The Infamous Weekly Update

Each week Peter Lefkowicz, the Head of School, sends a weekly email update to all TNS families. It’s one example of how much we value communication and staying connected. Teachers craft the discipline-specific news. Parents scan through for the sections that are relevant to their student. Dinner table conversations get a boost. Here’s a sample:

Dear TNS Families,

Well, it apparently turned to autumn this week. Sweater weather, turning leaves, etc. Or, here in Atlanta, another month of 90 degree days. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to shut the A/C off by Halloween. On to the update:

This week in College Counseling, we welcomed our first college representative, Federico Gitman of Lynn University in Florida. Lynn’s business program features the kind of innovation that our students appreciate from their own community engagement and entrepreneurship here at TNS.  The students asked great questions to begin with but Freddy also gave them some pointers on how to take advantage of opportunities like this one.

Last week, in addition to speaking with parents at College Night, Ginger had her second monthly meeting with the juniors. They talked about what factors to consider when starting a college search and did an exercise to help students learn something about their own preferences since knowing yourself is the most important first step.

9th Grade Math students have been submerged in the world of linear functions. They’ve become true experts in working with all forms of linear functions and modeling with them. Some of the kids in this wonderful group have been placed in an advanced math program that will take a bit more effort and some extra time for homework. There will be a chapter test next Wednesday.10th Grade Math-II folks have been having a lot of fun manipulating rational expressions. They will complete this chapter next week and take a test on Friday10th Grade Precalculus youngsters have spent this week analyzing all kinds of functions and connecting them to a real life situations. Very entertaining! They will learn about composition and inverse functions next week and hopefully will complete the chapter. 11th Grade Precalculus group is inching to the end of chapter 2. Kids will explore the universe of warm and fuzzy circles and their equations next week, will work on chapter review and take a test on Thursday or Friday. In AP Calculus, students finished up the Intro to Limits portion of the course with a quiz, before launching back in to some more differentiation techniques including the product and quotient rules, and differentiation of trigonometric functions. 

In Drama, the players, having now solidly memorized their parts, shifted their emphasis to acting, focusing on active listening in the midst of a scene. On Wednesday, many Drama students missed class due to a Georgia Aquarium trip, but those that were in class got a treat. They headed over to Horizon and worked with professional scenic artists and carpenters, making tree trunks from chicken wire and muslin, among other sets and props, all of which will be put to use in Horizon Theatre’s world premiere of the mystery/comedy Freed Spirits, for which Horizon has recreated Oakland Cemetery on its Little 5 Points stage. Opening night is tonight!

Filmmaking students watched Rushmore to conclude the Tarantino/Wes Anderson mini-marathon.Wednesday was an in-class workday, where students started putting the finishing touches on their poetic documentaries, which they submitted today in final form. We screened them all together and talked about them in class. Really happy with what the students produced.

Design students split their time this week between indulging their inner ceramicists, as their work in clay began to take shape, and starting to imagine the project that they will be working on to install at the Georgia Aquarium, which they visited on Wednesday.

This week in Spanish 1, we focused on food (vocabulary) and how to talk about food with the verb to like (gustar). In groups, the students researched and presented a recipe in Spanish, which eventually they will cook for their classmates. In Spanish 2 we worked with verbs and adjectives, as students identified these grammatical structures in songs and short texts. Spanish 3 students learned how to use the present subjunctive in Spanish. We practiced the uses of this grammatical form in short passages, songs, and exercises.

Humanities 9 students completed rough drafts of their The Hunger Games essays, which the put through a peer editing workshop on Thursday. Final Drafts are due Monday in class. 
Humanities 10 students worked on two more early American short stories, and have begun writing analytical essays on the stories. Rough drafts due Wednesday, September 28. Final drafts due Monday, October 3.
This week in English 11/AP Language, all the skills we’ve been learning this semester began to come together as we explored writing rhetorical analyses. We looked at several examples by students, examining how these essays succeeded in their analysis, as well as how they fell short. We worked on performing our own rhetorical analyses of texts from various genres–current opinion pieces, historical documents, even clips from The Daily Show–so that students will be prepared for the upcoming essay.

In 9th Grade Projects, students began crafting surveys related to their research questions, and we had an awesome trip to the Mail Chimp offices at Ponce City Market, where we got a tour of what is surely the coolest work environment in Atlanta, and met with folks from their qualitative data, quantitative data, and data science teams to talk surveys, lots of different ways that data is used, and some of the many security and policy issues that arise when you send over 1,000,000,000 emails every day, as Mail Chimp does. And we had a beautiful walk up and down the BeltLine to get there and back!

In 10th Grade Projects we had a very busy week. On Monday, we heard from Dr. Joseph Brown, a professor in the civil engineering department at Georgia Tech whose focus is water quality innovation, and one of his PhD students Arjun Bir. They talked to the students about and demonstrated various different types of water quality tests, how to read them, and the their reliability. On Tuesday, students had a acid/base lesson and took an open note quiz. Wednesday, we heard from Water Technology Quality Manager at Coke, Laurie Gilmore, who talked about the water purification process that Coke uses and the different types of processes other companies use to make sure their water is drinkable. On Thursday, we traveled out to Johns Creek to tour the North Fulton Water Reclamation Facility. We had an awesome tour from Debra Ewing their program manager, who took us on the detailed journey of water as it is flushed down the toilet or drain and it’s process before it is released back into the Chattahoochee River. It was quite an interesting and informative trip! The students even left with a souvenir water bottle. This weekend your student should (if they haven’t already) identify a neighbor on another street who is willing to provide a water sample to your student once a week for the next 4 weeks. Your student will have a water sample bag to collect the sample. Please make sure your student collects and brings a sample from the tap of both your home and neighbor’s home on Monday, September 26th. The sample should be kept out of sunlight, preferably in a cool room or refrigerator.

Entrepreneurship students had a week full of working on their ventures, workshops on pitching and branding and mentorship from our Entrepreneurs in Residence. Teams put together Key Performance Indicators and set goals for the coming weeks.

In Physics this week we wrapped up our investigation of Newton’s Laws through several different activities. One of those activities was the egg drop challenge, where students designed a device to capitalize on the concept of terminal velocity and protect an egg from a two story drop. Be sure to ask your student how their design faired and to explain some of the components of the winning design. We took a little longer to cover the material for this week so the quiz will take place next Tuesday, September 27. In Chemistry students began to explore the complexity of the periodic table and all the details that it can provide about an element. Next week, we will finish decoding the periodic table before beginning to learn about chemical bonding. InBiology we finished learning about the different types of cells, the organelles inside of them, and their jobs within the cell. We also took a trip to the Georgia Aquarium to check out their Washed Ashore exhibit, which displays plastic containers retrieved from the ocean in various animal shapes, along with information regarding the plastics and the environments they affect. Biology students will be teaming with Design students to create their own version of the exhibit, which will have a more permanent home inside of the Georgia Aquarium.

This afternoon, Michelle Nunn, former US Senate candidate, current CEO of Care International, joined us for a very special version of our Speaker Series. Today we tried something new, as 11th grader Alyssa Tirrell took the stage to interview Michelle for an hour about her life, her work at Care, politics, and the profound challenges of getting people to care about complex issues in a media environment where there are so many other messages competing for our attention. It was inspiring and thought-provoking for all of us, and we’re especially proud of Alyssa, whose incredible preparation let her seem like a seasoned interviewer having an off-the-cuff conversation as she chatted with Michelle. Kudos!
Hope everyone has a good weekend.