Luke Smith firmly believes that all students need a positive relationship with their teacher and that all students can learn at high levels with necessary teacher expectations, differentiated instruction, and academic support. Helping students reach their potential means that both his math students and the student-athletes he coaches are striving to do their best. Mr. Smith says, "I can think of several students who hated math prior to my class and are now challenging themselves in some of the most difficult math courses offered at our school." He continues," Every student-athlete I have ever coached has graduated on time. In the past four years, 20 out of 21 student-athletes have qualified and signed scholarships to play [in college]. More importantly, they are succeeding academically at the next level as well." Mr. Smith joined the staff at Norcross HS as a math teacher in 2013. Prior to his work at Norcross, he taught at Eagle’s Landing High School in Henry County (2011-2013) and in Clarke County Schools (2009-2011). He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Georgia.
The Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence recently received more than $1,100 in grant money from the Norcross Art Splash Festival. The grant was created and is given out to support art and education in the City of Norcross. The Norcross Foundation is reinvesting this money back into the high school by giving this money to the Norcross High School art department to use in purchasing a Multiplex display/Exhibit system.
More students than ever are taking art for 3-4 years. The advanced students are working on large-scale paintings, and the Art Department does not have enough wall space needed to display this kind of college level studio work. The Multiplex display/Exhibit system is made up of large portable display panels that will allow NHS art students to have their own space to create, and later display, their paintings.
In addition to being used everyday during instruction, these new exhibit panels will be of vital importance in NHS’s annual community Art Show celebrating the artistic accomplishments of NHS art students. There are currently 992 students participating in the Visual Arts department this academic year, and 28 students creating AP and IB portfolios
Congratulations to the NHS 2016-17 Teacher of the Year, Luke Smith and finalists Melinda Byrne & Robert Katz!
Over 70 NHS teachers were nominated by their colleagues for this year's Teacher of the Year award. A selection committee narrowed these nominees down to three finalists based on their applications. The GCPS Teacher Of the Year nominees' applications were scored with a rubric that consisted of 5 domains: Philosophy and Beliefs, Innovative Instructional Strategy, Impact on Student Achievement, Community Involvement Project, and Professional Learning Activities. This award is not only recognition of the great things that Mr. Smith does in the classroom; it is also a celebration of all of the great things NHS teachers and staff do each and every day within the school.
Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence Hosted Ribbon Cutting & Unveiling of Norcross High’s Newly Renovated Media Center
Norcross, GA March 9, 2016 – On March 7, 2016 the NHS Foundation for Excellence hosted a ribbon cutting and unveiling ceremony for the newly renovated NHS Media Center. The event took place in the school’s Media Center located at 5300 Spalding Drive, Norcross, GA 30092
The Foundation, and its many generous supporters, donated $50,000 towards this new renovation. “The Foundation selected the Media Center renovation project as the focus for our capital improvement budget to help the high school create a collaborative learning centered space for innovative teaching and learning”, said Elizabeth Gross, NHS Foundation Co-President In addition to parent Challengers (NHS families who take the challenge to support the Foundation with a donation of $1,000 or more), the City of Norcross, the City of Peachtree Corners, the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation, the Peachtree Corners Business Association, Glenfield Capital, and others have graciously contributed to the Foundation to help fund this much needed renovation at the high school. Mayor Mike Mason (Peachtree Corners), Gwinnett Co. School Board Member, Dr. MaryKay Murphy, and Gwinnett Commissioner, Lynnette Howard were all present at the ribbon cutting.
Some of the new additions in the renovated NHS Media Center include: moveable furniture & large collaborative works stations for various size learning groups; Sharewalls - writeable wall surfaces; Media –Scape learning centers that accommodate various types of electronic devices and various size study groups; paint & lighting; soft seating for individual and group work. Lauren Hagey, NHS Media Specialist sums up the renovation in this way: “Much like a studio where people create, tinker, share and reflect, we designed our Media Center to create a more fluid, flexible space for formal and informal learning.” NHS Media Specialist, Christine Pulliam adds, “this renovation will enable our NHS staff and students to connect as a community of learners.”
