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TLANTA EDUCATOR

ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

THE

Vol.3, No.1

A PUBLICATION OF ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Winter 2010

Making A Difference

www.atlantapublicschools.us Informacion en espanol en atlantapublicschools.us

Meet the APS Teacher of the Year Belita Hamilton of Brown Middle earns the top honor By David Lee Simmons

Belita Hamilton, a math and science teacher at Joseph E. Brown Middle School, was named APS Teacher of the Year for 2010-11, during a special awards ceremony at South Atlanta High School.

Hamilton was nominated and selected by her peers from the school, then submitted an application packet that reflected her philosophy on education and her commitment to professional development. At the final stage of the competition,

Hamilton competed against elementary teacher of the year Leslie HarrellTumlin of Warren T. Jackson Elementary and Wanda Brown-Cook of Carver School of the Arts. See HAMILTON Page 20

Extreme makeover

Community partners help create KaBOOM! playgrounds APS Alumnus Gives Back Page 5

Thanks to the power of community partnerships, unused parcels of elementary-school campuses transform into colorful play areas. See KaBOOM! Page 18

Journey to Excellence Page 14

High Schools Transform Page 16

Thomasville Heights Elementary


2 — The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

Strong partnerships pave the way to student success Welcome to the first issue pleased to report that of The Atlanta Educator for Atlanta has stepped up the 2010-11 school year. time and time again to Atlanta Public Schools demonstrate that Atlanta’s created this publication to public schools are not alone keep our students, parents, in the journey to excellence. faculty and community This issue celebrates partners apprised of the the great things that happen success stories taking place when business, civic and every day in our district. education leaders, as Since its 2008 debut, this well as parents and the Dr. Beverly L. Hall award-winning publication community join forces on also has helped Atlanta Public behalf of students. You Schools celebrate its commitment to will read about how SunTrust Bank ensuring that all students graduate ready helps to reinforce math standards at for success in college and life, prepared Slater Elementary, and how hundreds of to build a stronger Atlanta. We take that volunteers descend upon an open field mission very seriously; our students to erect colorful play spaces for our deserve nothing less. students. These signs of support from our We know that students can achieve vast network of community partners is under the guidance of highly effective both rewarding and inspiring. teachers as well as support from the You also will read about the newly business and civic community. I am very transformed single-gender academies

of Mays High School. As part of our High School Transformation Initiative, all campuses offer more personalized, college-preparatory, career-focused learning environments. In this issue, students from Mays’ Dorothy Height Academy of Leadership and the Eagle Leadership Academy carve paths to college, reinforced by the strong bonds they’ve created during the first few months of this school year. You also will meet Belita Hamilton, our 2010 APS Teacher of the Year. Hamilton and our other top teachers underscore the value of the district’s Effective Teacher in Every Classroom Initiative, which will recruit, retain and reward educators who help our students achieve at higher levels. APS graduate Matt Westmoreland is an example of what can happen in the presence of a highly effective teacher. After earning his college degree from Princeton University, this Grady High alumnus decided to give back to Atlanta Public Schools.

A

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER

TLANTA EDUCATOR

THE

A PUBLICATION OF ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Atlanta Board of Education Khaatim Sherrer El, Chair Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, Vice Chair LaChandra D. Butler Burks Yolanda K. Johnson Brenda J. Muhammad Nancy M. Meister Reuben R. McDaniel, III Courtney D. English Emmett D. Johnson Published by Atlanta Public Schools Beverly L. Hall, Ed.D. Superintendent

Submit story ideas to Morieka V. Johnson, Editor Director of Communications Atlanta Public Schools 130 Trinity Ave., SW Atlanta, GA 30303 404-802-2893 mvjohnson@atlantapublicschools.us www.atlantapublicschools.us More online Read previous issues at www.issuu.com/AtlantaEducator Sign up for our mailing list at www.atlantapublicschools.us/AEsubscribe PHOTOS BY SCOTT KING Produced by Atlanta Public Schools Office of Communications

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What does your position entail?

Everything from Infinite Campus to the Lawson system, and all the underlying information that makes APS tick. It also includes the phone systems, email, SharePoint, wireless Internet connectivity, the computers – all the nuts and bolts that make the system run. As someone who has been involved in technology in schools for more than two decades, how has technology evolved during the past few years?

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I’ve seen it go from simply having some technology in the schools to the full-blown, all-encompassing technology that we have in the schools today. At the start of my career, the Apple IIe (released in 1983) was the first computer that people were really excited about. So I’ve seen it come from nothing to where there literally are hundreds of

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He credits a hard-working APS teacher for inspiring this leg of his journey. We also proudly introduce you to Fatouma Kunjo, a Therrell alumna who graduated with honors from Bowdoin College and is pursuing a Ph.D. at Stanford University on a full scholarship. As a member of our first cohort of 21st Century Atlanta Scholars, Kunjo exemplifies a path that leads from APS to college to career. Browse through these pages, and you will see even more examples of our students, faculty and community partners in action. We encourage you to share this publication — and good news about APS — with family and friends in the weeks and months to come. Thank you for supporting the students of Atlanta Public Schools. Dr. Beverly L. Hall is superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

DAVID WILLIAMSON

Each quarter, The Atlanta Educator will introduce you to faculty, staff and administrators at Atlanta Public Schools.

computers in any given school. Things have grown so rapidly that there really has been a paradigm shift in technology, which goes through phases. We used to have mainframe computers, but they’ve evolved to clientserver technology where computers have gotten smaller, but there are so many more of them. Now, everything is Web-based.

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What’s next on the technology horizon?

There’s an initiative we’re working on with Microsoft. I was selected to be on the Microsoft K-12 advisory board. We now have a plan called “Learning Without Limits,” in which we provide resources for kids, staff and the community in a 24/7 environment. If a student is at home and is stuck on a question, he’ll have online resources to

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address the problem right at that moment. We want to identify our highest quality teachers, capture their lessons and post them to a portal where other teachers can access them.

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What’s the benefit of the Promethean Board?

It really gets kids excited about learning. It provides a whole new dimension when the content is interactive and not just a dry-erase board.

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How does your department gauge success?

Success is being able to walk into a school and see everyone actively involved in the classroom. The Promethean Board is on, the teachers are using it, and the kids are engaged. That’s where you get that “wow” moment in education.

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APS POINT OF PRIDE: Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is becoming one of the top urban districts in the nation.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 3

APS BOARD MEMBER PROFILE: YOLANDA K. JOHNSON

Johnson: Education can change lives Yolanda K. Johnson serves as the Atlanta Board of Education representative for District 6. This is the seventh in a series of board member profiles for The Atlanta Educator. By David Lee Simmons

POSITION Along with her duties on the Atlanta Board of Education, Yolanda K. Johnson serves on the Adams Park Foundation Board. An attorney by trade, she has served as president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) and spent five years on the group’s executive board. Johnson also is a former board member of the Atlanta Alternative Life Paths Program. She represents the following District 6 schools: Beecher Hills, Capitol View, Cascade, Cleveland Avenue, Continental Colony, Deerwood Academy, Fickett, Heritage Academy, Humphries, Hutchinson, Kimberly, Perkerson and Venetian Hills elementary schools; Bunche, Long and Sylvan Hills middle schools; and South Atlanta and D.M. Therrell educational complexes. BACKGROUND As a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Johnson currently works as supervising counsel for

the Georgia Department of Corrections. She became involved with Atlanta Public Schools when she agreed to work with a committee that redeveloped the curriculum for the Law and Government Magnet at Therrell.

of Corrections, interacting with as many as 60,000 inmates, has given Johnson a window into how a lack of education robs people of their future. “When I first considered running for the board, I thought about those inmates I saw, and I knew EXPERIENCE that 90 percent of them Johnson was inspired never graduated from high to run for the Atlanta school, and many of them Board of Education by couldn’t read or write,” her Adams Park neighbor, she said. “I knew there outgoing board member was a correlation between Sadie Dennard. She was crime and the ability to Yolanda K. Johnson elected to Dennard’s sustain one’s self.” seat in 2005 and reelected in 2009. “We have to help children as much as Johnson has been an active member of the possible — as early as possible,” Johnson community, volunteering with a number continued. “I don’t believe we can survive of organizations, including the Black Law as a society if we don’t maximize the Students Association and Big Brothers/Big potential in our children.” Sisters. She also participated in a youthempowerment summit with the Atlanta POINTS OF PRIDE Bar Association. While she has no children, Johnson has previously served as chair Johnson is a proud product of public of the board’s budget commission, which schools. oversees a $589 million operating budget. “I believe that education changes lives, She also was appointed to the Atlanta and I will always support the pursuit of Pension Fund Board of Trustees, where she education,” Johnson said. served as vice chair. Johnson also serves on Her decade working in the Department the BeltLine Affordable Housing Advisory

Board. That’s why she’s so proud of how Atlanta’s board of Education has improved its fiscal stewardship over the years. “In 2005, we were budgeting year-toyear,” she noted. “But now, considering we have multi-year projects and initiatives like High School Transformation, we have five-year budget forecasts for revenue that we can use as a baseline. We can discuss and plan in advance of a potential fiscal crisis.” Johnson also said that she has taken her original inspiration for becoming a board member – helping students realize their potential – and applied it to her work. “I’m so glad to be here,” she said. “I feel as though I have some skills and talents, and I have the opportunity to use them for the benefit of the children of Atlanta. We have a lot of responsibility as board members, and I’m committed to meeting these responsibilities to do what I’m supposed to do for the district.” Yolanda K. Johnson’s email address is yjohnson@atlantapublicschools.us. Board meetings are generally held on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m., 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.

International Baccalaureate program expands to southwest Atlanta By David Lee Simmons

fine arts, and enrichment clubs, while exposing children to a APS International Deerwood Academy earned content-integrated curriculum that Baccalaureate schools one of the most impressive incorporates information about feathers in a school’s cap Bolton Academy other populations and cultures Morris Brandon Elementary this past spring when it was around the world,” said Dr. Lisa Deerwood Academy officially named an International Smith, principal of Deerwood Garden Hills Elementary Baccalaureate World School. Academy. Warren T. Jackson Elementary This prestigious designation The school also will develop E. Rivers Elementary means that the southwest IB Learner Profile Traits in Sarah Smith Elementary Atlanta elementary school will students, with the hope that they Sutton Middle continue to offer its rigorous will become more internationally North Atlanta High curriculum, along with lessons minded, Smith said.  that reflect a global awareness “It is our hope that all of our through meaningful, in-depth inquiries into students will recognize their common humanity real issues. For example, students will study and shared guardianship of the planet to help international events such as the trapped miners create a more peaceful world.” in Chile. Teachers also will encourage global connections through ePals projects. Don’t miss an informational video about Deerwood “We believe that students should be offered Academy on the district website: a curriculum that integrates foreign language, www.atlantapublicschools.us.

As an International Baccalaureate World School, Deerwood Academy offers its students a rigorous curriculum that reflects global awareness.


