Cooper Principal's Message
  • 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

    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,


  • Cooper Chronicles (9-29-19)

    Well Hello Family and Friends.  I trust you had an awesome week and are ready for another restful and relaxing weekend.  

    Don't forget that you can have a wonderful weekend kick-off by coming to our annual PTA Bingo Night, tonight, from 6-8 PM.  I have a feeling that your weekend won't feel complete unless you come :-)

    We are soooo close to meeting our fund raising goal with the Step It Up program.  We did some math this afternoon, and figured that if 100 families could contribute just $15, then we would hit the mark!  What are we working for?  We are set to get a much needed new gym floor... we even have the artist's renderings on display tonight if you were curious on how it will look.  We also want to equip our students and teachers with BOOKS for the CLASSROOM.  Your generosity is very much appreciated.  We'll pass the hat at our Bingo event tonight to see if we can close that gap.

    For your planning purposes, please remember we will be on fall break, starting October 10 and ending October 14.  Our faculty and staff will be involved with professional learning on October 14, so when your child returns on the 15th the teacher will be relaxed, refreshed, and look a day smarter :-)

    Some other dates to remember...

    October 17... Literacy Night, 6-8 PM

    October 19... PTA Fall Festival

    October 23 & 24... Parent/Teacher Conference Days and Early Release

    I hope to see all of you in just a couple hours.  Until then, be good and be safe!

    Your VERY PROUD and APPRECIATIVE Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-20-19)

    Good Friday afternoon Family and Friends.  I hope you have enjoyed the cooler weather, lower humidity, and just the plain fact that it's FRIDAY!

    This will be a quick one... so hang on!

    Thanks to everyone that came out to our Math Night last night.  I heard so many positive things from so many parents about what they learned and saw when it comes to math.  I almost titled our Math Night something like, "This Ain't Your Momma's Math", but didn't think it would a good idea... but the spirit is the same. Math has always been math, but the way math is taught and explained is VERY different from when you and I were in school.  Learning math is more than just finding the correct answer.  It has to do more with using your critical thinking skills to understand, evaluate, compute, and analyze math.  We expect our kids to do all of those things and use methods and strategies to give them those skills.

    Go ahead and mark your calendar for October 17 for our Literacy Night... plans are already in the works for a 'magical' night of literacy.  We all appreciate your commitment to partnering together to give our kids the very best... we truly are BETTER TOGETHER!

    All Pro Dads had their first meeting of the school year this morning.  It is always encouraging and touching to see so many of our kids hang out with their dads for a focused conversation.  Thank you to John and James for leading this effort... you guys are amazing!  Our next APD meeting is October 18 at 7:30.

    Our Step It Up fund raiser has been extended to September 25.  The company has had a few technical glitches, so they have graciously extended our campaign to ensure all that wants to give has the opportunity.  Interesting data... our school as 1,494 students (WOW!), a little over 800 students have registered for the fund raiser, and almost 700 students have money attached to their fund raising efforts.  Thank you for that!  If you cannot count yourself in those numbers, you still have time :-)  Refer to the Cooper Chronicles from a few weeks ago to find the link to register.

    PTA Bingo Night is next Friday... come out for a ton of fun and some great prizes.  Keep an eye out in your child's Friday Folder for more information and the Zaxby's order form if you choose to eat with us.  These forms are due Monday.

    Wednesday, September 25 is World School Milk Day (never knew it existed?).  Your child will definitely want to buy school lunch on this day... you'll see :-)

    As we begin our weekend, I encourage you to enjoy the company of your family and enjoy the wonderful weather.  Be safe and be good!

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-15-19)

    Dear Friends and Family,

    Another weekend has come and gone.  As we prepare ourselves for the week to come, I wanted to leave you with just a little bit of information... not as much as last week, though :-)

    Thanks to everyone that pulled out the RED, WHITE, and BLUE as we observed Patriot's Day.  As a school, we observed a moment of silence at 8:46, and many of our teachers shared the reason behind our Patriot's Day observance, and some personal stories.  The best stories I heard and participated in didn't necessarily have to do with September 11, 2001, they really had to do with they days and weeks following that fateful day.  I remember our communities coming together, rallying around each other, and filling our places of worship in those days and weeks following 9/11.  We don't need another tragedy in our country, but we sure could use a good dose of the spirit that followed.

