Archive for December, 2012

APS NEWS 22 The Week of December 24, 2012

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Watch APS NEWS 22 The Week of December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Maynard H. Jackson High School International Baccalaureate (IB) Candidate Celebrate an Excellent IB Authorization and Verification Site Visit!

The students, teachers, support staff, administrative team, parents, community members, business partners, school board representative, and district leadership participated in a two-day International Baccalaureate (IB) World School Authorization Verification Site Visit at Maynard H. Jackson High School on December 10-11, 2012.  An IB Verification Team consisting of three members representing the IB Organization visited Jackson High School to determine if the school has completed the following:

  • Making the decision to become an IB World School
  • Understanding the nature and requirements of the IB Diploma Programme
  • Defining their readiness to implement the programme
  • Planning to sustain the Programme in the long term

The IB Verification Team commented that they were really impressed with the knowledge, commitment, and support demonstrated by the Pre-IB students, parents, and community members!


Left to right:
Sharonda Murrell, Academy Leader for IB Planning & Implementation
Brenda J. Muhammad, Atlanta Board of Education member, District 1
Stephanie S. Johnson, Principal of Maynard Jackson High School
Karen Waldon, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
David White, East Region Executive Director of Schools

The authorization process has a number of phases, each of which has distinctive objectives and related time frames.  The implementation of an IB Programme may entail changes in the life of a school.  These guidelines are intended to support schools during the process of authorization.  The purpose of the visit is to ensure that the educational principles, standards, and practices on which the IB Programme is founded will be maintained and furthered.  Following the visit, the IB Americas Bethesda Maryland Office will produce a report regarding the authorization process.  Maynard Jackson High School has successfully completed all components of the IB World School Authorization Process including the following:

1)    Consideration Phase

2)    Request for Candidacy – Request for Candidacy Application submitted April 1, 2011

3)    Decision on IB Candidacy Approval announced on June 14, 2011

4)    Consultation School Visit held on November 29 – December 1, 2011

5)    Request for IB World School Authorization  – Application for Diploma Programme submitted on April 1, 2012

6)    IB Authorization and Verification School Site Visit held on December 10-11, 2012

7)    School Awaits Decision on Authorization by the IB Director General based on the visit and all documents submitted by the IB Americas Office (The school should be notified by April 2013). Upon authorization, Jackson High School will offer its first IB courses during the 2013-14 school year.

Jackson High School began the IB World School Authorization process in January 2011, upon the appointment of Sharonda F. Murrell, Ed.S. Academy Leader for IB Planning and Implementation.  Mrs. Murrell has the led the school and community through the IB World School Authorization Process in a year and a half of a three year minimum requirement.

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students aged 16-19, for success at university and life beyond.  It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical well being of students.  The programme has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

The DP prepares students for effective participation in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global society as they:

  • Develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and ethically
  • Acquire breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, studying courses from six subject groups
  • Develop skills and a positive attitude towards learning that will prepare them for higher education
  • Study at least two languages and increase understanding of cultures, including their own
  • Make connections across traditional academic disciplines and explore the nature of knowledge through the programme’s unique Theory of Knowledge (T.O.K.) course
  • Undertake in-depth research into an area of interest through the lens of one or more academic disciplines in the Extended Essay (E.E.)
  • Enhance their personal and interpersonal development through Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS)

Upon authorization, students will be able to apply for the two-year IB Diploma Programme, which consists of the 11th (Junior) and 12th grade (Senior) years.  Colleges and universities offer course credit for student success and achievement on the IB Examinations administered at the end of students’ senior year of high school.  Depending upon the college and university admission policies, students could earn enough course credit to start college as a sophomore, which will save money towards tuition.

Additionally, the IB Diploma Programme is internationally benchmarked and in alignment to the new Common Core Georgia Peformance Standards (CCGPS).  Through, the new College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI), our school can earn additional points for the number of students that successfully complete one or more IB Diploma Programme courses.

“The International Baccalaureate (IB) World School Authorization will afford an opportunity for Maynard H. Jackson High School students to graduate high school prepared for colleges and careers and to earn an IB Diploma in addition to a high school diploma. Students will be prepared to compete globally and provide selfless service to their community and abroad,” says Mrs. Sharonda Murrell, Academy Leader for IB Planning and Implementation. Students have an opportunity to apply to the Pre-IB Program for grades 9 and 10. Interested students and parents can contact Mrs. Sharonda Murrell at or 404-802-5247.

Maynard H. Jackson High School is undergoing a 40 million dollar school renovation and is temporarily located at 1550 Hosea Williams Drive, SE, Atlanta, GA 30317.