OU T ST ST UD AN EN DIN TS G

4 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

A single focus

Scholarship helps Brown student continue her quest for excellence By David Lee Simmons

When she was about 4 years old, Kebreaunna Benn became fascinated with her pet cat. When her cat injured one of its paws, she wondered how it healed from the injury. “It just intrigued me,” she said. “The way their lives are.” Now an eighth-grader at Brown Middle School, Benn’s inquisitive nature has helped her earn the title of All-American Scholar from the U.S. Achievement Academy. She also was selected to participate in the Ben Carson Science Academy, this fall at the Morehouse School of Medicine. “I think it says that I’m pretty committed as a student,” Benn said. Brown Principal Donnell Underdue Jr. can attest to her dedication. Benn was classified as a gifted student this year, thanks to strong performance in math at Connally Elementary, where Underdue served as her principal last year. “She’s just very focused on being successful in class,” Underdue said. “She’s well disciplined, well-behaved, and just a well-rounded kid. She’s a critical thinker and problem solver. She wants to bring resolution to anything she’s working on.” Underdue says that identifying and developing gifted students are what Brown Middle is all about. “It starts with the culture of the school,” he explained. “I always tell my teachers, ‘You have to develop a personal relationship so each child will trust you. They don’t want to learn from you if they don’t know you.’ ” “The culture also uses a lot of praise, and a lot of positive reinforcement,” he added. In addition to offering single-gender classes that promote more focused instruction, Underdue noted that teachers at Brown also plan collectively, collaborating with teacher teams, instructional coaches and administrators to develop a personalized instructional plan for each student. This approach reinforces principles of the Middle School Transformation Initiative, a signature APS program created to provide students with tools to ensure a smooth transition from elementary to middle school,

Sutton’s Odyssey of the Mind team placed fifth in the World Finals in Michigan, where they also met new friends from around the globe.

Sutton Middle students excel By A nn Ellis / APS Parent

Kebreaunna Benn of Brown Middle School. and from middle to high school. However, personalized instruction often reaches beyond the halls of Brown. After teaching math during the day, teacher Kenda McAlister often spotted Benn walking her dog in the Cascade subdivision where they both lived. Over time, they developed a relationship in which McAlister worked to help Benn improve her math skills. “Because we had a rapport, I saw that there was a skill we could develop together,” McAlister said. “Math wasn’t her top desire at the beginning of school, but I could tell she loved language arts. So I wanted to get her to learn to bring those same characteristics as a student in language arts to math.” Benn needed that engagement. “If there was a problem, I’d continue to ask questions, and [McAlister] would explain it as many times as I needed to grasp its concepts,” she said. “Now, especially in math, everything we go over is more challenging,” Benn said. “I can appreciate how much more complicated it is.” Now, Benn has plenty of time to focus on her chosen career path: veterinary medicine. Her fascination with learning continues. Watch a video of Benn. Visit www. atlantapublicschools.us and click on “Media Gallery.”

First, let me tell you a little bit about my daughter and how we’ve been involved in Odyssey of the Mind. My daughter, Anna, attended Sarah Smith Elementary and Sutton Middle schools. She and our son, Peter (a seventh-grader at Sutton), have been involved with the program for several years. My husband and I also have coached teams in the past. Our son’s team at Sarah Smith placed at the world competition two years ago, so we have a lot of experience with the program. We hope to have another Sutton team, and maybe even a North Atlanta High team, compete this year! Dr. Abby McKinnon launched the program at Sarah Smith and helped mentor teams. Three of Sutton’s team members – Anna, Caroline Langley and Jessie Rubini – were involved in the program from the first year it started at Smith and went on to compete at the middle-school level. For those who are unfamiliar with this program, Odyssey of the Mind presents challenges that teams must solve over the course of a school year. While some of the challenges are technical, others are more artistic. Students are rewarded for how they resolve the issue, which promotes creativity. Preparations begin shortly after school starts and

APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS students are closing the achievement gap.

students work diligently each week until the spring competition. To represent Georgia in the World Finals, teams must win regional and state competitions. Through Odyssey of the Mind, students also get to make friends with other students from around the state, the country and the world. Along the way, they gain a new appreciation for how others approach the same set of challenges. Our parent coaches, Leslie Langley and Jeff Justice, were critical to the team’s success. They created an environment where the girls could attack a problem each week. The team also received financial support from parents, the PTA, APS and community members, which helped cover their trip to the International Finals in Michigan. All seven girls on the team are products of APS. We have seen this program make a positive impact on Anna’s confidence and problem-solving ability. We’ve also seen how it has helped her learn the value of teamwork. Together, these girls overcame challenges and learned to work productively. Anna and her teammates are very proud of the solution they created and how they were able to solve challenges. They also gained confidence as they repeatedly performed their solution and grew in their ability to entertain their audience. — As told to David Lee Simmons


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 5

L NA IO CE CT EN RU LL ST CE IN EX

Inspired to give

Grady alum Matt Westmoreland shares his experience in front of the classroom gap with my own eyes — in the schools I had attended and in this city I have called home my entire life. But the teachers I Five years ago, I met Maron Sorenson. had during my 13 years in APS pushed I was a senior at Grady High School, and Ms. Sorenson was starting her second year me to work hard, encouraged me to take on leadership roles in my extracurricular as one of the school’s freshmen literature activities, and helped me teachers. For the next seven navigate the infrequently months, I saw her walk into traveled path from an innerher classroom each morning Teachers I had city school system to the Ivy and work tirelessly to help during my 13 years League. So when my four students who cared little for in APS pushed years at Princeton University school. She pushed them to me to work hard... drew to a close, I thought read and become invested in and helped me navigate the of Ms. Sorenson, and knew their education. infrequently that TFA would provide the That same year, Ms. traveled path opportunity for me to return Sorenson signed on to help from an inner-city to my old school system and coach our school’s mock trial school system to play a role in preparing more team. Late one evening during the Ivy League. students to attend the nation’s practice, we started talking M. Westmoreland best colleges and universities. about how she had come to My first few weeks as Grady — through a program a social studies teacher at called Teach for America Carver Early College far exceeded any (TFA). It was the first time I’d heard of expectations that I might have set. The the organization, but our conversation high fives or handshakes in the hallways came at a time when I was becoming and the conversations that follow have increasingly passionate about urban education. I had seen the achievement See WESTMORELAND Page 19 By M att Westmoreland / APS Teacher

Teacher Matt Westmoreland shares a laugh with his students at Carver Early College. A graduate of Grady High and Princeton University, he returns to an APS classroom through Teach for America.

An APS teacher’s quest for knowledge continues By David Lee Simmons

For kindergarten teacher Elaine NeversWilliams of M. Agnes Jones Elementary, preparation for this school year began during the dog days of summer. Nevers-Williams spent the month of June at the Woodruff Arts Center focusing on new ways to motivate gifted and talented students. Her certification process involved taking classes during the fall and spring semesters. The year ends with gifted and talented endorsement candidates observing certified teachers of the gifted elementary-school students and then working with students on their own during the Xanadu summer program. Summer course titles offer hints of the creative learning atmosphere teachers maintained during the program. In one class, “The Mad Scientist Club,” students learned to make a silly-putty type substance, and arranged sugarcoated candies to recreate molecules.

Elaine Nevers-Williams, a newly certified gifted and talented teacher at M. Agnes Jones Elementary, helps Davonte Warren with a math lesson. “The district is looking at how to address student needs individually,” said Cynthia Terry, APS director of fine arts. “When teachers get this type of preparation, they

can deliver to our students the kind of quality education they deserve. And we’ve found, what’s good for our gifted students is good for any student. You have to find

out what the child is actually gifted in to provide quality instruction.” Nevers-Williams believes that she, too, was a gifted student, but nobody noticed. “I often think I was misdiagnosed as a student … and that’s so easy to do,” said Nevers-Williams. “I always saw things differently.” Now, as a certified gifted and talented teacher, Nevers-Williams can identify gifted students, and apply those creative summer courses in her classroom at M. Agnes Jones. During a recent science lesson, that means taking time for students to hypothesize the differences between living and non-living subjects before explaining the concepts to them. “I’ll let them formulate their ideas, and I’ll only have input if they’re veering off the road,” she said. “Instead of just lecturing to them, I let them touch and feel what they’re doing.” “Xanadu,” she says, “has empowered me to be fearless.”


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6 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

Grady teacher Korri Ellis helps students go green

By David Lee Simmons

When Korri Ellis thinks about community engagement, she thinks green. She thinks about trees her Grady High students planted on campus and throughout Midtown. She thinks about the school recycling program that began a couple years ago. She also thinks about harvesting organic produce from the school’s garden Ms. Ellis makes all and creating meals for of this information really clear. She students to enjoy. loves the earth. Her As chair of the Grady motto is, ‘Every day High School Science is Earth Day.’ Department and 2008 APS High School Teacher of the Lee Johnson, a junior at Year, Ellis has reinforced Grady High Georgia Performance Standards by creating partnerships with just about every environmental group in town. That list includes the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Georgia Conservancy, Trees Atlanta, Georgia Organics, Farmer D Organics, the Georgia Aquarium — and more. Along the way, Ellis also has helped her students connect the dots among academic subjects, the world around them, and their health. “I’ll have kids come to me and tell me what they saw on the news last night and that it was something we discussed in class,” said Ellis, now in her eighth year at Grady. “They’ll tell me something they noticed in their neighborhood, like a Red-tailed Hawk flying around.” “It makes you a better citizen,” Ellis continued. “You see the world through different eyes, more caring eyes. I believe, from an elevated perspective, you’re able to make more educated decisions.” Some of those decisions include Grady students eagerly embracing the farm-to-table movement, which seeks to reduce the distance between consumers and the farms that provide their food. Ellis also launched food demos with help from Grady parent Cathy Conway, chef and owner of Avalon Catering. “One time, I served braised rutabaga (from the school garden) over crispy polenta during the lunch break,” said Conway, mother of a recent Grady graduate as well as a 10th grader. “Every kid who

Korri Ellis (center), chair of the Grady High School science department, relies on partnerships with the Piedmont Park Conservancy, Trees Atlanta and Georgia Organics, as well as an active Earth Club to engage students like Micah Turpeau (left) and Perth Silvers. came to my table tried the rutabaga, and then they got so into it they were telling their friends to try it.” That kind of interactivity and awareness drives student achievement, according to Grady Principal Dr. Vincent Murray. “Our students can relate what they’re learning in the science classroom to what they’re seeing and doing with the Earth Club,” he said. “It’s a real-life activity. It’s always good when the students can get out of the classroom and see the reality of their studies.” Ellis’ green efforts definitely have earned attention — and kudos — from students. “[Student-grown produce] tastes a lot better than the traditional, grocery-store vegetables,” said junior Lee Johnson, who’s been with the Earth Club since his freshman year. “It’s not going through miles of truck-driving or getting

sprayed with a ton of chemicals, either. Ms. Ellis makes all of this information really clear. She loves the earth. Her motto is, ‘Every day is Earth Day.’” Ellis comes by her work naturally, so to speak. Growing up in Madison, Wisc., she developed a love for the environment. When Ellis moved to Atlanta, her first job was with Zoo Atlanta. After winning APS 2008 High School Teacher of the Year and, more recently, the Verde Award by the Georgia Conservancy’s Generation Green, Ellis was surprised by the attention. “It seemed ironic to be rewarded for doing things that I’m interested in,” she said. “This work keeps me from being stagnant, and keeps me interested in learning more. It keeps me stimulated and motivated. A lot of stuff, I’m learning along with the kids.”

APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS is committed to placing an effective teacher in every classroom.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 7

AL MS OB OO GL SR AS CL Bolton Academy ESOL teacher Claudine Curry (below) brings the world to her students through the ePals program. This summer, Curry and her colleague, Ingrid Arriagada, visited students in Turkey (left).

Bolton Academy creates a global classroom with ePals To help cultivate an international learning experience, ESOL kindergarten teacher Claudine Curry of Bolton Academy registered for ePals, a social network that connects her students with classrooms in Chile, Dubai and Turkey. In addition to communicating digitally, Turkish educators Irem Ebru Gursoy and Oktay Kuru visited the school last spring. Curry and teacher Ingrid Arriagada returned the favor this summer. Here is her story about the cultural exchange. By Claudine Curry / APS Teacher

Visiting our ePal’s country and collaborating with fellow educators and students had an even greater effect than our successful online projects. In fact, I have found it difficult to articulate just how much this crosscultural learning experience has affected me as an educator.

