09-14-18 Dunwoody Reporter

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SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018 • VOL. 9— NO. 19


Dunwoody Reporter


The virtual world moves into the classroom PAGE 15

College counselor Q&A PAGE 16


Fall 2018



Residents skeptical of proposed Roberts Drive development

Boning up for the BBQ contest

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

A developer’s proposal to build 10 houses on Roberts Drive for “empty nesters” is being met by overwhelming skepticism from residents who say the land across the street from the new Austin Elementary School is prime real estate for families with school-age children. Developer Curt Swilley, owner of Norcross-based Rock River Realty, and buildSee RESIDENTS on page 30


Grill master Biff Smith of Mobile Chef of Atlanta tends to some ribs during the Rotary Club of Dunwoody’s inaugural BBQ and Community Festival Sept. 8 at Perimeter Mall. The two-day event featured nearly 45 cookers, most competing for cash prizes and points in the Kansas City Barbecue Society’s national competition. The event also included live music and children’s activities.

ROBIN’S NEST Leafing through memories of a teacher’s lifelong influence

I think that a summer break is the one thing that helped get me through the monotony of the school year.

BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Should we change the school calendar?

Dunwoody Senior Baseball will help to pay for the upkeep of new city baseball fields it uses for tournament play in a first-of-itskind deal. The agreement between the city and DSB approved by the City Council at the Sept. 11 council states that beginning Jan. 1, 2019, the league will pay the city 10 percent of net revenue less than $100,000 generated by tournament rental fees. If DSB brings in a revenue from tournament rental fees over $100,000, the league will pay the city 15 percent of the revenue.


See BASEBALL on page 31

A 59-year-old Atlanta man

Page 13

OUT & ABOUT Act3 troupe brings on ‘Godspell 2012’

Baseball league to pay city for upkeep of fields

Page 8

2 | Community

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A Place Where You Belong

An illustration of a building planned for the proposed Dunwoody Green development. Dunwoody Green is expected to be the location for chefdriven restaurants that many residents say they want to see in the city.


The city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency voted Sept. 5 to a contract extension with Crim Development on its planned purchase of Dunwoody Green as the developer continues to seek tenants for the restaurant and retail space. Crim Development entered into an agreement Feb. 15 with the URA to purchase Dunwoody Green for $900,000. That agreement gave Crim Development six months to finalize its plans before closing on the deal in August. Economic Development Director Michael Starling said Crim Development requested an extension until Jan. 31, 2019, for more time to negotiate with tenants. Crim Development is seeking to construct 20,000 square feet of restaurant and retail on 2.5 acres in what’s designated at the city’s Project Renaissance urban redevelopment plan. A small park space at the center of the project is included in preliminary plans. The site is now dubbed The Park at Georgetown. The acreage, at the intersection of North Shallowford Road and Dunwoody Park, is part of the Dunwoody Green commercial site within the larger Project Renaissance development. The URA owns the property and the site is an extension of a public purpose of Project Renaissance, which includes the creation of parks, new residential units and a multiuse trail system. The Dunwoody Green part of Project Renaissance is intended to be a catalyst for additional development activity in the Georgetown area and North Shallowford Road Corridor. Crim Development, also known as Crim and Associates, is the Sandy Springs-based developer that proposed earlier this year building an industrial building at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads within the Dunwoody Village Overlay. Crim Associates in August withdrew its project from consideration by the Planning Commission following considerable community blowback from some residents angered by the project’s drastic alterations to the current “Williamsburg” architecture that Dunwoody Village is known for.

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Community | 3



The second meeting of a state board’s ad hoc study committee to review ambulance response times and service in Dunwoody and DeKalb County is slated for Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. at the fifth-floor conference room at DeKalb Fire Headquarters, 1950 W. Exchange Place, Tucker. FILE/JOHN RUCH During the Sept. 20 meeting, representatives An American Medical Response ambulance parked outside Dunwoody City Hall during a state board’s Aug. 9 meeting. from Dunwoody and other DeKalb cities will be allowed to make presentations outlining their concerns about current EMS service. AMR will also make a presentation of its work and how it has dealt with complaints of slow response times. DeKalb County officials and DeKalb Fire officials will also present any proposed changes to ambulance operations in DeKalb County. The study committee’s third meeting is set for Oct. 4 at a location to be determined. During this meeting the committee will finalize all documents and discuss recommendations and findings to give to the full Region 3 EMS Council. The Region 3 EMS Council, which advises the state Department of Public Health about setting ambulance contracts and zones, agreed last month to create the study committee to consider the creation of a new EMS zone after Dunwoody declared an “EMS Emergency” in May over poor ambulance response times. DeKalb County is also rethinking its ambulance service model after numerous complaints have been filed against AMR for failing to meet contractual response times. DeKalb’s contract with AMR expires Dec. 31.

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Kingswood United Methodist Church celebrated 50 years of ministry on Sunday, Sept. 9, with a special worship service, including former pastors and charter members. Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, leader of the North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, officiated and preached during the service. ERIC BOWLES The church held its first worship Beth Scarbrough and Rev. Jimmy Moor, Senior service on Sept. 8, 1968, in a classPastor from 1995 to 2003, were among those room in what was then Peachtree celebrating 50 years of ministry at Kingswood High School. The congregation was United Methodist Church on Sunday, Sept. 9. chartered with 76 members, eight of whom attended the Sept. 9 service. Before moving to its current location at the corner of Tilly Mill Road and North Peachtree Road in 1974, the congregation held worship services for a time at Chesnut Charter Elementary School, also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal issued a proclamation at the City Council’s Aug. 27 meeting proclaiming October as “Fine Art Month.” The proclamation recognizes the work done by the Dunwoody Fine Art Association, a local nonprofit that promotes fine art in the Dunwoody area and encourages artists to exhibit their art. The group also hosts lectures, workshops and exhibits. More information about the Dunwoody Fine Arts Association is at dunwoodyfineart.org.


A Dunwoody resident was recently confirmed as DeKalb County’s first human case of the West Nile Virus for 2018, according to the DeKalb County Board of Health. The patient, a male in his 20s, was reported as recovering at home. Last year, a 72-year-old man in Brookhaven was confirmed as having the virus. The Board of Health conducts a mosquito control program including testing mosquitos for the virus at numerous stations throughout the county. Mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile throughout the county. The Board of Health also works to place larvicide in areas with standing water, like in storm drains, and these control measures have been conducted in Dunwoody. Contact the DeKalb County Board of Health’s Environmental Health Division at 404508-7900 or visit dekalbhealth.net for more information.



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A Google map shows where 4470 North Shallowford is located near I-285.


BY DYANA BAGBY dyanabagby@reporternewspapers.net

Renovating a city building to provide police and parks space will cost over $100,000 more than expected, a consultant says. Renovation of the two-story city-owned building at 4470 Shallowford Road to provide extra space for the Police Department and Parks and Recreation Department will cost $755,000. That is more than $100,000 over the original estimate of nearly $632,000 presented at the start of the year. The mayor and City Council were presented the expected budget at the council’s Sept. 11 meeting by Eric Johnson of Comprehensive Program Services. The city hired Johnson to be its project manager for the project. Johnson was also project manager for the renovation of Dunwoody City Hall and is overseeing the Brook Run Park renovation project. Design documents for the annex building renovations are being reviewed by the city’s permitting staff and work is expected to begin after permits are approved, Johnson said. The expected completion date is by mid-December. The city decided to renovate the building to create more space for the Police Department after it was determined there was not enough room in the new City Hall, where most of the department is now located. The second floor of what is called the North Shallowford annex will include a conference room where police trainings will take place. The building also includes storage space for larger evidence items, such as bicycles and safes, according to city officials. Cars involved in investigations are processed by police in a bay at City Hall. The downstairs of the North Shallowford annex will include community rooms for recreation classes put on by the Parks and Recreation Department. There is also the potential for some of the space to be used as community rooms by local organizations. Parks and Recreation staff who oversee the recreation programs will be housed at the annex. Parks and Recreation Department Director Brent Walker’s office continues to be at City Hall. The renovation includes the replacement of one rooftop HVAC unit and adding a breakroom on the second floor. All carpet in the building is being replaced. Security at the building will include surveillance cameras and card readers for employees. The renovation includes repaving and restriping the parking lot. DUN

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018

Community | 5



Progressives group calls it quits


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The Perimeter Progressives logo on display at the February 2017 debut meeting in Dunwoody.






