, B.C. Starkson, Erma Venus
for this project was to provide food for families that may not
otherwise have a holiday meal. The 4-H Club members                     After beginning Unit Two of the Open Court Reading
decided to encourage classes to participate by holding a            Series entitled Dollars and Sense, Bernetha McCray (4th –
contest. The homeroom that brought in the most canned food          reading/LA) and her class decided to begin their own business.
items would win a prize. The top three winning classes were         The students named their business McCray’s Wild Workers.
those of Miriam Flail, Liz Raque, and Lynette Betlow,               Each student asked their neighbors what they could do to help
respectively.                                                       them earn money. They chose sweeping porches, raking yards,
                                                                    walking dogs and babysitting. The students were very proud of
                                                                    themselves. Their goal was to have a big business celebration –
                                                                    and it was a huge success. Everyone enjoyed the ‘fruits’ of
                                                                    their labor. Business and hard work really pay off!

                                                                    VHS Guidance Counselors
                                                                    “Teaming Up For Student Success”
                                                                        The VHS guidance department is putting into action the
                                                                    Georgia School Counselors Association’s theme of the year,
    West Gordon pledges to continue the outstanding service         “Teaming Up For Student Success.” This team of dedicated,
work its students do for the community. We also encourage           talented, and experienced professional school counselors is
others to help us make Valdosta a better place!                     charged with the mission to guide their students through the
                                                                    often turbulent waters of adolescence, not only to stay on track
                                                                    for graduation, but also to prepare them for post-secondary
School Nutrition                                                    education and the work force.
                                                                        Department Head Helen Jackson describes her colleagues
    National School Breakfast Week is March 6 – 10, 2006.           as “. . . a good team of individuals who each brings his or her
This year’s theme is “Go Places with School Breakfast.”             own strength to the department. They are all eager beavers
    School breakfast has a positive impact on academic              who dive in head first to get the job done.”
performance. Research has shown that children who eat school            Helen began her counseling career at Coffee High School
breakfast achieve higher scores on standardized tests, get better   in Douglas, GA. This is her thirteenth year as a high school
grades, and make fewer trips to the nurse’s and principal’s         counselor and her fifth year as a senior counselor. She believes
offices.                                                            that her past experience is a strength enabling her to assist
    More than 77,000 schools offer breakfast and participate in     students in dealing with social, behavioral, and personal
the federal program, but millions of children still are not         problems, as well as building and preparing for the future.
receiving a school breakfast. The Valdosta City Schools’                As Senior Counselor, Helen collaborates with students,
Nutrition Program offers a breakfast to every student at no cost.   parents, teachers, and administrators in order to assist students
We encourage our teachers and administrators to eat ($1.00)         to be successful in the education system. She often checks and
with us and set an example for America’s future. It helps all of    rechecks credits to make sure that her seniors stay on track for
us to “to go places” in the future.                                 graduation on May 26. The Senior Counselor is also
                                                                    responsible for coordinating Senior Night in September, the
                                                                    Financial Aid Workshop scheduled for January 23 at the James
      “Don’t find fault – find a remedy.”                           H. Rainwater Conference Center, and Honors Night on April
                  -- Henry Ford symptoms                            20 in the Performing Arts Center. Helen says the major
                                                                    challenges of a senior counselor are organization and time
    V     A     L     D     O      S     T     A          C     I      T     Y             S     C      H      O      O      L     S    7

