Young Middle School Wins First ELS, Inc. Reading Competition


Students at Jean Childs Young Middle School won the ELS, Inc. Reading Plus Achievement Award by reading more than three millions words during the months of August and September. ELS made the announcement last week.

Educational Learning Systems, Inc. (ELS, Inc.) has announced that Jean Childs Young Middle School is the winner of its Reading Plus Achievement Award for the months of August and September. For their efforts, the students and teachers at Young Middle will receive a championship banner and $200 for the school.

ELS, Inc., is a provider of research-based K-12 math and reading online curriculum and professional development programs. Reading Plus is a web-based program created by ELS, Inc. for students in grades three through 12. Young Middle school students won the award over nine other Atlanta Public Schools middle schools by reading more than three million words with 80 percent accuracy during the months of August and September.

“What an outstanding start-up performance during the months of August and September by the Reading Plus team at Jean Childs Young Middle School,” ELS, Inc. Vice President Virginia Stoner said in a statement. “We selected as our award criteria the ‘Total Number of Words Read’ – a total of 3,225,415 words read with 80 percent accuracy at Jean Childs Young Middle School.”

According to Stoner, the competition will continue through the remainder of the school year with a different criteria category each month.

“We look forward to recognizing more outstanding performances from the APS Middle Schools,” Stoner said. “Let the competition begin.”

Rounding out the top five behind Young Middle were Sutton, Inman, Sylvan Hills and Harper-Archer.


January 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

Having a Ball: King Middle School & Wesley International Academy Students Learn to Program Sphero Robots



Students prepare a sphero robot to knock down bowling ball pins. 

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Imagine being able to program an object the size of a golf ball to roll forward, move backward, and to hit the center of a bullseye.

That’s exactly what students from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and Wesley International Academy did after learning to program sphero balls – small, app-enabled droid robots – at the first-ever Maynard H. Jackson High School Sphero-Versity event on Friday, Jan. 13.

Designed to boost enrollment in Jackson’s robotics program and encourage underrepresented students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers, the event was led by 10 robotics students from Jackson who taught the middle schoolers the basics of computer programming.

Eventually, middle school students learned to program the robots to knock down bowling pins, hit the center of a bullseye, and roll the sphero ball through a maze.


By the end of the day, the students – many of whom represented their respective schools’ robotics teams – competed to see who could successfully master all three programming skills.


“I loved learning something new,” King Middle School student Caesar Rosser said, as he worked to program the sphero ball to make it go forward and then right again. “It would be cool to add a camera to the balls.”

Shevan Howard, IB coordinator at King Middle School, said he hoped the event would help further his students’ interest in STEM education.

“Hopefully, this will provide them with the connection between middle school and high school and build their love for STEM,” Howard said.


According to Shelley Carter, an engineering teacher and robotics coach at Jackson, students also gained leadership experience, as well as presentation and interview skills, from working with middle schoolers.


Jackson High students Kol Greenbaum and Ethan Heyns taught middle schoolers the basics of programming a sphero robot.


Tenth grader Ihsan Muhammad agreed.

“It makes you feel older, like being a mentor,” he said. “The younger kids helped me learn more because of the questions they asked.”


Kameron Clark, an eighth grader at King Middle School, said he may now consider studying computer science.

“This is like learning more than you can at school,” he said. “You don’t have to be a scientist or a genius. You just have to be willing to learn.”

Tracy Joyner, gifted endorsement internship facilitator with the Office of Gifted and Talented Education, said the event was a win-win for all students.

“I love to see high-achieving and talented students work together,” she said. “It’s like magic.”



Sphero-Versity winners show off their first-place prizes. 





January 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Upcoming Community Town Hall Meetings


Mark your calendars and join the Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools and members of the Atlanta Board of Education for upcoming community town hall meetings throughout the district.

2017 Community Town Hall Schedule

Jackson Cluster

Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Jackson High School

801 Glenwood Ave.

Click here to download a flyer.

Click here for Spanish.

