Ask Dr. Mitchell! 


PTSA has partnered with Simpson to provide another avenue for you to ask questions and find answers for questions that may come up throughout the year. Through our newsletters and websites, we will post questions and the answers so that everyone may benefit. 


Send your questions to this monitored mailbox.

Principal Coffee and Chats 2023-24

September 19, 2023

Topic: School Goals for the 23-24 school year and how you can help!


November 14, 2023

Topic: Promoting Academic Success and a quick look at the CCSD Magnet Programs

 ---> Principal Coffee and Chat Presentation

       ---> Parentvue Flyer


January 23, 2024

Topic: 5 Keys to supporting your middle school student!


March 26, 2024

Topic: Moving on Up! Understanding articulation and course placement for next year

 Questions answered on weekly school "From The Nest" newsletters (2022-23).



What are some ways you would suggest to help our students manage stress and anxiety?

(1/19/2023 From the Nest v2.22)

Unfortunately, stress and anxiety for just about everyone has increased over the last couple of years. However, one might argue that this uptick has also increased the number of discussions about and resources available for managing stress and anxiety. One of the first things we would suggest is to have a conversation with your child about what they are feeling and thinking and then create a safe space to continue those conversations with a licensed medical professional about appropriate tools for managing those experiences. In the meantime, check out this resource from the American Psychological Association which offers some ways to recognize stress and tips for providing support.

What are some things you would suggest to help our students achieve academic independence?

(1/11/2023 From the Nest v2.21)

The first thing I would say to any parent, regardless of their child’s age or grade, is that your child needs you! I think many parents can easily see and understand their role in their children’s education in elementary school, but as the topics of learning become more departmentalized in middle school and high school, parents often grow more uncomfortable with guiding their children on their journey. Also, as our children mature, they seek to be more independent in their decisions and become resistant to following the directions provided for them. Add incredible physiological, mental, and emotional changes associated with puberty and you have a perfect storm for the challenge that is parenting middle school children. But no worries, we are here to help. In speaking with some of our teacher leaders, they have a few things ideas that may help as we start this new quarter...

  • Establish a routine to check ParentVue for grades, missing assignments, and class attendance every week! If your children know that you will be checking and asking questions, they will be more mindful about completing assignments and getting to class on time.

  • While you’re in ParentVue, go to your settings to get automated emails for important updates. If you set up alerts or reminders, you should always be in the know about what is happening regarding your child’s academic progress.

  • Help your students clean out their bookbags. More than a few students are carrying work from Quarter 1 & Quarter 2 that isn’t needed this semester. Encourage them to get a clean start with a backpack purge.

  • Make sure your child has a book to read. Simpson students are expected to have a book with them to read every day. Encourage this practice by setting time aside for your children to read at home. It’s a little thing that makes a big difference.

  • Set up a routine to have your children charge their laptops every night. Students should not bring their laptop cords to school, so it is imperative that the demonstrate their readiness to learn with a charged laptop.

  • If your child is absent, have them check CTLS for missing assignments rather than emailing the teachers. This helps give the students more responsibility and ownership in navigating through the resources provided for them for their learning.

  • Lastly, remind them that growth isn’t always comfortable. Let them struggle just a little bit as they grow into their own personhood. Just like you had to let go of their hands at some 

    point when they were learning to walk, parenting middle schoolers requires you to give them space and opportunity to struggle through obstacles themselves so they can learn to problem solve. Giving them this safe space to learn self-efficacy is critical to their success in high school.


Why are some student schedules changing?

(1/3/23 From the Nest v2.20)


We shared a couple of months back that we had to make some changes to the master schedule to allow more time for teacher collaboration. One of the core tenets of our district is collaboration and we are committed to maintaining an environment where teachers can grow and develop their instructional practices by working in collaborative communities. In order to allow this time for teacher collaboration, we had to make sure teachers of the same grade level and content had common planning periods.

During the fall, we had some teachers who were teaching students at multiple grade levels. While we were appreciative of their efforts to meet the needs of all their students, it was a heavy load for the teachers to carry, and it also meant that the time they had to plan with their colleagues was limited. In refining the master schedule, we adjusted classes so that these teachers would teach students at only one grade level. As a result of these changes, some students ended up with a new teacher because their previous teacher was no longer available to teach that grade.

