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Gwinnett for Girls News

Upcoming Open Houses

Upcoming Open Houses

Ivy Prep cordially invites all new and prospective families to an Open House at each of our campuses. Parents and future Ivy Prep scholars will have the opportunity to meet school leadership, see the facilities, and ask any questions about what makes Ivy great. If you’re considering Ivy Prep for 2016-2017, or if you’ve already enrolled, please come join us to see what all the excitement is about.

Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett
Open House Date: Monday, May 9, 2016
Time Slots: 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m.
3705 Engineering Drive. Norcross, Georgia. 30092
Serving All-Girls in Grades 6-8
For families eligible for one of the following: Gwinnett County Public Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools

Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood
Open House Dates: Thursday, May 5, 2016; Thursday, May 12, 2016; Thursday, May 19, 2016
Time Slots: 10:00 a.m.. 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m.
1807 Memorial Drive SE. Atlanta, Georgia. 30317
Serving All-Girls in Grades K-8
For families eligible for one of the following: DeKalb County Schools, Atlanta Public Schools

IPA Scholar Accepted To Prestigious Boarding School

IPA Scholar Accepted To Prestigious Boarding School


Eighth grader Jedidah Titus, a straight-A student, has been accepted to a prestigious Virginia boarding school for girls.

Titus is considering an offer to attend Chatham Hall, a college preparatory school founded in 1894. The school has 140 scholars and a scenic campus that sits on 362 acres. Tuition is $48,000.

“I am thinking about attending high school at a private all-girls boarding school,” Titus said. “I was accepted, and they gave me a generous scholarship.”

Famous alumnae of Chatham Hall include artist Georgia O’Keeffe, NPR broadcaster, Ann Taylor, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Claudia Emerson.

In July 2015, Titus was one of four members of Ivy Prep’s Beta Club to compete in the academic Quiz Bowl at Junior Beta Club’s national conference in Nashville, Tenn. The team placed fourth out of 35 teams playing a Jeopardy-style Quiz game that tested their mastery of math, literature, social studies, and science. In November 2014, Titus and fellow members of Ivy Prep’s Beta Club Quiz Bowl team qualified for nationals after defeating 75 contenders to win second place in a state competition.

Titus is among about a handful of Ivy Prep scholars to be accepted to elite boarding schools.

One of those scholars, Justice Robinson, is now a sophomore at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. Phillips is the alma mater of former US. Presidents George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush.

Robinson received a full scholarship at Andover, which costs $50,000 a year.


Parents Visit “Museum” To Explore Accelerated Classes

Parents Visit “Museum” To Explore Accelerated Classes


Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett recently held Open House activities for parents of 40 scholars selected for accelerated instruction in math and language arts.

The new accelerated classes were launched mid-year to give honor students who exceeded standards in math and language arts on state exams more rigor in the core subjects.

“We introduced accelerated instruction in December because we wanted to provide services for all of our scholars, including those who are achieving at a high level,” said Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett.

Accelerated English/Language Arts, taught by Julie Carroll, pushes scholars to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that will help them in high school and college. Carroll said her classes explore novels and analyze the elements of the books that they read.

“We don’t slow down to read a book in class,” Carroll told parents recently at Open House. “It is my expectation that students read at home. We discuss the book and work on the materials that go around it.”

Book discussions are held to help scholars learn the meaning of new vocabulary words, decipher the plot and mood of stories, and understand character development. In addition, scholars research the historical context of the books they read so that they can understand the setting and theme.

Scholars demonstrate mastery through the creation of “museum style” individual and group projects that showcase their intellectual and artistic abilities. Parents attending Open House were impressed with the work on display.

For the novel “The Red Pyramid,” by Rick Riordon, scholars displayed their version of an ancient Egyptian burial ground complete with a sarcophagus, a mummy, and scrolls with hieroglyphics.

For the book “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry, scholars displayed over-sized paper dolls that hung in the hallway. Each paper doll featured attributes of the book’s main characters and information about whether the character was dynamic, static, round, or flat in their development throughout the story.

“My biggest job as an English Language Arts teacher is to help my kids learn how to think effectively and to back up what they think,” Carroll said.

Sixth grader Karen Kim, who read “The Giver,'” said the book projects and class discussions made reading the novel exciting.”It helped me to understand the book and the theme better,” she said. “I think it will help me later on in reading.”

Olivia Harris, also a sixth grader, said she is being taught in the way that she learns best. “I’m a kinesthetic learner; I like being able to interact with things like this,” she said.”The other classes are reading this book too, but we get to take it to another level.”

Sixth grader Zainab Azmat said she likes the exploratory approach to learning about novels and the museum element. “We get to be more creative than other classes,” she said. “We made a big human on the wall to show that we related to the characters in a book.”

