The Principal's Posts

News from Ms. Appleyard

August 30, 2018
by appleyard
Comments Off on CogAT & Iowa Testing

CogAT & Iowa Testing

Dear Parents,

From September 5 to September 7, 2018, first and third grade students will take the Cognitive Abilities Test, and from September 13 to September 18, 2018 third and fifth grade students will take the Iowa Assessments™. The purpose of this communication is to inform you about the tests so that—with your support and encouragement—your child will do his or her best on the tests.

About the Iowa Assessments and Cognitive Abilities Test

The Iowa Assessments and Cognitive Abilities Test help determine how students are performing on nationwide standards. The Cognitive Abilities Test measures students’ learned reasoning abilities in three areas that closely relate to success in school; verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and nonverbal reasoning. The Iowa Assessments measure achievement in several important content areas including Reading, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.

The tests help teachers identify a student’s strengths and areas that may need additional emphasis. The Iowa Assessments also measure student growth and progress in the content areas assessed from year to year and may provide information about college readiness for older students. The assessments produce information that enables sound decision making and provides a focus for teachers to evaluate instruction.

Each test includes sample questions to help students become familiar with the content and format of the tests. Samples help students understand what to do—how to mark answers and move from question to question.

For most tests, students read the questions and mark their answers by filling in a circle for each question. All test questions are multiple choice, and the tests last about 10 to 35 minutes.

How your child can prepare for test taking—and what you can do to help

A student who is well rested and well fed and has a positive attitude about testing is best prepared for testing. You can help your child do his or her best by considering these tips:

  • Make sure that your child is in school and on time on test days.
  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a healthy breakfast before each day of testing.
  • Remind your child that these tests are only one measure of what he or she has learned.
  • Emphasize that you have confidence in his or her ability to do the best job possible.
  • Remind your child to listen to the directions and read each question carefully during testing.
  • Encourage your child to ask the teacher for help if he or she does not understand the directions.

Score reporting and how we use test results

The school will receive test scores in about 6-8 weeks and parents will receive an individual student score report for the Iowa Assessments. These scores will indicate how your child performed on the tests compared with students across the nation in the same grade.

Thank you very much for encouraging and supporting your child during testing. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kevin Johnson or Jaime Davies at (770) 578-7248.


Kevin Johnson & Jaime Davies
Assistant Principals

July 28, 2018
by appleyard
Comments Off on 2018-2019 School Year – Can’t Wait!

2018-2019 School Year – Can’t Wait!

After a wonderful summer, we are ready for students to return to TEAM MBES!  School only makes sense when students and teachers are in the building!  Our theme this year is WORK HARD. PLAY HARD.  We know that staff and students will work hard on curriculum implementation, and we also know that they will continue our tradition of ensuring our classrooms and hallways are fun places filled with camaraderie and Buccaneer pride!

I am excited to enter my sixth year as principal and to continue to guide our staff as we embody EXCELLENCE IN ACTION and where we operate as A SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE WHERE ALL STUDENTS SUCCEED.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the members of our Administrative Team.  I am thrilled to work with these leaders this year!

Jessica Appleyard, Principal ([email protected])

Jaime Davies, Assistant Principal K, 2nd, 4th ([email protected])

Kevin Johnson, Assistant Principal 1st, 3rd, 5th ([email protected])

Sharon Dixson, Support and Services Administrator/Special Education ([email protected])


June 22, 2018
by appleyard
Comments Off on Changes in Leadership – Congratulations, Ms. Harmeyer & Mrs. Clark!

Changes in Leadership – Congratulations, Ms. Harmeyer & Mrs. Clark!

Dear Mt. Bethel Community,

On May 17th, Faith Harmeyer was named the Principal of Nicholson Elementary effective June 1st!  Faith started her career at Nicholson as a Speech and Language Pathologist after graduating and will return home to lead the school!

We KNOW that Faith’s passion for building relationships, her common sense, her wit and humor, and her commitment will be a gift to each of the Nicholson Stars! We are incredibly grateful for her service as a Speech and Language Pathologist and Administrator in her time (almost a decade) at Mt. Bethel.

Congratulations to the new principal of East Side Elementary, Maria Clark!  At the CCSD School Board Meeting on June 21st, Maria was promoted to Principal at East Side Elementary effective July 1st.  I know you will join me in sending her sentiments of gratitude and congratulations!

Without a doubt, Maria’s professionalism, expertise in curriculum and policy, ease in building relationships, and focus on doing what is best for kids and community will ensure that she SOARS as a principal!

This year will mark a year of change for the administration, but please know that I am confident our A-Team will not skip a beat – with many new people in different roles!

Jaime Davies has moved from her role of Support and Services Administrator to Assistant Principal.  Jaime will ensure consistency, will continue to build relationships, has compassion for all kids and is an expert in intervention and bringing out the best in each student.  We are grateful to have Jaime serve as an Assistant Principal, as she is a true asset to Mt. Bethel!

