Chief Schools Office Recognizes ‘Stellar’ Principal Leadership



Outstanding principals at eight APS Schools were recognized with a Stellar Leadership Award for their commitment to making a difference and effective leadership.

The Chief Schools Office honored eight principals who epitomize making a difference and effective leadership  with a Stellar Leadership Award during the April 27 principals’ meeting.

Each recipient was nominated by his/her respective Associate Superintendent for consistently putting students first, facilitating strategic decision-making, improving student outcomes, and for mentoring colleagues. The state leader key standards were also reviewed during the selection phase and each recipient was found to be a leader in areas of: innovation, instructional leadership, data management, human resource development, collaborative practices, communication, and professionalism.

“It was a pleasure to recognize our  principals for their outstanding leadership,” said Dr. Donyall Dickey, Chief Schools Officer. “It’s important for us to take time to recognize our hard working leaders for their contributions and highlight the excellence in our district.”

The following principals received 2016 Stellar Leadership Awards:

  • Margul Woolfolk, M. Agnes Jones Elementary School
  • Gregory Parks, Usher Collier Elementary School
  • Dr. Betsey Bockman, Inman Middle School
  • Tommy Usher, Garden Hills Elementary School
  • Crystal Jones, Beecher Hills Elementary School
  • Cheryl Twyman, Fickett Elementary School
  • Stephanie Johnson, M.H. Jackson High School
  • Dr. Evelyn Mobley, West End Academy

View a slideshow of the presentation below:

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April 27, 2016 at 9:04 pm Leave a comment

School Naming Committee Seeks Community Input for Two Merged Schools

The Atlanta Board of Education is seeking community input in naming two new schools that will form as a result of school mergers.  Venetian Hills Elementary will merge with E.L. Connally Elementary in the fall of 2016. Additionally, Woodson Primary will merge with Grove Park Intermediate.  Please view the notices below to learn more about the mergers and naming process.



April 27, 2016 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Spring Sports Teams Making a Run at State Championships

Grady boys tennis 2016

The Henry W. Grady boys tennis team has advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Georgia High School Association state playoffs. This year’s seniors (pictured left to right) are Skyler Diacou, Matthew Wood, Alex Lepik and Chase Masri. Senior Kyle Mulholland is not pictured.

By Seth Coleman

The school year is winding down, but spring sports competition in Atlanta Public Schools is red hot as several teams are making a run at a state championship.

The Henry W. Grady boys team has advanced to the third round of the state playoffs.

Last week the Knights, the No. 3 seed from Region 6, Class AAAA, travelled north to Elijay and defeated Gilmer County, the No. 2 seed from Region 7, by a score of 3-1. (Tennis competitions feature five matches. The top three singles players from each team play each other, as well as the top two doubles duos.) The match against Gilmer County was called early.  Then Grady travelled south to Jesup Monday and shut out Wayne County, the Region 3 champions, 5-0.

The Knights will face either North Oconee, the Region 8 champions, or Spauding, the No. 2 seed from Region 4, later this week. Grady has been led all season by singles players Josh Wolfe, Alex Lepik and Matthew Wood, and the doubles teams of Chase Masri and Kyle Mulholland, and Robert Mobley and Randall Schwartz.

After clinching the Region 6, Class AAAAA title last week, Benjamin E. Mays will host Kell from Marietta, beginning Friday at 5 p.m., in the first round of the Georgia High School Association state playoffs. (Baseball playoffs are a best-of-three series, with a double-header played usually on the first day of the series.) The Raiders finished the regular season with a record of 19-2, the best in school history, and enter the state Class AAAAA playoffs as a No. 1 seed from Region 6. Kell (18-8) is the No. 4 seed from Region 7.
Grady, Maynard H. Jackson and North Atlanta have both their boys and girls teams in the state playoffs.