$21,500 in Teacher Grants and Instructional Funds Awarded by Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence
If you were in attendance at the recent Norcross vs. Duluth high school basketball games, you heard the volume of applause when this year’s teacher grants were announced. Norcross played at home that evening in the House of Blue, and the Blue Devil crowd was quite vocal as $21,500 in grants and instructional funds were awarded to Norcross High by the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence. “Our faculty is excited about the classrooms grants the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence awarded. This is another example of how our community supports excellence in our school" explains Principal Will Bishop. “We appreciate the generosity of the Foundation and our community. The support we receive is tremendous.”
The nationally recognized school is diverse, with an International Baccalaureate program boasting high achievement in academics, arts and athletics. The school’s students and faculty are also the fortunate beneficiaries of a surrounding community that continues to offer a level of commitment that positions students, tomorrow’s leaders, with opportunities to “win” inside and outside the classroom. “ "It’s a great time to be a Blue Devil" is a recurring statement often heard in our Norcross community,” states Foundation Co-President Elizabeth Gross. “There is a strong partnership between the NHS Foundation and Norcross High School. With an ongoing commitment to support the academics, arts and athletics at Norcross High, the entire student body benefits and a culture of excellence is continually fostered. "We believe that we will win” is another often heard chant and summarizes the culture of the school quite well."
Thanks to the generous contributions from parents, faculty, alumni, community members, and the business community, the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence provided the $21,500 in grants to 29 teachers in 9 departments. With this significant contribution, students will be afforded additional opportunities otherwise not possible. In times of tight budgets, these grants provide teachers with vital resources to enhance student learning. The greatest opportunity to impact student learning is in the classroom and with the additional support, the bar continues to be raised for our children. A comprehensive summary of all the grant-funded requests is below. View the impressive list of what has been provided to the faculty and students.
Since inception in 2001, the Norcross Foundation for Excellence has raised over $1.2 million dollars for reinvestment back into Norcross High School. To learn more about the history of the NHS Foundation of Excellence, its mission, and how to become involved, visit the website at www.norcrosshighfoundation.org and “Like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nhsfoundation.
Click here for summary of the 2014-15 Teacher Grants
The greatest opportunity to impact student learning is in the classroom. Thanks to the generous contributions from parents, faculty, alumni, community members, and the business community, the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence is pleased to award $20,000 in grants to 50 teachers in 12 departments. This is an increase of $5,000 over what was given in 2012.
Committed to its partnership with Norcross High School, the Foundation continually supports academics, arts, and athletics, benefitting the entire student body and fostering a culture of excellence. In times of tight budgets, these grants provide teachers with vital resources to enhance student learning.
To learn more about the history of the Foundation, its mission, how to become involved, and to see a comprehensive summary of all the grant-funded requests, visit the Foundation Website at www.norcrosshighfoundation.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nhsfoundation.
Click here for full list of 2013 Teacher Grants
Norcross, GA – The Allstate Foundation has awarded a $1,000 Hands in the Community grant to the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence in recognition of Debbie Dykes and the Debbie Dykes Allstate Agency for her service to the Norcross and Peachtree Corners community. "We are so appreciative of The Allstate Foundation for their support and for recognizing the outstanding contributions Debbie has made in our community" said Foundation president Chris Saunders. "This has been an amazing year for Norcross High School as we have celebrated successes in academics, arts, and athletics. Through the support of organizations like The Allstate Foundation, we are able to continue to provide support to our teachers and students in ways that would not be possible otherwise."
Over the past eleven years, the Norcross High School Foundation For Excellence has funded numerous projects. Most recently the Foundation completed Blue Devil Plaza, a beautifully landscaped student courtyard area around the school flagpole. In addition, the Foundation provides numerous teacher grants, facility improvements, and funding for After School Matters, a program designed to increase graduation rates and prepare students for college or a career.
About the Debbie Dykes Allstate Agency: As an Allstate agent who has lived in Norcross for 20 years,she knows many local families. Her knowledge and understanding of the people in the community help her provide over 3,500 customers with an outstanding level of service. She looks forward to helping families protect the things that are important – family, home, car and more. She and her team can also help you prepare a strategy to achieve your financial goals.
Allstate has been serving satisfied customers for over 80 years. Customers count on outstanding financial strength and superior claims service to help protect what they value most. Allstate delivers on their promise. Their outstanding financial strength and superior claims service received an A+ (Superior) rating by A.M. Best. Quality service, strength and satisfaction – that’s something Debbie Dykes Agency is proud to be a part of. Debbie can be reached at 770-242-6355.
