Welcome (and welcome back) to GOC!

Hello Parents and Students!

We’re excited that you’ve chosen to be a part of Gwinnett Online Campus this year!

If you’re not already following, you may want to follow this blog. It’s where I write about counseling and advisement-related topics throughout the year. It’s also where you’ll learn tips to help your student manage their coursework.

We’ve already gotten one week underway, and I can’t wait to see how our students are progressing.

If you’re looking for additional ways to support your student, we have a few upcoming parent tech and organizational tip sessions.

Monday, 8/21 and 8/28 – 4th & 5th Grade Parents and Students with Mrs. Cote at 11:00 (4th) and 11:35 (5th).

Wednesday, 9/6 – 4th-6th Grade Parent Training with Mrs. Sokol and Dr. Edwards, 9am.

Thursday, 9/7 – 7th & 8th Grade Parent Training with Mrs. Sokol and Dr. Edwards, 9am.

The parents of 4th and 5th graders should have received an email about the Monday training sessions. The other opportunities will be announced again in the GOC OWLS.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

Finish Strong

It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over!

I shared this calendar with our students on Monday so they could see what was left in the semester.

Follow this link, then scroll down to GRADES 4-8 SPRING FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE,  to find out exactly when your student is testing. https://www.gwinnettonlinecampus.com/final-exams.html

Remind your student to finish STRONG!

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

Should My Student Take the Carnegie Credit in Middle School?

Should my student take the Carnegie credit or not? That’s the question and it’s an important one.idea_teeter_totter_sm_wht

I’ve talked with many 8th grade students and parents about this and Dr. Brown led a meeting with parents whose students are in advanced math last week. It really comes to the student’s final grade.

note_md_whtThe important points to remember are:

  1. These middle school courses will not be used in GPA calculations for the HOPE scholarship according to the current Georgia Finance Commission rules for HOPE. This means these grades won’t affect your child getting HOPE money for college.
  2. These middle school courses will be used in the GPA calculation for high school, such as class rank, valedictorian, honor graduate, etc. This means they will affect any comparisons made within the school for graduation honors, awards, and reports to colleges, etc.
  3. If the state requires a Milestone EOC (End of Course test) for the course, students must take it to earn Carnegie credit. (EOCs count 20% of the final grade.)
  4. Both semester 1 and semester 2 grades will appear on the high school transcript. The grades are not averaged. So, if a student makes an 85 first semester and a 95 second semester, both grades will appear, not an average of 90.

I tell the students that they should take the credit (and grades) with them to high student_grade_a_excited_md_whtschool if it’s a true reflection of their best work. If they know they can do better, it’s best not to take the credit and possibly negatively influence their gpa.

I’ll give the Carnegie forms to students on April 26 when they are on campus for SS Milestones testing. Parents and students can wait to make this decision once the final grades come back. The Carnegie Unit Credit Decision Form must be signed and returned to me before school gets out for summer. If I don’t receive the form, the student will not receive Carnegie credit. Once the form is received and credit is assigned, it can’t be undone.

I hope this clears up any confusion and if you’d like to discuss anything further, please contact me.

Have a great week!

Getting Ready for Milestones

It’s that time of year again…standardized testing. 

Some students dread testing, feeling anxious about their performance. Below are a few simple things students can do to improve their “testing attitude.”

  • Get enough sleep each night. Testing begins at 9am each morning and it’s really important to be rested. Make sure your student is on time (and a few minutes early) so they don’t feel rushed coming into the building.
  • Eat a healthy 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 see the students next week!

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!

Dr. Edwards

Managing Anger in 4th Grade Class Meetings

This week in 4th Grade Class Meetings, we talked about anger management. There are three common situations that can make us angry:

  • being falsely accused of something,
  • getting consequences, and
  • being criticized or corrected and having to do something over again.

While it’s okay (and even normal) to get angry, it’s not okay to react in a way that makes the problem bigger. For example, there’s a tendency to want revenge, but that will only make the situation worse.

We discussed some ways to deescalate our anger so we can make a good decision.

We can clam down by:

  • taking three deep breaths,
  • counting backward slowly,
  • thinking calming thoughts, or
  • talking to yourself.

We practiced these strategies and shared times when we were angry. It’s no surprise that several of the situations involved a sibling.

This may be the perfect lesson right before Spring Break.

Enjoy the break!

Dr. Edwards

Planning for High School, Part 2

If you missed Part I, you can see it here.

I met with the 8th grade students this week to do a few career activities and to discuss their high school plans. We talked about graduation requirements, course levels (e.g. honors, AP), and decisions that need to be made now for next year.

Parents can see the power point Planning for HS 2017.

Next Thursday, I’ll give each 8th grade student his/her 9th grade Course Planner that contains the teachers’ course recommendations. Students will take these home and discuss the forms with their parents. You can make changes and return the forms by April 27 if remaining at GOC next year.

