Porsche Spreads Holiday Cheer to Cleveland Elementary School Teachers

Tis the season for giving. On Dec. 14 at Cleveland Elementary School, teachers were treated to breakfast and surprised with school supplies courtesy of Porsche Care Network.

“Kids deserve so much attention that we often overlook the teachers,” said Cleveland Elementary School alumna Jasmine Brooks, a Porsche customer care support specialist who helped coordinate the day of giving.

“We all know that teachers have a challenging job sometimes,”said Simon Kuhnimhof, vice president of customer experience. “Through giving back to teachers, the students benefit as well.”

Kuhnimhof says Porshe has been intentional about giving back to the community since opening its $100 million Porsche Experience Center and headquarters in Atlanta back in 2015.

In addition to providing a Chick-fil-A-catered breakfast, Porsche employees knocked on each teacher’s door and hand delivered a gift box full of school supplies and personal care items, including a Porsche-inspired adult coloring book.

Teachers expressed their gratitude with thank-yous, smiles and hugs.

‘Real Men Read’ at Dobbs Elementary School

Story contributed by Roy Jackson, Ed.S., Dobbs Elementary School media specialist and communications ambassador.

On Dec. 14, Dobbs Elementary School students experienced firsthand what real men do: read. This is the sixth year Dobbs has hosted the Real Men Read event, welcoming 25 Atlanta-based businessmen from various vocations to read and mentor students.

Two readers visited classrooms and read a wide range of books. The readers also engaged the students in stories about their careers and educational experiences.

“Programs like this connect the community to our children, gives students the opportunity to engage with men in a literary environment, and proves real men read,” said Dr. Charnita West, Dobbs principal.

Principal West made this year’s event a family affair, inviting her father to attend as one of the readers. Additional readers included Rev. Vandy Simmons, Dr. Bradly Carthon, William Thomas from Delta Airlines IT department, Hassan Haygood from the Crown Foundation, and Donzelle Jenkins from Jacobs Engineering.

WAOK-AM radio talk show host Derrick Boazman created the Real Men Read initiative to foster a love for reading and help students make a positive connection with male role models in their community. Inspired by this premise, Jenkins launched the Real Men Read program at Dobbs.

VH1 Save the Music and Super Producer Zaytoven Donate New Keyboards to Mays High School

VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Audiomack and Grammy-award winning super producer Xavier “Zaytoven” Dotson donate a new piano/keyboard lab to Mays High School.

A new piano and keyboard lab has a new home at Mays High School, courtesy of VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Audiomack and Grammy-award winning super producer Xavier “Zaytoven” Dotson.

Music students were invited to the big reveal on the morning of Dec. 10, which featured musical selections by the Mays choir. 

Zaytoven, whose name is an ode to German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven because both musicians were born in Germany and mastered the organ and piano at a young age, talked to the group of about 50 students about the impact of music in his life. He also answered questions about his journey from Atlanta barber to mega producer for chart-topping hip-hop artists such as Future, Gucci Mane and Migos. His first hit was producing Usher’s “Papers” single from the certified platinum Raymond v. Raymond album.

C‑SPAN Bus Opens its Doors to Therrell High School Social Studies Students

Lafayette Sampson, a ninth grade student at D.M. Therrell High School, is camera ready inside the C-SPAN Bus, rolling through the south for the Top Teachers Tour. 

C-SPAN’s 45-foot motor coach is rolling through the south for its Top Teachers Tour, visiting educators selected by their state social studies associations for their leadership in the field and/or innovative use of C-SPAN Classroom.

On Dec. 10, the C-SPAN Bus open its doors to engage D.M. Therrell High School social studies students. The high-tech, interactive bus features 11 large-screen tablets that contain political and educational resources, a smart TV and classroom area for conversations with students and teachers, a high-definition TV production studio for taped and live programming, a Washington, D.C.-themed selfie station, and a 360-degree video station with unfiltered coverage of high-profile events and behind-the-scenes tours of U.S.landmarks.

Shannon Augustus, C-SPAN marketing representative, says the tour gives students the opportunity to learn about C-SPAN as a credible, academic resource – particularly when writing research papers.

“I learned that C-SPAN is a good resource for those who are reaching the age to vote,” said Lafayette Sampson, a ninth grader. “It’s a good source for expanding your knowledge on political issues.”

Doug Hemmig, C-SPAN community relations and marketing representative, also took the opportunity to talk to teachers and students about StudentCam, C-SPAN’s documentary competition that awards a total of $100,000 in prize money. This year’s theme – “What does it mean to be American?” – asks students to choose a constitutional right, national characteristic or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience. All eligible entries must be submitted by midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) at the end of the day on Sunday, January 20. Click here to learn more.

Since 1993, a C-SPAN Bus has traveled across the nation visiting schools and community events in partnership with C-SPAN’s cable and satellite providers. The Atlanta Public Schools visit was made possible by Comcast. 

Kaleidoscope of Friends: Inclusive Schools Week at APS

“Kaleidoscope of Friends” was this year’s theme for Inclusive Schools Week (ISW). On Dec. 3-7, Atlanta Public Schools held events through the District that celebrated beauty in all shapes and colors.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the APS Department of Special Education hosted a special discussion, featuring APS Deputy Superintendent David Jernigan.  The celebratory program also featured a choir performance from the Crawford W. Long Middle School Choir, as well as a special presentation by Jonathan and Joshua Kimbrough, twin brothers who attend Carver Early College High School.

On Friday, Dec. 7 at Dobbs Elementary School, every class at every grade level spent 10 minutes in the Sensory Room, rotating through stations for sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste that simulated how individuals with disabilities learn through various sensory conditions. District 60 Representative Kim Schofield also joined in the fun. Students in Autism teacher Takara Dudley’s class maned the stations. 

