A taste of things to come from Atlanta Public Schools’ Nutrition department

APS is planning to “kick it up a notch” in the school lunchroom on the first day of school.

Students at four schools will find extra treats in the cafeteria when they return on Monday, August 4.

The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association will be on hand to provide students at Bolton Academy with nutritional information and recipes for a healthy lifestyle. Breakfast giveaways include a variety of Borden milk and yogurt.

There will be a selection of local fresh fruit and vegetables for the children at Young Middle School. Members of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase access to locally grown food, will provide information on its programs and partnerships with farmers markets.

Fresh produce distributor FreshPoint will offer a lunch tasting of fresh fruits and vegetables at Sutton Middle School and Maynard Jackson High School students will be able to sample a variety of flatbreads from The Fathers Table Bread Company. Their breads are baked from scratch using farm fresh eggs. Their whole grain products also contain zero grams tans fat per serving and are free of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

There is much more cooking in APS cafeterias for the 2014-2015 school year.

  • Every fourth Tuesday of the month will be ‘Regional Taste Tuesday’ in APS cafeterias. The expanded international offerings include chicken parmesan, jambalaya, jerk chicken, red beans and rice as well as tropical stir fry.
  • More schools will offer free breakfast, lunch and a snack to students each day as part of the Community Eligibility Provision (formerly called Community Eligibility Option program). Students at the 57 participating schools are automatically eligible and do not need to complete a meal application.
  • Families who wish to apply for free and reduced meals can now apply online. The new online application system is now up and running.
  • 36 APS elementary schools have been awarded a USDA federal funded grant to provide a wide-range of fresh fruit and vegetable snacks not currently being served in APS cafeterias.
  • Atlanta Public Schools are peanut free. Peanut butter or any products containing peanuts are no longer served in APS cafeterias.
  • Menus indicate gluten-free (GF) & locally grown (LG) food options and there is a daily salad bowl item as well.
  • Health scores for each school cafeteria are now posted on the APS main page.

The August menu and new meal prices are now posted online. Please visit atlantapublicschools.us/nutrition for more information.

July 30, 2014 at 7:14 am Leave a comment

New Grady High School principal takes school slogan to heart

Grady High School welcomes Principal Timothy Guiney

Grady High School welcomes Principal Timothy Guiney

Principal Timothy Guiney admits there is some pressure in taking over a post that was held by the last principal for 23 years. Principal Guiney’s approach is simple and speaks directly to the school’s cherished slogan, “Individually we are different… together we are Grady.” He plans to embody this creed stating, “I understand I need to be myself and take the appropriate action to try and uphold that standard.”

The standards already established at Grady High School include challenging advanced placement classes in addition to established drama, debate and arts programs, along with an award winning journalism program.

Principal Guiney is looking forward to advancing Grady from a premiere high school in APS, and metro Atlanta, to a premiere high school in the Southeast. And he believes the school is well on its way. A big part of making that happen involves community. Principal Guiney is grateful to have an active parent base and diverse student group. With their collaboration, he plans to establish a shared mission and goal. In his introductory letter to the Grady community, Principal Guiney also reinforced the importance of both instruction and extra-curricular activities. He wrote, “From a philosophical standpoint, I believe that a safe and secure learning environment is necessary for children to effectively learn. Further, I believe that rigorous instruction and active engagement are the foundation of a quality 21st century education. This is especially important as we continue implementation of the Common Core Curriculum, with a more challenging assessment system beginning in 2014-2015.”

His letter continued, “By setting high expectations, and challenging our students to meet them, I am confident that Grady High School will continue to grow as a learning community. In order to foster your child’s social and emotional growth, please encourage him or her to get involved in extra-curricular activities. Students who play sports, participate in Fine Arts, and join Clubs tend to enjoy their high school experience, while achieving a higher level of success.”

The 2014-15 school year will be Principal Guiney’s thirteenth year as an educator.

