Archive for November, 2012

Hornet’s Boutique at the South Atlanta Educational Complex

Mrs. Cheryl McLaurin is a social worker and founder of the Hornet’s Boutique at the South Atlanta Educational Complex. Mrs. McLaurin started the Hornet’s Boutique to improve student attendance by providing a incentive program for students to earn the opportunity to shop for school uniforms, professional attire, special occasion wear, accessories, school supplies and other gifts for themselves and their family members.

The Hornet‘s Boutique was born from a problem solving discussion about students’ lack of uniforms and professional attire. Mrs. McLaurin met several times with the Social Security Administration to plan several clothing drives for uniforms and professional attire for the students. She solicited the JROTC Department at her school, the J.C. Penney Outlet to donate discarded clothing racks and Macy’s to donate hangers for the clothing. She then acquired furniture from the APS warehouse that could be used to display items.

The store’s designer and general manager is Ms. Jessica Steele, a Spanish teacher in the School of Law and Justice and Mrs. Cami Hunt and her MOID/MID class stocks the merchandise. Mrs. McLaurin completes the debit cards that reflect the student’s earnings from their attendance and schedules the store visits. The students in Mrs. Hunt’s class also assist as sales associates when students shop at the Hornet’s Boutique.

School staff, other APS personnel, private individuals, local businesses, civic groups and private businesses donate the merchandise found in the Hornet’s Boutique. Merchandise includes gently used men’s, women and children’s clothing, accessories, household items, school supplies, toiletries, shoes, books, umbrellas, luggage and toys. 

November 30, 2012 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

APS Receives the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has announced that Atlanta Public Schools has received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the district’s budget including fiscal period 2011.

This award is a significant achievement for the district, as it reflects Atlanta Public Schools’ commitment to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive this award, APS had to meet nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation which includes a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications device.

Atlanta Public Schools’ budget documents received a “proficient” rating in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, in order to receive the award. According to GFOA, as an award recipient, APS has pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

November 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Adamsville Primary/Miles’ Elementary shine in Productions at Alliance Theater

Christopher Estes, Principal at Lenora P. Miles, hosted afterschool rehearsals for two new plays written by elementary students that were presented during the Young Voices with New Visions Short Play Fest on the Alliance Black Box Theatre stage in Woodruff Arts Center on Saturday, November 17, 2012.  The two plays featured were “Mrs. Roosevelt and I,” a touching historical drama, and sci-fi inspired “Blue Light.”

Mrs. Roosevelt and I:

  • Written by Lavianna Smith (6th grader from Fulton County Public Schools System)
  • Directed by Ms.  Letricia Henson, Adamsville Primary/Miles’ Elementary School Music Teacher
  • Featured: Janaisha Wright (5th grade), Mrs. Heather Nilson (EIP teacher), Quandrell Claybrooks) and Ms. Henson, Co-producer for YVNV

Photos from the production of  “Mrs. Roosevelt and I”

Blue Light:

  • Written by Alden Hollis (FCS, 4th grade)
  • Featured: Runako Brown (5th grade), Ba’Haiyyah Taylor (5th grade), Gikiya Griffin (3rd grade), Malique Jones (4th grade), Zakiyah Jones (3rd grade), Phillip Kenley, Jr. (3rd grade), Danielle Leverette (3rd grade), David Leverette (3rd grade), Braxton McPhearson (3rd grade), Ryan Carter (Morehouse College Drama major)

During the third YVNV play, in an evening of 6 short plays, J. Hope Jackson’s Harper Archer Middle School chorus students gave memorable performances in the poignant social drama “Miracles.”


  • Written by Khadirah Muhammed (FCS, 6th grade)
  • Performances by Ricky Evans (6th grade), Zachare Gist (6th grade), and Joshua Jones (7th grade).

Young Voices with New Visions Short Play Fest, founded by Pamela-Faith Jackson (Gifted/Talent Development Teacher-Miles Intermediate/Adamsville Primary), provides a haven for gifted young writers and actors to share in the new play development process.

The YVNV “Write A Dream” Short Play Competition, adjudicated by college professors and industry professionals, is on a nation-wide search for students in grades 3-12, who are interested in writing for the stage.

For more info:  e-mail  or visit

November 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

Student Spotlight of The Week

Name: Russell Kamden Dobbs

Grade: 5th Grade

School: Beecher Hills Elementary

Kamden Dobbs’ teachers describe him as a leader, a scholar, an athlete, and more. Kamden serves as a lead Safety Patrol and works every day to make sure his fellow Beecher Bees are safe during afternoon carpool. Recently, Kamden was elected the 2012-2013 Beecher Hills Elementary School Student Government Association President.

“Mr. Dobbs is a member of the Beecher Hills Principal’s Leadership Academy  and serves as a role model for his peers by being respectful, courteous, and principled,” explains Ovura Crosby, Assistant Principal at Beecher Hills.

Kamden is also a member of the Beecher Hills Junior Beta Club and maintains an A-B average. But, Kamden shines bright outside of the classroom as well.

“I play the fullback position on the Cascade Wolverines 10 and under team, and I play 2nd base and left field for the Cascade Philly Stars,” Kamden said.

As a member of the Cascade Philly Stars team Kamden experienced something most kids his age have only dreamed of, as he played in the Little League World Series in 2011 .

Beyond being a star athlete, Kamden also has “big screen” potential. Kamden played a minor role in the movie “Parental Guidance” and he exercises his vocal chords as a dedicated member of the Beecher Hills Chorus and the APS  Honor Chorus.

