What a year it’s been! The 2020-21 academic year has had its challenges, but there have been many wonderful moments for students in all age groups from kindergarten through 12th grade. As many metro Atlanta private schools returned to in-person learning, they found ways to provide the normalcy that kids, teachers (and even parents) craved, blending the traditional offerings that students love with new and unique learning opportunities amid the ongoing pandemic. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the amazing things that occurred during this most unusual school year and applaud the creativity and determination of the educators and administrators who helped make it all happen. Enjoy this photo retrospective of what went on between August 2020 and May 2021, which offers just a small sampling of the incredible effort put forth this year. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
1. Second graders at ADS were asked to write and illustrate their own storybooks and then present them to their parents via Zoom.
2. In music class, third through eighth graders were taught to play xylophones and ukuleles and will be performing with these instruments at the Spring Musical during the next school year.
3. The school’s third graders participated in a national planting project called “Journey North.” Schools from around the nation plant their favorite tulip flowers, document their work and submit it to the Journey North administrators. Their progress and plant growth are documented along with other schools on the Journey North website.
1. Collaboration with teachers and students is a key part of Atlanta Academy’s curriculum. It was important to continue this in a safe way, so spaces were created inside the school to allow for this skill to be nurtured.
2. Atlanta Academy’s Head of School, Shannon Dishman, was determined to bring joy and happiness to students every day. She loves connecting and bonding with every student and learning their different personalities.
3. The arts are an essential enrichment at Atlanta Academy. On many days, performing arts classes headed outside so they could still sing and move freely.
1. Middle school students chalk painted outside on a lovely day.
2. Students signed the “No Place For Hate” pledge for the school. Cumberland Academy is now one of two special needs schools to be a “No Place For Hate” school.
3. Students practiced coding and programming with robots.
1. Galloway Middle Learning students were overjoyed to still have their annual outdoor retreat with their grade level at Camp Twin Lakes in April of 2021. Students escaped the classroom for a day and enjoyed activities like horseback riding, rock climbing and canoeing with their classmates.
2. Galloway faculty members welcomed students back to campus in August 2020 with masked smiles and elbow bumps.
3. Galloway students from PreK(3) through 12th grade celebrated the 69 members of the Class of 2021 in the school’s inaugural senior parade, held on campus on May 21.
1. Each classroom at High Meadows has a garden bed where students grow vegetables to use for cooking during class. Pre-K students not only learn to be good stewards of the planet, but they also learn so much academically from taking care of the plants.
2. High Meadows’ middle school program provides an environment in which students are encouraged to take risks, try new things, learn through experience and embrace a growth mindset. Teachers value students as individuals, nurturing self-awareness and empowering them to take responsibility for their learning.
3. Thanks to a beautiful 42-acre campus, middle years classes were able to meet in small cohorts and spread out all over campus as one of the school’s mitigation strategies.
1. Lower School students donated money for Cape Day to raise money for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Samson, the school mascot, wore his own cape and greeted the morning carpool students with fist bumps.
2. Middle School students performed the musical “Newsies” for several sold-out shows. The Fine Arts department is outstanding and continues to raise the bar every year.
3. Upper School students came out to cheer the King’s Ridge Tigers at many sports events this past year, as the school made history by making the state playoffs in the following sports: football, baseball, golf, swim, men’s basketball, women’s tennis, cross country, track, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse.
1. The show went on at MPCS in 2021 with audience distancing and live-stream performances for shows such as “Beehive, The ‘60s Musical.”
2. The class of 2021 endured a crazy year and was more than ready to graduate, racking up amazing accolades and college acceptances.
3. MPCS’s third grade girls were so happy to be back in the classroom in person with their friends despite spreading out and wearing masks in the hallways. The year was extremely successful, with doors kept open while keeping kids healthy with the many protocols in place.
