Hundreds joined Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis and North Atlanta High School Principal Dr. Howard Taylor at a Tuesday morning ribbon cutting to celebrate the official opening of the new North Atlanta High School.
Although students have been attending classes in the new NAHS academic building since August, construction on the adjacent building – which houses the auditorium, black box theater, competition gym and practice gym – was only recently completed. According to Taylor, school activities could begin in that building as early as next week.
Students were an integral part of the ceremony. Shontika Wynn and NAHS student body president Sarah Evans emceed the event and shared in cutting the ceremonial ribbon. Twelfth-grader Peyton Sammons sang the national anthem after cadets from the NAHS JROTC presented the colors for the occasion, and the NAHS Grazioso Quintet played an impressive classical arrangement for strings.
For Sarah, although the SPLOST- funded school structure was originally built for IBM offices 36 years ago, the building and the ribbon cutting symbolize the beginning of something new for her NAHS family.
“It marks a new chapter at North Atlanta. We have a new school and a new principal, and we’re excited to be moving in the right direction. I think that this new building is going to give us all the tools we need to do that.”
Several speakers recognized the efforts of the numerous individuals who worked on the new NAHS project, and they thanked the NAHS students, staff and parents for their support for a vision that took ten years to bring to life.
“Ten years ago this month, a group of parents, teachers, principals, business and community leaders, as well as school board members were asked by the administration to participate in a task force to help improve the recruitment and the retention in the northern corridor of the APS schools,” stated Nancy Meister, Atlanta Board of Education District Four Representative Nancy Meister.
Meister said she was confident that the new facility, along with committed parental leadership and Dr. Taylor’s vision would make NAHS the premier high school in the southeast, if not the nation, within the next 10 years.
Taylor echoed her remarks by stating, “North Atlanta will become a model urban public high school.”
One after the other, program speakers commented on the building’s remarkable beauty.
“Anyone who has seen this building is dazzled by its beauty,” said Superintendent Davis.
Meister called it “phenomenal,” and stated that she was “still kind of in awe” after touring the facility.
Even Paul Fenzl, vice president of JE Dunn Construction, the company responsible for the physical transformation of the building, took a moment to marvel over the architectural design.
“The architects completely outdid themselves. They took a relatively normal looking office park, and turned it into one of the most magnificent learning campuses I’ve ever seen.
Fenzl’s final comments captured the reason behind Tuesday’s occasion: “Now, the project is finally complete, and it belongs to the community. Now it belongs to the students.”
The renovated NAHS campus sits on 56 acres and features an 11-story academic building, parking deck, elevators for students, a 600-seat theater, competition gym, practice gym, football, baseball and softball fields and tennis courts.
–by Tiffany King, APS Office of Communications and External Affairs
Atlanta Public Schools teacher Tara Johnson has won the 11Alive Class Act Award for her outstanding leadership at King Middle School and her ability to engage and ignite her seventh-grade students. 11Alive’s Donna Lowry surprised Johnson with the award in November during a visit to the Southeast Atlanta school.
King Middle School teacher Kandy Wilkinson nominated Johnson for the award after observing how effectively she was able to seize and hold her students’ attention.
“She connects with the students and she gets them interested and intrigues them with the lesson,” said Wilkinson. Johnson’s positive demeanor also played a role: Wilkinson noted that Johnson “always looks like she’s having a good time.”
Students like James Gregg have a deep appreciation for Johnson’s talents.
“I really do love my teacher,” he said. “She is an amazing, affectionate person toward the students.” Gregg added that when Johnson helps the students, the classes become fun.
by Julia Suk, APS Office of Communications and External Affairs
The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) was introduced at Young Middle School during the fall semester of the 2013-2014 school year. The program was created and implemented by the Camellia Rose Chapter of the Links, Inc. The goal of the program is to help participating students increase their self-confidence and to encourage them to become change agents and reach their full potential within the school and community.
The Youth Empowerment Program kick-off was held in September. During the kick-off event students learned about the importance of healthy eating habits, daily exercise, and positive behaviors. The members of Camellia Rose made various fruit smoothies for the students to demonstrate how healthy eating can be easy and fun.
This school year the program will address topics such as bullying, health promotion, positive character traits, and social media etiquette. During the course of the program students are trained to serve as student ambassadors and assist in Young Middle School’s continued designation as a “No Place for Hate” school.
Young Middle School also recently hosted its first annual partnership showcase. During the showcase various departments including Fine Arts, Physical Education, Parent Engagement, Counseling, and Technology were able to share information about the variety of activities they offer to students. In addition to these departments, Instructional Coaches were able to discuss their evidence-based practices in classrooms and the one-on-one support they provide for teachers and school leaders.
This event served as a forum for collaboration, communication, and business input on the educational and extra-curricular activities at Young. Business and community partnerships are used to strengthen schools, families, and student learning. Mrs. Andrea I. Young, Executive Director, and Ms. Marion A. Jones, Special Programs Manager, of the Andrew Young Foundation were present to lend their support and provide refreshments for the evening. The event concluded with Councilman C.T. Martin donating $500.00 to the school’s athletics department.
Community and business partnerships are critical to the success of students and local schools. Dr. Kelvin L. Griffin, principal of Young Middle School, is committed to incorporating the best practices related to community and family involvement into Young Middle School’s culture.
by Sharise Darby, APS Office of Communications and External Affairs
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need through school donations. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on the DonorsChoose site, and people or organizations are able to donate any amount to the projects of their choice.
