• Cooper Principal's Message
  • Cooper Chronicles (5-20-20)

    Dear Friends and Family,

    Here we are... day 180 of the most memorable, weird, and perhaps BEST school year EVER!  I can't help but think of a few groups of people... kindergartners going through their first year of school with so much uncertainty at the end, our fifth graders that have, what some would say, robbed of their 'rights and privileges' of being a fifth grader, and our new teachers and administrators that will ALWAYS remember their first year in the position and how it was impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.  The 2019-2020 school year did bring many challenges, but it also brought many blessings.  As a school, we have done things that we never would have thought to do... a community 'love' parade; live lessons via Zoom or Google Meet; yard signs, goodie bags, chalk art, and other surprise visits; a virtual Jr. Beta Club induction ceremony; and yesterday's 5th grade Drive By Moving On celebration.  I, for one, hope that we are able to keep some of these elements in place when we return to 'normal'.  I cannot imagine having done all of this with anyone else than the Cooper ES community.  Our faculty, staff, parents, and students have truly shone brightly during this difficult time.  It makes me soooo proud as the leader of this school to see how we have all come together to make the best lemonade out of the truckload of lemons we had been given.  We are truly BETTER TOGETHER.

    As we wrap up this weird year, we need to coordinate the pick up of your child's personal items that had been left behind, and also gather all of the school's materials back from you.  We have a plan... please take a few moments to read the details found in the attached documents.  We ask that you adhere to the guidelines for your safety and the safety of our staff members.  We also want to be as efficient as possible... returning items to over 1,500 students requires coordination and cooperation :-)  Here is a quick view of the pick up schedule.  If you have more than one child at Cooper, you certainly can pick up all of your children's items when you pick up. 

    Cooper ES Materials Pick Up Procedures May 2020.pdf 

    • Wednesday, May 27
      • 3rd Grade, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
      • 5th Grade, 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
    • Thursday, May 28
      • 1st Grade, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
      • 4th Grade, 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM
    • Friday, May 29
      • Kindergarten, 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
      • 2nd Grade, 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM

    If yearbooks are shipped by the time the pick up days begin, we will put your child's purchased yearbook in their bag.  If we do not have them by then, we will coordinate a yearbook pick up time later.

    To all of our 5th grade students... I am so proud of you!  Thank you for working so hard this year.  I am mildly depressed that we could not have captured all your learning on the Georgia Milestones this year... I know you guys would have nailed them!  Make us proud as you go on to middle school.  Keep working hard.  Parents, thank you for your support of our school and your student.  It takes all of us to make the magic of learning happen.

    Finally, to our families that are not returning next year... thank you for your support.  Please let us know if we can do anything to help you with your transition to your new school.  We will miss you.  Remember... once a Tiger, always a Tiger.

    To all... stay healthy, stay safe, and be good.

    Your VERY PROUD and RELIEVED Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (5-12-20)

    Good morning Cooper Tigers.  Hope your Tuesday has been blissful so far.

    Two things... the collection box for any teacher materials or media center materials (books) will be placed in the bus lane, weather permitting, or under the front awning DAILY from 8:30 - 3:00.  Library books (Cooper ES bar code on back) do not need to be bagged.  Teacher materials, including Safety Patrol Belts, should be bagged and labeled with student name and teacher name so we can get those items back to the classroom

    Second thing... and most important... this is our flex week... a week for your teachers to aggressively pursue the completion of any assignments that have yet to be done AND/OR reteach and reassess low summative grades.  Please, please, please take a look at your child's SUMMATIVE GRADE, paying particular attention to any NTI (Not Turned In) and get those items done ASAP.  Grades will be finalized VERY SOON.  Our duty is to encourage, inspire, and harass students/parents to get missing work in... an NTI in the grade book averages as a ZERO... a zero kills a students average PARTICULARLY in the SUMMATIVE CATEGORY that typically has less grades than the other categories.  Work with your child's teacher to come up with a plan so their 2nd semester report card accurately reflects your child's academic growth/achievement.

    Thanks, and have a TIGERriffic Day!

    P

  • Cooper Chronicles (5-8-20)

    Happy Friday afternoon Tigers.  I hope all of you are doing well.

    Thank you to everyone that has returned library and classroom materials over the past two days.  Even though it was a rainy day, we collected about twice as much as we did yesterday.  Thank you.  We will continue to have the box in the bus lane, weather permitting, or under the awning for you to return items.  FIFTH GRADE SAFETY PATROL... we need your belts/vests also.

    The week of May 11 begins our Flex Week... this is time set aside for teachers to work with individuals and/or small groups of students to reteach and reassess skills that they have not yet been able to show mastery.  Please, please, please... if your teacher is asking your child to redo something or complete something, IT MATTERS, so please support your child and their teacher as much as possible.  The grading window closes soon, and we want our students to do as well as possible.  For those student that all is caught up and done well, YOU ARE NOT DONE WITH SCHOOL... you teacher has planned some great activities for you to keep your saw sharpened :-)

    We are currently making plans to have families pick up student items left at the school, as well as yearbooks, spring pictures, certificates, etc. the week of Memorial Day.  I will communicate a precise schedule as we approach that time.

    I can't tell you how proud I am of our faculty, staff, and students as they have all done such a great job navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.  I still stand firmly on the belief that we will be stronger as a school, community, and country when we get to the other side.  That really depends on our collective attitudes towards change and improving our own outlook on things.  If the Cooper ES community is any indication of how we will respond as a nation, I can say with certainty that we will be in good shape.  Thank you, moms, dads, older siblings, grandparents, and every one else that has supported your student through all of this.  Though we have pushed to have an increased level of parental involvement, I promise that we never had anything like this planned.  You all have stepped up and shown out... thank you for your efforts and dedication to your child and our school.

    Take the weekend to refresh and unplug.  Let's come back Monday with a can do spirit so we can finish COOPER STRONG.  

    We are truly BETTER TOGETHER.

    Until next time, be safe, be good, and be healthy!

    Your VERY PROUD and OPTIMISTIC Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (5-6-20)

    Good afternoon Tigers,

    We are beginning the process of closing schools for the year.  SCHOOL CONTINUES through May 18.  However, we can begin accepting media center materials/books that your child may have at home, as well as teacher/classroom materials.

    We will have a LARGE box in the bus rider lane beginning at 9 AM Thursday, May 7 for you to drive by and deposit these items.  No need to get out of your vehicle.  The box will be brought in daily at 3 PM. As long as the weather cooperates we'll have the box out there.

    Media center books have a Cooper Elementary bar code on the back.  The items are checked out to your student, so when the barcode is scanned the system will know to remove that item from your child's account.

    Teacher/Classroom Materials... this is not so clear and easy.  Our teachers have focused this year on building up their classroom libraries.  Most of these items are bought by the teacher, and I know they really want their stuff back.  Please place these items in a baggie or plastic bag.  Seal the best you can and make sure your child's name AND the teacher's name is on the outside of the bag.  

    Since learning is continuing, please do not bring items your child needs to be successful.  We ARE NOT accepting Chromebooks at this time since they are still needed.

    I will be sending out a schedule for you to pick up student items later... we are planning for the T, W, and Th after Memorial Day for this.

    Thank you all for your help. We appreciate being your partner in all of this chaoss.

    Be good, be healthy, and stay calm.

    Your VERY PROUD and SCRAMBLED Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (5-4-20)

    Good afternoon Tigers!

    You should have received or will receive an emailed progress report from your child's teacher if your child is in 1st-5th grade.  Please look at the progress report carefully.

    The last six weeks have certainly provided our school and our community with a plethora of challenges.  Cooper Elementary School students, teachers, parents, and support staff have done an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING job adjusting practices as we have all become better with digital learning.  Let's make sure we finish strong.

    If your student has a failing average for any subject this quarter, then I would strongly encourage you to coordinate a plan with your child's teacher to see which assessments/assignments can be redone.  Work that did not show mastery (below 70%) can be redone for a replacement grade. This is only for assignments given during the digital learning days (March 16-Present).  The key message to this process is to communicate with your child's teacher to coordinate a plan.

    Thank you for your time and diligence as we push to the end... stay strong Cooper!

    #BetterTogether!

    Your VERY PROUD and EXCITED Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (4-28-20)

    Good afternoon Cooper Tigers.  I hope you have had the opportunity to get out of the house today and enjoy the sunshine!

    It feels like forever since I last communicated with you.  I don't have a lot of information to give you, but I hope what I do offer is somewhat beneficial.

    Let's go over the givens once more...