              “Every life has a story.”                               make people feel comfortable enough to talk to him. Brian’s
                      -- Author Unknown                               education experience touches all ages – he began his education
                                                                      career as a speech, drama, and language arts teacher at Berrien
                                                                      Middle School and then was an elementary counselor in
management – a senior counselor not only writes many                  Moultrie for nine years. After a one-year stint as the middle
recommendations for students but is also responsible for              school alternative counselor/coordinator in Moultrie, Brian
dispersing scholarship applications, college applications, and        came to VHS where he quickly discovered that high school
other information in a timely manner.                                 students are still children who need guidance.
     Helen commends the new advisement initiative at VHS as a              Brian stated, “Coming from where they have been helps me
tremendous help to the guidance department in terms of checks         to understand them even better. My freshmen started Pre-K
and balances. All certified VHS personnel are assigned to             when I started counseling at that level. They really are not that
small groups of students for monthly advisement sessions that         different than at the elementary level – just little children in
provide one-on-one attention to students. This “second set of         bigger bodies, eager to grow up. We have to take them where
eyes” helps to ensure that students are taking the correct            they are and guide them to grow and make appropriate choices
courses for graduation and are receiving important information        in life.”
about PSAT/SAT/ACT deadlines, scholarship opportunities,                   Brian still enjoys using his puppets and costumes while
and college application deadlines.                                    reading to VCS elementary children in the Big Cats Care
     Class of 2007 advisor Denise Ronn began her counseling           program. At VHS Brian coordinated the New Student
career at an elementary school in Berrien County, where she           Luncheon, facilitated the Tree of Love toy drive for
was responsible for 900 children under the age of 10. As the          disadvantaged children, and was Master of Ceremonies at the
first primary school counselor in Nashville, Denise helped to         faculty holiday banquet. Brian also presented at the National
provide support services to children and families that Berrien        School Conference and at the State Conference twice this year
County lacked, was an advocate for children and families in the       and has published articles in the Georgia School Counselors
legal system, and was President of the Berrien County Council         Journal and the National School Counselors Magazine. In his
on Child Abuse. An ordained priest in the Episcopal Church,           spare time, Brian is a competition and exhibition clogger, who
Denise is currently working on her Ph.D. in Human Services.           directs his own clogging team.
     At VHS Denise was Director of Guidance for two years,                 When the Freshman Academy first opened in January 1999,
has graduated two classes, and is currently the test coordinator.     seasoned educator Essie Rayford was selected to serve as both
Denise views herself as a student advocate who helps guide            the Freshman Academy counselor and the at-risk grades 9-12
students to make good choices and to stay on track for                counselor. As part of its mission to help students make the
graduation. She constantly emphasizes the importance of               transition from middle school to high school, the Freshman
attending school and completing assignments – two key factors         Academy requires that a counselor be housed on campus to
for earning a high school diploma that opens doors for career         address problems and issues that arise on a daily basis. Essie
opportunities.                                                        has risen to this challenge, providing individual counseling to
     The mother of six children, Class of 2008 counselor Sheryl       freshmen who often, according to Essie, “ . . . just want
Giddens knows firsthand about the challenges of the                   someone to listen.”
adolescent years. Inspired by her high school guidance                     In addition to her guidance responsibilities, Essie serves as
counselor to follow in her footsteps, Sheryl began her career in      the PASS (Parents Assuring Student Success) coordinator, the
education first as a special education teacher at VHS and then        VHS Parent Involvement coordinator, and the Remedial
as a guidance counselor at S.L. Mason. She completed a                Program coordinator. She is also delivering a Parent
Specialist Degree in Education Leadership in August 2004. At          Involvement presentation with VHS Assistant Principal Jamie
S.L. Mason, some of the “hats” that Sheryl wore included              Christopher at the Tech Prep Conference.
After-School Tutorial Coordinator, ST Coordinator, and Testing             Principal Brett Stanton is proud of the top-notch guidance
Coordinator. She was also intricately involved in the grand           department at VHS, commenting, “This department has a group
writing process for the GaREADS grant awarded to S.L.                 of experienced and faithful professionals – dedicated to serving
Mason.                                                                our students as a whole.”
     Sheryl enjoys working with all age groups, commenting
that even though high school students are older, they still need
just as much guidance as elementary children. The
sophomores she works with are “. . . just starting to realize the
importance of obtaining a high school diploma.” Never
assuming that students understand the requirements for
graduation, Sheryl emphasizes the importance of always taking
the time to answer questions and thoroughly explain what
courses students need to take. Sheryl’s main goal is to get her
at-risk students back on track to graduate May 2008,
encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunity to
regain lost credit by attending summer school and by putting
forth necessary effort to pass current and future courses. She                   Back Row -- Brian Law, Helen Jackson, Sheryl Giddens
enjoys assisting students in making choices and recognizing the                        Front Row -- Denise Ronn, Essie Rayford
long-term impact of current actions.
     VHS is honored to have the 2004 ASCA National                          “I hear, and I forget; I see, and I
Elementary School Counselor of the Year Brian Law on board
as our Class of 2009 advisor. Inspired to go into counseling by            remember; I do, and I understand.”
a quadriplegic man whom he befriended as a child, Brian
credits his success to his good listening skills and his ability to                               -- Confucious
  8    V      A      L      D      O      S      T     A            C     I    T     Y            S      C      H      O       O      L      D      S