As a naturalized American citizen, I grew up knowing that my family immigrated to the United States to provide me with educational opportunity. While I benefitted from a free education, I also watched as many of my peers took this country’s public school system for granted. During my visit to Sinop, Turkey, a teacher told me that 98 percent of students graduate from high school, and 75 percent enroll in the university system. I also noticed a different approach to education in Turkey. Teachers trained students to believe that education was a privilege — not a right. I noticed this firsthand as students stood each time a teacher entered the classroom, and when high school students expressed concern about missing five minutes of review time for their exams. These observations deepened my commitment to help American students treasure the gift of a free education.

I also noticed a high level of parental involvement in Turkey. Throughout the school day, parents assisted the cafeteria staff with feeding students, helped conduct hands-on classroom projects, taught English to other parents or crafted embroidered items to raise funds for the school. Parents truly serve as school partners with the teachers, and I vowed to intensify the home-to-school connection in my own classroom. Bolton Academy teacher Ingrid Arriagada and I expressed our sincere gratitude to Gursoy and Kuru for coordinating our visit to four Turkish public schools and one private school. We enjoyed the extraordinary opportunity to volunteer as guest teachers at Sinop Anatolian High School, 15 Eylül Kindergarten, Nurettin Ersin Elementary School, Gökkuşağı Elementary School and Beşinci Mevsim Kindergarten. In September, Kuru returned to APS accompanied by another teacher

and a group of ePals students who were visiting the United States for the first time. They interacted with teachers, students and parents at Bolton Academy, Sutton Middle and North Atlanta High School. Music, videos, a Promethean Board, PowerPoint and cultural artifacts helped engage APS students during these interactive lessons. Students also compared and contrasted Turkish and American cultures. Looking ahead, I am excited about upcoming ePals projects. During the week of May 29, 2011, Arriagada and I will meet more ePals in Kenya. This trip will be yet another opportunity to observe the International Baccalaureate philosophy at work. We certainly plan to share what we learn with the Bolton Academy community. As one of the district’s newest International Baccalaureate schools, we cherish our role of nurturing the next generation of globally minded citizens.


8 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

The gift of reading Media specialists offer selection of student favorites By David Lee Simmons

Stumped for holiday gift ideas? Give students a chance to beef up their reading skills. Three APS media specialists offer a few fun suggestions. Brenda Street of D.H. Stanton Elementary Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Michael Austin Recommended for grades K-2 Street says: This story is well known in Cuba – a sort of famous fable. It’s very funny, and tells how Martina goes about choosing a suitable husband. It has a smattering of Spanish words in it, just for spice. The best part, for me and my students, is that we can laugh and sort of ‘adore’ a cockroach in this context. When I read the title to them at first, my kids all went, “Ew-w-w-w-w.” But we grow to love Martina! This book won the Pura Belpré Award for Latino authors, and is currently in the running for the Georgia Children’s Picture Book Award.

Kelly McQueen of Sarah Smith Elementary Intermediate Campus When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead Recommended for grades 3-5 McQueen says: This book won the 2010 Newbery Medal from the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and is highly recommended. Within the first few chapters of this

novel, the main character (Miranda) receives a note that reads, “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter… .” With a twist like this, how can anyone not dive into this book and continue reading to the end just to see what happens. This novel interweaves the nottoo-distant past with fantasy, mystery and time travel, while telling the story of a latchkey sixth-grader who believes she holds the key to stopping a tragedy from occurring in the very near future. This is a great read for upper elementary and middle school.

Dr. Bruce Williams of B.E.S.T. Academy Spider-Man: Duel to the Death with the Vulture, by Daniel Quantz and Mark Brooks Recommended for grades 6-8 Dr. Williams says: The Marvel Age Spider-Man Graphic Novel 16 series features all new, easy-to-read, standalone stories. This is a great comic book to entice young boys to discover reading as they follow SpiderMan’s battle against evil villains. These books were created for young readers, and this particular book took me back to my childhood, watching Spider-Man episodes on television. What I like about these graphic novels is that they teach literary techniques such as plot, conflict, setting, character, and even foreshadowing and flashbacks. Most importantly, graphic novels are getting kids to read. 

Community partner Kemie Nix (right), founder of Children’s Literature for Children, reads to students each week as part of Adamsville Elementary’s literacy program.

Students learn beauty of reading Partnership helps Adamsville Elementary make reading fundamental

and illustrators, it inspires them to write and draw as well. We just want to let them Thanks to a dedicated media specialist, know that they have opportunities that are students at Adamsville Elementary enjoy a limitless.” long-term love for literature. To set an example of the limitless “Our visiting authors interact with the opportunities in education, Williams children in a very fun way,” recently earned a master’s degree said Megann Williams, who in in Educational Media from Nova her third year as Adamsville’s Southeastern University in Fort media specialist has helped Lauderdale, Fla. She’s currently I used to read thin coordinate a visiting authors books, but now working on her educational I can read thick program with Children’s specialist degree. books like Harry Literature for Children. Her efforts to help Adamsville Potter! As a result of the students embrace reading is partnership, children’s authors bolstered by the consistent Kindell Lee, a such as Ashley Bryan, who fourth-grade presence of volunteers from student at is known for Coretta Scott Children’s Literature for Children, Adamsville King Illustrator Award-winner founded by Kemie Nix. Elementary Beautiful Blackbird, bring “The goal is to turn each child their words to life with help into a book lover,” Nix explained. from students. Instead of just “Each volunteer teacher sits at the reading aloud, Bryan encourages students same table each week and gets to know the to repeat lines so that they can appreciate children. They have a special bookmark the rhyme patterns. Sometimes students they keep at the table. If the children can howl with laughter after repeating the give a report on two books, the teacher rhymes. gives them a sticker on the bookmark.” “It shows them that reading doesn’t On a recent visit, volunteer Sylvia have to be formal; it can be enjoyable,” Crouch, a former Westminster teacher, said Williams, who attended Peyton Forest helped fourth-grader Kindell Lee review Elementary, Young Middle and Mays her previous books and select the next High before graduating from Kennesaw week’s selections. Lee selected a book State. “You can start owning the poem. from author Junie B. Jones. Kindell is When they see African-American poets See READING Page 17 By David Lee Simmons

APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS cultivates students who are prepared to compete on a global playing field.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 9

T EN RK UD O ST TW AR

Rashad Glen, Kindergarten Fickett Elementary

Jarquez, Grade 5, M. Agnes Jones Elementary

Avi Jenkins, Grade 5, Fickett Elementary

APS student artists As other districts reduce arts education programs, APS has maintained its commitment to quality instruction — fueled by partnerships with the Woodruff Arts Center and the High Museum of Art. Here are a few examples of our talented artists:

Decorey Bailey, Grade 7, Parks Middle School

Charles Lyn, Grade 4, M. Agnes Jones Elementary

Amanda Riley, Grade 7, Price Middle School

Ca’Norris Owens , Grade 4, M. Agnes Jones


PA IN RTN AC ER TI SH ON IP

10 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

Principal shares her experience shadowing a Georgia CEO

On Oct. 7, more than 100 business and civic leaders spent a day in APS schools shadowing principals. For the first time, CEOs returned the favor by inviting APS principals to spend a day at local companies. Karen Riggins-Taylor, principal of Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy shares her experience. By K aren R iggins-Taylor / Principal My “Executive for a Day” experience

with David Scheible, president and CEO of Graphic Packaging International, Inc., started with a tour of the Marietta office, where I met several members of Scheible’s team. He served as my personal tour guide, while affording me the opportunity to witness firsthand the work that goes into making paper. Although the concept seems simple, the actual process is an art form that requires a lot of skill and good leadership. We discussed the process and procedures from its infancy stages to the finished product. Scheible expressed the importance of maintaining the buyer’s vision and ensuring that the final product is useful and beneficial to the consumer. I was utterly amazed to learn that Graphic Packaging is the company responsible for the “fridge pack.” There was much emphasis on convenience and ease for the consumer. Many tests and surveys are conducted to ensure that this focus is never lost. Stress tests are conducted to determine product durability and ensure ease of transporting a product from store shelves to the car. I also was honored to be one of the first to view a machine being designed to create a new product. I wish I could share more; however, I was sworn to secrecy. We then toured the Stone Mountain plant, where I had the opportunity to meet the people who make all these products possible. It was enriching to see the input and output. About 280 employees are responsible for designing and cutting templates, maintaining and rebuilding

Karen Riggins-Taylor (center), principal of Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, spent a day shadowing Graphic Packaging International President and CEO David Scheible (right) and his team at the Stone Mountain factory. machines, and meeting output good products and meet goals. Many brand-name performance goals, all companies depend on the SVP employees must know the We must introduce team to create paper for their vision. They also must be able students to diverse respective products. Gain, to adapt, show consistency, career possibilities and allow them Tide, McDonald’s, Burger and be involved. Scheible to experience King, Little Debbie, Cocacalls this change “Culture ‘shadow days.’ Cola, Taco Bell are just a few into Execution.” If change is companies that utilize the to occur, he firmly believes Principal Karen services of Graphic Packaging. everyone in the organization Riggins-Taylor We also spoke at length must be a part of that about the role of good change. He also advised me to leadership, sustainability and, tap into the talents of my team more importantly, culture. members. Scheible measures the culture of the When I asked how schools could business by conducting ongoing culture better prepare students for careers in the surveys and charting data on what is graphic design industry, his answer was called a Circumplex Wheel. I was able to simple. reflect upon the data-collection methods “Students must be able to read,” that I use at my school as a result of our Scheible said. Of his roughly 12,000 conversation.   employees, only 2,000 have a post Scheible also explained initially it secondary education. Most have only a was not easy to internalize the data. high school diploma. All employees must It was evident there was a lot of work score proficiently on a mandatory aptitude to be done. To achieve sustainability, test before even being considered for a meet the demands of buyers, deliver job. Many can’t pass the test because they

APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS offers a robust arts education program.

cannot read for understanding. What’s most frightening is that most applicants are recent high school graduates. As a result, I decided that we must diligently provide enriching experiences for the diverse group of students we serve. We must increase the rigor and make learning relevant. We must introduce students to diverse career possibilities and allow them to experience “shadow days.” My experience was enriching and exciting. Later that evening, I stopped at a local grocery, touring the aisles for items on my shopping list. I smiled as I placed Coca-Cola fridge packs and Little Debbie Snacks in my cart. As I made it to my car, I reflected on my experience. How many people can say, “I know how this is made!” — Watch Principal Riggins-Taylor’s visit to Graphic Packing International. Visit www.atlantapublicschools.us and click on “Media Gallery.” For more about school partnerships, email Mariama Tyler at mtyler@atlantapublicschools.us.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 11

P HI RS N NE TIO RT AC PA IN

STRONG PARTNERSHIPS + STRONG SCHOOLS Fifth-grade teller Amanda Johnson helps a young customer at Slater’s youth bank.

