Atlanta Educator: Fall 2009
Read about Atlanta Public Schools' efforts to shape young men into future leaders, meet longtime APS volunteers, check out the award-winning Homework Hotline, learn about Springdale Park and meet three first-year teachers who are making a difference.
Vol. 2, No. 1 Fall 2009 Informacion en espanol en atlantapublicschools.us Simply the B.E.S.T. APS grooms next generation of male leaders BY DAVID LEE SIMMONS The June election of Charles J. Saylors as the first male president of the national Parent Teacher Association signals that men are taking a greater role in shaping the lives of young men. He set the tone for that culture shift by committing to recruit more fathers into the organization. “We launched the PTA MORE Alliance this past year to reach out to men,” Saylors said. “But PTA will never have enough men involved unless the members who are already here are willing to help me ask them to join and get involved.” Within the halls of Atlanta Public Schools, educators also are focused on shaping young men into future leaders. See YOUNG MEN Page 19 Right at home Kennedy teacher invests in her Vine City community Beverly Easterling is all smiles when she is around her Kennedy Middle School students, including Ja'Nishaw White, Demetrius Williams and Shalon Hugley. BY PAUL HALLORAN At first glance, you might think Beverly Easterling is somewhat out of place at John F. Kennedy Middle School and in the Vine City neighborhood. Boy, would you be wrong. Spend some time with Easterling — listen to her talk about her school and her neighborhood — and you will get the distinct impression there’s nowhere else she would rather be. “I always had a desire to work in the Under the direction of Principal LaPaul Shelton, all-male B.E.S.T.Academy is one example of how Atlanta Public Schools shapes young men into future leaders. inner city and to advocate,” said Easterling, who once did a teaching internship in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, pre-Hurricane Katrina. Easterling teaches math to specialeducation students with varying disabilities. This is her third year at Kennedy, after teaching for nearly three years in DeKalb County. “I knew APS had the type of students I was looking to teach,” said Easterling. “I think we have an opportunity to See EASTERLING Page 18 GOING GREEN Page 17 2 —The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 APS is dedicated to student achievement Welcome to the first issue of The Atlanta Educator for the 200910 school year. Atlanta Public Schools launched this publication last year to share news about the district’s remarkable turnaround. However, this Dr. Beverly L. Hall publication has come to represent so much more. The Atlanta Educator allows us to highlight students, educators, volunteers and business leaders who are making a difference in our classrooms every day. They are the reason that more school districts are looking to APS as a model. If you are new to the publication or to the district, allow me to share a few principles that guide our journey to excellence: Every child can succeed. We have made considerable strides developing our Effective Teacher in Every Classroom strategy. Our commitment to quality teachers underscores the belief that each of our 49,000 students has a right to a high-quality education. APS students are making strides. Our students continue to meet and exceed Georgia standards. Just nine years ago, only 40 percent of the district’s sixth-graders met or exceeded state standards on the English/Language Arts portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. This year, 89 percent earned that distinction. In addition to participating on state tests, APS voluntarily participates in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and has its system results individually reported. NAEP provides what many believe is the most rigorous assessment of student achievement in America. From 2002-07, APS performance grew at a faster rate in grades four and eight than all other participating large central cities, the state of Georgia and the nation. One size does not fit every student. International Baccalaureate, Project GRAD, Success for All, Direct Instruction and Making Middle Grades Work are just a few examples of comprehensive school reform designs that have been adopted by our schools to meet the individual learning styles of our students. APS business operations continue to earn national acclaim. Our finance department has received the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International and the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. ‘Making a Difference’ is more than a catch phrase. Educating children is a tremendous responsibility. Parents, taxpayers and civic leaders trust us with a very precious resource, and we take our work very seriously. I can assure you that the faculty and staff of APS work diligently to ensure that every student receives the best foundation possible to compete on a global playing field. Our success is real. Regardless of the measuring stick, APS has earned significant academic gains as well as national accolades. Carter G. Woodson Elementary joined a short list of National Blue Ribbon Schools selected by the U.S. Department of Education. Our Board of Education received national recognition with the 2009 Urban School Board Excellence Award from the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban School Boards of Education. Also, board member Emmett Johnson won the Richard R. Green Award, the nation’s highest honor for urban education leadership, from the Council of the Great City Schools, representing 66 of the largest urban school districts in the nation, educating 7.1 million students. Lastly, I was honored and humbled when I was named 2009 Georgia Superintendent of the Year and 2009 National Superintendent of the Year. I encourage you to take the time to browse through the pages of The Atlanta Educator. You will see examples of our dedication to student achievement. We ask that you help us spread the good news about APS in the weeks and months to come. Dr. Beverly L. Hall is superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. CHIEF STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICER DR. ALEXIS KIRIJAN Atlanta Board of Education LaChandra D. Butler Burks, Chair Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, Vice Chair Khaatim S. El Emmett D. Johnson Yolanda K. Johnson Brenda J. Muhammad Kathleen B. Pattillo Mark B. Riley Eric W. Wilson Published by: Atlanta Public Schools Beverly L. Hall, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools Suzanne Yeager Chief Communications Officer Submit story ideas to: Morieka V. Johnson, Editor Director of Communications Atlanta Public Schools 130 Trinity Ave., SW Atlanta, GA 30303 Tel: 404-802-2893 firstname.lastname@example.org www.atlantapublicschools.us Sign up for our mailing list at www.atlantapublicschools.us/AEsubscribe Produced by: GRANT COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTING GROUP Boston X New York 781-598-8200 email@example.com www.grantgroup.com Each quarter, The Atlanta Educator will introduce you to faculty, staff, and administrators at Atlanta Public Schools. Q A As the chief strategy and development officer, what’s your primary objective? My primary objective is to not only ensure that the district continues to stay on track by aligning strategy to the vision, mission and goals, but also to make sure we are using data to drive strategy. In addition, it is important that the key success indicators target exactly what is essential for the district to reach its goals. I also would like to keep everyone’s attention focused on achieving the success measures that will take us over the top in student achievement. In essence, this is turning our strategy into reality. Q A How do you handle the inevitable challenges that occur when dealing with such a large organization? It is simple: I believe in open and honest communication, treating everyone with dignity and respect, and making data-driven decisions based on what is best for APS students. I also believe in being transparent with all stakeholders. Q What’s the most challenging part of your job? A Since Strategy and Development is responsible for reporting the district’s performance, my biggest challenge is ensuring the quality of the data reported. Q A What’s the most fun part of your job? Honestly, I enjoy every aspect of my job. I am guessing you would think, as the chief strategy officer, I would say that strategizing is the most fun part of my job. But the most fun aspect is having the opportunity to work cross-divisionally with individuals from every part of the organization – from the schools to the central office staff and our community and business partners. Q What has been your biggest accomplishment in the year that you have been with Atlanta Public Schools? A The biggest accomplishment has been refining the cross-functional actionteam process. The teams work toward providing recommendations for improving district processes — from planning to execution. The individuals who participate on these teams represent the entire district and bring an incredible amount of expertise to the Dr. Alexis Kirijan table. They also make a commitment to fully participate on the team while continuing their regular work. The concept brings employees together and fosters a sense of community. Together we can and do make a difference for the students at APS. For more information about the Office of Strategy and Development, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us/strategy APS POINT OF PRIDE: Atlanta Public Schools is on a consistent nine-year trend of progress. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 3 APS BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: KATHLEEN B. PATTILLO Board member sees shared vision Kathleen B. Pattillo serves as the Atlanta Board of Education representative for District 4. This is the fourth in a series of board member profiles in The Atlanta Educator. LEADERSHIP Kathleen B. Pattillo has served on the Atlanta Board of Education since 2001, and will complete her term this December. She also served as chairwoman of the board from 2005-07, chaired the Accountability and Professional Development Committee, and served on the Audit Commission. Working in District 4, Pattillo represents Morris Brandon, Garden Hills, Warren T. Jackson and Sarah Smith elementary schools, along with Sutton Middle and North Atlanta High School. we make has ramifications that last a very long time. You have to think for the good of the system – not just for the students of today but also the students we’re going to be serving in the future.” When Pattillo returned to Atlanta, she worked for Southern Company and CNN before earning a law degree from Emory University and working at her father’s law firm in Conyers. She became an active volunteer, participating in Leadership Atlanta, which seeks to promote community involvement by connecting various groups within the city. “I learned a lot, especially issues such as transportation, education, race relations, and the in-depth challenges that face Atlanta,” Pattillo said. EXPERIENCE As she began raising a family of three, Pattillo became even more involved in community work including serving as the first female chair of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. With her children at Sarah Smith Elementary, Pattillo also became active in the school’s PTA and eventually served as co-president. You have to think Pattillo successfully ran for her Board of Education seat for the good of the in 2000. As a board member, she has worked with the Atlanta Educational Telecommunications Collaborative, Inc. system – not just (AETC), which facilitates a relationship between APS and for the students Public Broadcasting of Atlanta (PBA). Pattillo also remains of today but also active as a trustee with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro the students we’re Atlanta, which honored her with the Conant Award. Pattillo going to be serving also has received The Silver Medallion Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. in the future. “ BACKGROUND A product of Rockdale County Public Schools, Pattillo developed a more personal passion for education after her kids started matriculating into Atlanta Public Schools. But the seeds were sown much earlier. Pattillo attended Hollins College in Virginia before attending the University of Georgia, where she majored in political science with course work in special education. She was a receptionist and worked in the press office of Georgia Sen. Herman Talmadge before taking a job as deputy press secretary for Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker in 1981. Those early opportunities allowed Pattillo to see the legislative process up close and personal. “They were both great legislators,” Pattillo recalled. “Both understood how the Senate worked and understood how to get legislation passed through building consensus. I learned to think about the big picture and the long term.” In relating this experience to her work on the Board of Education, Pattillo said, “I learned mostly that each of the decisions POINTS OF PRIDE As the PTA co-president at Sarah Smith, Pattillo helped improve the school’s image in the community. “We worked really hard to increase the population at Sarah Smith, and tried to go out and tell the good stories about the school,” she said. “When I started working with the school in 1995, the student population was 370, and now it’s more than 900. It taught me the various ways a parent can be involved with his or her school, and the most effective ways to do so.” Pattillo is most proud of how the Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall share the same vision for students and parents. “We’ve really come together as a board and as a system, working to improve our facilities, our operations, and our student performance,” Pattillo said. “The history of the board had been one of micromanaging, and we really worked hard to delineate our roles from those of management.” Pattillo now sees APS as a school system that offers a quality education throughout the city — not just in select neighborhoods — and one that gains the public trust. “I want to thank all of my fellow board members, Dr. Hall, the CLL staff, the parents, principals, teachers, students and the community for being so wonderful to work with and being so supportive of this endeavor,” Pattillo said. “I just feel so honored to work with so many dedicated people.” Kathleen Pattillo’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board of Education meets Dec. 7 at the Center for Learning and Leadership auditorium, 130 Trinity Ave. SW, Atlanta, GA. 