Sallas-Mahone                                                                     Following the brisk walk, all the students had an extra n-
                                                                              ice time in a winter wonderland. The laughter of the children
     “Button up your overcoat, when the wind is free. Take                    as they played in the snow served to remind us that we are all
good care of yourself – you belong to me.”                                    able to hear the bell (the school bell, that is) because we
      This sense of belonging is a poignant reflection of our                 believe – indeed, we truly believe in every child!
commitment to each student at Sallas-Mahone all through the
year. With this in mind, the frosty winter season has proven to
be the perfect time to warm students up to the character
education curriculum – with an emphasis on belonging.
     Consequently, in order to fire up learning, faculty members
enthusiastically embraced a school-wide Polar Express theme.
Accordingly, a flurry of instructional activities provided
students with the opportunity to develop skills that promote a
sense of belonging, skills related to teamwork and cooperation.
To add to this, a variety of literacy and math centers kept things
blazing as students practiced the principles of fairness and
respect for others.
     These concepts continued to snowball as students were
blanketed with projects beyond the classroom. For example, the
winter chorus presentation (led by music teacher Amy
Thompson) gave students firsthand experience with character
words such as perseverance and pride. Then, too, pride was                     Guidance counselor Pat Nehren and students Alishia Williams (left) and
evident, as students constructed gingerbread houses in the art                          Sadie Stanton create a new friend, Frosty Mahone.
program (coordinated by instructor Karen Manion). The
ensuing village was a cool way to explore the importance of
every member in a community and a particularly delicious way                  Newbern Middle
to accent creativity and ingenuity.
     To further emphasize the importance of every student in                       J.L. Newbern Middle welcomes the new academic support
our school community, Principal Gary Glover extended                          program GEAR UP to the NMS family. GEAR UP stands for
heartfelt thanks on the morning announcement program to                       Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate
students who had exemplified the qualities of kindness and                    Programs.
generosity. One student featured on announcements was                              The goal of GEAR UP is to support first generation
particularly inspirational. George Arnold, a student in Holly                 college students for successful educational experiences
Hobbs’ first grade class, was quick to give a classmate his own               through high school. Melanie Martin (Thomasville
gingerbread house when hers was lost. Such behavior clearly                   University) hopes this program will be wildly successful. She
illustrates a concern for others as well as friendship.                       is relying on Director Barbara Cunningham and Brandi
     Friendship certainly can make even the coldest of days                   Peterson, along with the school leadership team to chart the
seem much warmer. As this is the case, we culminated our                      needs for 6th and 7th graders.
Polar Express unit appropriately so with a celebration of                          Program advisors will follow these two groups of students
friendship. This two-day event was literally kicked off when                  through high school, hoping for all to participate in college.
students kicked off their shoes, donned pajamas, and curled up                Hopefully increasing student and parent knowledge of
in sleeping bags to view a big screen showing of The Polar                    financial aid and early exposure to college programs will plant
Express.                                                                      high aspirations for the future. Career awareness programs,
                                                                              tutorials, attendance incentives, and academic coaching for
                                                                              CRCT preparation and acceleration will gear-up all students
                                                                              to be ready for many options after high school. Romona
                                                                              Thomas-Sutton, JoAnn Jones and Sandra Monlyn, and NMS
                                                                              faculty will be working with parental involvement in this
                                                                                   A special GEAR UP Kick-Off Celebration was held at
                                                                              the NMS gym January 20. The Kick-Off speaker was Chad
                                                                              Foster. Another special GEAR UP activity will be a Valdosta
                                                                              City Government Day in April – with job shadowing of the
                                                                              Mayor and other public officials. Additional activities will
                                                                              include reward trips and incentive trips to local universities.
                                                                                   We look forward to exciting developments as the year
         (l-r) SM teachers Angel Godwin and Sarah Moorer enjoyed
      pajama day as much as the students. They were both quick to note,
                “It sure made it easy to get ready for work!”

