School attendance is vital for academic success, and it is really serious business at Humphries Elementary School. On Friday, 96 students with perfect attendance, along with 131 more with no more than three absences during the first semester, were honored for their dedication to coming to school.
During the hour-long ceremony, students received a certificate and were treated to
Christmas cookies and apple cider, while teenage rapper Que 9 made a surprise appearance and performed his hit single “Red Light, Green Light.” Parents who were winners of a lottery drawing received their gift – a $50 American Express gift card – and CIGNA Healthcare executives Helen Glenn, Thomas Hunter-James and Reggie White gave words of encouragement.
CIGNA Healthcare is one of Humphries Elementary’s community partners, and provided the school with funding to purchase one Christmas present for all 227 students with perfect or near-perfect attendance.
“At some point I hope it will become intrinsic,” said Humphries Elementary Principal Melanie Mitchell. “When they leave and go to middle school [attendance] may not be celebrated as large, I hope they remember the message that it is important to be in school every day. When you show up and you are accountable, that’s a skill that we all need.”
Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen joined City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to announce a new partnership to write an interactive curriculum based on the Atlanta City Design. The inquiry-based curriculum will be implemented as a six-week exploration into urban planning and the history of Atlanta’s design as well as aspirations for the city’s future. This new partnership is highly unique and represents the first time the City and APS have collaborated to develop a curriculum of this type. Department of City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane worked with Janean Lewis, APS social studies coordinator, to lead a team of teachers and the Atlanta City Studio staff in a collaborative writing camp, to design the curriculum.
“Atlanta Public Schools is proud that our students will have a voice in the future design of our city through this unique City Design partnership and curriculum enhancement,” said Dr. Meria Carstarphen, APS Superintendent. “Eighth graders will have an amazing opportunity to guide our city toward becoming a ‘Beloved Community’ by experiencing the city from a new lens and sharing their visions and plans for the future design of Atlanta.”
The Atlanta City Design: Aspiring to the Beloved Community is the anchor text for the urban planning unit of the new curriculum. The Department of City Planning, with the input of residents, visitors and local designers, worked for more than a year to create the Atlanta City Design. The Atlanta City Design promotes sustainable design that incorporates the social, economic and environmental needs of the city. The design also aims to improve and accentuate Atlanta’s authentic character in a way that can accommodate a much larger population, offer additional transportation solutions and ensure more affordable housing opportunities.
“The Atlanta City Design is one of the most forward-looking and exciting projects in our city’s history,” said Mayor Reed. “I am delighted that the City of Atlanta has been able to partner with the Atlanta Public Schools to integrate the design initiative into their middle school social studies curriculum. These young students represent our city’s future, and there is nothing more important than engaging with them as we plan for the future. I hope that we will learn as much from the students as they learn from us.”
APS eighth graders will engage with the learning modules in the Spring semester; the modules will culminate with each student completing a capstone project. APS also plans to teach the curriculum to ninth graders starting in the 2018-2019 school year.
“A major focus in our curriculum revolves around civic engagement. I proposed this project so that our city’s youth can take advantage of the invaluable resources that are right in their own backyards,” said Lewis, who is the main curriculum writer. “Our vision, with the partnership is to support students in understanding how their city’s history impacts its development and how they can be engaged and involved in its future.”
The Atlanta City Design focuses on five core values:
Equity is ensuring that all the benefits of nature, access, ambition, and progress accrue fairly to everyone.
Progress is to protect people and places with meaning from the market forces that will otherwise overrun them.
Ambition is to leverage the disruption of change to unlock new opportunities for people to do what they want with their lives.
Access is to update our hub of transportation for a new generation while also building a sense of community and place.
Nature is to protect and expand the ecological value of our watersheds, forest and habitat in the face of rapid urbanization.
The Atlanta City Design book is available at http://www.atlcitydesign.com. The document articulates an aspiration for the future city that Atlantans can fall in love with, knowing that if people love their city, they will make better decisions about it. These decisions can be reflected in all the plans, policies and investments the city makes, allowing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of the Beloved Community to guide growth and transform Atlanta into the best possible version of itself.
Five Atlanta Public Schools (APS) student-athletes signed scholarship letters Wednesday, the first day of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) new early signing period.
In years past, the first day high school seniors could sign their National Letters of Intent for the school they chose was the first Wednesday in February. The rules were changed to open up a three-day window – Dec. 20 through Dec. 22 – for those students who have qualified academically and are certain about the school they plan to attend.
APS Director of Athletics Jasper Jewell said having five student-athletes sign scholarships to NCAA Division 1 schools speaks volumes about the quality of the football programs in the district.
“It says a lot about the term student-athlete,” in APS, Jewell said. “It means that they’ve done what they needed to do academically and athletically, to be able to have this opportunity. Secondly, it says a lot about our coaches and the brand that we are building. We’re getting the best of the best from around the country to come here and recruit our kids.”
Wednesday’s early signees were:
— Octavious Battle, Carver, University South Florida
— Nicario Harper, Carver, University of Southern Mississippi
— Katerian Legrone, B.E.S.T. Academy, University of Nebraska
— Quindarious Monday, Carver, Auburn University
— E.J. Thomas, Carver, Kansas State University
Many more APS student-athletes will sign their scholarship letters at the traditional National Signing Day, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.
