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CES 2nd grade class named finalist in book publishing contest
Julianne Foster

To commemorate the class accomplishment of reading 4,000 books the first three nine-weeks of school, students in Kristina Bivins' second grade class published their own book and held a book reveal party in April. Ms. Bivins recently received word that their book has been named a finalist in the National Book Challenge hosted by Studentreasures Publishing.


Book's success earns students published author honors

Carrollton Elementary School teacher Kristina Bivins and her second-grade class have been announced as finalists in the 2020-2021 National Book Challenge hosted by Studentreasures Publishing. Each of the second-grade authors were recognized for their contributions to their book, “PEEK into the WILD with the Excited Explorers,” which was published earlier this year through Studentreasures’ free publishing program. 

For this honor, the class will receive a $50 gift card, plus a published author certificate for each student. 

Mrs. Bivins and her students created “PEEK into the WILD with the Excited Explorers,” when they were learning about different animals in the wild. The second-grade authors put forth their best effort, researching, writing about, and illustrating their animal book, before they sent their completed pages to be published. Bivins decided to enter the contest to commemorate her students' exceptional accomplishment of collectively reading 4,000 books before the end of the school year.

"I am extremely proud of Ms. Bivins and her students," said Kylie Carroll, CES principal. "They worked together to publish their book and showcased their love of literacy. I can't wait to see these young authors continue to shine!"

As a finalist in theNational Book Challenge, Mrs. Bivins’ classbook was selected from entries across the country and awarded as a Top 50 book in May based on its originality, creative storyline, and colorful illustrations. This nationwide contest was open to more than 60,290 books that were submitted to Studentreasures for free publishing this school year.   

“At Studentreasures, we are fortunate to witness tremendous creativity and talent from classrooms around the country and all students who publish their own books. We especially congratulate Mrs. Bivins and her students for earning this unique achievement and completing a project that provides lasting memories and a one-of-a-kind keepsake,” said Chad Zimmerman, president and CEO of Studentreasures. 

State DOE designates Carrollton Elementary Title 1 Reward School
Julianne Foster

CES teacher Dashia Withers works with a small group in her class during a morning exercise on adjectives.

Honor reserved for top 5% of schools in Georgia

Students in CES teacher Kristina Bivins' class gather in the classroom's "Reading Hut" area to dedicate time to enjoy a good book.

Following a state review of 2020-2021 testing data, Carrollton Elementary School has earned the Title I Reward School designation, an exclusive honor reserved for the top 5 percent of Title I schools in the state.

Title I is a program that provides federal funds to local educational agencies and public schools with high numbers or percentages of children in poverty to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards. 

Title I Reward Schools represent Georgia schools that made the most progress in academic performance of all students over the most recent two years, according to the Georgia Department of Education. This honor recognizes schools and school districts for significant progress in improving student achievement and/or significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

"I could not be more proud of our CES students and teachers," said Kylie Carroll, CES principal. "Together, they've shined amidst challenges, and they are most deserving of the Title I Reward School recognition. The Trojan Nation is TRULY a special place to learn, teach, and lead."

Being prepared: Quick action, AED give CHS student a second chance
Julianne Foster

On the last day of school, Issa Saba, second from right, returned for the first time after suffering cardiac arrest in the school’s media center May 10. Because of quick action by Ian Lyle, CHS principal, and Susan Hall, school nurse, and the efforts of many others plus the use of an AED, Issa survived the episode and will return to school in August. From left are Lyle; Hall; Melissa Juarez, Issa’s mother; Cameron Mount, CHS counselor; Issa; and Wymon Kelley, CHS teacher.

Mother: Staff preparation saved my son's life

A routine morning of students hanging out in Carrollton High School’s media center lounge before the start of class suddenly turned into a life-threatening incident for sophomore Issa Saba, but because of quick action by CHS administration, the school nurse, and an AED rushed to the scene, not only was his life spared, he did not suffer any long-term consequences from the event.

Susan Hall, the school nurse at CHS, said that about 8:15 the morning of May 10, she received a call to assist administrators when a student collapsed in Hector’s Hangout, a popular gathering spot for students located in the CHS media center. 

“My first thought was he had suffered a seizure,” Hall said. “Then I realized the student was not responding and was not breathing on his own.” She then turned to newly-appointed Principal Ian Lyle  who had also rushed to the scene in response.

“I said to Mr. Lyle ‘I'm starting CPR and we need an AED,’”  said Hall. An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The sophisticated, easy-to-use, medical device can analyze the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Hall said it all happened so fast, she’s not even sure who delivered the device. 

“When it was delivered, pads were placed on the student,” she said. “Once the AED analyzed and advised a shock, the shock was delivered and Mr. Lyle took over compressions while I administered breaths. This continued for two cycles –  I believe – and the student began to move. We paused compressions/breaths, the AED analyzed and did not advise another shock.” 

By this time, Hall said, paramedics had arrived on the scene and the student was responding to simple commands. He was transported to Children’s Egleston Hospital/Healthcare of Atlanta for further evaluation and treatment but is now back home recuperating with plans to return to school in August.

“This really was a team effort,” said Hall. “The media center was completely cleared of all students. There were administrators and teachers keeping all traffic out of the courtyard and away from the entrance to the media center.”

Lyle noted all faculty and staff are required to go through annual training to prepare for events like the May 10 incident, but fortunately real-life occurrences are few and far between.  

“It is a testament to the CHS faculty and staff for taking this training seriously, and because of that, a CHS student’s life was saved. As Ms. Hall noted, this incident was truly a team effort and I am proud of their professionalism, plus their personal commitment to support the health and safety of our students.”

On the last day of School, May 28, Issa and his mother Melissa Juarez came to CHS to thank Hall and Lyle, in particular, for immediate action that likely saved Issa’s life.

“I'm very grateful to God first. I'm grateful to the school for everything they did to help Issa,” said Juarez. “They were in the perfect place at the perfect time and responded in the perfect way. I am eternally grateful because they saved my son. This is a very serious issue and the school was very well-prepared to help with it. In the hospital (at Egleston) the doctor said, ‘This happened in exactly the right place and time, because the people who responded did an outstanding job and saved his life.’”

Juarez added: "We want to share this with the community because it's very important for everyone to know the importance of being prepared. My son didn't feel anything odd that morning before his incident – he just collapsed without warning. The preparation everyone had done months before was what saved his life."

Craig George, assistant superintendent of Operations for Carrollton City Schools, noted the AED that was used in saving the student’s life was one awarded by Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2019.

“The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation focuses on public safety initiatives and we applied for the grant to purchase additional AEDs,” said George. “While we already had AEDs in several locations, we wanted more to ensure easy access to one throughout campus. This purchase truly made all the difference in this student’s outcome and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

“We’re honored to play a small role in this life-saving story,” said Meghan Vargas, director of development for Firehouse Subs Safety Foundation. “Our foundation is committed to ensuring the right equipment is in the right hands at the right time, and that’s exactly what happened on May 10. The grant awarded to Carrollton City Schools for 12 AEDs was made in partnership with CLEAR Coalition, which provides AEDs and critical training to schools and organizations in Georgia. Carrollton City schools are all better prepared in the event of cardiac arrest.” 

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