The North Atlanta girls (15-3-1) are the Region 7, Class AAAAA champions and have won their last four consecutive games by a combined score of 18-1. They will host Southwest Dekalb (5-5), the No. 4 seed from Region 6, Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Warriors’ boys team (9-4-1), the No. 4 seed from Region 7, Class AAAAA, took on Region 6 champion Dunwoody (11-6-1) on Tuesday, at Dunwoody.

The Grady boys (12-3-1) are the No. 2 seed from Region 6, Class AAAA and hosted Cartersville (13-4-1), Tuesday. The Grady girls (10-5-2) are the No. 3 seed from Region 6, Class AAAA and travelled to Cartersville (10-7) on Tuesday to take on the Purple Hurricanes.

The Jackson girls (10-4), the No. 4 seed from Region 4, Class AAA, travelled south Tuesday to take on Savannah Arts Academy (13-1-1), the Region 1, Class AAA champions. The Jaguar boys (6-5), also the No. 4 seed from Region 4, faced Savannah Arts Academy (15-3), following the girls game. The SAA boys are the Region 1, Class AAA champs.
All APS track teams will be competing in sectional meets on Saturday, with the top 8 finishers in each event advancing to the state meets. The girls’ state meet will be May 5-7 in Albany, the boys’ will be May 12-14 in Jefferson. Here is the lineup for Saturday’s sectional meets (girls and boys run at the same sites):

  • BEST Academy at Greater Atlanta Christian (Norcross), 9 a.m.
  • Carver at Heritage (Conyers), 9 a.m.
  • Grady at Eagle’s Landing (McDonough), 9 a.m.
  • Mays at Heritage (Conyers), 9 a.m.
  • Coretta Scott King, Douglass, Jackson, South Atlanta, Therrell and Washington all at Gordon Central (Calhoun), 9 a.m


April 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

Slater Elementary Students Receive Top Award at State Social Studies Fair


Slater Elementary School fifth graders Justin Howard, Amontay Briggs and Contravious Wells received “Best in Fair” at the 2016 Georgia Social Studies Fair on April 16.

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Amontay Briggs is one determined young man who doesn’t believe in giving up.

On Saturday, April 16, that dogged determination paid off for Amontay and classmates Justin Howard and Contravious Wells, when the Thomas Heathe Slater Elementary School students took home the top prize during the 2016 Georgia Social Studies Fair at Clayton State University. The three fifth graders earned “Best in Fair” for their project, “Let Freedom Ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Should a Monument be placed on top of Stone Mountain to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?”

As part of their project, the students wrote letters and interviewed leading authorities such as Congressman John Lewis and State Sen. Vincent Fort about their topic. They also received feedback from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, and conducted surveys of Georgians to gauge their opinions about whether a monument honoring Dr. King should be erected on Stone Mountain.


Fifth-grade social studies teacher Darlene Dobbs and her students Justin Howard, Amontay Briggs and Contravious Wells proudly show off their “Best in Fair” awards from the State Social Studies Fair.

The young men made history by becoming the first Atlanta Public Schools students in 19 years to win the top prize at the State Social Studies Fair. Their teacher’s daughter, Ashanté Dobbs, won the award in 1997 as a junior at Frederick Douglass High School.

“It feels great, because I always wanted to win state,” said Amontay, who lost the State Social Science Fair in 2015. “I came back this year and accomplished my goal.”

His classmates are just as happy.

“I felt proud to beat all of those other schools,” Justin said.

“It was great to win,” Contravious added.

It was a long road to the State Social Science Fair, which began with the students taking top prize in the Atlanta Public Schools’ Social Science Fair and earning “Best in Fair” at the West Metro Regional Social Science Fair. At the state competition, the Slater students’ project competed against 82 other projects in grades 5-12.

In addition to receiving a plaque and $100, the students won a special $50 award for the best use of the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Their social studies teacher, Darlene Dobbs, said she’s extremely proud of her students.

“They did it all by themselves, and they were relentless and never quit,” Dobbs said. “They made us proud, and I hope they become anything they want to be.”