    1. No one asked to be in the situation we are in
    2. No one can control the situation we are in
    3. EVERY ONE is doing the very best they can
    4. Cooper ES faculty and staff LOVE our kids and our community

    We continue to choose to use two fundamental concepts as we approach our learning and moving forward... FLEXIBILITY and GRACE.  I would invite you to contact me if you do not feel that you or your situation has not received either or both of these fundamental principles.  I want to know what I can do to better serve you, your needs, and our community.

    I have had the opportunity to visit many homes of our students over the last few weeks.  Some are deliveries of learning packets or Chromebooks.  Some are 'just because' visits.  I will tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed getting out and into your neighborhoods.  I have loved the conversations we have had (keeping a safe distance :-), and the ideas and suggestions you have offered.  I have appreciated the accolades you have offered your child's teacher and the compliments given to our support staff as they have continued to support teaching and learning through it all.  I wish I could visit with everyone...

    OK... here is the good stuff... you know we are exercising the Flex Friday approach, where Friday is used as a 'catch up' day, meet with your teacher day, or anything that needs to get done day.  In this spirit, we are offering the week of May 11 as a Flex Week... a week to catch up, a week to redo, a week to wrap up the school year.  So, no new content will be provided after Thursday, May 7.  However, it is not a time to drop off the radar.  Stay in contact with your teacher, take advantage of the fun activities that will be planned and finalize those things that need to be finalized for this school year.

    I want to offer some encouragement for those that feel like letting go now... You can do this!  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel (and it's not a train!).  Finish strong.  Let us help you in anything you need help with... we care about you and we care about your family.

    Here are some things that are also share-worthy...

    • Yearbooks, class pictures, and other items that are at school will be picked up.  I do not know when at this time, but I assure you that we will make sure you get your stuff.  Some lunchboxes/containers with interesting and unidentifiable contents in classrooms have been disposed of... sorry.
    • Field Day Shirts... refunds are in the process of being issued if you paid for a Field Day shirt.  The refund will be through MyPaymentsPlus.  Keep an eye out for it.
    • Other refunds for field trips and other activities that did not take place will be processed also.  If you have any questions, as your child's teacher or club sponsor for more information.
    • Tiger Trackers and BETA Club Induction... we are working on a plan for these to activities... hang in there for details.
    • Report Cards will be mailed by the district.  We have been given a timeline from the district for us to send them our report cards.  If you need to update your address, please call the school so we can make sure your child's report card gets to the right spot.
    • Kindergarten Registration... if you have a child that will be 5 on or before September 1, 2020, please register him or her ONLINE by visiting our website and following the registration link.  You can upload all required documents digitally.  Do you have a neighborhood friend that has a child ready to come to kindergarten?  Make sure you let them know how to register their child.  

    I think that's all for now.  I am very proud of our community and our professionals that are making this unfortunate crisis the best that it can be... I look forward to seeing you all soon.

    Your VERY PROUD and GRATEFUL Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (4-13-20)

    Well hello Cooper Tigers.  I hope this edition of the Cooper Chronicles finds you in good health and good spirits.

    If you are in the health care field, or support a person in the health care field, my hat goes off to you!  I know things have been tough, and I thank you for your service to our community.

    I wanted to reach out to you with a TON of information, so I beg your forgiveness upfront for the length of this email...

    So, we find ourselves settled in for the long-haul with the digital learning.  As I am sure you know, Gwinnett County Public Schools has announced that digital learning will continue till May 20th, the original and official last day of school.  Our teachers and support staff have done a stellar job planning, adjusting, and providing quality instruction, assessments, and other materials for you and your family.  I can't thank them enough for the job they have done and continue to do.  I have found our teachers to be flexible and responsive to the needs that have been presented to them.

    To give an insight on the behind the scenes of our digital learning experience, we have had two operating terms that we always go back to as we deal with different situations and barriers to learning... Flexibility and Grace.  I hope that you would agree with me that, when needed, you and your family have been extended these two attributes as needed.  We will continue with our digital learning days with those two overarching principles in place.

    As we have seemingly have centered on how digital learning takes place, it is time to communicate some important aspects of this new way of doing school.  But first, let me state the obvious... 1) our teachers, support staff, and students have done a wonderful job and have showed an extraordinary amount of patience as we have found our center; 2) none of us ever thought we would be faced with the amount/length of digital learning; 3) we have had students in the building, learning at the expected pace and at the expected rigor for 75% of the school year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; and, 4) the "show" must go on... we have the charge and responsibility to provide an excellent education for those boys and girls enrolled at our school.

    Grading: students will be receiving grades during digital learning.  We do not have a "no harm" clause when it comes to grading.  Student grades will reflect their performance on the tasks they are provided.  If a student does not complete an assignment, the teacher will communicate with the student and/or family about the need for completion.  The student will receive an NTI (Not Turned In) as a grade after the teacher has attempted to collect the work.  This serves two purposes... one is to let the student and family know that the work still needs to be complete, and also to allow the teacher to manage her/his class with missing work more easily.  Quizzes and tests will be administered as well, and those grades will be recorded.  This is an area that I have asked teachers to be sure they are exercising the FLEXIBILITY and GRACE mentioned above.

    Flexible Fridays: Fridays are now referred to as Flexible Fridays.  It is not a day off for teachers and/or students.  It is a day for teachers to confer with students, a time for reteaching and reassessment, and a day for students to catch up on the weeks learning.  No new material will be presented on Fridays.

    Paper Packets: Some families have relied on paper packets picked up from the school on a weekly basis.  Last week we began doing our best to limit the number of paper packets needed by identifying the circumstances that necessitated the need for paper packets, i.e. lack of appropriate technology, internet access issues, etc.  We have identified the need to help some families with checking out Chromebooks, and continue to rely on our classroom teachers to help us identify those that may still need a help in this area.  The problem with paper packets is that we do not have a system to collect those from families.  I've asked teachers that have students relying on paper packets to communicate how work will be collected, graded, and provided feedback.  If you are family that relies on paper packets, let's see what we can do as a school to get you digital.  Communicate with your teacher(s) to see what a possible remedy is and if we can help out with that.

    Retrieving Personal Items From Classrooms: We do not currently have a process in place at the moment for our students to retrieve personal items from their classroom.  I anticipate that when the 'Shelter in Place' order is rescinded (currently May 1) the school will communicate a plan for students to get their materials. In the meantime, know that classrooms are the same now as they were on March 12, which was the last time students were in the building. We will also need to distribute yearbooks and spring pictures when they arrive.  Anticipate communication in the future about this.

    Digital Learning Day Help Resources: Go to this link, or visit our school's web page for help information.  https://www.gcpsk12.org/domain/11852

    Tutor.Com: Information for this free tutoring is available through the district's website, school website, Gwinnett County Public Library System website, as well as the W.J. Cooper Elementary eCLASS landing page.  Take advantage of it if needed.

    Virtual Field Days: Coach Williams and Coach Bridges were so excited about this year's field day.  They were looking to mix things up a bit, and looking forward to having as many parents here as kids.  However, IT happened.  Keep some eyes out for an invitation to participate in Virtual Field Days... it is going to be a blast!

    Be Present: We are constantly looking at the digital fingerprints that students are leaving behind as they learn, and we are aggressively pursuing students that have "dropped off" from digital learning by making home visits, notes on doors, phone calls, emails, texts, etc.  We need for our students to be present as much as possible.  Student presence looks different now than it did a month ago, be we still need that level of engagement.  If you have not heard from someone at the school, then we probably don't have your best contact information.  If this is the case, call the school and update your number and email so we can help get your student engaged.

    It is my hope that we never get back to what we considered "normal"... not as a school, and not as a country.  I look forward to the day when all of our faculty, staff, and students are in the hallways, filling the school with energy and excitement.  I want us all to enjoy each other more.  I want our students to have a new zeal for learning and a deeper appreciation of the whole-school experience (learning and social aspects).  I want our teachers and students to continue using some of the tools we have been forced to use during this time to enhance our learning and networking experiences. I want our community to appreciate each individual more and more, and to continue to look out and support one another.  I want our businesses that have been hit so hard to have our overwhelming support when we are able to get out and about.  Finally, I want our country to remember these times and how it required so many unsung heros to step up and save us... not only from the virus, but from each other.

    I know this has been A LOT, but please take time to read, and keep handy if you need to reference it in the future.  Thank you for all you are doing to support your child during all of this, and remember to let us help you where ever we can.

    Until we meet again, be good, be safe, and STAY HEALTHY!