     After this fun-filled arctic blast, students buttoned up their
overcoats and enjoyed the second annual Polar Express Walk
                                                                                   V                                               S
around the SM campus. This motivational activity was first
initiated by Dale Cofield (our physical education teacher) as a
way to encourage students to “take good care of themselves”
    V     A     L    D     O     S     T     A          C       I    T       Y           S      C     H      O      O      L     S          9

                                                                    • Keith Middleton (VHS – DCT) was recently selected as
CPIE HAPPENINGS                                                     the VHS January Teacher of the Month. CPIE Partners who
                                                                    donate gifts for the VHS Teacher of the Month program are
• Thanks to Central Floral Co. for providing the floral             Austin's Cattle Company, Langdale Ford, Valdosta
arrangements at our J.L. Lomax Elementary School’s                  Greenhouses, U.S. Army, Arby's, and Subway.
Dedication Ceremony on December 11. They were lovely!

• Mrs. Ellen Hankinson (CPIE – First United Methodist
Women) gave a Christmas party for Joyce Robinson’s (JLL –
2nd) students. Not only were the J.L. Lomax students given a
party, but they received school supplies as well.

• Chantil Davis (JLL) was recently selected by her peers at
J.L. Lomax as the December Teacher of the Month. Chantil
received a floral bouquet from Zant's Flower Shop (Bruce
Sumner) and a certificate for dinner for two from Austin’s
Cattle Company (Harold Chambers). The JLL Teacher of
the Month program is sponsored by the Valdosta Sunrise
Rotary Club (CPIE).

• Miller Hardware (CPIE) donated batteries for J.L.                      George Ward right (VHS – Career &Technical Education Supervisor)
Lomax teachers to use in the classroom, an 8' ladder for the                           presents a gift bag to Keith Middleton.
music department, a beautiful Christmas tree that was used for
the December PTO meeting and then given to a family in              • VHS PTO (CPIE) Board members Kim Strickland and
attendance.                                                         Nancy Phillips assist Nelda Joiner (VHS – media) at the
                                                                    December Student of the Month luncheon.
• ERCO Worldwide, Inc. (CPIE – Jeff Fulp) donated
funds to J.L. Lomax to help in the following five areas at
school: reading, physical education, music education, science
and the outdoor classroom.

• Wal-Mart (CPIE – PAL) on Norman Drive and Colonial
Mall Valdosta (CPIE – PAL) shoppers were entertained with
caroling by the JLL third grade chorus (Jan Hattermann,
Director). Party supplies and treats were donated to the chorus
by both CPIEs listed above.

• J.L. Lomax CPIEs and PALs were invited and participated
in the faculty fish fry on Thursday, December 15. Christmas
Cactus plants were given to CPIEs who attended.