30303. For more information about the board, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us/board 4 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 PARENTS AS PARTNERS IN APS Together, we can Parents help parents meet challenges of educating special-needs children BY MEAGHAN CASEY concentrate on transition needs of highRose Calloway knows too well the challenge school students and young children; lead task forces of raising a special-needs child. organize training sessions; “As a parent, you’re frustrated and feeling collaborate with teachers; and helpless,” said Calloway, whose eldest daughter offer more parental involvement activities. was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as The mentors listen to both parents and well as a learning disability while in middle educators, and use their unique knowledge of school. “You want to be able to understand both worlds to overcome obstacles in what’s creating the problem and solve it.” communication. In addition to their local This unique perspective informs Calloway’s priorities, Calloway and Matthews also meet recent work as a parent mentor. As one of approximately 90 parent mentors in the Georgia twice a year with the statewide network of mentors and four times a year regionally. Parent Mentor Partnership, Calloway wants to “This isn’t what I ensure that other went to school for,” parents don’t go down said Calloway, who the same path alone. previously spent 20 “When I was going years as an through it and information balancing meetings technology analyst. and doctor’s “It’s more than just a appointments, I felt job; it’s a passion.” like I was all by Following her myself,” Calloway daughter’s diagnosis, recalled. “Now, Calloway cut short her parents have me and Springdale Park Elementary music teacher career to help her 90 others looking out Letricia Henson gives a presentation at a for them.” workshop designed to expose parents to the daughter succeed and graduate. She initially Created and benefits of the Parent Mentor Partnership. enrolled her in a partially funded by the private school and hired additional tutors, to no Georgia Department of Education’s Division avail. for Special Education Services and Supports, “She didn’t fit in the special education the partnership began in 2002 as a small group classes because she tested so well, but she of parents and administrators. The group now works with 79 school districts to build effective couldn’t perform at the levels of the regular or advanced classes,” said Calloway. family, school and community partnerships that Crim Open Campus High School proved to lead to greater achievement for students – be an acceptable solution. “When she got to especially those with disabilities. By providing Crim, the teachers acknowledged and respected a support system for parents, the group can build a bridge of communication between home what we were doing,” said Calloway. “It was a true partnership. It was also more hands-on and and school. personalized – an average of five students in a “There’s a sense of empathy that the mentors classroom.” can provide because they’ve been in their Having graduated from Crim, Calloway’s shoes,” said Keisa Ma, Child Serve Specialist daughter is a now a student at Georgia for APS’ Program for Exceptional Children. Perimeter College. “They can assist them with specific issues and “I was able to find a program that could work give them the resources they need.” for my daughter’s unique situation,” Calloway Calloway was hired as a mentor in July, said. “Now I am able to help parents see what’s joining fellow APS parent Sharon Matthews. in their school district before withdrawing their Together, they work with the parents of more child. With the availability of the parent mentor than 2,000 students in order to: build connections for families; program, they don’t have to do what I did.” TIPS FOR PARENTS Why is parental involvement important to APS? Parental involvement is very important at Atlanta Public Schools because 1) parents are viewed as their child’s first teacher; 2) parents are encouraged to partner with teachers, staff and school administrators to foster student achievement; 3) parental involvement at home is consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child’s time, helping with homework and discussing school matters; and 4) parents who read to their children before they enter school give their children a boost toward reading success. APS provides the following resources to students and their families: Parent Teacher Associations — The goal of the APS Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) is to bring together the interests of the parents and the school to support student achievement. PTAs normally meet once a month.Through PTA initiatives and activities, parents work with the faculty to enhance the school environment and improve student achievement. Parents as Partners Academic Center — The APS Parent Teacher Association (PTA) joined with the APS Family Involvement Center to open the first Parents as Partners Academic Center in Atlanta Public Schools. Located at Kennedy Middle School, the site houses the official office for the Atlanta Council of PTAs and is used to host workshops, focus groups and trainings. Parents visit the center to secure up-to-date information on district programs and copies of parenting materials. Parent Community Involvement Liasons — The APS Parent Community Involvement liaisons serve as a link between the schools and parents.Their key responsibilities include conducting workshops, sharing news on district initiatives and developing strategies for increasing parental involvement in APS activities.The liaisons work closely with schools to develop community partnerships that enhance the learning environment and ensure federal compliance with each school’s parent involvement policy. All of these initiatives will be enhanced by the Be There Campaign, which encourages parents to initiate one-on-one teachable moments with their child outside of the classroom. APS POINT OF PRIDE: In 2009, Dr. Beverly L. Hall was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 5 PARENTS AS PARTNERS IN APS Dads make a difference Over the last several years, fathers have taken an increasingly more active role in their children’s education in Atlanta Public Schools. Consider M. Agnes Jones Elementary, where Quinton Gist became the Parent Teacher Association president this year. “I got involved last year to make sure my little girl gets the best education she can,” said Gist, who served as PTA treasurer last year. In a short period of time, Gist has proven to be a go-to person for Principal Margul Woolfolk. She turned to him last year when there was a behavior issue on a few of the bus routes, and she needed volunteer bus monitors. Gist willingly rode the school bus for most of the school year. “Mr. Gist has always been supportive,” Woolfolk said. “He’s not just talk; he makes sure it happens. He calls the office two or three times a week. His whole mission is to make sure the children and teachers have whatever they need.” Gist, whose daughter, Dream, is a second-grader at Jones, wants to set up a tutoring program for students preparing for the CRCT. He plans to get five parents at each grade level to work with students on reading, math, social studies and science. The Jones PTA also sponsors a game night on Fridays, giving children and their parents a chance to mingle in a fun setting. Last year, the PTA helped raise $15,000 for a playground at the school. “When kids see their parents around, they do better,” said Gist, an Fathers get more involved with children’s education Quinton Gist is PTA president at M. Agnes Jones, where his daughter, Dream, is in the second grade. APS graduate. He is currently taking classes at AIU Atlanta. Fathers are also getting involved at Sutton Middle and a handful of other APS schools that participate in the national All Pro Dad’s Day program, featuring a monthly breakfast for students and their fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, or any significant adult male role model in their lives. All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative program helping men to become better fathers. All Pro Dad has 54 NFL spokesmen, multiple events with NFL teams, 1,000 All Pro Dad’s Day chapters, and Play of the Day daily e-mails that reach 40,000 fathers. At Sutton, single mothers are welcome, too, according to Principal Audrey Sofianos. “It gives the students and their parent or other significant adult a chance to bond on a different level,” Sofianos said. Joe Shelton, whose son, Spencer, is a seventh-grader at Sutton, approached Sofianos with the idea last year. The program usually provides a guest speaker who addresses topics such as setting goals and overcoming challenges, and poses a question for the students and their guests for discussion. Sofianos said the breakfasts are well attended, with at least 50 people showing up each month. Other APS schools that have participated in the national program include Gideons, Beecher Hills, Morningside, Parkside, Grove Park, Young and B.E.S.T. Academy. “This program shows the interest is out there (among fathers),” Sofianos said. “If we can find an event and a time for dads to participate, they will come.” And that is good news for students, who have proven to achieve more when fathers are involved in their education. A 2005 study by Brent McBride, a University of Illinois professor of human development and family studies, found that a father’s interest and involvement in his child’s life at school, when added to that of the mother, packs a powerful one-two punch in that child’s favor. The study also found that a father’s involvement lessens the impact of growing up in a low-income home or poor neighborhood, or attending a school that has limited resources. “When fathers are involved in their child’s education, it mediates some of the negative effects these environmental stressors have on the child,” McBride said. In the study, the researcher worked with 1,334 families with children between the ages of 5-12 to learn how men engage in the educational process with their children, how their activity compares to what mothers are doing, and whether father involvement makes a unique contribution to the student’s development. Be There is here in Atlanta What’s the most important thing every parent can do for his or her child? Be there. That’s the concept behind Be There, the national campaign designed to inspire parents to become more involved in their children’s education. Be There started three years ago as a pilot project in Volusia County, Fla., and has since gained popularity throughout the United States and Canada. Through compelling images and words, the campaign suggests that parents connect with their children every day during the ordinary moments in life. Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall joined 13 Georgia school district leaders at WSB-TV studios in August for the kickoff of the campaign throughout the Atlanta metro media market. “Parents and guardians are our students’ first teachers, and they set the course for their child’s success in life,” said Hall. “The Be There campaign offers very simple, everyday teaching and learning strategies that can be used to reinforce what’s taught in our classrooms. Children benefit when their parents are involved in their education. They have higher self-esteem, better academic performance and more positive attitudes toward school.” Hall was joined by state officials to stress the importance of parental involvement, including Georgia State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox; Herb Garrett, executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association; and Sloan Roach, president of the Georgia School Public Relations Association. “We have all the tools to stay connected with people at work and families across the country, but it’s hard to stay connected to our children, especially as they grow into teenagers,” said Cox. “Be There reminds us that parenting is our number one job. We’re not just our children’s first teacher; we’re their lifelong teacher.” The group’s national site, www.BeThere.org, offers great ways to become more involved with your child, including: X While eating dinner, ask your teen a question to stretch his/her imagination, such as “If you were the smartest person on earth, what would you use your intelligence to do?” X In the grocery store, tell your child he/she may pick out three items to take home, but they must contain less than 10 grams of sugar each. X When driving in the car, ask your young child to find the letters of the alphabet in signs your pass. With the teenager, ask them to help you calculate how many miles per gallon you’re getting with each automobile you drive. X Read a story to your child. Before you get to the end, ask your child how he/she thinks it will end. Or, if the main character walked through your door today, what would you say to it? X As a surprise - leave a caring note in your child’s lunchbox or under his/her pillow that says you are proud of your child. AL APS PR UM OF NA ILE 6 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 RAISING THE BAR Judge Hatchett is a proud graduate of Atlanta Public Schools BY MEAGHAN CASEY A visionary who knows how to get results, Judge Glenda A. Hatchett is renowned in the legal community for her groundbreaking courtroom style. But before she was making waves on air and in the courts, Hatchett was an APS student with big dreams. As the newly elected president of her eighth-grade class at the former Anderson Park Elementary School, Hatchett never imagined that one day she would become the first AfricanAmerican to serve as chief presiding judge of a Georgia court or lead one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. A graduate of the former Harper High School, where she was active in student government, drama and music, Hatchett went on to attend Mount Holyoke College and Emory University School of Law. After earning her law degree and completing a coveted federal clerkship, Hatchett took a position at Delta Air Lines, where she remained for nearly a decade. As the company’s highest-ranking African-American woman, she served in both the legal and public relations departments. Ebony magazine named her one of the “100 Best and Brightest Women in Corporate America.” In 1990, Hatchett received her first judicial appointment as the chief presiding judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court. She was commended for revolutionizing the system by developing public and private partnerships to provide support to children and families after they left her courtroom. After eight years on the Fulton County