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DLAST winner TCMS's Artz named Digital Learning All-Star Teacher

Each year, schools within the Thomas County School System name a teacher the Digital Learning All-Star Teacher. These teachers have gone above and beyond with implementing the effective use of technology in classroom instruction at both the school and district-level. Melissa Artz, a seventh grade teacher at Thomas County Middle School, was selected as the 4th annual winner for the district.

“Thanks in large part to E-SPLOST funding and other grants we have received, the Thomas County School System has made significant investments in technology for our students and teachers,” said Lindsay Thompson, Director of Digital Learning and Media Services for Thomas County Schools. “Our Digital Learning All-Star Teachers are among the best at using technology in the classroom with their students and helping other teachers with various digital tools. We believe it is important to recognize teachers who use technology to create transformative learning experiences for their students”

“With information at our fingertips and technology ever progressing, it is vital that we use technology in the classroom often but also use it effectively and efficiently,” Artz said. “As a digital citizen myself, I can help students recognize safe digital practices and understand the importance of learning how to appropriately use the technology that is available.”

Additionally, Ms. Artz received a laptop courtesy of Trafera and will attend a statewide technology conference in the fall.

Debbie Carraway and Amy Jacobs Hand-In-Hand’s Carraway named finalist for Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year 2022-2023

Pre-Kindergarten teacher Debbie Carraway is one of three finalists in a public school system for the 2022-2023 Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teachers of the Year according to the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Carraway, who has taught Pre-K at Hand-In-Hand Primary School for six years, was chosen for representing high quality early childhood education.

Carraway received a $500 cash prize from the Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning after her application was reviewed and scored by a panel of impartial judges.

Carraway has been teaching for 15 years, and 12 of those years have been in Pre-K.

“It is an honor to be selected as one of the top three finalists for Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year,” Carraway said. “If chosen to represent Thomas County as the 2023 Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year, my message would be that our children are our future. As an educator, I know that every day I make an impact on someone's life.”

This fall each of the finalists will be observed in their classroom by a Pre-K Specialist, will submit a small group video to be scored by outside judges, and will appear before a panel for a personal interview.

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Genesis Design Empowering the female future

Technology as a man’s domain is an antiquated idea getting a redesign thanks to opportunities like the Virtual Reality Environment Design event sponsored by Women in Technology and attended by Thomas County Central High School Girls Who Code club. 

Sponsor Mark Thompson, who teaches computer science classes, wanted his students to attend because he feels it is essential to expose them to as many aspects of technology as possible, which touches nearly every part of their lives. 

“The border between art and technology is thinner than we often realize,” Thompson said. “Just as importantly, girls are overlooked when it comes to computer science. This event was a great way to show our female students that there are so many different ways to use technology. If they are inspired to create, then it was a worthy trip.”

The group from TCCHS included Emily Wood, Lainey Woodfin, Cadence Curnalia, Heather Smith, Shelby Bryant, Rowan Garland, Julia Hutchings and Genesis Mickles. Held April 30 in Duluth, girls from across Georgia participated and split into teams to design 3-Dimensional environments using VR headsets.

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