October 13, 2012
In 2013, the new balanced calendar will shorten the summer by two weeks and spread breaks throughout the year.
School Board approves ‘balanced’ calendar for 2013 year Starting with the 2013 school year next fall, DeKalb Schools will have a “balanced” calendar that shortens the three-month summer break and spreads breaks throughout the school year. School also will start earlier on Aug. 5 and end later on May 29, 2014. The School Board voted 6-2 on Oct. 8 to change from the traditional calendar despite opposition from parents who completed a community survey on the district’s Web site. Of the more than 12,000 people who took an online survey, teachers were overwhelmingly in support of the balanced calendar. Parents, not so much. Fifty-nine percent of the 4,300 parents who took the survey favored keeping the
traditional calendar. Only 41 percent selected the balanced calendar. In contrast, 68 percent of the almost 5,800 teachers who took the survey wanted the balanced calendar. District 8 School Board member Donna Edler was among board members favoring the change. She said she was willing to make the concession because teachers shouldered the brunt of budget cuts this year. Districts 1 and 2 board members Nancy Jester and Don McChesney voted against the balanced calendar because of the number of parents opposing it. Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, who said she believes students forget too much during the traditional three-month summer break, said the new calendar will help address
the “summer brain drain.” “We must continue to challenge our students to achieve victory in every classroom,” she said. “This calendar will reduce the amount of time our children are away from our schools.” The approved calendar includes 180 days of instruction for students and 190 teachercontract days. The semesters are divided equally with 90 days of instruction for each. One of the 10 teacher-contract days is composed of four two-hour conference nights scheduled by each school during the year. With the balanced calendar, the first semester, including all final exams and end of course tests, will conclude prior to the winter break. In 2013, the new balanced calendar will
shorten the summer by two weeks and spread breaks throughout the year, including a three-day fall break from Oct. 7 to Oct. 9 and a four-day winter break added to President’s Day, from Feb. 18 to Feb. 21. Based on feedback, the spring break was moved to be in line with other metro districts. Spring break will be April 7-11, 2014. While the approved calendar has an earlier start date, it includes two additional weeks of vacation during the school year. The School Board cites balanced calendar successes in other metro districts like Rockdale County Public Schools, the City Schools of Decatur and Henry County Schools. The board’s vote does not include early release days, which will be an administrative decision.
Southwest DeKalb High alum wins $60,000 USDA Scholarship By Brenda Camp Yarbrough
Southwest DeKalb High alum Kadeem F. Hinton of Lithonia, a junior majoring in food science at Alabama A&M University, has been selected as a USDA/1890 National Scholar. The $60,000 scholarship covers the cost of the four semesters he has left to complete his degree. Hinton, who is miKadeem Hinton noring in chemistry, is provided with full tuition, fees, books, a computer, printer and applicable software as well as periodic employment during school breaks and summers. As a USDA/1890 National Scholar, he has agreed to provide one year of service to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each year
of financial support received. Hinton, son of Darryl and Susan Hinton, graduated from Southwest DeKalb in 2010. He said the science courses were the easiest for him when he attended DeKalb County schools. “It was my niche,” he said. “Science is a multidisciplinary subject area where I had to use knowledge I’d obtained from every course I took. Food science, I think, is a field that has a critical impact on society. However, many people have never heard of it.” Hinton, 20, said that it was not until he attended orientation and registration at Alabama A&M that he even knew that food science existed. He said he likes to think that Alabama A&M chose him. “I was drawn to AAMU historically, academically and financially,” he said. He was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship and a Freshman Food Science Scholarship.
Arabia team takes 2nd in science bowl The Arabia Mountain High Science Team placed second in the National Science Bowl competition last month. The contest took place during the 39th Annual Conference of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers in Washington on Sept. 27-28. The questions covered all areas of science; technology; engineering; mathematics; and African-American inventors, scientists and engineers. Each student received a trophy and a $125 gift card.
Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy from Michigan edged Arabia Mountain for first place in a tiebreaker round. Dr. Fred Okoh, who chairs Arabia Mountain’s science department, secured a $2,500 travel grant and helped prepare the team for competition. He expressed pride in his students and said they are looking forward to competing again next year. “This was an awesome performance,” he said. “Their performance is another validation of the excellent curriculum at Arabia Mountain High School.”
“Alabama A&M is also the only historically black college and university with a food science program accredited by the Institute of Food Technologists,” he said. “The College of Agriculture is the first and oldest at the university, and [“Roots” author] Alex Haley’s father, Simon, was a professor of agriculture at AAMU.” Hinton said that his mother, who now works for Emory Healthcare, is a former DeKalb substitute teacher who has “a deep and enduring passion for educating young children and has been a tremendous source of motivation and encouragement.” His father works in the trucking industry. “He is the reason I was not afraid to venture away from home and pursue what it is that I want in life,” Hinton said. He has two younger brothers – Jabari, a freshman at Arabia Mountain High School, and Malcolm, a fourth-grader at Marbut
Theme School. “I wanted to set the bar very high for them to show that if you stay focused and work hard, there is no such thing as a glass ceiling or box,” Hinton said. “Look at the current president of the United States.” He said that being a USDA scholar is not just a personal achievement because his DeKalb teachers and instructors, from kindergarten through high school, contributed to his success. “To me, it all begins with the teacher.” Hinton said he wants to excel so that he can provide life-changing opportunities for others. “As a child, I was always taught to give back,” he said. “One of the purposes for acquiring an education is to take what you have learned, apply it and pass it on so that someone can continue wherever you stop.”
Lithonia girl nabs two golf honors at Chateau Elan, finishing the Ayanna Habeel of Lithonia season with a 6-0 record. received two awards at the AtlanShe says watching Tiger ta Junior Golf banquet on Sept. Woods spurred her interest in 23 at Druid Hills Golf Club. the sport. The 11-year-old, who is a “My dad always says that sixth-grader at EastMinster golf is like life … there are School in Conyers, was named gonna be some good and bad, the 2012 Player of the Year 9 but always keep moving forHole Open Girls 7-18 and All Atward and believe in your abillanta Junior Golf Team winner. ity,” she said Tuesday. “Earning She has been playing golf for the Player of the Year award is five years. humbling and I give thanks to Ayanna, who is the daughter Ayanna Habeel of Anthony and Devyonne Habeel, placed God, my parents and my coach [Matt Adfirst at the Atlanta Junior Golf 9 Hole Classic ams] for believing in me.”
Scholarships for Students Without Mothers Qualified high school seniors can apply for a $4,000 scholarship from Students Without Mothers through Dec. 31. The nonprofit, founded by Mary Torrence in 2004, provides scholarships for college-bound seniors who lost their mothers to death, prison and other circumstances. Torrence lost her mother when she was 14.
Since its launch, the group has awarded 48 scholarships. Eligible seniors must be a current Georgia resident enrolled in a metro high school and planning to attend a two- or four-year institution of higher learning. For more information, visit http://studentswithout mothers.org.
Round-table talks on school issues Parents of McNair High students can talk with School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson at a round-table meeting on Oct. 15 as part of a series of meetings this month. An Oct. 6 story reported incorrect dates for the McNair and Tucker sessions. Parents can learn more about the status of current issues in the district as well as hear about initiatives launching in the school year. Parents also will be able to ask questions. The meetings take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on: n Oct. 15 at McNair High School, 1804
Bouldercrest Road S.E. in Atlanta; n Oct. 16 at Tucker High School, 5036 LaV-
ista Road in Tucker; n Oct. 23 at Redan High School, 5247 Redan Road in Stone Mountain; n Oct. 25 at Lithonia High School, 2440 Phillips Road in Lithonia; n Oct. 29 at Dunwoody High School, 5035 Vermack Road in Dunwoody. The parent forums replaces the previous parent advisory committees. Parents can submit their questions to Lillian_m_govus@ fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us.
CrossRoadsNews, October 13, 2012