bench, Hatchett presided over the award-winning syndicated show, “Judge Hatchett,” and authored the national best-seller, Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say. Hatchett now serves as a national spokesperson for Court Appointed Special Advocates, a non-profit organization that trains volunteers to represent abused and neglected children and help them navigate the court system. She also regularly conducts speaking engagements across the country. Last year, she completed a nine-city tour on the topic of “Parent Power,” drawing on her own experience as the mother of two. She recently launched the Web site http://parentpowernow.com, with a goal of motivating 1 million parents to join her Dreampost Campaign. The site is also designed to become the premier global networking community for parents. It includes a series of high-impact videos, companion workbooks and live events with practical, useful skills and concepts. Hatchett took some time to share thoughts on life, parenting and growing up in Atlanta: Q What was your APS experience? elementary school was truly a neighborhood school, A My very much a community, and my high school was just the best. I appreciate it more now, in retrospect. Everyone knew you by name and took an interest in you. They were proud of you. They were the same people who went to your church and lived in your community, so there was a real sense of family. Also, my mother, Clemmie Hatchett, was an elementary school science teacher in the APS system for a number of years before she earned her Ph.D. She went on to work as an administrator in the superintendent’s office and then as assistant principal at Archer High. The APS was always very important to my family. were your earliest career Q What aspirations? I was a little girl, I A When thought I would be a pediatrician. Then in seventh grade, I won the city-wide science fair. I loved science and was a wiz kid in chemistry, physics and math. All through high school, I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I was fascinated by space. Later on, I became more socially conscious because of what was going on in the country. I went to law school to expand my options and discovered a passion for litigation. prompted the career change, from a private Q What company to the juvenile court system? I never expected to leave Delta. I was the A Honestly, highest-ranking woman of color, and life was pretty comfortable. If it had been any other opportunity, I might have passed it up, but I wanted to try to step out and make a difference in the lives of children. I truly believed with all my heart that if I could get my hands on the children early on, I could prevent them from showing up in our courts at a later point. Q What inspires you in your line of work? lives transformed. It’s so gratifying to see kids A Seeing getting back on track or to read letters from viewers saying, “Thank you. You made me believe I can do this.” If I can help to empower them to fix themselves, it’s a good day. were the most important steps you took to Q What make your dreams a reality? have to really believe in those dreams and believe A You that you can do whatever you set out to do. But you also have to work hard. There are no shortcuts. You can’t instantly be famous, be an athlete or own your own business. You have to want it bad enough to work for it. Q Do you consider yourself a role model? are many people who influenced me — for A There example, my fifth-grade teacher who saw me sworn in as a judge. There are dozens of these individuals who are still very much a part of my life. As they inspired me, I know I now have the responsibility to inspire others and encourage our children to dream big dreams. a national spokesperson, best-selling author and Q As a parent, what advice do you give other parents? have to pay attention to what your child’s doing A You in school. You can’t leave it all to the teachers. You have to be involved and be concerned. Listen — not just with your ears, but with your mind and your heart. part of your Dreampost Campaign, you Q As encourage parents to post their children’s dreams on bedroom ceilings. Why? want those dreams to be the last thing they see at A We night and the first thing they see in the morning. It sends a powerful message that their goals matter. By posting our children’s dreams, hopefully we’ll never have to post their bail. Judge Glenda A. Hatchett APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS has launched one of the largest mathematics and science professional development and curriculum programs in the nation. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 7 STILL ANSWERING THE CALL Homework Hotline tutors are there to help students BY MEAGHAN CASEY After 42 years with Atlanta Public Schools, Glenn Randall wasn’t quite ready to hang up his teaching cap. Instead, he and four other teachers dedicate their weeknights to helping students who call the Homework Hotline. A joint effort between APS and Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s E-Learning Cyber Center, My Homework Hotline is available Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays and semester breaks. Grades K-5 can call from 3-5 p.m., and grades 6-12 can call from 5-9 p.m. Hotline tutors like Randall have access to textbooks and school curricula to help students better understand and solve their homework problems. Last spring, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded both organizations a My Source Community Impact Award for Education. But participants say the best reward comes from helping students. “It’s a very worthwhile, needed service,” said Willie Mae McLeod, Julio Blanco and Glenn Randall, rear, staff the phones of the Homework Hotline. Homework Hotline coordinator Bernice McLean, who also serves as director of education for PBA. understand something and then call back and tell “It’s a great resource for students who need help, you, ‘I passed,’ or ‘I got an A.’” and even for parents assisting their children.” Blanco added, “When they say thank you, you Randall, who retired in 2006, is in his ninth year can just feel how they say it. It’s like a hug over the as a hotline tutor. “Once I started, I enjoyed what I phone.” was doing,” he said. “It keeps your mind sharp.” Blanco, a Spanish teacher at Bolton Academy, is A former high school math teacher, Randall in his second year as a Homework Hotline tutor. He handles the majority of takes calls from Englishmath-related calls. He is speaking students learning HOTLINE FACTS convinced that Spanish and Spanish-speaking personalized assistance is students trying to navigate their Staff members: key to the program’s homework as well as a second success. language. Originally from “It’s one-on-one time Colombia, Blanco can relate to that they can’t always get Spanish-speaking students’ Number of calls in the in the classroom,” he said. experience and provides the “Here, you can spend as necessary guidance. 2008-09 school year: much time as you need “It’s a great opportunity to breaking down a concept help Spanish speakers who are and working with that still learning to speak and think student until he or she in English,” he said. “I can Phone number: understands it.” help them understand what Randall also credits the their teachers are trying to tell consistency of the them.” program, explaining that While the hotline is designed many students call on a to serve APS students, it regular basis. “Once they get familiar with your accepts calls from across the country. “I’d say threevoice, they know they can depend on you,” said quarters of the calls are from the Atlanta area, but Randall. we don’t turn anyone away,” said McLean. In addition to Randall, the hotline teachers on Last year, the hotline received more than 4,400 staff include Julio Blanco (Spanish), Marcia Jackson calls – about 700 came in August alone. (Language Arts), Willie Mae McLeod (science) and “We could get 20 calls a night, or we could get up Kevin Wright (social studies). Georgia Tech to 100,” said McLeod. “It really varies.” students also volunteer on a rotating basis. My Homework Hotline services are free. For “I love helping students,” said McLeod, who assistance, call 678-553-3029. Students can also retired in 2004. “It’s rewarding when they visit the Web site, www.myhomeworkhotline.org 5 4,400 678-553-3029 8 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 Making math fun in Atlanta schools Mary Lin Elementary students and teachers benefit from innovative programs such as ArtsNOW, which integrates the arts into all subjects. Fourteeen Mary Lin teachers have received training. TEACHING IS AN ART ArtsNOW helps integrate arts into all subjects BY PAUL HALLORAN Students in Atlanta Public Schools are not the only ones studying the arts; their teachers are getting into the act as well. Thanks to a successful partnership with ArtsNOW, a professional development program offered by Creating Pride, Inc., more than 250 APS teachers have received training that helps them integrate the arts into their lessons in all subjects. “We are able to embrace fine arts by sending teachers every year to ArtsNOW workshops that APS supports,” said Dr. Brian Mitchell, principal of Mary Lin Elementary. Over the past three years, 14 Mary Lin teachers have received ArtsNOW training. “We can motivate students to be more successful by using the arts and relating instruction to real life,” Mitchell said. “We strive to support teachers as they embrace lifelong learning in ways that will improve instruction. Infusing fine arts in the classroom goes right along with that.” ArtsNOW has been in Atlanta since 1998. Since then, teachers from 50 APS schools have received the training, according to ArtsNOW Program Director Darby Jones of Creating Pride. Established in 1992 by CEO Anne Ostholthoff, Creating Pride is a nonprofit organization that strives to build confidence and skills among educators and encourage integration of the arts into the daily curriculum across all grades and disciplines. ArtsNOW is a signature intiative of Creating Pride. “We have done a lot of collaborative work with the schools,” said Jones, whose enthusiasm for the program is contagious. “We provide teachers with another way to differentiate instruction in order to reach all students. We train teachers, who then become experts in their building.” For example, Mary Lin and East Lake music teacher Dr. Phyllis Porter had a class compose and record a song about the importance of conservation. “Students were able to use their musical talents to tie in their knowledge about conservation with the importance of taking action now, and not waiting for others to do it,” Jones said. Mitchell said ArtsNOW is a logical choice for Mary Lin. His predecessor, Dr. Adelia Hall, implemented discipline-based arts education (DBAE) in the early 1990s. Bonnie Baker, who teaches visual arts at Mary Lin, also has gone through the ArtsNOW training. Baker said it is especially effective for teachers of other subjects. “Everybody (in the building) is getting involved and incorporating the arts into their lessons,” Baker said. Mitchell considers ArtsNOW another valuable resource teachers can use to educate students. “The single biggest factor in determining a child’s success is the quality of the teacher and the instruction,” he said. “We want to provide our teachers with multiple ways of improving instruction.” While art may be considered an abstract, there are tangible benefits to the ArtsNOW program. “Our relationship with Creating Pride has helped with our test scores,” Mitchell said, “because it has helped our teachers improve instructional delivery.” BY MEAGHAN CASEY 1 + 1 = Fun. It’s an equation math teachers throughout the district embrace to make the learning process more engaging. At Joseph W. Humphries Elementary School, math coordinator Christi Langston organizes math activities that have stirred up new enthusiasm for the subject. During the annual Musical Math Step Show, students incorporate geometry, multiplication and other math concepts into dance routines. The Mega Math Quiz Bowl challenges students to square off in competition. During Math Market Day, students visit different stations, negotiating for goods using Humphries Bucks and playing mathrelated games. “We try to help them make the connection between the abstract and concrete,” said Langston. “It’s about relating math to real life.” The work has paid off. Humphries students have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for six consecutive years, making gains in math on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs). In 2008, 82.6 percent of grade 4 students met or exceeded CRCT standards – a 20-percentage-point increase from 2007 scores. The 2009 passing rate also remained high at 81.1 percent. “I’m convinced the hands-on programs and the creativity Mrs. Langston has displayed has had a lot to do with our success,” said Principal Donald Clark. “When you embed the curriculum into something that’s meaningful, collaborative and fun, students are able to better master the concepts. If their excitement level increases, their achievement level will as well.” At Peyton Forest Elementary, fifth-grade math teacher Travis Brown also mixes math concepts with fun We try to help activities. As author of “Math on the Mic,” he encourages them make the students through song. “There were some reoccurring problems where students connection between weren’t grasping certain concepts, so I started playing with the abstract and concrete. It’s about a few familiar tunes,” said Brown, who has no musical training. “When I saw that it was working, I started relating math to making more songs where there were gaps.” real life. Each song reinforces Georgia Performance Standards Christi Langston for math. For example, “Let’s Pi Around,” sung to a Math Coordinator variation of “She’ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain,” helps students learn the circumference of a circle. “The kids really love those songs,” said Principal Karen Barlow-Brown. “They’ll probably be able to recall those songs and strategies for the rest of their lives.” About 35 APS schools use “Math on the Mic,” along with schools in 15 other states. Brown, who has twice been named Teacher of the Year (once at King Middle School and once at Peyton Forest), hopes to change the general outlook regarding math, dispelling any negative association. “This is a subject that we’re supposed to be afraid of,” he said. “That apprehension, it’s a learned behavior. That’s why it’s so exciting to watch these students break into song and to see their little eyes light up.” In addition to boosting enthusiasm, Brown has played a key role in boosting achievement. Last year, Peyton Forest met 96 percent of its state AYP targets, and its Math Olympiad Team won the award for highest achievement. “ State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox visits with Peyton Forest Elementary teacher Travis Brown and students Victor Weeks, far left, and Jamiah Shoemake. APS POINT OF PRIDE: The Nation's Report Card shows that since 2003, APS math, reading and writing scores have improved faster than other urban school districts. