NEWSLETTER | November 2016 | Vol. 17 No. 2  

                                                                                           View this content in your browser


In the summer, I spent a large amount of time working with some outside advisors on a new strategic plan for Kingfisher. Normally, we do this every 3 or 4 years, but since we have moved, things are much different. The building is much different; the area calls for different types of marketing, the available collaborations are significantly different than in our old location.

One of the changes is our computer/internet presence. Up to now, we toyed with the website a little, we sometimes played on Facebook, we sent out e-mails about once a week and most things came home to everyone in hard copy. In East Atlanta, we had parents who said, “We never turn on the home computer, except on weekends, so please make me a hard copy!” and that’s what we did. One of my teachers didn’t even own a computer and she got internet on her phone. So, moving to Tucker was a bit of a surprise in that area—everyone here begins their school searching on the internet and much information is exchanged through e-mails and list serves.

One day I forgot my laptop, so I didn’t check e-mail until I got home. I had 53 messages about the school to read and sort when I got home. In 2011, I might have had 4 messages (and one of those was from my family!!). So, with help from the teachers and Holly Neumann, R.J.’s mom, I’m moving into the new century and posting on the internet often.

This was in our strategic vision, along with another new thing. We are setting up a computer time for kids to use to complete schoolwork or to create reports, etc. I’ve been reluctant to do this—(I’m a fan of handwriting practice, too!) but times are changing and even Kingfisher Kids are asking if they can bring their laptops to school sometimes. Isaac (Falcons) can find his way to computer games faster than an owl can fly. Abe has become the go-to guy for hooking up peripherals on the computers. Older kids may bring their laptops, but only for work—not games. That would be too distracting.

We are writing a grant requesting money for more equipment and for a classroom white board system with  monitors to make computer presenting easier for the teachers. So, Kingfisher is more computer-friendly and more computer-literate these days. The old Kingfisher kids sometimes send me e-mail to tease me about our Facebook page—“I never thought I’d see Kingfisher stuff on Facebook!”  Maybe this computer stuff will catch on . . .

~ Debbie Gathmann

Don’t forget we are off 11/23,24,25!  We have lots of interesting trips coming up:

  • 11/18/16—Kingfisher’s Annual Feast
  • 11/21/16—Falcons go to see Fantastic Beasts!
  • 11/23 to 25---Kingfisher closed for Holiday
  • 11/29—Rudolph Puppet Show (various groups)
  • 12/9/16—Kingfisher Night at I-Hop at Northlake
  • 12/5/16—Trip to see Madeline for the Kingfisher Girls
  • 12/16/16--Holiday caroling in Downtown Tucker
  • 12/19 to 1/2 Kingfisher closed for winter break


November 18th at 11:30 p.m. we will have a school-wide Thanksgiving Feast at Kingfisher. All family members are invited (including grandparents) and everyone should bring a dish that could feed five people. We have a list in the lobby at the desk and people are writing down what they plan to bring.

At 11:40 to 12:00, there will be a little program and then at 12:10, we all sit down at tables all over the school to eat. At 1:30, parents can leave and the school day ends at 3:30. There is early bus service today at 2:00 and afterschool ends at 5:00.

The feast is wonderful, heart-warming, and sometimes pretty silly. We love it!


With the staff changing in 2nd quarter, art will be at different times during the week. The Owls and Hummingbirds will do art on Thursday afternoons with Miss Debbie and we’ll be seeking an art teacher for the older kids. We are in discussion with an art studio based at North DeKalb Mall, so we are waiting to see what that might be like. The first project for the quarter will be good old Thanksgiving art pieces, suitable for putting around the table at everyone’s Thanksgiving meal.

School and Curriculum Projects

Naturally as we move toward the holidays, the themes tend to be around food and family in the younger classes. Miss Amy is working on some  fruit and vegetable activities—she did some apple stamping already. The Owls did a tour of local gardens and are now studying about the “first” Thanksgiving and about the real history of the Separatists that came on the Mayflower to start fresh. We are finding out all kinds of new facts that give us a whole new prospective on the history we heard about in primary classrooms when we were little.  As we move toward Thanksgiving, we are getting a chance to see what a miracle it is to live in this land of plenty.

Mr. Q’s group spent a lot of time on examining facts versus opinions this past month and the kids were assigned presentations that had to be researched for facts. It was fascinating to learn how much dogs and cats cost per month and how origami actually broadens a person’s math knowledge. It was also interesting to listen to Mr. Q trying to get the kids to stop relating their opinions to each other. Those Falcons have A LOT of opinions.


We have some new kids visiting and have enrolled a couple of children to start in January.  We’ve had two others visit who plan to start either at the beginning of December or January. Slowly, the word is getting out and I mailed packets out to three new families last week. This year we’d like to start January with 20 students and next September with 27. We try to never go over 9 kids in a class and sometimes that means looking at moving kids around in the beginning of the year to even classes out while meeting everyone’s needs. It’s an organic process, growing and changing over time. Naturally, any families that refers someone to us gets a $25 coupon to use toward lunches or tuition or whatever they like. Some families earn a couple of these during each school year.


Every year, parents ask about what sorts of things the school might like or need as a holiday gift. We are always shy about responding because we don’t want to beg and because we often don’t clearly know what we want.

