Posts filed under ‘Elementary Schools’
Asiaa Karriem has the ability to see the untapped potential in children from socio-economically challenged communities. As such, her being honored by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) recently should come as no surprise.
Karriem, a gifted teacher at Usher-Collier Elementary School, was named a Javits-Frasier Scholar by the NAGC. The Javits-Frasier Scholars Program recognizes passionate, innovative educators who work in districts that serve students from low-income and minority populations that are historically underrepresented in gifted education.
“High-achieving children in poverty and from minority groups are two-and-a-half times less likely to be identified for, and served in gifted programs in school,” said NAGC Executive Director M. Rene Islas. “Educators like Asiaa are leaders and a voice for these gifted and talented children who have unique learning needs.”
Karriem said she was honored to be selected as a Javits-Frasier Scholar, and plans to take full advantage of the professional development opportunities that come with the award.
“It helps teach teachers to look for signs of giftedness in children in poverty,” said Karriem, who earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern and a master’s from Mercer University. “I love the fact that by doing what I do, I am able to change the trajectory of a child’s life. Being able to find a child’s hidden genius and cultivate it is a challenge, but it is well worth the effort.”
Even before the holiday season started, students at Deerwood Academy already had the spirit of giving.
Last month they took to the streets – or at least the driveways and walkways around the school campus – to raise awareness to the plight of the less fortunate among them in the community. For the third consecutive year, Deerwood Academy students staged their iCare Walk, an initiative designed to bring attention to a community issue of concern, and then raise money to combat the issue.
In the two previous years, the themes were breast cancer awareness and bullying. This year, students targeted poverty as the theme after being inspired by the story of Terrence and Cecilia Lester, whose “Love Beyond Walls” organization works to mobilize communities to move past the walls that divide people through creative community service projects.
Earlier this fall, Terence Lester spent two months walking 650 miles from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for poverty, which inspired the students at Deerwood Academy to hold their “March Against Poverty.” Nearly all of the 744 students participated, collecting pledges from donors based on the number of steps they took. Students will host several more fundraising events throughout the remainder of the school year. All proceeds will be combined and given to “Love Beyond Walls.”
Fifth graders Ella Loyo and Layla McReynolds were two of the event’s main organizers.
“I was with my dad one day and we saw two women and both of them had two little kids and they were just walking around in the road,” Layla said. “People like that need help and we thought this was a good way to do that.”
Ella agreed. “There are too many people with children who are struggling,” she said. “They are not able to take care of themselves and so we want to be able to help them.”
Students and parents at Deerwood Academy and several other Atlanta Public Schools ate lunch together on Thursday for Family Engagement Day.
Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, but students and parents throughout the Atlanta Public School system already have eaten a Thanksgiving meal together.
Scores of schools in the district – including Deerwood Academy, F.L. Stanton Elementary, Fain Elementary and Sylvan Hills Middle – celebrated National Family Engagement Day last week, with a Thanksgiving-style lunch for students and their parents, grandparents and siblings.
Cafeteria staffs prepared turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, collard greens, green beans, macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls and sweet tea.
One school, Deerwood Academy, had to call in an extra cafeteria worker to help speed hungry students and parents through the line.
“We always have a really good turnout,” said Deerwood school counselor Aleah Brown.
The faculty and staff at Charles L. Gideons Elementary School used Halloween to help make learning to read fun, as last week nearly every student, teacher and administrator dressed up as a character from a book they just read in class.
“One of our goals is increasing our Lexile levels, and so we thought this would be a good way to motivate the students,” Gideons Principal Jesse Berger said. “We’re using all of our instructional strategies, and utilizing phonics as well as our literacy programs like Just Words and Fundations.”
Berger said he and his staff plan on building similar activities around other holidays during the school year as well.
“We’re working on helping all of our students build their fluency skills,” he said, “but we want to make it fun for them, too.”
Chevron Corporation hopes to grow the next generation of scientist, engineers and chemists by cultivating a love for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in today’s youth. Thanks to the company’s “Fuel Your School” initiative, they may have found several at West Manor Elementary School.
Three teachers at West Manor received awards from Chevron Corporation last week, after they submitted ideas to Donors.Choose.org, an online organization that helps teachers get small projects funded through community donations. Chevron’s “Fuel Your School” program is collaborating with Donors.Choose.org, and has helped raise more than $300 million for STEM-based projects and initiatives worldwide since 2013.
West Manor’s Carla Anderson (gifted), who serves as the coordinator of the school’s award-winning robotics team, received four Lego Robotics Kits, worth about $1,300. Additionally, she received equipment and materials, such as tape measures and litmus paper, to use in STEM-related classroom projects such as kitchen science and forensic science experiments.
“We’re always looking for more resources to be able to do projects that get our kids excited and motivated about STEM,” Anderson said, “so when you don’t have those materials it’s disappointing. Our P.T.A. (Parent Teacher Association) has been really good about supporting us, but this assistance from Chevron is great.”
Jeff Swindell, manager of Chevron’s Policy, Government and Public Affairs, said his company’s dedication to education is a winning proposition for all involved – Chevron, the schools and the nation.
“STEM is the foundation for the future of our country,” he said. “We need our kids to have an interest in it and a passion for it, so that we can produce that next generation of professionals working with computers and in medicine and chemistry. We hope that our schools and our country will benefit in the long run, and maybe someday one of these talented students will want to work for Chevron.”
While the gift to Anderson was planned, Swindell made surprise presentations to Dietrice Bennett (fifth grade) and Mariel Lawrence (third grade). Bennett received a three-dimensional printer while Lawrence received 18 tablets for her class.
“It was absolutely a total shock,” said Lawrence, who will use the tablets to set up some distance-learning projects for her students. “I’m so excited about all the possibilities this will produce for our students.”