Douglass Cluster

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Douglass High School

225 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive

Click here to download a flyer

Mays Cluster

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Benjamin E. Mays High School

3450 Benjamin E. Mays Dr.

Click here to download a flyer.

Click here for Spanish.

Grady Cluster

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Inman Middle School

774 Virginia Ave NE

Click here to download a flyer. 

Washington Cluster

Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Washington High School

45 Whitehouse Dr. SW

Click here to download a flyer.

Carver Cluster

Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Carver High School

55 McDonough Blvd SE

Click here to download a flyer.  


January 18, 2017 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

APS eBook Shelf Offers Several Works on the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., African American History


Students may honor the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday be reading one of several books available on the Atlanta Public Schools eBook Shelf.

As you celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, Jan. 16, and throughout Black History Month in February, please take a look at some of the great eBooks on the Atlanta Public Schools eBook Shelf focusing on his amazing life and work:

If you have trouble accessing the site or some of the eBooks, you may need to use your school’s specific username and password, which can be obtained from your school’s media specialist.

January 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

APS Celebrates Atlanta Falcons with Rise Up Friday

APS Rise Up Friday.jpg

January 12, 2017 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Former Continental Colony Elementary Student Writes Books with SEL in Mind




Marian Davis, a former student at Continental Colony Elementary School, has created a series of books which focus on various aspects of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Recently, Davis held a book signing event at her old elementary school.

Long before her home school district – Atlanta Public Schools – decided to adopt the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) concept as a way to improve school culture, Marian Davis knew all about its benefits.

First as a psychology major at Clemson University, and then during her work in the social services field, Davis – who attended Continental Colony Elementary, Brown Middle and Grady High Schools – became a fan of SEL, so much so that she created a series of children’s books, “Chicken and Pickle,” to reinforce SEL and its principals:  self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

The books chronicle the adventures of “Chicken,” who Davis said is around “grade-school age,” and his dog “Pickle,” and feature interactive activities to help young readers learn and comprehend the lessons.

— “Smile Anyway” is about overcoming obstacles.

— “Make a New Friend” is about sharing, empathy and respecting personal space.

— “Meet Uncle Bean from Town McMean” is about having good manners and showing gratitude.

— “Get a Baby” is about getting a new sibling.

— “Sometimes We Scream” is about dealing with anger properly.

“The activities are complementary resources that are ready made for teachers to use in the classroom,” Davis said. “The books cover every competency in SEL.”

“While working in therapeutic and supportive services for children, I saw the need to help our communities create environments that will grow our curious children into emotionally and socially balanced adults,” Davis said. “This series is meant to help us become more intuitive to our children’s varying emotional states as well as our own.”


January 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm Leave a comment

Usher-Collier Elementary Teacher Named National Scholar for Gifted Education


Asiaa Karriem, a gifted education teacher at Usher-Collier Elementary School, recently was named a 2016 Javits-Frasier Scholar by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).

Asiaa Karriem has the ability to see the untapped potential in children from socio-economically challenged communities. As such, her being honored by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) recently should come as no surprise.

Karriem, a gifted teacher at Usher-Collier Elementary School, was named a Javits-Frasier Scholar by the NAGC. The Javits-Frasier Scholars Program recognizes passionate, innovative educators who work in districts that serve students from low-income and minority populations that are historically underrepresented in gifted education.

“High-achieving children in poverty and from minority groups are two-and-a-half times less likely to be identified for, and served in gifted programs in school,” said NAGC Executive Director M. Rene Islas. “Educators like Asiaa are leaders and a voice for these gifted and talented children who have unique learning needs.”

Karriem said she was honored to be selected as a Javits-Frasier Scholar, and plans to take full advantage of the professional development opportunities that come with the award.

“It helps teach teachers to look for signs of giftedness in children in poverty,” said Karriem, who earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern and a master’s from Mercer University. “I love the fact that by doing what I do, I am able to change the trajectory of a child’s life. Being able to find a child’s hidden genius and cultivate it is a challenge, but it is well worth the effort.”

December 19, 2016 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment

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