KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School: Congratulations to the Class of 2016

Standing strong in their purple, green and gray, the scholar graduates from KIPP Atlanta Collegiate are taking the stage tonight with nothing but opportunity before them.  This group of Warriors, 108 strong, have earned an impressive $8 million in scholarship dollars and more than 93% have already been accepted to prestigious colleges around this country. They are certainly ready soar through their next chapters in colleges and careers around the country.

Meet a few of the outstanding students from KIPP Atlanta Collegiate who will be graduating tonight.


Makala Faniel is the KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Class of 2016 Valedictorian.

Valedictorian Makala L. Faniel has a natural ability to excel and is a top performer. Along with outstanding academics, Makala plays the clarinet and tenor saxophone. She has had the honor of performing in South Africa and the Bahamas and in Trinidad this spring. Makala has demonstrated her ability to lead by becoming president of the Beta Club and as an active member of the National Honor Society. Additionally, she works as a student researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Makala’s favorite Maya Angelou quote is “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” This quote reminds her to always maintain a diverse perspective and a tolerant heart. In the future, Makala plans to earn a Bachelor’s degree in material science and a Master’s in mechanical engineering.


Jalyn N. Gordon is KIPP Atlanta Collegiate’s Class of 2016 Salutatorian.

Salutatorian Jalyn N. Gordon was encouraged to pursue a college degree by her mother and grandmother, who stressed the importance of education. With a passion for art and innovation, Jalyn plans to attend Georgia Institute of Technology to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering and Construction with aspirations to build memorable structures in cities all over the world. She is an intern at Georgia Tech where she practices coding, web framing and design. Jalyn has been able to develop leadership skills by serving as a community lifeguard and volunteer at the Center for Puppetry Arts. The scholar also has been honored as a Rusk Essay Contest Winner, Law of Life Essay Contest Winner, Spanish Student of the Year, KAC Honor Award Recipient, KAC Innovation Award Recipient, KAC Tenacity Award Recipient, AP Chemistry Student of the Year and Lifeguard of the Year. Jalyn has participated in numerous school clubs such as Mu Alpha Theta — Math Honors Society, Debate Club and the Swim Team.

Other outstanding students to watch include Emerging Leader Scholar Rashad Tate-Salahuddin; community servant, with more than 700 service hours, Levon Martin; and artist Destiny Jackson.

KIPP Atlanta Collegiate’s class of 2016 is a vibrant group.  The senior class quote from Mark Amend will continue to motivate them as move into the next chapter of their lives.   “Be strong enough to stand alone, be strong enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.”  Congratulations Class of 2016!


May 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

D.M. Therrell High School: Congratulations to the Class of 2016

Amidst the sea of black and red, you are sure to sense the strong Panther Pride as D.M. Therrell High graduates 149 students tonight. Bursting with academic, athletic, arts and community service accomplishments, our Therrell graduates are ready to blaze bright new paths in colleges and careers around the country.

Each student has a story and each has an amazing journey ahead.  We are proud to highlight just a few of the outstanding students of Therrell.

Academic Leaders


Kia Surrell is Therrell’s Class of 2016 Valedictorian

Valedictorian Kia Surrell was inspired by Booker T. Washington’s quote, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has to overcome.” Kia has gained success by immersing herself in her studies and sports. While at Therrell, she was  active in the National Beta Club, Student Government Association (Executive President), a Georgia Merit Scholar, Varsity Soccer (Captain), Varsity Soccer MVP, Varsity Volleyball (Captain), and the Georgia Technology Fair, where she scored as first-place winner. She has also earned a position on the Principal’s Honor Roll and recognition as the Most Outstanding AP Biology Student and Most Outstanding AP Statistics Student. Kia’s renewed motivation to get an education has fueled her plans to attend Virginia Commonwealth University to major in biology and become a dentist.


Deja Williams is Therrell’s Class of 2016 Salutatorian

Salutatorian Deja D. Williams has relied on her perseverance to succeed to reach her dream of being at the top of her class. Deja is a dual-enrolled student at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. In addition, she is a member of the National Honor Society, National Beta Club, the Principal’s Honor Roll, Student Government Association (Executive Treasurer), a Georgia Merit Scholar, Marching Band (Section Leader) and former Varsity Soccer Captain. Inspired by the words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Deja accomplished what to many may seem as impossible, but to others possible. She aspires to use the knowledge acquired in high school to pursue a career in architecture and make a positive impact on her community. Deja will attend Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall to major in architecture. She plans to become an architectural engineer.

Excelling in the Arts

Therrell is well on its way to becoming an arts destination school. We are proud of the legacy being left by award-winning filmmaker Devin Pittman. Devin’s film premiered at the Fulton County Black History Film Festival and won the Marvin Arrington Black History Unsung Hero Video Contest.



Led by senior starters, the 2015-2016 Therrell Panthers were named Fox 5 High 5 Sports Team of the Week during the fall football season.