= HIGH

ACHIEVERS

By Morieka V. Johnson

Students at Slater Elementary lined up in orderly rows. As they reached the front of the room, each eagerly displayed hands filled with pennies, nickels, quarters and even a few dollars. Slater’s SunTrust Youth bank was open for business. With assistance from teachers and SunTrust staff, fifth-grade bank teller Amanda Johnson patiently walked her peers through the paces of opening a savings account. To land a position with the student branch, Johnson had to be in good academic standing and complete the application and interview process. “Economic standards are often overlooked, but we wanted to place them at the forefront,” said Slater teacher Rita McGlothin. “It means a lot to see them actively participating. Now even the kindergartners are ready for next year and want to work in the bank.” As a result of the partnership, every student can open an account and make deposits throughout the year. To promote fiscal responsibility, SunTrust will donate up to $25, based on the student’s account balance in April. At that time, students may withdraw the money or roll it over during the next school year. Many choose the latter route, and enjoy watching their balance grow over time. “It’s innovative, it’s cutting-edge, it’s exactly what we need to be doing as a city and a nation,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who helped Slater students celebrate the mini-branch’s debut. Slater’s youth bank is one of many examples of successful partners in action around Atlanta Public Schools. Strong community ties also have blossomed in the form of community gardens, job training programs and even new lab equipment. “We know what happens when business, civic and education leaders

NFL and MLB star Brian Jordan, a proud APS partner, recently spent the day reading his latest childrens book to students at Centennial Place Elementary.

join forces on behalf of students,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall, “good things – great things — happen.” Ask students at Hutchinson Elementary how the Grand Canyon was formed, and they may just offer hands-on demonstration. Thanks to a network of partners that includes Horace Mann and Chick-fil-A, the year-round school opened its first interactive science lab this fall. Inside, students donning facemasks gathered around shallow containers of sand. A slow stream of water quickly created dips and craters, just like the national landmark. “When test time rolls around, our students will know the content because they’ve had hands-on activities,” said Dr. Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell, principal of Hutchinson Elementary, which boasts 25 dedicated partners. The district’s strong busines and community partnerships has led to lecture series with former Atlanta Mayor Shirley

Franklin, former APS teacher and coach Calvin “Monk” Jones and civil rights icon the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, who celebrated his 10th lecture with APS alum Judge Glenda Hatchett as keynote speaker in October. For more than a decade, APS also has invited the city’s top business and civic leaders to spend a day shadowing principals. “My participation today in the Principal Shadow Day program was one of the most refreshing and rewarding experiences I’ve had in a long time,” said Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who visited Venetian Hills Elementary this year. “For all that I do as a city council member, it pales in comparison to the work of some of our most humble servants, teachers and principals.” Educators also serve as inspiration for longstanding community partnerships. Since 1998, NFL and MLB athlete Brian Jordan has been a strong supporter of the district, attending school events and

providing scholarships through his Brian Jordan Foundation. “My mother inspired me. She was a teacher and I watched her teach kids as I was growing up,” Jordan said. “She really poured her heart and soul into giving back to kids. I knew that — if I had the opportunity in my life to reach my dreams — the best way to give it back was through kids.” Jordan recently visited Centennial Place Elementary to sign copies of his latest book, Overcoming the Fear of the Baseball. He also encouraged students to embrace reading and strive to achieve their dreams. Threshing Floor Academy coordinated the visit as part of its Authors in Schools program. The organization, created by Director Meisha Card, helps to promote literacy throughout the district. “If you can help a child get on the right track early on, they may discover what they are on this planet to do,” Card said. “That is an awesome thing.”


12 ­— The Atlanta Educator Fall 2010

Domecom

APS football moved to the Falcons for “Domecomin schools competed as stud cheered under the brigh photos from the day’s e homecoming for Sou Washington and Dou

Booker T. Washington High squared off against Druid Hills High for its homecoming game at the Dome.

Washington cheerleader

Carver’s defense goes for Dunwoody.

Washington freshman Marquise Clark.

Mays quarterback

Washington Senior Academy students Taylor Hart (from left), Tierra Baker and Kierra Aaron.

South Atlanta’s mighty marching band kept the crow


ming 2010

home of the NFL’s Atlanta ng 2010.” Five APS high dents, parents and alums ht lights. Here are a few events, which included uth Atlanta, Carver, uglass high schools.

wd on their feet during halftime.

Danyelle Davis of South Atlanta sparkles during halftime.

The Atlanta Educator Fall 2010 — 13

Frederick Douglass’ drum major Quincy Patterson.

South Atlanta cheerleaders, including Sikiah Crumbley (center) from the School of Law & Social Justice, keep the crowd pumped up.

Washington High band members peform for the crowd.

Miss Freshman Syhnia Mattox graces the field.


14 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

To college, and beyond

APS nurtures 21st Century Atlanta Scholars throughout their journey to success By David Lee Simmons

The district’s 21st Century Atlanta Scholars program was established to help high-achieving, economically challenged students cultivate a college-going mindset. Now in its sixth year, the program has created a pipeline that connects graduates from select APS high schools to “Little Ivies” of New England, including Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, Hamilton, Hampshire, Holy Cross, Middlebury and Tufts. “[APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly] Hall had observed kids with the potential who didn’t have the guidance to go the extra mile to seek out colleges outside of their comfort zone,” said Dr. Thelma Mumford-Glover, special assistant to the superintendent. “These are students who were high academic achievers, but didn’t have the vision to seek a Little Ivy-type school.” Grady teacher and Middlebury graduate Graham Balch helped launch the program at Carver, South Atlanta, Jackson, Therrell and Washington high schools during the 2005-06 school year. Seniors in the top 10 percent of their class are invited to submit an essay, transcripts and teacher recommendations. Participating Little Ivies provide the scholarships, with private donations supplementing expenses. Parents also receive an education about the college admission process. From there, MumfordGlover said that APS adds a personal touch. Whether it was extra cash for food and clothing or emergency financial aid, support is available to ease the transition. “Sometimes there will be a miscommunication once they get there, and we’ll have to scurry around to help find them more financial assistance,” said Mumford-Glover, who has helped some students on her own. “Some of the financial-aid offices there haven’t experienced students coming from this level of poverty before.” So far, the results have been encouraging. All eight students from the first group of Atlanta Scholars have graduated from college, and the program now identifies high school students earlier in the process.

21st Century Atlanta Scholars (from left) Fatouma Kunjo, Brittany Williams and Jared Vallair share their college experience during the State of the Schools Address in August. Here are three examples of how the 21st Century Atlanta Scholars program supports students’ journey to excellence.

process. Later, she will meet admissions representatives from the Little Ivies. “It’s helping me to execute and focus,” Fullwood said. “Applying to college has High School: Set the foundation been such a long process, we’ve done so Before entering the program, Grady much preparing.” High senior Briana Fullwood had only But getting a head start has been fleeting thoughts of attending invaluable. “I’ve now learned college. Now, she has a clear how to develop relationships. action plan. Fullwood spent If I need anything, I can write or We are, indeed, much of October on college call for help.” evidence that the tours, and will visit 10 schools transformation at before making her final College: Success within reach APS is working. Everyone needs selection. Most freshmen have trouble the support. “[Program Director adjusting to college life, Emmanuella Revolus] stresses especially when they are far from Fatouma Kunjo, the importance of visiting home. But 21st Century Atlanta 21st Century schools before making your Scholar Jared Vallair is relieved to Atlanta Scholar from Therrell decision because, when you’re say that he is settling into life at starting on paper, they all seem Tufts University. to be alive,” Fullwood said. “The workload is not as great a “Visiting and interacting with the students stress to me as I thought because I was make a huge difference. I visited Wesleyan always told by Ms. Revolus that I can do briefly on a college tour in May, but I it,” said Vallair, a Douglass graduate who recently had a longer visit and got a chance plans to major in architecture. “I put forth to really mix with the students. It changed the effort, and I am able to compete with my perception of the school.” my new fellow classmates.” Fullwood’s mentor will guide her Vallair added that he has become more through the rigorous application vocal and assertive, especially when

APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS will redefine the middle school experience.

handling his financial aid or meeting with professors. This is no fish out of water. “The scholars program has equipped me with the know-how and intelligence to figure out how to appropriately address serious situations,” Vallair said. Atlanta Scholar Brittany Williams said the program delivers a level of support that parents never had. But the junior at Hampshire College has decided to take full advantage of the opportunities she has earned. “I’m questioning and challenging everything that has been and continues to be taught to me in school,” said Williams, who’s majoring in African-American studies and sociology with a concentration in media studies (and a pre-law track). “I’ve gained a greater perspective on the issues facing the community I’ve come from due to an immense amount of studies and, in some instances, field work around communities similar to mine.” The journey continues During Dr. Hall’s State of the Schools address in August, 21st Century Atlanta Scholar Fatouma Kunjo almost stole the show with details of her success story. A native of Gambia, the Therrell alum graduated with honors from Bowdoin College. Now she attends Stanford University’s graduate program on a full academic scholarship. Kunjo plans to become a teacher and dreams of working for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). What’s her dream job? Improving school curriculum and policies in developing countries. “We are, indeed, evidence that the transformation at APS is working,” Kunjo insisted. “[The Scholars program] essentially assured my success in college.” She’s not the first person in her family to attend college, but Kunjo noted that her family lacked the support that she received as an Atlanta Scholar, including visits from APS staff on parents’ weekends, work-study jobs and summer internships at the district’s central office. “It was pretty influential,” she said. “Everyone needs the support.” — Talk to your high school counselor for more information about the 21st Century Atlanta Scholars program.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 15

Challenged to succeed Athletes in the APS Adapted Sports program form a winning combination By David Lee Simmons

Students at King Middle School participate in a swim class at the newly reopened campus pool. Watch a video of the swim program. Visit www.atlantapublicschools.us and select “Media Gallery.”

Swimming lessons at King Middle offer students an important life lesson By K eith Bromery

Students adjusted their goggles as they reviewed objectives for the day: gliding and mastering correct arm movement learning the freestyle stroke. Then it was time to enter the liquid classroom. After being out of commission for more than a decade, King Middle School opened its Olympic-size swimming pool in August 2009. Since then, students have been taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn an important life skill — one that they will likely retain all of their lives. Dr. Danielle Battle, principal of King, decided to revive the district’s only swimming pool after noting a disturbing trend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-American children between the ages of 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children of the same age. “Many students do not get enough exercise,” Battle added. “We know that swimming is a lifelong skill that’s great exercise for the total body.” To remove the fear factor, swim coach Justin Spears focuses on the fundamentals. Learning to swim starts with simple breathing lessons – in through the mouth and out through the nose. This is followed by gliding, facedown in the water across the width of the pool. Students then don swim fins that enhance the power of

kicks that propel them from one end of the pool to the other. Eventually, they move on to the popular crawl stoke. Put it all together properly, and that’s swimming. After only a few classes, most students quickly adapt to the water with ease. Battle plans to share that message with members of the community, eventually offering courses for toddlers and parents of the historic West End neighborhood. “The vision is to basically make it a true school community pool,” she said. “We want to make it a hub in our community.” For now, King students as well as faculty are big fans of the pool. Administrative Manager Cassandra Aina said it has helped improve her joint health and flexibility. Student Alexis Means noted another key benefit to swimming lessons. “It’s important to learn how to swim because most of the earth is covered in water,” she said. “My dad wanted me to be very safe when I’m swimming.” The reward for those students who quickly learn the fundamentals is the right to jump off the diving board into 12 feet of water at the deep end of the pool. That’s where you will find students like Nigel Whitehead, who’s been in the water since he was four years old. “I love swimming,” he said. “I’m glad that they’re using [the pool] now.”

