Parents of gifted learners are invited to learn more about the unique academic, social and emotional needs of gifted learners.
By Leslie Rivera, Communications Officer
It takes a team of hundreds to keep Atlanta Public Schools buses running smoothly and safely. The job descriptions for members of the transportation team involve everything from problem-solving mechanical issues to maintaining order on a 40-foot bus during Atlanta’s peak traffic hours. Bus driver Regina Strickland reminds us they all have one thing in common, “we always have to put our kids first.”
This week Atlanta Public Schools recognizes National School Bus Safety week with a look at some of the people entrusted with the crucial task of making sure students are safe as they travel to and from school each day.
Mechanic Melvin Scott started working on cars with his stepfather when he was just 9 years old. He traveled the world while serving in the Army with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and never imagined an 18-year career with the district. He remembers the sight of school buses outside the window at Washington High School, “I never had a chance to ride the school bus to school and I never thought the day would come that I would be working on the school buses,” Scott said.
His role includes conducting state inspections and maintenance on anywhere from five to eight buses a day. “Every day it’s a different thing,” Scott explains. It could involve changing bulbs, tightening mirrors and checking fluids to retrieving a bus that’s broken down on its route.
As a grandfather, Scott understands the importance of keeping a safe fleet, “the most precious thing we carry are the kids.”
You may find Scott working on cars even when he’s not on the job. He also makes time for fishing, “it’s relaxing, gives you time to think.”
Deborah Davis has been an APS employee 18 years. As a bus monitor she is dedicated to students with special needs. Her role includes maintaining order on the bus while assisting drivers with students. The job seems natural to her having worked in nursing in the past as a certified nursing assistant. “I enjoy working with people,” Davis said in describing what she enjoys most about her role.
Bus driver Regina Strickland began her 27-year career with Atlanta Public Schools as a bus monitor. She’s been behind the wheel since 1989. It’s a responsibility she does not take lightly. “When you send your kids off in the morning and they get on that bus they are in the care of somebody totally different… even if it’s just five minutes you are still entrusting us to take care of your kids,” Strickland explained.
Outside of work she enjoys photography and traveling. Her favorite trips are cruises and trips to see her nephew, a junior at Vanderbilt University, play football. The proud Atlanta Public Schools graduate is also busy planning her wedding.
Strickland most enjoys her time with the preschoolers, especially when she’s greeted with a hug. “Kids are the top priority,” Strickland said.
These employees and the entire transportation team are critical to maintaining a safe environment. APS Transportation Executive Director John Franklin reminds us students and motorists also play an important role. “National School Bus Safety Week is a great time to pause and remind everyone about school bus safety. Schools buses are statistically shown to be the safest mode of transportation for students to and from school each day. Safety on school buses is achieved through many aspects: well-trained and vetted professional bus drivers, safe driving practices, effective student management, good maintenance and strategic routing. For our students, this year’s National Poster theme for school bus safety carries an important message, “be smart, be seen, I wait in a safe place!”
News Release October 6, 2014
APS Receives 2014 Golden Radish Award at State Capitol for Farm to School Achievements
ATLANTA— Atlanta Public Schools (APS) was recognized with the Golden Radish Award, a prestigious state-wide farm to school distinction which acknowledges the outstanding leadership of school representatives building comprehensive farm to school programs.
APS was one of 30 school districts honored today at the state capitol by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney.
The 2014 Golden Radish Award recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school—from local food procurement to hosting taste tests to gardening with students. Golden Radish gives awards at Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorary recognitions to districts with varying levels of farm to school programs.
Atlanta Public Schools was recognized at the Gold level for their accomplishments, which include:
- Locally grown food items featured in school meals 177 times this year. Local items included: romaine lettuce, carrots, strawberries, and apples. All schools also offered locally grown food two to three times a week as part of the reimbursable meal plan.
- Fifty-three edible school gardens evenly distributed throughout the district, including one high school garden with a greenhouse on school grounds.
- Students who participated in 3,396 taste tests of 85 different locally grown fruits and vegetables this year, including grapefruit, muscadines and green bell peppers.
School districts across Georgia are using farm to school programs to teach core curriculum, support their local economies, fight obesity and other preventable, food-related diseases, and to increase the amount of local food they serve to their students.
The award publicly recognizes and honors school districts for their hard work in the variety of farm to school programs they offer students. Districts were evaluated on their work in 10 different farm to school activities.