About the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence: The Foundation is a 501c3 organization founded in 2001 with a generous gift from Mr. Paul Duke. Its mission is to partner with Norcross High School and the Norcross, Georgia community in continual support of Norcross High School as a world class school. Its goals are to improve facilities of the school, promote equity among all students and develop and strengthen the academic, artistic and athletic capabilities of the students. For more information on how to get involved with the NHS Foundation for Excellence, contact Mr. Chris Saunders at 404-680-0523.
From the Patch. Published April 29, 2013
Three honorees were also recognized at the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence fund-raising event.
On a clear spring evening Norcross High School supporters crowded the registration table to collect their tickets and name tags for the Annual NHS Foundation's Spring Gala held at The Fields Club on Friday.
It's the biggest event of the year for the NHS Foundation of Excellence which raises funds to support the school's academic, athletic and art departments.
Some 465 people attended the outdoor event that was staged under the stars at the Peachtree Corners subdivision's pool and recreation area with live music provided by resident Terry Evans and his six-piece band, Terry Lee & the GT's.
"It was a very successful event Friday," said Weare Gratwick, one of the foundations board members. "We raised over $96,000 this year; a significant increase over the $81,500 we raised last year."
And along with an opportunity to contribute to the school, the foundation also recognized three people who have been a significant part of the school's history.
This year, Richard Southerland, a psychology teacher for many years and who is involved in the school's Relay for Life program, was one of the honorees. "The first day I stepped into the classroom, I knew I was where I was supposed to be," said Southerland who taught at the old Beaver Ruin campus for 18 years. "NHS is the best kept secret in Gwinnett."
Susan Stripling, was honored posthumously. A former English teacher, she started teaching at NHS in 1974 and has an elementary school named after her, Stripling Elementary School in Norcross. Her daughter Taylor and son Todd, both graduates of NHS spoke in her behalf.
"Thank you, we are so pleased that Mama is being honored," said Taylor Stripling. And Todd remembered fondly as a student in her high school English class he called her "Mama" and so did all of the other students.
Also recognized for her years of service, was Cass York who began as a teacher before serving as administrative assistant for 18 years serving with three principals. Jonathan Patterson, Judy Rogers and Mary Ann Sharon.
"It was such a pleasure to work with all of you," York said. "It's really an honor. "I could not have picked three better bosses to work for."
Part of the event includes the opportunity for supporters to buy bricks, which are actual wishes that teachers and departments submit for supplies not funded by the county.
"We sold 232 "bricks" this year totalling $23,363. Last year we sold 215 bricks and raised $18,471," said Gratwick. "The balance of the funds raised from the gala goes into the foundation's budget for next year which funds our mission to support academics, the arts and athletics including classroom grants in the fall, the After School Matters program and various capital improvement projects."
The evening also included a silent auction and raffle. California Pizza Kitchen, located in Peachtree Corners, sponsored the gala.
Visit the foundation's website for more information.
See complete Patch Article.
By Melinda Byrne
NHS ESOL Teacher
In 2001 a group of parents and community members formed the Foundation for Excellence to support Norcross High School. For over a decade, the Foundation has received donations from hundreds of families, corporations, and other organizations to help fund programs that directly impact teaching and learning. The Foundation’s generous contributions, totaling close to one million dollars, have had a profound effect on the entire school as well as the Norcross community.
Academically, the Foundation for Excellence has generously and consistently supported teachers and students. To illustrate, at the onset of each school year, the Foundation provides teachers with classroom supplies, helping to offset teachers’ out of pocket expenses, and the Foundation annually offers teacher scholarships to staff members who are pursuing graduate degrees. Many classrooms have benefitted from the donation of PowerPoint remote clickers, interactive whiteboards, and Greenfoot gaming that helps students learn JAVA in order to make programming more interesting. Shawn Wilson, Social Studies teacher, thinks that these contributions make classes more engaging, as the implementation of these materials increases student understanding and allows teachers to assess learning and shortcomings on the spot. I have personally seen the benefit of the Foundation’s generosity when public bus passes were donated for student use. Many of my students without transportation were given bus passes if they utilized after school tutoring opportunities. These students would not have the option to stay after school without a means of transport.
