Primary Post

Updated January 18, 2019

A Message from Mr. Mitchell

Thursday was the start of a fantastic experience for some of our students that I don’t think they would get at many other schools. We have the honor of hosting 23 eight-year-olds from our sister school, Mingde Experimental School, in Shenzhen, China until Friday, January 25. I believe this is the fifth year that we have taken part in this exchange and it is something I hope continues as long as I am here. During the week we have placed two students in each of our second and third grade classrooms so that they can get the full six-day experience of being a student in the United States and at Woodward Academy. 

This has always been such a great learning experience for so many reasons on both sides. It is my understanding that typical schools in China are not as concerned with the social-emotional aspects of learning that are present at Woodward. I have heard a parent ask, “Are your students always so happy?” As we know, the answer is yes, and it is something in which I take great pride. Hopefully, they come away knowing that learning can be fun and that they have a place in America that would welcome them any time. A place where they could belong. For our students, they too can ask questions of their new friends about what school is like for them at home. They can hear first-hand the things that their new classmates enjoy doing. It is always so amazing to them that even though they are normally half the world away, kids are kids and they like doing many of the same things.

Kids are kids. As I have walked the hallways, observed recess, looked around at lunch, and peaked in classrooms, it amazes me every time we do this exchange. I am always struck by the fact that kids are kids no matter their background. They are inherently good people. Their mannerisms are similar, the aspect of genuinely being social in nature goes without saying. I see students nervous about entering a new classroom yet warming up immediately as though they have been here forever. 

As always, our students and teachers make me proud. As the students arrived, they were greeted with the hugs and smiles that our students probably think are part of every school. I am thankful they think that. I am most pleased by the fact that our students are always so eager to assist and welcome anyone who enters their classroom. Not just due to this experience but due to the entirety of their experience at Woodward Academy, I truly believe that our students will grow to be accepting, inclusive, empathetic people. Unfortunately, as they continue to expand their world as they mature, they probably will encounter folks whose beliefs don’t align with theirs, who think that the negative ways people are sometimes treated is okay. However, when our students are introduced to stereotypes, I firmly believe they will know that those stereotypes just aren’t true, and they will be an advocate for the idea that you cannot judge someone by their appearance but by their words and actions.

I am so proud of the fact that our students are learning the important academic foundations needed to build success as they progress. Yet, at the same time, they are also learning how to interact with others who are different from them. Different from them yet similar in so many ways.
I, as an adult, benefit from this experience as I observe it on a daily basis. It makes me proud to be a part of this school. It make me proud that my child has been at this school for eight and a half years and I hope you are proud your child is here as well. Thank you for believing in the mission and the journey. It can’t be said enough.

Primary School Night at WA Hoops

Unfortunately, this year's varsity basketball schedule has not had many non-school night games. If you have not had a chance to come out and watch Woodward Basketball, Saturday, January 26 has been designated as Primary School Night. Come out and watch with friends some Saturday hoops as the Ware Eagles take on Salem High School. Tip off for the girls is slated for 2:30 while the boys are scheduled at 4:00. We hope to see you there.

Cultural Exchange

Beginning Thursday, January 17 through Friday, January 25, we will have students visiting our school from the Mingde Experimental School in Shenzhen, China. 24 students will be placed in our second and third grade classrooms and experience the school days along with our students. As we do each year, we look forward to this cultural exchange, which will surely enhance our students' deep respect of difference, a hallmark of our school. 