    Your VERY PROUD and APPRECIATIVE Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (4-6-20)

    Happy Monday morning Cooper Tigers.  I hope that you and your family were able to put aside school last week and just focus on staying healthy and enjoying each other.

    The Friday before Spring Break was a fantastic day for our school... I know we weren't able to get into all neighborhoods or on every street, but we had nearly 150 cars divided into three groups that went to show our love for you by beeping, yelling, and making all kinds of noise.  To be honest, it was a very emotional experience for me seeing our faculty and staff come out to show that love, and for so many of you that came out to give us someone to beep at :-)  We love you and we love our community.  Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

    As I am sure you know, Governor Kemp has closed school building for the remainder of this school year.  What does that mean for us?  Gwinnett County Public Schools has begun Week 3 of our Digital Learning Days (DLDs) today.  The decision for next week will be made sometime this week... earlier the better, right?  

    There are a couple of things I just need to throw out there...

    1. No one ever thought that we would find ourselves in this situation... but we are in it and it is beyond our control
    2. All staff are working VERY HARD supporting the teaching and learning that is happening
    3. Families throughout our district are working VERY HARD supporting the teaching and learning that is happening
    4. We have families in many different situations and circumstances (available technology, working parents, child care hardships, multiple school age children in the home).  We want to be sensitive to ALL needs and circumstances
    5. We are BETTER TOGETHER no matter what... and we'll continue working together to do what we need to do to get through this.

    The school will be working on plans to get student supplies/materials out of the classrooms.  We are still in the "Shelter in Place" order, and would not want to put families in a compromising situation... your stuff is in good hands at the moment :-)

    When things begin to get overwhelming, be sure to take a step back, count to ten (or a hundred) and focus on the things that are MOST important... the health and well-being of your family.  Communicate with your teacher... set up a phone call or video call, send an email, smoke signals and mirror flashes work also.

    We are constantly adapting our processes to make them more efficient and realistic.  Thank you for your feedback as we continue doing what we love to do... teaching children.

    Stay healthy, stay strong, and be good.

    Until we see each other again,

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (3-17-20)

    Good morning Tigers of all shapes, sizes, and ages.  I trust that yesterday went well as we dipped our toes into digital learning.  Today will be better, and tomorrow even better.

    If your child has celebrated a birthday yesterday, or is celebrating one today, we will write their names on our birthday board and put the picture on our FB page.  Don't follow us on FB?  You should start... W.J. Cooper Elementary (has our signature Tiger brand for easy ID).  Tell your child that we all wish them a very happy birthday!

    Your child's participation is very important as we do our best to continue their learning.  AT MINIMUM, we want to prevent stagnation and the feared "summer slide" phenomenon. At best, we want to use this opportunity to continue our learning AS IF our students and teachers are in our classrooms.

    Classroom teachers are working from home, but most everyone else is in the building, maintaining safe space between each other, and supporting the school's mission and vision of providing excellent service to our community.

    If you find that your child is getting hung up on one assignment too long or an application isn't working, be sure to reach out to your child's teacher.  They are at your service to guide you through their digital learning.

    Remember, if you need to retrieve any items your student will need while schools are closed, call the main office, arrange a time, and come by for pick up.

    Being TIGERs in our community is very important as well.  Maintaining a positive attitude, supporting each other, and keeping an eye out for our neighbors can make these days much more bearable and meaningful for everyone.  We have been provided wonderful opportunities to serve others... how will you use that opportunity?

    Until we see each other again, be good, be safe, and stay healthy.

    Your VERY PROUD and PAJAMA WEARING (really!) Principal,

    Paul 

  • Cooper Chronicles (3-15-20)

    Good evening friends.  I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend and have been able to make all necessary arrangements that our current situation has created.

    Check out the district's website for specific lunch information for any child 18 and younger.  The closest site to many of our families is Lovin Elementary School on New Hope Road.  The website will provide more details.

    For your information, elementary Digital Learning Day begins at 9:00 am.  Your child's teacher will have the content for Day 1 ready at that time.  We understand that there may be multiple school aged children in your home, spanning all three levels (elementary, middle, and high), and that the devices used to access digital learning may have to be shared.  Cooper's teachers have kept this in mind as they have designed learning for your child this week.  However, please know that you can reach out to your teacher anytime to ask questions, express concerns, or seek clarification of assignments.

    Special Areas (PE, Music, Art, and STEM) will be a little different during this time.  Instead of following the classroom teacher's regular rotation, every grade level will have the same special.  See below:

    Monday, 3/16 Special's Schedule

    Kindergarten- PE with Ms. Bridges

    First Grade- Art with Ms. Hawkins

    Second Grade- Music with Mrs. Cernadas

    Third Grade- PE with Mr. Williams

    Fourth Grade- Art with Mrs. Motz

    Fifth Grade- STEM with Mrs. Schnieders

    The school will be open tomorrow on a limited basis.  If you need to come to school to retrieve any item your child will need during the Digital Learning Days, please call ahead of time to coordinate a time with the office staff.  We are exercising Social Distancing, so limiting the number of folks is going to be really important.

    We are all in uncharted waters.  Things continue to change by the minute. I ask that you maintain a positive attitude and continue your support of the school and your child's teacher.  Your child's teacher began preparing for this extended Digital Learning early last week, and so many of our teams have met over the weekend to make sure your child has the best online learning experience.  It doesn't take long to run across negative comments about the decisions that have been made.  Negative comments have negative value... we don't need that.  Stay positive... lead by example.

    We have received a warning that the Digital Learning System may be slow since so many other school school districts around the country use the same platform GCPS does.  If all else fails, have your child read, read, read.  You can't go wrong with that.

    Our district leaders, county leaders, state leaders, and national leaders have been working around the clock on our behalf.  Pray for these folks, pray for your community, state, and country.  A big win will be in a couple of weeks when we look back and say, "Well, we did all that for nothin'!"

    I'll be using this platform to communicate in the days to come, as well as our FB page and website.

    Until we are together again, be good, be safe, and BE POSITIVE!

    Your VERY PROUD and GLASS HALF-FULL Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (3-13-20)

    Dear Friends and Family,

    Well, what can I say?  I have struggled so hard to find a topic to write about in this edition of the Cooper Chronicles.  

    Needless to say, we are in very interesting times.  Never in my lifetime, and I might dare say your lifetime as well, have we gone to such measures for anything.  However, we have people in our community that have had wide spread struggles FAR GREATER than we are facing (think of our Bosnian friends and the early 1990s, and so many others that have fled from war torn countries).  So, as bad as it seems, just remember that many others have had it much worse.  Yes, we will rise above this also.

    So saying that, I want to charge the Cooper Community to be the TIGERs we expect our students to be.  Be TRUSTWORTHY... be a person of INTEGRITY... have a GROWth mindset, knowing that we shall too overcome as a community and a nation... strive for EXCELLENCE in everything... and show RESPECT to each other.  This lemon that has been given to us can easily be turned in to lemonade.  I know we can do that here in the Cooper Community and the Archer Community.

    Some tips for you as we go into this... your child should be reading something every day.  If you want to keep them school ready, don't let them go without reading something.  Let them choose what they want to read just as long as they read it.  My fear is that we will have our students return to school that have "checked out" of anything academic for an extended amount of time.  We have worked way too hard as a school to let something like this trip us up.  

    Communicate with your teacher... if you have a question, ask it.  If you have a suggestion, offer it.  We are a team that needs to work together as a team.

    Enjoy this time as a family.  Pull out the board games that you never have time to play.  Explore the budding flowers and trees that this season brings to us.  Play outside!

    I know it is easy to be great when everything is going fine.  However, GREAT leaders rise in times of adversity and uncertainty.  Be the STEADY ROCKS in your homes, support each other, and be the LEADERS in our community.  We need you.

    Some staff will be in the building next week.  If your child MUST have something that is here, call the school and get a time that we can help you.

    Until we see each other again, be healthy, be wise, be good, and be safe.  We are BETTER TOGETHER!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (3-6-20)

    Happy Friday afternoon friends.  We've enjoyed another sunny day after days of rain... who would have thought we would be in the weather pattern for so long?

    TONIGHT... 6-? is our PTA Movie Night.  The screen is set up, the popcorn is in bags, the drinks are on ice, and the candy is ready.  The only thing we need is YOU.  Come out and enjoy this wonderful FREE event (concessions are a small charge).  Parents... this is not a drop-off event, so please join your child if they want to come.