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Pre-IB grade 9 and 10 students with Mrs. Sharonda Murrell, Academy leader for IB Planning & Implementation

For more information please visit and view the video clips below:

IB Student Dance Verification Visit Team Welcome:

IB Diploma Programme Video Clip:

December 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm 1 comment

“Scrooge Around the World” performed at Perkerson Elementary


“Scrooge Around the World” was performed at Perkerson Elementary School and is a contemporary version of the classic Scrooge play. In this version, contemporary musical artists who represent the Ghosts of Holiday Past, Present and Future visit Scrooge and warn her to change her selfish ways. Each ghost takes Scrooge to different places around the world to see how people help each other and show kindness throughout the world.  Scrooge also experiences how each country celebrates winter holidays.

The Ghost of Holiday Past continues to try to change Scrooge’s mind with a visit to America, Mexico, and China. The Ghost of Holiday Present, Beyoncé, takes him to Africa. Ghost of Holiday Future, The Grim Reaper, takes Scrooge to the cemetery where she will eventually end up all alone if she does not change. As the story progresses, Scrooge wakes up a changed woman determined to help and do good deeds.

The Perkerson Elementary performance of “Scrooge Around the World” is full of wonderful music from Michael Jackson, The Temptations, and Mariah Carey, along with other musical artists.

The play was performed at the Rialto Center on December 6th along with three performances at Perkerson Elementary School on December 18th.

written by Karen Ross, Teacher, Perkerson Elementary



December 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm 1 comment

Price Middle School Students Dive Into Reading at the Georgia Aquarium


Dineros Curate, 8th grader at Price Middle School gives a High five to a scuba diver at the Georgia Aquarium.

On Thursday, December 13, 2012, Price Middle School students traveled to the Georgia Aquarium as a culminating activity for the Dive Into Reading Contest sponsored by the Price Middle School Media Center.  Nineteen students participated in this activity.  Additional students were scheduled to attend but were unable due to their involvement in various school activities.

The students and chaperones had a behind the scene tour and viewed the 3-D movie before visiting the various exhibits.  The behind the scene tour, movie and admission was sponsored through the SEA (Sponsored Education Admissions) program at the Georgia Aquarium.  For some students and chaperones it was their first visit to the Georgia Aquarium and for others it was their first behind the scenes tour.  Due to the Winter Holidays, we were able to speak with Mrs. Scuba Claus and watch some Scuba Elves in the large tanks as they interacted with the animals.   Aquarium volunteers were impressed with the science knowledge of the Price students and their behavior.

written by Tammy Rosado, Media Specialist, Price Middle School


December 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

Parks Middle School receives top honors for giving








Walter Leonard Parks Middle School embraced the holiday spirit of “giving back to the community that has supported them”.   Parks Middle School’s Graduation Coach, Mr. MacArthur Randolph, facilitated and motivated the students during the Holiday Can Food Drive to benefit the Atlanta Food Bank. Over 1, 500 cans were collected during this annual drive.  Based on the number of cans collected, Atlanta Food Bank stated that it will provide at least 1, 213 meals to needy families. Every year many schools within the Atlanta Public Schools district participate in this event.  This year, Parks Middle School received top honors for collecting the most can goods by a school for the Atlanta Food Bank. Mrs. Natascha Hampton’s 7th grade homeroom was recognized with a holiday meal for collecting over 500 cans.   Mrs. Patrice Mapson’s 8th grade homeroom was also recognized for collecting over 280 cans.

Great job, Parks Middle School!

written by Yashica Green, Media Specialist, Parks Middle School


December 21, 2012 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

West Manor Robotics Team Develops Solution to Help the Elderly

photoOn Saturday, December 15, 2012 the West Manor Robotics Team competed in the First Lego League 2012 Senior Challenge Qualifier.    Every year over 200,000 students worldwide, between the ages of 9 to 14 participate in a three part challenge to develop a unique solution to a real problem and score points by programming an autonomous robot using the LEGO MINDSTORMS robot set to complete missions on a 4’x8′ playing field, while being guided by the FLL Core Values. These three elements – the Robot Game, Project, and FLL Core Values – make up the yearly Challenge.