Accelerated Math, taught by Wendy Enoch, is helping students to build a strong foundation in Algebra I.

For the first time at IPA, sixth and seventh graders who stay in accelerated math through eighth grade can earn high school credits for completing Algebra I in middle school. The program was offered to make scholars more competitive for entry into high-performing metro Atlanta magnet and private high schools.

“Some of our scholars have told us that they want to apply to the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology,” Patterson said. “We want them to be well prepared.”

For more photos, visit the Ivy Preparatory Academy Facebook account.


Eighth Graders Have A Ball In Science

Eighth Graders Have A Ball In Science

Screen shot 2016-03-04 at 5.24.52 AM

Eighth grade scholars at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett studied Newton’s Third Law in a physics lab recently. According to the law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Science teacher Felicite Nguessan led scholars in an experiment using a ping pong ball and a blow dryer to test Newton’s theory. The experiment showed how force between objects can cause one to push or pull as a result of its interaction with another object.

“I learned that since earth has gravity everything is automatically pulled down,” said Mackenzie Skeene, an eighth grader at IPA Gwinnett. “The more newtons, the greater the force. Without the blow dryer, gravity would automatically pull the ping pong ball down. If you are pointing the blow dryer up, it will blow the ping pong ball up. ”

“It was a fun experiment,” said Jedidah Titus, who partnered with Skeene in the lab.

Ivy Preparatory Academy's photo.
Ivy Preparatory Academy's photo.
Ivy Preparatory Academy's photo.



IPA Gwinnett Offers Tours By Expert Guide

IPA Gwinnett Offers Tours By Expert Guide


When parents call to schedule a tour of Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett, they get personal attention from Principal Chaz Patterson.

Mr. Patterson takes time from his day to introduce prospective parents to teachers, take them to classrooms, and answer their questions about the curriculum and culture of the school.

“What better way to welcome parents to Ivy Preparatory Academy than by getting a personal tour from the principal,” Mr. Patterson said. “We want to show families that we are excited about having them join us.”

IPA Gwinnett is currently enrolling new scholars for the 2016-17 school year. The free, single-gender charter school of more than 220 scholars is expected to add another 100 students after this year’s eighth graders transition to their high schools of choice.

IPA Gwinnett challenges students with a college preparatory curriculum that includes daily double doses of language arts and math classes, and a gifted program for advanced learners. The school offers extended days of learning and an extended calendar year.

Visit for more information about enrollment and call 770-342-0089 to schedule a personal tour with Mr. Patterson. Tours will be held on Wednesdays through March.

IPA Gwinnett is open to scholars who live in the Gwinnett, Fulton and DeKalb County school districts.


Join the Wellness Committee!

Dear Stakeholder

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious health epidemics facing America today. The American Medical Association now recognizes obesity as a disease. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of children and teens in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is leading to a range of health problems that previously were not generally seen until adulthood, including high blood pressure, type II diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. We believe we have a responsibility to improve the health and well-being of our children.

Experience shows that schools can be powerful places to make behavioral and environmental changes for students and staff. To make our school environment healthier, our school is forming a School Wellness Committee. The purpose of the committee is to bring together representatives from the school and community who can help us address issues facing the health and well-being of our children and Youth.

As a parent/community member/stakeholder, your input is particularly important, and we would be honored to have you as a School Wellness Committee member. We understand that your time is valuable, and we want you to know we are committed to making changes in policies and programs that will positively affect the health of our students and school staff. We will be examining and planning for changes in the classroom, cafeteria, playing fields and more. We are following the Healthy Schools Program, which is part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance is aimed at reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. The Healthy Schools Program provides technical assistance, resources, and tools to help our school create a healthier environment for students and staff. Our goal is to obtain the Bronze Level Recognition this year.

Our first meeting will take place on January 6, 2016 at Kirkwood from 2pm-3pm. We will provide a conference call number if you want to participate but cannot attend. We anticipate holding under-an-hour meetings monthly until April. If you have any questions, or want to know more about what sort of responsibilities you would have as a member, please contact me at LaTanya Crooms, School Nutrition Manager 404.622.2727 or We hope you will accept our invitation and join us in taking action against the growing youth obesity epidemic.


LaTanya Crooms
School Nutrition Program Manager

Ivy Prep Gwinnett Scholar Elected State President of Beta Club

Seventh grader Selina Vazquez-Mendoza has made Georgia history as the first girls’ charter school student to be elected state president of the prestigious Beta Club for high academic achievers.

Vazquez-Mendoza, 12, is an honor student at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett. She will serve as Georgia’s Beta Club president for one year and compete for the national presidency in New Orleans this summer. The National Beta Club, which has been serving students for 80 years, is the country’s largest independent youth organization. It promotes scholarship, leadership, character, and community service, and has more than 350,000 members nationwide.

