Archive for April 28, 2010
More than 250 volunteers came together with teachers, staff and students on Wednesday to help Slater Elementary School fulfill a six-year dream by installing a playground, thanks to an ongoing partnership with KaBOOM! and Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA). But the renovations didn’t stop there. Volunteers also added an outdoor classroom, picnic tables, a sandbox, an above-ground terrarium and a ground mural of the world.
“I’m so glad we got this playground,” said fourth-grader Sherrod Moore. “Before this all we could do is go play football down on the [open] field and run up and down the streets. And I didn’t want to do that. Now we have swings, and stuff like that, and there’s enough room for each of the grade levels to use each time.”
Slater Principal Dr. Salina Dukes-Walton noted that the school had been trying to secure a playground for six years, and when physical-education teacher John Beliard approached her three years ago with his own project for, “I didn’t lose hope, I just thought, ‘here’s another staff member applying for a grant, so why not?’ ” Beliard fought back tears as he thanked everyone who made the project happen — including frequent APS partner KaBOOM!, which previously supervised playground builds this year at Peyton Forest and Fickett elementary schools.
Beliard helped fulfill a key element to the grant — raising $7,500 from the Slater community — by reaching out to faculty and staff members, each of whom gave as much as $150 to reach the goal. “From day one, I told the students about the importance of this playground,” Beliard said. “The kids have been asking about this all the time: ‘Coach, why don’t we have a playground?’”
APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall was recently recognized for her outstanding efforts to change the face of urban school communities. (Check out the Associated Press article here, as published in the AJC). Dr. Hall became the first K-12 school administrator to be awarded nationally by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). On May 2, she will receive AERA’s public service award during their annual meeting in Denver, Colo. Says the article:
Gerald E. Sroufe with the association says the award recognizes Hall’s use of test data to improve schools and increase student learning. We congratulate Dr. Hall on her many accomplishments to condition the foundation of learning in Atlanta Public Schools.
Cook Elementary School is celebrating its 2nd Annual Poetry Cafe at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 29, in the school auditorium. Since the school’s students have been focusing on poetry as a literary device in SFA, and because April is National Poetry Month, teachers thought it would be befitting to pay homage to legendary poets, as well as showcase the creative and artistic talents of students, staff and parents at Cook. The event is free and will also include a Mardi Gras theme, dinner, jazz, fashion show, vocals, food and much more!
That’s right: May 3-7 is National Teacher Appreciation Week. (We always thought every week should be National Teacher Appreciation Week, but we digress.) This gives us an opportunity to recognize those educators who are in the trenches, every day (and many nights and weekends) dedicating themselves to preparing out students for graduation, college and life in a global, 21st century economy.
Thanks in part to a three-year, $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Atlanta Public Schools has once again shown its commitment to quality teachers with its Effective Teacher in Every Classroom (ETEC) Initiative. This program provides a range of ways to ensure and monitor teacher effectiveness. ”Our goal with ETEC is to create a comprehensive support system for teachers based on measures of student achievement,” APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall wrote in a letter explaining the initiative. “This system will give teachers the tools and feedback needed to increase classroom effectiveness; evaluate all teachers fairly and consistently; and help APS better attract, retain and reward the best teachers. Throughout the course of the initiative, you will have many opportunities to continue contributing your thinking through teacher forums, surveys, focus groups and meetings.”
So this is one big way APS is showing its appreciation for our teachers, who represent our most effective way to improve student achievement. But as APS moves forward with this initiative, we’d also like to know how your school plans to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week. Please email information about any events or activities to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to share your experiences on www.TalkUpAPS.com.
Congratulations to Parkside Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, Ronnie Thomas, who recently earned a scholarship to attend the 2010 Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy (HE@SA) program this June. Here’s his own take on this experience …
“I was reminded while attending the High Museum Leonardo Da Vinci Math and Science Professional Development that minorities and females are extremely underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related careers. The thought stayed with me while attending the Mickelson Exxon Mobil Teacher Academy later that summer in New Orleans, where we engaged in ways to integrate math and science skills in the classroom. At the start of the 2010 academic year I led fundraising projects in effort to send students to space camp where they would gain insight to possible career ideas. I also sponsored our school’s first robotics team and the 20 students from grades 2-5 of various ethnic, economic and gender backgrounds showed great interest in the STEM-related skills they were introduced to. … (More at the jump.)