January 7, 2021
GREETINGS FROM SPARTAN LANE
We have seen a somber start to the New Year, yet we are pleased with how the first several days have unfolded on campus. I am at a loss for what to share about the horrific events that unfolded at the Capitol yesterday. This is a difficult time for both adults and children, and we cannot minimize the impact that this unrest has on young people. Our country has overcome much over our long history, and it is worth thinking about the words shared in the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Our primary work is to listen to our students and reassure them that they are safe. If you have concerns about your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our talented and capable counselors and we will partner with you. You may also be interested in one or more of the following resources: these tips for talking to children about trauma; this PBS article on helping younger children deal with violence in the news; and an NPR segment on talking to kids about violence in the news.

In other issues of health and safety, the spike in COVID-19 cases in Northeast Georgia is very real, as we have experienced it in our school community. Our numbers from the two-week holiday (24 cases) surpassed our numbers for the preceding four-and-a-half months of school (23 cases). The updated chart shows 46 total cases; the most recent positive case will be counted in the month of January. As you know, these numbers represent our students and employees only. There has also been an increased number of positive cases among parents. Read more.
As I walked through the Harrison Center Monday morning, there was a gaggle of small children giggling and racing off to class loudly declaring in unison for the world, “We are going back to school today!”  
By Colleen Burwell, Director of Preschool
Children learn so much by being exposed to skills and concepts presented by great teachers who want them to excel. How can you support those skills that have been developed?
By Mark Cunningham, Director of Lower School
COVID and student safety will always be first in our thinking, but despite the fact that this is our first and most important priority, so many other wonderful things have happened in our Middle School this year--things like...
By Jeff Stachura, Director of Middle School
As we live through this time and make necessary modifications, we can’t help but notice and maybe even appreciate a few of the perks...For example, you may enjoy attending Parent Night from your living room couch...
By Susan Zalac, Director of Upper School
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
VIRTUAL VISIT FROM MAGICIAN JASON MICHAELS
THURSDAY, JANUARY 14 - 6:30 PM - VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE FOR PS/LS FAMILIES
Athens Academy is pleased to share live performances from Jason Michaels, "a professional speaker, award-winning magician, and author who inspires and amazes audiences around the world. A storyteller by heart, Jason connects with audiences by combining unforgettable, true stories with impossible mysteries." In addition to performing for our Middle and Upper School students during the school day next Thursday and Friday, Jason will give a virtual performance for Pre- and Lower School families at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 14. Look for the Zoom link in next week's eSpartan or email your child's division office for more information.
BOOK DRIVE ENDS FRIDAY, JANUARY 15
Athens Academy is currently sponsoring a used book drive to benefit the Boys and Girls Club, Downtown Academy, and Books for Keeps. If you have gently used books that you are ready to pass along, please have your child bring them to school. Of special interest are books appropriate for children ages 4-16. If you have more books to donate than your student can carry, please contact your division office directly to make arrangements to drop them off. Thank you for helping our neighbors!
VIRTUAL SPARTAN 5K & SPRINT
Registration Deadline: February 1 / Race Deadline: February 15
The 36th Annual Spartan 5K will be held virtually this year, with the very special theme, "Spartans Roll With It!" Here's your chance to get some exercise AND support your school. Download the form, fill it out, and return it by Monday, February 1, 2021. Then choose your own 5K/3.1-mile course and run it by Monday, February 15. All runners registered by February 1 will receive a "Spartans Roll With It" T-shirt. Click here for more information. Get out there and roll with it, Spartans!
VIRTUAL PRIVATE MUSIC LESSONS 
Athens Academy is offering virtual private instruction in band, orchestral stringed instruments, mandolin, ukulele, beginning guitar, and music theory. Students will meet once a week for 14 weeks for a 30-minute private lesson. The virtual lesson fee is $560.00 for the 14 private sessions. Lessons will run the week of January 18 through the week of April 26. Click here for more information.
Please contact the individual instructor to arrange your 30-minute time slot (click here for contact information). For your convenience, we will charge your student account once you have arranged your weekly virtual lesson time with the instructor. 

PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND STAY SAFE
Our number one priority is keeping our families safe, so please be sure to obey the posted speed limit of 25 MPH in the school zone (and 30 MPH everywhere else) on Spartan Lane. Please also remember to use Hwy 441 and Spartan Lane to access Athens Academy rather than cutting through on Lavista or Mason Mill Roads.  
The Annual Excellence Fund is Athens Academy's most important fundraising effort! We need YOUR support to make a positive difference. All gift dollars are tax deductible and support our people and programs.  

Participation is EXTREMELY important so please join us!
CLICK HERE to support our Spartans TODAY!
Questions? Contact Charlotte Mullen or DeDe Guest.
SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE TIME OF COVID
Presented by Dr. Rich Slatcher
A special thank you to Dr. Rich Slatcher, Athens Academy parent and UGA psychology professor, for an interesting and informative presentation on the effects of social distancing on our mental and emotional health. If you missed the presentation, we invite your to watch this Zoom recording. Questions? Email Bob Sears.
UPCOMING EVENTS
School Store Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Magician Jason Michaels Performs for Pre/Lower School - Thursday, January 14 at 6:30 p.m. (virtual)
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day (School Holiday) - Monday, January 18, 2021
Junior College Night - Monday, January 25 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. (virtual)
Upper School Parent Night (Second Semester) - Thursday, January 28 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. (virtual)
Virtual Spartan 5K - Monday, February 1 (registration deadline) / Monday, February 15 (race deadline) (virtual)
Freshman College Night - Tuesday, February 2 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. (virtual)
Rising Ninth Grade Night - Tuesday, February 9 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. (virtual)
Faculty Development Day (No School) - Monday, February 15
Preschool Conference Day - Wednesday, March 3 (virtual)
Lower School Conference Day - Wednesday, March 3 (virtual)
Spring Break - Classes dismiss at 3:20 p.m. on Friday, March 5, and resume Monday, March 15
UPDATED COVID PREPARATION PLAN 2020-2021
Please click here for information on safety guidelines, COVID protocols, and other important details for the 2020-2021 school year. Thank you for your partnership and support. (Last updated December 17, 2020.)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Athens Academy seeks excellence with honor in the educational and personal experience of each student.