October 26, 2018 | Vol 12, Iss 11, No 407



What an event-filled week! It started on Saturday with the awesome Dyslexia Dash, they had a record number of runners/walkers - and so did we! If you keep up with Facebook, you saw Millie the Mustang dance with the Chick-fil-A cow and the results from the race - our little team had some finalists, way to go Mustangs! Then during the week, CommArts took a group of Level L/R's to Chattanooga, PVA held their monthly meeting, Lower visited Pettit Creek Farm, there was a cybersecurity speaker in the Upper School, an informational meeting about graduation for the seniors and their parents, Fathers' Night with Robert, and today there was some team building activities going on with both the juniors and PreUpper's Level R's. So much excitement, next week's News should be very interesting!


Oh and don't forget about the canned food drive! I understand there is a little bit of rivalry going on, both between classes and even between Schools. We have some advisories already at 100% participation, as well! How awesome is that?!?


Well it may be rainy today, but this weekend will be great, so get out and enjoy the fall temperatures! Be safe.


Fine Artist of the Week

The Fine Artist of the Week is Mike Rolka. Always ready to volunteer, Mike wants to help anyway he can. This week in stagecraft, he helped demonstrate the correct way to apply latex appliances. He is funny and asks probing questions about the projects he is working on. He has helped pull costumes for One-Act, organized props and participated in class projects semester long. I hope to see him on stage soon.


Parent Thank You

Thank you to Lekiesha Merritt for providing lunch for the Lower School teachers a couple of weeks ago. The pizza was absolutely delicious! We greatly appreciated our unexpected surprise lunch. Thanks again!


Branigan Hughes

Lower School


Feature Teacher

Meet Troy Blume! Troy teaches biology, physical science and environmental science in the Upper School. He is a new to MSA and a first year teacher, but he has worked in nanotechnology, both creating an educational program and in the lab at a college in Illinois. He likes that the emphasis here is on community development through our social curriculum which is further supported by the Three C's (courteous, considerate, and cooperative).


You may recall from an earlier Weekly News that Troy and his fiance, Ellery, had a baby girl whose name is Lily. They also have two dogs, Benito and Luna. He teaches yoga at local studios and his favorite food is Indian. One thing you might not know about Troy, is that he is a detailed portrait artist in the medium of colored pencils, and recently has gotten interested in encaustic painting which uses hot wax.


Welcome to MSA and thank you for what you do each day!


The Big Thank You

Mill Springs continued our annual tradition of participating in The Bert Show's Big Thank You this year! This is our chance to say thank you to our troops overseas. It is a campaign to get a hand-written thank you letter to every military serviceman and woman deployed outside of the U.S. that are away for the holidays. They receive the letters before Thanksgiving. This makes such a big impact… it is hugely appreciated by our troops and great for morale for those that have to be away from their families over the holidays. MSA wrote over one hundred letters to be sent. Thank you so much to those that participated and wrote letters!


There are several of the students letters throughout the Weekly News this week, keep an eye out for them.

--Carissa Nelson, Lower School Instructor


The Probability of ...

This week in Algebra 8 we wrapped up our unit on Probability with a lesson involving Compound Probability or the probability of more than one event occurring. In this lesson, students learned how to calculate the probability of more than one event by finding the probability of the first event and multiplying it by the probability of the second. Following Lesson 2-7, we began preparing for our second quiz of the semester which covered the Probability lessons. On Wednesday, we took the quiz and grades have been posted to RenWeb. On Friday, we moved on to our first lesson of Chapter 3 which dealt with Solving Equations. Students were taught 3 simple steps to solve equations.

  • Step 1: Draw Balance Scale.
  • Step 2: Remove constants from variable side of the equation.
  • Step 3: Perform inverse operation.

Next week we will continue working our way through Solving Equations, and students will learn even more steps to isolate the variable. Great job this week Algebra 8!!

--Josh Hersko, PreUpper Instructor



The Tenth grade Communication Arts students are working hard on exploring and learning the U.S. Constitution. So hard in fact that they got together on a group phone chat to finish it over the weekend! Our students are truly dedicated to learning here at Mill Springs!

--Bonnie Bergstresser, CommArts Instructor


The Big Thank You - 1 of 5

Dear Serviceman,

I am writing this letter to thank you for everything you are doing to protect our nation. I am very grateful for the protection of the United States and servicemen like you who are protecting it. Thank you so much for the effort you are putting in the country, the freedom, and the people. Thank you for your service and Happy Thanksgiving.



(Edward Gorgoll, PU7)


College Day College Fair

Friday, November 2, 2018

10:30am - 12:00pm


All Parents, High School Counselors, and/or College/University Programs are invited, RSVP HERE


College Day is an opportunity to meet with representatives of several colleges/universities/programs all in one location. Our hope is to help you make an informed college decision.


Explorers Club @MSA

Every Wednesday, our Explorers' Club PM Program adventures around campus. This week, we found a path off the Cross Country trail that led us to a beautiful part of the creek,and luckily it wasn't too cold for some great exploration! We found deer tracks, raccoon tracks, and some of us waded in the water to find cool things in the shallow areas. A little sunbathing after playing in the water warmed everyone up. Fall weather is the best! Even though the next session doesn't start until January, drop ins are welcome, there's always a place for you. Pictured from L-R: Ethan Cohn, Joshua Nanney, Ady Rajarajen, Caleb Donaldson, Sam Hartman, and Zoe Caines.


The Big Thank You - 2 of 5

Dear Soldier,

Thank you for being a soldier. Thank you for serving us. You are great. I hope you have a good Thanksgiving. I hope you will go back to your family soon. I hope you are happy. Thank you for protecting my family.



(Zac Johnson, L2)




Monday, November 5, 2018


This is a Teacher Work Day. All of the staff and faculty of Mill Springs Academy will be attending the Georgia Independent School Association's Annual Meeting at Notre Dame Academy in Duluth. There will be no one on campus. 


Balancing the Problem

This week in Pre Algebra we moved on to Solving Equations Using Multiplication and Division in Lesson 2-6. Students have learned two simple steps to help them remember. The first involved drawing a "balance scale" right down the equal sign to help them keep their work organized and balanced. The second step involved performing the inverse operation or opposite based on what operation was being done to the variable. I am pleased to say the class is slowly becoming equation solving professionals! Next week, we will move on to Solving Inequalities which will be similar to Solving Equations with just a couple additional concepts to remember. We may even have a song or two to help students remember. I am so proud of my Pre Algebra class!

--Josh Hersko, PreUpper Instructor


The Big Thank You - 3 of 5

Dear U.S. Soldier,

I am very sorry you are missing out on Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I hope you at least have a Thanksgiving wherever you are stationed. Also I hope you will be safe. Thank you so much for risking your life for ours. I am a seventh grader at Mill Springs Academy and I had my stepdad be in the military so it means a lot that I get to send this to you.

Thank you for your service.



(Aidan Harper, PU7)


Chinese Culture Club

Chinese at MSA is thriving This year we have over 40 students in Chinese and we couldn't be happier. We are so excited about our students' enthusiasm in the language and we are so proud of how far their Chinese has come. We are very confident that a number of our students will be fluent speakers of Chinese in the future. This is the first year we have had two classes of Chinese I and offered Chinese V and we are looking forward to being able to offer Chinese VI next year.


Our students recently started a Chinese Culture club, every Wednesday over 15 students come to learn about Chinese history and culture. This week we will be learning about Chinese creation myths and the origins of the Kung-fu novel, a style of Chinese literature that dates back 2,000 years.

--Chas and JoJo MacNeill, Upper Instructors


Tailgate Party

In honor of football season, the Assistant Principal of CommArts, Taniah Jones, decided to throw an epic tailgate party for all of Communication Arts. The students had a ton of games to play, including the classic tailgate necessity - Cornhole. In addition to all the party games, many contestants braved the ultimate four-square tournament! After eating delicious burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill, brought to us by the culinary prowess of teachers Matt Orred (pic 3) and Michael Adams, the students danced their hearts out to the DJ stylings of Senior, Andrew Jones. The weather and the company were perfect, and everyone had something to keep them entertained and laughing with friends the whole time. As Connor Doyle (CA9) put it, "Ms. T is truly the Party Master!" Picture 1 - Jackson Wickley CA10, Picture 2 - Simon Crawford CA7.

--Erin Muehlhausen, CommArts Instructor


The Big Thank You - 4 of 5

Dear Service Person,

Thank you for your service. I appreciate your service to our country. I hope you will be able to do something that will award you highly. I know you will be able to see your family again. They will be delighted to see you. I know you will become a high ranking officer in your troop. You are probably the smartest person in your troop. If you keep believing, you can achieve great wonders. Again, thank you for your service. KEEP BEING YOU!

(Fullerton Dale, M6)


Writing Right

Middle School writers are learning the fine art of letter writing. So far, this school year, we have written to an Army Private stationed in Missouri, written Thanksgiving letters of gratitude to service people stationed overseas as part of the Bert Show's "Big Thank You" and have written thank you notes to The Center for Puppetry Arts (left picture). We are finding the difference between friendly and business style letters and will continue our letter writing throughout the year.


Other writing projects completed this year have been autobiographies and a current events essay, focusing on positive stories in the news. Our year long goal is to be able to write literate, well styled five-paragraph essays on a variety of topics and even have some of our work published!

--Amy Abramson, Middle School Instructor


Grandparents' Day is Coming

This special day is Friday, November 16th and starts at 9:00am in the Gym. Invitations have been sent. If you did not provide an address for your grandparents during the admissions process, or if you can't recall, please send it to Leila and she will take care of it. If your child doesn't have a grandparent that can attend, tell us about a special person that can come instead.