Perimeter Progressives, one of several regional political groups that rose in the wake of President Trump’s election, is calling it quits. The group, which drew more than 100 residents and elected officials to its debut meeting in Dunwoody roughly 18 months ago, said in a Sept. 4 farewell statement that the competition since then made it unnecessary. “In the fullness of time as these groups have matured and sharpened their focus, we knew that some of us had overlapping goals,” said the statement posted on Facebook. “In order not to dilute the finite energy needed to reach the results we strive for, Perimeter Progressives will discontinue operations.” Joe Seconder, the Dunwoody Democrat who founded Perimeter Progressives roughly 18 months ago, did not respond to a comment request. His name was not among those of the “executive board” that signed the farewell announcement. State records show the group formally dissolved on Sept. 7. At its founding, Perimeter Progressives was plainly Democratic, but presented as nominally open to centrist Republicans and independents who were turned off by Trump. Its debut meeting in February 2017 came as the special election for the 6th Congressional District seat was gearing up. The campaign manager for Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who would come surprisingly close to election in the nation’s most expensive Congressional election of all time, was in attendance. Also showing up were other candidates, City Council members from Chamblee and Dunwoody, and the then-president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. Newsletters indicate the group stopped meeting formally last fall. Since then, it has advocated various liberal causes and political positions on social media and suggested opportunities for demonstrations against U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, the Republican who defeated Ossoff for the local Congressional seat. The farewell announcement suggested other groups that Perimeter Progressives members might work with, such as Drinking Liberally and Indivisible.

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Local mayors chosen to help elect new transit board BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

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The mayors of Sandy Springs and Brookhaven have been selected to be part of a group that will elect board members to the new umbrella transit authority known as “The ATL.” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul was selected Aug. 29 to help elect the District 3 board member. Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst was chosen Sept. 10 to help elect the representative for District 5. “I’m excited about being part of the process that creates a truly regional transit system,” Paul said in a written statement. “It’s been decades in the making and will be decades more in achieving the ultimate goal, but this is an historic opportunity to play a role in expanding mobility and the continuing economic vitality of the metro region.” “Transportation is a complex issue that affects the entire region,” SPECIAL Ernst said in a press reA map shows the districts for “The ATL,” the new umbrella lease. “I am elated that transit authority. Parts of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Buckhead and Brookhaven are all included in District 3, the state of Georgia is shown in yellow. District 5, in light purple near the bottom, addressing the issue includes south Buckhead and parts of Brookhaven. holistically, and proud to play a role in The ATL’s direction and governance.” The selection is the first step to elect a district board member in a complicated series of internal votes. The ATL, or the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, is a new authority for 10 transit systems in 13 counties. It will have a regional governance board with 16 members serving four-year terms, who must be in place by Dec. 1. The ATL is tasked with coordinating existing and future transit service provided by MARTA, Xpress, CobbLinc, Gwinnett County Transit and others. District 3 includes most of Sandy Springs, Buckhead and Dunwoody and part of Brookhaven, along with a large chunk of Cobb County. District 5 includes south Buckhead and the rest of Brookhaven, along with most of Atlanta. Ernst and Paul were chosen in separate district mayoral caucuses. The caucuses included mayors from all the cities that are a part of the districts, even if only a small piece, including mayors of Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Doraville, Dunwoody, Marietta, Peachtree Corners, Sandy Springs, Smyrna and Tucker, among others, according to The ATL website. Paul and Ernst will be part of groups that will elect one person to serve on The ATL board for District 3 and 5. Those groups will include Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and state legislators and county commission chairs who represent any part of the districts. Sandy Springs is also part of Districts 1 and 2. Buford City Commission Chair Phillip Beard was selected as the District 2 representative Oct. 16, Haggard said. Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques was selected for District 1 on Aug. 22, he said. Paul has previously said that he would advocate for a board member to be from Sandy Springs or Dunwoody because those cities are central to transit in the Ga. 400 and I-285 corridors. The board members must be residents of the district “who possesses significant experience or expertise in a field that would be beneficial to the accomplishment of the function and purpose of” the ATL, the legislation said. State Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) said she has nominated a local transportation logistics expert to be the district’s ATL board member. The elections are planned to be held in October or November, said Scott Haggard, The ATL’s director of government and external affairs. Representatives will be similarly elected in the eight other districts. The full board will be joined by members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the state House of Representatives. The governor’s appointee will serve as the board chair. For more information, see atltransit.ga.gov.

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018




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8 | Art & Entertainment

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Friday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 14. Stage Door Players opens its 45th season with “A Red Plaid Shirt,” a play about two old friends who take on their retirement in very different ways. Marty wants to explore the open road on a Harley while Fred decides to pay more attention to his health, inventing many new ailments along the way. $15$33. North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Show schedule: stagedoorplayers.net.

Join us for a free concert on City Green

Sunday, September 23 at 7p.m. Home By Dark is a songwriters-in-the-round concert event. Hear the stories behind the songs and witness powerful performances. Experience how a “Song Can Change Your Life.”

Reserved seating and tables are available for purchase at citysprings.com


Friday, Sept. 21, 7:30-10 p.m. World-renowned bass-baritone Jesse Blumberg appears with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra at the Cathedral of St. Philip for a performance of Monteverdi’s “Songs of Love & War.” $10-$30. 2744 Peachtree Road N.W., Buckhead. Info: atlantabaroque.org.


Ongoing through Sunday, Sept. 23. A small group of people use games, storytelling techniques and comic timing to help Jesus Christ tell parables in “Godspell 2012,” the revised version of the original musical. $15-$30. 6285-R Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. Show schedule: act3productions.org.

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Thursday, Sept. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wes Yoakam returns to the Chattahoochee Nature Center with his high-energy show featuring acoustic covers of ’80s and ’90s music. Picnics welcome, cash bar. Included with general admission. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Info: chattnaturecenter.org.


Saturday, Sept. 22, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual festival is back this year with two days of an artist market, live music, cultural performances, a pet parade, chalk walk art competition, 10K and 5K races, children’s programming, classic rides, gourmet and festival food options. The festival is the primary fundraiser for Heritage Sandy Springs. Free. Heritage Green, 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. Info: heritagesandysprings.org.

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Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This two-day festival in the heart of Buckhead features the work of about 100 painters, photographers, sculptors, jewelers, glass and metalwork artists. Artist demonstrations, live acoustic music. Rain or shine. Free. Buckhead Village. West Paces Ferry Road, Peachtree Road and Roswell Road all converge in Buckhead Village. Map and other info: buckheadartsfestival.com.

Continued on page 10

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018




THE PLACE TO APPLAUD Event tickets are on sale now at citysprings.com

City Springs Theatre Company presents: 42nd Street September 14–23, 2018 Speaker Series: Col. Jill Chambers: “Veteran Empowered Care” September 22, 2018 Home By Dark September 23, 2018

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Facebook.com/TheReporterNewspapers ■ twitter.com/Reporter_News Continued from page 8


The Grace of Public Education

By Stacey Abrams

Saturday, Sept. 22, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Atlanta History Center’s annual fall family program focuses on barbecue traditions and features guests from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; grilling and craft demonstrations; a folk art marketplace; live music; storytelling; and hands-on activities at the Smith Family Farm, a preserved 1860s farmstead. Barbecue for sale; cash bars. Festival is included with general admission. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Buckhead. Info: 404-8144000 or atlantahistorycenter.com.

