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Robot Dash Encourages Accurate and Proficient Coding

Congratulations to the top-scoring teams in the Fourth Grade Coding Competition. Each of the 20 teams had to complete five increasingly difficult challenges utilizing a coding robot named Dash. These challenges required teams to create a sequence of coded commands to complete a series of complex moves and tasks. Points were awarded based on accuracy and proficiency.

First place went to the Stargazers (Rebekah Brooke Benson, Crystal Gao, and Sanders Reeves).

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Second place went to the Dazzling Dashes (Mary Lamar Chustz, Sara Kate Long, Chappell Lang, and Julia Thompson).

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Third place went to the Bulldogs (Jack Voyles, Alex Martin, Larsen Robertson, Jake Pratt, and Evan Adams).

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“Each team exercised excellent teamwork, perseverance and deductive reasoning,” said Lower School STEM instructor, Cliff Powers. “I’m so proud of each of their accomplishments.”

Alpha and Omega Cheer for Teachers and Students

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Seniors and kindergarten students in Alpha and Omega attended the faculty-student basketball games together this past week. They cheered and watched games between female faculty and Upper School girls and male faculty and Upper School boys. The games were competitive and close in score, which made the event all the more exciting! Ultimately, getting to spend time with their Alpha and Omega friend was the most fun of all.

Click here to view the entire photo album from the game on Facebook.

JA Teams Earn First Place for Mississippi in Global Competition

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Robotics teams in Jackson Academy’s fourth grade earned first place in the state in a global competition for lower school students. The four JA teams that completed the coding challenge each earned a perfect score. They all tied for first place in the state of Mississippi. Globally, the JA teams were among only 180 of 5,200 teams that received a perfect score. The teams took part of a challenge called Animal Habitat Rescue, and using robot Dash, along with his sidekick, Dot, they completed five animal-saving challenges before a December deadline.

The competition is one aspect of a systematic coding curriculum that has been added to the Lower School STEM program for grades first through fourth at JA. Using various age-appropriate robots and apps, the students learn programming, predicting, and problem-solving skills.

Earning first place for Mississippi were Team JA Dash (Anderson Ueltschey, Addison Jeffcoat, Willis Thigpen, Foster Meacham); Team Dynamite (Aniyah Brown, Anna Catherine Bennett, Law Stanley, Mason Brantley); Team Flaming Unicorns (Faith Wicks, Brooke Singleton, Ian Hosch, Parker Puckett); and Team Rainbow Parrots (Brooke Emerson Ogden, Lynnzee Stapleton, Micah Wallace, Parker Halford, and Aaron Howard).

Lower School Teams Code in Global Competition

This year, a systematic coding curriculum has been added to the Lower School STEM program for grades first through fourth. Using various age-appropriate robots and apps, the students learn programming, predicting, and problem-solving skills. As part of their learning experience, the fourth graders participated in the global Wonder League Robotics Competition along with 5,200 schools from around the world. The theme is Animal Habitat Rescue, and robot Dash, along with his sidekick, Dot, had to complete five animal-saving challenges before the December 15 deadline.

Four teams met the deadline and qualified for entry. Shown in the animation above counterclockwise after the title slide are the qualifying teams: Team JA Dash ( L to R – Anderson Ueltschey, Addison Jeffcoat, Willis Thigpen, Foster Meacham), Team Dynamite (L to R – Aniyah Brown, Anna Catherine Bennett, Law Stanley, Mason Brantley), Team Flaming Unicorns (L to R – Faith Wicks, Brooke Singleton, Ian Hosch, Parker Puckett),  and Team Rainbow Parrots ( L to R – Brooke Emerson Ogden, Lynnzee Stapleton, Micah Wallace, Parker Halford, and Aaron Howard). Thirty finalists will be announced on January 15 and then given a sixth coding challenge and video project to complete in order for a first place winner to be chosen.

“All of the fourth grade teams did a phenomenal job, and I’m very proud of each one. The kids had a great time coding with Dash and Dot,” said Lower School STEM teacher Cliff Powers.

JA Announces Vice President and Dean of the School Appointment

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Jackson Academy President Cliff Kling has announced that Jack F. Milne has been named Vice President and Dean of the School. Milne will fill the role of senior administrator overseeing academics, arts, athletics, and student life upon the retirement of JA’s current Headmaster, Pat Taylor, in May 2017.

“Jack brings a wealth of experience and an impressive skill set to Jackson Academy after having served for 16 years at one of our country’s leading independent schools, The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida,” said Kling. “During the interview process, it was immediately very obvious to the search committee that his student-centered philosophy, his teaching background, his relational skills, and his leadership experience are an excellent fit for Jackson Academy.”

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