Attendance at Grandparents' Day has grown every year and we often end up with no empty seats. Because of this, please know that this special event is for our grandparents only and we are not able to have parents and students attend the breakfast. Students will be able to be with their grandparents after the breakfast for visiting and pictures! We are looking forward to a wonderful event! If you have any questions contact Leila Smith at  Also, we have parent volunteers to help us with the breakfast at this event.  If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Mary Ramirez at


They Remembered all the Steps

This week in Algebra 1 we moved on to Lesson 4-4 where students learned how to Solve Multi-Step Inequalities. Luckily, the steps for solving inequalities are very similar to the steps for solving equations so the class was very comfortable with the new material. I was so impressed with how well they remembered all the steps! We finished up the week working with Compound inequalities in Lesson 4-5. This lesson was a bit more challenging as it required students to solve inequalities separated by the words "And" as well as "Or". As usual, we had a few tricks to help! Next week we will be taking our second test of the semester over the Inequalities Unit. Another great week in Algebra 1 class!

--Josh Hersko, PreUpper Instructor


The Big Thank You - 5 of 5

Dear Soldier,

Hi! My name is Max. My school is Mill Springs Academy. I am just really thankful that you guys make sure everything is safe. You guys are really brave to go out into battle and you are just so amazing for helping! And I'm sorry you guys can't see your family on Thanksgiving. But all the stuff you do is worth it. I hope you have a good Thanksgiving!

Love, Max

(Max Young, L4)


It's Time for the Annual MSA Can-a-thon!

Let's get together to feed those in need! Please join MSA and the Atlanta Community Food Bank to take a bite out of hunger in Metro Atlanta. We have big goals this year, so we hope you will participate (and maybe bug a neighbor or two). Many hands make light work and big differences!

Dates: October 9 – November 26, 2018

*Please do NOT bring glass items or perishables



  • Whole grain goods: whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grain cereal, whole wheat flour, whole grain crackers, plain oatmeal
  • Shelf stable milk (cow, soy, rice, etc.)
  • Fruit, dried or canned in light syrup or juice 
  • Low-sodium, no salt added vegetables
  • Low-sodium pasta sauce in plastic container
  • Foods high in protein: Natural peanut butter (no hydrogenated oil), dried beans, dried peas, dried lentils, canned tuna (canned in water, not oil), canned salmon (canned in water, not oil), canned chicken (canned in water, not oil), unsalted nuts
  • 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice
  • Cooking oil (olive oil, canola oil)

Families and individuals who struggle to put food on the table also have a tough time with the household essentials many of us take for granted. In addition to food, these non-food items are greatly needed and appreciated:

  • Paper products
  • Diapers
  • Toiletries

Campus Telephone Numbers

If you are calling the school for something, most things can be solved by speaking with your principal, or another representative within YOUR School. If you have that individual's extension number you can get to them directly without going through another person. HOWEVER if you are driving in your car when you are calling ... well, we have rules about that now and we want you to be safe. Sooo... save your principal's direct dial number in your phone and it will be easier (thank you to the mom who pointed this out to me). This time the list below has both extensions AND direct dial numbers to make this easier for you. If there are other direct dial numbers you would like - i.e. a coach or teacher -  you can look any of them up on the school's directory ( Thank you, your help is greatly appreciated, here is a list of certain extensions/direct dial numbers:


Lower - Laurie Jones - x1101 - 678-893-7786
Middle - Will Turner - x1200 - 678-893-7841
PreUpper - Susan Sanders - x1301 - 678-893-7843
PreUpper - Nina King - x1302 - 678-893-7791
CommArts - Chelsea Michelson - x1400 - 678-893-7827
CommArts - Taniah Jones - x1523 - 678-893-7830
Upper - Cynthia Traylor - x1530 - 678-893-7812
Upper - Jaime Gutierrez - x1525 - 678-893-7810
Upper - Lisa Imsand - x1550 - 678-893-7820
Counseling - Susan Day - x1730 - 678-893-7847
Bookkeeping - Patsy Beckwith - x1708 - 678-893-7774

Laptop Repairs - Jason Mack - x1757 - 678-893-7858


Community Cares & Concerns

The Buckley Family
Hurricane Victims
The Smith Family

If there is ever a care or concern you would like to share with the community, please just email me at any time, I will be glad to include either names or situations. For privacy, I will only list names and claim ignorance if anyone asks me for details. Cheri 

Miracles happen to those who believe in them.

 --Bernard Berenson





Monday, October 29

  • ACT Testing Window begins
  • Chick-fil-A Day


Tuesday, October 30

  • 3:30pm Spring Musical Auditions, Theater
  • Varsity Basketball @Howard (boys & girls)


Wednesday, October 31

  • Halloween Party - All Schools


Thursday, November 1

  • 3:30pm Spring Musical Auditions, Theater


Friday, November 2

  • Flex Friday - PU/CA/U
  • 10:30am College Day, Gym
  • 5:00pm Boys Varsity Basketball @Fulton Science Academy


Sunday, November 4

  • 2:00am Daylight Saving Time ends


Monday, November 5

  • SCHOOL CLOSED - Teacher Workday




13660 New Providence Road • Alpharetta, GA 30004 • (770) 360-1336

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