“It feels good to be the state president,” said Vazquez-Mendoza. “I want to help others who want to become leaders like me to follow their dreams.”

Vazquez-Mendoza is the first Ivy Prep Gwinnett scholar elected to a state office. She was nominated for Beta Club after a successful year in sixth grade. Ivy scholars in grades 6-8 who have good behavior and a grade point average of at least a 3.5 are recommended by teachers to be considered for membership in the elite organization.

“There is a high standard to be in Beta Club,” said Asia Aaron, an eighth grader at IPA Gwinnett. “You have to be a really good student. Beta Club helps you prepare for the future and it looks great on your resume as you apply for high school and college.”

IPA Beta Club members in grades 7-8 travel to the annual state leadership conference each year to compete against other chapters and attend leadership seminars. Vazquez-Mendoza won the state presidency during the school’s visit to the conference on Nov. 19-20 at Macon Marriott City Center.

Dr. LaShunda Hawkins, assistant principal at IPA Gwinnett, picked the seventh grader to run for state office. Vazquez-Mendoza said Ivy Prep’s focus on perseverance, leadership, engagement, and professionalism helped her to overcome some of anxiety over public speaking and meeting new people.

“I used to be really shy when I was younger,” she said. “The minute that I would stand up in front of the class my brain would go blank. Ivy Prep helps you to be more confident in yourself. You learn about leadership, public speaking, and have the opportunity to make a lot of new friends. With the help of my family, my friends, and my teachers, I overcame my fears.”

During the Macon conference, Vazquez- Mendoza cheered on her Beta Club teammates as they competed in the Quiz Bowl, Tower-building, Banner Design, and Living Literature events. Then, it was her turn. She battled butterflies in her stomach as she practiced her speech for the election. Her challenge seemed daunting. She had to introduce herself to a conference of more than 400 students, gain their trust quickly, and convince them to support her bid for president.

“Sophia, the Beta Club president at Ivy, told me to come into the restroom and repeat my speech over and over loud enough so that everybody could hear me when I walked up to the podium,” Vazquez-Mendoza recalled. “She kept telling me ‘Louder! Louder!’”

Other members also came in to coach her. “It was a wonderful team effort,” Dr. Hawkins, Beta Club sponsor, said.

selinaVazquez-Mendoza was the ninth and final candidate to give her speech to the packed room. Her Ivy Beta Club team members joined her on stage to do a skit and dance performance afterwards. Then, voting was held.

The following day, Vazquez-Mendoza was called on stage and named state president.

“When they announced my name as the winner, everybody screamed,” she said. “I called my parents right after. They were very happy.”

The good news brought Veronica Vazquez-Mendoza, Selina’s mother to tears. Her father Jose Vazquez-Mendoza was also floored. “I cried because I was so happy,” Veronica Vazquez-Mendoza said. “I knew that she was smart, but I never expected anything like this. I couldn’t believe it. Her father was so excited.”

Mr. Chaz Patterson, principal of IPA Gwinnett, is still beaming over the win. “I’m elated and overjoyed, not for just the school, but for Selina,” he said. “I have seen tremendous growth in her. It’s great to see that her fellow students in the state of Georgia also see her leadership potential. This is just a stepping stone in her limitless potential.”

The seventh grader says her win is proof that with the support of teachers, friends, and family that students can overcome anything. “I want to tell my fellow scholars that even though they have obstacles, they can achieve their goals,” she said. “If we help each other, we don’t have to struggle as much.”

The entire Ivy Prep Beta Club shared in her victory, Dr. Hawkins said. “Even though we had some sad faces after tough team competitions, when Selina won the presidency, she did it with the help of her sisters at Ivy. The fact that we walked away with the state presidency shows that our girls did an awesome job.”


Gwinnett’s Nationally Ranked Beta Club Continues To Aim High

Administrators at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett recently inducted high-achieving scholars into the Beta Club, IPA’s first student organization to receive national recognition for the academic prowess of its members.

The Ivy Prep Academy Beta Club promotes scholarship, leadership, character, and community service. Ivy scholars in grades 6-8 who have good behavior and a grade point average of at least a 3.5 are recommended by teachers to be considered for membership in the prestigious organization.

“It’s an honor to be in Beta Club,” said Dr. LaShunda Hawkins, assistant principal at IPA Gwinnett, who serves as the new sponsor for Beta Club. “It teaches you how to become a leader and how to work as a team. “
Beta Club members in grades 7-8 travel to an annual state leadership conference each year that features motivational speakers and club competitions.

Ivy Prep scholar Selena Vasquez was elected as state president during the Beta Club state conference on Nov. 19-20 at Macon Marriott City Center.