Over 35 million Americans are age 65 or older.  The FLL 2012 Challenge topic is about keeping senior citizens Engaged, Independent, and Connected. The West Manor Robotics Team put an announcement in the Weekly Wolf asking for grandparents and volunteers 60 years and older to participate in a survey to gather information on problems they face as a result of getting older. The  top three issues identified by the 12 participants were:

  1. Completing household chores / errands
  2. Walking
  3. Memory

As a result of the information collected from the survey and other research, the Wolf Pack Team’s unique solution was to develop a Driverless – Global Positioning Transportation System (GPTS) Vehicle to assist senior citizens and others with mobility problems in completing their neighborhood errands.

photo3The GPTS Vehicle prototype utilizes the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Set and sensors to recognize and respond to traffic conditions, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles while transporting senior citizens along neighborhood streets.  After notifying the registered guardian or responsible adults, the GPTS vehicle could transport one to six senior citizens to any of a list of programmed destinations.  It is projected that the GPTS Vehicle will reduce traffic accidents caused by elderly drivers and increase safety for all while helping seniors to remain independent and engaged. The West Manor Robotics Team was commended for outstanding presentation during their first competition.

December 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Chick-fil-A Foundation Partners with APS through the Washington Mentorship Program

This week, the Chick-fil-A Foundation kicked off its partnership with Atlanta Public Schools through the adoption of Booker T. Washington High School. Washington High School-Early College and the Chick-fil-A Foundation are partnering together to develop a mentoring program that will ensure that each student graduating in the Legacy Class of 2013 has a solid plan for the future.

On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, several students from Washington High visited Chick-fil-A headquarters for a “Corporate Day” and an opportunity to meet with their mentors.  The students were graciously greeted by the Chick-fil-A staff as they entered the front doors of the building, followed by a backstage tour of the facility. During the day students spent time with their mentors and experienced “A Day in the Life” with their designated staff member.

“I had the pleasure of taking my mentee to a meeting with the design and construction department,” explained Darrlynn Brister, Associate Director of External Relations at the Chick-fil-A Foundation. “She had a chance to really see what goes into the process of picking out a site for the store, the meetings that are held with various government officials and the things that go into play before a Chick-fil-A restaurant can be placed in a city.”

The mentorship program will help 12th grade students at Washington High enhance relationships, network, and get a glimpse of working in the corporate world.

“I am gaining a mentor who can lead me and help me prepare for college and the real world,” said Nickolas Alexander, a student at Washington High.

The mentorship program is near and dear to many of the mentees, but for Sonya Collier, Sr. Supervisor-Supply Chain at Chick-fil-A, the program hits close to home. As a graduate of Booker T. Washington and a former resident of Southwest Atlanta, Collier is dedicated to seeing each of the mentees succeed and learn valuable information and life lessons as participants in the program.

“I consider these students my children,” she said. “This is important to me because I want to give back and I want to pour into the lives of these young people so they know that success is attainable and they can do anything they set their minds to.”

Rodney Bullard, Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, says the foundation is dedicated to helping young people have the opportunity to be all that they were created to be.

“We want to do everything we can to support them,” he explained. “Perhaps this experience with a mentor will broaden their horizons. We are happy to provide this experience and we are very excited about this partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and with Booker T. Washington High School.”

December 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm Leave a comment

Students at Fickett Receive a ‘Special Delivery’ from UPS

Every year UPS employees at corporate campuses across the country adopt an elementary school in their community as a part of the Project Angel volunteer program.

For years, UPS has served as a Partner in Education at Fickett Elementary School. Through Project Angel UPS donates a gift to every child in the school. This year was no exception, as Santa, Mrs. Clause, and several UPS employees spent time with each student and gave them a special gift to take home for the holiday season.

“The students were so excited,” explained Alandria Harris, an employee at UPS. “As soon as they entered into the gymnasium they had a lot of smiles on their faces and a lot of cheer.”Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 8.00.15 PM

On the big day, UPS and the UPS Foundation helped to make the holiday brighter for hundreds of students at Fickett Elementary School. UPS volunteers sorted gifts in Fickett’s gym and gathered in front of the school to greet Santa and Mrs. Claus during the holiday parade. Student’s eyes were bright and wide as the popular holiday duo made a grand entrance in a UPS truck.

Throughout the day, one by one, classes visited the gym.  As students entered the gym they were ushered on stage to spend time with Mr. and Mrs. Clause and receive their gift. Some boxes were too heavy for students to carry–other boxes were just the right size. Students whispered and giggled with classmates as they pondered what could possibly be tucked inside of their neatly wrapped packages. In order to maintain a level of fairness, students were not allowed to open their gifts at the school, but instead they had to be patient and let the anticipation build as they took their gifts home to open and enjoy.

“I think this is really important for some of our students because, given the current state of the economy, this just may be the best gift that they get for the holiday season,” said Lee King, the counselor at Fickett Elementary.

