October 3, 2017
Dear Dodgen Community,
It is with great pride and honor that I announce The U.S. Department of Education named Dodgen Middle School a National Blue Ribbon School during a press release on September 28, 2017. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Every year the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, demonstrating that all students can achieve higher levels of learning. More than 7,500 of schools across the country have been presented with this coveted award. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.
Dodgen is one of 342 schools in the nation and one of 9 schools from Georgia to be recognized in 2017. Dodgen received this distinguished honor based on our overall academic excellence. This award reflects the efforts of our entire community working together towards one goal, student success. Monday this was formally announced to our staff at a faculty meeting. A diverse group of 5 staff members will accompany me to Washington DC to celebrate our school’s success at the awards ceremony on Monday, November 6 and Tuesday, November 7.
I am incredibly proud of the work of our staff, students, parents, and entire community for the efforts towards continuous improvement and elevated excellence. I want to thank each of you for all you have contributed.
We will have a school-wide celebration at a date after the official ceremony, with more information forthcoming.
Loralee Hill, Ph.D.
Dodgen Community -
We are excited about the upcoming Eclipse Day, Monday, August 21st which will be a late dismissal day. Please refer to the CCSD Press Release for specific information regarding dismissal. A signed CCSD permission form (sent home on Friday, 8/11) must be turned in for each student to be able to view the eclipse outside. Safety glasses have been ordered for all students and staff. Students inside will watch the NASA broadcast. We are looking forward to all of the learning and discovery that surrounds this event!
On August 9, all principals received a new parent permission form from CCSD for Eclipse Day, which needs to be completed for every student who plans to view the eclipse outdoors. This form needs to be completed regardless of a student completing and returning the parent permission form previously sent home. The new form was sent home with students on 8/11. We will also have copies available at all of our Open House nights.
Thirteen Reasons Letter, Spring 2017
I want to bring to your attention information shared with us from Cobb County School District’s Prevention Intervention Department and their recommendation to share with our staff and parents solely to raise awareness:
There are many movies, books, TV shows and music that capture social emotional trends among our youth. One such show is the new Thirteen Reasons on Netflix. You may have heard students talking about it already. The show is based on a best-selling young adult novel originally published in 2007. The show follows a high school student who completes suicide and each episode deals with one of the thirteen reasons she makes the decision to take her life. The show contains some very graphic scenes, including rape scenes and the girl actually committing suicide. The series is produced by Selena Gomez and rated MA for mature audiences. The show brings up several important adolescent social and emotional issues that impact young people today.
We encourage our staff and parents to be especially attentive to any student who may be impacted by the show. Also listen for any students who are talking about suicide or making statements such as “you are the 5th reason I am thinking about hurting myself.”
The district will also send some information to our parents to encourage them to be aware of this new series and be prepared to talk with their student if they are engaged in watching the show. It really is an opportunity for parents to have a conversation about some critical issues that many of our young people face today.
This review by Common Sense Media of the Netflix Series may be helpful to parents and teachers.
Parents and teachers may also want to use this guide to important conversations to have with their teens who watch the series:
Additionally, the Georgia Department of Education has released information regarding this show in this week’s newsletter, which is also attached for your reference.
I want to be perfectly clear that I am not advocating that our students watch this show, but am sharing the existence of the show with you, as many of our students at Dodgen are already talking about it. The resources provided are to keep you abreast of what our students may already have already been exposed to or heard about. The resources included for recommendations and talking points are for information only should you be interested in them.