“It’s a blessing within itself,” said Carver head coach and athletic director Darren Myles. “To have one kid sign during an early signing period is one thing, but to have four, and we’re talking about all Division 1 scholarships, in a so-called inner-city program means a lot to me personally, means a lot to the program and means a lot to the community.”
Carver, Mays Finish in the Top Five in the State
Further proof of the quality of APS football was evident when the final state rankings were released earlier this week. The district has two teams that finished in the top five in their respective Georgia High School Association (GHSA) classifications: Carver finished the season ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA, while Mays finished ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAAA.
Class AAAAAA 1. Lee County
4. Glynn Academy 5. Mays
6. Northside-Warner Robins
10. Douglas County
2. Warner Robins
4. Stockbridge 5. Carver-Atlanta
6. Jones County
7. Starr’s Mill
9. Eagle’s Landing
10. Wayne County
A brand new high school all-star game featuring 150 of the state’s top senior players, including 50 from Atlanta Public Schools, will be held at Lakewood Stadium on New Year’s Weekend.
The inaugural Minority Coaches Association of Georgia (MCAG) Senior Bowl, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 29, at Lakewood Stadium, will consist of two all-star games featuring seniors from APS, Clayton County, Columbus/Muscogee County and South Fulton County:
— Game 1 (1 p.m.): South Fulton (coached by Banneker’s Mario Allen) vs.
Clayton County (coached by Lovejoy’s Edgar Carson)
— Game 2 (4 p.m.):APS (coached by Douglass’ Rodney Cofield) vs.
Columbus/Muscogee County (coached by Spencer’s Pierre Coffee) at 4 p.m.
Recruiters from several colleges will be in attendance, giving these seniors another opportunity to earn scholarships. Just like the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Baker Mayfield, who began his career as a walk-on player at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma, many of the seniors in this all-star game are diamonds in the rough who have been overlooked, according to APS Director of Athletics Jasper Jewell.
“Most of these seniors have not received the exposure that some other players have,” Jewell said. “These are some very talented student athletes, and we wanted to provide them with another opportunity to showcase themselves in front of college recruiters.”
What do you get when you combine a dash of hard work and preparation with a sprinkling of self-confidence and extraordinary intelligence?
If you ask North Atlanta High School seniors Richard Hill and Mitchell Hebner, you get a recipe for a perfect ACT score. Both students have earned a perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT, becoming the only students in North Atlanta’s Class of 2018 to achieve this distinction for their exceptional performance on the ACT test.
Described by Principal Curtis Douglass as hardworking and conscientious, Richard and Mitchell now join the top 1 percent of students in the country to score a 33 or higher on the ACT. And for those who earn a perfect score of 36, the accomplishment is even rarer. Only 2,760, or 0.136 percent, of test takers achieve perfect scores.
For both Mitchell and Richard, earning a perfect ACT score is a testament to great test-taking skills, confidence, hard work and preparation.
“I really work hard to do well in school,” said Mitchell, who scored a 33 the first time he took the test before earning a perfect score. “I just wanted to do my best on the ACT. I worked on my speed the second time around, but I didn’t study or prepare for the ACT because I didn’t think studying would help. My goal was to finish the test and once I finished it, I knew I had done well.”
Richard admits he was a bit surprised to receive a perfect score on the ACT. Although he earned a 34 and 36 on practice and mock tests, he continued to prepare until he could answer questions as quickly and accurately as possible.
“My goal wasn’t to get a perfect score,” said Richard, a National Merit semifinalist and STAR student, who has the highest grade-point average of 102.3 in his graduating class. “I just wanted to do my best, and it feels very good. Getting a perfect score opens the door to my future with colleges and the type of scholarships I can earn.”
A partnership between Atlanta Public Schools, the Atlanta Hawks Foundation and Vision to Learn provided prescription eye glasses for more than 60 students at Fickett Elementary School, Wednesday morning.
Vision to Learn is a national program that works with companies, non-profit organizations and school systems to provide free eye exams and eye glasses for students in underprivileged communities.
On Wednesday, Vision to Learn’s Damian Carroll, Manager of External Relations, and Anne Morris Reid, Chief Strategy Officer, joined Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen and Atlanta Board of Education District 6 Representative Eshe P. Collins, along with Atlanta Hawks Foundation Executive Director David Lee and Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, a member of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Fame, in handing out glasses to students at Fickett. The 62 pairs they distributed now makes the grand total 111 students at Fickett who now have new eye glasses thanks to the Vision to Learn/Hawks Foundation/APS partnership.
Once again, Atlanta Public Schools students and staff members stepped up to help make Christmas merrier for hundreds of families in Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County through the Empty Stocking Fund and Santa’s Village initiatives.
Cadets in the APS high school ROTC programs collected money for several weeks during the Empty Stocking Fund campaign, raising thousands of dollars. APS employees contribute during the campaign as well. The top collecting schools, according to APS Director of Army Instruction (Retired) Colonel Prentiss O. Baker, were North Atlanta (more than $10,000) and Mays (more than $7,500).
The money collected was used to buy toys and gifts for needy families in Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb County. That’s where nearly 100 volunteers who work in the APS Center for Learning and Leadership stepped in, as they spent most of the day on Thursday bagging and distributing those toys and gifts at a warehouse on the city’s northwest side, dubbed “Santa’s Village.”
“The students love this,” Col. Baker said. “They collect the money and then when they come here they are able to see what all of their hard work went for. And we really appreciate the efforts and generous hearts of all of the volunteers. They have done something really special for the community.”