In the Arts department, the Foundation has provided sheet music for spring concerts as well as costly orchestra instruments. Martha Cook, Visual Arts teacher said, “I don't know how 3D Design, Sculpture, or AP 3-D Design ever survived without the table belt sander that the Foundation bought for us. We use it so much! It has helped sand the rough edges off so many sculptures and helped in the construction of more projects than you can imagine. It is so much more than a time saver; it has been an integral tool in the creation of many beautiful and award winning pieces of art.” According to Theater Director Gina Parrish, “Because of the generosity of the NHS Foundation, I have been able to involve more students in productions who would not have been able to participate, and we have been fortunate enough to upgrade our facility's light and sound equipment. Their support has made the difference between this being a simply good high school facility and an outstanding facility and department.”
In the same vein, the Foundation has helped the school at large in contributions of athletic equipment for basketball and field maintenance for baseball. The Foundation has also funded After School Matters, a year-long extracurricular program to help at-risk students. At Christmas, the Foundation magnanimously sent gift cards to the Care Team to provide financial support for homeless families, and last month, in the school beautification effort, the Foundation installed an outdoor flagpole plaza for student use.
The Foundation’s ongoing benevolence allows Norcross to do things other schools only dream of doing. The Foundation validates our community, supports teaching and learning, and makes us proud to be on the Norcross team. To say that we are grateful is an understatement. We are extremely fortunate at Norcross to be supported by a group of parents and community members who have an unbridled focus on improving our school and directly impacting students.
To support this mission, the Foundation of Excellence will host the 2013 Gala VIII on April 26th at the Fields Club. The Gala is the soiree of the season for the entire Norcross community and the premier fundraising event of the year. On behalf of the Norcross teachers and the Foundation board members, thank you for your support, and we hope to see you on the 26th! Find additional information about the 2013 Gala VIII and purchase tickets here: http://www.norcrosshighfoundation.org/gala.html.
Read the following article from the Norcross Patch
By Judy Putnam and Sarah Bakhtiari
The Norcross High School Foundation of Excellence gathered for its Winter Celebration on Wednesday at the Neely Farm clubhouse which was open to the community.
The gathering included the foundation's board members, school teachers, coaches, a former and the present school principal and parents who have children attending the high school.
"We come here to celebrate Norcross High School," said Chris Saunders, this year's foundation president.
The Foundation, which was founded in 2001, was created by forwarding thinking parents and supporters who wanted to find ways to provide funds each year to enhance the school's academic and athletic programs.
At the gathering, and still basking in the school's first state football championship, Coach Keith Maloof talked about the school and the foundation's impact on the school.
"The foundation is unbelievable for our community," said Maloof who has been at NHS for 14 years. "It's not just about winning a state championship, we are special because of the support of the foundation, the community and the teachers.
"We are winning state championships every day in the classroom," he said. "It's not to say we don't have our problems, we do. But we conquer our problems and we move on."
Also on hand for the evening was Jay Nebel, who has been named Gwinnett County's Teacher of the Year. Nebel is also the assistant coach for the Lady Blue Devils basketball team who won this year's state championship title.
"I'm so blessed to be at Norcross High School," said Nebel, who also teaches Social Studies. "Coaches teach too and it's wonderful to have the chance to impact the lives of the students in a positive way."
The foundation is working on plans for its 2013 Spring Gala, its largest fund-raising event which will be held April 26. Last year the foundation was able to raise nearly $100,000 for the school. Monies have been used to support the school both athletically and academically.
One of its new programs, introduced in the current school year is "After School Matters," an after-school program to help academically challenged students to get additional help outside of the classroom so they can remain on track to graduate.
"These are kids that don't have the resources or are not engaged in school," said Saunders, "so we launched this program with Mr. Bishop (Norcross HS Principal).
Currently the foundation's donations are helping to support 55 high schoolers who are in jeopardy of failing one or more classes. "If kids can get through the 9th grade, then the odds improve dramatically that they will graduate," said Bishop.
Aaron Lupuloff, the foundation's vice president, pointed out that it is the strong support by the community that is the key to a successful school.
"This community takes supporting the school seriously," he said. "Our kids spend more time at school then at home and the foundation supports the teachers so we can keep the best and brightest teachers."
The NHS foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, visit the foundation's website to make a donation or to learn more.