1. Lovett Upper Schoolers were so happy to be back on campus together!
2. Lovett Middle School teacher Rachel Chou helped students with a science experiment.
3. Lovett Lower Schoolers enjoyed being back on the playground together.
1. NCCS got creative about how to keep learning hands-on and engaging. For the Preschool Petting Zoo, the NCCS softball field was transformed into a mini farm, complete with baby goats, pigs and even a tractor-pulled train ride.
2. In December 2020, North Cobb Christian School opened a new cutting-edge 38,000-square-foot complex that includes a STEM center with a robotics lab, physics lab and makerspace, student collaborative spaces, classrooms, offices and an adjacent new parking lot.
3. In March 2021, students in 9th through 12th grades participated in the school’s annual Spring Term, which is a week of mission trips, cultural immersions, service projects and more. This year’s options included Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Appalachia, a Florida STEM trip and Gulf Coast hurricane relief.
1. Mount Vernon celebrated the 83 seniors who represent the school’s Class of 2021, who will head off to Harvard, Stanford, UGA, Georgia Tech, Purdue, UC Santa Barbara, Belmont College and more.
2. The visual and performing arts team reimagined how theatre looks in the year 2020-21, pre-recording all dialogue in the Upper School recording studio, making theatrical (and safe) masks a vital part of the costumes and constructing a set outside to give space to a performance of “The Tempest” under the stars.
3. Even with masks, plexiglass and social distancing, Mount Vernon’s students, faculty and staff, administrators and parents were thrilled to have the Mustangs back on campus this year. While things looked different, the Mount Vernon mission remained intact—to strive each day to design a better world.
1. In January 2018, Pace Academy launched the quiet phase of Accelerate Pace, a $35-million capital campaign to build the Kam Memar Lower School. Construction on the 36,500-square-foot addition to Pace’s existing Lower School classroom building began in early 2020; students will move into the new, state-of-the-art space in Fall 2021.
2. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic and 10 new players—seven of whom were freshmen—the Pace Academy varsity volleyball team managed to capture its fourth consecutive GHSA state title.
3. Pace Academy adapted its production plans to accommodate strict COVID protocols, which culminated in a full-scale outdoor production of “Mamma Mia” in April. Crews constructed a stage in the parking lot and welcomed sold-out (masked) crowds.
1. Using dramatic interpretation and voice intonation to bring their characters to life, Lower Elementary students performed readers’ theater scripts. This annual experience helps students build reading fluency, expression and confidence and, this year, was one of the first opportunities to have parents back on campus.
2. A beloved annual tradition that embodies one of the school’s core values, Stewardship of the Environment, Springmont’s Earth Day Celebration allowed students ages 3 through eighth grade to voice their hopes and suggestions for a greener, more sustainable world.
3. Due to the pandemic, the Upper Elementary Musical, “Matilde!” was presented virtually. In addition to learning their lines and songs, students learned about green screens and many aspects of video production.
1. The fifth graders’ annual performance of “The Nutcracker” was a huge hit. This beloved tradition was reimagined for the big screen as students filmed each scene individually over several days for a full-scale video production that was shared with the Trinity community.
2. Trinity School maintained in-person learning for the entire school year, and students soaked up every minute with their friends, including these first graders who paused for a photo during recess.
3. Members of Trinity School’s Sixth Grade Leadership Class and their siblings participated in the traditional first day of school caravan. The joy the students felt was on display as the school welcomed them on campus in August to begin the 2020–21 school year.
1. The Lower School Halloween Parade continued in 2020 thanks to the ingenuity of students and teachers. Fourth grade students constructed candy chutes in Design Thinking classes in order to safely distribute candy, while Upper School students in the WCAT broadcast program live-streamed the parade for the school and parents.
2. Performing arts classes began the year outdoors in tents across campus, then moved indoors with special masks and aerosol-dampening tools during the winter. This allowed all of the usual concerts and events, including performances of Handel’s Messiah and the Christmas Pageant, to continue as scheduled either in person or streamed for the community.
3. To keep students active and to celebrate their achievements, faculty and staff incorporated fun days, outdoor activities and respite days into the schedule.