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 9 Pals for life Parks Pals mentor Guy McRae, left, works with Parks Middle School seventh-grader Kelvin Stone. His mother,Tammy Stone, and project coordinator Jamaar Logan have noticed Kelvin’s improvement since he started working with McRae. Mentoring program offers middle-schoolers positive role models BY MEAGHAN CASEY Thirteen-year-old Kelvin Stone has dreams of becoming an engineer. His pal, Guy McRae, is going to make sure he succeeds. McRae, a retired public safety manager for Grady Hospital, met Stone through the Parks Pals mentoring program. Parks Middle School established the program in a partnership with the Center for Working Families to foster positive relationships between middle school students and Atlanta professionals. “I’ve spent a lot of time working with kids, and my mother and father were both teachers,” said McRae, who also has owned a daycare center. “Once I retired, I figured it would be a wonderful use of my time.” Mentors typically spend about four hours per month at the school. Motivated by Robert Franklin’s book Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African Mentor Guy McRae works on geography with Kelvin Stone. American Communities, McRae visits Parks five days a week and has taken on a second student to mentor this me with organizing and studying for my quizzes,” the year. seventh-grader said. “And my manners – I know I have to “There’s a great need for mentors — and particularly use manners everywhere I go.” males — to help with the development of our children,” said The match between McRae and Stone is one of 80 McRae. “If our young men aren’t exposed to male role successful mentoring relationships this year. The Center for models, they don’t grow up with the expectations of how a Working Families recruits mentors from local colleges, male should behave in the community.” universities and businesses such as law firm Alston & Bird, Stone gives his mentor high marks for effort. “He helps which project coordinator Jamaar Logan said has provided plenty of support. Mentoring also takes place beyond the school walls. Parks Pals participate in enrichment activities, including a book club, service projects, field trips and community gardening. Recent excursions have included outings to the Fox for a performance of The Color Purple musical, college tours, and visits to Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium and Callaway Gardens. A three-year grant funds the program through the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, a division of the U.S. Department of Education. This is the third and final year of funding for Parks Pals. “My goal is to not see this program go away,” said Logan. “We’re reaching out to different partners and organizations to invest.” Recently, the Braves Foundation donated $5,000 toward the program. Other key partners have included the Annie E. Casey Foundation, After School All Stars, Salvation Army and the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Organization. McRae can provide firsthand examples of how the program makes a difference. He hopes the Parks Pals bond will inspire Stone and others to achieve great things. “Kelvin is an incredibly energetic, upbeat and happy kid,” said McRae. “He’s a magnet for people who want to help him and be around him. I’m amazed by him and how high his spirit is.” 10 â€” The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS continues to attract, develop and reward quality teaching. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 11 Spreading the word The Rev. Dr. Arthur Carson Jr. is a fixture as a guest reader at Cleveland Avenue Elementary School. Rev. Dr. Carson has been reading to APS students for 18 years BY PAUL HALLORAN Just call the Rev. Dr. Arthur Carson Jr. the Energizer bunny of Atlanta Public Schools. Eighteen years ago, he began reading to his daughter’s class, first at Mount Olive Elementary in Fulton County and then at Fickett Elementary in Atlanta, as a way of getting involved in her education. A member of his church asked if the Rev. Carson would read to her daughter’s class at Slater Elementary. Naturally, he agreed. “I went to public schools in Orlando and people came in and did (things) for us,” said the Rev. Carson, a graduate of Morris Brown College, who earned his master’s in divinity and a doctorate in preaching process and method from the Morehouse School of Religion. “I need to give back.” He does that – and then some. Students he had worked with at Slater Scott elementary schools, as well as middleshowed marked improvement in reading on schoolers in DeKalb County. the Iowa Tests of Basic “I’m grateful to all the Skills (ITBS). Good news wonderful teachers and travels fast. Another principals who let me in,” said member of his church the Rev. Carson, who does far I try to leave some asked if the Rev. Carson more than read for 45 minutes room for them to do and move on to the next school. would read to her some analytical daughter’s class at He truly engages students and Gideons. Again, he said thinking and deductive forces them to process what yes. they have read. reasoning. I want to About 12 years ago, his “I ask them questions about build their confidence. the story,” he said. “I try to wife, Antoinette, a teacher at Cleveland Avenue, told leave some room for them to do Rev. Dr. Arthur Carson Jr. him if he was going to some analytical thinking and APS volunteer volunteer, he should add deductive reasoning. I want to her school to the list. build their confidence.” His daughter is now a student at Mays Then there are the pencils. Students who High, and the Rev. Carson still reads to third- correctly answer questions about the book graders at Cleveland Avenue, Gideons and receive a new pencil. “I usually can get about “ 30 to 40 questions answered in one class, so I bring 48 pencils with me,” the Rev. Carson said. Students also write book reports after completing five books. The Rev. Carson, pastor of Springfield Baptist Church in northwest Atlanta, gives book bags filled with school supplies to the top three students in each class as well as the top student in the school, as measured by the number of pencils they accumulate and the quality of their book report. For Christmas, the top student in each class can ask Rev. Carson for one gift. Over the years he has purchased Gameboys, Wiis, cameras, you name it. He recalled a girl at Slater last year putting four things on her wish list: a coat, a school uniform, shoes and books. “She got all four,” he said. 12 —The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 13 APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall, left, visits with Principal Yolanda Brown and students. Springdale lights a SPARK in these students Springdale Park students Noel Franco,Annie Laster,Vivian Paulson and Jeremy Gailor tend to the rooftop garden at the school. “Springdale Park Elementary is a fantastic school because it is a green school. One way we take care of the earth is by having big windows for natural light.” – Jaden Thackston, Grade 2 Environmental “My school is green, so it helps the environment.At lunch, we have compost bins for our fruits and vegetables. In all the classrooms, we have bins to recycle paper… I love saving the environment!” – Lily Willis, Grade 4 excellence Springdale Park goes green BY MEAGHAN CASEY It may not be easy being green – at least according to Kermit the frog – but the “green movement” has certainly gained momentum throughout Atlanta Public Schools. Springdale Park Elementary (SPARK) is the district’s first school to apply for LEED certification. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that sets the standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Located in the historic Druid Hills neighborhood, SPARK serves students who were relocated from Morningside and Mary Lin elementary schools. The new campus encompasses three buildings: two former residences and a modern energyefficient building. The eco-friendly learning institution features recycling and composting stations as well as a rooftop garden where students can grow their own fruits and vegetables. “Part of our mission and core beliefs is to cultivate a community of innovative thinkers and environmental leaders,” said SPARK Principal Yolanda Brown, who previously served as principal at C.W. Hill Elementary School. “If we start early enough, building in eco-friendly activities and events to the daily routine, they’ll be environmentally sound and influential by the time they reach grade 5.” To cultivate environmental leaders, SPARK has formed partnerships with local businesses and organizations such as Whole Foods Market Briarcliff, Seed-nFeed, Farmer D Organics and Murphy’s Restaurant through the Seed-n-Feed Foundation. Atkins Park Restaurant is also sponsoring activities for the children. In October, the school hosted its first Farm-to-Market Fair, with help from Sodexo-Jackmont, the company that provides school meals for the district. Students sampled fresh fruit, hummus and whole wheat sweet potato bread, while Farmer D assisted students with planting radishes and Farmer Sue Shaw of Morning Glory Farm set up a petting zoo. Seed-nFeed also used the school worms as part of a lesson on composting. Brown, a 16-year veteran of the APS, was thrilled by the chance to pilot the green initiatives and build a community. “It was such a unique opportunity to open a new building, hire all of the faculty and staff and put together a team from the ground up,” said Brown. “Everyone has come together to build our own legacy and create new traditions.” Last year, incoming SPARK students voted for the dragon to serve as school mascot. They also get to choose their favorite design. But it won’t compare to a life-size model students built with recycled aluminum cans, which was displayed as part of an exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. For more information about SPARK, visit the school’s Web site at www.atlantapublicschools.us/springdalepark. “I love Springdale Park Elementary because we take care of the earth… Go green Springdale! Now it’s my time to teach my family to be green.” – Olivia Markwell, Grade 2 From left, fourth-graders Jacob Dillard, Kinzer Trettel and Amir Crowe enjoy the courtyard at Springdale Park. Cole Croushorn waters the garden. Students and teachers are enjoying the new Springdale Park. “I absolutely love SPARK! It is splendid.We learn so many important things. Not only that, it’s environmentally sound! How cool is it that we are a green school?” – Magda Dumitrescu, Grade 4 “One way that we take care of the earth is we plant trees. I like to plant trees.We can pick up cans too. It is a lot of fun.” – Setareh Alavi, Grade 2 “SPARK is the most amazing school you can go to! It is even setting a trend on schools becoming green.” – Roni Winkeljohn, Grade 4 “We take care of the environment by planting lots and lots of green foods.We don’t use chemicals on them so we don’t hurt the earth. Springdale Park has taught me how to be green!” – Sophie Peeler, Grade 2 “Springdale Park Elementary School is a very special school because we are eco-friendly. One way that we are eco-friendly is instead of using a bunch of paper we use notebooks and email each other. I know that this conserves trees.” – Haley Henderson, Grade 2 NE W AP PR TE S OF AC ILE HE S R 14 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 Second acts Walls pursues new career in art education BY PAUL HALLORAN With her own children grown up and in college, Stephany Walls figured it was time for her to go back to school – in more ways than one. Walls went to Georgia State University to take art education classes and get her certification to teach. Once that was accomplished, she decided to put it to good use, signing on as an art teacher at Turner Middle School starting in August. “In my other jobs, I was always the one who chaired the committee that worked with the schools,” said Walls, “and I was always very active in my own children’s education. I always found myself around the schools.” These days, Walls finds herself around Turner quite a bit, between teaching, coaching the cheerleading team and doing bus duty. “It feels like I’ve been here longer,” Walls said of her first few months as an educator. A native of New Haven, Conn., Walls came to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University, and she never left. After earning a degree in psychology, she worked a variety of jobs, including FedEx/Kinko and in administration at Fulton County Jail. Her children went to Garden Hills Elementary, Sutton Middle and North Atlanta High School. When she made the decision to become a teacher, there was no doubt where Walls would end up. “I always felt the need to be in an urban school,” she said. “I feel I have a lot to offer.” She is keenly aware that some of her students face significant challenges, but she also knows there are many dedicated professionals ready and willing to help them. “There are a lot of teachers who really care about their students,” she said. “They try to be as involved as possible in their students’ lives. It is important to be open to whatever a child may need. We’re here for every child.” Stephany Walls worked a variety of jobs before becoming a teacher. Stephany Walls works with students Gerry Green and Aubree Collins. APS POINT OF PRIDE: Using in-depth academic and social services, Project GRAD is turning around schools once labeled lowest performing. