Archive for September, 2010
UPDATE: Check out the NPR feature on KaBOOM! here.
For the second time in the 2010-11 school year, an APS elementary collaborated with a community partner to bring a KaBOOM! playground. Grove Park Elementary welcomed more than 250 volunteers, who braved the threat of rain and got the job done ahead of schedule. Grove Park Elementary Principal Caitlin Sims made the point that as schools and their students work hard to meet their academic targets, they should have a childhood that’s “joyful.” She welcomed help from the school’s match-up with The Home Depot Foundation (represented in the video above by Community Affairs Specialist Tyrene Hodges), which helped supply some of the volunteers.
It was a particularly emotional moment for parent Antonio Fleming Sr., whose son Antonio Jr. is a fourth-grader at the school but also who is a Grove Park alum himself. He spoke eloquently about seeing an improved school grounds for his son and the community. The playground build included not just the traditional set-up but also a gazebo, a large hand-painted chess board on the cement playground (for the school’s active chess club), a map of the United States at the front of the school, a picnic area and stained wooden benches.
Sims also was proud to announce that Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson and his foundation have adopted Grove Park as one of their schools and covered the school’s $7,500 matching-fund commitment for the playground, which often costs about $60,000. They’ll celebrate that partnership in a ceremony on Tuesday at the school.
APS high schools gain legal insight with ‘Robes in Schools’ sessions from Just the Beginning Foundation
The Just the Beginning Foundation sponsored the “Robes in the Schools” event Thursday at six Atlanta Public Schools high schools to encourage students to consider the legal profession as potential careers. The sessions featured panel discussions featuring federal, state and municipal judges from throughout the metropolitan area, as the foundation is holding its biennial conference in Atlanta this week.
The video above comes from D.M. Therrell Educational Complex, which houses the School of Law, Government and Public Policy. APS General Counsel Veleter Mazyck and Principal Byron Barnes welcomed Judge Carl Stewart, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; Judge Crystal Gaines, Municipal Court of Atlanta; and Judge Wendy Shoob, Fulton County Superior Court. During the session, Mazyck prompted discussions among the judges on a range of topics but in particular queried them about their personal journey to the bench as she noted that her parents did not have a college education. (Two of the three judges had the same background.) The judges stressed the importance of a strong education and avoiding the pitfalls that can prevent advancement in the professional world.
At the end of the discussion, Malyck opened up the discussion for questions from students, who asked the judges about juggling their personal and professional lives and for their own tips. Here’s a list of the participating schools and the respective panel members:
King Middle School hopes to make a splash at the upcoming Neighborhood Celebration this Saturday (Oct. 2), and yes, we’d love to have them bring their newly renovated, reopened and reinvigorating pool — the only one of its kind in the district. King Middle serves a pivotal role in the south Atlanta area as one of the feeder schools to Maynard H. Jackson High School (this year’s host site for the Celebration).
Eight of the 16 state competition-winning projects submitted by APS students (in collaboration with their media specialists) won at the International Student Media Festival earlier this month. Three of the winners came on collaborations with D.H. Stanton Elementary media specialist Brenda Street (pictured above, with Imani Bostic). Her winning projects came from students Derricka Jones and Shykeria Meriweather, Tanesheia Arnold and Raygan Headrick, and Imani Bostic and Derrick Pullins. The other winning schools and students, with their teachers in parentheses: Cook Elementary’s Niya Anderson (Zenobia Johnson), Gideons Elementary’s Keniya Isham and Carmia Chilsom (Veronica Jordan), Mary Lin Elementary’s Hanna Stockdale, Braden Pressmen, Elijah Coons and Nyla Swain (Kerri Mercer), B.E.S.T. Academy’s Jaquez Ward (Kellye Carter) and Grady High’s Kathleen Quillian (Joe Hirsch). APS’s 16 state winners were out of 56 submissions. This compares to 12 entrees last year, with two advancing to the international competition.