The Grace Public Education The Grace ofofPublic Education

My mother was eight years old when she dropped out of her segregated elementary school in Mississippi. And she didn’t plan on going back. But her neighbor, Miss Gert, had other plans. Miss Gert noticed my mom The Grace of Public Education around hopeless and penniless, gave her some odd jobs and y Staceyhanging Abrams By Stacey Abrams pocket money, and told her every single day that she was too smart to stop now. y motherMy was eight oldoldwhen shedropped dropped of her segregated mother wasyears eight years when she out ofout her segregated elementary school in Mississippi. And she didn’t plan on going But back. But When my mom finally took Miss Gert’s advice and summoned the SUKKOT FARM-TO-TABLE ementary school in Mississippi. And she didn’t plan up onback. going her neighbor, MisstoGert, hadshe other plans. to Miss Gertthird noticed my mom courage to go back school, expected repeat grade—and FESTIVAL r neighbor, Miss had other plans. Miss Gert noticed hanging hopeless penniless, gave her some oddnot jobs and my mom stick out asaround theGert, tallest girl inand class. To put it mildly: she was looking pocketto money, andafter told herpenniless, every single day that she tooshe smart forward that. But she walked in, she learned thatwas when nging around hopeless and gave her some oddtojobs and stop now. dropped out, one of her former teachers had written a note to the cket money, and told her every single day that she was too smart to principal: op now. When my mom finally took Miss Gert’s advice and summoned up the to Hall go back school,back she to expected repeat “Ifcourage Carolyn evertocomes school,to move herthird on tograde—and the next stick She’s out as smart the tallest girl inShe class. put it it.” mildly: she was not looking grade. enough. canTo handle hen my mom took Gert’s advice andwhen summoned up the forwardfinally to that. But afterMiss she walked in, she learned that she Sept. 30, noon to 4 p.m. dropped out, one of her former teachers had written a note to the That’s all it took. My mother went on to fourth grade and nine years later, urage to go back to school, she expected to repeat third grade—and Sunday, Chef demonstrations, farmers market, petprincipal: walked across the stage as valedictorian of her high school. And a ting zoo, and pickle-your-own veggies are ck out as the tallestlater, girlsheinwatched class.her Todaughter put itwalk mildly: shestage was quarter-century across the as not looking planned for this festival at the Marcus Jewish “If Carolyn ever comes back to in, school, her on that to the when next Avondale High in DeKalb County. rward tovaledictorian that. ButofHall after she walked shemove learned she Community Center of Atlanta. Sponsored by grade. She’s smart enough. She can handle it.” the Jewish Food Alliance. Free. MJCCA-Zaban opped out, one of her former teachers had written a note to the Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Info: atThat’s the power of public school and of teachers who care. And that’s lantajcc.org. That’s all it took. My mother went on to fourth grade and nine years later, Georgia’s fundamental responsibility is to guarantee access to public incipal: why walked across stage as valedictorian her high school. And a education for ourthe children—from cradle toofcareer. quarter-century later, she watched her daughter walk across the stage as f Carolyn Hallmany ever comes back school, move herin on to the next valedictorian of Avondale in to DeKalb County. We have caring publicHigh school teachers and “Miss Gerts” Georgia, people who are willing to run not just the extra mile, but a BROOKHAVEN BIKE ALLIANCE ade. She’s smart enough. She can handle it.” That’s the of public school and teacherswe who care. And that’s marathon forpower our children. However, we of can—and must—do a lot Ongoing Mondays, 6:30-8 p.m. whytoGeorgia’s fundamental responsibility is to guarantee access to public more support them. Join the alliance for bike rides every Monday night. Three levels of rides range from a for our children—from career. grade and nine years later, at’s all iteducation took. My mother went cradle on totofourth “Getting Started” 8-mile ride through nearFirst, we must commit to fully funding our public school system. Our alked across the stage as public valedictorian ofcuts, hercombined highGerts” school. by neighborhoods to “Fit and Fast,” a 20-mile We have many caring school teachers and “Miss schools endured 16 straight years of austerity withincost-And a route at an average 15-16 mph. All rides are Georgia, people whowatched are willing to runWe notmust just the extra mile, but a the stage as shifting to local districts and educators. reverse the trend, arter-century later, she her daughter walk across “No Drop,” meaning you won’t be abandoned marathon for our children. can—and we must—do lot through identifying additionalHowever, resourceswe and rolling back measures alike if you have a flat tire or fall behind. Start localedictorian of Avondale High in DeKalb County. more toprograms support them. voucher that only funnel dollars from public schools to private tion is the Savi Provisions market, 1388 Dresden Drive, Brookhaven. Info: facebook.com/ interests. First, we must commit to fully funding our public school system. Our at’s the power of public school and of teachers whowith care. And that’sgroups/BrookhavenBikeAlliance. schools endured 16 straight years of austerity cuts, combined costI am proud to be the only candidate in the race for governor who opposes hy Georgia’s fundamental responsibility ispublic to guarantee access to public shifting to local districts We our must reverse the trend, voucher-like programs thatand takeeducators. money from schools and hand through identifying additional resources and rolling back measures like it over to private schools, and I’m the only one with a proven track record ucation for our children—from cradle to career. programs thatschools. only funnel dollars from public schools to private ofvoucher defending our public interests. Second, caring we must engage children in a more holistic e have many publicourschool teachers and fashion “Misswith Gerts” in “PAINT THE PARK” I am proudservices, to be theincluding only candidate raceservices, for governor whoasopposes wraparound accessintothe health as well eorgia, people who are willing to run not just the extra mile, but a Sunday, Sept. 23, 1-4 p.m. voucher-like programs that take money from our public mental health support, and ESL assistance for children andschools parents.and Tohand Artists of all ages and skill levels arathon fund for our children. However, we can—and we must—do a lot it over to privateservices, schools,we andshould I’m the onlyaone with a proven track record wraparound adopt more comprehensive are invited to Blackburn Park to of defending our that public schools. education formula directly addresses the correlation between poverty, paint pictures of the park, and ore to support them. student social-emotional health, and educational outcomes. Wraparound volunteers with knowledge of Second,are wenecessary must engage our children in a more holistic fashion have with the services to ensuring that children born into poverty art are needed to judge the enand assist participants. wraparound services, including access to health services, as well as same path to success as any other child in our state. rst, we must commit to fully funding our public school system. Our tries Completed pieces will be dismental health support, and ESL assistance for children and parents. To played in the park near Ashfordhools endured 16 straight years of austerity cuts, combined fund we should adopt more comprehensive I’m notwraparound running for services, governor of Georgia to beathe “education governor,” I with costRoad until the event education formula addresses the correlation between poverty, running to be thethat “Public Education Governor.” Regardless of their ifting toamlocal districts anddirectly educators. We must reverse the trend, Dunwoody closes. The winning pieces will studentincome social-emotional health, educational Wraparound parent’s or zip code, everyand child in Georgiaoutcomes. deserves access to a be on display at City Hall and featured in rough identifying additional resources and rolling back measures likethen services areaffordable necessary education. to ensuringBy thatfully children born into poverty have the high-quality, committing to our public a 2019 City of Brookhaven calendar. Art supucher programs that only funnel dollars same path to success as any other child in from ourfrom state. plies and paper will be provided, but artists education system and engaging holistically cradlepublic to career,schools we can to private can bring their own easel and canvas. Free. guarantee that all of our children in Georgia, no matter their needs, have erests. theI’m 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. not of running forand governor of Georgia be the I kinds teachers neighbors in theirtolives that“education my mothergovernor,” had. Info: email annmarie.quill@brookhavenga. am running to be the Governor.” When that happens, be “Public assured Education that Georgia’s bold andRegardless ambitiousof their gov or call 404-637-0508. parent’s income or zip code,they every child in Georgia deserves access towho a notonly just survive: will m proudchildren to bewill the candidate inthrive. the race for governor opposes high-quality, affordable education. By fully committing to our public ucher-like programs take money from education system that and engaging holistically from our cradlepublic to career,schools we can and hand guarantee that all of our children in Georgia, no matter their needs, have track record over to private schools, and I’m the only one with a proven AN EVENING OF ART FEATURING the kinds of teachers and neighbors in their lives that my mother had. defending our public schools. ATL LATINO ARTISTS When that happens, be assured that Georgia’s bold and ambitious Friday, Sept. 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m. children will not just survive: they will thrive.


s eight years old when she dropped out of her segregated hool in Mississippi. And she didn’t plan on going back. But Miss Gert, had other plans. Miss Gert noticed my mom d hopeless and penniless, gave her some odd jobs and and told her every single day that she was too smart to

m finally took Miss Gert’s advice and summoned up the GET ACTIVE back to school, she expected to repeat third grade—and e tallest girl in class. To put it mildly: she was not looking . But after she walked in, she learned that when she ne of her former teachers had written a note to the

all ever comes back to school, move her onGET to the INTOnext THE COMMUNITY mart enough. She can handle it.”

ok. My mother went on to fourth grade and nine years later, the stage as valedictorian of her high school. And a y later, she watched her daughter walk across the stage as of Avondale High in DeKalb County.

wer of public school and of teachers who care. And that’s fundamental responsibility is to guarantee access to public our children—from cradle to career. VISUAL ARTS

y caring public school teachers and “Miss Gerts” in cond, we must engage our children in a more holistic fashion with eaparound who services, are willing runtonot theasextra includingto access healthjust services, well as mile, but a ental health support,However, and ESL assistance children and we parents. To ur children. we for can—and must—do a lot Paid for by Stacey Abrams for Governor.