This year is different—the catalogues went out early and we’ve done some picking out. We want a microphone (wireless) with a speaker for all the singing and showing off we do in after-school. We want a small, one person trampoline for all the jumping we want to do when we’re outside. We want plastic placemats with crazy kid things on them to put our lunches on and to write on sometimes. We want more Legos. We want some fancy duct tape with designs on it for bus seat repairs, and for establishing line up spots. We want some puppets. Okay . . . we mostly want the winter holidays to be fun and less drama-laden than the fall was. That awful election is over—hurray!



Drama is back at Kingfisher with the chance to do theatre games and theatre work with Forefront Arts. The first couple of sessions have been “getting to know you” sessions and already, Elizabeth can see who needs to be “brought out” and who needs to learn to control their desire to yell out. Drama requires learning a set of skills that aren’t always taught in the classroom and we have seen real confidence-boosting from this kind of class. Drama happens on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 4:30.


This year has been better with regards to the lunch system that parents have set up. Many kids don’t bring any recyclables at all and everything in their lunch is reusable. The less lunchtime trash, the better for the earth. The system that Emerson and Eliot use works very well in terms of reusable containers. Sienna often brings sandwiches rapped in a re-useable oil cloth. We have a composter that we will begin using next week, so very little leftover food should come home—like crusts off of the bread or banana skins, etc. Eating lunch together is a very social time for all of us. 
We need paper towels, magnifying glasses, and we could use some cookie sheets. We’ve gotten in more magazines and have enough for now, but remember to save your wrapping paper from occasions—we really do a lot with that stuff.

Extracurriculars Really Make the School

Kingfisher believes that life in a school can be wide and we try to get all kinds of community folks to come in and talk. We had a Firefighter come in to show their work equipment and we had a scientist come from Georgia State to talk about re-cycling and waste management. We’ve had less luck in finding a tennis instructor and will redouble our efforts in February, as the kids really want to learn to do tennis. In the meantime, we’ll take over the tennis courts in Clarkston once a week to try to practice a little.

We always want to fit in Spanish, cooking and some music.  Swimming lessons happen in February for the 5 year olds. One of the grants we are writing is for these types of extracurricular activities and I just never know what will come into our lives that will be enriching, fun and worth doing.

Sock Drive sponsored by the Falcons

This early winter service learning project is for the entire school, but managed by the Falcons. Send in new pairs of socks and they are collecting them up to take to a shelter. Tube socks, wool socks, cotton socks, gold-toe socks, just plain socks—all sizes, for any age. The boxes will be out by the Feast and we’ll do this in 30 days.


Remember the GASSO group that saves you a little money on your Georgia Taxes. If you send in a check in November and get approval, you can receive a tax credit and the money can go toward paying your tuition.

Reading Comprehension

One of the hard parts of having good oral readers, is discovering that although a student can read out loud like a grown up, that they may or may not understand what’s being read. Mr. Smith is spending a lot of time with questions about the stories they are reading. It’s interesting that sometimes, the student who can de-code really hard words can’t really tell us who is telling the story. This means they have spent 40 pages reading about an exciting adventure without a clue who the narrator is. This is frustrating for everyone—and once this basic stuff is overcome, reading becomes more enjoyable and less of a struggle. When your child comes home with a book, start asking simple questions--
  • Who is this story about?
  • Who’s telling this story?
  • What’s the problem in the story?
  • What kind of story is it—scary? Adventure? Puzzling? Biography? Science?
  • Tell me about your favorite character in the story.

Letting your child tell you something about the simple chapter book he/she is bringing home is more helpful than just listening to them read. Generally, once they are into chapter books, they can already decode pretty well, but figuring out the plot is key to reading enjoyment.
For More Information about Kingfisher Academy, check out our website at or email us at We love to tour people by appointment on Wednesdays. Our phone number is 678-615-2313

Call us and tell us about your child and about your current school and maybe we can make a difference for your family. Our mission is to work with bright kids who are not being challenged enough in their current school and we often work with children who are in different grade levels in different subjects. Sometimes advanced students may be great at math, but not great readers or great at history and reading but not interested in math. This is normal for all of us—we love what we love and we have to really work at the things we don’t love. Learning to motivate ourselves is one of the tasks of a bright student—it’s hard to be always thought of as the super student and then to run into a subject where the student is “just average”. These are the students we work with most successfully.

We do rolling enrollment throughout the fall and in January. Because we pro-rate, it may be possible that our low tuition rate will work with your budget. NO one has to pay for the full year if their child is starting later in the school year with us. Our tuition becomes even more affordable when factoring in our added values of free early dropoff and very affordable afterschool rates plus bus service within our immediate area.

We do not do fundraising events as we believe parents are paying tuition and that should be enough, along with field trip fees and paying for Friday lunches. Some schools run expensive fundraisers every quarter, but we depend on grantwriting to make up the difference in buying school equipment.


Don't forget the easy ways to contribute to our school!
  1. Connect your Kroger card to us. We get $ for our art program that way. PLEASE RECONNECT IT EVERY YEAR IN AUG.
  2. Remember to use and we'll get a percentage of the purchase!
  3. Show your Publix Partners in Eduction card when shopping there (pick up one at the school).
  4. Use our Kingfisher magnets on your car.
  5. Dump your junk mail and used paper into the recycling bin the parking lot
  6. Many more ideas listed on our site!
  7. Don't forget to LIKE us on FACEBOOK! Your pictures and comments welcome!
Kingfisher Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, or gender. We do not discriminate in our scholarship practices, our enrichment programs, our hiring practices, or our enrollment procedures. 
Copyright © 2016 Kingfisher Academy, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences - please maintain your current email address here!

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp