Phone: 404-802-8950

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Elementary Education - Indiana University  Master's in Leadership - Butler University

Mrs. Audrey Sofianos: Principal

♥ Here you will find a glimpse of student, staff, parent and community life at Morningside Elementary School!

 

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From the Principal's Desk

  • April 26, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 4/26/2024

    April is National Arab American Heritage Month, with the theme of Celebrating Arab Americans Resilience and Diversity.  We use these designated heritage months to celebrate and educate our kids on various groups' histories and contributions to our country and to our American History.  One of the ways we do this is during our WDAN morning news show, which is shown in every classroom.  On a recent show, our 5th grade student announcement team highlighted Helen Thomas, a Lebanese American who was a White House reporter for 57 years!

    celebrate

    Speaking of announcements, Ms. Jennings 3rd grade class sites the Pledge of Allegience each day with the addition of sign language!  Impressive!

    signlanguage

    This year, our Morningside Foundation funded intensive training and coaching for our paraprofessionals.  THANK YOU so much!  Now they have completed the training and are using their new learning to work with students.  Ms. Wicker, from Mrs. Snapp's room, is leading a small group on letter sounds and forming words.

    During the weekly training, our paraprofessionals learned about structured literacy and Orton Gillingham practices.  Orton Gillingham is a multisensory approach that breaks down reading and spelling into smaller chunks, such as letters and sounds, and then builds from there.  OG training also ensures that we as instructors understand the how and why behind a student mastering reading.  It is both fascinating and intense work, and our paras loved being a part of it!  Mrs. Letchumanan, from Mrs. Schill's class works with two students on drills and techniques learned through the training, 

    This student from Mrs. Snapp's room is working independently, forming both real words and nonsense words.  This helps to strengthen letter-sound relationships and the ability to accurately decode single-syllable words.  This helps a child take the letters they see on paper and blend those sounds into speaking the actual word.  

    Our STEAM school-wide project of the garden is amazing to see in action!  The garden is thriving! Two 3rd grade classes, Ms. Acton and Mrs. Morel harvested carrots, lettuce and then planted pumpkins for future fall harvest.  There was a lot of teamwork exhibited, including harvesting, weeding, watering and planting.  

    garden

    This lettuce looks super YUMMY!   These 3rd grade teachers shared they were either sampling the lettuce in school today or sending it home with the kids.  Some of our K and 1st grade classes have also been able to bring home harvested food from our garden - so cool!  The financial needs of our garden are sponsored by our PTA - THANK YOU!  If you want to get more involved with our Morningside garden, please contact Stephanie Felton, our STEAM coach and she will add you to the team!

      

    What happens at Morningside at night?  At times some incredible things!  The Morningside Foundation has also worked with teachers to fund additional campus projects, with planned phases of beautification across our school - inside and out.  I am so excited by the work of local Atlanta artist, Muhammed Yungai.  You must check out his site at Art of Yungai to see the beautiful and inspirational work he has created in schools.  Now he is starting another work at Morningside! Weather permitting, he will be working on this mural when students are in school, so they will get to see him in action!

    night

    Comments (-1)
  • March 29, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 3/29/2024

    It has been a beautiful week of arts at Morningside!  Chorus, Orchestra, Band and Drum Team performed in our auditorium this week.  Ms. Relyea and Mr. Gillot both love showcasing our amazing students' talents.  Much practice and preparation went into these evening performances, with packed houses both nights.

    chorus

    orchestra

    No Place for Hate Pep Rallies 

    Today, our students attended one of two pep rallies! Our No Place for Hate activity was led by Counselor Oseni and team with a message of embracing, appreciating and acknowledging differences - our students' superpowers!   Also, each child received a wristband I love myself, and were also reminded to do that so that they can love others.   These school-wide activities help to unify our community and make it even stronger.

    pep rally

    It is Friday!

    Ms. Warren's class has a fun Friday ritual - a special Friday song!  What a joy to watch the kids sing and share together.  The song has quite a catchy tune and each student adds his or her own part to share weekend activities.  "It's Friday, It's Friday, it's the end of the week, it's the last day!"