• First United Methodist Women hosted parties for the
second grade students of Joyce Robinson, Zid Knight, Janice
Hines, and Barbara Crossgrow. The ladies gave treats and gifts
to students and teachers.                                           • VHS PTO (CPIE) Board members Jeanne Cowart, Pam
                                                                    Woodward, Deb House, and Leigh Amiot pose with Principal
• John and Helen Thomas (CPIE – Valdosta Rotary Club)               Brett Stanton and media parapro Nelda Joiner at the Honor
hosted a Christmas party for Rico Tucker's second graders.          Roll Breakfast hosted by the VHS PTO.
They also provided treats and gifts of books to students.

• Dr. John Gaston and Bill Feimster (CPIE – Valdosta
Rotary Club) have been helping tutor students in the math
classes of Chantil Davis and Mary Jo Jefferson.

• Don and Mary Allen (CPIE – State Farm Insurance)
sponsored the December Character Cats breakfast and donated
duffle bags as door prizes. Thanks so much.

                                                    Don Allen
10   V     A       L    D     O     S     T       A          C        I       T       Y          S        C   H      O     O      L     D      S

         VTFCU Annual Meeting                                             Pinevale Learning Center
“Serving You with American Pride & Professionalism in Mind”                    PLC Services Coordinator, Katina Fuller, scheduled a full day of
                                                                          job shadowing opportunities for the PLC students to participate in
                                                                          Groundhog Day.
                   Tuesday, February 7, 2006                                   Multicultural Awareness Week was celebrated at PLC February
                                                                          13-17. Students and staff ended the week with a Multicultural Dish
                         VMS Cafeteria                                    night on February 17.
                                                                               Percy Chastain, South Health District, presented a Service
                 4:00 p.m. (Refreshments Begin)                           Learning Project / Health Screen on February 23.
                                                                               PLC students and staff will celebrate Student Recognition Day
               4:30 p.m. (Business Meeting Begins)                        on February 28. Thanks to everyone who is working toward making
                                                                          this and all our other projects so successful.
     Cash, Gifts, Door Prizes, Refreshments, Entertainment

                                                                          Thoughts for 2006
                                                                          •       The way to get even is to forget.
                                                                          •       Some marriages are said to be made in heaven – but they
                                                                                  ALL must be maintained on earth.
                                                                          •       Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous – you will
                                                                                  get knocked down by traffic from both ways.
                                                                          •       Words are windows to the heart.
                                                                          •       A skeptic is a person who, when he seems the handwriting
                                                                                  on the wall, claims it is a forgery.
                                                                          •       It isn’t difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill –
                                                                                  just add a little dirt.
                                                                          •       A successful marriage isn’t FINDING the right person –
                                                                                  it’s BEING the right person.
                                                                          •       The tongue must be heavy, indeed – so few people can
                                                                                  hold it.
                                                                          •       A turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.
                                                                          •       If the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence,
                                                                                  you can be sure the water bill is higher.
                                                                          •       You are richer today if you have laughed, given, or

                                               Welcome to Our VCS Family . . .
  “Go confiently in the                             Burgman, Tiffany          PLC         Middle Grades (math & social studies)
                                                    Douglass, Dwanna          NMS         Art
direction of your dreams.                           Knight, Kimberly          WGN         2nd Grade
                                                    Matchett, Patricia        PLC         Special Education
  Live the life you have                            Mercer, Sue               VHS         Educational Interpreter
                                                    Stripling, Katie          VHS         Family & Consumer Science
     -- Henry David Thoreau                         Black, Latonya            VHS         Special Education
                                                    Blue, Delverna            WG          Special Education
                                                    Hatfield, Teresa          WG          Special Education
                                                    Maxwell, Kelly            SNP         Clerical
                                                    Sutton, Curtion           VHS         Public Safety
                                                    Jackson, Robin            SW          Bus Monitor
                                                  VSU Interns
                                                   Brown, Chris               CO          Technology Intern (Kevin Smith, Supervisor)
                                                   Moore, Cheria              CO          Instructional/Testing Intern (Aretha Benson, Supervisor)
                                                   Peters, Quentin            CO          Personnel Intern (Maude Johnson, Supervisor)
                                                   Relaford, Tiffany          CO          Special Education Intern (Glenda Fazekas, Supervisor)
                                                  VSU Practicum
                                                   Brown, Kylee               CO          School Psychology (Scarlet Correll, Supervisor)
 V     A     L     D      O     S     T     A           C   I      T     Y           S     C     H     O      O     L     S            11

