Got Happy News?

Wow! We’ve had a full week of school for our 4th-8th students and our high school students will begin on Monday!

The Middle Grades Advisement Team (Mr. Lollis and Dr. Edwards) taught an advisement lesson this week to all of 7th and half of 6th grades. We discussed limiting distracting behaviors (trying to multitask when we should be listening), email etiquette, and Collaborate Chat behavior. Mr. Lollis and I gave some pretty bad examples so be sure to ask your student about it.

We love to celebrate our students’ accomplishments. So, if you’ve got a picture or short video of your student doing something even semi-spectacular, we’d like you to share it with us. We’ll post it on the Celebrations pages of the blog.

Great job this first week, GOC students and teachers!

Have a fantastic weekend!


Welcome students!

We’re SO excited you’re at GOC!

We have a lot going on at the beginning of the year. Please take a look at the Orientation schedule below and be on campus on the appropriate days. These sessions are meant to help you have a successful year.

Grades 4th-8th

Wednesday Aug. 6   9:00– 12:30 New Student & Parent Face to Face Orientation

Thursday, Aug. 7      9:00– 12:00 New Student & Parent Face to Face Orientation

Friday, Aug. 8    Grades 4 – 5     9:00 – 10:30 New Student Home Virtual Meeting

Grades 6 – 8    11:00 – 12:30 New Student Home Virtual Meeting

Monday, Aug. 11       9:00– 3:00    New & Returning Students (Face to Face First Day of Class)

Tuesday, Aug. 12     9:00– 12:10  First Learning Lab Day


Grades 9th-12th

Thursday, Aug. 14   9:00– 12:00     HS Orientation for New Students & Parent Meeting

Friday, Aug. 15        12:30– 1:30     Home Virtual Meeting (New Students)

Monday, Aug. 18      9:00– 2:00       HS  First Day of Class (on campus)


I can’t wait to see you and hear all about your summer! If you’d like, tell us something cool about your summer in the Comments below!

See you soon!

Dr. Edwards


CRCT time!

I’m sure all of our GOC students and parents are aware that this week is CRCT testing.

Here are a few tips to remember:

  • get enough sleep each night. Testing begins at 9am each morning and it’s really important to be rested.
  • eat a healthful breakfast. This is not the time to skip breakfast. Nutritious breakfast cereals and bars are a quick morning meal. My kids love peanut butter on toast.
  • relax. Remember to take a deep breath and make positive statements to yourself. You can do this! When a question is difficult, do your best and move on.

We’re excited to get to see the students each day!

GOC Goes to the Dogs…Again!

animal shelter 116

The Service Club had a great time at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter last Friday. This was our second time to go.

Officer Jackie gave us a behind-the-scenes tour and we got to see the shelter’s barn. animal shelter 128There were two pigs!

She also told a few interesting stories about calls involving exotic pets. Burmese python? No thank you!

animal shelter 132The animals appreciated the dog and cat treats the GOC students donated.

And one very lucky dog got a new home! Virginia has pic18661named him Jasper. I love it when we make new friends!


Tell us about your pet or experience at the Animal Shelter.

Cruising to Your Career

The world of work has changed. In fact, there are careers not even “invented” yet that our kids might choose when they’re older.

cooking_with_chef_dominick_tv_show_sm_whtAt GOC, all our students are learning about the 17 different career clusters and the plethora of jobs within each cluster. The clusters are:

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

Architecture & Construction

Arts, Audio-Video Technology & Communications 

Business Management & Administration

Education & Training



Government & Public Administration

Health Science

Hospitality & Tourism

Human Services

Information Technology business_woman_webmaster_sm_wht (1)

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security



Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Our 4th and 5th grade students are learning about the clusters and examples of different careers within each one.

The 6th – 9th grade students will complete particular lessons in Career Cruising. Some students have already taken inventories to discover their learning style and match their interests to particular careers.editor_md_whtprofessor_md_wht

The 10th-12th grade students will learn about the possibilities of earning college credit now and research colleges that offer degrees in their interested areas.

We’ll continue these activities through the month of April.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit www.CareerCruising or talk to one of the GOC counselors.