An evening of art featuring Latino artists will be held in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month and Welcoming America’s Welcoming Week. The artwork of Contra-

punto, an Atlanta collective of six Latin American artists, and the winners of this year’s “Portraying the Undocumented Experience Art Contest” for high school students will be showcased. Hosted by Georgia4Immigrants and the Latin American Association, where the event will be held. Free. 2750 Buford Highway N.E., Brookhaven. RSVP: apascual@thelaa.org.


Mondays, Sept. 17 through Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. PALS (Perimeter Adult Learning Services) presents another eight-week series of Monday one-hour classes at Dunwoody Baptist Church. Among this session’s classes are “Game Changers” (women of the West, legends of baseball); “Heroes of the Holocaust”; “The Big Questions” (such as what happens after death); Black History; and an in-depth analysis of the upcoming midterm elections. $8 for one day of classes; $50 for the entire series. Lunch can be purchased in advance for $8 or brought from home. 1445 Mount Vernon Road, Dunwoody. Info: palsonline.org or 770-698-0801.


Monday, Sept. 24, 7-8:30 p.m. Learn about the different types of shade and how to successfully garden within each type in this installment of the North Fulton Master Gardeners’ Lecture Series at Lost Corner Preserve. $10. 7300 Brandon Mill Road, Sandy Springs. Register: friendsoflostcorner.org.


Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6:30-9 p.m. A 2010 French film loosely based on the story of a peaceful situation between monks and Muslims in Algeria until seven of the monks were kidnapped in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War will be shown at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church. A discussion facilitated by Catholic and Muslim moderators follows the film. Free. 1350 Hearst Drive N.E., Brookhaven. RSVP: mdannenfelser@ olachurch.org.


Thursday, Sept. 27, 6-9 p.m. This second annual benefit supports the Atlanta Homeward Choir, a nonprofit that invites people who are homeless or have ever experienced homelessness to come together, form community and sing around metro Atlanta. Drinks, food, music, silent auction. $50. Newell Brands, 6655 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Sandy Springs. Info: atlantahomewardchoir.org.

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018

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Our mission is to provide our readers with fresh and engaging information about life in their communities. Published by Springs Publishing LLC 6065 Roswell Road, Suite 225 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Phone: 404-917-2200 • Fax: 404-917-2201 Brookhaven Reporter | Buckhead Reporter Dunwoody Reporter | Sandy Springs Reporter www.ReporterNewspapers.net Atlanta INtown www.AtlantaINtownPaper.com Atlanta Senior Life www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com

C O NTA C T US Founder & Publisher Steve Levene stevelevene@reporternewspapers.net Editorial Managing Editor John Ruch johnruch@reporternewspapers.net INtown Editor: Collin Kelley Editor-at-Large Joe Earle Staff Writers Dyana Bagby, Evelyn Andrews Copy Editor: Donna Williams Lewis Creative and Production Creative Director Rico Figliolini rico@reporternewspapers.net Graphic Designer: Wes Duvall Advertising Director of Sales Development Amy Arno amyarno@reporternewspapers.net Sales Executives Melissa Kidd, Jeff Kremer, Janet Porter, Beth Smith, Jim Speakman Office Manager Deborah Davis deborahdavis@reporternewspapers.net Contributors Robin Conte, Alec Larson, Phil Mosier

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Community Survey / Should we change the school calendar? Don’t mess with the school calendar. That was the message from respondents to the Reporter Newspapers’ latest community survey when asked about the possibility of year-round school and how best to handle snow days. The survey was conducted by 1Q.com via cellphones to 200 residents in Reporter Newspapers communities. The results are not scientific. Strong responses came from one simple question: Should metro Atlanta students go to school year-round, with shorter breaks spread through the year, rather than employ a school calendar with a long summer break? “No,” a 32-year-old Atlanta man replied. “That is balderdash.” Many agreed with him. In fact, respondents were against the idea of year-round school by three to one. Some were strongly against. “No. Absolutely not,” a 37-year-old Dunwoody woman said. “Hell no! Children need down time and [to] focus on just playing and being kids. Year-round schooling is the dumbest idea ever,” a 42-year-old DeKalb County man said. “I think that a summer break is the one thing that helped get me through the monotony of the school year,” a 59-year-old Atlanta man said. “Without the break to look forward to, the entire year would be a seemingly endless year of the same. A summer break also takes on the realization of the fact that you’ve just hit the next level. That’s a true mental reward!” Advocates of year-round school, although vastly outnumbered, marshalled less emotional arguments in favor of the plan. A 70-year-old Brookhaven woman proposed that a school calendar with several breaks of about a month each spread throughout the year would benefit learning. “I feel children lose too much knowledge during three months off and the first four to six weeks of the start of school is for review. This is particularly true for early and middle school.” A 37-year-old Brookhaven woman argued a year-round school calendar should be designed “with balanced breaks throughout the year to give kids the downtime they need. The variable summer and school schedules are difficult to manage for working parents. The curriculum could be better paced and balanced.” Still, a long summer break was far and away more popular among respondents to the survey. “Kids need the summer off to travel, go to camp and do various other summer activities,” a 64-year-old Sandy Springs woman said. “I taught school for 36 years and when they started having fall breaks the kids were awful!” The survey also asked respondents about another perennial school scheduling question: how best to make up the unexpected days off that are universally known as “snow days.” Should the schools make up the time by adding hours to the day or days to the school year — or just forget about them? With last winter’s bad weather, local school districts tried a variety of those options. Given five possible answers, the largest group of respondents (38.5 percent) said the schools should let students work from home by declaring digital work days — an increasingly popular tactic with school districts. About half as many thought the days should be added to the end of the year (19.5 percent) or scattered throughout the year and added to holiday breaks (18 percent). Only 14.5 percent thought school districts should forget about the days, but an even smaller group, just 9.5 percent, thought the hours should be added to the end of other school days.

What is the best way for schools to make up for “snow days” and similar cancellations of classes?




38.5% 9.5%

During school closures, declare digital learning days so that students can do their school work at home on their computers.

Reschedule them all at the end of the school year, pushing classes back as far as necessary.

Add extra days throughout the year and shorten holiday breaks. Just forget about the lost days.

Add time to each school day until the cancelled days are made up. BE COUNTED IN OUR NEXT READER SURVEY 1Q is an Atlanta-based startup that has developed a technology which sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text message from businesses and organizations across the country. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity. Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting REPORTER to 86312.

Here’s what some other respondents had to say about a year-round school calendar “Children need down time and time with the parents. They need camps and summer activities. And the schools suck, so what good will it do?” – 50-year-old Sandy Springs man “Too many vacations are hard for working parents.” – 64-year-old Atlanta woman “A shorter break would be better — late June to mid-August. It gives kids some separation between years, some time to decompress and play, and to take classes or camp. Really, everyone gets stupid and lazy in the middle of summer — it just makes sense for students to skip that time.”

– 50-year-old Sandy Springs man “I do not believe going to year-round school calendars serves the children or families well. Children need to have time off from school and experience the joys of childhood summer. Also, it will create a completely different dynamic and schedule for both working and non-working parents. I do think it could be beneficial to have more structured activities in the summer so kids don’t get bored. Boredom can be an ugly monster in the making.” – 59-year-old Sandy Springs woman “[Year-round school should be imposed] only if they move to a four-day week, let

students sleep in more, and give periodic two-week breaks throughout the year.” – 25-year-old Brookhaven man “I think both options have positive and negative effects. Year-round school is great, as it allows smaller breaks throughout the year while also helping broaden the learning process to increase the amount of knowledge taught each year. However, some students learn differently and need a longer break. So it just depends on the student, but overall I do think year-round school has more benefits.” – 26-year-old DeKalb County woman

