REGISTER NOW: Atlanta Virtual Academy Offers Summer Courses For Middle and High School Students

U.S. History, Chinese II, Honors American Literature, AP Calculus, and Intro to Healthcare Services are just a taste of the courses offered this summer at Atlanta Virtual Academy (AVA), a fully accredited online learning environment available to middle and high school students at Atlanta Public Schools.

“The AVA program can help students accelerate and get ahead, or support students who need to recover credits and catch up,” said Atlanta Virtual Academy Director Krasandra Holmes. “To assist with summer course planning, the AVA team offers a virtual school counselor and academic support specialist. Additionally, we have live teachers who help students work through the virtual content. We offer CTAE courses, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Honors courses and much more.”

Registration for AVA summer programming is happening now through May 29.  

Visit www.atlantapublicschools.us/AtlantaVirtualAcademy to register for summer course, view the complete list of summer course offerings, or to learn more about online learning. Please feel free to contact AVA via email at atlantavirtual@apsk12.org to discuss options. Students can also contact their school counselor for registration details.

Student Achievements Highlighted in Celebratory Website

Since we can’t gather in person for our annual Student Recognition event, APS has created a celebratory webpage to highlight the outstanding success of more than 400 students who excelled in academics, arts, athletics, service and more. These high achievers include Georgia Scholars, scholars from such programs as the Posse Foundation, who have been awarded full scholarships; our valedictorians, salutatorians and STAR students; spelling bee champions; social studies, science, engineering and technology fair winners; championship athletes; JROTC students; talented artists and
more.

Watch congratulatory videos from Board Chair Jason Esteves and Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and read the names of some of our outstanding student scholars today. View the website here: https://www.atlantapublicschools.us/StudentRecognition

APS Salutes Frontline Heroes During Public Service Recognition Week

Public Service Recognition Week is May 3-9, and Atlanta Public Schools proudly salutes those frontline heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organized annually by the Public Employees Roundtable, this weeklong observation honors the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees.

APS bus drivers, police officers, crossing guards, school nurses and Information Technology staff are among the hundreds of staff members who continue to help keep us safe while serving on behalf of our students, their families and the entire APS community.

From distributing food at school sites, loading buses and delivering books to supporting technology needs and distributing devices, each of these frontline heroes are working to ensure that students and their families’ needs are met during these unprecedented times.

School nurses have also served at volunteer sites assessing temperatures of all volunteers and staff reporting to food distribution sites, while monitoring social distancing, and ensuring adherence with use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) of all volunteers.

“Our nurses are selflessly committed to their profession and putting APS students first,” said Valencia Hildreth, APS comprehensive health services manager.

According to APS Police Chief Ronald Applin, officers and crossing guards are doing everything from helping to prepare meals, loading meals on buses and trucks, and passing out meals in neighborhoods, all while continuing to provide service to the District at the same time.

“Dispatchers, police officers and crossing guards have been here every day since the start of the pandemic, working hard to make sure our schools and other buildings are safe and secure when staff and students return,” Chief Applin said. “The food distribution has been an eye opener for this team. Many could not have imagined the large number of our students who would go without meals if it were not for this food distribution.”

John Franklin, executive director of transportation, praised the teamwork among supervisors, dispatchers, fleet mechanics, bus operators, and food site captains who all helped load buses, deliver books and make food runs.

Franklin said that among those who deserve special thanks for their tireless commitment include: Jackie Krane, database analyst, who created 55 dual-tier runs; administrative assistants Shermon Roberson and Shannon Astin, who took runs and created sequence lists; and Sandy Asemota, a dispatcher, who checked in the operators and helped communicate with the bus operators by radio.

He also lauded bus operators for their tireless effort and selfless devotion to the food distribution program.

“Our bus operators have been dedicated, diligent and caring about this effort,” Franklin said. “Many of them are serving families and students in locations where they either personally live or drive a bus route, so there is a deep and passionate connection to this food distribution mission. This includes some of our newest bus operators to one of our most senior bus operators, Mr. Charles Brown, who are all working on food distribution.”

In addition to transportation staff, Information Technology employees have also played an integral role during the pandemic.

“Technology team members are especially on the frontlines and have consistently been interacting with teachers, parents and the community in the effort to support technology needs and to distribute devices,” said Olufemi Aina, executive director of Information Technology.

“Even when many have been reluctant to put themselves in harms way with this pandemic, these individuals have exemplified hard work and professionalism while providing direct support to the public at the central office and IT warehouse locations,” Aina added.

Chief Applin also praised the efforts of the National Guard and two other frontline heroes: APS Police Commanders Curtis Adams and Taras Holloman.