Principal Guiney is the father of two elementary-aged school children and began his coursework this year to earn his doctorate in Educational Leadership and School Improvement at the University of West Georgia. He also holds a specialist and master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Georgia. Principal Guiney earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

July 30, 2014 at 7:10 am Leave a comment

APS bus drivers are on the road and ready for Day One

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The first day for Atlanta Public Schools students is Monday August 4, but the bus drivers who will transport thousands of the district’s students are on the job now.

APS’ fleet of 333 buses were on Atlanta streets this morning and will head out again during today’s afternoon rush hour, Tuesday July 29. Drivers are conducting practice runs to become familiar with their routes, improve accuracy of timing during current traffic patterns and to approximate pick up and drop off schedules for students. APS Operations Chief Larry Hoskins reiterated the importance of the transportation department’s practice run. “This gives us an opportunity to become familiar with our routes and allows us to provide a high degree of service,” said Hoskins.

Drivers spent Monday in training. The day started at sunrise with a visit from Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. She energized the crowd of about 400 with a message to drivers about their important role.

“You are the first teacher a student sees at the start of the school day,” Dr. Carstarphen emphasized.

The superintendent concluded her remarks with a simple, “please be safe” as the drivers headed out.

The APS fleet will travel 21,904 miles per day transporting 22,000 students to and from school.

The transportation department will post bus route information to the district website on the evening of July 31. That information will also be available at school open houses on Friday August 1.

The department of transportation can be reached at 404-802-5500.


July 29, 2014 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

New Principal at South Atlanta Computer Animation and Design (CAD) committed to continuing a Legacy of Excellence

South Atlanta High School of Computer Animation and Design welcomes new principal Tracie Astin.

Not only is Principal Tracie Astin a proud product of Atlanta Public Schools, but her parents are as well. That family history makes her genuinely invested, not only in the district’s future, but in her commitment to continuing a legacy of greatness.

Her hope for the next generation is central to her introductory letter to students for the 2014-15 school year. Principal Astin writes, “It is with a renewed sense of pride and purpose that I ask each of my students to genuinely think about their stake in this journey and the level of excellence and performance that will be expected and indeed demanded of them.”

Principal Astin hopes to establish a culture of excellence. She also wants to ensure a prioritized focus where students are valued and graduate able to competitively pursue their post-secondary explorations. Principal Astin believes all students are capable of achieving success. “Research confirms what we have known for years; that effort often surpasses ability,” Astin writes in her introductory letter.

In addition to engaging with students, Principal Astin is looking forward to working collaboratively with faculty/staff, students, and the community, and she is eager to gain their feedback. Principal Astin has already begun an exercise in postcard feedback, asking staff to think about what they value most about the school and conducting focus groups for feedback articulations. She hopes this step gets her closer to what she wants to eventually become a mantra at South Atlanta CAD, “A Vision in Motion: Building Our Bridge through Excellence!”

Principal Astin earned an Educational Specialist and master’s degree from the University of West Georgia. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English and History Secondary Education from Alabama A&M University.

In all pursuits, Principal Astin aspires for students to be the core of the district’s work and the nucleus of every decision.

Take a look at the exciting work being done at South Atlanta CAD here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi4qTzkAFaQ

July 29, 2014 at 9:56 am Leave a comment

APS Social Workers connect with the community before Day One

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While APS students are savoring the final days of summer vacation, APS social workers are knocking on doors reminding families about the first day of school. They make the rounds every year but this time they are carrying blue and white yard signs and fliers promoting the district’s Day One: Be There back-to-school attendance campaign. Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen announced the initiative during her first board meeting in July.

This week, the district’s 28 social workers are canvassing communities with help from local police, parent liaisons and other volunteers. Working in teams, the groups are visiting area businesses, local boys and girls clubs and neighborhoods. Specific home visits are made to addresses where mail has been returned. The main focus is on school zones for Carver High School, Washington High School and Young Middle School. Denise Revels, Coordinator of Social Work Services, created a plan to ensure a strong presence in communities shown to have higher student absences.