The State Social Studies Fair is sponsored by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies. The organization’s mission is to prepare students to be knowledgeable, effective decision makers and engaged citizens in a globally interdependent world.

April 26, 2016 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Sixteen Atlanta Public Schools Students Selected for 2016 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program

By Kimberly Willis Green

Sixteen Atlanta Public Schools students were selected to participate in the 2016 Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) on the campus of Valdosta State University (VSU) this summer.

The GHP is a four-week, summer residential program designed to provide intellectually gifted and artistically talented high school students challenging and enriching educational opportunities not usually available during the regular school year. Georgia high school sophomores and juniors in public, private, and home schools are eligible for nomination in one of 20 curriculum areas. In its 53rd summer, the GHP is the longest continually running program of its kind in the nation. The following APS students selected to participate in the 2016 GHP are:

Agricultural Sciences

Sydney Stepney   Benjamin E. Mays HS

Communicative Arts

Mei Nathan   Henry W. Grady HS


Alexandra Schneider   Henry W. Grady HS


Walden Jones   Henry W. Grady HS


Anh Thu Nguyen   North Atlanta  HS

Social Studies

Carolyn Capelouto

Bailey Damiani

Gregory Fedorov

Sam Lombardo

  Henry W. Grady HS

Henry W. Grady HS

Henry W. Grady HS

Henry W. Grady HS

Theatre Performance

Maximillian White   North Atlanta HS

 Visual Arts

Christian Alexander

Erin Jimison

  Charles R. Drew HS

North Atlanta HS

World Languages


Nicolas Delporte

Daniel Hamm

Orly Mansbach


Kendall Stroud (Alternate)


Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese




North Atlanta  HS

Maynard Jackson HS

Henry W. Grady HS


Henry W. Grady HS

Students will reside on the campus of VSU June 19-July 16, 2016, where they will start their mornings in their major area of nomination and explore topics not usually found in the regular high school classroom. During the afternoons, students will select one of the other challenging and engaging curriculum areas to study. They will conclude their days with evening seminars, activities, concerts and performances. All of the activities offered are designed to provide each participant with opportunities to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to become independent, life-long learners. The summer program will end with a culminating activity for all participants.

Over 3,000 students from across the state applied for the GHP, semi-finalists were identified to interview and audition in February, and from those nominees, and finalists were selected to participate in the program.  Since the GHP is fully funded by the Georgia General Assembly, there is no charge for students to attend.

More information about GHP can be found on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement website at


April 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

From Garden to Cafeteria: Students learn how to grow healthy food

By: Sue G. Collins – Reprinted with permission by INTown Paper

Budding gardeners in 50 Atlanta Public Schools are growing food to help feed the district’s 45,000 students thanks to grants, community volunteers and the support of the APS nutrition department.

Last month, students in the Maynard H. Jackson High School (MJHS) garden club planted carrots, spinach and pollinator flowers while harvesting radishes from the sunny 3,000 square foot plot behind the football stadium on Glenwood Avenue.

garden initiave 1

Caston Noorullah, Ashley Rouse, Tate Rosbottom, Bang Tran and Reid Rosbottom in the garden at MJHS.

“I can’t wait to see my friends in the lunch room eating our radishes,” said MJHS senior, Caston Noorullah, who founded the garden club last year to fulfill a graduation requirement in her International Baccalaureate Diploma program. “It’s so much work, and to see the food actually on the table is going to be amazing.”

Go Green logoShe and her peers helped plan the new plot (their second), till the land, spread the compost donated by local homeowners, plant seeds and tend the crops. The project was led by managers from the Atlanta-based Captain Planet Foundation’s Garden-to-Cafeteria program, members of the non-profit, FoodCorps, and a coordinator from APS’s school food service vendor Sodexo Jackmont.

“This is a true collaboration and we are proud to be a convener,” said Kyla VanDeusen, Captain Planet Foundation’s learning gardens program manager. “With fresh initiatives from the APS superintendent, momentum from chefs at Sodexo and an understanding with the APS director of nutrition Dr. Marilyn Hughes and her team, the kids are motivated to try eating what comes out of the gardens at their schools.”