When a project reaches its funding goal, DonorsChoose ships the materials to the school.
“It is really that easy,” Mrs. Saunders, a teacher at L.O. Kimberly, explained. “I heard about the website, attempted to begin a project, and I never followed through with it. We have a partner from Horace-Mann who kept talking about DonorsChoose.org. She came in and showed us step-by-step how simple it is to post a project, so I finally did.”
Soon after a group of teachers at L.O. Kimberly were introduced to DonorsChoose.org, one teacher, Ms. Bryant, posted a project. One week later, her project was fully funded. She received audio books for her fifth grade class to read.
“I was so excited when my project was funded,” Ms. Bryant said. “I immediately posted another project and my second project was funded within days.”
In just one month, L.O. Kimberly had four projects funded.
“I am so glad our teachers are tapping into this resource to provide additional funding for materials they are requesting,” said Principal Salley. “The truth of the matter is that there just isn’t enough money to purchase all of the requests of the teachers. We have a great staff at L.O. Kimberly who is willing to give 110 percent to ensure the success of our students.”
Students and teachers at Bunche Middle School are also benefitting from funded projects and supplies. Mr. Hall, the music teacher at Bunche, recently received funding for his “Time to Swing” project. The items he received from his wish list will aid Bunche’s band program by providing complete instrumentation for the school’s jazz ensemble. Students who desire to play bass guitar or the drums can now make their dream a reality. According to Mr. Hall, these items will advance and diversify the level of instruction he is able to deliver to students, enhancing their educational and life experiences.
by Sharise Darby, APS Office of Communications and External Affairs
Atlanta Public Schools partners with Communities-In Schools of Atlanta to operate the West End Academy Performance Learning Center. West End Academy is designed to serve over 150 eligible eleventh and twelfth graders attending any of the APS high schools. West End Academy provides a non-traditional program that addresses the needs of at risk students, who may or may not be succeeding in the regular school environment. At West End students have access to individualized virtual learning that allows them to work at their own pace.
Recently, West End Academy’s Principal, Dr. Evelyn Mobley, hosted “A Place at the Table” at the school. The purpose of the session was to gather colleagues, stakeholders, partners, mentors, and support staff to discuss the work, collaboration, capacity building, instructional amenities, and system support offered at the West End Academy.
During the meeting, community partners and West End supporters had a meeting of the minds and participated in authentic engagement to enhance support and success for all students. This meeting allowed leaders to plan and discuss strategies for the wonderful students of West End Academy and Atlanta Public Schools.
Dr. Mobley also discussed the school’s mission, core beliefs, and commitment to the community and highlighted some of the transformative growth and learning occurring at West End.
The 2014 Atlanta Public Schools Technology Fair will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at Atlanta Technical College located at 1560 Metropolitan Parkway SW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30310. The Atlanta Public Schools Technology Fair affords students the opportunity to present technology projects to the community and district partners.
If you know a student who would be interested in participating, please encourage them to register by the Dec. 20th deadline.
The tech fair will feature hands-on exhibits demonstrating current and emerging technologies from industry leaders. This event exposes students in grades 3-12 to real-world science and technology applications and will inspire them to pursue careers in these areas.
Students in grades 3-12 are eligible to participate in the competition. Additionally, first place winners will also participate in the 2014 State Technology Fair.
Students must be registered according to their current grade level, but their project may be placed in a higher grade classification if on a team with an older student. Students entering as a team must compete at the grade level of the higher grade of the two team members. Any student on a team, regardless of grade, may compete at a higher grade level but never at a lower grade level.
Hardware (Grades 7-12 only)
Please refer to the links below for additional information:
- APS 2014 Tech Fair Flyer
- 2014 APS Tech Fair Information Packet
- Judging Rubrics for APS Technology Fair
Humphries Elementary students surprised with gifts by NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal, Toys for Tots and Toys R Us
This year, Toys“R”Us and Shaquille O’Neal have partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to help make kids’ wishes come true, including those who might otherwise go without a toy on Christmas.
On December 5th, Shaquille O’Neal joined Toys for Tots duty at Humphries Elementary School and delivered toys and smiles to the hundreds of children who helped give back to other kids in need. Marines representing Toys for Tots also unloaded the donated toys and distributed them to the school children.
“It’s all about making the kids smile,” said O’Neal. “The purpose was to come and inspire children…I like giving blueprints to the children because they’re the future.”
To get in the spirit of the holidays and learn about the importance of giving back to others in need, all students at Humphries Elementary School participated in the Toys“R”Us #NoWishTooBig program, which is a fun, free way for kids to “Wish It Forward.”
As part of the #NoWishTooBig program, children were encouraged to draw pictures of toys that they would wish for a child in need to receive this holiday season, and then upload the pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #NoWishTooBig. For every photo uploaded, Toys“R”Us and Shaq-A-Claus will donate a toy to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. All toys donated to Toys for Tots are distributed to families in need.
“The most memorable moment was seeing the looks on these students’ faces at Humphries,” said Humphries Principal, Melanie Mitchell. “I’m not sure all of my students will wake up with and have Christmas gifts under each of their trees, but at least I know they are going home with one.” Mitchell added that the students were truly happy from this experience.
by Julia Suk, APS Office of Communications and External Affairs