    There has been a lot of coverage of the COVID-19 epidemic.  I wanted to let you know that our district leaders are connected to state leaders and are monitoring the situation very closely.  We are encouraging our students to wash their hands often, cough/sneeze in the elbow, and to keep their hands from their face.  Each of our classrooms has a disinfectant spray that is used regularly that is both bactericidal and virucidal (who knew I would be using those words in a Cooper Chronicles?).  We want to do our part to minimize the risks of germs being spread.  We ask the same from you.  If you or someone in your family gets sick, please do your best to prevent the spread of germs within your home.  Children that have fevers of 100.4 degrees must stay home, and be fever free for 24 hours WITHOUT medication before they return to school.  This is not a new rule, but a rule that is sometimes forgotten. 

    We must balance our efforts to prevent or minimize the spread of germs without inciting fear in our students and families.  News outlets and social media can provide conflicting information, which leads to confusion.  Only use trusted sources (Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, etc.) to get information.  It is important for all of us, adults and children, to maintain good hygiene practices and continue to be the great students, teachers, staff members, and parents that make this a wonderful community.  Living in fear is for the birds (not a bird flu pun at all... promise!).

    So, until we meet again, BE SAFE, BE GOOD, and STAY HEALTHY!

    Your VERY PROUD and SANITIZED Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (2-28-20)

    Good afternoon friends and family!  Thank you all so much for coming out to enjoy our STEM Night last night... it was a BLAST!  Our teachers and students did amazing jobs preparing for STEM Night... loud shout out to all those that planned and worked the event.

    I have recently sent information regarding the Corona Virus... please take a moment to look over.  The tips are not just for school... they can be applied anywhere.  Let's help keep each other healthy!

    We'd love to have you come out for our PTA Movie Night next Friday, March 6.  Our PTA has Aladdin ready for your viewing pleasure.  Popcorn, pizza, and drinks will be available, as well as some sweet treats.  We'd love to have you.

    Also next week is our READ ACROSS AMERICA WEEK.  We have special things planned each day, and we want to encourage your child's involvement.  Monday is CHARACTER DRESS UP DAY... dress up as your favorite Dr. Seuss book character.  This is also a RELAY FOR LIFE fundraiser, so a $1 donation to wear your costume would be very much appreciated.  TUESDAY is our GRINCHIEST GREEN DAY... wear your greenest of green to show how GRINCHY you can be.  WEDNESDAY is WACKIEST DAY... show how wacky you are by wearing wacky clothing.  THURSDAY is FOXIEST SOCKS DAY... the stranger the socks, the better!  FRIDAY is GRAB YOUR HAT DAY... anytime you get to wear a hat in school is a GREAT DAY.

    Also coming up is our International Night on March 26.  I am SOOOO excited about this event and want to begin encouraging YOUR involvement right now.  One of the reasons I LOVE being part of the Cooper family is because of the cultural diversity we have in our student body, our faculty & staff, and our parents.  This will be a night of learning, enlightenment, and pure entertainment.  Our PTA has created a brief survey that will be coming out VERY SOON.  Take a look at it, share with us your information and how you can help make this night AMAZING.

    That's all we have for now.  Until we meet again, be safe and be good.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles COVID-19 Edition

    Dear Gwinnett County Public Schools families,

    Given recent news reports about cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading in other countries, we wanted to provide our families with an update. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.”

    While health officials say that the risk currently is very low to Americans, they acknowledge that the situation could change and they fully expect we will see more cases here in the United States. As of today, Friday, February 28, 2020, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Georgia. However, knowing that this could change and because our students’ health and safety are a priority we all share, we want to share some basic information with you about this virus and steps our school district is taking to prepare.

    What is COVID-19?

    COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is primarily spread person-to-person through close contact with individuals who are ill with COVID-19.  Like other respiratory viruses, it could also be spread by a person touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his or her mouth, nose, or, possibly, eyes.

    The symptoms of COVID-19 in people are often similar to those of regular seasonal flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Although the majority of cases involve mild illness, patients with COVID-19 can become severely ill.

    GCPS preparation and response:

    In addition to receiving guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC, Gwinnett County Public Schools has a close relationship with the Gwinnett County Health Department. If cases of COVID-19 are confirmed locally, we will be notified and provided guidance to limit the spread of illness.  Additionally, GCPS has a team of leaders that is reviewing and updating the district’s response plans appropriately, based on what is currently known about this virus and the direction we are receiving from health officials.

    What you can do to keep your family healthy:

    That said, when it comes to keeping students healthy, perhaps the most important relationship is the one we have with you. We need your help to prevent the spread of illness in our schools– not just COVID-19, but any kind of illness.

    Below are everyday actions you and your family can take to stay healthy.

    • Sneeze and cough into your elbow or cover with a tissue. In other words, keep germs off your hands. Put used tissues in a wastebasket and then wash your hands.

    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.

    • Don’t share personal items, including toothbrushes, towels, cups/glasses, utensils, etc.

    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe following the instructions on the label.

    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

    • If your children gets sick, please keep them home from school and limit contact with others. If your child is ill and has recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19, or has been around someone who has been infected with COVID-19, contact your child’s healthcare provider immediately.

    If you would like more information about the COVID-19 virus, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.

    COVID-19 GNR Flyer 2.262020.pdf 

    Spanish.GCPS COVID-19 Letter February_28_2020.pdf 

  • Cooper Chronicles (2-21-20)

    Good afternoon Family and Friends.  I hope you had the opportunity to soak up some Vitamin D today... it seems like it has been sometime since we've seen that giant fireball in the sky.  Welcome back, Sun!

    We have just wrapped up a short student week, with Monday being a student holiday and Wednesday and Thursday being late days.  Your teachers have just finished up a long week... with Monday being a staff development day and Wednesday and Thursday being longer days for conferences.  Thank you for coming to meet with your child's teacher, and thank you to those students that had the opportunity to lead their own conference with their parents.  You guys did GREAT!

    Our All-Pro Dad chapter met this morning and had the opportunity to have some great discussions with their children about GENTLENESS.  I believe we could all use a bit of gentleness in our leaves.  It is so impressive to see our dads look their kids in the eye and share their hearts... a very special time that will have an impact on our families for generations.  Next meeting for All Pro Dads is March 20... mark your calendars.  We want you here!

    PICTURE DAY MONDAY... don't forget :-)

    Our annual STEM Night will be held this Thursday, February 27, from 6-8 PM.  This is a great annual event that adults and kids alike will LOVE.  Our STEM Team has planned some wonderful activities for your family.  The Bookfair is also going to be set up, so make sure you come out and have fun with us.

    VOLUNTEERS NEEDED... Mrs. Pemberton is looking for some volunteers to help with the book fair AND guest readers for Read Across America Week.  Check out these two opportunities by clicking the links below (insider tip... act fast, slots fill up quickly!).

    Book Fair Volunteer Opportunity

    Read Across America Volunteer Guest Reader

    Our PTA hosted a great Skate Night last night at Sparkles.  Our first ever PTA Spirit Award Cup was presented to Mrs. Hendrickson's class for having the most participation at this event.  Three classes had six students show, but seven of Mrs. Hendrickson's students came.  Our next PTA event is our PTA MOVIE NIGHT scheduled for Friday, March 6.  Keep an eye out for more details.  We look forward to seeing you here.

    Way down the road... Cooper Elementary School is now a voting precinct.  The elections office has shared that we have about 5,000 registered voters in this area, and our voters LOVE to vote.  If you previously voted at Anchor Church, then odds are you now vote here.  The Georgia Presidential Primary will be held on March 24.  Precincts are open from 7 AM to 7 PM and this is a school day... traffic around the school will be a bit more aggravating :-(  I am telling you this now to 1) order your extra dose of patience and flexibility from AMAZON now to make sure it is delivered on time; and 2) if you are voting here, make sure your neighbors that don't get the Cooper Chronicles will know they will vote here.

    The rain returns on Monday (shocker, I know), so enjoy the sunny weekend.  

    Until we meet again, be safe and be good.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (2-17-20)

    Good evening friends.  I thought that after FOUR days off, it might be a good time to invite everyone back to school!  Welcome back!

    We are entering Conference Week, meaning most of you will be meeting with your child's teacher to discuss his or her successes and challenges, and to jointly make plans to ensure their success by the end of the year.  Though Wednesday and Thursday of this week are EARLY RELEASE DAYS, most of our teachers have conferences scheduled throughout the week.  Don't forget to write a note with any changes to your child's transportation this week.

    How can you get the most of your conference time?  The best thing you can do to prepare for your child's conference is to know where your child is academically.  The best first place to determine this is by looking at their current grades.  Also, have a discussion with your child about school, and take time to listen to him or her as they describe their experiences.  Listen with a keen ear... and ask your teacher about those things that you need clarification on.  Jot down some questions that you expect to have answers to by the end of your conference.  If they are not answered, ask your child's teacher your questions directly.  You may not get an immediate response, but they will get back to you.