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018

Commentary | 13


Leafing through memories of a teacher’s lifelong influence “And tell me what those are, again?” my husband questioned me as we drove. “The ones with the pink flowers?” “Mimosa.” The tree, not the drink. Now, I don’t want to brag, but I do know a thing or two about trees. The mimosa, for instance, is a showy, quick-growing thing with fuzzy, pink cottoncandy-ish flowers. One of my favorite features of the tree is that its leaves will close up if you run your hand along them, just as they also close up at night. This I learned from doing a certain biology project when I was in the 10th grade, and now that another school year has officially commenced, I feel that it’s appropriate for me to reminisce about my own experience. I went to Clarkston High School, not all that far from the DeKalb County home in which I’m now living. My biology Robin Conte lives with teacher was a tiny, slim woman who barely cleared the top of her husband in an the lab bench and looked as if her first choice of career might empty nest in Dun- have been ballerina. I do wish I could remember her name. But I remember a good deal of what I learned in her class, woody. To contact her and that is mostly because she required us students to make a or to buy her new colleaf collection. We had to collect 50 leaves: gather them, label umn collection, “The them, draw an image of the tree from which they came, and Best of the Nest,” see write more scientific rigmarole that I don’t recall. robinconte.com. It was a challenge. The first 30 leaves were pretty easy to obtain. The next 15 were difficult. And the last five were excruciating. I remember that one friend lived near a gingko tree, and for three weeks she was the most popular girl in the 10th grade. We’d gather around her during lunch, panting, “You have a gingko? I’ll trade you two birch and a sycamore!” Through the whole leaf collecting and documenting process, I learned the names of a lot of trees, and much of that knowledge has stuck with me. Decades later, I have taken real pleasure in being able to impart that knowledge to my children, to walk them along a wooded path when they were young and curious and point out the reddish stem of a red maple or the wavy lobes of a white oak. I relished relaying the wondrous fact that a sassafras tree produces three different types of leaves: singlelobed, double-lobed (like a mitten), and tri-lobed. There’s a primal comfort in being able to call a tree by its name and in the connection to the natural world that familiarity creates. Once you have taken the time to learn the distinctions in the details of something as ubiquitous as the leaves that surround you, your appreciation for creation blossoms. And I don’t want to end this column sounding like a dotty old codger, but I hope that somewhere, in some classroom or in some dappled forest, there is a teacher showing leaves to a child and introducing them by name.

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Order the book at bestofthenest.net Follow Robin’s book-related appearances at robinconte.com. DUN

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14 | Community

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Construction of new amenities at Brook Run Park including a band shell and two multiuse fields could begin as soon as April 1, but the city still doesn’t know how it plans to pay the expected $7.5 million price tag. “When are we going to discuss how we are going to pay for this?” Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said at the Sept. 11 council meeting. Her question followed a presentation from Project Manager Eric Johnson of Comprehensive Program Services that showed the overall budget of the proposed additions and renovations at $7.5 million. City Manager Eric Linton told Deutsch and others that Finance Director Chris Pike was determining a way to pay for the Brook Run Park improvements and would present the options to the council Budget Committee before bringing the plan back to the full council. Mayor Denis Shortal also said he didn’t know where the money was going to come from. “I keep questioning the money. This is not cheap,” he said. The $7.5 million number is the same figure presented to the council in July when the council approved moving forward on the Brook Run Park design plans. Council members also asked then where the money was going to come from, but no answers were given. Deutsch said she had concerns about the $7.5 million figure because of how the new baseball fields at Brook Run Park went so far over budget. Johnson explained the city is undertaking the Brook Run Park project differently than the Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields by hiring him as the project manager and combining the design process with construction pricing. Lose and Associates was hired in February for $324,000 for the Brook Run Park design plans. Commercial builder Reeves Young was hired in April for $15,200 for preconstruction services. Both were selected after a public bid process. Lose and Associates has been working with Reeves Young since April to pinpoint the final price tag. Putting those two elements together enables him to provide the council with the $7.5 million “guaranteed maximum budget,” Johnson explained. With the baseball fields, the city paid a firm to design the fields and then separately put out a bid for construction. That process included last-minute changes to the design and unexpected construction costs when the bids were received, resulting in a final cost of $7 million — close to $3 million more than the city originally expected to pay. The fields were built between Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter Middle School after the city swapped the Dunwoody Park baseball fields with the DeKalb County School District to build a new Austin Elementary School. In return, the school district paid the city $3.6 million to help cover costs of the new fields. Reeves Young plans to provide the city a guaranteed maximum budget for approval in December. Locking in a budget by the end of the year ensures the city doesn’t have to deal with potential construction cost increases costs in early 2019, Johnson explained. The planned improvements at Brook Run Park are building two multiuse fields with artificial turf; renovations to the Great Lawn area including a band shell and terraced seating and a pavilion and restrooms; a new parking and picnic area adjacent to the Great Lawn; a new park entrance at Barclay Drive; an open play field adjacent to the Great Lawn; and a disc golf course. DUN

Education | 15

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Fall 2018


The virtual world moves into the classroom

Local legislators aim to prevent school shootings BY EVELYN ANDREWS evelyn@reporternewspapers.net

Local legislators are leading an effort to come up with potential solutions to a problem receiving greater attention nationwide: school shootings. State Sens. John Albers and Kay Kirkpatrick, two Republicans who represent parts of Sandy Springs, are serving on a Senate committee meeting coming up with ideas for school safety improvements that will be presented in a report in December. The committee, which is chaired by Albers, has met at several schools across the state, kicking off with a June meeting at North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs. Although school shootings have been occurring for decades, two of the deadliest occurred this year in Sante Fe, Texas, and Parkland, Fla. Those incidents inspired student-led movements calling for gun control measures and caused school districts to discuss new safety measures.


The first thing that strikes you is that you’re standing in mid-air, floating hundreds of feet above the towering buildings of a city. It takes your breath. Then you start to focus on the details. The city is New York. Familiar buildings and landmarks spread out around you as you glance about the city far below. New views and different buildings appear as you move your head or turn about. After a few minutes, the scene changes and you’re suspended high above London. Then Paris. Then other cities located around the world. You’re immersed in a high-flying tour of the planet that you’ve taken without an airplane. Welcome to virtual reality. This particular slice of it, this virtual tour of some of the world’s biggest cities, was produced for Google Earth and is one of the programs used to demonstrate the technology in the virtual reality lab at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Sandy Springs. Long the province of gamers and one of the regular Next Big Things touted in computer programming, virtual reality — or VR, as it’s often called — is moving into schools. Students in several local schools are donning computer-connected goggles to enter virtual worlds or using computer tablets or smartphones to blend the real with the computer-generated.


Continued on page 20

Mount Vernon Presbyterian School sophomore Alec Johnson enters a virtual world.

Continued on page 24

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16 | Education

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College Counselor Q&A


A four-year-old may ask constant “why” questions to understand the world.

How do I get into my dream school? Fall doesn’t just mean football and colorful leaves. It’s also college application season, the time that high school seniors are rushing to pull together packets of information about themselves that will assure their admission into their perfect colleges. That’s a lot of pressure. So we thought we’d ask a few local experts for a little help. We submitted five questions to local school counselors. Here are their responses. STEVE FRAPPIER is director of college counseling at The Westminster Schools. He is a co-recipient of the National Association of College Admission Counseling’s 2018 Excellence in Education Award.

you’re 18 to 22 years old? And in what sized campus and city? Most students change their majors multiple times; as academic interests evolve, is the course catalog large enough to accommodate potential shifts? A college’s ranking has never delivered anyone success; your feeling of belonging will be that guide. Every day in my work, too, I reflect on being a first-generation college attendee, and one’s instincts are an important guide, too.

Q: How many schools should I apply to?



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Q: What’s the best way to make my application stand out?



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Q: How do I decide what college is right for me?


The phrase “the right college” deserves a deeper look, because, ideally, all colleges on a student’s list should be contenders for enrollment. It’s important to establish and discuss essential characteristics with your family — and to revisit those parameters as you continue to grow and evolve during senior year. Academic programs, cost, distance, and envisioning your surroundings (your new home) all play important roles. What personalities and activities do you want around you, while

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Education | 17

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• Write truly and authentically — and proofread. • Refuse to let too many well-intentioned adults “get in your head,” or worse, handle your application materials. This should be your set of applications and your rite of passage. When I worked in admissions, one of the phrases that I used when I sensed an overworked application: a hammered-down nail doesn’t stick out.


what I’ll master today?

Q: Should I take the SAT or ACT or both?

Inspiring students through 8th grade.

A: About one-third of Georgians in the

Class of 2019 took the PSAT as juniors, and of this group, many students knew from their PSAT score whether they were likely to continue with the SAT, or if they were willing to try the ACT. All American colleges accept both tests equally, with ACT being more popular than the SAT as of 2016. For those taking both the ACT and the SAT, check out the brand-new percentile comparison charts from the testing agencies, to determine which score is your best to send.

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Q: Should I take an SAT prep course?