    Whatever you do over Spring Break, I hope it brings you relaxation, builds memories and includes beautiful time with family and friends.  We return on April 8th, and see more information below from APS Science Department on the Solar Eclipse we will be viewing on our first day back.

    From APS K-12 Science Department:

    Experiencing an eclipse can be a fantastic way for students to connect with the scientific concepts they have learned in class. It can offer a unique chance to observe and understand the impact of astronomical events on our planet. It can also serve as a source of inspiration and curiosity for students.

     

    Georgia is expected to experience an 81% partial eclipse. The partial eclipse is forecast to begin at 1:45 p.m. and end at 4:21 p.m. The maximum visibility is predicted to be at 3:04 p.m., which is after or during  dismissal for some APS students. Therefore, please review and adhere to the viewing tips below to ensure a safe experience.

    Viewing Tips:

    • Adult supervision is imperative while viewing a solar eclipse. The recommended safe method for students to directly view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is by using the provided safety solar eclipse glasses.

    • Prior to using, please check your solar eclipse glasses for any scratches or damage.

    • Avoid looking at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • March 18, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 3/18/2024 1:30:00 PM

    We have a new partnership with Beech Hollow Farm!  This past Saturday, two of our 3rd grade classes hosted a booth at their annual spring fling, with a theme of biodiversity.  When you stopped by the Morningside area, not only were you asked to complete a survey, you also received a student-made sticker and information about a class podcast called Ask Me! A podcast by kids, for everyone!  This podcast produces a few episodes each year. Be sure to check it out on your favorite podcast platform, such as Amazon, and it is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

    Beech Hollow

    This letter was sent home today from all the Midtown Principals via Campus Parent Portal at 1:30pm, regarding the APS Designated Asynchronous Day for Midtown Cluster on 5-23-24.  We will also send in the Digital Dolphin as well as in Wednesday folders.  Here are the contents of the letter:

    The district has set the Midtown High School Graduation date and time as Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 11:00AM. Atlanta Public Schools has decided to make this day an asynchronous day for Midtown Cluster Schools to allow students, families and staff an opportunity to attend ceremonies. As we approach the date, we will send more information home regarding an end of year activity that can be done asynchronously. The last day for in school attendance this year will be May 24, 2024.

    Sincerely, The Principals of the Midtown Cluster 

    Letter

    Comments (-1)
  • March 15, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 3/15/2024

    Last weekend, our rising kindergarten families (plus Ms. Hamilton's 1st grade) had a play date at Noble Park.  This was very well attended, and it was great to meet so many new families.  Dr. Sinclair and her dog Biscuit also stopped by as we welcomed our newest students to the Morningside family.  Registration is open for kindergarten students for 24-25.  Please use this link or call the school for assistance in officially becoming a part of our school.  Kindergarten Enrollment

    Meanwhile, our 5th graders were able to spend a lot of time outdoors these past weeks outside of Toccoa, Georgia at our annual camping trip.  Outdoor games, waterfall hikes, creek studies and team building fill the days as students spend two nights in cabins.  Morningside has attended camp at the Blue Ridge Outdoor Education Center for 23 years!  A huge highlight is learning about Appalachian traditions, including square dancing!  There was a smile on EVERY face, as they learned in small groups and then had an entire grade dance party!

    dancing

    Students met the camp's goal of producing much less trash and waste during their stay.  Victory at the camp last meal - they were below the target!  Food waste and trash were weighed after breakfast, lunch and dinner during the stay.  The 5th graders learned that they can have a personal impact by only taking the portions they will fully eat while being more mindful about the waste created in daily living.  It is a great lesson for all of us!

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    It is Girl Scout Week, and we have many students showing their Girl Scout spirit today!  Recently, some of the troops with Morningside students visited the Georgia Capitol to learn about our political process as well as issues that impact girls across the state.  

    I am so excited for our PTA Bust a Move Bash & Auction tomorrow, March 16th!  My husband and I will be there to have some fun and help raise money for our school.  This event helps PTA to support the amazing enrichment that occurs at our school for our kids.  I am very thankful that our community can provide all that we do for our students, families and staff.  After your beautiful children, it is a big part of what makes Morningside so special! 