A group of six social workers, with more than 70 years combined experience among them, engaged residents at three different locations before noon on Thursday. At the Villages at Carver Family YMCA they encountered a Pre-K teacher. “I’m ready,” said Antoinette Johnson, who teaches at another YMCA location.

“It’s all about meeting the people wherever they are.” said Louis Childers. He made the transition to APS 22 years ago after working as a Social Worker Officer with the Air Force. His focus has always been children and families even at clinics on bases around the world.

The social workers know they are making an impact, especially in areas that are often forgotten. Emerson Jones has been at APS 28 years, all of them as a social worker. He partnered with a program that delivers lunches to children in an area known for its drug activities. Jones says many in that community were not aware that school resumes August 4. Jones stressed the importance of going into communities. “We really have to build relationships and build trust,” Jones said.

Lisa Jamison has been with APS 14 years. She says nothing beats the personal touch of canvassing neighborhoods like this. “I think it’s effective because it brings us to the community… we are an extension of the schools.”

APS social workers wrap up their canvassing efforts on Friday. The district will partner with local organizations to host registration events Saturday, July 26.  Open houses will take place at all APS schools Friday, August 1.

Day One for Atlanta Public Schools is Monday, August 4. Be There.

July 25, 2014 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

Reconstruction of the new Ralphe J. Bunche Middle School is underway and on target for July 2015 completion

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With a target completion date of July 2015, Bunche Middle School, which began receiving renovations in the fall of 2013, will continue construction during the upcoming school year.

The renovation and facilities team are making great progress. Demolition is complete, the building pad is being prepared for concrete slab and walls are being erected.

The Bunche construction project consists of a partial demolition, renovation and addition. The construction and design team says the main focus is ensuring all spaces can be utilized efficiently. The gym and outdoor play area has been taken down completely and the during renovation the team will expand this space; rebuilding the gym and adding a performing arts wing. Bunche has a variety of fine arts programs including choral music, band, orchestra and dance.

The performing arts wing will include a new auditorium with a full stage, projection booth and will seat more than 450 occupants. There will be lobby space that separates the auditorium from the new gymnasium. The gym will include all new hardwood floors, pull out bleachers, practice courts, main court and will seat approximately 1000 people. The back of the gym will have locker rooms that lead out to a new 400 meter track and football field and an expanded softball field.

Surrounding the athletic fields and the school building will be a beautiful landscaping. Cooper Carry architect and project manager, Bob Just explains that there is a city ordinance in Atlanta that states for every tree you take down you have to produce another one, so the design team decided to use this as an educational opportunity for the students.

“We’re landscaping this site like an arboretum as a teaching school for the kids. There will be rows of different species of trees and as the seasons change the kids will be able to watch rows of tress from once species change colors differently than other rows.”

Bunche was originally built in 1977. Just said that during this time the classroom models that were being utilized no longer work for contemporary schools and will now be updated.

“It was originally built during a time in educational history when the open classroom was being utilized,” said Just. “Once open classrooms were considered not to be working very well, walls were put in and compartmented all of the classrooms into triangular shapes; making a lot of the space unusable and hard to teach in.”

The classroom building is part of the partial demolition and renovation. Classroom configuration was one of the major concerns during the design process. Not only were the shapes of the classrooms  making it hard to teach, they were 30% smaller than the standard classroom size.  The team tore the building down to the concrete structure. There will be brand new exterior and interior finishings which will provide more efficient space. The classrooms will now be APS standard at 750 sq. ft. and separated into pods by grade level. Each pod will have a computer lab and 9 classrooms with smart boards and a technology wall.

The dynamic new school entry way will be a double level courtyard with beautiful windows providing an abundance of natural light, more direct access to parking and a smoother bus and car drop off process. The bus lanes will be expanded to occupy more buses. The upper level will be dedicated for bus drop off and the lower level for car drop off.

