12/1 - 12/17

December 1st - December 17th

GMSD is named a 2015 Top Place To Work
Germantown Municipal Schools has been awarded a 2015 Top Workplaces honor by The Commercial Appeal. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm. To read the full story, click here.
GMSD staff has an awesome life outside of school
Each year, thousands of people descend on Memphis to run in the St. Jude Marathon. An incredible achievement, whether you are running the full of the half—several of our very own were seen on the course this year.
And of course, members of our HHS Pom Squad were there to cheer the runners on in support of their teammate Allie Allen.
Not a staff member, but a member of the GMSD family by being an Farmington Elementary School dad—Scott McNeil came in third place for the full marathon with a time of 2:40:27.
Germantown Municipal Schools makes a strong showing at the Germantown Parade
As the District expands and continues down its excellent path, we were challenged to create a bigger presence at the Germantown Christmas Parade. Challenge accepted! Read the expanded article and view some photos by clicking here.
Senior Citizens give rave reviews of the first annual Back to School Bus Tour
Aptly named Senior Citizens Go Back to School Bus Tour, the tour included stops at each GMSD school. The day played on the idea that the senior citizens were enrolled in the school system for the day. Given official credentials, a student schedule, a GMSD lunch bag, and a pencil; twenty some seniors prepared for a day of adventure in the schools. Read the expanded article and view some photos by clicking here.
GMSD choral programs UNITE for a big district-wide performance
Last week, choirs from each middle and high school in the District joined forces for a very large, very well-received concert at Highpoint Church. On the event, overall coordinator, Dr. Billy Rayburn tells us that the concert was so successful that it will become an annual occurrence. One audience member describes the event on Facebook as being “quite powerful”.
The Fifth Measure releases their first album, 38/39
“Do you get it?” jokes Rayburn, referring to the ambiguous title of the first ever HHS a cappella recordings. “38 stands for our kids who live in 38138, and 39 stands for the kids in 38139, ” he shares of the clever title that shows the bonding of students (north and south of Poplar) at Houston High School over the last two years. The group recorded the album this fall at Rocketdog Studios in Nashville. It can be found on iTunes for digital download by searching “38/39”. Each CD or digital copy runs for $10 and makes a wonderful holiday gift.
LUCES offers bilingual support to parents of student with disabilities
Click here to visit their website. This is a wonderful new support group now being offered in the Memphis area. 
Adorable Photographs of Daddy Daughter Balls, Winter Formals, and other holiday themed dances invade Facebook last week
Each GMSD school has its own particular brand of finery when it comes to the age old concept of the school dance. At Dogwood, who celebrated their first Daddy Daughter dance called their event “The Dolphin Tale Ball” playing up on a fairy tale theme—even calling their invitees “dogwood princesses”.
Farmington Elementary has been hosting a similar event for multiple years called the “Snowflake Ball”. This year’s dance was characterized by the DJ music and lights presentation of gym teacher and local musician, Mario Aviles. The light show alone was worth the price of admittance (an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys For Tots).
Of course our middle schools celebrated the ending of Fall Semester with their traditional dances in their gymnasiums. A special milestone for most of our GMSD students, these dances went off without a hitch.
At Houston Middle School, a very amazing young lady, who represents everything that GMSD is about was crowned as their Homecoming Queen. Congratulations to eighth grader Breonna Allen.
HHS Orchestra teams up with Whole Foods to raise funds
On Wednesday, December 16th, Whole Foods in Germantown partnered up with our orchestras by donating 5% of their total sales to the musical group. The orchestra is heavy into fundraising in an attempt to offset costs to students for an exciting upcoming trip to Carnegie Hall. The HHS orchestra has been invited to play there in the Spring—which is sure to be a high school career highlight for the students participating! In other news, during our last recap we innocently missed the name of an additional orchestra student who made the All-West Orchestra group. Seventh grader, Jenny McClain also qualified for the group, representing and bringing home victory for the Riverdale orchestra at the competition.
On Friday night, in a similar supportive community based initiative, Moe’s Southwest Grill is hosting an All-You-Eat event for $10 to benefit the Houston High Cheer Squad. Come fuel your holiday spirit from 7:30-9:00 at Moe’s in Collierville to support our world champions!
The Holiday Seasons brings Santa, but moreover SERVICE from many of our GMSD students and group organizations
They say that to who much was given much is expected. Our school community is first class when it comes to giving back. We are certain that those mentioned in this little article only scratch the surface of all the ways that GMSD is doing its part to help others in need. When we return from the break, we are going to be running a story about ALL of the ways that GMSD has helped during the season. If you have leads or story ideas surrounding this topic, please email Kate Crowder.
The SGA visits Hope House.
“We have a 12 year relationship with Hope House. Every year SGA purchases an educational toy for the children at Hope House. Hope House is a daycare facility for children who have been affected or are infected with HIV,” says Traci Spain about the time-honored tradition.
Earlier in the week, the HHS SGA also paid a quick visit to Kipp Academy. HHS donated sweatshirts to KIPP Collegiate Elementary Academy with the school name embroidered on the front left. Administration at the school told us that the sweatshirts might make the difference between whether or not some of the students come to school in the cold weather. This donation was facilitated by the good folks at Germantown based t-shirt shop, Agape North.
Even the District Office got in on the fun of giving back by donating to a child through the Angel Tree organization.
At Houston Middle, the student body was able to collect over 6,000 cans for the hungry this year!
Meanwhile, three car loads of toys and bikes were delivered Thursday afternoon to Salvation Army Angel Tree located at Carrefour Shopping Center. Houston High School’s faculty and students came together to adopt angels for the upcoming holiday season. “Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas morning. And thanks to supporters of The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, thousands of American children will find this waiting under their Christmas trees this year,” says Denise Fisher, Counseling Interventionist for the school.
SADD Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, German and International Club, Key Club, Skills USA, Yearbook, French Club, and HOSA were among the various student organizations that donated toys, clothes and bikes for the adopted angels.

