During the Nov. 9 meeting of the Dawson County Board of Education, board members recognized Robinson Elementary School and Black’s Mill Elementary School for two awards that were recently given to the schools by the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals (GAESP) during the association’s fall conference.
Black’s Mill Elementary School was given the 2021 GAESP School Bell Award for the school’s program, “The Bear Den”, directed by Media Specialist Allison Lundy.
According to BMES Principal Cindy Kinney, the School Bell Award is presented to schools with outstanding programs in the areas of curriculum and organizational leadership. This year, the media center, called “The Bear Den” and directed by Lundy, was chosen to win a School Bell Award.
“'The ‘Bear Den’ was pleased to be nominated this year and to be an award winner; in the nomination it talked about promoting a lifelong love of reading and learning,” Kinney said. “Some of the words in the nomination that was turned in to describe Mrs. Lundy and the things that she does for our school were collaborative, instructional partner, engaging and creating a stimulating learning environment.”
Kinney said as the media specialist, Lundy teaches literacy lessons, introduces students and teachers to new digital apps and technology tools, teaches internet safety and digital citizenship and gives students the opportunity to practice using their iPads, apps and the Apple TV in the media center.
“She also works with our morning broadcast which is WBME News; it’s a great way for our fifth grade students to be leaders in our school and they also utilize their iPads, tripods, green screens and iMovie,” Kinney said.
According to Kinney, one way that Lundy helps the school to excel through her position as the media specialist is by creating leadership opportunities for the students and fun ways for them to learn to love reading. This includes programs like “library leaders”, in which the fourth grade students help out in the media center, and fun activities like the “March Madness book bracket”, when students and their parents can vote on their favorite books in a competition to see which book comes out on top.
“We figured out that if you give students a chance to be leaders in your school they love it, and we love to promote our students as leaders,” Kinney said. “[Lundy does] community reader visits, dress up days for Read Across America, March Madness book battles — she does a fantastic job.”
Kinney said Lundy is very deserving of the School Bell Award for the job she does in the school’s media center.
“We’re so proud to have her as a part of our family at Black’s Mill, and we were so excited to be able to stand beside her as she received the School Bell award,” Kinney said.
Robinson Elementary School was also part of the presentation of a 2021 GAESP Award, the Education Patron Award, which was presented to the Dawson County Woman’s Club for their support of Robinson and the programs at the elementary school.
According to RES Principal Page Arnette, over the last two years the relationship between Robinson and the Dawson County Woman’s Club has become deeper and been able to produce quite a lot of support and assistance for the school by the women in the club.
“Our Dawson County Woman’s Club has an education committee, and the chairwoman MG Finch came to me and said she would like to support our school,” Arnette said, “and it didn’t take us very long to see that we had a great fit for needs in our school and expertise that so many of these ladies were willing to bring.”
Arnette said the women in the club have supported Robinson in dozens of ways, from helping transport cardboard boxes from the school to the recycling center for the student recycling program to helping procure and install a Little Free Library outside of the school building.
“They helped with our book fairs — we always need volunteers for that to be able to serve all of our students — and during the year they provided snacks and drinks for our teachers who had a difficult year,” Arnette said.
“I know I’m probably forgetting something that they do for us, but they have just been such a part of our school and really brought such a rich experience to our kids that we wouldn’t have without them.”
Finch, on behalf of herself and the other Woman’s Club members in attendance at the meeting, said being a part of the support system for Robinson and the students there has been rewarding for her and the others in the club.
“We’re delighted; the gift of books to us is huge and it’s a great school to work with,” Finch said.
Superintendent Damon Gibbs also thanked the Woman’s Club members during the meeting for their support of not only Robinson, but of the entire school system.
“These ladies not only work with Robinson, they’re supportive of our school system and they’ve been great friends to me and to our school system over the last eight years,” Gibbs said during the meeting. “So thank you and we appreciate you very much.”
The Woman’s Club was given a 2021 GAESP Education Patron Award for their service with Robinson. Arnette said that she and the rest of the school administrators couldn’t be happier that the club is getting recognition for all of their hard work.
“I am super excited to get to honor these ladies,” Arnette said. “They have become great friends of Robinson over the last two years.”