Each year, athletes in the district’s Adapted Sports Program rise to the occasion. But this year has been truly exceptional. Consider the two state championships — in wheelchair handball and wheelchair basketball — under the auspices of the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP). Then there is the series of grants they have earned. Atlanta Wolfpack athletes also attracted attention and respect from members of the Atlanta Dream women’s NBA team. After a campus tour of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, these talented students are now focused on the path to college. “I’m so proud of them,” said Onie Lawson, who manages the Adapted Sports Program for APS. “We’ve had very few athletes of this kind of caliber who had both those great athletic skills and, Our goal is to even more importantly, were college material encourage and academically.” expose students Despite grappling with budget challenges, to all the resources the program received a major boost available, so they earlier in the year when AAASP helped can think about their future and facilitate a $4,000 grant from the Arthur map out their path. Blank Foundation’s Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. Onie Lawson, For the athletes, the boost comes from Adapted Sports participating in sports that wouldn’t otherwise program manager be available. Toraino Newton, a senior in Washington High’s Senior Academy, was a successful athlete before an accident two years ago left him wheelchair-bound. Now he is active and winning again at the game of handball. “I love playing the game, and having fun again,” Newton said. “You get to meet other students and have fun with them, and I really like that.” These are not just jocks, either. As an honor-roll student in Washington High’s School of Banking, Finance & Investment, sophomore Aquintis Burnett earned an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where he got to observe the city’s banking facilities. Students are winning grants as well as the games. Burnett and North Atlanta senior Ababukar Garba each received $1,900 grants from the Challenge Athletes Foundation (CAF) in January. The athletes will use the funds to purchase new sports wheelchairs. They toured the University of Alabama in October to get a closer look at the school’s wheelchair sports program, learn about scholarship opportunities – and to remind themselves that their academic careers don’t have to end at high school. “Our goal is to encourage and expose students to all the resources available so they can think about their future and map out their path,” Lawson said. “We appreciate the opportunities they have in vocational rehabilitation, which is paid for by the state if you have a disability and a diploma. But we don’t want our athletes to just go that route. We want to see our athletes finish high school and move on from there to college.”


16 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

Academy Leader Casey Landsman joins students in the halls of Eagle Leadership Academy at Mays High.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED APS High School Transformation Initiative sets foundation for student achievement

Freshman Katia Villalva of the all-female Dorothy Height Academy of Leadership notes a collegial atmosphere among her peers. Teachers also see an improvment in performance.

By David Lee Simmons

When Mays High freshmen Danielle Rainwater, Jasmin Paschal, Katia Villalva and Kemeera Wells sat around a table inside the office of their academy leader, they smiled at one another, laughed at familiar observations, finished the other’s sentences. They spoke of increased focus in the classroom, and the sense of sisterhood that has marked their first year of high school. As part of the district’s High School Transformation Initiative, Mays High has been divided into small learning communities that offer a smaller, campuslike setting. When Mays opened its doors this year, students could attend one of two single-gender academies: the allfemale Dorothy Height Academy of Leadership and the all-male Eagle Leadership Academy.

“My first impression was, ‘Oh no, that’s not for me,” said the pint-sized but lively Rainwater. But she has grown to embrace the format – thanks to some help from her newfound sisters. Three of them took her aside and said, “You’ve got to get it right,” she recalled. “I started to realize the results of my own actions,” said Rainwater. “It feels like we’re getting more things done together.” The students spent the first couple of months enrolling in the JROTC program and focusing on instruction, and helping each other navigate through the high school experience. “I’ve seen changes in them already,” said Academy Leader Sharon Gay. “This program is personalized. With single gender, you don’t have the distractions that the co-ed environment has, where they’re trying to get the attention of the opposite sex.” This environment, Gay insists, keeps the girls on track: “Here, the kids want to compete more academically. But in a coed environment, they don’t want to show what they know. Here, they participate more in class.” On the other side of the school – housed in a temporary location until renovations are completed – students of the Eagle Leadership Academy also prefer the single-gender mode. Senior David Smith, who aspires to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a minister, said he chose the Eagle Leadership Academy track instead of Mass Communications; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; or the Business and Entrepreneurship academies. “Studying with the girls, you’re always trying to impress them,” Smith said. “But since we’ve been in this academy, I’ve seen a lot of leadership in our classmates.” Senior class Vice-president Nicholas Williams agreed: “We work with one another,” he said. “We want to be our brother’s keeper. We get to know each other so that when someone falls behind, you help bring them back up.” To establish a good foundation for both single-gender schools, Eagle Leadership Academy Leader Casey Landsman joined Sharon Gay on a summer trip to the Gurian Institute in Colorado, where they studied the physical and neurological differences between boys and girls. Landsman has even developed a concept that he calls the “6 Ms”: “Men need Movement, Music and Manipulates to Memorize and be Motivated.” This builds on the generally accepted belief that boys learn differently from girls — See ACHIEVEMENT Page 17

APS POINT OF PRIDE: Business and civic organizations support the district’s innovative reform initiatives.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 17

ACHIEVEMENT: from page 16

and they need hands-on exercises. As a result, science classes at Eagle Leadership Academy involve more lab exercises than a typical high school. Landsman added that boys need to move on to other subjects in shorter intervals, and they benefit from music in their environment. That’s why some teachers play classical music during tests. “Taking a class in silence is dreadful for me,” said Williams. “All of the focus is on the test, and it gets boring. With the music, you can concentrate on the test and yet you have this stimulating distraction.”

Teachers also appreciate the singlegender model. Dr. Theo Smith teaches business law, and noted that students are less self-conscious. “You’re afforded more opportunities to have open, candid conversations about the barriers to success for young black males, and the examples in class you give can be more male-focused,” he said. “All of my career, the females have always been the leaders in the class in group situations. Now that they’re gone, the Eagles start to rise.” English teacher Badia Askari added that the girls are free to be more comfortable in their own skin. In her previous five

years at Mays, girls constantly sought her advice, so the transition to single-gender was a natural progression. “We’ve learned the most effective instruction has to be preceded by caring,” Askari said. “They have to trust you. It’s already tough because of the transition from middle school to high school. They already have their defenses up. But if they know you care, they’ll drop their defenses. This allows the teachers who care to reach out their hand to a student more directly.” For Rainwater, this kind of unique approach has made all the difference. “I don’t need bad grades,” she said. “Being here, for me, it’s like being at home.”

Smaller schools, greater instruction APS completed the final phase of its High School Transformation Initiative this year with the transformation of Grady, Mays and North Atlanta high schools into smaller learning communities. Now every high school in the district offers a more personalized learning atmosphere. Here’s a highlight of each high school: THE NEW SCHOOLS AT CARVER The first school to be transformed (in the small-schools model), Carver also represents the first example of APS’ turnaround at the high school level, as the graduation rate has soared over this decade. With support from such community partners as the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Carver has established such innovative programs as the Youth Harp Ensemble in the School of the Arts. CRIM OPEN CAMPUS HIGH SCHOOL Crim’s non-traditional academic program educates Atlanta students age 16 and older who have previously struggled in a traditional high school setting. Focusing squarely on academics, Crim has no athletics program and instead offers a rigorous academic program that includes a highly competitive robotics program. FREDERICK DOUGLASS HIGH SCHOOL Operating in the small learning communities (SLC) model, Douglass offers academic instruction in a range of professional tracks, from communications and journalism to hospitality to engineering. In fact, in the applied technology phase, students study electronics, architectural drawing or engineering, along with up to eight courses in related technology. HENRY W. GRADY HIGH SCHOOL One of the final three schools to be transformed (into the SLC model), Grady’s storied tradition of communications and journalism excellence carries on in its own academy. In fact, for the fifth time in the past six years, The Southerner has earned the George H. Gallup Award, the highest honor presented by the Quill and Scroll International Society for High School Journalists. MAYNARD H. JACKSON JR. HIGH SCHOOL An award-winning school according to U.S. News & World Report and BusinessWeek magazines, Jackson High has particularly excelled with its Fine Arts & Media Communications Academy. The academy’s

Students from Maynard H. Jackson High peform scenes from “Hairspray” during the Neighborhood Celebration. The school’s arts program has drawn prestigious partners. dance program has worked with such prestigious partners as the Dallas Black Dance Theatre II’s Allyne Gartrell. BENJAMIN E. MAYS HIGH SCHOOL One of the last three transformed high schools, Mays will continue to provide its long-respected instruction in the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Academy, and will also provide a range of Advanced Placement (AP) courses. NORTH ATLANTA HIGH SCHOOL Another of the last three transformed high schools, North Atlanta will continue two of its signature programs: participation as an International Baccalaureate school housing the Center for International Studies, and a Center for the Arts long respected for its music instruction. SOUTH ATLANTA HIGH EDUCATIONAL COMPLEX South Atlanta moved to the small schools model in 2007 and has excelled in legal and

medical instruction as well as computer animation design. One of the highlights is the School of Health & Medical Science’s Emory Pipeline partnership with the university’s medical school. D.M. THERRELL HIGH EDUCATIONAL COMPLEX Therrell’s transformation into a small school in 2007 included a School of Law, Government & Public Policy that facilitates a summer internship with the Atlanta Bar Association in which students work in area law firms, law departments, public-interest groups and courts. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH Washington moved to the small-school model in 2009. This new configuration includes the Banking, Finance & Investment school that just last year produced a national-championship Stock Market Team in the Capitol Hill Challenge in which team members managed a $100,000 stock portfolio.

Adamsville Elementary Media Specialist Megann Williams helps a student complete his reading assignment.

Partners support Adamsville ES READING: from Page 8

reading at a fifth-grade level, thanks to the structured routine of selecting and discussing books. “I used to read thin books,” Kindell said, “but now I can read thick books like Harry Potter!” Kindell’s academic success is another example of how media specialists make a difference in the lives of APS students. Although mistakenly referred to as librarians, media specialists serve as techsavvy educators on school campuses. “The library media specialist has many roles and responsibilities, including teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, and program administrator,” said Warren Goetzel, APS media services coordinator. He also noted that APS media specialists work tirelessly to keep their media centers up to date. Last spring a record 15 APS media centers, including Adamsville’s, received $6,000 grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries — more than any district in the nation. The grants help media specialists expand and diversify their library collections. More recently, media specialists worked with students on award-winning multimedia projects for the 2010 International Student Media Festival. Eight of 16 APS projects won awards. D.H. Stanton Elementary won three awards under the leadership of media specialist Brenda Street. Here are a few of the other winning schools with teachers’ names in parenthesis: Cook Elementary (Zenobia Johnson), Mary Lin Elementary (Kerri Mercer), B.E.S.T. Academy (Kellye Carter) and Grady High (Joe Hirsch). For Williams, these accomplishments show that media specialists create a spark that helps students learn and grow. “I love seeing that excitement, that eagerness,” she said. “They’re learning more and more that it’s cool to read, and that wasn’t there before.”