During the celebration students and staff enjoyed the sounds of the season, took class photos, and participated in a reading corner. UPS is committed to giving back and making a positive impact within the community. Volunteers from UPS committed their time and resources to make this a successful event for students, faculty, and staff at Fickett Elementary. Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 7.53.40 PMScreen Shot 2012-12-18 at 7.53.23 PM

December 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

APS Announces Specialized Training to Help Teachers Prepare for New Common Core Learning Standards

Teachers Count!

On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) announced that as a result of a generous contribution by the GE Foundation, every classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal will receive two days of critical training to allow them to hone their skills implementing the new Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. The two critical training days — February 18, 2013, and May 24, 2013 — will give APS’ classroom teachers the tools necessary to help students compete with their peers around the world.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative, led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers, has developed K-12 standards that meet the business community’s expectations in the foundational subjects of math and literacy in all content areas. The new standards are college and career focused, grounded in evidence and internationally benchmarked. The CCSS set consistent, focused, rigorous academic expectations for all students, and 45 states and the District of Columbia have already adopted them. The CCSS serve as a necessary foundation for making the changes needed to improve student achievement and ensure the United States’ educational and economic pre-eminence.

APS has been focusing on the implementation of the new standards and will continue to support educators through professional development. The standards will provide a consistent framework for what students are expected to learn in grades K-12, replacing a patchwork of state-specific standards that resulted in drastically varying expectations for students across the nation.

“We are pleased to be able to support Atlanta’s teachers in their work to provide the best possible education to children throughout the school district,” said Bob Corcoran, president of the GE Foundation.

GE Vice Chairman John Rice joined Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. for the announcement Wednesday afternoon in front of a host of APS students and teachers along with city and school district officials.

“As we embark upon full implementation of the Common Core standards, it is imperative that all teachers receive superb professional development in order to effectively facilitate 21st centruy instruction,” said Tamika Ball, 2012-13 APS districtwide teacher of the year.

Financial support for the Common Core training will be funded through an existing grant from the GE Foundation. In October of 2007, the GE Foundation awarded to Atlanta Public Schools a Developing Futures in Education grant of $22 million, the largest private grant in the school district’s history.

“Our students are served by more than 3,000 teachers,” said Superintendent Davis. He continued, “Multiply that by two days of paid training and the average teacher compensation in our system. Everything adds up to a considerable and meaningful investment in Atlanta Public Schools when we need it most. We are deeply and sincerely grateful for GE’s gift.”

The GE Foundation grant is intended to support a comprehensive effort to improve student learning in core subjects, such as math, science and literacy; to close achievement gaps; and to encourage more students to attend college. The grant targets curriculum development; systemic change across the entire school district; and school, business and community collaboration.

December 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm 2 comments

Holiday Fundraisers Support School Initiatives & Spread Cheer

Before students and teachers depart for the holiday break, many schools in the district are raising money and spreading holiday cheer through various fundraisers.

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 7.28.28 PMThis year, on behalf of Beecher Hills Elementary, the Beecher Hills Foundation, Inc. sold trees in Southwest Atlanta. The newly formed Beecher Hills Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit fundraising organization supporting the school’s commitment of providing teaching and learning that is authentic and differentiated, through a rigorous global curriculum.

“The foundation also encourages learning in an environment that fosters self-respect, respect for others, a love of learning and a commitment to serve society,” explained Melody Blount, President of the foundation.

With help from the community, the tree sale will help Beecher Hills continue to be one of two International Baccalaureate schools in Southwest Atlanta. Funds from the sale will also help implement a S.T.E.A.M program at Beecher Hills that will include interactive technology, a science lab, robotics team resources and environmental/ecology science initiatives. Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 7.31.15 PM

The PTA at Fickett Elementary is participating in the Reindeer Lane Gift Shop this year. Students can shop on for gifts for their friends and family. Through this initiative, in addition to the school receiving a portion of the proceeds, students also learn to budget money and make financially sound purchase decisions.  Gift items range from $0.25 to $15.00.

Inman Middle School and E. Rivers Elementary also held tree sales this season. E. Rivers has participated in the tree sale fundraiser for 12 years. All proceeds benefit the students by helping fund technological and other curricular enhancements, as well as valuable cultural arts programs.

Inman Middle, in conjunction with Barefoot Mountain Farms, also held a tree sell to help benefit the school. Hal & Tina Hollcroft, owners of Barefoot Mountain Farms, have been an Inman fundraising partner for 14 years. Their love of farming and support of children in education has been the driving force behind the business.

“Their Fraser Fir trees are grown with care in Laurel Springs, NC in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” explained Mary Stouffer, Inman’s PTA VP/Fundraising. ”This season will be in honor of Hal who lost his battle with cancer on February 2, 2012.”

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December 19, 2012 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

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