Schedules for the spring semester have also been adjusted to meet the academic needs of our students. Over the last two quarters we have seen significant academic gains in content mastery in reading and math. For this quarter, we used multiple data points to determine student placement for enrichment courses so that students would be provided with the most appropriate level of support.

Student schedules should be available in ParentVue and StudentVue for your review. If you have a specific concern with your child’s schedule, please complete the form available at the link below.


Quarter 3 Schedule Concern Form


What are AC classes and how are students selected for participation? (12/14/22 From the Nest v2.19)

AC stands for Advanced Content and the Cobb County School District uses these classes as the delivery model for Gifted and Advanced Content service. Advanced Content courses differ in pace and complexity and follow an approved curriculum to provide an academic challenge for students who meet the placement criteria. Advanced Content courses are available in English/language arts, science, social studies, and foreign language (8th grade only).


Placement criteria for AC classes includes minimum score requirements on the EOG, IOWA, CoGAT, MI, RI, classroom test averages, and or final grades. Although teacher recommendations and parent input are helpful, placement is primarily determined by a triangulation of multiple quantitative data points. Student placement is considered on a case-by-case basis for each content area – in other words, AC placement in one subject area does not automatically result in AC placement in all subject areas. Additionally, prior AC placement is not required for participation in the upcoming school year. If students meet the criteria for the upcoming year, they may participate even if they are not enrolled in AC classes for the current school year.


In addition to AC classes, we also currently offer accelerated courses in math. The curriculum for these courses address math standards for the current grade level in addition to standards for the upcoming grade. Students who are successful in these courses will have the opportunity take a math class in 8th grade for which they can earn a high school math credit. However, Georgia has released new standards for K-12 math courses, which are set for implementation for the 2023-2024 school year. This will change the names and the content for the accelerated math courses we can offer next year. Notification of how this implementation will impact our stakeholders will be shared closer to the end of the current school year.


In addition to our high school math classes, we also offer additional classes students can take for high school credit, including Spanish 1, French 1, Physical Science, and Visual Arts. Criteria for these classes vary based on the foundational skills required. Our most recent placement criteria matrix is posted on the school website; however, please note that we review the criteria each spring and changes may occur before placement for the next school year begins.

What is CCRPI and how does it matter to our community? (12/8/22 From the Nest v2.18)

CCRPI, The College and Career Ready Performance Index, is a metric used to measure how well Georgia schools and districts perform each year. Typically, each school receives a summative rating score ranging from 0 to 100 based on performance in five component areas: Content Mastery, Progress, Closing Gaps, Readiness, and Graduation Rate (high schools only). Due to pandemic-related limitations on data, schools and districts only received scores based on Content Mastery and Readiness for the 2021-2022 school year; overall scores were not calculated. Scores for Simpson Middle School in those two categories are as follows: Content Mastery: 93 and Readiness: 88.9. Student performance on the End of Grade Assessments last spring were the primary indicator for scores in these categories.

This is just a very brief overview of the CCRPI; analysis of all the data available would take quite a bit of time to unpack. However, it is good for families to understand how their schools are performing and what plans are in place for continued improvement. Our School Strategic Plan is directly aligned with our plans to use baseline data to establish academic improvement targets that will reflect progress in student literacy and content mastery.

We look forward to discussing the data available in the CCRPI and ways stakeholders can support our growth at a future Principal Coffee & Chat. In the meantime, please look over the document linked below or feel free to ask any questions that come to mind at askdrmitchell.


A Family’s Guide to Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index

What is Simpson Middle School’s Strategic Plan? (12/1/22 From the Nest v2.17)

All CCSD schools use a common strategic planning template and align their plans to meet long-range goals set by the Board of Education, as well as district priorities. Our strategic plan for the 2022 – 2023 school year focuses on using data from the MI & RI assessments given each quarter to guide individual and schoolwide intervention and enrichment programs. Additionally, our plan includes a goal of having more of our students demonstrating proficient or advanced performance on the MI & RI assessments at the end of the year.


The Simpson Strategic Plan can be found on our school website.