Kevin Johnson will serve as our newest member to the Mt. Bethel Administrative team.  We are excited to welcome Kevin, ten-plus year veteran educator who has served in a variety of leadership roles, most recently at Brumby Elementary.  He will bring curriculum knowledge, a strong background in special education, procedural knowledge, passion for kids and FUN!  Kevin has served as Walton’s Varsity Pitching Coach for several years, and he is excited to join the Walton Cluster as an administrator here at Mt. Bethel.

We also want to welcome Sharon Dixson, Support and Services Administrator (SSA).  She will share her time with Mt. Bethel and Walton and will be the contact for any questions or concerns regarding special education.  Sharon is professional, polished, poised, has a vast knowledge of special education and intervention, and will be a welcome addition to the Mt. Bethel Team.  While she has been off the clock, Mrs. Dixson has already been working at Mt. Bethel to transfer SSA responsibilities and to get to know our school and community.

We look forward to the 2018-19 school year, and are excited about this new leadership team as well as our theme for the year:  TEAM MBES!  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via email.  Our TEAM will be together and back in the building on July 11th!


Your Mt. Bethel Administration,

Jessica Appleyard, Principal ([email protected])
Jaime Davies, Assistant Principal ([email protected])
Kevin Johnson, Assistant Principal ([email protected])
Sharon Dixson, Support and Services Administrator ([email protected])

April 10, 2018
by appleyard


It’s hard to believe, but we have about six weeks left in the school year!  To help our fifth grade families plan through the end of the year, please READ THIS LETTER that outlines exciting events the 5th grade 2018 Buccaneers.  Some of the events are kids only, some are for parents, and others are for extended family.  We will send a hard copy home, as well.

This year, we will host a Career Day with Community Leaders on April 30th.  We are asking for parents who work in Finance, Government and Public Administration,  Information Technology, and Marketing to share several minutes about their careers with the entire fifth grade class.  Additional speakers may share with individual homerooms.  The event should take place in the morning on 4/30.  If you are interested, please complete THIS SURVEY by 4/16 and we will be back in touch regarding scheduling.

We have so much to celebrate with this incredible group!  Buckle up – it’s going to be a fast ride to the end of the year!



January 25, 2018
by appleyard
Comments Off on Cobb Library PASS

Cobb Library PASS

After months of working out logistics, Cobb County Schools has partnered with the Cobb County Public Library System to bring you a Library P.A.S.S. Your child’s student number now works like a library card to provide your child with access to library books, audiobooks, databases like BookFlix, and ebooks.

To log-in, you will need your child’s 7 digit number. This number is the same as their computer log-in and lunch number at school. Your child’s pin is their 2 digit birth month followed by their 2 digit birth day. For example: if your child’s birthday is January 7th, their pin would be 0107.

Follow the link below to start accessing all of the great resources that our county library system provides. There are also 2 links below that will take you directly to the FAQ and Parent pages provided by the Public Libraries. If you have any questions that are not answered on the FAQ or parent page, email Heather Kindschy, [email protected] , your child’s teacher or visit the staff at your closest public library branch.

Library PASS

Library PASS – FAQ

Library PASS – Parent Page

January 11, 2018
by appleyard
Comments Off on SOAR: Safe Orderly And Respectful

SOAR: Safe Orderly And Respectful

On January 9, 10, and 11, Mt. Bethel students had the opportunity to attend an in-school field trip/safety program presented by CCSD bus drivers and officials from CCSD’s Transportation Department.  This program is called SOAR:  Safe ,Orderly and Respectful – important guidelines by which to abide when riding the bus.  We encourage you to talk with your students about what they learned and to ask them what YOU can do as a driver and at the bus stop in increase safety.

Please CLICK HERE to read the PARENT LETTER.  It contains what could be life-saving information regarding parent and student procedures and behavior.

Buccaneers rotated through four stations:

  2. Street Crossing:  (Ask your child about the two finger sweep, how to signal the driver, what to do if the driver shows a hand signal to stop, Thumbs-Up Pick it Up, and Thumbs Down Leave it on the Ground
  4. Evacuations:  Ask your student two ways to evacuate a bus.

Do you want a chance to win a prize?  Print and correctly complete THIS ACTIVITY SHEET, place your name and teacher on the back, and return to the front office!  We will announce winners the last week in January!

We encourage parents to follow Hawkeye, CCSD’s Bus Safety Mascot, on Facebook.  You can find him at this link or search for @Hawkeyemascot.  He posts transportation information and provides bus safety tips!  He is a valued contributor to the East Cobber Parade and helps each and every bus driver!

Mt. Bethel loves our drivers and the leadership in the Transportation Department who work hard on behalf of every bus rider!  Questions/comments?  Email: [email protected]

November 2, 2017
by appleyard
Comments Off on What’s Up With All This Testing?

What’s Up With All This Testing?

It was great to have such a wonderful turnout at the PTA Meeting on November 2nd!  In case you were unable to attend or if you want to review the presentation, CLICK HERE to access the Google Slides document.