A: How a student familiarizes with a

test — of any kind — is a personal decision. Tutoring is not a mandate in this process, and nationwide, most student do not seek a tutor due to financial restrictions. There are worthwhile and free online resources provided by Khan Academy (for the SAT) and by ACT Academy. Some students do crave the structure of an individual or group class; others might want to try a test on their own before seeking out help toward reaching a target score. For seniors who are testing or retesting this fall, it’s a matter of managing your calendar and registering ahead of time for the ACT (remaining dates in September, November, and December) and the SAT (remaining dates in October, November, and December) in order to meet colleges’ deadlines, which are often by early January. My main advice is to keep the process in perspective. The college process boils down to three kinds of decisions: where to apply, where a student is admitted, and where to enroll. The applicant is in complete control of two of these three, yet we often lose sight of how much agency young people have due to anxiety about the “getting in” part.

Continued on page 18 DUN

Bright, young minds

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Trinity is elementary only, age three through Sixth Grade, by design. Research reinforces our belief that this configuration best supports children’s growth and development. Our entire focus – expertise, facilities, resources – is devoted to these young learners and helping them flourish. Experience Trinity firsthand at an Open House. October 25, 2018 November 13, 2018

December 5, 2018 January 9, 2019

Each Open House begins at 9:30 AM. To RSVP or for more information: 404-231-8118 or trinityatl.org

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College Counselor Q&A Continued from page 17 SHAMONA HARRELL is head school counselor at Riverwood International Charter School

Q: Should I take an SAT prep course?

A: We first advise students to do a little self-reflection. If they are very disciplined and will set aside weekend hours to practice sample test questions available on the internet, they can benefit tremendously from this at no cost. Practicing questions and reviewing the answers is a great start. Secondly, Riverwood offers test prep classes at a minimal cost. Thirdly, students can pay for test prep through several local companies and private tutors.

TYLER SANT is director of college counseling at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School

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A: As counselors, we advise students to consider multiple factors while developing their prospective college lists. These factors include school type (public, private, two- or four-year), size, location and climate, travel distance from home, cost (tuition, room and board) and availability of scholarships, available majors and special interests, acceptance rate, etc.

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A: Some students know exactly where they want to apply; others want to develop a broader list to include a wider range of colleges. An average list typically includes six to eight colleges covering various cost and admission ranges.

Q: What’s the best way to have my application stand out?

A: Students are advised to meet the application deadlines and that includes deadlines for all supporting documentation. Secondly, the student’s short answer essays or personal statement as well as teacher recommendations can truly help the student stand out among multiple students applying for the same spot in a freshman class. We like to be able to learn about the student from reading their essays. Thirdly, we advise students to make sure senior grades are maintained at the highest level possible.

Q: Should I take the SAT or ACT or both?

A: We typically recommend students take at least one real SAT and one ACT to determine if they prefer one test over the other one.

Tyler Sant

Q: How do I decide what college is right for me?

A: Finding what college is right for you requires both research and self-reflection. Knowing yourself is just as important as knowing something about a variety of colleges. Once you have an idea of what’s important to you — the things you might want to study, the types of people you want to be around, the sort of environment in which you feel comfortable — you can begin to match colleges to those criteria. And there’s no one-and-onlybest-fit college. Keep an open mind and explore broadly. You’ll find many colleges where you can be happy and successful.

Q: How many schools should I apply to?

A: There’s no right or wrong answer to this (unless you’re applying to a huge number of schools with little understanding of how they might be a good fit; in that case, that’s a wrong answer). The college counseling team at HIES encourages students to apply to anywhere from two to eight colleges, de-


SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net pending on the likeliness of admission and the timing of the applications. A thoughtful student might begin senior year with a longer list of schools in mind but prioritize their top choices for earlier deadlines. If you get good news early from a school that you love, you might not end up sending additional applications afterward. We have students every year who only send one application, though most of our seniors send four to six.

and ACT once, assuming you have time during your junior year to do so without feeling rushed. For students who are short on time or just would prefer to head in one direction and stick with it, take a full-length mock exam for each and see which you perform better on. If your scores are indistinguishable, pick the exam that felt most comfortable to you. While each exam tests similar content, the actual exam experiences are different.

Q: What’s the best way to have my application stand out?

Q: Should I take an SAT prep course?

A: I would argue that the best way to have your application stand out is to avoid trying to make it stand out. Don’t prepare the application that you think the admission office wants; prepare the application that is true to you. Play to your strengths and highlight the things you sincerely care about, academically and beyond. Remember to think of the application as one complete package. Each component presents an opportunity to introduce something about yourself. Don’t trade an opportunity to share what’s important to you in favor of something you think will be more “impressive” or stand out.

Q: Should I take the SAT or ACT or both?

Education | 19

A: Students who prepare for the SAT or ACT perform better on these tests than students who do not. However, the type of preparation I would recommend depends largely on the student and the family. In-person test prep, whether in a class or one-on-one, can be very effective. It can also be expensive. An organized student who is willing to hold herself accountable to a schedule can see significant gains through free online test prep via Khan Academy for the SAT or the new ACT Academy. No student should walk into the ACT or SAT feeling unprepared. Take advantage of the free resources available to you and consider additional prep when possible.

A: It’s not a bad idea to take both the SAT

Children have BIG ideas. At Mount Vernon, we believe when teachers know their students’ curiosities and passions, incredible things can happen.

Learn more about Mount Vernon at mountvernonschool.org/learn DUN


DEC 1 12:30-2:30pm

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ABOUT THE PHOTO: In the spring, Middle School students explored CONSERVATION through an Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) study tour to Switzerland.

The virtual world moves into the classroom Continued from page 15


Mount Vernon students with teacher Marie Graham. From left, Robbie Long, Bryce Jones, teacher Graham, Justin Blumencranz, Porter Slayden.

They’re taking virtual field trips to faraway places, learning about the lives of refugee families or studying the inner workings of volcanoes. Some are making their own VR products for use by others. “VR in education is still fairly new,” said Marsha Maxwell, head of educational technology for the Atlanta International School in Buckhead. “We’re looking at the ramifications and how to use it.” It’s catching notice. “It really captures students’ attention, and they really enjoy something they can [interact with],” Maxwell said. “They don’t just have to be consumers.” Maxwell likes to refer to virtual technology as “XR” instead of “VR,” in order to include the variety of types of alternative realities made possible through computers. “It’s many different platforms,” she said, including “AR,” or “augmented reality,” which adds to the real world, and “MR,” or “mixed reality,” which mixes AR and VR, she said.

Ellis Thomas, St. Pius X Catholic School social studies teacher.

Although some teachers who have tried device-based virtual lessons in their classrooms say they don’t think the programs add much, others are enthusiastic about the possibilities. “It’s pretty cool,” said St. Pius X Catholic School social studies teacher Ellis Thomas, who last year led four 22-student history classes on a virtual tour of Versailles when they were studying King

Open House Open House November 9, 2018 November 9,2019 2018 January 26, January 26, 2019 www.heritageprep.org 1700 Piedmont Avenue, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324 www.heritageprep.org (404) 815-7711 1700 Piedmont Avenue, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30324 (404) 815-7711


Marsha Maxwell, head of educational technology for Atlanta International School.


Education | 21

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net Louis XIV. “It’s pretty cheap, too. Normally a field trip to France costs several thousand dollars.” Thomas said he could direct the students and lecture to them as they toured the French king’s home and its gardens using material made and provided by Google. He also used Google tours of battlefields from World War I and II, he said, and this year he’s thinking about leading his American history students on virtual tours of Civil War battlefields. “It’s not something you would teach with every day,” he said, “It’s kind of a supplement. But sometimes I think the VR field trips are more useful than the usual museum field trips [because they provide] the sense of being there and seeing everything to scale. It’s fairly compelling for the kids.” Students remember what they’ve encountered in the virtual world, said AIS’s

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Mount Vernon Presbyterian School teacher Marie Graham.

Maxwell, who studied behavioral neuroscience for her doctorate. “I can read all I want about how a dinosaur moves,” she said, “but if I’m walking with one through a virtual forest, it’s very different. … The whole thing is about applications. It’s not about having experiences but how do I augment my learning?” In other words, the technology may be entertaining, but content matters. “As long as you have clear objectives, it can really add to [learning],” Maxwell said. “It’s all down to having a good teacher in the end.” VR also offers students a chance to experience places and people they might not otherwise encounter. “It seems to me to be a great way to help kids understand perspective,” Maxwell said. “With virtual reality, you really get to walk in someone else’s shoes and Continued on page 22

At St. Martin’s, preschool through eighth grade is more than school. It’s an experience. One dedicated to graduating individuals who are ready to wholeheartedly embrace life. Learn more about how we create a well-balanced educational experience for students:    

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Open House Nov. 4, 2018 | 2-4 p.m.