Name: Kailani Anderson

Grade: 8th Grade

School: Crawford Long Middle School

Kailani Anderson is an 8th grader at Crawford W. Long Middle School who strives to be the best she can be both in and out of the classroom.  Kailani is a model scholar at Crawford W. Long excelling in all subjects.  Kailani’s favorite subject is Language Arts because she loves to read and learn new words.  “Every day I want to learn a new word” says Kailani with confidence and eagerness.  She is currently reading I So Don’t Do Mysteries, by Barrie Summy and Airhead, by Meg Cabot.  Meg Cabot is her favorite author because she always writes interesting stories.

Apart from her academic achievements, Kailani is originally from California who moved to Georgia with her family in 2010.  She enjoys singing, listening to music, and reading when she is bored.   Kailani’s future aspirations are to become an actor and singer on the Disney channel which she says hard work and dedication will be the keys to her success.

Name: Zariah Cain

Grade: 8th Grade

School: Coan Middle School

Zariah is a proactive student who strives to excel in every way she can. One of her most exciting experiences was attending Space Camp this summer. She was selected as one of the Fish & Richardson P.C. Scholarship Winners for the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, where she stayed a week at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. During Space Camp, she was able to further her understanding of math and science by applying it in her mission assignments. She completed two space missions where she set up and fixed solar panels in a simulator of the moon base, and also directly communicated with a shuttle as they were preparing to land on earth. There was also a rocket park where she rode simulators of a rocket and experienced how it’s like to walk on the moon. Zariah describes her space camp experience by saying, “In a week at space camp, I learned so much about space that I never knew. I also made two lifelong best friends, and overall, I wish I could go again.”

Back at school, Zariah continues to be proactive in her studies. Recently, she is a nominee for People to People, which is a leadership program that gives students opportunities to travel out of the country. She’s enrolled in the gifted program for math and language arts, and was on the Principal’s List last year. She’s won several awards this year, including “Best All Around Student in Achievement, Attitude, and Character” and the “CRCT Exceeding Expectations Awards” for reading, math, science, social studies, and language arts. She enjoys being on the Yearbook Committee this year for Coan Middle and is looking forward to attending Maynard Jackson High School next year. Aside from school, her hobbies include baking brownies and cookies, and music through singing, dancing, and playing violin. Overall, Zariah Cain is a great contributor at Coan Middle School and gives credit to her mom as the source of her motivation.

“My mom says that I need to bring home good grades, because if I am proud of myself, then I can be better in life,” Zariah says. She is truly one of Coan Middle’s special students as she shines with her outgoing personality and academic achievements.

Name: Mac Colby

Grade: 3rd Grade

School: Sarah Smith Elementary

Mac Colby attends Sarah Smith Elementary, an International Baccalaureate school where creating caring young people is an important part of the daily curriculum. Mac is living this IB trait every day and is a model student. He volunteers regularly for GivingPoint, where his mother, Ansley Colby, serves as the CEO. GivingPoint is a youth development nonprofit that helps children use their talents and skills to build stronger communities ( So far, Mac has logged more than 100 hours of community service and counting!
Mac also helps his father, Stewart, who is a veterinarian at the Winward Animal Hospital. As a fun hobby, Mac and his father raise Maran chickens in their back yard. Maran chickens lay the beautifully-colored dark chocolate “007” eggs, made famous by James Bond. Mac recently launched his own social enterprise to sell these organic eggs to neighbors and friends. Each chicken eats around 2 pounds of food each week and produces around 4 eggs per week. He collects nearly 35 eggs per week, so he’s ready to start taking orders! He plans to donate part of the proceeds to GivingPoint and also contribute to various Sarah Smith Elementary fundraisers throughout the year.

November 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm 4 comments

Gifted Parent Meetings and Times

November 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

APS Leaders to Attend NPU-V, NPU-F and NPU-Z Meetings in November

Across APS, we are re-igniting our community outreach efforts.

We want to share the changes taking place in APS, highlight each community’s neighborhood school, build support for public education, and give parents and others an opportunity to offer us feedback. We want to reach all families, including those who may not be active users of electronic and online media. Therefore, we are re-engaging the city’s 25 neighborhood planning units (NPUs) and dozens of organizations that hold their meetings at community locations, such as local YMCAs, neighborhood recreation centers, faith-based sites and libraries, as well as our schools.

Please see the schedule of community re-engagement meetings for November. Community members who are interested in booking an APS leader for their event should contact External Affairs Manager Nicole Knighten at 404-802-2859.



Community Group

APS Leader



Nov. 19


Mr. Steve Smith

Pittman Park Recreation Center

7 p.m.

Nov. 19


Mr. David White

Hillside Facility

7 p.m.

Nov. 26


Ms. Karen Waldon

Rosel Fann Recreation Center

7 p.m.

Contact the Office of External Affairs at 404-802-2826 for more information.


November 17, 2012 at 5:35 am Leave a comment

Former district leader passes away

ATLANTA-Dr. Benjamin Canada, former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent, died last week at age 67.  Canada, who served as the district’s leader from 1994-1998, retired from the Texas Association of School Boards within the last year and passed away after enduring a period of declining health.

Canada joined APS after working in Mississippi as superintendent of Jackson Public Schools.  Throughout his career, the longtime educator held various positions in education, such as special education teacher, high school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent.

At the start of his tenure at APS, Canada told a group of  Atlanta students at a press conference that his decision to accept the superintendent position was based on whether he thought he could give them a better education.

Dr. Canada left APS in 1998 after accepting a position in Oregon as superintendent of Portland Public Schools.   Following his departure the Atlanta Board of Education named Dr. Betty Strickland interim superintendent, and in 1999 the board appointed Dr. Beverly Hall superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

Canada is survived by his wife, Doris, and two daughters.  The family will hold a memorial service after the Thanksgiving holiday.

November 17, 2012 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

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