18 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

Partners help schools build playgrounds the day. By mid-afternoon, the school has a new playground, and local officials participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. By David Lee Simmons Attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony and just try not to well up with tears. Over the course of just a few hours, While students’ joy is immediate an unremarkable and unused patch of – even though they have to give the elementary-school real estate undergoes an playground foundation 3 days to settle astonishing transformation into a sparkling before using equipment – it’s the adults new playground for kids, thanks to the who truly understand the impact of a new power of community partnerships. playground. Grove Park parent and alum KaBOOM! playgrounds are the Antonio Fleming Sr. remembers having inspiration of company founder Darell only a makeshift playground when he Hammond, after he learned that half attended the school. Now his son, Antonio our nation’s children did not have easy Jr., can play safely at school. access to playgrounds. Fifteen years later, “It should mean a lot to any parent KaBOOM! has built more than 1,800 who’s hard-working, and is trying to playgrounds across the country, including make sure their child 13 in Atlanta Public is accomplishing Schools. great things,” he “A KaBOOM! said. “These kids playground build is can now take their a transformational breaks and come and experience for play and enjoy a real your school and for playground. … I’m your community,” really proud to be a said Grove Park Grove Park Elementary father right now.” Elementary Principal Thomasville Caitlin Sims, who KaBOOM! playgrounds Heights Elementary partnered with around the district in southeast Atlanta, The Home Depot also built a KaBOOM! Foundation and 2001 – D.H. Stanton, F.L. Stanton playground this year, Atlanta Falcon Mike 2004 – Parkside with support from Peterson to build the 2007 – East Lake, Margaret Fain Foresters insurance school’s playground 2008 – Cleveland Avenue, Herndon, company. In addition in late September. M. Agnes Jones, Whitefoord to Foresters volunteers “As we work harder 2009 – Fickett, Peyton Forest who traveled from as and harder to meet far as Toronto to lend 2010 – Grove Park, Thomasville Heights and exceed state and a hand, APS students national standards, we also hammered, drilled want our children to be and hauled mulch under a hot Georgia sun. globally competitive and highly educated “Everyone should have a chance to — we also want to remember that school make a difference,” said Jahnai Cain, a should be joyful.” senior at Carver’s School of Technology, KaBOOM! playgrounds often take years who spent the day building benches and of preparation. The process begins with an raised gardens. “I get to do something for application. Each school also must raise kids, and they will see this playground $7,500 for the playground. KaBOOM! then and want to do something.” works to connect schools with corporate In a recent NPR profile, Hammond partners that help provide the remaining also stressed the lasting impact of such $30,000 in funding, as well as a team of partnerships among schools, business roughly 200 volunteers who will help pour partners and the community. “When they about 15,000 pounds of concrete and move put their own capital into it, they care 150 cubic yards of mulch on the big day. about it, they maintain it, they’re invested Community partners and school neighbors in it,” he said. also serve as volunteers, participating in a Once the KaBOOM! build at six-week preparation process. Thomasville Heights had come to an end When volunteers show up the morning and volunteers happily cut the ribbon on of a playground build, they’re greeted by their new play space, Principal Charles a KaBOOM! project manager, scores of Penn surveyed the crowd and said, “It’s equipment and playground components, amazing what can happen when people hot coffee and snacks, and a DJ ready to come together on behalf of students.” blast heart-pumping music throughout KaBOOM!: from cover

To help your child excel at science, be sure to keep the Homework Hotline number readily available. Teachers can help with questions about assignments.

Study tips for science students Atlanta Public Schools’ award-winning Homework Hotline team provides one-on-one assistance and easy-to-understand explanations. Staffed by current and former teachers, Homework Hotline is a free service that’s available from 3-9 p.m., Mondays through Thursday, except during holiday and semester breaks. For assistance, call 678-553-3029. Homework Hotline teachers have access to current textbooks and school curricula when helping students understand and solve homework problems. Here are a few of their study tips for science students: •

Keep key study tools such as flash cards, writing pads, lineless paper, color-coded tabs, coloring pencils, and calculators close by for easy reference.

Designate an area in the house for studying. You will need a desk, lamp and enough room to spread out your tools. Your area should be free of noise, with a door that can be closed to prevent distractions. If you must have music, make sure it is soft music in the background.

Be careful to take accurate notes in class. Make sure you understand the lesson and the assignment.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are not sure.

Know your learning style. Do you learn best by listening, seeing or physically manipulating items?

Use flash cards to learn new vocabulary words and definitions. It is OK to read your assignment multiple times.

Outline chapters in your notebook.

Organize your notes. Use color-coded tabs to highlight major points.

Reserve a separate notebook for laboratory work. Use color as much as possible, as it helps you to remember key points.

Write a conclusion to all experiments.

Design a study plan for tests. Build in a 30-minute to 1-hour rest period.

Get a good night’s sleep and breakfast before test time.

Review notes before taking the test.

APS POINT OF PRIDE: APS uses 21st century communication tools to keep students, parents and partners informed.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 19

Grady alum inspired to give back as APS teacher WESTMORELAND: from page 5

Standing in the spotlight reaffirmed Douglass High School seniors Dontravious Calhoun and Kamaria Glover’s interest in pursuing journalism careers. Both hosted a recent edition of ‘APS Today.’

Douglass students share their experience as TV hosts Each month, ‘APS Today’ highlights students, educators, parents and community partners dedicated to improving achievement. The show airs at 9:30 p.m. on PBA TV channel 30. Douglass High School seniors Kamaria Glover and Dontravious Calhoun hosted a recent episode and wrote about their experience in front of the camera. By K amaria Glover

By Dontravious Calhoun

Hosting the October 2010 edition of APS Today was an honor

My experience hosting the October 2010 edition of APS

and by far one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had while in high school because I plan to further my education in the area of broadcast journalism. This opportunity helped met to gain further knowledge of the field. Not only did I get the chance to be a reporter, I also witnessed the production staff’s hard work and dedication to the show. It is now obvious to me that a person can have one job title but an endless amount of experience. The contributions of each individual were greatly valued and, once everyone was on common ground, we had a successful production. Working with Ms. Luana Slaughter, the show’s executive producer, and the communications staff reassured me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I understand my passion for broadcasting and realize my potential to be successful in this field. After high school, I plan to attend a college with one of the top broadcast journalism programs in the country. By remaining focused — and with my dreams within reach — I will be one of the top female radio and television producers in the world. Using my knowledge and skills, I will be able to help youth in our community to be the best that they possibly can.

Today was fantastic. It was an exciting experience working with a real cameraman. Also, it was a learning experience because I enhanced my vocabulary. Ms. Luana Slaughter, the executive producer, practiced with us over and over and was really nice and patient. I learned to speak more precisely in front of the camera. Before I became a news anchor at my school and hosted APS Today, I thought the job was very easy. Working with four fantastic APS staff members — Ms. Slaughter, Ms. Felecia Williams, Mr. Scott King, and Mr. Armon Moore — helped me to understand video production much better and get real hands-on experience. I really would like to thank my teacher, Ms. Williams, and Ms. Luana Slaughter for giving me the opportunity to be a student reporter and host for APS Today. My passion for video broadcasting is much deeper now because I really understand how it all comes together. Upon graduation in May 2011, I plan to go to college and become a broadcast journalist or crime scene investigator.

drawn me closer to my students than I thought possible. The pace is exhausting: I wake up at times I regularly went to bed in college, spend my evenings preparing world history lessons that will engage my students and obsessively check news outlets for stories that would interest my current affairs class. But the relationships I’ve already built make every minute worth it. My positive experiences have not made me oblivious of the formidable obstacles along the path to true educational equality. This past summer, I taught eighth-grade math to a group of a dozen students. On the first day, I made my way around the room while students filled out an information survey. I sat down next to one student and saw that he had only written his name. I got the sickening sense that he didn’t know how to read the first question. “What’s your favorite subject in school?” Matt Westmoreland I asked, running my pencil along the words on the page to indicate where my question was coming from. “Science,” he responded. I pointed to the line provided for him to write that response. “Think you could jot that down for me right here?” “Sure,” he said, before taking his pencil to the paper and writing “s-i-c-e-u-n-c.” I think of that experience almost every day. It reminds me of why I am so heavily invested in this school system — and how much work we all have left to do. I wouldn’t have made it to Princeton without the teachers I had in APS. Now I have a chance to be that same kind of force in the lives of my students.


20 ­— The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

APS celebrates top elementary, middle and high school teachers HAMILTON: from cover

“I believe I’m an effective teacher because of the relationships that I’m able to build with my students inside and outside of the classroom,” Hamilton said. “The students know that I care about them excelling and going to higher places in life.” Hamilton is a product of Atlanta Public Schools. She attended Fickett Elementary and Bunche Middle before graduating from Mays High. Hamilton earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in Technology Integration from NOVA Southeastern University. She currently is pursuing an Educational Doctorate in Teacher Leadership at Walden University. Hamilton joined Brown in 2003. Inside the classroom, she takes pride in meeting students’ diverse academic needs. By setting high standards, expecting the best, and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, Hamilton’s students know that she believes in them. In return, they believe in themselves. Beyond the classroom, Hamilton and teacher LuShaun Crayon led

Meet the APS finalists ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER OF THE YEAR Leslie H. Tumlin (left) of Warren T. Jackson Principal: Dr. Lorraine Reich MIDDLE SCHOOL AND APS TEACHER OF THE YEAR Belita Hamilton (center) of Brown Middle Principal: Donnell Underdue HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER OF THE YEAR Wanda Brown-Cook (right) of Carver School of the Arts Principal: Dr. Marvin Pryor

the school’s cheerleading squad to victory in the district’s annual middle school competition last year. During the award ceremony, APS Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum &

Instruction Dr. Kathy Augustine honored all of the district’s top teachers. “Thank you for looking our students in the eyes and making a difference in how they see the world, and for using your unique

power today to shape what they will become tomorrow,” she said. — A full list of Teachers of the Year by school appears on district’s www. TalkUpAPS.com blog.

Jacobs works for a strong finish at S. Atlanta that he could compare and contrast his pulse for her Introduction to I stayed in the weight room to Healthcare Science class. get stronger, and brought my “We do a lot of hands-on teammates with me.” application,” she said. “He likes to That’s music to Reddick’s ears see things that happen in real life.” after last year’s disappointing Jacobs also likes the personalized finish (by South Atlanta standards). attention he receives at South “Previously, Nick’s been trying Atlanta, due to the school’s smallto discover who we was, but now school structure. South Atlanta he feels more confident of what adopted this unique approach as he has to do, and he’s ready to part of the district’s High School take ownership of the team,” said Transformation Initiative, in which Reddick, whose pride in Jacobs is schools provide smaller, campusunmistakable. “He’s like a son to like settings that promote student me, as are the rest of the players. achievement. But to see him develop the way “I have a whole bunch of he has from his freshman year to academic support,” Jacobs said. this year, to see how he’s grown “Ms. Williams is always looking … he’s come from being a little out for everybody, and not just boy to being a young man. A lot the athletes!” Photo by Langston Sandlin/Z3 Photography of students look up to him. Just to This approach to education also see that change has been special – helps Jacobs focus on his game — on and off the court.” and, hopefully, a strong finish at South Atlanta. Jacobs’ teachers at South Atlanta’s School of Health “We have all the tools to win a state title this & Medical Science also notice a difference. Teacher year,” he said. “We’re just looking at maturing Angela Williams noted that Jacobs jumped at the and working a lot harder to do better than we did chance to go out on the track and work up a sweat so last year.” JACOBS: from page 24

APS POINT OF PRIDE: More APS graduates are charting a path to college.


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 — 21

Elementary Schools Burgess-Peterson Academy The National Environment Education Foundation (NEEF) and the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management Office of Water Efficiency (OWE) awarded Burgess-Peterson Academy a “Be Water Wise Atlanta” grant. OWE also will serve as a school partner and help develop plans to support Burgess-Peterson’s water conservation efforts.

Centennial Place Retired Atlanta Braves outfielderturned-children’s book author, Brian Jordan, emphasized the importance of reading as part of Threshing Floor Academy’s Authors in Schools program. During a visit to Centennial Place in September, Jordan shared his experiences as a professional athlete and as well as his inspiration to write for children.“I love to read and I want every single one of you to understand the importance of reading,” he said.“One day, you can become an author, too.” Jordan also read from his latest book, Overcoming the Fear of the Baseball. 

Ed S. Cook In collaboration with Georgia State University’s football program, about 62 third- through fifthgraders visited the new football complex in September. Students also participated in KaBoom! Day activities designed to create healthier, happier and smarter children. Upon returning to Cook, the students created six murals depicting bodies in motion and the importance of healthy minds, bodies and spirits.

