Category Archives: For Prospective Parents

Learn About Dunwoody Springs

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Do you have friends or neighbors who are interested in learning about our wonderful school? Please share the information about our prospective parent informational coffee with them.


Sunday, February 8th, 2:00-4:00pm

Dunwoody Springs Elementary School is our school of choice, and we would love to tell you why!

You are invited to a neighborhood coffee at the Spalding Lake Neighborhood Clubhouse to meet Principal, Ivy Freeman, staff members and other parents eager to talk about our positive experiences in the wonderful elementary school in our district.

There are many options for your child’s education. Please join us to ask questions and learn more about our neighborhood school.

When:     Sunday, February 8th 2:00 – 4:00pm

Where:   Spalding Lake Subdivision Club House

3880 Spalding Drive, 30350

Contact: Nina Weidle:

Learn about:

  • Our school’s partnership with Georgia State University
  • Gifted instruction in all classrooms
  • Excellent standardized test scores
  • PTA activities and events
  • Meet teachers, administrators and parents

We hope to see your friends and neighbors there!


Teacher of the Year Erica Chiodi wins recognition from Office Max

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.14.30 PMThe morning of October 1st was very special at Dunwoody Springs! An 11 Alive News photographer and 4 employees from OFFICE MAX surprised teacher, Mrs. Erica Chiodi, and her class with a huge box and a gift basket full of supplies! Along with the markers, file folders and binders were: a digital camera, a Kindle Fire, a Keurig Coffee maker, a new office chair and more!

Mrs. Chiodi, our 2013-14 Teacher of the Year, is among the 1000 teachers across the country to receive this surprise today.

Principal Freeman explains, “I was contacted by OFFICE MAX a few weeks ago and asked if I would be willing to participate in their effort to reward deserving teachers.” (In the picture, you can see Mrs. Freeman presenting Mrs. Chiodi her certificate.)

Mrs. Freeman said, “The company says they realize that the average teacher spends about $1000 per year out of their own pockets for classroom supplies and they want to give back to the community.”

There were only 4 teachers selected in the metro Atlanta area and Mrs. Chiodi is the only one from Fulton County!

Principal Freeman said that Mrs. Chiodi was “her usual humble self” and was overwhelmed and truly surprised. Her second grade students commented on what makes her a great teacher. They said that she … “is nice…pretty… teaches us a lot…the best teacher EVER!”

Mrs. Freeman went on to say, “Mrs. Chiodi is an exceptional teacher who makes a concerted effort to connect with each of her students so that they want to do their best work.”

“They strive to make her proud and she rewards them with praise and encouragement. Mrs. Chiodi is known for reaching even the most challenging students, and she’s earned the nickname, “the kid-whisperer” from her colleagues and the administrative staff. She provides an engaging and challenging learning environment filled with high expectations for her students and for herself.”

We’re so proud to recognize Mrs. Chiodi for being such a wonderful teacher and thank you to OFFICE MAX for making it possible.

Dunwoody Springs Principal Ivy Freeman awarded principal of the year

We are very excited to share the news that our wonderful principal, Ivy Freeman, was named Principal of the Year for Fulton County’s Central Professional Learning Community. There are four such communities in the entire county. We are so proud and thrilled to have Ms. Freeman’s successes acknowledged with this prestigious honor.

Ms. Freeman said, “I am honored to have received this recognition among these school leaders whom I admire and respect greatly. I also realize that I couldn’t possibly be effective in this role without the incredibly committed staff that I am blessed to work with.”

Congratulations Ms. Freeman!

New Year, Teacher Appreciation Renewed

Welcome back!

I hope everyone had an amazing Winter Vacation and is back into the swing of the school year!

Dunwoody Springs begins the new year with some great news.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle just published its CRCT comparison of public schools in the Metro Atlanta area.  I am very pleased to report that Dunwoody Springs scored the second highest of the schools in the Sandy Springs Cluster, and our scores were higher than half of the schools in the Dunwoody Cluster, my former stomping grounds.  (Is it wrong that I want to giggle “tee hee hee” every time I look at the article?)

Although we did well, there is always room for improvement.  And now we must look to our amazing teachers to lead our children through the next round of CRCT and to even greater bragging rights next year.