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 15 R S HE AP AC S TE ILE W OF NE PR Atlanta Public Schools is dedicated to bringing effective teachers to every classroom. To reach that goal, the district has used programs such as Teach for America,The New Teacher Project and Visiting International Faculty. Meet three first-year teachers who help fulfill the district’s commitment to ‘Making a Difference’ in the lives of our students. Botta finds a home at Parkside Elementary BY PAUL HALLORAN Barbara Botta is relatively new to the United States, and brand new to teaching, but she truly feels at home at Parkside Elementary. “This is what I wanted to do,” said Botta, a Barbara Botta is a Spanish teacher at Parkside Elementary. first-year Spanish teacher. “I love the community at Parkside. I love all the other teachers I work with.” Botta, a native of Sicily who is fluent in Italian, Spanish and English, earned her bachelor’s degree in foreign languages at the University of Catania in Italy. She moved to Atlanta seven years ago when she got married, and temporarily placed her aspirations of becoming a teacher on hold. “My career goal was teaching,” she said, “but I had to get adjusted to a new country, so I had to postpone it.” In the meantime, the mother of two worked at an insurance agency and, most recently, as a translator in the Atlanta court system. But she kept pursuing her dream. “[Parkside Principal] Dr. (Phillip) Luck gave me an opportunity to teach while I get my certification,” said Botta, who is enrolled in the Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program which allows non-certified teachers to work and get their certification. “I knew I was going to love it,” Botta said of her new profession. “It was a matter of being given the opportunity.” Barbara Botta has found a home at Parkside Elementary. Teacher, tutor, mentor: Reddick born to educate James Reddick teaches an Algebra 2 class at Washington Senior Academy. You might say it was inevitable that James Reddick would become a teacher. When he was in high school in Vidalia, Ga., Reddick tutored fellow students after school. He did the same at Morris Brown College, where he earned a degree in organizational management and leadership, and at Georgia Tech, where he studied chemistry. Reddick was working in a lab at Georgia Power when an informational interview led to a role with Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Once again, he signed on to be a mentor, this time at The New Schools at Carver. “I saw how much I enjoyed it,” Reddick said. “I always thought about becoming an educator at some point in my life.” That opportunity came in August when, a week into the school year, Reddick got a call informing him that a math teacher was needed at Washington Senior Academy. Within a few weeks, Reddick had settled in as an Algebra 2 teacher at the newly transformed high school. “It was hectic, but the veteran teachers helped me a lot,” said Reddick, a talented musician who played in the marching band at Morris Brown and symphonic band at Georgia Tech. “I enjoy teaching and I want the kids to enjoy being students,” he added. “The challenge is to get them to care about their education. I want to help them learn how to learn. I try to show them how much I care.” So far, so good. James Reddick is in his first year teaching. ST AP PR UDE S OF NT ILE 16 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 Charting her path to success Forecast is good for Douglass student BY MEAGHAN CASEY predicted early on that he would pursue a teaching career. “I For most 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds, the answer to the had several teachers who really impacted my life when I was question “Where do you want to be at age 40?” might be a here, and I knew I wanted to come back and give other kids little foggy. But for aspiring meteorologist Amber Hughes, a the incentives they gave me,” he said. freshman at Douglass High School, the forecast is looking Still holding on to that eighth-grade booklet, Hardnett can’t bright. stress enough the importance of getting a head start. “I want to graduate as valedictorian of my high school, “In 11th and 12th grade, I see students sometimes having with a 4.0 GPA, and go to Harvard,” she to backtrack and take other classes,” Hardnett said. “I’ll get my master’s in atmospheric said. “If you start early, it broadens your sciences, move to New York City and opportunities.” I want to graduate eventually become a meteorologist for Hughes, a CFEAT student, couldn’t agree as valedictorian of my high more. She has had a strong interest in ‘Good Morning America.’” Hughes detailed her plans during the school, with a 4.0 GPA, and meteorology since third grade and intends to “Jumpstart to Success” Summer Academy pursue all options in that field. go to Harvard. I’ll get my held at Douglass. Daryl Hardnett, a social “I was always fascinated by the formation master’s in atmospheric studies teacher in the school’s Center for of tornadoes and storms,” she said. “I love sciences ... and eventually Engineering and Applied Technology watching the news and weather channels and become a meteorologist for (CFEAT), asks all of his students to doing my own research online. You really Good Morning America. choose a profession and map out a path to need to know what you have lined up and not that goal. Students are required to research wait until you get out of high school.” Amber Hughes colleges and careers, as well as the steps At Turner Middle School, Hughes was Freshman at Douglass High they need to take to meet the awarded a scholarship from the Ryan qualifications of each. They are then called to write an Cameron Foundation, which was established in 2002 to autobiography and create a PowerPoint presentation provide select young people with mentoring, tutoring, projecting their ambitions. volunteering, celebrity appearances, life experiences, self“When I was in eighth grade, we had to create a similar reflection, leadership instruction, personal coaching and type of booklet, planning for our careers,” said Hardnett. “It financial support for their post-secondary education. She was gets you thinking and started on that path. A lot of students promised a laptop, business suit and $4,000 towards college, will come in and say, ‘I want to be a doctor or a dentist or an as well as other support from the foundation. NFL player.’ They might know what they want, but not what “I know I need to keep my academics on point and keep they need to do to get there.” studying to meet the requirements of Harvard,” she said. “I’ll A 1986 graduate of Douglass High School, Hardnett also start looking into more scholarships.” “ Amber Hughes is a freshman at Douglass High School. Master of her trade Andrews is one of Georgia’s best teachers BY MEAGHAN CASEY From the FBI to the front of the classroom, Pamela Andrews has become a master at getting results. In the decade since becoming a teacher, Andrews has evolved into one of Georgia’s best. She was named a Georgia Master Teacher, Inman Teacher of the Year (2009) and member of the State Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council – all since 2008. “It was so surprising and exciting,” said Andrews, referring to her recent accolades. “As a teacher, I know I need to be a role model for my students and encourage them to keep striving.” The native Georgian is a product of Atlanta Public Schools and a 1994 graduate of Douglass High School. She served as the community outreach coordinator for the FBI for seven years. During the process, she visited classrooms and ran a Junior Special Agent program at the former John Wesley Dobbs Elementary School. “In the end, I decided I wanted to spend more time working with children,” she said. “It’s rewarding. I’ve had students come back and tell me how I’ve influenced their lives. I know I’ve made a difference and helped them realize they can do anything if they put their minds to it.” Andrews joined APS in 1999, accepting a position as a math teacher at Brown Middle School. She currently teaches at Inman Middle School, where she has found her niche in connecting with that age group. “In middle school, they still want to be nurtured,” she said. “They need to know you care.” For her consistency in Pam Andrews demonstrating excellence in the classroom, Andrews earned Georgia Master Teacher certification in April 2008. This year, seven other Inman teachers joined her in earning certification: Antavius Baker, Denise De La Rosa, Lisa McLeod-Chambless, Candace Neal Price, Kelly Schlegel, Jimmy Taylor and Christopher Wharton. “Our staff is very competitive when it comes to student achievement,” said Inman Principal Dr. Betsy Bockman. “We’re having our best test scores ever. Every area has improved this year.” APS also had three other Master Teachers this year: Denita Carr of Toomer Elementary, Renetta Carter-Spencer of C.W. Hill Elementary and Kerry Venuti of Jackson Elementary. As Master Teachers, they are part of a go-to group for sharing insight, best practices, actions and recommendations in education. Master Teachers are frequently invited to serve in local, state, regional and national education groups as the voice of Georgia educators, and as influential professionals in their communities. “It’s opened up new avenues for me,” said Andrews. “My goal next year is to mentor new teachers on how to be effective in moving students towards achievement.” Her advice: “Realize all students are not at the same level; have patience for everyone; and build rapport with your students.” She also stresses the importance of analyzing errors. “You need to teach your students to become thinkers and problem solvers,” she said. “Do they understand why it’s incorrect? You want to get them to concentrate on the concepts more than their grades.” Outside of Inman’s walls, Andrews continues to advance her own learning. She is currently enrolled in the University of Phoenix doctoral program for educational leadership and technology. She is also a member of the State Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council and attended her first meeting in October. The group consists of Georgia Teacher of the Year finalists, Milken Award teachers and other teachers throughout the state. They meet three times throughout the school year with State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox and act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the state’s teachers. APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS is changing the middle school experience through single-gender learning and other reform initiatives. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 17 Students, above and left, plant trees along Lucille Avenue in the Westview neighborhood. PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER T. MARTIN Nature’s classroom Trees Atlanta creates a living laboratory for students BY MEAGHAN CASEY Trees Atlanta proves that nature is the ideal classroom. Since 1985, the nonprofit organization has been focused on replenishing and conserving Atlanta’s trees while creating more green space in the city. Its new mission involves planting roots in Atlanta Public Schools by introducing students to the great outdoors through the BeltLine Arboretum Education program, which turns school campuses into interactive classrooms. “It’s about personal stewardship and empowerment,” said Robby Astrove, program coordinator for Trees Atlanta. “It’s a discovery process for students to plant the seed and watch it grow. I hope these students bring back their grandchildren and say, ‘Look, I planted that tree.’” The arboretum project is part of Atlanta BeltLine – a project that will transform a loop of unused railroads and surrounding parks into interconnected neighborhoods, complete with pedestrian-friendly transit and plenty of greenspace. Trees Atlanta has begun work on a linear arboretum that will span the entire 22-mile BeltLine, creating the world’s longest arboretum — one that will educate residents and visitors about the Greg Levine, left, and Robby Astrove of Trees Atlanta plant a tree at KIPP STRIVE. tremendous health, energy-saving and economic benefits of urban trees. The project also will integrate Atlanta’s history and include environmental art sculptures, native tree species and plenty of educational features. Trees Atlanta, in partnership with the Atlanta Audubon Society, kicked off its education program earlier this year at Brown Middle School, planting more than 350 trees and shrubs on a three-acre plot of land next to the campus. Nearly 150 students took part in the project, planting trees with assistance from Trees Atlanta and Audubon volunteers. “Before, the area was full of damaging, invasive, exotic plants,” said Astrove. “Students restored the space into a birdfriendly habitat using Georgia native plants which will attract butterflies and other wildlife.” Thanks to the transformation, Brown teachers and students have an incredible living classroom not only to study trees and birds, but to read and write, study local history and observe nature’s mathematical patterns. “We’re trying to make it a living laboratory,” said Astrove. “Projects like this are unique as they offer cooperative learning, encourage critical thinking and create a tangible legacy which can be shared with the community for generations.” The outdoor classroom at Brown will also be an important place to learn about locally grown food. Many edible trees and shrubs will be planted to promote healthy eating habits and agricultural education. Additional schools along the BeltLine — including KIPP STRIVE Academy, Inman Middle School, Grady High, Tech High and Atlanta Charter Middle School — also will benefit from outdoor classrooms. In October, Brown and KIPP students planted an additional 60 trees in the West End and West View neighborhoods of the BeltLine. 