2020 Vision: Hutchinson, Dobbs Students Receive Free Eye Exams and Glasses

Photos credit: Casey Sykes for Rank Studios

Visual acuity is so much more than the ability to identify letters or numbers on an eye chart. For many students, undiagnosed vision issues pose a serious threat to their ability to learn.  

“As 80 percent of what we learn is through our eyes, it’s really important that students can see properly so they can do their best at school and also with reading,” said Emma Crews, program manager for Kids Vision for Life at Essilor Vision Foundation.

On Jan. 14 and 15, Kids Vision for Life traveled to Hutchinson and Dobbs elementary schools with their mobile eye clinic, providing students with free eye exams and prescription eye wear in the same day! Delta Airlines volunteers helped with vision screenings and glasses distribution.

“My glasses are cool,” said Kameron Thomas. “My glasses make me feel like I will get better in math and reading.”

“I am happy to have glasses,” said Tyler Nelson, a fifth grader at Dobbs. “I will be able to do my homework now that I can see much better. I am grateful that Delta and other partners came out to provide us with glasses.”

Crews says one in four students have a vision impairment that hasn’t been identified.

“Through vision screenings, we’re able to identify the issue,” Crews said. “Students don’t know they’re not seeing their best until it’s something that has been identified. They just think it’s normal to see things a little blurry. By providing them with a pair of glasses, we noticed that their confidence has gone up. Their reading scores go up and their overall achievement in school.”

Dobbs fourth graders Jaziyah Jackson and Jamia Zachery can attest to the boost in confidence. “We love our glasses so much,” the two wrote in a thank you letter. “The glasses make us look cute and smart. We are now going to get good grades.”

“I love my glasses and I feel good,” said Kamea Brown. “I want to come to school everyday.”

Launched in 2008 by Essilor Vision Foundation, the Kids Vision for Life program has provided more than 417,000 screenings to children in need with the help of amazing partners like Delta.

Dobbs kindergartner Corlisia Scott is pictured with a Delta Air Lines volunteer (Photo credit: Casey Sykes for Rank Studios).

“Thank you Delta for my glasses,” expressed kindergartner Corlisia Scott in her thank you note. “I am thankful that I can see. I did not have any at home.”

E. Rivers 5th Grader Wins District Spelling Bee

SPELLING BEE CHAMPS (from left, top to bottom): Paul Heard II, Andre Billings, Adrian Alex Janney and Sidney Wynn.

When E. Rivers Elementary School fifth grader Paul Heard II successfully spelled “M-I-S-C-O-N-S-T-R-U-E,” there was no wrongful interpretation. He indisputably became first-place winner of Atlanta Public Schools 59th Annual District Wide Spelling Bee.

Held Jan. 15 at John Lewis Invictus Academy, this year’s spelling bee lasted for seven rounds. Miles Elementary School fifth grader Andre Billings came in second place, Bolton Academy fourth grader Adrian Alex Janney placed third, and Kindezi Old 4th Ward fifth grader Sidney Wynn placed fourth.

 “The APS Spelling Bee is an honorable occasion for our students,” said said Dr. Beatrice J. Sewell, RTI/SST intervention specialist at Boyd Elementary School and member of the Atlanta Association of Educators. “They have studied and worked diligently to perform their best. We are so proud of them and their accomplishments.”

The top four winners will represent APS at the Georgia Association of Educators’ Regional Spelling Bee.

Race2Read: Every M. Agnes Jones Student Receives a New Book from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Members

Every student at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School has a new book to add to their home library thanks to the efforts of the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. who work in the Atlanta Public Schools’ central office.

In honor of their 112th Founders’ Day, the members of AKA wanted to put service in the forefront of their January 15th celebrations by supporting the APS Race 2 Read program.

“Building home libraries is an important aspect of reading development. We wanted to put books in our students hands to further encourage the goal of Race 2 Read which is free choice reading,” said Jennifer Saunders, APS Media Specialist At Large and AKA member.

The following high-quality, age appropriate books were delivered:

PreK/K – The Snowy Day

1st Grade – Chicken in Charge

2nd Grade -The Berenstain Bears: We Love the Library

3rd Grade – Donavan’s Word Jar

4th Grade – Zoey & Sassafras

5th Grade – I’m OK

Giddy with excitement, the students eagerly wrote their names in their books and began to scan through them as they received the surprise gifts. More than a dozen AKA members made deliveries throughout the school and encouraged the students to read a minimum of 20 minutes per day.

“Reading 20 minutes a day drastic improves vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension and prepares students for college, career and beyond,” Saunders said.

January SEL Books of the Month Advocate for Courage

This month, our Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen encourages everyone across the District to read books that advocate for courage. Our social and emotional learning (SEL) books for the month of January are Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna for elementary readers, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia for middle school readers, and The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah for high school readers.

January Theme: Courage

We analyze the courage it takes to overcome adversity, take risks, and advocate for one’s self.