Dr. Brown, GOC’s high school counselor, will meet with parents of 8th grade students to discuss all things related to high school, as well as Move On When Ready. This meeting is Thursday, April 20 at 11:00. This will be a very informative meeting for parents regardless of where your student will attend school next year.

On another note…Thank you to all who donated to the food drive for the Southeast Co-Op!

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

The World of Work

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be with 6th-8th grade students to do several career lessons. We’re using a new website to explore our interests. The students will have their own login info and can access the site and explore any time. http://www.gcic.peachnet.edu/  

I was with the 7th grade students this week and they took two different interest inventories to match their interests with various occupations within the 17 Career Clusters. Ask your students about their results.

I’ll be with 6th and 8th grades over the next two weeks.

I’m also taking advantage of the time with 6th-8th students to talk about cyber ethics, mainly the topic of making good decisions. I talked about the unfortunate occurrence in our culture for kids to send compromising pictures (nudes) to each other. Thankfully, this isn’t something we experience often at GOC! But I made it clear that not only is it unwise, it’s against the law. Sometimes it begins innocently, then it turns into a huge regret. The 7th grade students were very mature in handling this delicate topic, and I’ll continue this discussion with 6th and 8th graders.

Last, but not least…

Next week we’ll have an opportunity to show our community that we care by contributing to the Southeast Co-op. Please bring items to campus and place them in the GOC Cares wagon.

I really think it will be spring again next week! Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards

Middle Grade Connections

This week, I talked with the students in 5th- 7th grades about their Connections choices for next year.

6th Grade

Introduction to French or Introduction to Spanish

All students will take PE, Health, and Visual Art.

7th Grade

French, Part A or Spanish, Part A

Both of these courses are year-long. If the student also takes Part B in the 8th grade, they are eligible for a high school Carnegie credit. If a student doesn’t want to take a foreign language, they will take Visual Art and Music. All students will also take PE and Health.

8th Grade

There are several choices in 8th grade.

  • French, Part B
  • Spanish, Part B
  • Intro to Business and Technology
  • Intro to Digital Technology
  • Foundations of Engineering and Technology
  • Biology

Each of these choices come with possible Carnegie high school credit. All 8th graders will also have PE and Health.

I sent home a form with the students this week. Please discuss the choices with your student and return the form.

Have a great long weekend!

Dr. Edwards

GOC Counseling Happenings This Week

We’ve had a busy few days, post-virtual week!

In 4th and 5th grade, the students learned how to stay safe. We talked about the lures that someone might use to harm a child. Some of the ones we talked about were:

  • pet lure – there is NO lost puppy!
  • name lure – sometimes “bad people” listen to hear your name so they can pretend to know you
  • assistance lure – someone might ask you for directions, to carry objects into their car or house, etc.
  • bribery lure – someone who wants to do harm might give you something in exchange for keeping a secret

I mentioned that most people are kind, honest, and helpful. But because we can’t always predict people’s behavior, we need to listen to our brain. It tells us when a situation feels odd or scary.

We also talked about how important it is to NEVER talk to or go with another person unless we have permission from parents, and to be sure they know exactly where we’re going. Most importantly, children should never keep secrets from their parents.

7th-lifelines-3In 7th grade, Coach Blair and I continued our Lifelines Suicide Prevention lesson.Because kids tend to tell other kids if they’re thinking about doing harm to themselves, kids need to be equipped with the right language to help.

We discussed the Warning Signs of suicide.

  • F – feelings
  • A – actions
  • C – changes
  • T – threats
  • S – situations

We also talked about the important of:7th-lifelines-2

  • showing you care,
  • asking if the person is considering suicide,
  • and getting adult help

if someone tells you they are thinking about suicide.

Ask your students about these lessons.

Have a great week!

Dr. Edwards

Keeping it Cool in 4th Grade Class Meetings & 7th Grade Health Lessons


We had a busy time in 4th grade class meetings last week when we talked about impulse control.

An impulse is the first thing that pops into your head. We discussed that sometimes our impulses can cause problems for us.




To keep your impulses in check:cm11

  1. Stop and think
  2. Ask yourself: how does my body feel?
  3. Try:
  • taking deep breaths
  • counting backward slowly
  • thinking calming thoughts
  • talking to yourself.


In 7th grade, Coach Blair and I taught the first Lifelines lesson, promoting suicide prevention. These lessons are taught to all students in GCPS 7th grade Health classes. Because kids tend to tell other kids if they’re contemplating hurting themselves, it’s important that students are equipped with what to say and do if they’re ever in this situation. The main points we emphasized were to show you care and get adult help.

We’ll teach the second lesson on March 2. We hope all our 7th graders will be there.

Next week is Virtual Week! Be sure to engage in all your virtual sessions.



Have a great weekend!

Dr. Edwards