Athletic All-Stars

In addition to stellar academic performance, Therrell had notable athletic accomplishments. Basketball All-Stars Toiryn Hunter, Justin James, Anthony Williams and Ricky Wolfe led the Panthers during a competitive season.  Other All-Stars included Ricky Wolfe in football and Jakari Kearney, Alphonso Carey, Zedric Jewell and Reginal Butler in baseball.

Serving the Community

In community service, Antwain Williams accumulated 600 hours of community service over three summers at Lake Allatoona. And Helena Devone, Lameria Primrose and Jacob Skinner created the “Buttoned Up Gold” project through Usher’s New Look Foundation to purchase new suits for young high school men going to prom.

2016 was a banner year for Therrell High School and this year’s graduating class.  Congratulations to all of our Therrell scholars!

May 24, 2016 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools Announces 2016 Graduation Schedule

Media Advisory                                                      May 23, 2016

Atlanta Public Schools Announces 2016 Graduation Schedule

ATLANTA – Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will host 12 graduation ceremonies for over 2,400 seniors May 24-27, 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Hall B4, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30313.

Completing her second school year as superintendent, Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen will deliver remarks at all of the ceremonies. All ceremonies will stream live on Below is the APS 2016 Graduation Schedule:

Tuesday, May 24

D.M. Therrell

5:30 p.m.

KIPP Atlanta Collegiate

7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 25

Maynard H. Jackson

5:30 p.m.


7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 26

North Atlanta

10:00 a.m.

Booker T. Washington

1:00 p.m.

Henry W. Grady

3:30 p.m.

Benjamin E. Mays

6:30 p.m.

Friday, May 27

South Atlanta

10:00 a.m.

Frederick Douglass

1:00 p.m.

Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy/B.E.S.T. Academy

3:30 p.m.

Alonzo A. Crim

6:30 p.m.

All members of the media are invited to attend. To obtain media credentials, please contact Kimberly Willis Green at 404-802-2836 or send an email to




May 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment

APS Robotics Teams Compete With the Best


APS robotics teams experienced a great 2016 competition season!

Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) teams from Douglass, Grady, Jackson and Mays high schools recently competed in the Technology Student Association (TSA) regional VEX competitions. In addition, Carver, Grady, Jackson, North Atlanta, and Washington participated in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC), an international high school robotics competition.

The Maynard H. Jackson High School “Jaguar Engineers” played 12 qualifying rounds at the District Qualifier in Albany, Georgia, and won the final match 122-94. Their qualifying performance gained the team an automatic bid to the district championships. In addition to the District Qualifier, the Henry W. Grady “G3 Robotics” FRC team competed in the Peachtree District Championship and the FIRST World Championship. This is the second year in a row the Grady FRC team qualified for the world championship event.

“We are not only proud of our performance, but we are proud of the other APS teams we mentor” said Andrew Nichols, a teacher at Grady High School.

The Washington FRC Robotics team competed for the first time and ranked high enough to compete in the elimination tournament at the Columbus Qualifier. Repeating this accomplishment in Albany demonstrates that they are one of the strongest rookie teams in the state. Their performance also earned them an invitation for the Peachtree District Championship.

Atlanta Public Schools students compete in FIRST Robotics and VEX Robotics. Each year, teams of students and mentors work during a six-week period to build game-playing robots that weigh up to 120 pounds. The VEX robotics competition has similar elements using smaller robots.

Funding for the robotics teams was provided by the district’s CTAE unit, a grant from Lockheed Martin, and school-based fundraising.

“We consider robotics competition an important part of our engineering program curriculum” said Dr. Michael Maze, director of CTAE.

The mission of CTAE is to prepare students for the 21st century global workplace by providing a sequence of rigorous career-related courses. CTAE also provides real-world experiences that build technical skills and workplace knowledge while exposing students to a variety of career options and industry requirements. There are currently career and technical education programs at all APS high schools and eight APS middle schools.

For more information, contact the Office of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education at 404-802-5979, or visit the APS website.

May 23, 2016 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

E-SPLOST Dollars Would Be Spread Throughout District

The merger of  Woodson Primary (left) and Grove Park Intermediate Schools, which would create a new $18.5M Woodson Park Elementary, is on the list of proposed building projects that could be completed with the renewal of E-SPLOST.


Click here to see the E-SPLOST video!

Building and improvement projects in all nine Atlanta Public Schools clusters are part of the spending plan for the $546 million that could result from the renewal of a proposed Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST).

The renewal of this one-penny sales tax will be on the ballot during the General Primary Election, Tuesday, May 24. The E-SPLOST would fund major construction projects, renovate school buildings, provide state-of-the-art technology, upgrade athletic fields, demolish dilapidated structures, relieve overcrowding in some schools, pay for new school buses, improve safety and security, and provide better infrastructure systems like heating and air.Anticipated Expenditures graphic“Our school system — in partnership with the taxpayers of Atlanta — has made tremendous investments in our schools that have played important roles in community revitalization efforts across this city. Now we have the opportunity to ensure those facilities continue to provide a quality educational experience for our students in the decades to come,” APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen said. “We have a clear, carefully crafted plan for this reinvestment in our kids that would continue our dedication to equity throughout Atlanta Public Schools.”