Book Summaries

  • In Me and My Fear (elementary school readers), when a young girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid. It grows bigger and bigger every day with questions like, “how can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?” But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others –after all, everyone carries a Fear with them.
  • In One Crazy Summer (middle school readers), “Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.”
  • In The Lines We Cross (high school readers), Michael must decide which side of the protest line aligns with his core values, the side where his parents and others stand or the side with Mina, the beautiful Muslim refugee from Afghanistan.

SEL Competency

Self-management skills allow individuals to handle daily stresses and control their emotions under difficult situations. Students’ capacities to regulate their emotions impact student memory and the cognitive resources they use on academic tasks. Self-management skills include the ability to monitor and reflect on personal and academic goal-setting. Academic self-regulation has important implications for student motivation in the classroom, as well as the learning strategies students use to master material.

Several copies of each book are available at school libraries/media centers and can also be found in myBackpack via Class Pass @APS.

Deadline Extended to Jan. 24: Apply Now to the Atlanta College and Career Academy

Are you a high school sophomore or junior interested in earning credentials aligned with the economic and workforce needs of Atlanta and across Georgia? If so, consider applying to the Atlanta College and Career Academy (ACCA) – a new program offered by Atlanta Public Schools.

At ACCA, students can complete a pathway in just one academic year!

Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, ACCA will serve up to 1000 students and offer 14 career pathways at its newly renovated 1090 Windsor Street location:

  1. Aviation Maintenance
  2. Carpentry
  3. Criminal Investigation
  4. Culinary Arts
  5. Cybersecurity
  6. Dental Science
  7. Early Childhood Care and Education
  8. Emergency Medical Responder
  9. General Automotive Technology
  10. Graphic Design
  11. Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism
  12. HVAC and Refrigeration
  13. Patient Care
  14. Programming

“This will be a game changer for many students,” said ACCA Principal Dr. Tasharah Wilson. “We are excited to offer students credentials that are aligned to high-demand careers in Atlanta.  We highly encourage all students to make an informed decision and take the YouScience Career Assessment (located in myBackpack) before completing the online application.”

If you have questions regarding the application process or YouScience, please see your school counselor. Don’t delay! Open enrollment begins Dec. 9, 2019 and ends Jan. 24, 2020.

Learn more and apply today at www.atlantapublicschools.us/acca

APS WeatherWise Helps Prevent Learning Loss During Inclement Weather Closures

When the weather outside is frightful, learning will remain delightful. Thanks to APS Weatherwise, a day without school doesn’t have to be a day without learning.

Developed to prevent learning loss and provide students with instruction to supplement the missed classroom time, APS WeatherWise gives students access to online assignments when APS is closed for inclement weather.

Online learning is a natural remedy to the loss of class time during school closures because students are already adept with using the technology and have access to the lessons at home, and it easily allows students to continue learning without extending the school calendar.

What is APS WeatherWise?
APS WeatherWise is a program designed to provide students with assignments from their core teachers when APS is closed for inclement weather.

Why APS WeatherWise?
Online learning is a natural remedy to the loss of class time during school closures because students are already adept with using the technology and have access to the lessons at home through the myBackPack platform.

How does APS WeatherWise work?
After the second day of a school closure, APS may determine that the day is an APS WeatherWise Day. Students will access assignments in their APS WeatherWise folder in their Google Classroom.

What if students don’t have power or access to the Internet?
If students don’t have the ability to complete their assignment, they will have up to two weeks after they return to school to complete the assignment.

How do students access APS WeatherWise?

  • Through an Internet connection; navigate to: https://mybackpack.apsk12.org.
  • Students should enter their APS student computer login ID.
  • The myBackPack screen will load with your unique username and password.
  • Click on your Google Classrooms to locate your WeatherWise lessons for each of your classes.
  • For questions or concerns, please contact your classroom teachers.

For more information on APS WeatherWise, visit the APS WeatherWise website.

Volunteers Needed: APS Technology and Innovation Competition

Volunteers are needed for the APS Technology and Innovation Competition (APSTIC), which will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 at the Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy.

The #APSTIC is a technology competition for 3rd-12th-grade students. The Technology & Innovation Competition is a great way for students to showcase their talents and skills, gain experience in competing in an academic competition, as well as presenting to community friends of APS.

Over 300 of our best and brightest students in grades 3-12 will showcase their innovative use of technology. Students may compete in 15 different categories: 3D Modeling, Animation, Audio Production, Device Modification, Digital Game Design, Digital Photo Production, Graphic Design, Internet Applications, Mobile Apps, Multimedia Applications, Productivity Design, Programming Challenge (Grades 7-12 only), Project Programming, Robotics, and Video Production.   

First-place winners will advance to the the Georgia Student Technology Competition (GaSTC), an annual student technology competition produced by the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium. The GaSTC is the highest level of student technology competition in Georgia with over 750 projects, representing the work of over 1000 students, which are judged at the competition each March.

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from, including serving as a judge.  Judges are paired in teams, and technology skills are not required. Click here to learn more and volunteer.

The event is open to APS staff, registered students and their families.