18 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 What I did last summer Atlanta Fund for Teachers grant recipients broaden horizons Terri Dunson, E. Rivers Elementary Fund for Teachers goal: Study giant panda Over the course of the summer, 18 Atlanta Public Schools breeding habits in China teachers scattered to the four winds. With $77,000 worth of “I worked up close and personal with five grants from the Atlanta Fund for Teachers, they experienced giant pandas. I studied the history and extremely rewarding working vacations and returned to their evolution of giant pandas and their significance schools with a renewed focus. to the environment, assisted a keeper with They also returned with fond recollections of their trips, feeding/bathing, studied the nutritional needs which were funded through the Atlanta Education Fund. Here of giant pandas, learned to prepare their meals, are some of the highlights: learned about biodiversity conservation and husbandry, learned how to conduct behavioral Charon Kirkland and Lorrae Walker,Woodson and scientific research on giant pandas, and learned E. Rivers Elementary teacher Terri Dunson studied giant pandas in China. Scott elementary schools the specifics of giant panda breeding. This all Fund for Teachers goal: Study tropical conservation and ecology in took place working side-by-side with giant panda experts and Neville McFarlane, Maynard H. Jackson High Dominica educators at the base. … This was truly Fund for Teachers goal: Attend photovoltaic design and installation Kirkland: “Syndicate Forest is an experience of a lifetime for me.” workshop in Carbondale, Colo. home of the Sisserou Parrot, as “The idea of ‘Cooking with the Sun’ by using different types well as thousands of trees and Xylecia Taylor,Williams of solar ovens/cookers was quite a fascinating experience. The flowering plants. The Sisserou is Elementary design of the various types of solar cookers presents an protected under Dominican law Fund for Teachers goal: Harvest biodiesel excellent opportunity for me to develop lessons that my because it is an endangered fuel and teach English in Ghana students can apply to geometric and measurement concepts in a species. As I walked in the “My visit to the Cape Coast Castle real-life situation. I had the opportunity to construct my first understory of the rainforest, I tried resulted in feelings of grief, gratitude, solar cooker.” to envision how I could explain and determination. It is all so true that, this experience to my students. The as you enter the slave dungeons — the Sydney Butler,Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus trees were hundreds of feet tall and holding cells — you can still smell the Fund for Teachers goal: Attend the Biennial Conference for Special provided a canopy where little stench of deplorable and dehumanizing Education in Alicante, Spain sunlight entered the forest floor. I conditions. You can hear the echoes of “The conference consisted of various workshops presented stood in awe of roots that were dying voices. As I stood in a dark over a four-day period. The presenters were from various Williams Elementary teacher Xylecia Taylor went dungeon, I caught a glimpse of the taller than a two-story home, countries throughout the world. The workshops addressed such to Ghana to teach English this past summer. anchoring these massive trees to miniscule hole that served as the topics as ‘Educating Students with Disabilities,’ ‘Special and the ground. It’s ironic that something so tall and powerful can drainpipe for the bodily excretions and fluids of ancestors sold Inclusive Education in Europe, Ukraine, Spain, Portugal and become weakened if the rainforest is destroyed … It was into slavery. I entered into the suffocating cell designed to Other Countries,’ ‘The Growing Prevalence of Autism’ and inspirational to experience adventure and learn at the same time. incarcerate the disobedient and rebellious captive. I closed my many other topics relevant to educating students with It has become a saying that ‘our exploration went from the eyes and walked through the ‘Door of No Return’ to stand at disabilities. Additionally, there were ample opportunities for clouds to the ocean floor.’” the port on which slave ships lodged. I walked back through participants from different cultures around the world to with an increased sense of determination, faith, and gratitude.” brainstorm and network about relevant issues.” BY DAVID LEE SIMMONS Kennedy teacher is right at home in Vine City EASTERLING: From Page 1 change students’ lives in thirds: with education, community and family,” said Easterling, who earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Auburn University. As the only Caucasian teacher at Kennedy, Easterling stands out by virtue of her appearance. To her boss, she stands out by virtue of her performance. “Beverly is a joy to have here,” said Kennedy Principal Lucious Brown. “She has an unbelievable work ethic. I have never had her tell me ‘no’ when I asked her to do something. She’s delightful to work with.” Brown is not the only one who has taken note of Easterling’s dedication and ability. Earlier this year, she was named a winner of Atlanta’s Power 30 Under 30 Award in the Community Service category. It is entirely fitting that the word “community” be part of an award presented to Easterling, who two years ago moved into Vine City to better understand obstacles her students face each day. “I’m a firm believer that you need to live among the community you’re serving,” said Easterling, who lives near Booker T. Washington High. “It’s a natural fit for your professional life to flow into your personal life. “There’s so much history here,” she said. “It was a hot spot during the Civil Rights movement.” Ironically, Easterling hails from an area that is also associated with the Civil Rights movement, but for a very different reason. In 1964 three Civil Rights workers were murdered by white supremacists in her hometown, Philadelphia, Miss. The incident inspired the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning. Fortunately, Easterling, the daughter of a pastor and a teacher, was brought up to “live for others and not yourself,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons it was a natural fit for me to be a teacher, especially in special ed.” What keeps her motivated? “To see student progress,” she said. “To see character development. If I can see students becoming better citizens in my class, that’s more important than whether they can reduce fractions,” she said, adding that students who slipped through the cracks also keep her focused. “I’ve been to funerals of students,” she said. “This is no time to sit back. Getting them through eighth grade is vital.” When she is not teaching, Easterling loves to travel. She was able to combine those passions last summer when she spent nearly a month in South Africa studying racial reconciliation and restorative justice, thanks to a grant from the Atlanta Fund for Teachers. In an essay she wrote entitled “Seeking Wealth in Poverty,” Easterling detailed two weeks she spent in Mamelodi and a week in Swaziland. She described Mamelodi as a place where “the effects of apartheid are like aftershocks from a destructive earthquake that never seems to go away … Generational poverty and its byproducts are held in place due to the impoverished curriculum found in schools and the grossly unequal treatment the black Africans were subjected to during apartheid.” On a safari to Swaziland, Easterling was struck by the beautiful landscape and wildlife. “I was reminded why I teach,” she wrote. “I teach so the Animal Planet network won’t be the only access my kids have to seeing how big the world is outside of Vine City … My time in Africa restored my hope that communities like Vine City can be transformed.” You can bet she will right in the middle of that transformation. APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS’ move to small high school learning environments results in higher graduation rates. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 19 A boy’s life Single-gender education is B.E.S.T. for him BY RENICO FISHER Guidance counselor Donald Prater interacts with B.E.S.T. students Jamaree Butler, Quincii Lewis and Amadou Bah. APS grooms next generation of male leaders YOUNG MEN: From Page 1 Whether it’s single-gender classrooms, afterschool initiatives or other innovative programs, the district has placed a renewed focus on boys — without sacrificing the unique needs of female students. Two years ago, APS introduced the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy and the all-male Business, Engineering, Science and Technology (B.E.S.T.) Academy at Benjamin S. Carson. APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall instituted the single-gender model based on national data that reveals boys learn more productively in an active, hands-on atmosphere. “The biggest piece of this single-gender approach is establishing a consistent program that looks out for the best interest of the boys, where we really look at all aspects of the young men,” said B.E.S.T. Academy Principal LaPaul Shelton, who won an Atlanta Families’ Awards grant based on similar research. “From the moment they enter school each day, to monitoring them in the cafeteria, to engaging with them and asking how their weekend was, to being in the classroom with them, it’s about constantly working with them.” Early indications are positive. The school moved into its new facility this year, and students walk the halls proudly in their blue-and-gold uniforms. They also participate in programs such as the Golden Ambassadors and a Boy Scouts chapter that is 60 members strong. During monthly Meeting of the Minds sessions, suit-clad members of The 100 Black Men of Atlanta — the school’s community partner — visit to congratulate top students for their accomplishments. Students from Kennesaw State also serve as mentors. “A lot of these gender-based strategies are working,” said B.E.S.T. Academy guidance counselor Donald Prater. “A lot of the ideas come from brain-based strategies, where you keep the boys engaged as much as possible. Once a teacher sees a boy tired or drifting away, recess,’” said Dr. Luck, who launched a speech competition for the boys last year, complete with a strict dress code. Teachers are also taking the initiative to ensure boys grow into young male leaders. At Douglass High School’s Center for Engineering and Applied Technology, social studies teacher Daryl Hardnett coordinates the Esquire afterschool program. For years, the Douglass alum worried that his The academy provides plenty of hands-on exercises and male students lacked positive role team-building programs such as the Boy Scouts and Golden models who motivate them to Ambassadors to keep young men focused on success. graduate. To address his he engages them by getting them to do jumping concerns, Hardnett recruited his mother-in-law, a jacks or some other physical activity.” former vice-chancellor at Southern UniversityResults can be measured throughout the New Orleans, to keep about 20 students on the school. B.E.S.T. Academy made its Adequate right path. Yearly Progress targets for the 2008 school year. “A lot of times their parents may not totally Prater also points to the success of fifth-grader understand or know what’s needed for the kids to Renico Fisher, who entered B.E.S.T. Academy as be successful in high school and go to college,” a shy student just two years ago. Through he said. “If the parents didn’t do any secondary participation in the debate team and Boy Scouts, education, then the parent doesn’t know what Fisher has come out of his shell, Prater said. classes to take in high school.” “One of my other favorite subjects is science, Through Esquire, Hardnett tracks students’ and Mr. [Dwike] Leonard, our physical science volunteer hours while his mother-in-law helps teacher, gives us opportunities to do different them search for scholarship dollars. experiments with solids, liquids and gases,” “I have one man who’s a junior now,” Fisher said. “He treats us as young men. He Hardnett said. “He’s learned how to wait to be expects us to be respectful, do the best we can recognized at a meeting. We’re being patient and achieve our goals in life.” with him. It’s worked a lot for him, and given But, rest assured, the focus on young men him something positive to do.” goes far beyond B.E.S.T. Academy. Educators at Slater Elementary also launched a Dr. Phillip Luck, principal at Parkside Wednesday Boys To Men program for young Elementary, said it’s important to challenge male male students. Dr. Selina Dukes-Walton, students mentally and physically so that they’re principal of Slater, said she wasn’t even allowed prepared for the more challenging atmosphere of to the males-only affair. middle school. Noting that an overwhelming “It has made an impact,” she said. “You notice majority of the school’s discipline issues were for a difference in how they dress and how they act boys, he placed a stronger emphasis on recess. on Wednesdays.” “I tell the teachers all the time, ‘the boys have Hopefully, it’s a model of behavior that will the energy, and they’re either going to burn it in expand through the rest of the week – and their your classroom or they’re going to burn it during lives. I’m an eighth-grader at B.E.S.T. Academy. I previously attended Grove Park Elementary. I’ve attended B.E.S.T. since it opened two years ago. At B.E.S.T., I’m a member of the Boy Scout troop; I compete on the debate team; and I volunteer to help our media specialist, Ms. [Kellye] Carter. This year, I was elected president of the Golden Ambassadors. We guide visitors on tours of the school and visit our feeder schools (Woodson, Grove Park and Scott elementary schools) to tell them why they should attend B.E.S.T. I love my teachers at B.E.S.T. because they understand the difference between teaching boys and girls. Ms. [Autumn] Gabriel, my math teacher, lets us get more interactive with our assignments. She’ll draw a circle map on the Promethean board, and she’ll let us come up and write different things on the board. It gives a more handson way to everyday learning. One of my other favorite subjects is science. Mr. [Dwike] Leonard, our physical science teacher, gives us opportunities to do different experiments with solids, liquids and gases. Every day, when we come in, there’ll be a lab set-up that we can work on as a group. One time, we had three copper wires, two batteries, a cup of water and some salt. We connected the positive and negative to the batteries, and we examined the negative charge breaking down chemicals in the water with the salt. As a teacher, he treats us as young men. He expects us to be respectful, do the best we can and achieve our goals in life. I appreciate all the opportunities I’ve been given at B.E.S.T. As a Boy Scout, I’ve learned how to be out in the wilderness, more independent and to provide for myself. As a member of the debate team, I’ve learned how to pronounce words better and to speak clearly about different ideas. Plus, I like being with my peers. B.E.S.T. Academy eighth-grader Renico Fisher poses with Principal LaPaul Shelton. 20 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 Better to give than to receive APS employees collect more than 225 coats for families BY MEAGHAN CASEY As the holiday season approaches, Atlanta Public Schools is proving that it’s better to give than to receive. In early November, the Office of Student Programs and Services organized APS Coat Day. APS employees collected more than 225 coats and jackets, along with sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves to help students stay warm during cold winter months. “Our coat drive was very successful,” said social worker Janice Riley. “We served over 150 children and distributed over 200 garments to students and families. The garments left over will be donated to the Atlanta Women’s Day Shelter.” The Office of Student Programs and Services also conducts an annual Adopt-a-Family project to provide dinners, gifts and warm clothing for the holidays. In the upcoming weeks, social workers will give families gift cards for groceries and will collect and donate toys, food baskets, clothing and blankets for the holidays. TIPS FOR GIVING X Host a giving party. Invite friends and neighbors over and ask them to help people in need by donating non-perishable food, toys or clothing items. X Set up a giving bank. Set aside a container in your home to collect spare change and donate the money to a local charity. X Do some “fall cleaning.” Clean out closets and give away coats and winter clothing items. X Add APS to your holiday shopping list. Pick up small items or gift cards for social workers to distribute to APS families. X For more information call 404-802-5500. Want to help? School guidance counselors are collecting the following items: socks underwear $10 gift cards hats scarves gloves SAFETY TIPS Make sure that students travel safely to school each day. Here are a few tips to review: Bus safety 1.Acknowledge that the driver governs the bus and follow instructions and bus safety rules. 