Fresh Starts

Don’t you love fresh starts? Starting something new or committing to doing something old better?


Fortunately, life gives us plenty of opportunities for fresh starts.

So whether this is your first semester at GOC or your sixth, you can start Fresh!

What do I mean?

  • Manage your time wisely. Make a schedule and follow it. Be sure to build in breaks for stretching, snacking, and exercise. (Snacking’s  my favorite.)
  • Get organized. Make folders for each of your courses. Clean up your work space, making sure you have a pen and a notebook handy for taking notes.


  • Become excited about learning something new. There’s tons of new technology out there and our teachers are great about introducing our students to it.


  • Stay fully engaged. Be fully committed to whatever it is you’re doing at the moment. Don’t allow distractions or worries to eat away your attention or time.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Email, text, or call your teachers and counselors when you need help. Never suffer in silence.
  • Set one or two goals for the semester. We achieve more when we intentionally set goals. Maybe you want to make more friends. Set a goal to come to a Rich Experience or join a club. Set a goal to improve your grades. Consider what got in the way of good learning and grades last semester and take action.


Follow these simple tips and you’ll have a successful fresh start!

We’d like to hear from our students about ways to be successful at GOC. Please let    Dr. Edwards know if you’d like to contribute to future blog posts.

Taking Good Notes

by Guest Blogger: Dan Lollis, GOC Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher

Taking notes can be a challenging and difficult task for middle school students. We all probably remember classes from high school or college where we took pages and pages of “notes” only to sit down when it was time to study and stare in confusion at what we had written. GOC students won’t have to make the same mistakes we did. Specific note-taking strategies and lessons have been taught to GOC students and can be applied, practiced, and used in any academic class.

book_open_close_sm_clrOur first note-taking lesson, Cornell Notes, focused on a simple strategy that students can use to take notes during reading, during a learning lab lesson, or during and online lesson. Cornell Notes are a great way for student to take notes while they are reading or learning. Our lesson focused on writing down the most important information and coming back at the end of the lesson or reading to summarize and understand the notes. This strategy is simple but highly effective and used by many universities and most law schools across the nation. More information and a template can be found here:

The second strategy, Window Notes, will focus on engaging the middle school student by asking students to deeply focus on a topic and explore facts, feeling, ideas, and questions. This note-taking strategy is ideal for “big-picture” topics in science and social studies and is a great way for students take notes after a lesson or in order to summarize. More information with examples and simple instructions can found here:

Students shouldn’t be afraid to take notes, and middle school is the time and opportunity to learn which note-taking strategies and skills work best. If your child still colored_pencil_blue_drawing_sm_clrstruggles to take notes, have them practice with one of these strategies (the Cornell note-taking strategy is the simplest) in one class. Just like in sports, it takes practice to become proficient and effective at taking notes. Encourage your child to practice one of these strategies at least once a week.

Thank you, Mr. Lollis!

The middle grades students practiced the Cornell Notes strategy during the last Advisement lesson with Mr. Lollis and will learn the Window Notes strategy in an upcoming Advisement lesson.

Parents of our high school and middle grades students often ask us how to teach their students to take helpful notes. Take a look at these links and you and your student can also view the recording where this lesson was taught.

If you have a comment or another strategy, please tell us below. Also, parents and students can be automatically alerted via email when a new post is made on our blog by clicking on the FOLLOW button.

30 Day Challenge

Do you have a habit you’d like to kick?

What about something you’d like to do, but just haven’t done it yet?

Mr. Lollis found a really cool video that we showed the 8th and 9th grade students in Advisement. Take a look here.

Research has shown that it takes about 30 days to break or begin a habit. For example, if you’d like to start exercising, do it consecutively for 30 days and it’ll become a habit.

The ninth grade students and I linked this concept to their grades. We discussed things we wanted to stop doing and things we wanted to start doing that could result in improved grades.

We talked about the need to stop staying up late and spending so much time on social media, video games, texting, etc. And they suggested things to start doing like reviewing way before a test, making flash cards for things that required memorization, and taking more breaks to prevent brain-fatigue.

In 30 days, the students will look at their grades and see if any of the suggestions paid off.