CentennialPR2010-054 - MathSci

Passage of the E-SPLOST renewal would provide $67M for more technological upgrades to APS schools.

Passage of the E-SPLOST renewal would provide $67M for more technological upgrades to APS schools.

APS joins Decatur City Schools, DeKalb County Schools and Fulton County Schools on the        May 24th E-SPLOST referenda. The expiring E-SPLOST, approved by Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb voters in 2011, is projected to raise approximately $442 million for Atlanta Public Schools, resulting in the completion of major renovation projects in 16 schools, significant HVAC system upgrades in 17 facilities. The district was also able to complete major technology upgrades including the addition of more than 21,000 student desktops to classrooms and labs; the upgrade of network cabling to all classrooms; the upgrade of


The historic David T. Howard Building would be remodled and transformed into the new Iman Middle School with funds from the E-SPLOST.

network switches and internet services (by ten-fold); and the outfitting of all classrooms, labs, media centers, auditoriums and common areas with full wireless capability, including one wireless access point per classroom.  If voters renew the measure, APS will continue with its aggressive approach toward upgrading, renovating and maintaining school facilities and systems.

The early voting period, which began May 2 at specific locations, will conclude today.


Pryor Street ES (Scheduled for Demo)

The old Pryor Street Elementary School facility would be razed with funds from E-SPLOST, if voters renew the one-penny sales tax.




May 19, 2016 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

Special Board Meeting to Recognize Outstanding APS Students

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, the Atlanta Board of Education will meet at 5 pm to recognize outstanding achievements by Atlanta Public Schools’ students during the 2015-16 school year, as well as a special annual Throwback award. The agenda is available at


Location: Center for Learning and Leadership 

Board Auditorium

130 Trinity Ave, SW 

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

 Please tune-in to this link for a live stream of the board meeting:

 * Action may be taken. An executive session may take place before, during or at the conclusion of the meeting to discuss any appropriate topics.


May 19, 2016 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools Selected for $400,000 Grant to Open Two New School-Based Health Centers

By: Erica Fatima

emorylogolongEmory University’s PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health in the Department of Pediatrics, along with renowned service providers HEAL and Southside Medical Center, has selected Atlanta Public Schools’ Dobbs and Miles elementary schools to open school-based health centers (SBHCs) at each location. The new health centers will serve students, families, and community members in the Mays and South Atlanta high school clusters. This project is being underwritten by a $400,000 grant from the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation to provide additional SBHCs throughout Atlanta.

Following the 20-year success of the SBHC at Whitefoord Elementary School, APS leadership began a concerted effort in the fall of 2014 to implement more school-based health centers in areas considered “medical deserts,” where thousands of school-aged children have limited access to comprehensive health services because of financial, geographical and other barriers to care.

“I recognize that some of our students and families face significant barriers when trying to access health services. This partnership strengthens our ability to deliver quality wrap-around services, especially in communities of high need,” said Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen, Ed.D. “And data supports what we already know—if students have good health care related to physical, dental, vision and even mental health, over time, student attendance and academic achievement increases. The SBHCs support our efforts to ensure all of our students are college and career ready.”

The new centers are anticipated to open on August 3, 2016, the first day of school and will operate separately from the school. Highly trained, qualified physicians, pediatricians, dentists, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as, health educators and social workers will staff each SBHC. They will treat all levels of acute and chronic illness along with providing a full range of diagnostic testing, preventive care and disease management for asthma, diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Veda Johnson, associate professor and director of PARTNERS said, “Students learn best when they are healthy, present and connected to the school emotionally and socially. School-based health centers, when integrated into the school system, expand the role of the school nurse and assist teachers and school administrators in their instructional duties. SBHCs can reduce health disparities (i.e. mental health, asthma) and provide holistic wrap-around services for challenged and underperforming students and their families.”

Tammie Workman, assistant superintendent of student services for APS adds: “By serving students, families, and community members, we envision the SBHCs will be true community centers that provide much needed health care and will positively change the trajectory for our APS communities dealing with a myriad of health barriers.”

The SBHCs at Dobbs and Miles elementary schools are designated Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and will accept Georgia Better Health Care, Medicaid, Peach Care and private insurance. Fees are determined on a sliding scale based on income so that quality health care is accessible and affordable.

Dr. David Williams, Southside Medical Center’s (SMC) president and CEO, expressed his enthusiasm for the new health centers, “SMC was one of the earlier advocates for the SBHC model some 20 years ago, but at that time student enrollment simply did not support the relatively large investment for our then 30 years young community medical center. Today, the circumstances are quite different. With this crucial grant funding, SMC is no longer alone; we now have much needed support from committed partners APS, Emory University, and the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation. We are confident that we now have an effective SBHC delivery opportunity.”

For more information about services successfully provided at the Whitefoord Elementary School SBHC, visit:

May 19, 2016 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

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