    I know the Step It Up website has had some difficulties, but please don't forget about our fund raising campaign. Our PTA and school depend on a successful campaign.  I know our students have been chatting about the opportunity to be the Principal for a Day or AP for a Day.  

    Our first All Pro Dad meeting will be this Friday, September 20 at 7:30 AM.  I look forward to seeing everyone that came last year, and a good bunch of our new families represented.  Spread the word!  RSVP by clicking HERE.

    If nothing else comes through on this edition of the Cooper Chroniclesthen hear this... MATH NIGHT! MATH NIGHT! MATH NIGHT! is this Thursday from 6-8 PM.  Come learn some wonderful, age appropriate activities that you can do at home to help your child practice math, and also learn why in the world this "New Math" isn't new at all.  Following our annual theme of Better Together, if we can come together with the same understanding on math instruction, then our students will be the beneficiaries.  I look forward to seeing you there :-)

    For your calendar:

    September 23-26... 2nd and 5th grade IOWA testing (please have your child to school on time, ready to give their best)

    PTA Bingo Night... Friday, September 27, 6-8 PM

    Literacy Night... Thursday, October 17, 6-8 PM

    Fall Festival... Saturday, October 19, 11 AM - 2 PM

    Thank you all for supporting Cooper Elementary School, the school of choice for those families living within our attendance zone.  Until we see each other again, be safe and be good.  Have a great week.

    Your VERY PROUD and WELL RESTED Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-8-19)

    Dear family and friends,

    I know what you are thinking... "How did I make it through the entire weekend without the Cooper Chronicles?"  Some mysteries may never be solved.  This is a long one, so before you ditch it without reading it, there is some really good stuff in this one... but at the minimum, know that on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, we will wear RED, WHITE, AND BLUE to celebrate, and remember, Patriot Day.  Fall pictures are September 12,. 

    Also, 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade will be taking the CogAT test this week, so be sure to get them to school on time.

    Another thing you need to know before ditching this Cooper Chronicle, is that we congratulate Mrs. Alyssa Krisher, 2nd grade teacher, as our 2020 Cooper Elementary School Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Krisher is a fabulous teacher that will represent Cooper ES as she moves forward in the process to be considered for the Gwinnett County Public School Teacher of the Year.  We wish you luck, Mrs. Krisher.

    I do hope everyone had a fabulous weekend.  AAA Baseball/Tball started up this week.  I congratulate all the teams that were successful in their bids, and I hope all of our kids made it through the sweltering heat!

    Thanks to all of our families that are participating in the Step It Up program.  We are off to a great start and look forward to meeting our goal.  Last year only a fraction of our families participated, so I hope that we have even more participation this year.

    Our School Council met this past Friday for the first meeting of the year.  We have a great group of parents, business partners, and educators that are serving our school and our community via the School Council.  One of the primary topics we discussed was increasing parent/family engagement in ALL of our activities and programs.  Speaking of this, did you know that we are having our Math Night on September 19?  How many times have you helped your son or daughter with math, and they were trying to explain a very strange way of doing it that their teacher showed them?  Then, when they came home, they tell you that their teacher fussed at them because they were doing it the wrong way?  It is a very familiar theme we here and see on social media.  Do you want to know the inside scoop on the WHY behind the math?  I'm not telling you now, you'll find out on Math Night.  We will also have a Literacy Night, STEM Night, and Fine Arts Night this school year so that we can show case student work and dig deeper into the standards your child will master this school year.