    During the conference... BE ON TIME!  This is a message to teachers and parents alike.  We don't have a ton of time, so we MUST make the most of the time we have.  Be ready/willing to take a 'time-out' and reschedule another conference that allows for more time if more time is needed.  We know your time is very valuable and want to make the most of it, but also respect other people's time.  Also, come prepared.  Know where your child is academically and behaviorally.  Have your list of questions ready.

    After the conference... if your child wasn't in the conference with you, let him or her know what was discussed.  Share the great things their teacher said about them, and encourage them in the areas that they can use a boost in... a little encouragement can go a LOOOONG way.  Also, be sure to follow-up with the teacher if any ideas or plans were discussed.  Be ready to adjust the plan to make it work for your child.

    This is a tough week... extended days for teachers, varying schedules for our students, and two days of early release that many parents have to make special adjustments for.  It is also a very meaningful week as we head down the home stretch of the 2019-2020 school year.  Let's make the most of it.  Remember, as Cooper Tigers, our school is BETTER when we work TOGETHER for our students.

    I look forward to seeing our students return tomorrow morning, ready to learn.

    Until we see each other again... be good and be safe.

     

    Your VERY PROUD and EXCITED Principal

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (2-7-20)

    Good afternoon family and friends.  We SURVIVED the week!  That's a celebration.  The bonus is that we got to experience 3 out of the 4 seasons this week!

    I won't hit on the inclement weather stuff again since a special edition of the Cooper Chronicles went out to this same group yesterday afternoon... I'll spare you a repeat.

    I am looking very forward to out Cooper Family Dance tomorrow evening.  I can't wait to see all the beautiful girls and handsome boys with mommas, daddies, and/or parent figures.  We anticipate a wonderful turn out, and I know our PTA has been looking forward to this event all year.

    I want to remind you that there will be NO SCHOOL on Friday, FEBRUARY 14.  The school will be closed for teachers and students.  Students are also out of school on Monday, FEBRUARY 17 for a professional learning day.  I hope the weather will be beautiful for some of you to get away and enjoy some family time.

    I appreciate those that thought to share with me your child's perception about school; particularly what their thoughts are of the classroom, cafeteria, and the bus.  Although I got just a handful of replies, a common theme that has emerged is a frustration that the cafeteria rule of 'No talking while music is playing'... more specifically that many students don't seem to follow the rule.  The second theme is the style of music... I think that our students want Kidz Bop????  We are continuing to work on managing our cafeteria so that our students have a comfortable and controlled atmosphere to enjoy their lunch, talk with their classmates, and have a little downtime before hitting the books again.

    Has the flu hit your home?  We have had many families experience the flu or a flu-like virus.  With the coronavirus making news headlines, the idea of spreading germs has been front and center in many of our minds.  THE BEST WAY TO THWART THE FLU VIRUS IS TO WASH HANDS OFTEN.  We'll remind students to wash their hands, sneeze in their elbows, and cough into a tissue.  If your child has run a fever (100 degrees +) in the previous 24 hours, or WOULD have run a fever if it hadn't been for medication, then PLEASE keep them at home to get better and reduce illness in others.  Also, they need to be 24+ hours no vomit/diarrhea free to without medication to return to school.  We appreciate a child wanting to come to school, but if they are sick they need to stay home. If you have any questions, contact our Clinic Worker, Mrs. Courtney McCallion at school and she can help you.

    With all that fun stuff, I'll leave you to your weekend with hopes of seeing you tomorrow at the Family Dance.  Until then, be good, be safe, and be healthy!

    Your VERY PROUD and TIRED Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (1-31-20)

    Dear family and friends,

    I hope that your journey to this Friday afternoon has been productive, meaningful, and joyful.

    In the last Cooper Chronicle I mistakenly listed the date for our Family Dance as February 7.  The dance is on Saturday, February 8.  I'm sorry if this caused any confusion.

    Since we began planning for the 2019-2020 school year this time last year, we knew we had to focus, among other things, on our school wide discipline plan.  We knew we had to be proactive in identifying positive behaviors, and had to have clear processes in place to effectively manage undesirable behaviors.  We have made a lot of progress this year, but still have a long way to go before I would say that "we are there".  As I have shared previously, my number one task at Cooper ES is to provide a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.  My number two task is to provide our teachers and support staff with the tools and support they need to practice their craft so that our students receive the essential academic knowledge and skills to be successful as they move on to college or start a career.

    I had the opportunity to eat lunch with a great group of students on Monday as we celebrated them for being recognized as Citizens of the Month.  While eating with the third and fifth grade students, I asked how they felt about the changes we have made in the cafe.  I was surprised to hear a few of them say that it really hasn't made a difference and that many of their classmates just don't care about the rules.  One, I do feel that our efforts have made a difference, but I also know that we have our work cut out for us.

    If I may ask you to do one thing over the next few days... if you have an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about school, ask them open ended questions to get their perception of the classroom, cafeteria, and school bus.  If they tell you something that you think I would find helpful, interesting, or surprising, please reach to me.  I am VERY interested in knowing what they think.  Email me at paul.willis@gcpsk12.org.

    With that, I will bid you a farewell and wish you a wonderful weekend.

    Your VERY PROUD and CURIOUS Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (1-24-20)

    Happy Friday afternoon Cooper Tigers.  I know we are all ready for a well deserved weekend.  Make the most of it :-)

    I don't have a whole lot for you (famous first words of a long email), but I do want to share a few things with you.

    We (the admin. team) had our 90 Day Review today with our Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction Executive Director, District Curriculum Directors, District Support Specialists, and local school coaches.  The purpose of the meeting was to assess our school's progress on the instructional initiatives we have been working on and assess the support we have in place to drive those initiatives.  I must say, I was so proud of our coaches and administrators and how they really represented the hard work our teachers and support staff are doing to increase our instructional focus and student academic achievement.  I am very proud or our teachers for the focus they have had on increasing their instructional capacity, and making themselves vulnerable to our internal audiences AND external audiences.  I can BOLDLY say that Cooper Elementary School is on the move and heading in the right direction.  I hope you are proud of our folks as well... your children are certainly the beneficiaries of the work we are doing.

    We do have a couple of ongoing campaigns I want to remind you of.  First, our Trex Recycling program is still underway, and our fifth grade class has been dominating each week.  If you remember, we are collecting SOFT PLASTICS, and each week the collection is weighed and reported.  I challenge grades K-4 to knock fifth grade off of their lead.  I thank everyone that continues to send in their soft plastics.  Last year Cooper ES placed first in the Southeast Region, and I think we are on track for another award winning campaign.

    Another campaign that we are in the midst of is our Destination Imagination's Warm Clothing Drive.  Our fourth grade DI team will be collecting coats, gloves, hats, and scarves till February 21.  The class with the most donated items get to throw a pie at my face... something I'm looking forward to very much (not).  

    Lastly, Coach Bridges and Coach Williams kicked off our Heart Health Challenge yesterday.  You should have received information home with your child on the ways they can support the American Heart Association and prizes they can win.  Last school year, Cooper ES placed 7th in the district among other elementary schools for the amount raised.  We all thank you for your support.

    **ATTENTION CAR RIDERS** We need your help.  Unattended Children + Moving Vehicles = Possible Tragedy.  Please do not allow your children to exit your vehicle before the bell rings AND staff members are present.  This is a relatively new concern that we need to correct.  Thank you.

    Remember we have our Family Dance coming up on February 7.  We look forward to seeing you and your family spend the evening with us.

    Enjoy your weekend... be safe and be good.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (1-17-20)

    Good afternoon Cooper Tigers.  I hope you have had a wonderful week and ready for a weekend.

    Remember... no school on Monday due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  If you have the day off as well, I would encourage you and your family to find some way to positively impact your neighborhood or community.  Dr. King changed our world, and, to be honest, our world could use another Dr. King nowadays.  You and your family can be the light our society needs.

    As the email earlier this week stated, the incident resulting in our soft lockdown turned out to be a complete miscommunication... a misheard word.  The steps and actions the school took were appropriate for the situation we THOUGHT we were facing.  Our administrative team has completed an after action review and have tweaked some of our processes to make them more efficient and our communication more efficient.  Finding the silver-lining in the dark clouds is important, and I believe we have done that.