3110-A Ashford Dunwoody Rd. | Atlanta, GA 30319

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The virtual world moves into the classroom

Explore, connect, create change for a better world. A welcoming community with local roots and global reach, composed of families from over 90 countries. • Full-immersion preschool and partial immersion primary programs in French, German, Mandarin and Spanish • International Baccalaureate curriculum, Grades 3K - 12 • Innovative design technology core classes

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A student experiences virtual reality at Atlanta International School.


www.aischool.org Continued from page 21

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you get to see what someone else sees.” Marie Graham, director of Mount Vernon’s virtual and augmented reality lab and teacher of a 15-student VR course, believes immersive technology offers a way for students to learn empathy. One VR program she has used, she said, followed refugee families. Students who went into in their world virtually, she said, left it with opinions that differed from the ones they had held before. “The kids said, ‘They’re like us.’ I said, ‘yes.’ Then I realized [the students’] language about refugees had changed. I thought, do we harness HR.pdf this and1 SJA‘How reporter ad 4.94x4.08

use it?’ ” One answer was the VR design lab she directs. Through the lab, Mount Vernon students develop virtual reality projects for use by others. They put one together for the Center for Civil and Human Rights to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death. Another project is designing a program to teach math and science and “basic concepts” to children in a school in a small rural village in India, Mount Vernon senior Bryce Jones said. Still another VR lab project is to design a program for pediatric rehabilitation patients at Children’s Hospital of At-


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are outperforming the top quartile of independent school students on standardized testing.

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Education | 23

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

A student experiences virtual reality at Atlanta International School.

lanta, Graham said. One idea is to create a virtual experience where a patient will feel like he or she is riding a bike. “When you’re biking with the goggles on,” said sophomore Robbie Long, “it’ll feel like you’re actually in a place. We can put it in any environment.” Graham says her class attracts students of various types, from techies to

filmmakers. She saw the importance of bringing VR technology into schools when she experienced it herself. “This is the technology that is taking off … in our world right now,” she said. “This is not going away.” At the same time, using VR in the classroom can help reclaim a technology more often associated with enter-


Students at Holy Spirit Preparatory School study volcanoes using “augmented reality.”

tainment than education. “Games can be very destructive,” she said. “This is taking that technology and saying, ‘How can we use it for good?’ I love that the kids can have an impact. … I want them to be the people that do and not just think about doing.” And it can change their view of the world.


Last year, one of her classes was reading a book about India. She couldn’t take them on a field trip to see a city there, she said, but she could take them to the VR lab. They donned the goggles and flipped on the Google video. Soon, they were flying about Mumbai.

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Local legislators aim to prevent school shootings Continued from page 15 Albers and Kirkpatrick said they don’t know exactly what recommendations the committee may make in its final report. But they said they will generally fall into three areas: prevention, building security and response, and possible new legislation or funding. Kirkpatrick said she views prevention as vital, but possibly the most difficult. Adding more door locks and putting armed officers in schools are “straightforward, but expensive,” Kirkpatrick said. Trying to figure out how to intervene with a possibly troubled or violent student is much more complex, she said. “That is a whole other level beyond just requiring clear backpacks,” Kirkpatrick said. Training teachers, counselors and school nurses to recognize those signs is important, she said. Schools could also implement bullying prevention measures, Kirkpatrick said. Kirkpatrick, who is a physician, said her profession has given her more interest in how to help “high-risk” students who are isolated or have a difficult home life.

“The difficult part is figuring out how to connect them to services without spotlighting them,” Kirkpatrick said. She said she hopes to hear more presentations on prevention before they need to make their recommendations. Strengthening the response to incidents may include adding budget funds for providing schools with trauma kits, which typically include tourniquets and bandages, Kirkpatrick said. One idea not currently on the list is arming teachers, Kirkpatrick said. The committee has substantially discussed it, but police officers discouraged the idea in presentations, she said. “When law enforcement comes in and people are waving guns around, they don’t know who’s who. It makes their job harder,” she said. Albers said Georgia is fortunate to not have had a major school shooting incident, as many other states have. At the same many who have provided input to the committee say they want to be prepared, Albers said there is “certainly concern” from people who are afraid an attack could happen. He said he has his own concerns as a parent of a student attending Roswell High School. Grace Truax, a student at Centen-

nial High School, spoke at the Sandy Springs meeting and said she believes every student at her school has thought about what they would do in the event of a shooting. “I run this drill quite frequently with myself, but I never know if I’ll survive,” Truax said, according to the meeting video. Garry McGiboney, the Georgia Department of Education’s deputy superintenEVELYN ANDREWS dent of external Shannon Flounnory, the Fulton County School District’s director of affairs, said at that security, speaks at an Aug. 6 Rotary Club of Sandy Springs meeting. meeting that while many student violations are decreasdents know what to do during an emering, bringing handguns onto school gency and 82 percent reported feeling property is on the rise. Most of the safe at school. handguns were brought from home, However, the number that concerns McGiboney said. McGiboney is that only 78 percent In the latest student survey, the deknow an adult in school to ask for help. partment found that 88 percent of stu“If we don’t have the trust of the stu-


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Education | 25

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Inspiring Early Learners through 12th grade

Opportunities in arts, academics, and athletics

State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick.


dents to tell us what’s going on in the school, we’re operating blind,” he said. Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone said at the meeting that he believed that discussing some type of gun control law is needed, according to a meeting video. “Having school safety talks and not talking about gun legislation is probably like talking about the Civil War and not talking about slavery,” he said. Sandy Springs Fire Chief Keith Sanders encouraged the committee to recommend safer school designs, such as having doors with no windows and creating better escape routes. For a model of how to improve school safety, Albers said that they don’t have to look any farther than the Fulton County School District, which Albers’ district covers. He said they are talking with districts across the U.S., however. “They have certainly been ahead of the curve,” Albers said of Fulton schools. Fulton has implemented security measures such as locked front entrances, security cameras, a management system to record visitors and more school resource officers. It also is launching a mobile app that students can use to anonymously report incidents or concerns, Shannon Flounnory, Fulton school’s director of security, said during a presentation at an Aug. 6 Rotary Club of Sandy Springs meeting. The Fulton school district now has 70 sworn officers, adding six earlier this year. The DeKalb County School District has 73 resource officers, with plans to hire 10 more by October, the district said.

The Senate School Safety Study Committee plans to meet two more times at schools. The next meeting will be held Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. Chamblee Charter High School before the final meeting in Savannah. For more information, gasenatek12safety.com.


State Sen. John Albers.


The Fulton officers train with local law enforcement to coordinate on how to neutralize any active shooter threat, Flounnery said. But he also puts a focus on learning de-escalation and crisis intervention tactics. “Often the tools officers need are not on their duty belt,” he said. Despite the increased discussion about school security and the recent major shootings, Flounnery said students are not in more danger at school. “Schools are still the safest place for kids to be. Without a doubt,” he said.

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New faces at local schools Marist School starts the school year with a new president and a new principal. Father William Rowland was named president of the school and Kevin Mullally named principal earlier this year. Rowland had been serving as acting president prior to his appointment. Mullally started the 2017-18 school year as vice principal and academic dean and in the past had served as the dean of the faculty and assistant dean of students.

The Galloway School has a new head of school. James Calleroz White, who started at Galloway on July 1, had worked the previous five years at Louisville Collegiate School in Kentucky. “I am so excited to be here,” he told about 700 parents, alumni and other school supporters who attended a welcome cookout Aug. 24. “I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for a school like this. The feeling of warmth and kindness, as well as a clear love for learning, is amazing.”

Springmont School named Jon Aldean its new head of school, effective July 1. Aldean most recently worked as the head of the Nantucket New School. Springmont, located in Sandy Springs, was founded in 1963 and claims to be the oldest Montessori school in the southeastern U.S.

OPEN HOUSE Sunday, December 2, 1– 4 p.m.

Share in the Spirit

Success in School … Success in Life

Serving grades 7–12, Marist School provides an education where achievement exists within a spirit of humility and generosity. Students are challenged by an extensive college-preparatory curriculum while an array of extracurricular activities inspire exploration and uncover hidden talents. Through it all, students gain a unique strength of character and skill and a joy of serving others that prepares them to be compassionate, confident leaders.

Come visit to experience Marist’s spirit yourself.