                                                                                                                          VCS At A Glance . . .
Bret Welch (DARE) and Dr. Bill Cason (CO) enjoy lunch           Valdosta Sunrise Rotary Club (CPIE) members (on back
         and watching all the fun at SE during                   row) Tyra Howard and Laura Love spend quality time
             National School Lunch Week.                         with Charlotte Brown’s 3rd grade class at J.L. Lomax.

     l-r Brenda Hodges (SE – SNP), Annie Fisher                 l-r Latrell Brown (SE – SNP) and Johnnie Mae Woods
   (VBOE member) and Laverne Priester (SE – SNP)                    (SE – SNP) enjoy dancing to the oldies during
 serve SE students during National School Lunch Week.                 National School Lunch Week at Southeast.

                                                                    Brian Law (VHS – guaidance) recently read to 1st
                                                                   grade students at J.L. Lomax – part of the BIG CAT
                                                                  CARES program. Brian read a story about a Penguin
                                                                      that was different – he aslo taught a lesson on
                                                                  Tolerance. Brian distributed penguin pictures so each
Jack Cooke (CO) shows one of his hidden                            student could color his/her own “different penguin.”
  talents as he vacuums the floor of the
          Central Office Annex.
       V       A        L       D       O        S       T       A               C       I       T       Y              S        C       H        O       O        L       S

                             Check Out Our VCS Website...
                         Please visit our website at - click on "Dates & System Information" OR
                         “Community Relations” for these publications and additional Valdosta City School System

                         The 2005-2006 VCS Activity Calendar and the 2005-2006 Student Code of Conduct are both now
                         available on our Valdosta City School System website. Beginning in September, Cat Chat will once
                         again be posted on the website each month.

                         For those currently receiving a copy of Cat Chat via the U.S. Postal Service . . . Please call
                         333-8500 (Joy Jennings) if you would like your name REMOVED from the Cat Chat mailing list.

                                               PROMOTION, PLACEMENT, RETENTION
                       REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADES 3, 5, AND 8 (O.C.G.A. 20-2-2882, 283, 284, 285)

Promotion of a student shall be determined as follows:
1. No third grade student shall be promoted to the fourth grade if the student does not achieve grade level on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in reading and meet
   promotion standards and criteria established by the local board of education for the school that the student attends.
2. No fifth grade student shall be promoted to the sixth grade if the student does not achieve grade level on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in reading and
   Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in Mathematics and meet promotion standards and criteria established by the local board of education for the school that the student
3. No eighth grade student shall be promoted to the ninth grade if the student does not achieve grade level on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in reading and
   Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in Mathematics and meet promotion standards and criteria established by the local board of education for the school that the student
4. Requirements in this section shall apply to students in the following grade levels:
            *The third grade beginning with the 2003-2004 school year
            *The fifth grade beginning with the 2004-2005 school year
            *The eighth grade beginning with the 2005-2006 school year

                                                                       Happy Valentine’s Day 2006!
                                                                                                 Janeen Josey, Editor
                                                                         website: • email:

Valdosta City Schools                                                                                                                         Non - Profit Organization
P.O. Box 5407                                                                                                                                   U.S. Postage Paid
Valdosta, Georgia 31603-5407                                                                                                                         Permit #46
                                                                                                                                                 Valdosta, Georgia

The Valdosta City School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, handicap or disability in its educational programs,
activities or employment practices (Title VI, IX, Section 504, ADA). The Valdosta City Board of Education is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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