How about you? Is there something you’d like to stop doing? Or start doing?

Take the 30 day challenge!

It’s Pretty “Wonder”ful: Classroom Guidance in 4th-6th grades

I’m joining Dr. Johnson’s Language Arts and Social Studies classes to read the book, Wonder, to the 4th-6th grade students. It’s a perfect opportunity to integrate LA, Social Studies, and counseling terms such as point of view, empathy, acceptance, foreshadowing, metaphors, and geography.

You can read more about Wonder below.Wonder

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

In our most recent lesson, we learned about precepts. A precept is a rule for living. We used one of the precepts from Wonder, as a guide.

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind. ~ Mr. Brown in Wonder

Take a look at some of the great precepts the students wrote. Our students are really wise!

Love your family. ~ Kennedy, 4th grade

When you have to choose between things, pick the one that will help you the best. ~Mia, 4th grade

Be careful how you use resources. ~ Jackson, 4th grade

Do not kill or steal. ~ Noah, 4th grade

When you have a choice to do what’s wrong or do what’s right, choose right; therefore something good will happen to you that can be extra good because God is a giving God. ~ Evan, 4th grade

Do your best instead of trying to be the best and everything will be okay. ~ Cameron, 4th grade

The good of giving is more powerful than being in power. ~ Aiden, 4th grade

Make sure to do everything like a boss. ~ Elliot, 5th grade

If you are a man, love your elderlies. ~ Furman, 5th grade

Think it over. ~ Aaron, 5th grade

Put people before politics then you will be a great leader. ~ Emma, 6th grade

Dreams are in the mind of the poor one. ~ Gaby, 6th grade

Live by God’s word and stand up for what is right even when you have to stand alone. ~Amari, 6th grade

The number one way to not succeed at your goals is to sit back and look at the outcome of them. ~ Max, 6th grade

When in despair, ask your neighbor. ~ Thomas, 6th grade

Two roads diverged in the yellow wood, and I took the road less traveled. (Robert Frost) ~ Trevor, 6th grade

Never give up. Keep going. Keep trying. ~ Cassidy, 6th grade

All things are possible with God. ~ William, 6th grade

Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius. (Marilyn Monroe) ~ Hana, 6th grade

You only live once. ~ Nate and DeAire, 6th grade

His love is never ending. ~ John, 6th grade

Imagination is key. ~ Sebastian, 6th grade

 Love your friends as yourself.~ Brittany, 6th grade

Pay attention, not just in school but in life. Don’t miss it. ~ Santana, 6th grade

Live each day like it’s your last. ~ Faith Freeman, 6th grade

Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die today. (James Dean) ~ Kylie Bennett, 6th grade

If someone forces you to walk one mile, walk with him two. ~ Lily, 6th grade

Think before you speak. ~ Khamilah, 6th grade

Fall is for College Visits

Fall is just around the corner! Soon it’ll be time to pick out a pumpkin, pull out your sweaters, and…

visit colleges.fall leaves

Most colleges have open houses in the fall and now is the perfect time to start making plans to visit the different schools on your list.

The cool thing is you don’t have to be senior to visit a college campus. In fact, it’s best to take campus tours during your sophomore and junior years so you have plenty of time to get them all in.

Below are just a few colleges in Georgia and their fall Open Houses. Be sure to check out the other colleges you’re interested in, but are not listed below.

Columbus State University

The first Discovery Day will be Saturday, September 21: 9:00AM until 2:30PM. Register and find out more information at:

Georgia College and State University

Open House is on Saturday, October 19. 

Georgia Gwinnett College

Registration for the Open House on October 19, 2013 is now open. For more information contact GGC Admissions at 678.407.5313 or

Georgia State University

Georgia State’s first Open House is on Friday, October 25.
Tours are available at 10am and 2pm daily. Register by going to:

 University of Georgia

The Visitors Center conducts regularly scheduled campus tours five days a week: Monday through Friday at 8:30 am, 12:00 noon, and 3:30 pm For more information:

 Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University is coming to the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta on October 20. The first Open House will be Saturday, November 9, 2013. Register by going to:

Happy touring and bring us back a souvenir! :)