“They have been working sun up to sun down making sure everything is running smoothly,” Applin said. “Crossing Guard Robert Richardson has also been a great help at Phoenix Academy (formerly Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School).”

“The reality of COVID-19 hit home after two officers tested positive,” Applin said. “It was humbling to see the team continuing to work despite the risks, and it’s good to know that there are people out there who can be counted on to run toward the danger for our kids.”

Atlanta Public Schools Partners with Comcast to Get Our Kids Connected

Program to provide low-income families with internet connections and computers that support distance learning 

Get Our Kids Connected

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has partnered with Comcast to launch the Get Our Kids Connected campaign to support low-income families. Through its Internet Essentials program, Comcast will work with APS to solicit financial support from individuals and organizations to sponsor students with low-cost, high-speed internet and computers.      

“A growing number of students attending Atlanta Public Schools do not have internet service or the technology in their homes to stay connected,” said Jason Gumbs, Comcast Regional SVP in Atlanta. “This disparity creates significant barriers for our students, particularly during a time when so many of us are required to work and learn from home.”

Get Our Kids Connected is powered by Comcast’s Internet Essentials program – the nation’s leading low-cost broadband adoption program. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Internet Essentials speeds have been permanently increased for all customers. Any new customers who connect will get 60 days of internet service for free and will only pay $9.95 per month thereafter.

“As we closed schools for teleschooling and teleworking in response to COVID-19, we needed more help from partners to close the digital divide and keep our students connected,” APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen said. “Comcast responded to our call in a great and generous way!”

“This program will not only provide our families with resources that support distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis, it also provides resources that will help supplement and enrich the education our students are receiving in our classrooms moving forward,” said APS Board Chairman Jason Esteves.  “We are grateful to Comcast and all of the program’s donors.”

For $300, contributors can give the gift of connectivity, which will provide students with a laptop and an internet connection for 12 months. APS has identified a pilot group of 1,000 students with an immediate need, which sets the fundraising goal at $300,000. 

Trinity HealthShare, a 501(c)(3) non-profit health care sharing ministry, is the first major donor with a $50,000 contribution to kick start the campaign, followed by Atlanta Tech Village with a $10,000 contribution.

“At Trinity, we believe every child should have access to all available resources in their time of need; this is one of those times,” said Trinity HealthShare CEO William “Rip” Thead. “We see the children of Atlanta Public Schools as ‘our children’. When we became aware of the opportunity to provide laptops directly to students who normally would go without, we wanted to take immediate action. This $50,000 donation is what we believe will be a jump start for reducing the technology gap for our children in the City of Atlanta.”

Both Comcast and APS have already made strides toward getting an initial group of students enrolled in the program.

Because the COVID-19 crisis has forced schools across the country to close and transition to e-learning, Get Our Kids Connected is looking to the business, nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Donating to the fund will meet the urgent need to get APS kids and families connected immediately with personal devices and connectivity in their homes for the long term.

Those interested in donating can do so by visiting www.atlantapublicschools.us/getourkidsconnected.

Atlanta Public Schools se asocia con Comcast para conectar a nuestros hijos     

Programa para proporcionar a las familias de bajos ingresos conexiones a Internet y computadoras que apoyen el aprendizaje a distancia.     

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) se ha asociado con Comcast para lanzar la campaña Get Our Kids Connected para apoyar a las familias de bajos ingresos. A través de su programa de Internet Essentials, Comcast trabajará con APS para solicitar apoyo financiero de individuos y organizaciones para patrocinar a los estudiantes con Internet y computadoras de bajo costo y alta velocidad. 

“Un número cada vez mayor de estudiantes que asisten a Atlanta Public Schools no tienen servicio de internet o la tecnología en sus hogares para mantenerse conectados”, dijo Jason Gumbs, vicepresidente regional de Comcast en Atlanta. “Esta disparidad crea barreras significativas para nuestros estudiantes, particularmente durante un tiempo en que muchos de nosotros estamos obligados a trabajar y aprender desde casa”.

Get Our Kids Connected funciona con el programa Internet Essentials de Comcast, el programa de adopción de banda ancha de bajo costo líder en el país. En respuesta a la crisis de COVID-19, Las velocidades de Internet Essentials se han incrementado permanentemente para todos los clientes. Cualquier cliente nuevo que se conecte recibirá 60 días de servicio de Internet de forma gratuita y solo pagará $ 9.95 por mes a partir de entonces.

“Cuando cerramos las escuelas y comenzamos el aprendizaje y el trabajo en línea en respuesta a COVID-19, necesitábamos más ayuda de los socios para cerrar la brecha digital y mantener a nuestros estudiantes conectados”, dijo la superintendente de APS, Dra. Meria Carstarphen. “¡Comcast respondió a nuestro llamado de una manera excelente y generosa!”