I hope you have been as impressed with your students’ teachers as I have this year.   In our parent-teacher conferences, my students’ teachers clearly knew my children, knew their strengths and weaknesses, and adjusted their teaching when necessary to help keep my children’s interest and enthusiasm.  In fact, one teacher told me that she simply teaches the entire class material from a higher grade level.  While the students are only responsible for the material in their grade level, the students haveproven that they were capable of handling the advanced material.    Outstanding.

Please show our teachers how much we support them during Teacher Appreciation Week, which begins tomorrow.  You should have received suggestions and ideas from your child’s room parent.  If not, click on the Teacher_Appreciation_Week linkn for some inexpensive and thoughtful ideas.

Also, the PTA is showing our appreciation with a Chinese luncheon for our teachers on Wednesday, January 30th. To help, please sign up through the link below for item(s) needed to complete the luncheon.

Nonperishable items may be left at the front desk on Tuesday, January 29th. Perishable items may be brought in Wednesday morning by 8:30. Thank you very much for your help! We know the teachers will LOVE it!!!

And to all of the Dunwoody Spring Elementary School Teachers, we know your job can seem thankless at times.  Please know how much we support you and appreciate all of your hard work.

Less Than Two Weeks and Counting!

Happy August to my fellow Dolphins!  Can you believe that school starts two weeks from today?  As usual, I have no idea where the summer went.

I would like to welcome the new families to Dunwoody Springs Elementary School.  We have a fabulous PTA, and we look forward to you joining our community.

The Dolphin Dive.  You should have received a mailer with information about this year’s registration, known as the Dolphin Dive.  Here, you will meet your students’ teachers, get school bus and carpool numbers, register for discounted school lunches (if you qualify), and learn about some of the fantastic after-school programs offered at Dunwoody Springs.

This year’s Dolphin Dive is scheduled for August 9.  Please register your children entering Pre-K to 2nd  grade from 3-4:30pm, and 3rd to 5th grade from 4 – 6pm.  If you have children in multiple grades, you should be able to register all of them at one time.   Remember that you will save lots of time by filling out the paperwork you received in the mail ahead of time and bringing it with you to Dolphin Dive.

PTA Registration.  The registration information also included information about joining the PTA.  For $10 per child, you can help sponsor a variety of PTA projects this year, including Read 2 Lead, the Reflections Art Program, and staff appreciation events.

New School Year, New School Website.  Take a few minutes to check out the new school website, located at

When I last checked, the old website was still live.   The old website is brown and green; the new website is white and blue and has the dolphin logo.  We hope that the old site will be taken down soon and the new website will be updated with all the information that you need.

School Supplies.  Have you noticed all the summer school supply sales?  Apparently, retail sales have been depressed all summer, so retailers have been trying to pull us in with some really incredible sales on school supplies.  Check out the Sunday flyers this week for sales at Office Depot, Office Max and Staples for some great deals.  A list of school supplies is still found on the old website under Fall 2011.

For those new parents, please be aware that Dunwoody Springs has a dress code (uniform guidelines are posted on the website).  I will try to post great deals on uniform clothing as I find them.  I will tell you that I’ve had great luck at Children’s Place and Lands’ End in the past.

This weeks’ Sunday paper showed the following deals:

–       Walgreens – 29¢ Paper Mate Pens and Mechanical pencils; 49¢ single subject notebooks; 9¢ two pocket folders

–       Walmart – 97¢ zipper binders or pencil boxes; 50¢ CraZArt washable markers and colored pencils; $1.84 6 count pink erasers; 82¢ filler paper

–       Target – never the best pricing for school supplies until about a week after school starts.  Then, stock up for this year and next!

–       CVS – Lots of $1 items – composition books, pencils, scissors, 1 subject notebooks

–       Office Depot – 1¢ folders; 25¢ composition notebooks, pens, crayons

Also, take note of the upcoming tax free shopping days on August 10 – 11.  Beware – pricing is not always the cheapest during these days, but many items are tax free.

Feel free to send the blog the best deal you have found; I’ll be happy to share it with the community.

Happy Shopping!  Enjoy the rest of your summer.