The CPF Project Learning Garden program launched the Garden-to-Cafeteria pilots at Beecher Hills Elementary School, Martin Luther King, Jr Middle School and MJHS with funding partners, Sodexo and Kaiser Permanente. There are already more than 50 school gardens planted in the district with the help of CPF, but these three schools’ plots are being beefed up, coordinating crops for their lunch room menus and showing students exactly where their food is coming from – land right outside their classroom windows

Ashley Rouse, Farm to School Director for Sodexo Jackmont, is the garden guardian at MJHS and is equally as vigilant about food safety and as she is passionate about the soil and engaging students in the process. She was on site a few weeks ago, dressed in a bright skirt printed with carrots, peas and cabbage. One minute, she was explaining why it was important to plant sunflowers near the fence (for support), shorter pollinators like zinnias in the front (they need more sun) and in the next breath, she was encouraging club members, brothers Tate and Reid Rosbottom not to give up in their task of repairing the tiller.

“Also, one of the more rewarding results of the project is teaching the kids about the importance of community partnerships to make all this happen,” Rouse said.

garden initiative 2

Bang Tran (left) and members of the MJHS Garden Club

Love is Love Farm in Decatur is fermenting recently harvested cauliflower for tacos for one school event. The Preserving Place in West Midtown will help can tomatoes from the school garden for cafeteria lunches in the fall. Chef Linton Hopkins will be bringing cooking demonstrations to schools, and he named CPF as his charity of choice this year.

Bang Tran has been working with young APS gardeners for FoodCorp, a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. He and garden clubbers from Maynard Jackson recently cooked up eggs and bright green spinach from their garden for Burgess-Peterson Elementary School students on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. “These students have mad so much progress and the excitement is growing,” Tran said of the Garden-To-Cafeteria program. “With Captain Planet’s classroom curriculum kits, tastings and infrastructure now in place with a few of the schools, the movement is viable.”

Rouse says Sodexo wants more meal participation in schools and this program is one way to make that happen. “We took spinach from the garden to D.H. Stanton Elementary School for a taste test. Of the 262 kids who ate the raw spinach, only seven said they didn’t like it, and most had never even tried fresh spinach!”

April 26, 2016 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent to be Named Cool Woman of the Year


Meria J.Carstarphen, Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

Cool Girls Inc. will honor Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen as its Cool Woman of the Year at the “Cool Girls become Cool Women” Hot Pink Party, 7p.m., Saturday, April 23, 2016.  The annual event celebrates 27 years of service to more than 6,000 girls in the Atlanta community at the Lowes Atlanta Hotel, 1065 Peachtree St., NE Atlanta 30303.

“To be seen as a role model for our beautiful young women of Atlanta is one of the highest honors I can imagine, and it’s an honor I take seriously and strive to earn every single day,” Superintendent Carstarphen said. “And I think it’s cool to do everything we can to help our girls to rise up and break free of whatever social, educational or economic barriers they have to become the Cool Women of their Generation.”

Cool Girls provides after-school programming for more than 400 girls at nine Title I schools in Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County schools. The organization currently serves students at APS’ Hope Hill and Parkside elementary schools and has worked with students at Eastlake and Whitefoord elementary schools and Coan and King middle schools in the past.

Other honorees this Saturday include Cool Volunteer of the Year, Terra Washington and Cool Girl of the Year, Linda Lowe at the fundraising event that supports Cool Girls Inc.’s  after-school clubs, mentoring, field trips and college preparatory programs that are offered free of charge to girls in need.

Carstarphen joins a distinguished group of past honorees that include Brooke Baldwin, Kathy Betty, Johnetta B. Cole, Barbarella Diaz, Shirley Franklin, CeCe Winans, Antoinette Tuff and Alfre Woodard.

April 22, 2016 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

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