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“If a student can’t learn the way we teach … we should teach the way a student can learn.” –Tweetie L. Moore, Founder

An Independent Catholic School of the Marist Fathers and Brothers

770-360-1336 • millsprings.org

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net

Education | 27

Atlanta Public Schools posted new principals to several Buckhead schools at the start of the school year. Jay Bland is the new interim principal at Morris Brandon Elementary School. He worked for the three years as the assistant principal at Morningside Elementary School. Emily Boatright is the new principal at Sarah Smith Elementary School. She most recently served as dean of academics for grades three through six at Westside Atlanta Charter School. Anita Lawrence is the new principal of Bolton Academy. She most recently served as Primary Years Program principal at Wesley International Academy, an APS charter school where students receive daily lessons in Mandarin. Atlanta Classical Academy, a public charter school in Buckhead, named Chris Knowles its new principal. Knowles had served most recently as Head of the Upper School at the Westminster School at Oak Mountain, an independent K-12 classical school in Birmingham. “The board sees in Mr. Knowles a capable leader who will advance our mission and serve as the intellectual leader of the faculty and the principal teacher of the school,” said the board’s chair Matthew Kirby. “He will support our growing arts, athletics and activities programs, and manage the affairs of the whole with both a firm sense of what is right and a humble demeanor.” Holy Spirit Preparatory School has named Kristina Wilhelm director of its preschool. She will continue to work as director of admissions, the school said.

BEYOND EXPECTATIONS At Galloway, students (age 3-grade 12) are inspired to be fearless learners, to embrace challenges, and to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

To learn more and register for an admissions tour, visit


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The American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees Local 1644 and the Georgia Federation of Public Service Employees recently presented Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen with a 2018 Georgia Superintendent of the Year Award. “Her leadership is bold and inclusive,” said Demetric Bishop, executive director of GFPSE. “Dr. Carstarphen is the best Superintendent in the state of Georgia and our students and community are blessed to have her.”


The DeKalb County School District has set three public meetings to gather input on upcoming redistricting for the Cross Keys cluster in Brookhaven as a new elementary school prepares to open next year. The three meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Cross Keys High School, located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road, on Oct. 2, Oct. 23 and Nov. 27, according to a press release. The redistricting effort will address the additional capacity that will be created by the new John R. Lewis Elementary opening in Brookhaven, as well as the overcrowding of existing elementary schools in the Cross Keys cluster, the release said. The new school is expected to open in Brookhaven in time for the 2019-2020 school year. Lewis Elementary is currently temporarily housed in North Druid Hills at the former location of the International Student Center. Schools affected by the redistricting may include Ashford Park Elementary, Dresden Elementary, John R. Lewis Elementary, Montclair Elementary, Montgomery Elementary, Woodward Elementary, Chamblee Middle, Sequoyah Middle, Chamblee High and Cross Keys High, according to the release.


Atlanta Jewish Academy attracted a record number of students for the 2018-19 school year, the school announced. The 675 students enrolled in the school this year represent 22 synagogues, 13 countries and 35 ZIP codes spanning Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and other areas of metro Atlanta, the school said. AJA was created by the 2014 merger of Yeshiva Atlanta High School and Greenfield Hebrew Academy.

CRIST O REY S T U DENT S CO M P L ET E INT E RNS H IP S AT L ENBRO O K Six seniors from downtown Atlanta’s Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School recently graduated after successfully completing their internship at Lenbrook senior living community on Peachtree Road in Buckhead. Between 2015 and 2018, student teams of four worked closely with Lenbrook’s associates in the marketing, human resources, concierge and enrichment departments and with associates in the health center. In addition to providing business experiences, Lenbrook added “Mentoring Mondays” to the interns’ schedules: each student was paired with a resident to talk about career choices and life experiences.

ST . P IU S X VO L L EY BAL L T EAM W INS HO NO R FO R ACADEM ICS For the fifth year in a row, the American Volleyball Coaches Association has honored the St. Pius X Catholic High School volleyball team for academic excellence, the school announced. The team, honored for academics during the 2017-18 school year, has won the award eight times overall, the school said in a press release. The award honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.3 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.1 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018

Classifieds | 29


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Illustrations of the houses proposed to be built by Cowart Residential on a proposed development for Roberts Drive.


Continued from page 1

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er Dean Cowart explained to about 50 people at a Sept. 10 community meeting their proposed plans to build 10 custom-designed houses on about three acres at 5318 and 5328 Roberts Drive. Two houses currently sit on the site located behind the Swancy Farmhouse. They said they want to target buyers 55 and older by building all the houses with a master bedrooms on the main floor. Senior residents tend to prefer one-story homes or houses with master bedrooms on the main floor so they can avoid climbing steps. Swilley and Cowart said their proposed project would fill an unmet need in the city for more senior residential housing. The proposed two-story houses would include three bedrooms on the second floor (that could be used by grandchildren, according to Cowart), two-car garages and small yards that don’t require much maintenance. Prices for the houses are expected to be about $700,000. But the proposed development’s price range and location across the street from the new 900-seat Austin Elementary School expected to open in 2020 would make the proposed houses attractive to families who want their children to attend the school, many people said at the meeting. Three bedrooms on the second floor would just make the houses that more inviting for people with families to buy, several people added. The idea of restricting purchase of the homes to people only 55 and older is an idea Cowart said they are willing to consider as part of their proposed rezoning request expected to be submitted to the city in early October. Dunwoody officials have faced in recent years an apparent desire for more master bedrooms on main residences for the city’s aging population.

A 2018 community survey showed the city scored low for senior housing options, leading Mayor Denis Shortal to say at a May council meeting there needs to be more residences with master bedrooms on the main floor built in the city. Two years ago, the mayor and City Council approved rezoning slightly more than eight acres of property on Dunwoody Village Parkway to make way for a 79-unit townhome development. As part of that rezoning, the city mandated 10 percent of the units have master bedrooms on the main floor specifically to meet the growing demand of the city’s older residents. Cowart and Swilley said they didn’t expect the pushback they were receiving at the Sept. 10 meeting because they believe their proposed project would fill an unmet need in the city. “I’m surprised the community has not embraced this master on the main product,” Cowart, a Dunwoody resident, told the crowd at the Sept. 10 meeting. “I think this is an opportunity … to help people aging in our community. I think there is a need for master on the main,” said Swilley, who also lives in Dunwoody. People living the Fairfield subdivision adjacent to the proposed development also voiced concerns about storm water drainage. Ethan Underwood, attorney for the proposed development, said plans include building a new retention pond as part of the project. A traffic study has not been completed for the proposed project because it so early in the process. Cowart said other studies show older residents tend not to drive during peak times or as much as their younger neighbors. DUN

SEPTEMBER 14 - 27, 2018

Community | 31


Baseball league to pay city for upkeep of fields Continued from page 1 The money will be used to pay for upkeep of the fields, especially the artificial turf. This is the first time DSB has been required to pay any of its revenue to the city, said President Jerry Weiner. “We’ve never been asked to pay a tax like this,” he said, adding the league has always put any money made back into the program. Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker said after the meeting that DSB made about $60,000 last year. The fee structure in the new facilities agreement is expected to capture the expected increase in revenue the new fields will bring to help pay for their maintenance, he said. Weiner said there are more than $200,000 in capital projects to complete on the fields that DSB will be paying for, including adding shade structures. As part of the facilities agreement, anything DSB spends on capital improvements will go toward fulfilling the 10 percent payment to the city. DSB has been around since 1975 and is a league for middle school and high school boys and young adult men. When the City Council agreed two years ago to sell the old baseball fields at Dunwoody Park to DeKalb Schools to build a new 900-seat Austin Elementary School, the city was faced with finding DSB a new home. Two new fields were built for about $7 million between Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter Middle School and opened earlier this year. Since they’ve opened, the fields have been packed with DSB leagues as well as tournaments sponsored by national baseball organizations. The fields’ location on North Peachtree Road has increased DSB’s visibility, and its public scrutiny. Some residents and Councilmember John Heneghan have argued the fields need to be made available to other sports, such as girls’ softball. Weiner told the council Sept. 11 that DSB is considering starting a girls’ baseball league. Weiner told the council he expects to charge more for organizations to host baseball tournaments at the new baseball fields but doesn’t know how much the new rates will be. The new fields are attracting national attention and Weiner said he expects to be able to get a “premium price” to rent the fields. The council also spent several minutes thanking Weiner for the service DSB provides the community as they tried to beat back apparent widespread criticism on social media. “I’ve seen comments on social media, but they don’t tell the whole story,” Councilmember Jim Riticher said. DUN

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