Diversity and Inclusion Newsletter

September/October 2021

Volume 3 Issue 1

Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept 15-Oct 15

Some of this year's activities included art work inspired by Romero Britto (Brazilian-born artist), literature, and a reflection contest.

Angelina (BHS artist)

Maybelin (BHS artist)

Piero (BHS artist)

Maybelin (BHS artist)

Zamora (BHS artist)

Katie (BHS artist)

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Mrs. Hoemann's Class

Mrs. Hoemann's 2nd grade class read the book Mango, Abuela and Me. In the book, a girl labels her home with Spanish and English words to help her Abuela (grandmother) learn English. So, the class decided to do the same thing in their classroom, too! 

Next, students drew a parrot (for Mango in the story) and wrote some of the Spanish and English words from the classroom around the parrot. In the story, the parrot speaks English and Spanish words, too! 

Hispanic Heritage Month Reflection Contest

The first annual BHS Hispanic Heritage Month Reflection Contest required students to reflect on their culture or Hispanic culture through art, literature, music or dance. It was funded by a grant received by Dr. Amber Simmons from Education First and Novo Foundation. Monetary scholarships were awarded to the winners. Congratulations to our talented students!

Pictured left to right:

David L.

Maybelin O.

Emmy C.

Ava J.

Sophia K.

Naomi M.

Meet Jorge DeLeon

Jorge works at Buford Academy and leads the custodial staff. He is originally from Guatemala City, but has also lived in Chicago where he worked as an operations manager for 18 years in the metal industry.

Jorge is very close to his family and values the time he spends with them. He and his brothers get together at least once per month and he looks forward to seeing his four children during the holidays. Jorge believes in the importance of passing down his Hispanic heritage to his 7 grandchildren. He is fortunate to have two nieces that attend BA.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Jorge is that he was once a 3rd grade teacher in Guatemala. He taught for 5 years. His ability to speak, read, and write in Spanish enables him to be an invaluable asset to BA as well as the entire district.

Multicultural Diversity Day

October 18

Students and staff at BA and BSA represented their native heritages

Culture Show and Tell

BMS students in Tracy Taylor's class enjoyed presenting items that represented their culture during "Culture Show and Tell" day

Chamoy: spicy Mexican fruit syrup

Puerto Rican fort replica

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Turkish evil eye charm

Florida gator head and rattlesnake head

Pulparindo: hot, salted tamarind pulp candy

El Salvadorian cookies

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Scottish family crest

Mexican cookies

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Colombian cookbook

Career Tech Education @ Buford High School

Jennifer Wood

CTE Director

Career and technology education (CTE) pathways serve specific purposes in high schools today. Students from all demographics enrolled in these classes can explore career options while acquiring the technical, academic, and employability skills needed in preparation for life beyond Buford High School.

Mrs. Jennifer Wood is in her first year as CTE Director at Buford High School.

She brings a wealth of knowledge to the department including 15 years of teaching experience. Mrs. Wood recently shared information about CTE at BHS and goals for the future.

How does BCS select pathways?

Our goal is to select pathways based on local, regional, and state industry needs. We also take into consideration stakeholder input. We choose pathways that will best prepare our students for post-secondary education and in-demand careers.

What pathways are currently offered at BMS and BHS?

Audio, Video, Technology & Film

Business & Finance

Computer Science


Family and Consumer Sciences

Nutrition & Food Science

Patient Care

Pharmacy Technician

Sports Medicine

Sports Marketing

Teaching as a Profession

Work-Based Learning

What is industry certification? How important is it to your pathways and students? How many programs have earned this distinction?

Industry certification is the Georgia Department of Education’s “Seal of Excellence” for programs that have passed rigorous reviews by industry leaders. These programs show excellence in integrating technology, high academic performance standards, project-based instruction, high CTSO involvement, and business partnerships.

BHS currently has 3 pathways that have earned industry certification:

Nutrition & Food Science-2020


Audio, Video, Technology & Film-2021

Sports Marketing-in progress

What is your vision for the CTE program for BCS?

My vision for the CTE program is to provide our students with 21st-century job skills that include relevant technology skills, industry-recognized certifications, college articulations, and soft skills. Also, I hope to continue to build strong student organizations that engage our students in competitions, leadership, and community service.

Computer Science and Teaching Pathways

Computer Science Pathway (CS)

Autumn Sutton has been teaching for 11 years with 7 of those years concentrated in computer science. She loves teaching students how to use the computer as a tool to “create”, rather than only using digital devices to “consume”. For the 170 students committed to the pathway, the skills learned in these classes can change the trajectory of their lives.

What is the purpose of the CS Pathway?

The Game Design Pathway provides a foundational knowledge of programming languages, app creation and software development which introduces students to various forms of technology. Pathway completers will have an opportunity to become Unity Certified Associate (Game Developer).

How does your course create a pathway to the next level of education and the workforce for your students? 

Computer programming jobs are growing at a rate two times faster than the national average. With an industry recognized certificate, students can graduate from high school with skills to enter the workforce immediately, and/or apply to post-secondary computer science degree programs.

What makes your pathway unique and attractive to students? 

I believe that students in this generation want to create something new and innovative. The CS pathway introduces programming fundamentals in a less intimidating, inclusive environment. Once students begin feeling confident, they thrive. It is a joy to see such growth during the school year. It would be a disservice to our community to NOT prepare our students for careers in computer science. There is room for everyone to find professional success and financial security.

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Teaching as a Profession Pathway (TAP)

David Snell has been teaching for 28 years. The last 16 years have been devoted to preparing students to choose teaching as a profession. Over the years he has seen an increase in the number of male and minority students interested in becoming future educators. Today, he has 156 students enrolled in the TAP course.

What inspires you to teach your course?

My inspiration is simple. I want to make

all students better people who want to teach and inspire others to make a difference in a young person's life.

What is the purpose of the TAP Pathway?

TAP teaches young people the challenges, adventures, and rewards of the teaching profession. Students are placed in K-3 classrooms to gain real-time experience working one-on-one or in small groups with students.

How does your course create a pathway to the next level of education and the workforce for your students? 

My curriculum is designed to engage students in conversations and activities centered on the current trends in the field of education. In addition, I have guest speakers from local colleges/universities that guide students through the process of preparing to take the next steps toward pursing education as a career.

What makes your pathway unique and attractive to students? 

Students get hands-on, in-class, and real- world experience! Students look forward to assisting their teacher as well as helping students with learning activities such as reading and math. Another intangible result of the pathway is the opportunity for BHS students to build trusting relationships and the confidence levels of Buford Elementary and Buford Academy students.

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SMASH Morehouse Scholar

AJ is pictured receiving his acceptance package

Click here to learn more about SMASH

BHS 10th grader, AJ Frierson was accepted into the SMASH Academy as a SMASH Morehouse Scholar after an application process last spring. He is now a member of the Morehouse 2024 Cohort. He participated in a 4-week virtual program where he learned about computer science, design thinking, and STEM networking with his peers. At the program's end there was a group pitch competition. AJ's group excitedly competed on the national level. SMASH originated in California and has at least 10 sites nationwide with a goal to increase the numbers of underrepresented youth interested in STEM careers.

Guiding Principle of Diversity and Inclusion

The Buford City School System believes in creating and maintaining a safe, caring, and mutually respectful and inclusive environment where all students, staff, and families are valued for their diverse cultural heritages.