     

    Comments (-1)
  • January 24, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/24/2024

    It is a Winter Wonderland and the MES Reading Bowl team with Volunteer Coach Alexander and Coach Dr. Sinclair!  They are READY for Saturday and assure me they have been studying and preparing for the big competition this Saturday.   I know this team has worked hard and each has done his or her own personal best.  They were victorious at the Midtown Cluster level, and now we meet the top reading bowl teams from each of the clusters in APS.  It is going to be an exciting day and competition!

    Speaking of working hard, there is so much learning going on in this building.  I have been visiting all over seeing everyone in action.  When I was in kindergarten today, it was almost like I could just "see" and "feel" the brains working, the kids were so focused.  They have really built up stamina and resilience this first semester.  Mrs. Schill practices with the students to sound out words as they read the story in a small group where she can observe individual progress.  Our kindergarten teachers are exemplary in building the skills needed to produce strong readers.

    5th grade kids continue to live their best lives in the 5th Grade Penthouse.  Students read kid-style newspapers, analyzing the content and reading for understanding, review and new knowledge.  We purchase the carpets, desks, chairs, and the "oodle/wobble" stools, while teachers add to that with either additional school supply or PTA money to tailor their classroom with age appropriate seating, as in Ms. Blair's room.  Our kids are thriving in this environment, which takes the learning to a higher level.

    PTA General Meeting is tomorrow 1/25/24 at Morningside at 8am, with our MES Talent Show this weekend.  Look for the Digital Dolphin school newsletter, organized and sponsored by our PTA, sometime tomorrow in your email to get all the news and details on Morningside events and happenings!

    Comments (-1)
  • January 19, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/19/2024

    Ooh, it has been cold outside this week!  Below 35 (factoring in wind chill) is our benchmark for shifting to indoor recess.  Teachers make that decision, based on their recess times and weather apps.  Luckily, the weather is holding today, so the kids are outside.  The 1st grade children are THRILLED that our bouncy seesaw has been repaired just in time for today's recess!  They are patiently awaiting their turn while enjoying the warmth of the sun.

    recess

    Inside, lots of classroom visits this week, where I love to see the work kids are doing and how teachers run their classrooms.  I get the pleasure of visiting EVERY class, and it continues to be one of the most favorite parts of my job.  In 4th grade, students work on math - focusing on division.  Ms. B. Hamilton was working in a small group, with students dividing using partial products to find the quotient.  This group was playing a monster math game with equations, while also trying to strategize to get 4 in a row for the win!

    For some reason, I was picturing these students in the future as twenty or thirty-year-olds, working at their jobs in a similar setting, on some really advanced computer algorithms or on an artificial intelligence platform yet to be created.  They were loving this work space and quite focused, choosing between programs like 99 Math or Math Facts Lab. 

    In case you need help with all the math academic vocabulary, Ms. B. Hamilton has you covered with what we call an anchor chart.  This one highlights partial quotients, arrays, remainders - plus also helps you remember to Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down with the phrase Does McDonald's Serve Burgers?  

    In a first grade gifted class, students create a penguin hangout, after reading a story about Tacky the penguin needing shelter from both hunters and predators.  Mrs. Patel highlighted both 1st grade and gifted standards to lead an activity that involves STEAM principles, integrating solving a problem, design, and working together as a small team.  She shows the students the supplies they will get, prior to each student thinking through their own design.  

    penguin1

    Students were put into groups, where they decided on one design to build.  Each group used criteria to decide on the one to build - which happened a lot faster than I predicted!  The cooperation was impressive as they were very motivated to create the hideout for Tacky and his penguin friends.  