To better understand your student’s Learning Profile from the CogAT, CLICK HERE.

For information on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade Test, CLICK HERE.

To find links to view Milestones Study Guides, CLICK HERE.

Iowa and CogAT Scores will be distributed the week of November 13th to all 1st, 3rd, and 5th Graders.   If you have questions about Gifted Eligibility, please plan to join the Target team on Wednesday, November 8th at 8:00 am in the Learning Commons.

October 15, 2017
by appleyard
Comments Off on It’s October – The Patron Drive is in Full Swing! Have You Participated?

It’s October – The Patron Drive is in Full Swing! Have You Participated?

October is the month of our annual Foundation’s Patron Drive!  Your donations ensure that our Buccaneers have opportunities to ENRICH. EMPOWER. EXCEL above and beyond funding from the District.

If you have already made a donation, THANK YOU!  We are almost half way through the month and every donation makes a difference!

Visit the Foundation website to make your donation today:

Please remember to check if your company offers Corporate Matching
by clicking here!

October 9, 2017
by appleyard
Comments Off on Students Need More Than a Great Teacher. They Need a Great School.

Students Need More Than a Great Teacher. They Need a Great School.

This summer, the Mt. Bethel Administration was fortunate to attend a week-long professional learning course regarding the implementation of Writer’s Workshop held right here in Cobb by Columbia University’s Teachers College and funded by our Foundation.  Alongside many of our teachers, we learned about creating the optimal environment for teaching writing, discovered multiple strategies, experienced integration of reading and writing, discussed assessments/learning progressions, fine-tuned how to conduct an individual conference, and more.  This was great information and really set the stage for our teachers to launch writing as a priority this year, and set the stage for our administration to support teachers of writing.

One of the instructors (also a contributing author to Lucy Calkins) made a statement that resonated with me and causes me to pause and reflect on our Mt. Bethel community and our practices often.  Her statement:


While a seemingly obvious statement, it is a statement that summarizes the impact of our Foundation’s exemplary support of our staff and students to not only enhance teachers’ professional knowledge, but to ensure that globally, Mt. Bethel continues to ENRICH. EMPOWER. EXCEL. and move forward together as a school community providing an education above and beyond the grade level standards. Over the last four years, we have been on a journey to implement Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop (common literacy practices in English Language Arts) through the provision of training and materials funded by our Foundation.

The Workshop Model ensures several things:

  • Common structure to the instructional block with a mini-lesson, independent work time, differentiated individual or small group work to refine and extend thinking, independent practice, closure.  This framework allows students to maximize time learning as the format is always the same, but the message and time spent independently changes as they grow as readers/writers.
  • Explicit scope and sequence of skills.
  • Rigor and high expectations.
  • Guaranteed differentiation for all learners.
  • Student choice and engagement.
  • Research-based strategies.
  • Application of content in a real-world methodology.

Is there any evidence to suggest that this practice is working?

Longitudinal Standardized Test Data supports measurable student growth at Mt. Bethel since we began our literacy initiatives.

  • 88.4% of Mt. Bethel third graders in 2015 scored above average on the complete composite of the Iowa Assessments.  This same group had 90.7% score above average in 2017 as fifth graders.
  • 87.8% of third graders in 2015 scored above grade cutoffs for reading Lexile scores on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade Assessment.  This same group had 92.7% score above grade cutoffs in fourth grade 2016, and 98.5% score above grade cutoffs in fifth grade in 2017.
  • 95% of third graders in 2015 scored in the top three levels on the English Language Arts Assessments on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade Assessment.  This same group had 97.4% score in the top three levels in fourth grade in 2016 and 99.5% score within the top three levels in fifth grade.  Additionally, we decreased the percentage of students scoring a level 1, and significantly increased the percentage of students scoring a level 4.
  • Notes about growth:  showing growth when there is already a high level of achievement/proficiency is difficult.

Thank you for your support of our school, our students, our teachers, and our Foundation!  Your generosity makes an impact on the most important instruction we can provide in elementary school – teaching students to read, write, and communicate. Literacy and communication impact all other subjects.  ENRICH. EMPOWER. EXCEL.  It is more than just a vision for our Foundation and Buccaneers.  It is our reality.  We are able to ensure a GREAT SCHOOL that benefits all of our students!


September 6, 2017
by appleyard
Comments Off on STEM Fair – Register between Tuesday, September 5th – Friday, September 22nd

STEM Fair – Register between Tuesday, September 5th – Friday, September 22nd

Calling all future scientists and engineers! Register for the 10th annual Mt. Bethel Foundation STEM Fair (formerly known as the Science Fair)! The STEM Fair will take place on October 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. The STEM Fair registration link and guidelines can be found on the Foundation’s website at

Special thanks to Mathnasium for sponsoring this year’s STEM Fair.

Subscribe By Email

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Please prove that you are not a robot.

Skip to toolbar