    Our PTA Family Dance has had a slight date change.  It will now be on SATURDAY, February 8.  Check out the flyer. PTA Family Dance 2020.pdf 

    One of our office staff members will be going on maternity leave any day now.  She is the person responsible for transportation... car rider tags, bus/transportation changes, bus tags, etc.  Some of us (if this shoe fits, slip it on :-) have become comfortable emailing or calling to change transportation for your child, and sometimes do it later in the day.  PLEASE DON'T DO THAT.  We want to make each and every one of our students gets home safely.  Emails can go unread.  Calls can go unanswered.  This is from our handbook and can be found on Cooper's webpage...

    "Any transportation changes need to be communicated by the parent or guardian to the teacher as soon as possible.  Students will dismiss from school their normal way UNLESS a change has been communicated to the teacher in writing.  Teachers are often unable to check email or Dojo messages during the school day, so please take that into account when communicating transportation changes.  

    Transportation tags are provided to students at the start of the school year.  The tag should be for the main way the child dismisses in the afternoon.  If a child rides the bus 4 days and is car rider for 1 day, the student will have a bus tag and will need a note for the car rider day.  If a child's main way of dismissing changes during the school year, please let the Front Office know, and they will get the appropriate tag to the child."  

    That's all for now... thank you for your help and support.  When we work together, we are better.

    Until we cross paths again, be safe and be good!

    Your VERY PROUD and APPRECIATIVE Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (1-10-20)

    Good evening Cooper Tigers, and Happy New Year!  I hope all of you had a great week and have acclimated yourself to the year 2020!

    Thank you to everyone that came out to Sparkles last night for our PTA Skate Night.  We had 211 skaters!  That's a great turnout... the highest we have had on a spirit night in a LONG LONG time.  By the looks and sounds from the skating rink, everyone had a great time and no one got seriously hurt.  It was really cool to see parents out there on eight wheels having a great time as well.

    Our faculty and staff returned to school last Friday and had a day of learning , planning, and worked to close out the first semester of school.  One activity that we do each January is for each of us to choose ONE WORD that will lead, guide, and direct us to EXCELLENCE as an individual.  Words like GRACE, INTENTIONAL, BALANCE, and  JOY have been selected.  My ONE WORD is SERVE.  I hope to serve my church to help strengthen people's faith journeys, serve my family to be the best we can be, and serve our school and community by adding value to each person I have the opportunity to touch.  Question for you... do you have ONE WORD that you will 'latch' on to to guide you to excellence?  If you don't, I'd encourage you to examine yourself to determine what that ONE WORD might be, and do your best to live it every day.

    As we begin the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, I would encourage everyone to put their seat belts on because A LOT goes on this time of year.  Beginning in February it seems like we are racing to the finish line, getting faster and faster each moment.  As we do this, we need to make sure our students are well equipped and supported in the classroom.  We will continue to focus on delivering robust, rigorous, and engaging lessons that will stretch each of our learners.  We will continue to work on developing formative assessments that will help us make adjustments to our instruction to meet the needs of our students.  Thank you for continuing to partner with Cooper ES... we appreciate and need your continued support!

    We have a couple staff members I would like to briefly introduce.  Mrs. Lauren Heidler joined our team in November and supports our special education programs as a paraprofessional.  Mrs. Katie Bostic joined Cooper ES on January 3 as a Speech Language Pathologist.  Finally, Ms. Katherine Tran joined us our new K-2 Counselor, a position made available when Mrs. Foster retired.  We also moved Mrs. Lisa Bridges from teaching health to teaching PE upon the retirement of Coach Cash.  I know you will help welcome these fine educators to the Cooper Family and Archer Community.

    **Needed** We are currently looking to hire PART-TIME Lunch Monitors (4).  This is a non-benefited position. Lunch Monitors work in the cafeteria and help maintain order as our students eat lunch. Training will be available.  If you are interested in serving Cooper ES in this capacity, you will need to apply through GCPS using job code 63160.  We need you and look forward to working with you soon :-)

    Mark your calendars...

    January 16- 100th Day of School (kindergarten students do a lot of activities centered around the number 100)

    January 17- All Pro Dad, 7:30 AM... we really want/need to increase our participation.  If you are a regular, I challenge you to bring a neighbor or friend!

    January 20- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/Day of Service  SCHOOL CLOSED

    February 7- Family Dance... this is going to be B-I-G!

    February 19 & 20... Elementary and Middle School Early Release/Conference Days... Don't forget to take care of your childcare needs for early release

    February 27- STEM Night... don't miss!

    That ought to cover things for now.  Until we meet again, be good and be safe.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (12-20-19)

    Hah... didn't think you'd be getting a Cooper Chronicles this week since I left you hanging last week!

    From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a reflective and joyful Hanukkah season, and the very best in every winter tradition your family celebrates.  Click HERE to view our official Cooper ES Holiday Wish, wishing you all a very happy holiday season.

    Remember, no school  till January 6.  We will look forward to seeing all of our students' smiling faces upon their return.  Until then, be safe, be good, and be JOYFUL!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul 

  • Cooper Chronicles (12-6-19)

    Good evening family and friends.  I hope you are all doing well, and have somehow slipped back into the normal routines of a regular school week.  We will be sure to disrupt that routine in just a couple weeks are we will be taking another break :-)

    Your 1st-5th grader has already or will be taking the midyear District Assessments between now and the break.  The data from these assessments really help us make instructional decisions so that we are sure to provide your child with the very best instruction possible. Believe it or not, it is nearly impossible to just copy how we teach children from year to year... each 'batch' is unique and requires a different touch.  Thank you for encouraging your child to do his/her very best in ALL things, especially assessments that inform our decision making.

    Our wonderful PTA hosted a Very Important Parent dinner last night that worked to help our classroom VIPs better understand their role.  We wish we could have had all of our VIPs, but we know this is a very busy time of year.  We hope to 'get' you next time :-)  We appreciate and value all of our PTA supporters, and especially our volunteers!

    The Reindeer Lane Gift Shop will be opening on Tuesday.  That means it will be set up on Monday.  If you are available after 9 AM on Monday, I know PTA would greatly appreciate your time to help with the set up.  Students will be able to shop beginning on Tuesday.  This year, we will have students that are ready to purchase items during the TDPE (commonly known as recess) time by classroom.  A final schedule will be sent to classroom teachers on Monday.  If you would like to give your child the opportunity to purchase gifts for family members, please be sure to look at the flyer sent home before Thanksgiving for directions.

    Have you heard about Cooper's Cozy Christmas on December 14?  Come out between 9 and 11 to hear some great guest readers with their favorite holiday books, fill up on hot coco and coffee, and allow time for some final shopping at The Reindeer Lane Gift Shop.  I'm so excited!  Oh yeah... WEAR YOUR PJs!  That will be the BEST part!

    Quick question... do you or your family origins trace back to somewhere other than the United States?  I'm guessing that MOST of us would have to answer yes to that question.  We are in the beginning stages of planning an International Night in March to celebrate the diverse population we have at Cooper and in our community.  Would you be interested in setting up a table or presentation to represent your heritage?  More specific questions will be coming via a survey soon... keep an eye out for it.

    Upcoming Dates

    Reindeer Lane Gift Shop, Tuesday - Saturday

    5th Grade Holiday Chorus Concert, Thursday, December 12, 6 PM

    1st Grade Holiday Program and Party, Friday, December 13

    Cooper's Cozy Christmas, Saturday, December 14, 9-11 AM

    Classroom Holiday Parties, Week of December 16

    Patriot Karate Spirit Night, Friday, December 20, 6-8 PM

    School Closed, Winter Break, December 23 - January 2

    Staff Development Day, Friday, December 3 (Student Holiday)

    Please see the attached information for the upcoming Archer Athletic Association Lacrosse season (GO TIGERS!) and a letter from Mrs. Bortak concerning the upcoming counseling lessons.

    AAA Lax Flyer 2020.pdf 

    Personal Safety Letter.pdf 

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekends.  Although the Thanksgiving Holiday has come and gone, always give thanks for the many blessings you have in your life.  Until we meet again, be safe and be good!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (11-22-19)

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    Good afternoon and happy Friday family and friends.  I hope everyone is prepared for the NINE days we are out of school!!!

    We have had a FANTASTIC week this week!  The Parent Participation Days events held on Tuesday and Thursday turned out even better than I could have imagined.  I get goose bumps knowing the great teaching our parents were able to see, and how you showered our teachers with love and praise in your written feedback and video testimonials.  We showed the completed videos this afternoon during Tiger Time.  You could hear the cheers through the hallways when a teacher was highlighted on the video... our kids were soooo proud of their teachers, and LOVED seeing their family on the video.  We are BETTER TOGETHER!