East Lake East Lake Elementary Principal Gwendolyn Benton and her school’s Student Wellness Ambassadors (SWA) won a $500 “TrueBlue School” donation during a “Learn, Earn & Burn” pep rally for education held at Phipps Plaza. All pep rally attendees had a chance to receive

school donations ranging from $250 to $1,000, or a $250 gift card to The School Box. Georgia Natural Gas (GNG) sponsored the “TrueBlue Schools” event. Atlanta Chef Marvin Woods also lent his support to promote healthy eating.

Hill-Hope Wearing t-shirts from different colleges and universities, students chanted, “I am college bound!” as part of Hope-Hill’s University Week celebration, designed to expose students to the world of higher education. Fifth-graders also shared their experiences from recent tours of Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Spelman College and Emory University. HillHope corporate partner Heery International arranged for Emory’s inclusion on the students’ itinerary.

Mary Lin The Mary Lin community participated in the International Walk to School Day in early October, hosted by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Commissioner Vance Smith joined Mary Lin staff, students, parents and community members in raising awareness of the fact that fewer than 15 percent of all school trips are made by walking or biking.

Morningside Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle visited Morningside Elementary to launch his Healthy Kids Challenge and applaud the school for achieving a national 2010 Bronze Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The statewide effort, in collaboration with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, encourages children to adopt healthy habits early in life by improving access to healthier foods, increasing physical activity opportunities before, during and after school; enhancing nutrition education and establishing employee wellness programs.

Parkside Teacher Armelia Ray Braddy was one of three Georgia

ATLANTA SRT-3

physical-education teachers to be honored with the inaugural HealthMPowers Health Champion Award. HealthMPowers is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting healthy behaviors and environments through the empowerment of students and their families, as well as education providers.

Springdale Park Students and parents toured the school before Aug. 9, during the second-annual “SPARK Sneak Peek” back-to-school event. Students also had an opportunity to spend time in their classrooms and interact with their teacher and classmates, while parents learned about after-school enrichment programs, signed up for PTO volunteer events, and chatted with Principal Yolonda Brown.

Fred A. Toomer Community partners, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, FedEx and the Atlanta Red Cross hosted “Race to Prepare” in early September to teach students that it’s never too early to prepare for emergencies and disasters in their community. With September recognized as National Preparedness Month, Hamlin encouraged students to share what they learned about hurricanes and emergency preparedness with their family and friends.

Whitefoord Whitefoord was one of only 13 schools in the country to receive the 2010 National Excellence in Urban Education Award from San Diego State University’s National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST). The prestigious award honors schools with test results that are higher than state averages. Schools also

sauntered into the audience filled with APS high school students challenged them to “bring your A game” to life.

Atlanta Public Schools’ journey to excellence is built on singular accomplishments, high honors and teachable moments. Bookmark our blog, www. TalkUpAPS.com, to get regular updates on the district. Here are just a few highlights. Real men read: Male community leaders helped the district improve students’ literacy skills through a unique program called Read, Excel,

Achieve, Lead (R.E.A.L.) Men Read. By committing to visit secondgraders and read engaging, gradeappropriate books, metro Atlanta male volunteers have been able to touch the lives of more than 5,000 APS students. Living legend, times 10: The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery welcomed keynote speaker and APS alum Judge Glenda Hatchett for the 10th Lowery Lecture Series on Civic Engagement. A feisty Hatchett

British accent: Seven teachers and administrators from the United Kingdom spent a week in late October visiting elementary and middle schools throughout the district to share instructional strategies with their APS counterparts. Educators discussed everything from classroom behavior to special-needs instruction at Dunbar, M. Agnes Jones, Parkside and Smith Primary elementary schools and Coretta Scott King and Kennedy middle schools. Video footage of their

must have a high percentage of students who qualify for federal free and reduced meals, and must not have a selective enrollment or admissions policy.

Middle Schools

are highlighted in an informative video produced by APS Media Production Manager Scott King and by Keith Bromery, director of media relations.

High Schools

Sammye E. Coan

Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus

Thanks to a partnership with the Zeist Foundation and the Southeastern Horticultural Society, Coan broke ground on an edible garden. The new garden will complement an Edgewood community garden that also is housed on school grounds and shared with Toomer and Whitefoord elementary schools. To bolster student achievement, Coan has forged partnerships with the Mayson Avenue Collective, Gas South, Links Inc., and Atlanta Falcons defensive end Chauncey Davis.

The school’s officials say, “pardon our progress” because of construction underway to help transform Crim into small learning communities (SLCs). Crim will feature a Ninth Grade Academy as well as SLCs for Engineering and Technology, Global Business, Marketing and Healthcare Sciences. Also, Crim recently expanded to include a “Saturday School.”

Samuel Inman Sixth-grade English/language arts teacher Wendy Baker and eighth-grade teacher Emily Boatright joined two other APS teachers in earning Master Teacher certification. (Endia Way of Perkerson Elementary and TaiShara Twyman of Dobbs Elementary also earned this distinction.) To earn Master Teacher certification, candidates must have at least three years experience in the classroom on a Georgia Clear Renewal Certificate and demonstrate evidence linking their classroom instruction to student achievement and academic progress. Master Teachers serve as mentors and coaches for other teachers and are invited to attend conferences and seminars throughout the year as the voice of Georgia educators.

Henry W. Grady Grady High senior Michael Barlow did so well at the National Association of Urban Debate League’s national tournament that he earned a tour of Congress and the White House, which included a meeting with President Barack Obama. At the National Forensic League National Tournament held in Kansas City, Mo., Barlow (with his partner, Holden Choi), placed somewhere between 15th and 20th as a team. At the National Urban Debate League National Tournament sponsored by Chase, Barlow and Choi reached the semi-final round (the top four). Barlow also ranked as No. 3 speaker at that tournament.

Maynard H. Jackson

The district’s only swimming pool, which is housed at King, offers students a chance to learn valuable swimming skills. Details about the unique course offering

To promote the wealth of great schools in southeast Atlanta, Jackson served as host site for the district’s second-annual Neighborhood Celebration. Participating schools included: Benteen, Burgess-Peterson Academy, Cook, East Lake, Parkside, Hope-Hill, Toomer and Whitefoord elementary schools; Coan and King middle schools; and neighborhood charter schools. Guests were treated to school performances, and APS parent Aungelique Procter of Fox 5 served as mistress of ceremonies.

visit is available at Youtube.com/ APSupdate.

Elizabeth McGlamry discuss their victory.

Order in the courtroom: Grady High School’s mock trial team won the Empire City Mock Trial Association Tournament held in mid-October in New York City. The team had been preparing its case since July and had to argue both the prosecution and defense sides during the competition. After earning one of the highest scores through the four rounds of competition, the team faced — and defeated — a home-schooled team from North Carolina. Visit www. youtube.com/APSupdate <http:// www.youtube.com/APSupdate> to see Grady juniors Shaun Kleber and

Crime fighters: APS partnered with Crime Stoppers Atlanta to launch “Campus Crime Stoppers.” The new program encourages students, parents, school-based faculty and staff to report crimes and criminal activity through the organization Web site (www. crimestoppersatlanta.org), text messages (Keyword ‘CSA’ to ‘CRIMES’ or ‘274637’) or calling 404577-TIPS (8477). Tipsters have the option of remaining anonymous. Cash rewards are provided to those whose information leads to an arrest and indictment.

Martin Luther King Jr.


22 — The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

Atlanta Directory Schools 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

Executive Director Operations, Office of High Schools Abigail Crawford 404-802-5875 Associate Superintendent for High Schools Randolph Bynum 404-802-5875

Elementary Schools Adamsville Isis Manboard, Principal 286 Wilson Mill Rd., SW 30331 404-802-4300

Beecher Hills Crystal Jones, Principal 2257 Bollingbrook Dr., SW 30311 404-802-8300

Frederick Wilson Benteen Dr. Diana Quisenberry, Principal 200 Cassanova St., SE 30315 404-802-7300

Mary McLeod Bethune RoseMary Hamer, Principal 220 Northside Dr., NW 30314

404-802-8200 Bolton Academy Laura Strickling, Principal 2268 Adams Dr., NW 30318 404-802-8350

William M. Boyd Emalyn Foreman, Principal 1891 Johnson Rd., NW 30318 404-802-8150

Morris Brandon Karen Evans, Principal 2741 Howell Mill Rd., NW 30327 404-802-7250

Hugh Otis BurgessGartha Belle Peterson Robin Robbins, Principal 480 Clifton St., SE 30316 404-802-3400

Capitol View

Heritage Academy

Wanda Harmon, Interim Principal 1442 Metropolitan Pkwy., SW 30310 404-802-7200

Trennis Harvey, Principal 3500 Villa Cir., SE 30354 404-802-8650

Cascade

Alonzo Franklin Herndon

Dr. Alfonso L. Jessie Jr., Principal 2326 Venetian Dr., SW 30311 404-802-8100

Ms. Toni Pickett, Principal 350 Temple St., NW 30314 404-802-8700

Centennial Place

John Hope-Charles Walter Hill

Alison Shelton, Principal 531 Luckie St., NW 30313 404-802-8550

Dr. Cassandra Miller-Ashley, Principal 112 Boulevard, NE 30312 404-802-7450

Cleveland Avenue

Joseph W. Humphries

Dr. Rhonda Ware-Brazier, Principal 2672 Old Hapeville Rd. 30315 404-802-8400

Mr. Donald Clark, Principal 3029 Humphries Dr., SE 30354 404-802-8750

Elijah Lewis Connally

Emma Hutchinson

Tresa Andrews, Interim Principal 1654 S. Alvarado Ter., SW 30311 404-802-8450

Continental Colony at Blalock Sandra Sessoms, Principal 1445 Maynard Ct. SW 30331 404-802-8000

Ed S. Cook Sharyn Briscoe, Principal 211 Memorial Dr., SE 30312 404-802-8500

Deerwood Academy Dr. Lisa Smith, Principal 3070 Fairburn Rd., 30331 404-802-3300

John Wesley Dobbs Dana Evans, Principal 2025 Jonesboro Rd., SE 30315 404-802-8050

Paul Lawrence Dunbar Karen Brown-Collier, Interim Principal 500 Whitehall Terrace, SW, 30312 404-802-7950

East Lake Gwendolyn Benton, Principal 145 Fourth Ave., SE 30317 404-802-7900

Margaret Fain Mesha Greene, Interim Principal 101 Hemphill School Rd., NW 30331 404-802-8600

Richard Nathaniel Fickett Dr. Anthony Dorsey, Principal 3935 Rux Rd., SW 30331 404-802-7850

William M. Finch Dr. Linda Paden, Principal 1114 Avon Ave., SW 30310 404-802-4000

Garden Hills Amy Alderman, Principal 285 Sheridan Dr., NW 30305 404-802-7800

Charles L. Gideons Betty Wagner, Interim Principal 897 Welch St., SW 30310 404-802-7700

Grove Park Caitlin Sims, Principal 20 Evelyn Way, NW 30318 404-802-7750

Dr. Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell, Principal 650 Cleveland Ave., SW 30315 404-802-7650

Warren Turner Jackson Dr. Lorraine Reich, Principal 1325 Mt. Paran Rd., NW 30327 404-802-8800

Mary Agnes Jones Mrs. Margul Woolfolk, Principal 1040 Fair Street, NW 30314 404-802-3900

Lucas O. Kimberly Ms. Carolyn Hall, Principal 3090 McMurray Dr., SW 30311 404-802-7600

Mary Jane Lin Dr. Brian Mitchell, Principal 586 Candler Park Dr., NE 30307 404-802-8850

Leonora Precious Miles Christopher Estes, Principal 4215 Bakers Ferry Rd., SW 30331 404-802-8900