“I love the activities our team has put together,” said Dr. Charnita V. West, Dobbs principal. “It gives us the chance to focus on how we are unique, not just students with disabilities but the uniqueness of us all.”

The Sensory Room was conceptualized by Dudley, who teaches students with low-incident disabilities, including students on the spectrum.

ISW “reminds us that we all have differences,” Dudley said. “Our differences are what makes us unique but also makes us family. We are more similar than we are different.”

The Hollis Innovation Academy community celebrated Inclusive Schools Week in a big way, which included themed dress-up days, special guest speakers, and classroom activities that brought students together to encourage and practice every Hollis Habit: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Empathy, Perseverance, and Self-Discipline. The week culminated in a wheelchair basketball game, led by BlazeSports America, an organization dedicated to providing children and adults with physical disabilities the chance to play sports and live healthy, active lives. After watching an invigorating game among BlazeSports athletes, several students were given an opportunity to join in alongside them!

Following the game, each of the students enjoyed a luncheon, during which they became more acquainted with each other and reminisced about the week’s engaging activities.

When asked by a BlazeSports America team member to identify ways in which we are the same, one kindergarten student replied, “We are human.”

Students at Hollis Innovation Academy enjoy a game of wheelchair basketball during Inclusive Schools Week.

On Friday, fifth-grade students at Beecher Hills Elementary School visited and socialized with students in the school’s autism unit during a special ice cream social activity in honor of National Inclusive Schools Week.

We Are APS: Bus Drivers Spread Joy and Lend a Helping Hand During the Holidays

Veteran APS bus drivers Janice Birt, left, and her co-worker Carla Perkins, right, are doing their part to help their transportation colleagues in need this holiday season.

Janice Birt and Carla Perkins are doing their part to spread joy to others in need this holiday season.  

As dedicated, veteran bus drivers at Atlanta Public Schools, Birt and Perkins are working to ensure the holidays are brighter by providing boxes of food and other essential goods to those who need it the most.

This past Thanksgiving, the duo partnered to donate and deliver 12 food boxes, each chock full of turkey, ham, collard greens, vegetables, potatoes, rice, beans, canned foods, eggs, milk, cereal, and several non-perishable  items – all of which benefited their fellow APS transportation employees. 

For their part, Birt and Perkins collected more than $300 in donations to fund the entire assortment of food for meals, ensuring their co-workers and family members would have enough to eat all week long. 

They hope to do the same for the Christmas holiday.

Thanks to Birt and Perkins’ efforts, James Booker, an APS bus driver, received a box full of food.

“It was very nice and very emotional, especially knowing we had what we needed to help our families in need,” said Birt, an APS bus operator since 1982, who drives in the North Atlanta cluster. “It brightens your day to know that other people are thinking about you. For me, that’s why it’s so important to show compassion and positivity. You realize it’s not about you – it’s about others.”

Perkins agreed.

“I feel like we should be able to reach out, help our colleagues and let them know that we love them, are thinking about them and miss them,” said Perkins, a driver since 1989, who is assigned to schools in the South Atlanta cluster. 

As longtime members of the APS Transportation Sunshine Committee – a group established more than 10 years ago to assist co-workers in times of need – Birt and Perkins are accustomed to giving to others.

Take Birt. When she’s not collecting money and food to help  her co-workers, Birt finds time to donate coats and clothing to APS students in need. Last year, she collected 125 coats and dozens of sweaters, socks, underwear, and toiletry items to donate to students at Woodson Grove Park Academy and Scott, Boyd, and Slater elementary schools. 

Perkins is just as committed to causes she believes in. This fall, for example, she collected 40 backpacks to benefit students at Humphries and Dobbs elementary schools.

With the holiday in full swing, both ladies say they have no plans to slow down. Both remain committed to helping others whenever – and however- they can.

“I like to be needed,” Birt said. “Our children and parents at APS need a lot of help, and I want to be able to help as many people as I can.”



Dobbs Students Get First Look at NCAA 2020 Final Four Logo

Dobbs Elementary students were invited to attend the unveiling of the 2020 NCAA Final Four logo. The 2020 event will take place in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

What do the 2018 College Football National Championship, the 2019 Super Bowl LIII and the 2020 NCAA Final Four have in common? Atlanta.

The 2020 NCAA Final Four may be the first hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it will be fifth time Atlanta has hosted a men’s NCAA championship. Georgia Tech will be the host school. 

In celebration and anticipation of the 2020 event, the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee teamed up with the NCAA to unveil the 2020 Final Four logo on Dec. 6 at a special ceremony held at the Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club, which serves Atlanta Public School students at Cleveland Avenue Elementary, Crawford Long Middle, Dobbs Elementary, Heritage Academy, KIPP Primary, Price Middle, Slater Elementary and South Atlanta High.

Carl Adkins, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, announced that Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club will be the location for a legacy project. Adkins says the details of this legacy project will be announced next year.

Dobbs Elementary students attended the unveiling, getting a first look at the logo inspired by NCAA tradition and Atlanta’s rich history.

The 202 NCAA Final Four logo pays homage to the city of Atlanta. 

Dubbed “Rising,” the logo depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes with its tail gripping a basketball – an homage to the “Atlanta from the Ashes” monument, which symbolizes Atlanta’s rise from the ashes of the Civil War to become the renowned city it is today. The logo also doubles as the NCAA trophy, and its typeface incorporates traditional Final Four branding while also giving a nod to Atlanta’s sports teams.

After the program, students had the opportunity to hang out with Georgia Tech cheerleaders and its mascot Buzz. They also received NCCAA Final Four gear and complimentary lunch.