    Did you know that our teachers use a framework for daily instruction in English/Language Arts and Math?  This framework is called Balanced Literacy and Balanced Numeracy.  It looks something like this... both ELA and Math begin with an activating strategy which takes just a minute or two and is designed to get our brains focused on the subject at hand.  Then the teacher goes into the minilesson.  The minilesson typically is between 10-15 minutes delivered to ALL students in the classroom.  The minilesson is always focused on the skill the teacher is giving to the students.  After the minilesson, the teacher works with small groups while the other students are working on independent activities that support the minilesson focus and/or past skills that must be maintained.  Small group is very important because the teacher designs his or her teaching to focus on exactly what the students in that group needs... whether it is progressing with the skills they need, or extending their thinking to go deeper with the skill, or teaching specific strategies to students that require a little different approach to learning a particular skill.  Data drives all of the teachers' decisions and every classroom and/or every group may look a bit different.  Thinking of a juggling analogy, our teachers do a fantastic job keeping all the balls in the air with their perfect timing.  It is impressive to see.

    Speaking of seeing this amazing stuff, I have been asked recently what it takes to get into a classroom to see this great stuff going on.  Parents that wish to observe in a classroom contact me, and I coordinate with the classroom teacher.  Typically, the parent wants to see a specific subject, so I coordinate with the teacher to find a time when a typically lesson is being taught, avoiding tests and other activities.  Observations are limited to one block of instruction at a time, and ideally end with a VERY brief conversation with the teacher to see if that was a typical lesson, or if was different for some reason.

    This Cooper Chronicle has gotten quite long, so I'll close for now.  I hope all of you have a fabulous week.  On behalf of our faculty and staff, we thank you for getting this school year started off strong, and look forward to your increased involvement as we go through the year.

    Until next time, be safe and be good.

    Your VERY PROUD and CHATTY Principal,

    Paul Willis

    Upcoming Dates

    September 10, 11, and 12... CogAT for 1st, 2nd, and 5th

    September 11... Patriot Day, wear RED, WHITE, and BLUE

    September 12... Fall Picture Day... ALL students get their picture taken, but we hope you will decide to buy them as well :-)

    September 19... Math Night, 6-8 PM

  • Cooper Chronicles (9-3-19)

    Dear Parents, 

    Our fitness fundraiser, STEP IT UP! got off to an amazing start today with an inspiring kick off assembly. Thank you to our students for being such a great audience!

    Our next step is to ask each of you to take action TONIGHT by clicking the link below. It will take you to our school’s fundraiser website where you can set up your child’s Personal Donation page and invite your friends and family to join our efforts by sending them a donation request.  We are focusing our efforts to help pay for a NEW gym floor and to fund the many fun events our PTA has planned for us this year.  Money will also be used to fund teacher grant requests for INNOVATIVE IDEAS and CLASSROOM LIBRARIES.

    This entire fundraiser can be completed in TEN MINUTES OR LESS. Yes, really!

    Please do this TONIGHT. Send out TEN or MORE emails/texts via your Personal Donation Page and your child will qualify for Golden Ticket prizes and drawings! Have your child return their Golden Ticket to school Tomorrow, September 4th, 2019 to be part of the fun!

    Join our REVOLUTION of FUN.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to support your student as they use their awesomeness to help others!    

    Thank you for taking action TONIGHT to help your child help others!

    Your VERY PROUD and GRATEFUL Principal,


  • Cooper Chronicles (8-23-19)

    Happy Friday afternoon friends and family.  I hope you have had an awesome week and will find time to relax and recharge this weekend.

    This past week has been a very busy week for all of us at Cooper.  I enjoyed seeing so many of you come out for our Curriculum Nights on Tuesday and Thursday.  I know that so many things are happening outside of school this time of year, but for you to choose to come spend a bit of time with us is very much appreciated.  I trust that you received the information you needed to consciously support and partner with your child's teacher, the school, and our PTA.  We need you... we are BETTER TOGETHER!

    I know the information that was presented via closed-circuit television was difficult to see.  I am attaching the "slideshow" to this email for your information.

    If you were curious, our last enrollment count on Tuesday was 1,480 students.  We are expecting a tad over 1,500 by Labor Day.  That is a lot of kids, but we have processes and procedures in place to give each one exactly what they need, from a ride to school to a hot lunch.  We constantly look to improve our processes, so if you ever have an idea, please let me know.