“Este programa no solo proporcionará a nuestras familias recursos que apoyan el aprendizaje a distancia durante la crisis COVID-19, sino que también proporcionará recursos que ayudarán a complementar y enriquecer la educación que nuestros estudiantes reciben en nuestras aulas en el futuro”, dijo Jason Esteves, presidente de la Junta de APS.    “Estamos agradecidos con Comcast y todos los donantes del programa”.   

Por $ 300, los contribuyentes pueden dar el regalo de la conectividad, lo que proporcionará a los estudiantes una computadora portátil y una conexión a Internet durante 12 meses. APS ha identificado un grupo piloto de 1,000 estudiantes con una necesidad inmediata, lo que establece la meta de recaudación de fondos en $ 300,000. 

Trinity HealthShare, un ministerio 501 (c) (3) sin fines de lucro para compartir la atención médica, es el primer donante importante con una contribución de $ 50,000 para iniciar la campaña, seguido por Atlanta Tech Village con una contribución de $ 10,000.

“En Trinity, creemos que cada niño debe tener acceso a todos los recursos disponibles en su momento de necesidad; este es uno de esos momentos “, dijo William” Rip “Thead, Presidente de Trinity HealthShare. “Vemos a los niños de Atlanta Public Schools como ‘nuestros hijos’. Cuando nos dimos cuenta de la oportunidad de proporcionar computadoras portátiles directamente a los estudiantes que normalmente no tendrían, quisimos tomar medidas inmediatas. Creemos que esta donación de $ 50,000 será un impulso para reducir la brecha tecnológica para nuestros niños en la ciudad de Atlanta “.     

Tanto Comcast como APS ya han avanzado mucho para lograr que un grupo inicial de estudiantes se inscriba en el programa.

Debido a que la crisis de COVID-19 ha obligado a las escuelas de todo el país a cerrar y hacer la transición al aprendizaje electrónico, Get Our Kids Connected está buscando las comunidades comerciales, sin fines de lucro y filantrópicas. La donación a este fondo satisfará la necesidad urgente de que los niños y las familias de APS se conecten de inmediato con dispositivos personales y conectividad en sus hogares a largo plazo.

Los interesados en donar pueden hacerlo visitando      http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/getourkidsconnected. 

Race2Read Update: Long, Sarah Smith and TAG Win Winter Reading Challenge + Top Adult Readers!

With more than 7 million minutes of reading logged, Atlanta Public Schools students, staff and community partners continue to Race2Read 20 minutes daily towards our 10-million-minute goal. Here is an update on our top readers!

Winter Reading Challenge Winners

Crawford Long MS (Principal Lisa Hill), Sarah Smith ES (Principal Emily Boatright), and Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy (Principal Yolanda Weems) are our victorious winners of the Penguin Random House Winter Reading Challenge! These three APS schools will share $50,000 worth of books and author visits with libraries and schools across the nation who read and logged the most minutes during the month of January.

Top Schools

Below are our top 10 schools in terms of minutes logged. Please note: total minutes logged for each school is not disclosed, rather the percentage of school goal is listed below, as each school has an individual goal based on the number of enrolled students. TAG Academy is leading in both minutes logged and percentage of school goal met!

SchoolPercentage of School Goal Met
1. Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy100%
2. North Atlanta High School36%
3. Crawford Long Middle School85%
4. Morris Brandon Elementary School49%
5. Garden Hills Elementary School79%
6. Sarah Smith Elementary School35%
7. Deerwood Academy 99%
8. Sylvan Hills Middle School88%
9. Hollis Innovation Academy44%
10. Mary Lin Elementary School29%

Top Adult Readers

NameAffiliationMinutes Logged
1. Lorrae WalkerHollis Innovation Academy15,838
2. Ketchia WoodsHollis Innovation Academy15,726
3. Joi WilliamsTuskegee Airmen Global Academy13,170
4. Oreta Hinamon CampbellHumphries Elementary School12,710
5. Shanna MilesSouth Atlanta High School7,942
6. Lindsey KilgoreHumphries Elementary School7,219
7. Jestine TaylorTuskegee Airmen Global Academy6,480
8. Patrick BaughmanCommunity Partner5,730
9. Marijane SandersCommunity Partner5,150
10. Letitia GreenCommunity Partner5,140

Kudos to the Patrice Laird-Walker and Jennifer Saunders of the APS Media Services team and our wonderful medial specialists across the District for leading our Race2Read! To learn more and join the race, go to www.beanstack.com/race2read

ELDER Art Installation to Preserve Tree and Honor Historic Community

Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen and Inman Middle School Principal Kevin Maxwell participate in brushing the tree outside of David T. Howard Middle School, which will be used as a sculptural installation. Photo credit: Patrick Addy

In an effort to commemorate the restoration of the historic David T. Howard Middle School and to honor the ongoing legacy of nature, history, and citizen-led advocacy, APS officials recently joined several community members and representatives from the Freedom Park Conservancy ​to announce ELDER, a site-specific public art project.