2. Refrain from bringing sharp objects, alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco onto the school bus. 3.Wait for the bus in a safe place away from the roadway. 4. Respect the property and privacy of others while at the bus stop. 5. Avoid traffic dangers and remain a safe distance from the approaching bus until it comes to a complete stop. Social worker Janice Riley organizes some of the more than 200 coats that were donated to APS families. Success on the golf course and in the classroom LAWRENCE: from Page 24 touch with some girls she met from Kenya. “They’re normal kids just like me, and they love golf just like I do,” she said. It’s hard to believe Lawrence has only been playing golf for six years, after being introduced to it in a physical education class at Drew Charter School. She was a quick study and entered her first tournament as a seventhgrader. However, Lawrence didn’t feel she was a really good player until last year, when she took first place in the GHSA regional tournament with an 81 on her home course, Charlie Yates Golf Club. She went on to finish ninth in the state tournament. “I got good at it because I practice a lot,” said Lawrence, who plays 36 holes a day in the summer and has an 8.9 handicap. Prior to the Scotland trip, she played in an event at Charlie Yates GC with 35 other teens and some of Atlanta’s high-powered professionals, including House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, Woodruff Foundation President Russ Hardin, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta board chair Doug Hertz and attorney Valerie Hartman-Levy. The outing was created to help kids learn how to network on the golf course. Lawrence also completed a personal trifecta of big-time events when she hit the honorary first tee shot to start the PGA Tour Championship on Sept. 24 at East Lake Golf Club. She earned the honor by besting rival Kelly Willis of The New Schools at Carver in a four-round match. “It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been on a golf course,” Lawrence said of hitting the first shot in a tournament that featured the top 30 players on the PGA Tour, including her idol, Tiger Woods. Phil Mickelson ended up winning the tournament, but Woods clinched the FedEx Cup title. Lawrence didn’t get the chance to meet Woods, though she did watch him play upclose. As a standard bearer, she spent one day of the tournament walking with Woods’ group and carrying the sign displaying his score. “He’s amazing,” said the senior, who hopes to earn a scholarship to play golf at Texas Southern University. You could say the same about Lawrence. 6.Avoid crowding or pushing while boarding or exiting the bus. 7.Avoid boarding or exiting the bus from the rear emergency door, unless instructed to do so by the driver. 8. Remain seated while the bus is moving. Keep feet and legs out of the aisle and refrain from placing arms or heads out of the window. Walking to school 1.Always be sure the drivers can see you. 2. Never walk behind a bus or car. 3. Look both ways before crossing the street. Walking near dogs* 1. Never approach a stray dog. 2. Never run away from a stray dog; that is likely to prompt the dog to chase you. 3. If a dog approaches you, be quiet, stand still and keep your arms close to your body. 4. Do not attempt to pet an unfamiliar dog. 5. Do not put place hands over or through a fence to feed or pet an unknown dog. 6. Just because a dog’s tail is wagging, it does not always mean it is friendly. * Tips provided by dog trainer Susan Giordano of K9U Training and Behavior Modification. APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS’ extensive network of business, community and philanthropic support continues to propel the success of its students. The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 — 21 Elementary schools Bolton Academy Superintendent Kathy Cox also recognized Jackson for academic achievement and improved performance on state standardized tests. Physical education and Spanish teacher Julio Blanco of Bucaramanga, Colombia, returns to the award-winning Homework Hotline (678-553-3029) for a second year. Blanco helps students with questions on everything from math and social studies to, of course, Spanish. E. Rivers Boyd Scott A ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception kicked off Boyd’s partnership with Target’s Buckhead South location. Teacher Lorrae Walker spent her summer in Dominica with Carter G. Woodson Elementary teacher Charon Kirkland, where they studied ecology and tropical conservation through Fund for Teachers. Morris Brandon Crossing guard Courtney Turner and Brandon students were featured in WXIA/11Alive education reporter Donna Lowry’s “Class Notes” segment celebrating International Walk to School Day. The event celebrates exercising and walking to school. Students also created “Bee a Walker” posters. Garden Hills Garden Hills hosted a Jumpstart Read for the Record event, highlighted by Principal Amy Wilson reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Grove Park Parents of K-5 students attended math “Make and Take” workshops in October. Teachers provided hands-on activities to help parents assist with math homework assignments that address Georgia Performance Standards. Jackson Jackson was one of six APS elementary schools to make 80-89 percent of their district performance targets during 2008-09. Georgia Schools Teacher Terri Dunson spent the summer working on wildlife conservation in China through a fellowship from Fund for Teachers. Here at home, Rivers’ Culinary Garden Club was featured in the Atlanta JournalConstitution with APS parent and acclaimed chef Linton Hopkins. ATLANTA SRT-4 Middle Schools Pettis read to pre-kindergarteners, while kindergarten teachers and Media Specialist Allaenna Williams developed a special presentation for students. Usher/Collier Heights Sarah Smith Performance artist and success coach MK Mueller, aka “The Gratitude Guru,” read her latest book, 8 to Great: The Powerful Process for Positive Change to students. Mueller, author of Taking Care of Me: The Habits of Happiness, inspired students, teachers and parents during her visit. F.L. Stanton Fourth-graders hopped aboard Georgia State University’s BioBus for a session on “Water in the Environment.” The program provides hands-on activities about the importance of water. Stanton also is home to several academic clubs. Secondthrough fifth-grade students in the Breakfast Club discuss literature, while the History Club allows thirdthrough fifth-grade students to conduct research, create media presentations, reenact historical events and take field trips to historical sites. Towns More than 360 students participated in the October Jumpstart Read for the Record campaign. Principal Carla size, geography or demographics, all students can achieve at high levels.” Woodson joins other APS winners, including F.L. Stanton and Venetian Hills Elementary. Usher/Collier Heights was featured in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about APS wellness and nutrition programs. “Two years ago, I was making more pizzas,” cafeteria manager Katrina Church said in the article, which noted that students select healthy options when they are available. “Now I’m making more salads and turkey sandwiches.” White Benita Edwards received $1,000 in school supplies during a surprise visit from OfficeMax employees. The donation was part of the company’s “A Day Made Better” program. The fifth-grade reading and English/Language Arts teacher also has received Georgia Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox’s award for improvement in fifth-grade reading scores on the CriterionReferenced Competency Tests (CRCTs). Carter G. Woodson Woodson is the latest APS institution recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Georgia Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said Woodson and other Georgia winners “are outstanding examples of how high expectations and hard work can lead to outstanding student achievement. These schools show that, regardless of a school’s of the Atlanta Police Department and a school detective for Atlanta Public Schools for more than 16 years, designed and created a photography club for students. He also provided students with a memorable experience, sponsoring a limousine ride to the first-annual Caring for Others gala at the Fox Theatre. Sutton B.E.S.T. Academy During a monthly Meeting of the Minds assembly, school administrators and members of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta recognized September’s outstanding students: Mykael Riley, Melvin Gullatt, Sherrod Brackins, Joel Osley, Marcell Freeman, DeShawn Waller, Frederick Williams, Brandon Neely, Crispus Hendrix, Tabias Wimby, Mykeal Davis, Bernard Brown, Kaleb Anderson, Alec Robinson, Marcus Strickland, Christopher Wright, Monterrius Brown, John Rogers, Tocorius Rose, Stormy Jenkins, Nathaniel Colbert and Amadou Bah. Also, the Atlanta Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women celebrated eighth-grade history teacher Patia Odom-Mitchell for her work as an “Unsung Heroine.” Odom-Mitchell founded Dreams, a mentoring program that provides cultural outings and volunteer opportunities from middle school through a student’s junior year in college. Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy Margot James Copeland, vice president of The Links, Inc., served as the first guest speaker of the school year. Copeland encouraged students to do their best, remain focused on their education and develop lifelong relationships. As a community partner to CSKYWLA, The Links works to further its mission of enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans. Harper-Archer Officer V. Campbell, a 17-year veteran Sutton launched its No Place For Hate campaign with an assembly on Sept. 30. Sponsored by the AntiDefamation League, the campaign helps students, faculty and staff focus on eliminating bias and bullying. Teachers nominated 12 students to serve as event hosts on the Positive Action Committee. Turner Turner was the only APS middle school to meet 80 to 89 percent of its district performance targets. Next year, faculty and staff plan to aim higher — meeting 90 to 99 percent of Turener’s performance targets. High Schools Douglass Douglass Hospitality, Tourism and Marketing (HTM) teacher Tonya Fulton and Academy Leader Stephanie Bailey will create a “HTM Career Laboratory,” with $30,000 from the Michael Jordan Grant Foundation. The career lab will help students compete for positions in the tourism industry, while offering skills aligned with Georgia Performance Standards. North Atlanta Reginald Colbert, coordinator of the Center for the Arts, and his wife, Sutton Middle School teacher Natalie Colbert, attended the Verbier Festival in the Swiss Alps through a Fund for Teachers grant. The dynamic duo studied ways to incorporate master classes into their schools’ curriculum. TALK UP APS: SHARE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE DISTRICT BY DAVID LEE SIMMONS Atlanta Public Schools’ journey to excellence is being built on a path of singular accomplishments, high honors and teachable moments. Here are a few more reasons to be proud of APS. Please share the good news. Celebrating an icon: The Rev. Dr. Joseph L. Lowery celebrated his 88th birthday with his annual lecture series in October after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom over the summer. Lowery welcomed keynote speaker Judge Penny Brown Reynolds and senior-high students from APS. Top team: APS’ Special Olympics master’s level softball team won the state championship held in early October in Statesboro. The winning team was comprised of student athletes from North Atlanta and Mays high schools, and the Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI). The team coaches are Patricia Merkerson from BDI, Lisa Oglesby and Mike Slack from North Atlanta High, and pitching coach Wendell Hale from Washington High School, who was an integral part of the team’s success. Student chaperones included Dondra Perkins, Natalie Jefferson and Mike Sullivan. The APS Program for Exceptional Children Special Olympics is under the direction of Regina Gennaro. GET CONNECTED APS’ communications department launched a series of new-media initiatives.The department became the second in the metro Atlanta area to set up a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/apsupdate), and followed that by transforming its district newsletter — Talk Up APS — into a blog that is updated hourly and can be found at www.TalkUpAPS.com. APS now has 500 followers on Twitter and an average of 250 daily page views on TalkUpAPS.com. High-performing district: APS students continued to demonstrate academic growth as 80 percent of the district’s schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the federal benchmark under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Also, 92 percent of the elementary schools and 88 percent of the middle schools made AYP. According to the Georgia Department of Education, APS is closing the gap with the state. Dr. Hall discusses journey to excellence: Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall participated in a panel discussion on “Achieving Teacher and Principal Excellence: Are We Making the Grade?” hosted by The Philanthropy Roundtable and the Southeast Council of Foundations at the Loudermilk Center in September. It’s time to Be There: Dr. Hall also joined 13 other Georgia school district leaders for the launch of Be There. This national multimedia campaign inspires parents/guardians to become more involved in their children’s education. World-class educators: Three APS educators — Dr. Shirlene B. Carter, principal at Maynard H. Jackson High School; Dr. Tonya Saunders, former principal of Toomer Elementary; and Dr. Lisa West, model teacher leader with the Office of High Schools — joined a delegation of 400 who traveled to China this summer to expand Chinese-language programs in U.S. schools. The Chinese Bridge Delegation trip was sponsored by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters in partnership with The College Board. Jumpstart to Success: Incoming freshmen at APS got a sneak preview of their high school experience during the “Jumpstart to Success” Summer Academy at the district’s high schools and small learning communities. Jumpstart to Success allows APS students to meet administrators and teachers who will work with them during the new school year, become familiar with the physical layout of their high school campus, take core courses and gain tips on effective study habits. 