    Comments (-1)
  • January 10, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/10/2024

    We have a Morningside Reading Bowl team, made up of 4th and 5th grade students.  The kids read a pre-determined set of books and then compete to answer questions about those books.  Today our MES Reading Bowl team was victorious within our cluster, with the highest score after a cluster-wide competition!  Centennial, Hope-Hill, Kindezi O4W, Mary Lin, MES, SPARK and Virginia Highland competed in four matches to determine the cluster winners.  Our coaches, 2nd grade teacher J. Davis, Asst. Principal Dr. Sinclair, as well as a parent volunteer, are so proud of the team and their hard work.  Along with Mary Lin, our team will now move on to the APS Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl to compete for the championship later this month.  The best quote from today from one of the 5th graders, "I feel exhilarated!"  We do too, and congrats to the team and coaches!

    2nd grade students work hard on analyzing a piece of writing to find the topic, main idea and supporting details, in Ms. Lozano's class.  Some students work with their small group in the library area of the class. 

    Students rotate in small groups with the teacher throughout the day.  This increases the teacher to student focus and contact time.  There are times to work with the teacher, independently, with a partner or within a group.  Teachers also tailor the actual work, depending on student needs - which was the case in this class as students have different writings to analyze.

     

    Ms. Lozano keeps the kids organized and ready to learn.  I love her poster of what the inside of your desk should look like.  When I examined the students' desks, the kids are on top of it!  I might need this teacher to come and help me with my own desk.

    Comments (-1)
  • January 9, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/9/2024

    Today was an indoor recess day!  What happens at an indoor recess?  Here are a few pictures from some of our 3rd grade classrooms from today's indoor recess as the rain passed through our area:

    Kids play with Play-Doh!  Teachers keep supplies like this around for academic and social uses - like playing with friends when it is raining.

    Students love to build during recess - teachers have so many supplies that promote creativity, problem-solving, and cooperation, which are all awesome STEAM type aptitudes.

    These students never even knew I visited the room during recess. They were so intent on their use of these materials and their creations.

    What I love about our indoor recess plan is the student choice - we try to provide many options for kids that DO NOT include technology!  This is a great time for free play, choice, interacting with your classmates and friends.

    Students even go "old school" and play games that we all enjoyed - like Twister!

    Comments (-1)
  • January 5, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/5/2024

    Fridays bring special events, like our upcoming 100th day of school on January 19th.  On Fridays, our 5th grade teachers have started to feature 5th grade student musicians.  What a great way to learn about student talents - some even developed completely outside of school.  I really love how our 5th grade team of teachers and students have embraced the "5th Grade Penthouse".  This has really turned into their own space, where they can thrive as the oldest students at our school.  They use every inch of it - including the hallways.   In the 5th Grade Penthouse hallway, the students were treated to a performance of "Come Together" from The Beatles by today's featured drummer.

    4th Grade students from Ms. Ahmed's classes were in the auditorium throughout the day, reading their original narrative stories during an author's party to showcase writing.  Everyone wrote narratives and volunteers presented their stories.  The teacher also taught a lesson for all on proper audience etiquette, listening and how to support your peers who elected to share.  

    Author

    Please note the new and beautiful stage curtains.  These were purchased for our school through PTA funds - thank you parents and PTA!

    Comments (-1)
  • January 4, 2024

    Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 1/4/2024

    It is a beautiful day here at MES!  To start the day, this is exactly what a principal wants to see - students arriving to school bundled up in warm coats, hats, and hoods!  These are some of the coldest days in Atlanta, and our students need to be prepared - so thank you parents and guardians!  I don't want anyone getting sick and missing school.  

    Our students have recess outdoors on most days, unless it is very cold or raining.  This is a great time to run, play with friends in your own class/other classes, and get more exercise and movement.  This is so important to development, as it is their own time for unstructured and child-organized play.   We are in the planning stages of our 3rd annual Global Day of Play, celebrated by schools and organizations around the world and here at MES on February 7th, 2024.  

    I cannot share any pictures of our current LOST & FOUND!  It would not be a pretty picture!  We have a lost and found problem at MES, and I am determined that we make vast improvements in this area.  I know of many families who have to replace coats, water bottles, lunch boxes, sweatshirts, etc. - the list goes on and on.  As we problem-solve, please help out by putting your child's full name on all items that come to school.   

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