Morningside Rebecca Pruitt, Principal 1053 E. Rock Springs Rd., NE 30306 404-802-8950

Parkside Dr. Phillip Luck, Principal 685 Mercer Street, SE 30312 404-802-4100

Thomas Jefferson Perkerson Jermaine Dawson, Interim Principal 2040 Brewer Blvd., SW 30315 404-802-3950

Peyton Forest Marissa Kalu-Thompson, Interim Principal 301 Peyton Rd., SW 30311 404-802-7100

Eretus Rivers David White, Principal 8 Peachtree Battle Ave., NW 30305 404-802-7050

William J. Scott Jimmye Hawkins, Interim Principal 1752 Hollywood Rd., NW 30318 404-802-7000

Thomas Heathe Slater

Dr. Selina Dukes-Walton, Principal 1320 Pryor Rd., SW 30315 404-802-4050

1550 Hosea Williams Dr., NE 30317 404-802-6600

Sarah Rawson Smith

Charles Lincoln Harper Samuel Howard Archer

Dr. Sidney Baker, Principal 370 Old Ivy Rd., NE 30342 404-802-3850

Dr. Frances Thompson, Principal 3399 Collier Dr., NW 30331 404-802-6500

Smith Kindergarten Annex

Samuel Martin Inman

4100 Roswell Rd., NE 30342 404-256-3317

Daniel H. Stanton Velva Bass, Principal 970 Martin St., SE 30315 404-802-4200

Frank Libby Stanton Brenda Clements, Interim Principal 1625 M. L. King Jr. Dr., SW 30314 404-802-7500

Thomasville Heights Charles Penn, Principal 1820 Henry Thomas Dr., SE 30315 404-802-5750

Fred Armon Toomer Dr. Nicole Evans Jones, Principal 65 Rogers St., NE 30317 404-802-3450

George Alexander Towns Carla Pettis, Principal 760 Bolton Rd., NW 30331 404-802-7400

Bazoline E. Usher/Collier Heights Yvonne Bernal, Interim Principal 631 Harwell Rd., NW 30318 404-802-5700

Venetian Hills Eunice Robinson, Interim Principal 1910 Venetian Dr., SW 30311 404-802-4550

West Manor Cheryl Twyman, Principal 570 Lynhurst Dr., SW 30311 404-802-3350

Walter Francis White Tamarah Larkin-Currie, Principal 1890 Detroit Ave., NW 30314 404-802-2950

Whitefoord Patricia Lavant, Principal 35 Whitefoord Ave., SE 30317 404-802-6900

Carter G. Woodson Dr. Viola Blackshear, Principal 1605 D.L. Hollowell Pkwy., NW 30318 404-802-7350

Middle Schools Joseph Emerson Brown Donell Underdue Jr., Principal 765 Peeples St, SW 30310 404-802-6800

Ralph Johnson Bunche Keisla Tisdel, Principal 1925 Niskey Lake Rd., SW 30331 404-802-6700

Sammye E. Coan Dr. Tonya Saunders, Principal

APS POINT OF PRIDE: The journey to excellence continues.

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 30354 404-802-4800

Walter Leonard Parks Gwen Atkinson, Interim 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

Sylvan Hills Staughton Jennings, Principal 1461 Sylvan Rd., SW 30310 404-802-6200

Jean Childs Young Thomas Kenner, Principal 3116 Benjamin E. Mays Dr., SW 30311 404-802-5900

Single-gender Acadamies The B.E.S.T. Academy LaPaul Shelton, Principal 1890 Donald L. Hollowell Pkwy. NW 30318 404-802-4944

Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy Karen Riggins-Taylor, Principal 1190 Northwest Drive, 30318 404-802-4962

High Schools The B.E.S.T Academy High Mr. Boris Hurst, Principal 1890 Donald Holloway Pkwy., 30318 404-802-4950

The News Schools at Carver 55 McDonough Blvd. 30315

Early College Marcene Thornton, Principal 404-802-4405


The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 23

Atlanta Directory Schools School of Health Sciences & Research

Eagle Academy of Leadership for Boys

Dr. Darian Jones, Principal 404-802-4420

Casey Landsman, Academy Leader

School of Technology Rodney Ray, Principal 404-802-4410

School of the Arts Dr. Marvin Pryor, Principal 404-802-4415

Frederick Douglass Dr. Thomas Glanton, Principal 225 H.E. Holmes Dr., NW 30318 404-802-3100 Business & Entrepreneurship

Dr. Mary J. Harris, Academy Leader

Dorothy Height Academy of Leadership for Girls

Sharon Gay, Academy Leader

North Atlanta Mark Mygrant, Principal 2875 Northside Dr., NW 30305 404-802-4700 Center for International Studies

John Denine, Academy Leader Center of the Arts

Reginald Colbert, Academy Leader International Business & Marketing

Center for Engineering & Applied Technology

Mona Fairly-Nelson, Academy Leader

Dr. Reginald Lawrence, Academy Leader

Center for Global Broadcasting and Journalism

Communication & Journalism

Laura Ricca Brazil, Academy Leader

Sharonda Murrell, Academy Leader

South Atlanta

Hospitality, Tourism & Marketing

800 Hutchens Rd., SE 30354

Stephanie Bailey, Academy Leader

Henry W. Grady Dr. Vincent Murray, Principal 929 Charles Allen Dr., NE 30309 404-802-3001

School of Computer Animation & Design

Scott Painter, Principal 404-802-5060 School of Health & Medical Science

Business and Entrepreneurship

Termerion McCrary, Principal 404-802-5050

Willie Vincent, Academy Leader

School of Law & Social Justice

Public Policy and Justice

Peter McKnight, Principal 404-802-5045

Russell Plawsczyk, Academy Leader Communication and Journalism

Daniel McClaughin Therrell

Carrie MacBrien, Academy Leader Technology Jerry Parker III, Academy Leader

3099 Panther Trail, SW 30311 404-802-5300

Maynard Holbrook Jackson Dr. Shirlene Carter, Principal 801 Glenwood Ave., SE 30316 404-802-5200 Fine Arts, Media and Communication Academy

Leah Ervin, Academy Leader Information Technology Academy

Dr. Phyllis Earls, Academy Leader

Tia Martin, Academy Leader Benjamin Elijah Mays Dr. Tyronne Smith, Principal 2250 Perry Blvd., NW 30318 404-802-5100 Mass Communications

Matt Underwood, Principal 820 Essie Ave., SE 30316 678-904-0051 Atlanta Preparatory Academy Lynnette Walker, Principal 569 Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. NW Atlanta, GA 30314 404-681-9633

Charles Richard Drew Charter Don Doran, Principal 301 East Lake Blvd., 30317 404-687-0001

Imagine Wesley International Academy, LLC Dr. Mridula Hormes, Principal 1049 Custer Avenue SE 30315 678-904-9137

KIPP STRIVE Academy

Banking, Finance & Investment

Dr. Charcia Nichols, Principal 404-802-4663 Early College

Dr. Vanessa Nason, Principal 404-802-4641 Health Science & Nutrition

Dr. Samuel Scavella, Principal 404-802-4667 Senior Academy

Tiauana Crooms, Principal 404-802-4603

Non-traditional Programs Crim Open Campus

Dante Edwards, Academy Leader

Andre Williams, Principal 256 Clifton St., SE 30317, 404-802-5800

Adult Literacy Program

Parent-community meetings: Council of Intown Neighbors and Schools (CINS) 7 p.m. January 11 Legislative Update Springdale Park Elementary

Noon March 30 Brandon Elementary

8:30 a.m. February 2 Centennial Place Elementary

Southwest and Northwest Atlanta Parents and Partners for Schools (SNAPPS) 6 p.m. January 24 Deerwood Academy

8:30 a.m. March 8 Grady High

6 p.m. February 28 West Manor Elementary

North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools (NAPPS) Noon January 26 Sutton Middle

6 p.m. March 28 Young Middle

Noon February 23 Sarah Smith Elementary

404-892-7733

School of Law, Government & Public Policy

Science, Engineering and Mathematics

Artesza Portee, Academy Leader

Atlanta Charter Middle

Dr. Frank Walker, Principal 404-802-5355 Byron Barnes, Principal 404-802-5345

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Charter Schools

Dean Leeper, Principal 98 Anderson Ave. NW 30314 404-668-8534

School of Health Science & Research

Jane Martin, Academy Leader

Business and Entrepreneurship

Ms. Evelyn Mobley, Principal 1325 Ralph D. Abernathy Dr., SW 30311, 404-755-7755

The Kindezi School

45 Whitehouse Dr., NW 30314 404-802-4600

Engineering, Science & Technology

West End Academy (11,12)

Esmie Gaynor, Principal 404-802-5360

Booker Taliaferro Washington

Tameka Alexander, Academy Leader

Tricia Rock, Principal 2930 Forrest Hills Dr., SW 30315 404-802-6950

School of Technology, Engineering & Science (STEMS at Therrell)

Dr. Richard William, Academy Leader

Business & Entrepreneurship

Forrest Hill Academy

Intown Academy Charter School Tangela Johnson, Principal 386 Pine Street Atlanta, GA 30308

Engineering/Early College Academy

Coretta Scott King High Ms. Melody Morgan, Principal 1190 Northwest Drive, 30318 404-802-4900

Jacquelyn Davenport, Principal 1444 Lucille Ave., SW 30310 404-802-3560

Ed Chang, Principal 1444 Lucille Ave., SW 30310 404-753-1530

KIPP West Atlanta Young Scholars (WAYS) Academy Kim Karacalidis, Principal 80 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., NW 30314 404-475-1941

KIPP Vision Charter School Steven Jones, Principal 660 McWilliams Road, SE 30315 404-537-5252

Neighborhood Charter School, Inc. Jill Kaechele, Principal 688 Grant St., SE 30315 404-624-6226

Tech High School Dr. Graysen Walles, Principal 1043 Memorial Dr., SE 30316 678-904-5091

University Community Academy Amber Jones, Principal 2050 Tiger Flowers Dr., 30314 404-753-4050

La informacion que se encuentra en esta edicion esta www.atlantapublicschools.us

***************** 2011 Parent Action Day 10 a.m. January 26 State Capitol, South Atrium


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24 — The Atlanta Educator Winter 2010

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PORTS the atLanta eDucator

ST RON G

F IN I SH South Atlanta’s Nick Jacobs wants a state title of his own By DaviD Lee SimmonS

It only took South Atlanta High center Nick Jacobs one season to step out from former teammate Derrick Favors’ formidable shadow. Now he really wants to shine. As a junior, Jacobs led his basketball team to the Class AAA quarterfinals last season. But that feat isn’t quite good enough — Favors led the team to a state title two years ago. Jacobs wants to finish on a strong note – with a state title – before moving on to the University of Alabama and (hopefully) the National Basketball Association. Under the leadership of Coach Michael Reddick, Jacobs already has posted impressive statistics, averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds a game last season. Now he also wants to be the kind of take-charge leader his teammates will respect and follow. “When you push the other players and you push yourself, you show them what’s the right thing to do both on and off the court,” said Jacobs, who stands 6-foot-8 and weighs a muscular 255 pounds. “I’m trying to get the younger players to come with me to the weight room and work out more, because it’s hard work that makes the difference on a team like this.” That work ethic has made a big difference for Jacobs, who plays close to the basket, beating opponents to rebounds on defense and ramming home dunks on offense. “I was in the weight room because I had a lot of body fat,” he conceded. “But when school started, I made certain See JACOBS Page 20

Photo by Langston Sandlin/Z3 Photography

Star center Nick Jacobs of South Atlanta will play for the University of Alabama.


Atlanta Educator: Winter 2010