Parent Meetings

As was discussed in the Primary Post recently, I would like to schedule some opportunities for parents to have some coffee and danish as we discuss your child’s experience at the Primary School, what you feel our strengths are, maybe some challenges we face, and/or any questions you may have about what lies ahead for your child. Each homeroom will be scheduled for an hour in the morning in January or February to come in and chat. I’m hoping this will be a great opportunity to clear up any misconceptions and/or hear valid concerns that are brought to my attention. I recently had a conversation with a parent who expressed to me concerns that I thought were valid and will allow me to address those concerns the best I can. As is the case with teachers, what we don’t know about, we can’t do anything about. I hope this will be a great opportunity to make sure we are on as close to the same page as possible since we do indeed need to work collaboratively to successfully prepare your child for what comes next. I hope to see you there. All times are 8:30-9:30 and the assigned dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday, January 23 - Pre-K
  • Monday, January 28 - Roden and Fisher
  • Wednesday, January 30 - Gronka and Mathis
  • Monday, February 4 - Lopez and Byars
  • Wednesday, February 6 - Gordon and Longino
  • Monday, February 11 - Flournoy and McBride
  • Wednesday, February 13 - Bailey and Hardy
  • Wednesday, February 20 - Bostwick and Rauk
  • Monday, February 25 - Baugh and French
  • Wednesday, February 27 - Kulka, Haskell, and Patterson

Of course this does not mean if you are unable to attend that you can’t schedule a time with the office; we will be happy to talk anytime. Of course, if you are wanting to schedule a meeting regarding a specific teacher, please discuss those concerns with the teacher before coming to me. They deserve that respect.

Co-Curriculars at the Primary School

Tennis: If you would like for your child to participate in our after-school tennis program, please click here for information and registration. 

Chess: The next session of chess begins January 16.  Please click here for information.

Golf: The spring session for golf begins January 28 and ends on May 13.  Please click here for registration. 

Big Chill Tickets Available For Woodward Parents

A limited number of tickets are now available for Woodward parents to attend the annual Big Chill event on Friday, February 22, at 8 p.m. at SunTrust Park!
Join the Woodward Alumni Association for an evening of food, fun, cocktails, and a chance to bid in our silent auction--all in support of need-based financial aid.

Purchase tickets or an event sponsorship today by visiting

Primary Singers Performing at Atlanta Hawks Game

We are proud to announce that our Primary Singers will once again perform the National Anthem before the start of the Atlanta Hawks game on Saturday, February 9! Click here for a link to order tickets or here for a flyer with more details.     

Community Meetings

If you are dropping your child off on Fridays and want to get the day before the weekend off to a great start, feel free to stay and join us at Community Meeting. Even if your child is not performing, these meetings are a great affirmation of our mission to enhance the social/emotional learning of our students and develop that path to a deep respect of difference that is part of the mission of Woodward Academy. Meetings are generally over by 9:10 a.m. and coffee is waiting in the foyer if you need some for the road. Parents are a part of the community, even when their children are not performing. We'd love to see you there.

Now Accepting Sibling Applications

We are now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year! Visit the Admissions Getting Started page to apply today. If you have family, friends, or neighbors interested in applying their children, you can send a letter of recommendation to to improve their chances for acceptance. Also, please encourage them not to wait for 9th grade to apply as our Upper School is at capacity and will have limited openings. Thank you for entrusting Woodward with the education of your child, and we look forward to helping your family and friends share the Woodward experience!

Find the Parent Community Online!

Whether you’re looking to volunteer or wondering when the next Parent Community event will be held, you can now find it all on the Parent Community website. Please be sure to check it regularly for upcoming Parent Community events and opportunities to volunteer. You can also follow us on Facebook @WAParentCommunity. 

Chaplain's Corner

Greetings Woodward Academy Community,

It is fantastic to be back on campus with our students for another great semester! I look forward to the many ways students will share special holidays and traditions with one another throughout the year at assemblies, panels, and immersion trips. As many of our religions encourage gratitude and presence, I pray that this year you enjoy each of the little moments life has to offer. In 2019, may each of us dwell in the present, with hearts of gratitude for the present, as if this is the only moment.

