Margaret Fain students published in Young American Poetry Digest

 By: Britney Morgan

Students from Margaret Fain Elementary School have had their work published in the 2015 Edition Poetry Winnersof the Young American Poetry Digest.  Coordinated by Fain media specialist Twana Cannon, with the help of second thru fourth grade teachers, the students wrote Haiku’s that were submitted to The National Schools Project.

The purpose of the National Schools Project is to encourage student writing and provide an audience for student poetry. Schools from around the nation submit poems for publication each year.

As April is Poetry Month, students also performed their work in front of their peers during the school’s Poetry Showcase on April 1, 2015. Excited about sharing their work, students are asking to perform more of their work with another poetry showcase.


“The contest and showcase really ignited the students’ interest in learning more about poetry,” said Cannon.  “It was a wonderful opportunity to encourage and get kids excited about writing.”

Students whose work will be published are 2nd Grade-Yasmin Gallo, Justice Ephraim and Diniyah Simpson; 3rd Grade- Kayla Mapp, Matthew Nurse, London Watts and Jada Withers and 4th Grade- Antwann Smith, Ashanti Hill and Jadarious Gates.

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“We are proud of all our students for entering, and we hope that this experience adds to their excitement and encourages them to continue to learn and write.” said Cannon.

The school will receive a complimentary copy of the book.  The public can also order copies of the digest on the Young Poet’s website.

April 21, 2015 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Grady High Students compete in USA Water Polo Olympic Development Championships

by: Britney Morgan, APS Office of Communications

Water Polo

Jessica, first from the left in the back row. Sloan, first from the right in the back row.

“I have had the privilege of coaching them during high school water polo season and the Olympic Development Program (ODP) in the off season,” said APS Knights and USA Water Polo ODP Coach Monica Szalma. “I believe both athletes have taken large steps to improve their water polo fundamentals with their participation in ODP.”

These were the sentiments of coach Szalma as she spoke about two students—juniors from Grady High School who were chosen recently to participate on the USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development (ODP) team.

Sloan Hodges and Jessica Hume had the opportunity to play with the Southeast zone team in the ODP National Tournament in Riverside, Calif. last month. They finish winning 4-1, placing 9th in the country.

Sloan explained that this is their second time playing as a part of the Southeast zone ODP team and that they have a good bond with their teammates and coaches. She enjoys playing with others who share the same passion for the sport. Sloan-water polo defense (2)

USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development team serves as a forum to identify and develop athletes to represent USA Water Polo throughout domestic and international competitions.

Jessica said that training was hard and long, but she developed new skills and had lots of fun.

Both girls participate in more than one sport.  Sloan participates in varsity lacrosse, swimming and Ultimate Frisbee, and Jessie is on the Ultimate Frisbee and swim team at Grady High School.

water polo 2

Sloan, left. Jessica, right.

Well rounded, these two young ladies are high performers in athletics and in the classroom.

Research shows that student athletes perform better academically. With Sloan and Jessica, we have two great examples right here in APS.

As they were also selected as USA Water Polo Academic All Americans-Outstanding Achievers with a 4.0 GPA or higher.

What a great way to represent APS in sports and academics!

For more information about APS Athletics visit

April 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

APS Media Specialist of the Year



Congratulations to Atlanta Public Schools 2015 Media Specialist of the Year, Shanna Miles, from South Atlanta High School. The Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA) and Georgia Association of Instructional Technology (GAIT) co-sponsor the Georgia School Library Media Specialist of the Year award to recognize K-12 library media specialists whose service has resulted in exemplary library media programs.

The state Library Media Specialist of the Year is chosen from the district winners and will be announced at the GaETC Conference in November. The nine district winners will also be recognized and presented with awards.

Thank you Shanna Miles for your hard work and dedication. We wish you luck as you move on to the next round!

April 17, 2015 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

Sarah Smith Students set to take on the world in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Michigan

By Britney Morgan

OdysseyoftheMindSarahS mith

Can you design and build a vehicle that travels on tracks, overcomes obstacles and makes stops along the way without ever touching the floor? What about speaking in rhymes and riddles as you report the weather or building structures out of balsa wood and glue that can balance and support a significant amount of weight?

You can, if you put your ‘mind’ to it! Sarah Smith Elementary’s Odyssey of the Mind program is once again headed to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals after another great year of competition, placing first in the regional competition and second in the Georgia Odyssey of the Mind State Competition this March. The top two teams from each division have now advanced to the World Finals and will compete against other teams from across the world.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college.  Each week, the Sarah Smith team applies their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

They then bring their solutions to local, state, and world competitions. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and about 30 other countries participate.

Headed by the team’s coach and Sarah Smith parent, Leslie Langley, and fourth and fifth grade teacher Michelle Carter, Sarah Smith‘s Odyssey of the Mind organization consists of fourth and fifth graders.

Carter said that Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process,  “By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems – great and small— for a lifetime.”

She explained that it helps students identify challenges and think creatively to solve problems.  “The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside the box,” said Carter.

The last time Sarah Smith sent a team to the World Finals was 2008.  They sent two teams that performed very well.  Out of more than 50 teams one finished in fourth place and the other in seventh.

This year the World Finals will be held at Michigan State University, May 20-23, 2015.

Be sure to wish the creative thinkers of Sarah Smith good luck as they set out to take on the world!


April 17, 2015 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

BOE to hold special legislative meeting on Monday, April 20

Special Called Meeting 4202015

April 16, 2015 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

Hope-Hill Students get schooled on safety, earn bikes!

Earn_bike2By Leslie Rivera

Hope-Hill Media Specialist Christine Tigue commutes to school most days by bicycle.  When she does, she parks her bike behind the media center’s circulation desk and that caught the attention of several students. So many children showed an interest in cycling that Ms. Tigue teamed up with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to get helmets for a few students earlier this year.  That’s when she heard about the Earn A Bike program, decided to participate in the program and received funding from the Hope-Hill Elementary School Foundation.

Here’s how the program works. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition offers a class for elementary, middle or high school students on bicycle basics and safety. The four-hour class teaches students basic road rules, safety checks on proper helmet and bike fit as well as tips on cycling in Atlanta.

Ms. Tigue arranged to have the program held at Hope-Hill Elementary for the first fifteen students, grades 3-5, who brought her a signed permission slip. Those students completed the course and earned a bicycle plus a helmet!  Now the school’s foundation has offered to purchase a bicycle lock for every student.

Earn_Bike1Because of the program’s success, the Hope-Hill Elementary School foundation has offered to pay for another class to take place before the end of the school year. Some of the teachers have even signed up for the Earn A Bike Adult Program!

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 that promotes the bicycle as a viable transportation solution and form of recreation and exercise. Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable Atlanta by making it safer, easier, and more attractive to cycle in the city.


April 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

STEM and STEAM Citywide Town Hall Meeting on April 23, 2015


April 15, 2015 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

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