The excitement and energy of the first day of school is bursting through the walls at Parkside Elementary. “We just Rock!” says Principal Caitlin Sims as she walked the shiny, bright halls of Parkside greeting smiling parents saying their “goodbye,” “love you,” have a “great day” sentiments to their kindergartners through fifth graders.
Following the bell and morning announcements, students were in class and ready to learn. Second grader Daishah from Ms. Monique Rucker’s class paused for a moment to share how she spent the summer at the beach, swimming and reading the classics—“Cinderella” and “Snow White,” and a few books from her “Schools Out. Reading is In!” backpack that APS provided to every student before the summer break. “I like reading and doing school work,” says Daisha. “I’m glad to be here.”
At Martin Luther Jr. King Middle School, students wasted no time getting back to learning on the first day of school. Every day is a learning day in APS and students were ready. “We are really excited about this school year,” Principal Paul Brown says. “First, we are thrilled about being removed from the focus list. We are going to maintain our focus on the instruction and rigor that have helped us to achieve that goal.” And, not to rush things, but Brown says the anticipation is already building up for the big move back to King Middle School’s original campus next year. King is currently at the former Coan Middle School campus on Hosea Williams Drive in Kirkwood. Students are expected to return to a shiny, renovated campus in Grant Park a year from now.
The Jackson Cluster energy reigned at Maynard Holbrook Jackson High on Day One as parents and students tending to last minute registration were immediately greeted and provided with help from Jackson and central office staff.
A new class of ninth grade students got a special message from the principal as they settled in for class. “I recognize many of your faces this morning because I have seen you at our open house and school meetings,” said proud Principal Stephanie Johnson. “I want to remind you that we are here for you and if there is anything more we can do to support your success, let us know.”
Starting this school year, all Jackson Cluster schools will begin their journey toward becoming International Baccalaureate candidate schools. Jackson High already has an authorized International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Other new additions in the cluster include King MS launching the Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Program. PBIS is a systems approach for establishing the social culture and individualized behavioral supports needed for schools to build academic and social competence for all students. At Parkside, there are new staff members and new programs. They include a new assistant principal, Dr. Myana Solomon, who comes from Morningside Elementary in Midtown and the Olympic sport of fencing as a pilot program.
Jackson Cluster families should mark their calendars for the 3rd Annual Jackson Cluster Night at Grady Stadium at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. It will be a night of high school football and fun for all families in neighborhood and charter schools in the cluster.