Throughout the month of January, students in our community will observe the following:

  • January 13 (Sikhism) - Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708) celebrates the birth of the tenth Sikh Guru, who created the Khalsa and the Fellowship of the Pure.
  • January 6 (Christianity)  - Epiphany is the second festival celebrating Jesus as Christ, the first being the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas). The Western Churches associate Epiphany with the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus, while the Orthodox Churches look to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.
  • January 20 (Baha’i) - World Religion Day is the annual celebration of the teachings of unity found in all religions.
  • January 21 - Tu B’Shevat begins at sundown on January 20. It is the New Year’s Day for Trees, and traditionally the first of the year for tithing fruit of trees. It is a day for environmental awareness and is marked by special meals that include the seven fruits of the land.
  • January 27 - Holocaust Memorial Day is an international memorial day commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust and the lives tragically taken.

Please feel free to visit our Interfaith Initiatives page to see the times of all interfaith prayer opportunities or to share a prayer request.


Chaplain K
Rev. Katie O. Kilpatrick, Academy Chaplain


Use voucher code "WAlive1819" here to activate your account so you can watch live Woodward sporting events, performances, and more throughout the school year.

Upcoming Dates...

  • Monday, January 21: No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
  • Tuesday, January 29: Otis Lennon Testing - 2nd grade only!
  • Tuesday, February 5: Late Start Day - begins @10:00 student drop off @9:50
  • Thursday, February 14: Valentine's Parties PreK-3rd 12:55-1:55
  • Monday, February 18: No School - President's Day
  • March 4-8: Spring Break
  • Tuesday, March 12: First Day back for Students
  • March 18-22: Week of Understanding
  • Thursday, March 21: Conference Day - No School  for Students

Ways to Help Primary School Students!

  1. Box Tops and eBoxTops through the Box Tops website.
  2. The Publix Partners program - new tags are available in the office.
  3. Kroger Rewards program.

PS Upcoming Events

Counselors Corner...

What’s Happening in Classroom Guidance:
Over the last few weeks, our students have been working hard on managing our emotions. We have been discussing that some feelings may become so strong it makes us uncomfortable. In each grade level, we have discussed ways to calm ourselves back down when our emotions become too strong.  Below are a few highlights from lessons by grade level. 
Pre-Kindergarten:  During our lesson, we read the book When Sophie Gets Angry...Really Really Angry by Molly Bang. We discussed ways that Sophie calmed herself down during the book. Students then sat in a circle and practiced using different tools that can help you calm down such as a stress ball, moving a scarf around slowly, deep breathing strategies, and watching a liquid timer. We also watched a fun video on how to best “belly breathe”. 

Kindergarten: We read When Miles Got Mad by Abbie Schiller and Samantha Counter. Students discussed with a partner what makes them feel angry. We then practiced different strategies to calm ourselves down such as exercise, getting a drink of water, talking with an adult, counting to 10, thinking of a happy place, listening to music, using a stress ball, and finding a comfortable place to sit and relax. Students then colored in the strategies that they think would work best for them if they were to feel mad. 
Grade 1: We read Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker. The book discusses how when superheroes have bad days, they must still use their powers for good.  We then rotated through stations where students practiced calm down strategies such as: deep breathing, using mind jar to help refocus, manipulating a pipe cleaner, and using a stress ball. Students reflected on the stations they could use the next time they have a bad day. 
Grade 2 and Grade 3: We read Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver. The book has wonderful discussion points around how a person can experience a mix of emotions in a short period of time (excitement, disappointment, sadness, and anger). It also discussed strategies such as counting steps, walking, taking a break, deep breathing, being present in the moment, and talking about our feelings. Students then rotated through stations where they practiced calm down strategies such as: deep breathing, five senses countdown, journaling feelings, coloring a design, and sensory stations (stress ball, breathing ball, mind jar, and liquid timer). They also reflected on the stations they could use the next time they have a bad day. 

Let’s Keep in Touch
Check the Counselor Corner for updates and more information on the Counseling Program. Please contact me at if you have any questions or if I can be of any support to you and your child.