    Our first Cooper ES School Council meeting is Friday, August 30.  We are currently looking for two new members to serve on the School Council.  If you are interested, please take a moment to provide your information by following this link SCHOOL COUNCIL NOMINATION.  Parents of kindergarten through fourth grade students are eligible.  Act fast... voting will be early next week :-)

    Our STEP IT UP fundraising program will be kicking off right after Labor Day.  If you were here last year, you will remember that Cooper raised about $45,000 for our school.  The money was used to equip our classrooms with more technology (143 Chromebooks) and to provide a number of teacher grants.  This year we would like focus on a new floor in our gym, classroom libraries, and also fund as many Innovative Teacher Grants as possible.  Keep an eye out for more STEP IT UP information.

    Finally, I just want to let you know how much I LOVE being here and serving our community as Cooper's principal. We have a great school and community, and I look forward to our future together.

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

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis


    Curriculum Night Slides.pdf 

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-16-19)

    Happy Friday afternoon friends and family.  I hope you are all doing well and surviving the terrible heat wave we've been experiencing.  I hear relief is on the way and we should have a couple of more comfortable days.

    I feel like that by week 3 we will have officially entered "the groove".  Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we have continued to work on our processes and procedures.

    Want to make sure you know that our Curriculum Nights are coming up this week.  3rd-5th Grade Curriculum Night is Tuesday, August 20, starting at 6 PM.  We will begin at 6 PM with some PTA business items and the principal's message (20 minutes) that will be viewed via closed circuit television in your child's classroom.  Your child's teacher will begin his/her presentation immediately following the broadcast.  If you have two children in grades 3-5, then a second session will begin following session 1.

    The same process will be on Thursday for K-2nd Grade Curriculum Night.j

    All parents are encouraged to attend.  We will not have child care available, so please plan to have your children with you (we are kid friendly here :-).

    Ice cream sales have been through the roof!  We are actually sold out until Wednesday :-(.  Our kids have loved the opportunity to buy, and we very much appreciate being able to offer our classroom teachers duty free lunch.

    I'll keep this one a bit short... I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend.

    Until we meet again, be good and be safe.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

  • Cooper Chronicles (8-11-19)

    Good afternoon friends and family.  I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend and are mentally preparing to begin another week of school.

    Week 1 went well at Cooper.  I am optimistic that week 2 will be better, especially with some of our transportation woes.  We are working on making sure we hone our processes to make the process more efficient and safe.

    Mark your calendars... Curriculum Night for 3rd-5th grades will be Tuesday, August 20 from 6-8 PM.  K-2nd grade will have their Curriculum Night on Thursday, August 22 from 6-8 PM.  I really encourage you to come out, learn about this school year from your child's teacher, and become familiar with some of our new procedures, particularly with grading, retesting, and how we handle disciplinary matters.  You'll also have a chance to hear from our wonderful PTA about our budget and the goals for this school year.

    We will begin selling ice cream this week for $1.  We have teased the kids by having it in the cafeteria since Wednesday.  This will be a brand new process for Cooper ES, so please be patient as we work out the kinks.  If you recall from a previous message, money from ice cream sales will mostly fund paid (adult) lunchroom monitors so our teachers can have 24.5 minutes of adult conversation time :-)

    I have mentioned the Cooper Reads time we have in the morning in every classroom from 8:20-8:45.  This is a time we have set aside to focus on reading.  Please have your student to school as soon as possible.  Announcements begin at 8:45 each morning, and our instructional day begins with the bell at 8:50.

    The PTA Executive Committee and I are putting the final touches to our events calendar, so stay tuned for announcements for wonderful events coming up.  It is going to be a great year.

    A few friendly reminders to get us through the week:

    1. Please be sure to have your ID with you when you come to the office.  We are going to ask for it :-)
    2. Any transportation changes should be clearly spelled in a note and given to your child's classroom teacher when arriving to school... this allows us to clarify any questions we may have. 
    3. Cooper Reads is a great time for your child to get settled in for a great day of learning.  Please make sure they get to school in time to participate.
    4. Buses are still getting their routes down... please give them flexibility in the morning and afternoon

    I look forward to seeing you at our Curriculum Night events and sharing the wonderful things we are doing at Cooper to ensure the best year yet.

    Until then, be good and be safe.

    Your VERY PROUD Principal,

    Paul Willis

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