22 â€” The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 ATLANTA Administration contacts Deputy Superintendent for Instruction Kathy Augustine 130 Trinity Ave., SW 30303 404-802-2700 K-8 School Reform Team 1 Dr. Sharon Davis Williams Executive Director 404-802-3667 K-8 School Reform Team 2 Michael Pitts Executive Director 404-802-7550 K-8 School Reform Team 3 Dr. Robin Hall Executive Director 404-802-3751 K-8 School Reform Team 4 Tamara Cotman Executive Director 404-802-6537 Associate Superintendent for High Schools Randolph Bynum 404-802-5875 Executive Director of Operations, Office of High Schools Abigail Crawford 404-802-5800 Elementary Schools SCHOOLS Morris Brandon William M. Finch Thomas Jefferson Perkerson Walter Francis White Karen Evans, Principal 2741 Howell Mill Rd., NW 30327 404-802-7250 Dr. Linda Paden, Principal 1114 Avon Ave., SW 30310 404-802-4000 Dr. Mable Johnson, Principal 2040 Brewer Blvd., SW 30315 404-802-3950 Tamarah Larkin-Currie, Principal 1890 Detroit Ave., NW 30314 404-802-2950 Hugh Otis Burgess- Gartha Belle Peterson Garden Hills Peyton Forest Whitefoord Amy Wilson, Principal 285 Sheridan Dr., NW 30305 404-802-7800 Karen Barlow-Brown, Principal 301 Peyton Rd., SW 30311 404-802-7100 Patricia Lavant, Principal 35 Whitefoord Ave., SE 30317 404-802-6900 Charles L. Gideons Eretus Rivers Armstead Salters, Principal 897 Welch St., SW 30310 404-802-7700 Carter G. Woodson David White, Principal 8 Peachtree Battle Ave., NW 30305 404-802-7050 Dr. Viola Blackshear, Principal 1605 D.L. Hollowell Pkwy., NW 30318 404-802-7350 Grove Park William J. Scott Caitlin Sims, Principal 20 Evelyn Way, NW 30318 404-802-7750 Roxianne Smith, Principal 1752 Hollywood Rd., NW 30318 404-802-7000 Heritage Academy Thomas Heathe Slater Trennis Harvey, Principal 3500 Villa Cir., SE 30354 404-802-8650 Dr. Selina Dukes-Walton, Principal 1320 Pryor Rd., SW 30315 404-802-4050 Alonzo Franklin Herndon Sarah Rawson Smith Dr. Betty Tinsley, Principal 350 Temple St., NW 30314 404-802-8700 Dr. Cassandra Miller-Ashley, Principal 112 Boulevard, NE 30312 404-802-7450 Main building Dr. Sidney Baker, Principal 370 Old Ivy Rd., NE 30342 404-802-3850 Kindergarten annex 4100 Roswell Rd., NE 30342 404-256-3317 Joseph W. Humphries Springdale Park Donald Clark, Principal 3029 Humphries Dr., SE 30354 404-802-8750 Yolanda C. Brown, Principal 1246 Ponce De Leon Ave., NE 30306 404-802-6050 Emma Hutchinson Daniel H. Stanton Dr. Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell, Principal 650 Cleveland Ave., SW 30315 404-802-7650 Dr. Willie Davenport, Principal 970 Martin St., SE 30315 404-802-4200 Warren Turner Jackson Frank Libby Stanton Dr. Lorraine Reich, Principal 1325 Mt. Paran Rd., NW 30327 404-802-8800 Dr. Marlo Barber, Principal 1625 M. L. King Jr. Dr., SW 30314 404-802-7500 Mary Agnes Jones Thomasville Heights Margul Woolfolk, Principal 1040 Fair Street, SW 30314 404-802-3900 Janice Kelsey, Principal 1820 Henry Thomas Dr., SE 30315 404-802-5750 Lucas O. Kimberly Fred Armon Toomer Carolyn Hall, Principal 3090 McMurray Dr., SW 30311 404-802-7600 Nicole Evans Jones, Principal 65 Rogers St., NE 30317 404-802-3450 Mary Jane Lin George Alexander Towns Dr. Brian Mitchell, Principal 586 Candler Park Dr., NE 30307 404-802-8850 Carla Pettis, Principal 760 Bolton Rd., NW 30331 404-802-7400 Leonora Precious Miles Bazoline E. Usher/Collier Heights Christopher Estes, Principal 4215 Bakers Ferry Rd., SW 30331 404-802-8900 Dr. Gwendolyn Rogers, Principal 631 Harwell Rd., NW 30318 404-802-5700 Morningside Venetian Hills Rebecca Pruitt, Principal 1053 E. Rock Springs Rd., NE 30306 404-802-8950 Clarietta Davis, Principal 1910 Venetian Dr., SW 30311 404-802-4550 Parkside West Manor Dr. Phillip Luck, Principal 685 Mercer Street, SE 30312 404-802-4100 Cheryl Twyman, Principal 570 Lynhurst Dr., SW 30311 404-802-3350 Robin Robbins, Principal 480 Clifton St., SE 30316 404-802-3400 Capitol View Arlene Snowden, Principal 1442 Metropolitan Pkwy., SW 30310 802-7200 Cascade Dr. Alfonso L. Jessie Jr., Principal 2326 Venetian Dr., SW 30311 404-802-8100 Centennial Place Alison Shelton, Principal 531 Luckie St., NW 30313 404-802-8550 Cleveland Avenue Dr. Rhonda Ware-Brazier, Principal 2672 Old Hapeville Rd. 30315 404-802-8400 Elijah Lewis Connally Mimi Robinson, Principal 1654 S. Alvarado Ter., SW 30311 404-802-8450 Continental Colony Sandra Sessoms, Principal 3181 Hogan Rd., SW 30331 404-802-8000 Ed S. Cook Sharyn Briscoe, Principal 211 Memorial Dr., SE 30312 404-802-8500 Adamsville Deerwood Academy Isis Manboard, Principal 286 Wilson Mill Rd., SW 30331 404-802-4300 Dr. Lisa Smith, Principal 3070 Fairburn Rd., 30331 404-802-3300 Beecher Hills John Wesley Dobbs Crystal Mayfield-Jones, Principal 2257 Bollingbrook Dr., SW 30311 404-802-8300 Dana Evans, Principal 2025 Jonesboro Rd., SE 30315 404-802-8050 Frederick Wilson Benteen Paul Lawrence Dunbar Dr. Diana Quisenberry, Principal 200 Cassanova St., SE 30315 404-802-7300 Betty Greene, Principal 660 McWilliams Road, SE 30316 404-802-7950 Mary McLeod Bethune East Lake RoseMary Hamer, Principal 220 Northside Dr., NW 30314 404-802-8200 Gwendolyn Benton, Principal 145 Fourth Ave., SE 30317 404-802-7900 Bolton Academy Margaret Fain Laura Strickling, Principal 2268 Adams Dr., NW 30318 404-802-8350 Marcus Stallworth, Principal 101 Hemphill School Rd., NW 30331 404-802-8600 William M. Boyd Richard Nathaniel Fickett Emalyn Foreman, Principal 1891 Johnson Rd., NW 30318 404-802-8150 Dr. Anthony Dorsey, Principal 3935 Rux Rd., SW 30331 404-802-7850 John Hope/Charles Walter Hill APS POINT OF PRIDE: The Class of 2009 was offered more than $90 million in college scholarships. Middle Schools Joseph Emerson Brown Donell Underdue Jr., Principal 765 Peeples St, SW 30310 404-802-6800 Ralph Johnson Bunche Keisla A. Tisdel, Principal 1925 Niskey Lake Rd., SW 30331 404-802-6700 Sammye E. Coan Dr. Tonya Saunders, Principal 1550 Hosea Williams Dr., NE 30317 404-802-6600 Charles Lincoln Harper - Samuel Howard Archer Dr. Frances Thompson, Principal 3399 Collier Dr., NW 30331 404-802-6500 Samuel Martin Inman Dr. Betsy Bockman, Principal 774 Virginia Ave., NE 30306 404-802-3200 John Fitzgerald Kennedy Dr. Lucious Brown, Principal 225 James P. Brawley Dr., SW 30314 404-802-3600 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Danielle Battle, Principal 545 Hill St., SE 30312 404-802-5400 Crawford Williamson Long Dr. Elizabeth Harris, Principal 3200 Latona Dr. SW 30315 404-802-4800 Walter Leonard Parks Christopher Waller, Principal 1090 Windsor St., SW 30310 404-802-6400 Luther Judson Price Sterling Christy Jr., Principal 1670 B.W. Bickers Dr., SE 30315 404-802-6300 Willis A. Sutton Audrey Sofianos, Principal 4360 Powers Ferry Rd., NW 30327 404-802-5600 The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009— 23 ATLANTA Sylvan Hills Henry W. Grady Gwen Atkinson, Principal 1461 Sylvan Rd., SW 30310 404-802-6200 Dr. Vincent Murray, Principal 929 Charles Allen Dr., NE 30309 404-802-3001 Henry McNeal Turner Maynard Holbrook Jackson Karen Riggins-Taylor, Principal 98 Anderson Ave., NW 30314 404-802-6100 Dr. Shirlene Carter, Principal 801 Glenwood Ave., SE 30316 404-802-5200 Engineering/Early College Dr. Richard Williams, Academy Leader 404-802-5206 Fine Arts & Media and Communications Leah Ervin, Academy Leader 404-802-5231 Information Technology Dr. Phyllis Earls, Academy Leader 404-802-5205 Jean Childs Young Thomas Kenner, Principal 3116 Benjamin E. Mays Dr.,SW 30311 404-802-5900 Single-Gender Academies The B.E.S.T. Academy at Ben Carson LaPaul Shelton, Principal 1890 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy, 30318 404-802-4944 Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy Melody Morgan, Principal 601 Beckwith St., SW 30314 404-802-4962 Benjamin Elijah Mays Dr. Tyronne Smith, Principal 3450 Benjamin E. Mays Dr.,SW 30331 404-802-5100 North Atlanta Mark Mygrant, Principal 2875 Northside Dr., NW 30305 404-802-4700 South Atlanta 800 Hutchins Rd., SE 30315 School of Health Sciences & Medical Research Termerion McCrary, Principal 404-802-5050 School of Law & Social Justice Peter McKnight, Principal 404-802-5045 School of Computer Animation & Design Scott Painter, Principal, 404-8025060 High Schools The News Schools at Carver 55 McDonough Blvd. 30315 Early College Marcene Thornton, Principal 404-802-4405 School of Health Sciences and Research Dr. Darian Jones, Principal 404-802-4420 School of Technology Rodney Ray, Principal 404-802-4410 School of the Arts Dr. Marvin Pryor, Principal 404-802-4415 Frederick Douglass J. Austin Brown, Principal 225 H.E. Holmes Dr., NW 30318 404-802-3100 Business & Entrepreneurship Dr. Mary J. Harris, Academy Leader 404-802-3162 Center for Engineering and Applied Technology (CFEAT) Dr. Reginald Lawrence, Academy Leader 404-802-3156 Communication & Journalism Sharonda Murrell, Academy Leader 404-802-3160 Hospitality, Tourism & Marketing Stephanie Bailey, Academy Leader 404-802-3161 SCHOOLS Open Campus High School Crim Open Campus Dr. Angelisa Cummings, Principal 256 Clifton St., SE 30317 404-802-5800 Non-traditional Programs Adult Literacy Program Jacquelyn Davenport, Principal 1444 Lucille Ave., SW 30310 404-802-3560 Forrest Hill Academy Tricia Rock, Principal 2930 Forrest Hills Dr. , SW 30315 404-802-6950 West End Academy (11,12) Dr. Vivian Jackson, Principal 1325 Ralph D. Abernathy Dr., SW 30311 404-755-7755 Charter Schools Dec. 6 Holiday performance APS Honor Chorus Mays High School Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. Winter Concert APS District-wide performing groups Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. Holiday performance of “The Little Reindeer” Finch Elementary School band Finch Elementary Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Holiday performance Gideons Elementary School choral groups, bells, string, band Gideons Elementary Gymnasium *Contact your child’s school for more details. Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Holiday performance Brandon, Smith, E. Rivers, Garden Hills,W.T. Jackson bands W.T. Jackson Elementary Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. “Candlelight Nights” APS Honor Chorus Atlanta History Center, Kennedy Theater Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. “Change Through the Arts Because the Arts Can Change Lives” Coan Middle School’s band, chorus and visual artists, with local Atlanta artists in attendance Coan Middle School Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. Holiday program Herndon Elementary chorus Herndon Elementary Matt Underwood, Principal 820 Essie Ave., SE 30316 678-904-0051 Charles Richard Drew Charter 3099 Panther Trail, SW 30311 School of Technology, Engineering & Science (STEMS at Therrell) Esmie Gaynor, Principal 404-802-5360 School of Health Science & Research Frank Walker, Principal 404-802-5355 School of Law, Government & Public Policy Byron Barnes, Principal 404-802-5345 Don Doran, Principal 301 East Lake Blvd., 30317 404-687-0001 45 Whitehouse Dr., NW 30314 School of Banking, Finance, & Investment Dr. Charcia Nichols, Principal 404-802-4663 School of Early College Dr. Vanessa Nason, Principal 404-802-4641 School of Health Science & Nutrition Dr. Samuel Scavella, Principal 404-802-4667 Senior Academy Mr. Boris Hurst, Principal 404-802-4603 Don’t miss these upcoming events: Atlanta Charter Middle Daniel McClaughin Therrell Booker Taliaferro Washington MARK YOUR CALENDAR Imagine Wesley International Academy, LLC Michael L. Rossano, Principal 1049 Custer Avenue SE 30315 678-904-9137 KIPP West Atlanta Young Scholars (WAYS) Academy Kim Karacalidis, Principal 80 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., SW 30314 404-475-1941 Neighborhood Charter School, Inc. Jill Kaechele, Principal 688 Grant St., SE 30315 404-624-6226 Tech High School Elisa A. Falco, Principal 1043 Memorial Dr., SE 30316 678-904-5091 University Community Academy Guy Cooper, Principal 2050 Tiger Flowers Dr., 30314 404-753-4050 La informacion que se encuentra en esta edicion esta www.atlantapublicschools.us 24 — The Atlanta Educator Fall 2009 T HE A TLANTA E DUCATOR Above PAR Lawrence finds success on the golf course and in the classroom BY PAUL HALLORAN Tyler Lawrence speaks softly and carries a Big Bertha. The Grady High senior knows what to do with a driver – or any other golf club. Her prowess at hitting the little white ball has already taken her halfway around the world. Who knows what lies ahead? “I want to be a teaching pro,” said Lawrence, who traveled to Scotland last summer on a trip sponsored by the First Tee of East Lake, a yearround golf instruction and life skills program created by the East Lake Foundation. “I like helping other kids in the First Tee program.” Lawrence and three other Georgia high school players joined peers from Texas, California, Kenya and Scotland on the ultimate golf trip: six rounds on such legendary courses as Kingsbarn and the Old Course at St. Andrews, where she shot a very respectable 88. Lawrence and the other Georgia students were selected for their success on the golf course and in the classroom. Students also submitted an essay on why the trip would be important to them. During the excursion, the teens participated in team-building activities such as rock climbing, canoeing, archery and kayaking. Lawrence said she still keeps in See LAWRENCE Page 20 RALLYING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION The first in a series of neighborhood celebrations took place Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. at North Atlanta High School, 2875 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta. The “All for All. One by One” celebrations incorporate elements of a pep rally, open house, live performances, a parade of schools, colorful displays and other features for students, parents and the community. The purpose is to showcase the accomplishments of neighborhood public schools. Schools that participated in the inaugural event included: North Atlanta High School, Sutton Middle, and Brandon, Bolton, Garden Hills, Jackson, E. Rivers and Sarah Smith elementary schools, all of which offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) academic program.