    So, what's next with this?  The admin team and leadership team will do an after action review of the event to see what worked, what didn't, and what can be improved upon.  I do hope you all will continue to support your children, your children's teachers, and Cooper Elementary School as we continue to partner with each other to make our school the very best.

    Our 2nd TREX Recycling Challenge starts on December 2nd.  For those of you that were not here last year, Cooper had fantastic participation and our school won a bench for being the highest recycling elementary school in the Southeast Region with over 800 pounds of collected soft plastics.  Kindergarten was very competitive and took first place as a grade level.  Can anyone dethrone them?  If you work in an industry or at a job that can help "bulk us up", please coordinate with Mr. Josh Ludke to work out a plan.  Check out this link for more information:  https://www.trex.com/recycling/recycling-programs/

    What you can do as a family:

    • Put your TREX magnet somewhere prominent in your house.  (The magnets should be in your child's Friday Folder.) 
      • Encourage your family to recycle clean, soft plastics at home and deposit them in Cooper's front lobby area.

    Where in the world will our Tigers be this coming week?  We would LOVE to know where our students will be traveling... I've already heard that a second grade student is going to see his abuela in Mexico, and another student is going to New Foundland!  I've heard of cruises, trips, and visits to different places in GA are all planned.  Our Social Studies team would like to help our school with our map skills, and make the learning as real as possible.  You will see two attachments to this email that will help us collect data.  If you are traveling anywhere over Thanksgiving (we'll do the same for other school breaks), please complete the form the very best you can, turn it in, and we'll represent those travels on our giant maps outside our media center.  When you come to visit, take a look and see Where in the World our Tigers have been!

    Where in the World Are Cooper Tigers 3-5.pdf 

    Where in the World Are Cooper Tigers k-2.pdf 

    You know we are entering a VERY busy time of year with a lot of events.  Jot these down on your calendar so you don't miss anything :-)

    • Dec. 2- Zaxby's Spirit Night, 5-8 PM, Grayson location
    • Dec. 4- District Assessment Testing will begin... pay close attention to testing dates in your classroom newsletter
    • Dec. 9- Relay for Life Jingle Gram Sales, $1
    • Dec. 10-14- PTA Holiday Shoppe... your child will have an opportunity to shop for the family.  Information in your child's Friday Folder soon
    • Dec. 12- PTA Meeting/5th Grade Chorus Concert, 6-8 PM
    • Dec. 13- First Grade Holiday Performance
    • Dec. 14- Coffee, Coco, and a great Story, here at Cooper ES, 9-11 (last day of Holiday Shoppe)
    • Dec. 20- last day for students before holiday break

    Finally, to each of you, THANK you for allowing me to serve you, your family, this school, and our community as the Cooper Elementary School principal.  I love this school and all the people that make us what we are... a community of learners and leaders committed to excellence.

    Until we meet again, be good, be safe, and read!

    Your VERY PROUD and THANKFUL Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (11-16-19)

    Cooper Chronicles
    Principal Willis
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    11/16/2019 09:22 AM
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    Happy Saturday, y'all!

    As this is being penned, the BBQ Pitmaster is right outside of my office preparing EXCELLENT food for the Fall Carnival today.  I don't know if I can wait till 11:00 to get some of that smokey goodness, but I will do my best to try.  Come out and enjoy it with me... 11-2 TODAY!

    We had a very busy week at Cooper this week with our Thanksgiving Feasts.  What a turn-out!  Thank you to all that made it a priority to visit us during these special meals, and thank you to all that had their lunch plans changed because of the different scheduling.  All that I've heard from parents, teachers, and SNP staff is that it all went VERY WELL.  Thank you to our fabulous PTA for selling and distributing tickets.  You guys made a difference in how things went.

    We also recognized and celebrated Veterans for Veteran's Day on Monday.  I'm still overwhelmed at the outpouring of love all of you showed as our veterans put their information on the Veteran's Day padlet.  It's still there on our main website... take a look and you'll see that SO many people associated with Cooper ES (parents, grandparents, loved ones) have shed blood, sweat, and tears to keep our country free and our liberties intact. Thank you again for your service to our great nation.

    **CAR RIDERS** Monday will be a bit nuts for drop off... our fifth grade class is leaving for Rock Eagle Monday morning and parents will be dropping of their child and luggage Monday morning... if you have the option to ride the bus, I would... if not, then get here early and bring an extra dose of patience with you.  School still starts at 8:50 (wink, wink).

    As we enter into the last week before we take some time off to celebrate family and give thanks for all we have, I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am.  I am thankful for my family whom I love dearly and my new church family at Anchor Church.  I am thankful for the wonderful people I get to call colleagues and friends at Cooper ES.  I'm thankful for our students and the fun and laughter they bring with them.  I'm thankful for our parents that are invested in their child's education, our school, and our community.  And, I'm thankful for this community... the Archer Cluster and the bonds we are forming in the community.  

    I'll end with a short quote from my favorite book, "Give thanks in ALL circumstances...".  I do my best to live with this attitude every day.  I pray that you are able to as well.

    Until next time, be good and be safe!

    Your VERY PROUD and THANKFUL Principal,

    Paul

  • Cooper Chronicles (11-8-19)

    Cooper Chronicles
    Principal Willis
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    11/08/2019 06:03 PM
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    Good afternoon Friends and Family.  It's Friday!

    I am so AMAZED by the representation we are getting on our Veteran's padlet.  If you remember, I sent out a link yesterday inviting veterans to post their information in honor of Veteran's Day.  I get chill bumps when I look at it, and I get chill bumps even now telling you about it.  I leave you a two-fold charge... go to the padlet and put in your military information AND/OR the service of a loved one.  We have a "step two" on this so students can see the information.  I have heard from many of our teachers that they have looked at it in class and have had some GREAT discussions about Veteran's Day, service, and the freedoms we have as a country due to our men and women in uniform.  The easiest way to see the padlet and add information is by going to our main website, scroll down, and take a look.  To add information, simply click on the red + button at the bottom of the padlet and follow the format others have used.

    https://www.gcpsk12.org/cooperes

    To all of the veterans that represent the families in our community and in our school, I say a heartfelt THANK YOU for your service and sacrifice.  I also give a heartfelt thank you to military families that have to sacrifice so much for their loved ones to serve our country.  Your service is very much appreciated!  In honor of Veteran's Day on Monday, November 11, I ask our school community to wear our country's colors... Red, White, and Blue.

    Our Day of Awesomeness was AWESOME!  Thank you to our volunteers and specials teachers that manned the stations, and thank you to Austin and the Step It Up! crew for providing us such a wonderful day.  It turned out to be a relatively comfortable day despite the rain last night and the cool start.  One snafu in the process... the communication about Kona Ice got mixed up, and I apologize for that.  The direction was that ONLY students that earned that level of prize were allowed to get Kona Ice.  However, some students were able to buy Kona Ice, while others trying to buy Kona Ice were denied that option.  Two reasons for this decision... 1) that was a prize level that had to be earned during the fund raiser, and 2) last year the line was so long to get Kona Ice that the students that actually earned that prize spent a majority of their time waiting in line because so many people were buying them. Again, I apologize for the confusion and will communicate that more clearly next time.

    If you recall, we began our No Shame November campaign in which we focus on POSITIVE student and classroom behaviors.  The awards given to classes include the GOLDEN DUSTPAN AWARD, the GOLDEN SHOES AWARD, and the GOLDEN SPATULA AWARD.  I wanted to give a report of the winners for the first week.

    Golden Shoes K- Mrs. Benson 1st- Mrs. Brooks 2nd- Mrs. Elmore 3rd- Mrs. Poffenberger 4th- Mrs. Pruehs 5th- Mrs. Batchelor
    Golden Dustpan K- Mrs. Louangoudom 1st- Mrs. Mitchem  2nd- Mrs. Haverly 3rd- Mrs. Priest 4th- Mrs. Hall 5th- Dr. Smith

    The GOLDEN SPATULA was awarded to Mrs. Hodoval's fourth grade class.  It is my hope that we can award a GOLDEN SPATULA to one class per grade level...

    Remember that our Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday, November 16 from 11-2.  Make sure you come out, have some fun, and support our school and PTA.

    Our Thanksgiving Feasts are scheduled for next week.  Need the schedule?  Look at our main web page (since you will already be there looking at the Veterans stuff), go to PRINCIPAL'S MESSAGE and see all the Cooper Chronicles from the past.  I sent it last week as an attachment.