NEWS RELEASE October 6, 2014
APS Hires Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins as Chief Academic Officer
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Board of Education voted to accept Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen’s recommendation to hire Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins as chief academic officer (CAO) for Atlanta Public Schools (APS).
Jenkins is credited with transforming schools and developing current and future leaders in K-12 public education as superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools District in Saginaw, MI. During his tenure, Jenkins increased the graduation rate by 14.1 percentage points and reduced the dropout rate by 4.9 percentage points over four years for all students. With more than 25 years of experience in education, Jenkins has served in leadership positions such as an associate administrator, principal of a middle school and three high schools, executive director of Project-GRAD leadership K-12 and executive director of secondary leadership.
A native of Phenix City, Ala., Jenkins received his undergraduate degree from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s degree in educational administration and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“As we implement a new strategic direction for Atlanta Public Schools, Jenkins will have a crucial role in fulfilling our mission of preparing students for college and career success,” Superintendent Carstarphen said.
“I look forward to being a part of Atlanta, APS, and a strong team that is dedicated to supporting students and leading our teachers and staff to academic success for all our students,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins will join APS on October 20, 2014.
About Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 106 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit http://www.atlantapublicschools.us.
Thank you for following our live blog of the AOctober 6, 2014 Board of Education Meeting for Atlanta Public Schools.
View today’s agenda here: http://www.boarddocs.com/ga/aps/Board.nsf/Public
REFRESH your browser often for updates.
The meeting will begin soon. Tonight we will update the live blog with highlights from the Committee of the Whole and Legislative Meetings. We will blog public comment from the community meeting if time permits.
Tonight marks the fourth meeting for the district’s new superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen.
Supporting documents for the following presentations are located below.
Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen, Superintendent (15 minutes)
- District Strategic Planning Process
Angela Smith, Special Assistant to the Superintendent (30 Minutes)
- School System Operating Models and Flexibility Options Advisory Recommendation to the Administration
William Caritj, Chief Accountability and Information Officer (20 minutes)
Pamela Hall, Chief Human Resources Officer
- Teacher and Leader Appraisal/Merit Pay
Larry Hoskins, Chief Operating Officer (20 minutes)
- Middle School Configuration for North Atlanta Cluster
Chuck Burbridge, Chief Financial Officer (15 minutes)
- FY 2015 General Fund Monthly Financial Update Overview
Teaching first grade inspired Mrs. Barnes to ignite a love for literacy throughout her school. For the past three years, she has challenged all Garden Hills students to read one million words during the school year. Since her challenge began, each year an average of 40 students have achieved this goal, on every grade level – even kindergarten!
Mrs. Barnes’ Ready to Read project is recognized as one of this year’s Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence winners.
With the proceeds from the award, she plans to purchase approximately 300 hardbound books (a mix of fiction and non-fiction) to augment the school’s selection for readers in the lower reading range, in its accelerated reader motivation for reading program. She also plans to arrange for a rolling cart to house the books so they can be shared more easily. The cart will allow books to be rolled from class to class throughout the day and used by all first graders.
“Over the years I have noticed a need for appropriate reading materials for students who enter first grade below a first-grade reading level,” said Mrs. Barnes. “It is a project that I would like to implement in all first grade classes at our school.”
Mrs. Barnes began her teaching career through the Urban Alternative Preparation Program at Georgia State University. Since joining the Atlanta Public School system in 2000, she has spent the last ten years teaching first grade at Garden Hills.
This is Katie Carlson’s seventh year of teaching and her second year at Garden Hills. It was her Learning Gardens project that earned recognition as one of this year’s Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence winners.
“The mission of the Learning Gardens Project is to help Garden Hills Elementary create, sustain, and use onsite gardens through plant-based learning, field trips, outdoor garden use, and plant activities in the classroom,” said Ms. Carlson. “In the process, students participate in activities that increase science knowledge, sharpen math skills, spur literacy and support lessons in geography, writing and social studies.”
In her short time working for Atlanta Public Schools, Katie has grown tremendously as an educator. She has participated in multiple professional development opportunities including Junior Great Books, Category 1 International Baccalaureate, and various other early literacy trainings.
Ms. Carlson has worked with The Captain Planet Foundation, PTA, students and staff to create learning gardens at Garden Hills. For this work, she also has won a two-year grant from the Captain Planet Foundation, various Donors Choose grants and a Target Field Trip grant.
After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, Ms. Carlson began her teaching career at Dresden Elementary in DeKalb County Schools, and served as secretary and co-president of the PTA board. Congratulations to both teachers and the entire Garden Hills family.