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Class Notes: Community service work set at Centennial
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Fifth-graders at Centennial Arts Academy will be helping soldiers, the homeless and the elderly for their service learning projects this year.

“All classes will be working on a service learning project of some kind. Each class gets to choose their project,” said Dallas Thompson, a fifth-grade teacher at the school. “Some will feed the homeless, some will make cards for sick children in the hospital or for the elderly, some will create skits or stories to read at the Guest House.”

The service learning projects will take place the last Tuesday of every month.

One of the projects will honor the memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Students will send a care package to a soldier from North Georgia serving in Afghanistan.

Last year was the first time Centennial fifth-graders participated in the 9/11 care package project, sending cookies, playing cards, drawings, letters and other items to a soldier, along with a picture of the class. They will repeat the project this year with help from students in other grade levels.

The service learning days center around three main types of projects: the 9/11 care packages, making sandwiches for the homeless and visiting The Guest House.

More information about the service learning days is available on Thompson’s website at

Spout Springs is Georgia SHAPE school of the month for keeping students active

Spout Springs School of Enrichment keeps its kids active throughout the day.

The state Department of Education has featured the Flowery Branch school as Georgia SHAPE school of the month thanks to the school’s participation in the Power Up for 30 program, which has a goal of increasing physical activity by at least 30 minutes a day.

The school was chosen because it provides plenty of breaks to let students stay active, as well as wellness-oriented classes.

Chances to be active include daily physical education and recess periods, “brain breaks” in the classrooms and running clubs after school. The wellness classes are held once a week and include such activities as karate, dance, soccer and Zumba.

The school also partners with wellness-oriented organizations such as the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

“Over the years, getting kids to move has made a tremendous difference at Spout Springs,” the education department said in a written announcement. “Test scores have increased each year and discipline referrals are down almost 30 percent.”

“It increases engagement in the classroom because there is no right or wrong answer and everyone is capable of performing,” Susan Minton, a third-grade teacher, said in the announcement. “It brings joy back in the classroom.”

Georgia SHAPE is a program in which partners, including the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Department of Education, athletic teams and other organizations, work to create more active school environments. It provides a standardized fitness assessment and other wellness resources to participating schools throughout Georgia.


Jennifer Jacob Brown covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:


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