With the holiday break fast approaching, GMSD students are still hard at work learning
Mayor Palazzolo visits Farmington Elementary to share experience and knowledge about local government with each third grade class.
A part of Chemistry Day, Houston High School students visit our GMSD middle school science classrooms to showcase chemistry lab demonstrations.
The Hour of Code, following a similar multi-age model finds elementary school students being led through a computer coding exercise centering around the upcoming Star Wars film. Jessica Minton’s middle school STEM students teach and lead the younger students through the exercise.
Spelling Bee Success
Not enough can be said for the bravery exhibited by our several spelling bee contestants last week. There’s something about spelling an unfamiliar word in front of an audience…
Accordingly, congratulations are also in order to our newest spelling bee winners! After some incredible bee action, four victors were named at each of K-8 schools:
Dogwood Elementary- Frederick Huang
Farmington Elementary- Hudson Myatt
Riverdale Elementary- Sophia Overstreet
Houston Middle School- Colin Cantwell
Last night, the school board celebrated all of winners. These students will go on to compete in the county bee. Good Luck.
Dogwood student Logan Wu has recently been named a chess player for a national chess team. This is the 2nd year in a row Wu has been chosen, and he is the only player in the history of Tennessee to have ever received such an award. Below is the link to the official announcement by USCF. His bio is also published on the December issue of Chess Life magazine.
Riverdale student, Isabel Seay has also recently been recognized for her extraordinary academic talents. Seay, described as a “beautiful writer” by her Language Arts teacher was elated to learn that something she wrote was chosen for a national religious publication, Pockets. Congratulations to our very own published little author.
Within both Houston Middle and Riverdale STEM programs, students are gearing up to compete in a GoPro video contest—to learn more click here.
Last minute holiday related news…
The winners are in! The annual GMSD and HHS Christmas Card Contests have come to a conclusion.
Each year, the high school and GMSD alike host an art contest to find the best student created holiday themed card. The competition was steep and very close this year. We want to share some of the best of the best entries! Click here to view them and a list of winners.
Our very own HHS teacher, Mr. Perry, invited the SPED classes from HHS and HMS to visit the Alpine Village at Trinity Baptist Church last week. “There were so many great things for the kids to do but I’m pretty sure the snow fight was the best,” reports HMS teacher Hillary Little. They also had a special, surprise visitor (Superintendent Manuel) who couldn’t resist getting in on the fun. Just one more reason it is so great to be part of our GMSD family. Click here to view the album on Facebook.

District Office is treated to holiday music arranged and led by an HMS student
Earlier this week, eighth grader Roshan Parikh and a volunteer group from the band made their way over to our office to give us a quick holiday concert. Parikh amazingly rearranged an entire piece and then conducted the small ensemble. It was very impressive.
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