Archive for March 3, 2010
Over the past decade, Grady High School‘s mock trial team has been very active in the state competition, a program where teams of 14 students are coached by attorneys and teachers to work together to prepare presentations of case material provided by the High School Mock Trial Committee. After performing in the regional and state competitions, some teams are selected to compete on the national level.
Grady has won regional titles and state championships in 2000, 2005 and 2009. They placed eighth in the nation in last year’s national tournament; this year they plan to reach even higher goals. They recently competed at regionals and will advance to the state level of the Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition. For more information, please contact Georgia Mock Trial Coordinator Stacy Rieke at (404) 527- 8779.
Target Volunteers came together with Beecher Hills Elementary on Tuesday to help the students celebrate Read Across America Day. The volunteers read to pre-kindergarten through third-grade classes. One class was selected for a video contest to receive a Dr. Seuss book for each student. In addition to the Target Volunteers, popular Seuss character The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2 visited the school.
Lights … camera … action! These are only a few of the words spoken by W.L. Parks Middle School students as they videotaped renowned storybook author Evelyn Coleman during a recent school visit. Parks sixth-graders have teamed up with the Auburn Avenue Research Library under the auspices of library program division manager Morris Garner. The students have currently been learning how to video document famous Atlantans for a video documentary piece that details the Pittsburgh community. The school invited Ms. Coleman to read storybook passages, answered questions and chronicled her life as a writer. The noted author has written more than 35 best seller storybooks for children.
Coleman is also a Parents Choice Honor Book Award winner who is best known for writing the following children books: The Freedom Train, The Riches of Oseola McCarty, To Be a Drum and White Socks. Parks students interviewed and videotaped the author responses to questions that will be inclusive of a community documentary piece. Parks teacher Jocelyn Johnson continues to prepare the students for visits as she assists them with Internet research and literary projects in preparation for a visit from local spoken-word artist Reed Dorty.
The Pittsburgh student documentary project will be completed in late April. The documentary will premiere at both the Auburn Avenue Research Library and Parks Middle School gymnasium.
Some photos you just have to share because they’re so fun, and that’s definitely the case with Burgess-Peterson Academy Principal Robin Robbins. Here we have her sharing images of her reading a little Dr. Seuss — I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! — to kindergarten through second-graders in celebration of Dr. Seuss Day at the school. The event, part of the Read Across America Week festivities, honored the children’s book honor on his birthday. The students had to wear pajamas to school, Principal Robbins tells us, partly to walk in a parade on Tuesday.
Thanks, Burgess-Peterson, and keep ‘em coming. And how well is Principal Robbins rocking that Dr. Seuss hat?!
Last week we shared a letter from education reformer Kati Haycock of The Education Trust who urged caution when considering the results of the recent report on CRCT answer-sheet erasures. This week brings another interesting article, from Karin Chenoweth, Education Trust senior writer and author of How It’s Being Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools. Writing for the Encyclopedia Brittanica blog, Chenoweth emphasizes a similar amount of restraint when looking at the CRCT report. (Learn more about the report and other information at Atlanta Public Schools‘ information page at the District Web here.)
In the article, Chenoweth explains the need to consider the gains made by APS that might help put the CRCT report in perspective:
Before jumping on the “Atlanta must be cheating” bandwagon, it might be worth looking at another source of information about how the city is doing academically.
Every two years, the U.S. Department of Education administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to a randomly selected sample of fourth and eighth-graders in both reading and math. NAEP is virtually impossible to cheat on because no one has advance copies, and it is not just a bubble-sheet test. It has a lot of questions where students have to write out their answers and show their work. Besides, it is administered by contractors independently engaged by the feds, not by school districts. Also, there are no stakes attached to NAEP test results: No one gets a bonus because of NAEP results, nor do people get fired.
Eleven cities have agreed to be “oversampled” so that we can see how they are doing in relation to their state. Atlanta is one of these cities.
And sure enough, just as on the state tests, Atlanta has been improving faster than the rest of the state.
There’s a great report on the WXIA (11Alive) Web site about how community partners and their private funding play such a crucial role in supporting Atlanta Public Schools. In this case, the report cites the incredible back-up provided to maintain the soccer field and field house and concession stands at E. Rivers Elementary — an above-average range of facilities for an elementary school. The report makes the key point:
An Atlanta Public Schools spokesman says the relationships between communities and schools have been in place for decades. Sometimes the groups provide volunteer services, but other times, it is financial. As the needs of families and schools grow, they are leaning on those relationships more. Every school has at least one partnership now in place (with a faith-based organization, community group, or business).
The school benefited from key support from Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, architect Keith Summerour as well as the school’s PTA. Principal David White points out how these partners have made the different in keeping these facilities as a vital part of the Peachtree Battle community: ”This has been a real culmination of that energy. The return to public schools and the return to pride in your local public school.”