Which brings us back to Street, who is not stranger to this competition, in which student projects that may be still photographs, movies, PowerPoint presentations or animated clips. Projects may be a public service announcement (PSA), an instructional piece or a purely informative one. Winners in the Georgia contest are permitted to move on to the international competition. Yes, Street supervised the two winners in last year’s international competition.
“This competition provides APS media specialists, and their students, an international audience to showcase our outstanding student work,” said Warren Goetzel, APS’ media servics coordinator. ”In an increasingly technologically rich society, this will help student success in the classroom and later in the workplace. This is a true reflection of 21 century learning activities.”
Here’s a complete list of the winners, in order of school, media specialist/teacher, title of entry, producer (student), and type of media producation:
Cook Elementary — Zenobia Johnson, “The Life Cycle of a Butterfly; Niya Anderson (sequential stills, without audio)
Grady High — Joe Hirsch (teacher), “Arson at Paideia School’s ‘Mother Goose’ Building; Kathleen Quillian (live action)
Mary Lin Elementary — Kerri Mercer (teacher), “Babe Ruth”; Hannah Stockdale, Braden Pressmen, Elijah Coons, Nyla Swain (website)
D.H. Stanton Elementary — Brenda Street, “Don’t Hesitate!” Tessellate!”; Derricka Jones, Shykeria Meriweather (sequential stills, without audio)
D.H. Stanton Elementary — Brenda Street, “The Inuit: People of the Arctic”; Tanesheia Arnold, Raygan Headrick (sequential stills, without audio)
D.H. Stanton Elementary — Brenda Street, “Countdown to Meltdown”; Imani Bostic, Derrick Pullins (sequential stills, without audio)
Gideons Elementary — Veronica Jordan (teacher), “Digital Video Journal of Atlanta Flood 2009; Keniya Isham, Carmia Chilsom (live action)
B.E.S.T. Academy — Kellye Carter, “Beauty is … JOY”; Jaquez Ward (sequential stills, without audio)
Learn more about the International Student Media Festival after the jump.
Atlanta Public Schools, in partnership with Crime Stoppers Atlanta, launched a new crime fighting program aimed at getting high school students and their parents involved in the crime-prevention effort. Campus Crime Stoppers was launched at a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Douglass High School. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, Atlanta Board of Education Vice Chair Yolanda Johnson, Crime Stoppers Atlanta’s Miguel Sepulveda and Atlanta Police Foundation officials participated in the event.
The new program encourages students, parents, school-based faculty and staff to proactively report crimes and criminal activity to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta organization through the group’s Web site, by text message or by telephone. Tipsters have the option of remaining anonymous, and cash rewards are provided to those whose information leads to an arrest and indictment. News media representatives are invited to cover this event.
Atlanta Public Schools‘ performing and visual arts educators gathered for the 2010 Arts Education Conference at the High Museum on Sept. 24-25. Here APS Performing and Fine Arts Director Cynthia Terry and Education Coordinator/Visual Arts Raymond Veon discuss the goals of the conference, and its theme: “Values, Voice and Vision.” Camille Russell Love, director of the City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs, delivered the keynote address at the reception, while Arthur McClinton, band director at M. Agnes Jones Elementary, performed.
The conference was financed in part through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and is aided by APS’ partnership with the Woodruff Arts Center.
Teachers attended sessions that covered classroom management, lesson planning and student assessment as well as offering roundtable discussions. This made a huge different for Ali Isabelle, a second-year art teacher at King Middle School. She came to Atlanta from the public school system in Jacksonville, where she taught elementary school. “Being a new teacher at the middle school level, one of the most important things is meeting other teachers and realizing you’re not alone,” Isabelle said. ”You make that connection. It really keeps you in check. The more professional development you receive, the less stagnant you are, and it motivates you to try to do something new and different.”
