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Literacy Lane merges physical activity and reading engagement
Cali Jones

Carrollton Greenbelt visitors strolling along Buffalo Creek will notice a new feature added to the landscape — reading stations designed to boost a Carrollton City Schools priority focus – literacy. 

Members of the Carrollton community can visit Literacy Lane on the Carrollton Greenbelt and read the Carrollton City Schools book “A Trojan Tale.” Literacy Lane is a project developed by members of the district’s Aspiring Leaders cohort.

Dubbed Literacy Lane, the initiative was the brainchild of Carrollton High School Band Director, Chris Carr, who is a member of the Aspiring Leaders program for Carrollton City Schools.

The reading stations showcase pages in the book “A Trojan Tale,” a book produced four years ago through a collaborative effort between students — and a few adults – celebrating the “City of Dreams.”

“The project was based on the national phenomenon of a StoryWalk, which is a way to combine physical activity with literacy and reading engagement,” said Carr. “Our mission was for Literacy Lane to border our campus and the Greenbelt to promote early literacy and reading engagement within our community.”

Carr said he hopes Literacy Lane serves as an educational break from classroom walls for elementary students. 

“Kids can visit Literacy Lane by accessing the Greenbelt from the bridge which crosses Buffalo Creek near CES,” he said. “On their way to Literacy Lane, they can enjoy the information provided by our STREAM team about Buffalo Creek and the local flora and fauna. We hope that students will share the experience and ask their families to visit and have the opportunity to read as a family.”

Carrollton City Schools Director of School Improvement Karen Wild said the sustainability of Literacy Lane is being discussed. 

“We are in the process of writing a second book as a school system that focuses on our STREAM initiative,” she said. “We expect it will be published in the coming year and may be used in Literacy Lane in the future.”

In addition to Carr, other members of this Aspiring Leaders project are Shannon Bright, CHS teacher; Rikki Chandler, CCS literacy specialist; and Kaley Blankinship, Carrollton Upper Elementary School teacher.

Carrollton City Schools Aspiring Leaders program is a competitive leadership model for PK-12 teachers in Carrollton City Schools. The two-year program provides leadership development opportunities and addresses core competencies identified as critical needs for leaders in Carrollton City Schools. While participating, Aspiring Leaders receive support to develop in-depth knowledge of all aspects of a school district and implement a self-identified project, demonstrating their own leadership capacity. 

Literary region champions place 4th at 7-A state competition
Julianne Foster

A complete literary team from Carrollton High School competed in the state competition held at Buford High School March 18. Back row, from left, are Mark Zimmer, Kieran Kelly, Andrew Johnson, Cody Reed, Skylar Hundley, Elisa Rubio, Madison Brown, Tai Jackson, and Zeke Ussery. Front row: Richard Bracknell, coach; Terri Fazio, accompanist; Lydia Baldizon, Madison Brown, Julianna Quattrocchi, Lia Sosa, Tyler Stone, Malik Raphael; and Julie Lowry and Tommy Cox, coaches.

First time the full team qualified for state competition

Literary and debate coach Richard Bracknell, left, poses with Kieran Kelly who earned a state champion medal in Extemporaneous Speaking-International. Kieran is also a member of the debate team that just captured its third state title in a row.

A new, smaller region only five schools deep created a historic mark in Carrollton High School’s GHSA literary competition history – a region championship by default as no other school in Region 2-AAAAAAA participated.

But this anomaly also provided the opportunity for all students who trained for the region contest to qualify for state and the team overall pulled off a fourth place finish out of 18 schools in the top Georgia High School Association classification competition, held March 18 at Buford High School.

In literary competition, points accumulate for place finishes in a variety of performing, writing, and speaking competitions. At state, CHS  junior Kieran Kelly accumulated the most points for the team by winning a state champion medal in Extemporaneous Speaking-International and a fourth place finish in Essay-Argumentative. Andrew Johnson, also a junior, captured a third place award in Essay-Literary Analysis. Seniors Mark Zimmer (Extemporaneous Speaking-Domestic) and Skylar Hundley (Girls Solo) and junior Cody Reed (Literary Interpretation-Solo Humorous) placed fourth to round out the points gained. 

Other competitors were seniors Tai Jackson in Boys Solo, Julianna Quattrocchi in Literary Interpretation-Solo Dramatic, and Madison Brown who, along with sophomores Elisa Rubio and Lia Sosa, competed in Trio. Tai and Zeke Ussery, another senior, competed in Quartet with junior Tyler Stone and sophomore Malik Raphael. Juniors Lydia Baldizon and Madison Akin competed in Literary Interpretation-Duo.

Julianna, who has competed at state before, said having the whole team participate this year was special. “Usually, only a few of us qualify for state each year,” she said after Saturday’s awards presentation. “It was so nice having everyone there.”

Carrollton also captured the region title the past two years as a 6-A school. The team has earned two state championships in 2011 and 1987. CHS debate coach Richard Bracknell coaches the literary team along with Tommy Cox, performing arts director; and Julie Lowry, CHS choral director and voice instructor. They all depend on Terri Fazio, performing arts assistant, for administrative tasks and music accompaniment. 

CES teacher elected to GSTA Board of Directors
Cali Jones

A Carrollton Elementary School third grade teacher has been elected to serve on the Georgia Science Teachers Association (GSTA) Board of Directors.  

Ann Cox will be sworn in next month. 

GSTA is committed to supporting excellence in science teaching for the students of Georgia. GSTA works to connect, inform, support, and advocate for science teachers in Georgia. 

“After having presented at conferences over the past few years, I decided to run for district representative,” said Cox. “The science and STEM activities we provide our students here at Carrollton City Schools are unique and people want to hear about them.”

GSTA has 12 districts. Carrollton City Schools is in District 5, which also includes Butts, Coweta, Fayette, Harris, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Newton, Pike, Spalding, Thomaston-Upson, and Troup counties.

"Mrs. Cox goes above and beyond each day, in her endeavor to inspire our youngest learners with a passion for STEM," said CES Principal Kylie Carroll. "She is a lifelong learner who seeks to continuously gain knowledge and better her craft, and she conveys her love for learning to her students and colleagues. I think she will be a great addition to the GSTA board." 

Cox said she is excited for the opportunity to serve on the board.

“I enjoy collaborating with like-minded teachers and look forward to representing our district and being a proactive member of the board. I am also looking forward to meeting other STEM and science teachers in our district, supporting their growth as teachers, and building up our community.”


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