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State superintendent visits two Newton County schools
State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods with Newton County Theme School administrators: Ashante Everett, assistant principal (left of Woods), Naomi Cobb, principal (right), and Joanna Fish, assistant principal (far right).

Georgia State Superintendent of Schools Richard Woods visited Cousins Middle School and the Newton County Theme School at Ficquett (NCTS) Friday.

At NCTS, Woods offered his congratulations for the school’s recent recognition as a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. The NCTS is one of only seven Georgia public schools to earn a blue ribbon distinction from U.S. Department of Education this year. Woods was also led on a tour of the school by Principal Naomi Cobb.

At Cousins Middle School, he talked to students participating in a school-wide computer code day. This past week, schools in the Newton County School System (NCSS) celebrated Computer Science Week. At Cousins Middle School there were special activities on four of the five days, with today’s code day and Wood’s visit the culminating event.  

On Monday, 50 Cousins Middle School students participated in a field trip to the Microsoft store at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta. There they learned about computer coding and various Microsoft games and programs.

On Wednesday, 125 Cousins Middle School girls participated in an NCSS-wide Newton Girls Code Day. Offered for the first time and sponsored by the Newton County Schools Instructional Technology Department, this event specifically targeted girls because women are underrepresented in computer programming and coding.

“Our mission is to make our girls aware of career opportunities in the computer sciences and give them exposure to activities that will give them opportunities to work on advanced, digital problem solving techniques,” said Jennifer Williams, NCSS Instructional Technology Coordinator.  

On Thursday, the tables were turned as Cousins Middle School students taught computer coding to their teachers. And finally, Friday saw the school-wide coding event and Woods’ visit. Students worked on creating computer games and other software as well as coding within existing games. State Superintendent Woods spent time learning from several students, including Austin Plunkett, a grade 8 student who has created his own interactive trivia game.