We’re busy at work putting together the fall issue of The Atlanta Educator, an award-winning print newspaper that celebrates achievements around Atlanta Public Schools. From District staff and board members to school staff, faculty, students, parents and partners, The Atlanta Educator shows the wide range of people and programs that are making a difference in our students’ lives.
One of the most exciting stories we’re working on is the third and final phase of our High School Transformation Initiative, in which Grady, Mays and North Atlanta high schools have been converted this fall into small learning communities (SLCs) or academies — each with their own academy leader who reports to the school’s principal. We’ve found that this exciting approach leads to a more personalized learning environment.
On that note, one of the more innovative approaches within this model is the single-gender approach that APS launched a couple years ago at the middle-level (B.E.S.T. Academy and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy). We’ve taken that approach and used it at Mays High School; two of the four academies are the Dorothy Height Academy of Leadership (girls) and the Eagle Leadership Academy (boys). In the girls video above and the boys video above, academy leaders, teachers and students discuss how the single-gender approach has helped students avoid distractions, stay focused in the classroom, and developed a kind of unity that builds on being with classmates of their own gender. As one teacher noted, the approach provides a surprising amount of freedom in the classroom, as students feel less self-conscious and more willing to discuss their unique concerns among themselves.
For the girls’ academy video above, we’d like to thank Academy Leader Sharon Gay, English teacher Badia Askari and students (from left to right) Jasmin Paschal, Danielle Rainwater, Katia Villalva and Kemeera Wells. for the boys video below, we’d like to thank Academy Leader Casey Landsman, guidance counselor Andrew Ragland, business law teacher Dr. Theo Smith Jr. and students Nicholas Williams and David Smith.
Look for this article and others in the upcoming fall issue of The Atlanta Educator.
Nestled in the Grant Park neighborhood, Parkside Elementary is just a stone’s throw from the Oct. 2 Neighborhood Celebration‘s host school, Maynard H. Jackson High. We love Parkside for its diverse student population and its excellent principal, Dr. Phillip Luck. And we also love the fact that last summer Parkside served as the host site for the exciting Xanadu Gifted and Talented program — one of several facets of a dynamic partnership with the Woodruff Arts Center. (Check out the video and blog post we did over the summer.)
And as we continue looking at the participating schools at the Neighborhood Celebration, we have to say we love Parkside Elementary’s dedicated teachers. There’s the award-winning Armelia Ray Braddy, who over the summer was named one of three Georgia physical-education teachers to be honored by HealthPowers, for promoting healthy choices in her school. “Mrs. Braddy is one of our greatest assets,” said Dr. Luck in this blog post. ” … her job sets the standard for others to follow.” There’s also Ronnie Thomas (pictured, above), last year’s Parkside Teacher of the Year, who is such a star teacher that he earned a scholarship to attend the 2010 Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy (HE@SA) program this June. Here are this thoughts on the experience.
High school Advanced Placement (AP) teachers gathered Sept. 14 at the Dean Rusk Building for an informative workshop that instilled the value of using data to inform instruction and effective AP course planning to increase student achievement. Rebecca Chambers, of the Georgia Department of Education, served as the keynote speaker who provided a plethora of information for the high school AP staff. Chambers guided teachers through an analysis of their Instructional Planning Reports, which assisted them in targeting specific areas for increased curriculum focus.
It’s time to take another look at Atlanta Public Schools. This year, the focus of our second-annual Neighborhood Celebration will be southeast Atlanta schools that feed into Maynard H. Jackson High, which will host festivities on Oct. 2. Part pep rally part celebration, this event allows community members to see just a few of the exciting things happening in APS each day. To kick off the event, Talk Up APS will feature each school.
We start with Coan Middle School and its dynamic principal, Dr. Tonya Saunders, formerly of neighboring Toomer Elementary. Coan is one of several APS schools participating in the Confucius Institute, which promotes Mandarin Chinese language instruction and cultural appreciation. This unique program helps students prepare to compete in a global, 21st century economy. But Coan students also create lasting ties a little closer to home.