    I've taken enough of your time for this one.  Thank you all for your support of our school.  I'm excited for where we are, and even more excited about where we are going!  Till next time, be safe and be good.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (11-1-19)

    Happy Friday fine friends.  I hope you are ready for a wonderful weekend.

    Please notice that two attachments are with this email... one is the Thanksgiving Feast Lunch Schedule, and the other is a letter from me explaining our NO SHAME NOVEMBER campaign... please be sure to look at those.  So, in the spirit of briefness, I'll do my best to keep this Cooper Chronicle short.  We'll see...

    I want to announce and congratulate the top earners and winners for the Step It Up fund raiser hosted by our wonderful PTA.  The top earner was Nathan H. in Mrs. Crawford's first grade class.  Neal will also be a Principal for a Day for his efforts.  The second highest earner was Leilani F. in Mrs. Higgins' class.  Leilani will also be a Principal for a Day.

    Each assistant principal will host one student as the AP for a Day for being the top earner in the APs grade band.  Mr. Kashella will host Neal H. from Mrs. Cantrell's class, Dr. Young will host Kyle D. from Dr. Smith's class, and Janelle S. from Mrs. Sims' third grade class will be an AP for a Day as well.

    We also recognized classes that had the highest percentage of participation.  The following teachers will win a prize from the school: Kindergarten, Mrs. Cheek; 1st Grade, Mrs K. Sims; 2nd Grade, Mrs. Elmore; 3rd Grade, Mrs. Priest; 4th Grade, Mrs. Pruehs, 5th Grade, Dr. Smith; and Mrs. Dozier from our other classroom group.  Congratulations gang, and thank you!

    Keep in mind that our Fall Carnival has been moved to November 16.  We hope to see you here.  It is sure to be a great time.

    Here are the attachments... take a look at them.

    No Shame November.pdf 

    Weekly Thanksgiving Schedule.pdf 

    Until we see each other again, be good and be safe!

    Your VERY PROUD and EXCITED Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (10-27-19)

    Good morning family and friends!  I hope your weekend has been fabulous and safe.

    I wanted to thank all of you that made it out last week to meet with your child's teacher.  It is so important to stay in touch with the classroom and bridge the gap between school and home.  By attending conferences and checking in often via the portal, we are continuing to build the solid partnership between home and school we need.  We are certainly BETTER TOGETHER!

    I also very much appreciate all of you that stopped to take the GCPS Parent Perception Survey.  We have already had more parents participate than in years past.  Good news... it is not too late!  You can access the survey through your parent portal.  Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think so we know how we can continue to improve.

    I wanted to give you a few updates on some mini-campaigns we have had going on... our Great Days of Service canned food drive/toiletries drive was successful.  Being able to see the volume of goods donated by keeping the collections in the lobby was a visual reminder of our participation.  Our community benefits greatly from your generosity, and our students learn a little lesson about helping others and putting aside themselves to work towards a greater good.   Thank you for helping with this.

    Also, the classroom Book Character Pumpkins contest was a great success.  Thank you for those that voted.  We raised right at $400 to boost our teachers' class libraries.  By using the money to buy teacher books from the book fair makes each dollar go a little farther... so thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Don't Forget...

    Don't forget we have two really important events this week... the first is our Character Dress Up Day on October 31.  Please make sure your child's "character" matches a book character... so spooky, gory, or otherwise 'non elementary friendly' costumes please.  The following day, Thursday, is our DAY OF AWESOMENESS!  The Day of Awesomeness is the capstone event to celebrate our students participation in our "STEP IT UP" fund raiser.  We will announce the students that collected the most, the students that will be Principal for a Day and Assistant Principal for a Day, and the winning classrooms.  It will really be awesome to celebrate our success with the fund raiser.

    The school continues to work with PTA to reschedule the Fall Festival that had to be cancelled due the weather.  Stay tuned for that date.

    I wish you all a blessed Sunday, and anticipate another great week at Cooper Elementary School!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul



  • Cooper Chronicles (10-18-19)

    Cooper Chronicles
    Principal Willis
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    10/18/2019 04:59 PM
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    Dear family and friends,

    I hope you are ready to endure a bit of rain over the weekend.  I, for one, am very excited to have all outside events cancelled tomorrow and plan to enjoy coffee with my wife on my front porch in my pajamas till at least noon.  I would invite you to join us, but I think that might be a little weird.  I do hope you are able to do the same at your house.

    We have had a great time this week participating in Archer's homecoming festivities.  I believe the MOST popular day was pajama day... this day was enjoyed by our students and staff.  We also had our Magical Night of Reading, so wearing the pajamas was a perfect match.  On that note, I would like to thank Mrs. Aimee Litt and our Literacy and Social Studies Vertical Team members for planning a wonderful event, and thank you to all of our families that came out to make some connections between what happens at home and what happens at school when it comes to literacy.  Oh, yeah... also thank you to Pete the Cat and Clifford for visiting!

    I hope your kids have told you... our new gym floor is installed and is looking GREAT!  Thank you to everyone for your Step It Up fund raising efforts.  I can't wait for you to see the new gym floor at our next school event.  If your child's plays recreational basketball for the Archer Athletic Association, he or she will have the pleasure of 'breaking it in'.  Some pictures have been posted to Cooper Elementary's Facebook page... be sure to follow us to get the latest and greatest information.

    A recent article in the Gwinnett Daily Post said that the Gwinnett County Public School transportation operation is the THIRD LARGEST in the country!  That is amazing!  We have dedicated drivers that often drive six routes every single day, logging THOUSANDS of miles.  We will be celebrating bus drivers next week, October 21-25,for Bus Driver Appreciation with some treats and tokens of appreciation.  I would encourage you and/or your child to make an effort to say thank you to their driver.  We have many parents piloting these big yellow limousines... to them I say an EXTRA THANKS!

    **NEED YOUR HELP**  As part of our student United Way Campaign, we are launching our Great Days of Service campaign next week.  Each grade level has a specific type of donation they can bring to help support people right here IN OUR COMMUNITY.  Please please please be sure to encourage your child to bring an item or two to support their grade level.  We will be counting and reporting each grade level's progress... I wouldn't want any grade level left behind!

    Here's what you can bring:

    Kindergarten and 1st grade- Canned Fruit and Vegetables

    2nd and 3rd Grade-  Soups and Dry foods (rice, pasta etc.)

    4th and 5th Grade- Toiletry items- shampoo/soap, diapers, toilet paper, Laundry Detergent, etc. 

    With that, I will turn over the weekend to you.

    Until we meet again, be safe and be good!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis




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  • Cooper Chronicles (10-4-19)

    Good afternoon friends and family.

    We close another busy week, and we are all looking forward to COOLER weather!  I am very excited to finally experience fall this year.

    The United Way STUFF THE PIG was a big success.  Our students brought in over $800 in change (and some bills).  That's a lot of counting.  Our kindergarten and second grade tied with the EXACT amount... $178.51.  Thank you to everyone for reaching into their pockets once again to help our community.

    Reminder that FALL BREAK is just around the corner... October 10-14.  The school will be open on October 14 for a faculty/staff learning day.  We look forward to seeing all of our students back on October 15.

    I wanted to remind you that our Literacy Night is coming up on October 17 from 6-8.  We have some wonderful activities we are looking forward to sharing with you.  We are excited about building up our parent/school partnership so we can fully benefit from truly being BETTER TOGETHER.  More information will be coming as we get closer to the 17th.

    Cooper Elementary is hosting our Fall Festival October 19th from 11-3. It will be fun for all ages! We are currently seeking individuals or families who would like to host a car for our trunk or treat! No matter how big or small you want to decorate the students will love it! Our hope is that we can have a car per classroom! Please sign up here if you are able to host a car. Candy will be provided for you to hand out!  (Cut and paste in your browser https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f044daba72ca4fa7-fall)

    Parent/Teacher Conferences are right around the corner.  Make plans now to 1) make arrangements for your children on October 23 & 24... early release days; and 2) think about scheduling a conference.  You will be receiving communication from your child's teacher early next week with conference sign up procedures.  When you get a minute or two, check out these helpful tips as you prepare to meet with your child's teacher.

    7 ways to get the most out of parent-teacher conferences 7-10.pdf 

    I wish you all the best in whatever activity you get involved in this weekend.  Be safe, be good and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

    Until next time...

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul

Our Very Proud Principal, Mr. Paul Willis

  • Mr. Willis

Mr. Willis and the 2019 TOTY Mrs. Krisher

  • Mr. Willis and 2019 TOTY Mrs. Krisher

Mr. Willis on Career Day

  • Mr. Willis on Career Day