Other updates include an all-new cafeteria, a new double level, high volume media center and an increased number of bathrooms.

Bob Just expressed that the construction and design team is focused on making sure the students love and take pride in their new school. “Just like with the North Atlanta High School, we’re trying to create a private place, so that when the kids come to school here; this school doesn’t just look like every other school they’ve seen. So they can say this is my school. It’s different.”

The project is slated for completion in its entirety by July of 2015, with the doors opening for students for the 2015-2016 school year.



July 23, 2014 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Benjamin E. Mays football players ranked top 100 in the nation participate in national Nike event

Two Benjamin E. Mays football players, Natrez Patrick and Dallas Warmack, both traveled to the Nike headquarters in Oregon in early July to participate in the invite only football camp “The Opening.”

The Opening is a national football camp hosted by Nike for the top 162 high school football players in the nation. Players are selected by Student Sports after film and/or in person evaluations. The camp consists of intense training, coaching and national competition.

After receiving multiple offers from across the nation, Patrick and Warmack have both committed to the schools of their choice before the start of their senior season.

Patrick, a 6-4, 240 defensive lineman is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 7 weak side defensive end and No.77 overall prospect in the country. He’s known for his great pass rushing ability and is capable of playing the outside linebacker position as well. Patrick has received offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss as well as other top programs. With multiple offers on the table he has chosen to stay in his home state and play for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Warmack is a 6-2, 320 offensive guard and the younger brother of former Alabama All-American and current Tennessee Titan, Chance Warmack. He is ranked as the No. 7 offensive guard in the nation by 247 Sports. With multiple offers on the table including an offer from UGA, he decided to follow his brother’s footsteps and play for the Crimson Tide.

Tough competition is to be expected for the 2014 football season amongst Atlanta teams with a heap of top commits and prospects spread throughout the district. APS Media Day is Wednesday, July 23 at Maynard Jackson High School at 10:00 a.m.

See a list of players with commitments, offers and interest from colleges below:


Aaron Williams- Committed to Univ. of Nebraska


Natrez Patrick- Committed to UGA

Dallas Warmack- Committed to Univ. of Alabama

Aaron Cochran- Committed to Univ. of Louisville

Tyshawn Brown- Central Fla., Ole Miss, Purdue, Indiana

Mason Sims- Hampton, Georgia State

Malik Makey- Middle Tennessee State University

Khalil Brooks- Fordham, Georgia State, Western Kentucky

Charlie Patrick- Army, Western Kentucky, Georgia State

Deparis Carter- Eastern Kentucky

Kelsey Tyler- Eastern Kentucky

Tobias Little (2016)- Clemson, S. Carolina, Georgia Tech

Randercous Davis (2016)- Louisville, Kentucky

Marquez Daniel (2016)- Alabama Statw


Deshawn Walker- UNC Charlotte, Mercer, Georgia State, Indiana, Jacksonville State

Maynard Jackson

Robert Walters- Columbia University, Yale

Keenan Moore- West Georgia, Tennessee State, Fort Valley State

Quintavious Monday (2016)- UGA, Georiga State, UAB, Southern Miss, Louisville

Orenzo Smith (2016)- UGA, Univ. of South Carolina, Louisville, Georgia State and Southern Miss


Marlon Character (2016)

UGA, Ole Miss, Alabama, S. Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia Tech

Jamond Glass

Georgia Tech, UAB, Georgia Southern, Kentucky

Amyr Smith- Bethune Cookman

Keenan Marr- Clemson

Tyri Jones- Middle Tennessee State, Rhodes College, Olaf College

Jaybron Webb- Iowa State, Western Carolina, Wingate, Georgia Tech

Satchel Crawford- Auburn, Furman, Western Kentucky, Elon, Mercer, Western Carolina

Ronquavious Cullins- Tennessee State, Delta State, Middle Tennessee State, East Tennessee State





July 23, 2014 at 6:45 am Leave a comment

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