In July, four members of Ivy Prep’s Beta Club – Jedidah Titus, Mackenzie Williams, Shama Khan and Janai Kameka – competed as a team at Junior Beta Club’s national conference in Nashville, Tenn., where they placed fourth playing a Jeopardy-style Quiz Bowl game that tested their mastery of math, literature, social studies, and science. The scholars took a test with 25 questions and a bonus essay to earn a spot in the final rounds. They competed against teams from 35 states across the country.

“We are the only group in Georgia that made the top four,’’ beamed Mr. Chaz Patterson, principal of IPA Gwinnett. “I was so elated that our girls went in and did what they needed to do and got fourth place.”

“This is the first Ivy Prep group to make it to nationals,” said Ms. Linda Desmond, who led the organization last school year and attended nationals with the group. “I am really proud of them. They learned that they can achieve anything that they put their mind to.”

Beta Team Ivy qualified for nationals after winning second place in the Quiz Bowl at the state conference in Macon last November. The team defeated 75 contenders. Ivy Prep took 36 Beta Club members to the overnight conference to compete in a variety of events that showcased their intellectual and artistic talents.

Ivy Prep’s Beta Club is a local chapter of National Beta Club, the country’s largest independent nonprofit youth organization. National Beta Club has been serving scholars for 80 years. It has more than 350,000 members nationwide.

Beta Club is one of Ivy Prep’s largest student organizations. In addition to attending the state conference, club members also host community service activities.

Sixth graders become eligible for Beta Club membership after report cards are issued.

“We are looking at kids who have been on the honor roll and who exemplify our Prep Values – Professionalism, Responsibility, Engagement and Perseverance,” Hawkins said. “We teach them about leadership and everything they need to know to prepare for college.”

Ivy Prep Scholars Share Charter Experience At National Convention

DSC_3307Two Ivy Preparatory Academy scholars recently shared their views on charter school education at a national conference sponsored by the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

The scholars, Devante McDaniel, an eighth grader at Ivy Preparatory Young Men’s Leadership Academy, and Khelsei Dorsett-Wilson, a seventh grader at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett, were invited to speak at BAEO’s 7th Annual Seminar on Education Policy and Parental Choice.

More than 80 school administrators, teachers, lawmakers and community organizers from across the country attended the two-day conference at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Hotel. The meeting featured seminars on promoting school choice, fighting for national standards in education, and improving access to quality schools through scholarships.

BAEO is a national nonprofit organization that believes that all children deserve a quality education. The group empowers parents and students to exercise school choice and find educational options that fit their needs. BAEO offers guidance to families seeking enrollment in high-performing charter, magnet, and private schools.

Ivy Prep’s Dorsett-Wilson, who spoke at the BAEO conference luncheon, said that she chose Ivy Prep because it was the best fit for her as a scholar.

“Ivy has changed me in many ways,” the seventh grader told the audience. “I have broken out of my shell, and I have become a leader. I have seen and experienced many wonderful things like college tours and the first graduating class at Ivy Prep and much more. I have a whole new college mindset.”

Dorsett-Wilson said that Ivy Prep offers college planning for students that is typically not found at the middle school level in traditional public schools. “There are college flags all around the campus,” she said. “We even have a college and career planning class.”

Dorsett-Wilson told the group that Ivy Bound classes have helped her to research colleges that she is interested in and choose a major. “I am going to Stanford University to study law.” Her announcement was greeted by applause.

DSC_3319Ms. Alisha Morgan, executive director of Ivy Prep Academies, and Mr. Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Prep Gwinnett, attended the luncheon with Dorsett-Wilson. Morgan also spoke at the BAEO conference.

“We welcome the opportunity to provide our scholars with a chance to highlight their journey and success at Ivy Prep,” Morgan said. “School choice is a civil rights imperative. We hope that other families will be empowered to pick the schools that are right for their children.”

McDaniel spoke during the conference’s closing session. He was eager to share insight about the benefits of single-gender education and leadership training at IPYMLA. He was accompanied by his principal, Mr. Derick Brown.

“I feel very honored to represent my school,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel told the audience that IPYMLA is preparing him for the future. He said that he is learning in classes with few distractions led by caring teachers who even come in on Saturdays to help students learn.

McDaniel said Ivy Prep believes that he is college material. McDaniel plans to study business at the University of Georgia and work for Nike someday. He also wants to own a business.

“Ivy Prep pushes me to my limits because they want me to succeed,” McDaniel told the audience. “They want me to go to the college of my choice and succeed there and in my career.“

Gwinnett for Girls Parent Center

Summer Reading Lists and Logs for All Grades

Greetings, Ivy Parents! Please see below for the reading lists and reading logs for all schools and all grades. K-2 Reading Log (Kirkwood) 3-5 Reading Log (Kirkwood) 6-8 Reading List (Gwinnett) 6-8 Reading List (Kirkwood for Girls) 6-8 Reading List (YMLA) High School...
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