School Advisory Council, International Night, Picture Day and More

Happy Friday!  Hopefully you are enjoying spring and surviving the pollen.

I’ve been quiet for a few weeks, but now there is much to report.

First, congratulations to the participants in the Talent Show!  Everyone had a wonderful time.  Let’s hope this becomes a Dunwoody Springs tradition.

Request for Candidates for School Advisory Council.  Dunwoody Springs Advisory Council (DSAC) is a group of parents, teachers and other members of our school community who meet with Mrs. Freeman to offer advice, input and assistance on matters that are important to our school.

DSAC meetings are held approximately every other month during the school year, typically from 7:30 – 9 a.m. We hold elections each year to fill open slots. Members are elected for a two-year term. This year, we have two parent positions to elect. Any DSES parent (who plans to be at our school for two more years) is eligible to run for the “parent” position.

If you are interested in running for these positions, please send Miriam Salpeter, DSAC chair, a 100-word or less statement indicating why you will be a good representative for this committee. Also confirm your plans to be a parent of a student at our school for the next two school years.

Please send this information no later than March 26 to so your information can be added to the ballot. Statements will be available to read and also printed on ballots for the election. Elections will be held during PTA elections the evening of March 29th during International Night.

International Night.  International Night is Thursday, March 29.  Please be sure to let the teachers know whether you will be wearing “native” costumes and what dish you plan to share.  Last year was the first International Night that I attended, and it was fabulous.  Be sure to come early and hungry!

Picture Day is also March 29.  Students are not required to wear uniforms that day.  Mine will, however.  Have you seen what they wear when they are not in uniform?  Uniforms are definitely the best option.


April Events.  Mark your Calendars:

April 2-6            Spring Break!

April 19            Post-CRCT Celebration from 5pm to 7pm at Buffalo Wild Wings, 8371 Roswell Road.  Ten percent of all sales go to the school, and kids receive a homework pass.

April 19            Lunch and Learn “Good Touch, Bad Touch – How to Protect Your Children.”

April 24            Kindergarten Round Up 8:30 – 9:45am

April 26            PreK Registration 8am – 7pm.  The Lottery Drawing will take place May 4 at noon.


Community News

Real Food for a Really Worth Cause.  On Tuesday, March 27, Whole Foods is hosting a fundraiser for the Sandy Springs Education Force. SSEF will receive 5% of all sales for the day, and those funds will directly benefit our Sandy Springs public schools.

Real Food, Really Good Prices.  Aldi supermarket opened on Roswell Road near Johnson Ferry.  It’s a great way to stock up on essentials, especially if you are not fiercely brand-loyal.  Let the Clark Howard in you shine and support our new neighbor!

The Benefits of PTA Membership at Dunwoody Springs Elementary

Happy Monday everyone!

I want to highlight a flyer I recently received from the PTA.  In this flyer, the PTA highlighted its programs and goals for this year.

In addition to funding classroom and school projects, the PTA funds support the following programs:

– READ2LEAD – the Reading Incentive Program.

– Cultural Arts Programs.  In the past, these programs included storyteller Wendy Bennett, David Holland’s Drumming Up Stories, and  the Manga African Dancers.

–  the Hi-Touch Hi-Tech  Science Program in which scientists work with children to conduct experiments based on the Georgia curriculum.

– the Outdoor Classroom.  Few programs cross so many academic fields:  biological sciences, mathematics, writing, statistics, experimental sciences, to name a few.   My children had an outdoor garden in their previous school (we came to Dunwoody Springs in January), and they spent hours telling me about the bugs they studied and the progress of their vegetables and herbs.  For more information about the benefits of the outdoor classroom, I encourage you to read the Green Schoolyard Network blog.

Your membership will help the PTA fund these wonderful programs and show your children that you care about their education.  I have always been surprised by how proud my children are when I tell them I am joined the PTA and how excited they become when they see me volunteering at PTA events.

Shopping Tips (Thank you Bettina):  

Ross has unform stuff and they have really great prices.  Izod and Ralph Lauren Polo shirts for $4.99 and $5.99 (reg $19.99).  Also have heard that if you ‘wear out’ Lands End (sold at Sears) uniform pants before you outgrow them they will either fix or replace for free

Also, check out the uniform sale at Crazy 8.