A sculptural installation by Atlanta-based artist Masud Olufani, the project will incorporate the shared histories of the David T. Howard school site, the Helene S. Mills Senior Center, and the Old Fourth Ward community into the project. Original plans for the redevelopment of the site included the loss of 60 mature and historic trees on the property, including some more than a century old.

Atlanta-based artist Masud Olufani and Nancy Boyd, vice chair of the Freedom Park Conservancy, discuss the details of the ELDER project. Photo credit: Patrick Addy

To address the loss of these trees, concerned neighborhood citizens initiated an appeal process—facilitated by Trees Atlanta —in which APS and project firms Stevens & Wilkinson and Lord Aeck & Sargent devised a revamped plan that ultimately resulted in the additional benefit of preserving several trees and increased capacity for public engagement via public art.

During the Feb. 28 ceremony, the 150-year-old tree was unveiled. Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen, members of the Atlanta Board of Education, and others participated in brushing the tree of debris, all in an effort to prepare it for installation.

“It serves as more if a simple way to engage and connect with the tree – much like preparing the body in transition for the next phase of the creative process,” explained Nancy Boyd, vice chair of the Freedom Park Conservancy. “We started using the brushes early on when engaging elders in the project as a simple productive way to engage. We view it as more spiritual or ceremonial.”

Olufani’s installation will transform a 100-year American elm into a sculpture that incorporates the histories of David T. Howard High School, the senior members of the community, and the historical importance of trees to the Freedom Park community into a combined artistic narrative.

“Freedom Park enjoys a unique designation as an Atlanta public art park,” Freedom Park Conservancy Board Chair Harriett Lane said in a press release. “And with ​ELDER,​ we look forward to using public art as a platform to bring community, nature, and history together in a really amazing way.” 

The finished ELDER sculpture will be installed in Freedom Park, across from the David T. Howard Middle School, will be on public display from March through October 2020 in commemoration of the reopening of the school in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

This public art​ ​project is funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts. This project is also generously​ ​supported by Meredith Artley and Naka Nathaniel.

For more information about ​ELDER, please visit​ :​http://www.freedompark.org/fpc/​ or contact Nancy Boyd at nancy.boyd@gmail.com.

Grady Jesters Win 11th State Debate and Speech Championship

The Henry W. Grady High School Jesters Speech and Debate Team have done it again! The team competed at the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association (GFCA) at Lassiter High School in Marietta on March 6-8. The Grady Jesters brought home first-place championships in the debate and speech sweepstakes, marking the 11th consecutive win for the team!

Here are the 2020 GFCA results:

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Peter Haynes, quarterfinalist; Griffin Richie, 2nd speaker and champion

Policy Debate: Assata Nkosi, 2nd speaker; Daniel Wakefield, top speaker; Assata Nkosi and Daniel Wakefield, semifinalists

Public Forum Debate: Everett Stubin and Duncan Tanner, quarterfinalists

Extemporaneous Speaking: Bryant Hodgson, semifinalist; Declan McCarthy, semifinalist; Maeve Malaney-Lau, 5th place; Oliver Grady, 4th place; Sarah Likins, 3rd place; George Lefkowicz, 2nd place; Tyler Jones, champion

Impromptu Speaking: Bryant Hodgson, semifinalist; Sarah Likins, 4th place; Declan McCarthy, 3rd place; Oliver Gray, 2nd place; Lucia Fernandez, champion

Informative Speaking: Dana Richie, 5th place; Matthew Vincent, 4th place; Tyler Jones, champion

Original Oratory: Elise Isakov, 5th place; George Lefkowicz, 3rd place; Lucia Fernandez, champion

AND FROM VARSITY STUDENT CONGRESS IN FEBRUARY:

Senate: George Lefkowicz, 2nd place; Tyler Jones, champion

House: Max Murphree, finalist; Will Tanner, finalist; Sayan Sonnad-Joshi, finalist; Lucia Fernandez, finalist; Oliver Gray, finalist; Jorge Navarrete, 3rd Place; Nicolas Kamel, champion

The wins mark seven individual state champions, including three state championships for Tyler Jones. Congratulations to the Grady Jesters!