Children’s Place also has extended its sale until the close of business today.  In this sale, you can save 20 to 30%, depending on how much you spend.  Use the following webcodes:  U4E2011 (if you spent $40 or more), T4E2011 ($50 or more), or R4E2011 ($60 or more).

Have a great week!


Dunwoody Community Garden members join forces at DSES to grow garden

Dunwoody Community Garden members have “adopted” our school’s outdoor classroom and have been collaborating with community members and a kindergarten class to make the garden grow! The expert gardeners and some parents cleaned out our garden and cover cropped it in early December, to nourish the soil during cold weather. This month they came and helped the Kindergartners plant potatoes, carrots, Swiss chard, garlic and lettuce. They will be back soon with another lesson for the kindergartners.

We are hoping to eventually have all of our beds planned and planted and the area cleaned up so we can take full advantage of our outdoor classroom. There are gloves, tools and a watering can in the Parent Resource Room for any parents interested in joining the gardening effort. Contact Virginia Lopez – email is – if you are interested in helping.

The garden committee will be meeting in the outdoor classroom for the first time as a group Tuesday (March 8th) at 11 a.m. to ‘commence gardening’. Please plan to attend.

According to Pattie Baker, one of the founders of the Dunwoody Community Garden (and an expert gardener who visited our school) —  the students LOVE gardening.  After her lesson, students can now tell you:

* Why potatoes have eyes

* The difference between garlic heads and cloves

* That peas are grown from peas and potatoes are grown from potatoes but carrots and lettuces are grown from seeds that look nothing like carrots and lettuce!

* What a dozen is (their first guess was that 12 of something = a twelve-pack)

And they said they are open to trying spinach they grow themselves even though some of them said they don’t like the spinach they buy!

Prospective Parent Open House to Learn about Dunwoody Springs

If you know of any families in our district who are deciding where to send their children to school this fall (or in the future!), please let them know about the Prospective Parent Open House the school is hosting

This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet our principal, other members of our leadership team, teachers and PTA representatives. Prospective parents will also have the opportunity to tour our beautiful school.

Thank you for spreading the word to interested families!

This is a wonderful opportunity to find out why so many neighbors are selecting Dunwoody Springs as their elementary school of choice.

When: Thursday, February 3, 2011

Time: 9AM – 10AM (but we’ll stay as long as you have questions)

Where: Dunwoody Springs Elementary

School at 8100 Roberts Drive, Sandy

Springs, GA 30350

Questions?: 770-673-4060

Dunwoody Springs a national model for gifted education for all students

On November 11th, a delegation from the National Gifted Conference (which is being held in Atlanta this year) visited Dunwoody Springs to learn about our School-wide Enrichment Model for Reading (SEM-R), which is a special program our teachers have been incorporating to enhance students’ interest and skills in reading.

Dunwoody Springs was highlighted as an Action Research Lab for gifted instruction for all students — not just those identified as part of the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program.  We are the only school in Georgia implementing this great program!

Twenty NAGC participants along with other guests attended a brief reception prior to visiting classrooms to observe teachers as they implemented the various components of SEM-R. The guest were able to see teachers using “Book Hooks” – our way of getting students interested in reading books they may not usually choose. SEM-R aims  to get students reading above their level to enrich and extend the learning.

Guests also saw reading conferences taking place. During these mini-conferences, teachers asked high-level questions as students read to ensure comprehension and higher-level thinking. This allows teachers to briefly assess students’ comprehension and enables students to deeply process the content of the text.

Finally, guest were able to see extension activities which allowed students to take the content they learned from their reading and show what they learned in the form of a performance task. (The picture illustrates a student sharing her work.) Third-grade students presented information and shared an incredible display which they called the “Environmental Fair”- based on their Georgia Performance Standard on Pollution/Conservation. This phase allows students to apply the content of their reading to “real-world” and “hands-on” tasks. The application of the knowledge shows how well students understood the concepts and allows for creativity, collaboration and an enjoyable learning experience.

We’re so proud that our school is a model and education lab for educators from around the country!

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