Schools Throughout the District Celebrate Black History Month

Mason Muhammad Royal portrays famed scientist and inventor Dr. George Washington Carver in the Continental Colony Elementary School Black History Wax Museum.


The auditorium at Continental Colony Elementary School was transformed into an interactive, African American “wax museum” last week, as nearly 50 students posed as famous and influential African Americans in history.

The event is part of the school’s Black History Month celebration during the month of February. Continental Colony Principal Dr. Kristen Vaughn said the school always goes all out to pay homage to the great African American leaders and events of the past.

“Our school population is 98 percent African American. It is important for us to relate our history to our students,” Vaughn said. “If we don’t tell our stories, then who will? Also, we find that many of our parents learn a great deal from our programs and displays, and so it is good to know that we are educating the community as well.”

Tylar Woods portrays Atlanta’s first female mayor Shirley Franklin at the Continental Colony Elementary School Black History Wax Museum.

In the wax museum, students took on the persona of individuals such as Louis Latimer (scientist, inventor), Hosea Williams (civil rights leader), Andrew Young (former Atlanta mayor and Secretary to the United Nations), Sarah Boone (inventor of the ironing board), Mary McCloud Bethune (educator, stateswoman and civil rights leader) and Sojourner Truth (abolitionist and women’s rights advocate). Visitors pressed a “button” located on the hand of the statues/students, which caused them to move and quote interesting facts about the characters they were portraying.

The top winner/performer in the wax museum was Jade Evans for her portrayal of Sarah Boone. Other students receiving awards for their portrayals were Kayla Sanders as Mary McCloud Bethune, Serena Booker as Serena Williams, Christian Murray as Andrew Young, Kevin Rose at Hosea Williams, and Jayla Graham as Sojourner Truth.

Zaire Parris portrays brilliant scientist and inventor Louis Latimer at the Continental Colony Elementary School Black History Wax Museum.

Additionally, Continental Colony is continuing its annual tradition of decorating its entire foyer with homages to African American history.

Here are several other Black History Month celebrations occurring throughout Atlanta Public Schools (in chronological order):

Forrest Hill Academy | February 1-28
Students are filming a documentary titled “What Black History Means to Me.”

Grady High School | February 1-28
Teachers are incorporating African-American history facts throughout the curriculum, and a date for the annual Black history play is being developed.

Morningside Elementary School | February 1-28
Reading quotes or brief bios on morning announcements and on the school’s daily message board; Kindergarten does a unit of study on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and creates hallway bulletin boards in his honor; Kindergarten and first-grade students are being taught a song about Dr. King and will read “Martin’s Big Words”; Books related to African-American history and heroes are on display in the media center; Fifth graders will analyze quotes by Dr. King as an ELA assignment.

South Atlanta High School | February 1-28
Black history facts are broadcasted over the public address system during the day.

Morris Brandon Elementary School  | February 3-28
First Street: Students are invited to research an African American who was the “first” African American to achieve a specific accomplishment. The student will create a poster detailing the individual and his/her accomplishment. The posters will be on display in the school’s “First Street” exhibit.

Mary Lin Elementary School/Inman Middle School | February 11
Psi Phi Beta Step Team performs at the monthly “SPARK Saturday” at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This month’s “SPARK Saturday” event teaches youth about African American culture through rhythm and movement, and illustrates how today’s music and dance movements are inspired by African traditions.

Whitefoord Elementary School | February 16
(Grades 3-5) Guest speaker Nettie Washington-Douglass, great, great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass.

Young Middle School | February 20-24
“Celebrating Black History in Atlanta”: A series of performances and guest speakers throughout the week.

Bunche Middle School | February 23
“Sankofa – Go Back and Get It.” Performing arts performances featuring dance, drama and chorus.

Long Middle School | February 23
“Remember the Times”: Thematic, living timeline created by students, highlighting moments in African-American history.

Benteen Elementary School | February 24
Essay competition and family movie night.

Brown Middle School | February 24
“Sankofa”:The annual Black History Program (sankofa translates to “recovering or retrieving the past”).

Scott Elementary School | February 24
“Lift Every Voice”: The annual performing arts program for Pre-K through fifth grade.

Whitefoord Elementary School | February 24
Black History Bowl

Continental Colony Elementary School | February 28
Pantherville Poetry Café.

Hope Hill Elementary School | February 28
Annual Black History program.

West Manor Elementary School| February 28
Annual African-American history program.

Whitefoord Elementary School| February 28
Black History Performing Arts Program.









APS 2014-2015 Districtwide Teacher of the Year Barry Blackmon, II Among Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2015 40 Under 40

by Kimberly Willis Green

Atlanta Public Schools’ 2014-2015 Districtwide Teacher of the Year Barry Blackmon, II, is one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “2015 Top 40 Under 40.” For the past 19 years, the magazine has selected 40 outstanding Georgians under the age of 40 who represent the best and the brightest in business, government, politics, nonprofits, science, healthcare and education. The 40 honorees were chosen from nominations made by readers throughout the state.

Barry Blackmon, II
Barry Blackmon, II

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Blackmon attended Bethune-Cookman College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism and a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. He began his teaching career in 2003 as a reading teacher at Duval County Public Schools. Four years later, Blackmon relocated to Atlanta to teach for Atlanta Public Schools. He volunteered to teach abroad, and founded a boys mentoring club, “Gentlemen’s Project,” that builds self-esteem and promotes service learning. A former sixth grade gifted English and Language Arts teacher at the B.E.S.T. Academy at Benjamin S. Carson, Blackmon is currently the social studies instructional coach.

Click here to see a video of Mr. Blackmon in the classroom.

Congratulations Mr. Blackmon!

(VIDEO) Learn More About the Georgia Milestones Assessment System

The Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones) is a comprehensive summative assessment program spanning grades 3 through high school. Georgia Milestones measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state-adopted content standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Students in grades 3 through 8 will take an end-of-grade assessment in each content area, while high school students will take an end-of-course assessment for each of the eight courses designated by the State Board of Education.

Features the Georgia Milestone Assessment System include: open-ended (constructed-response) items in language arts and mathematics (all grades and courses); a writing component (in response to passages read by students) at every grade level and course within the language arts assessment;norm-referenced items in all content areas and courses, to complement the criterion-referenced information and to provide a national comparison; and
transition to online administration over time, with online administration considered the primary mode of administration and paper-penc​il as back-up until the transition is complete.

Visit to learn more!

Mary Lin’s Native American Pow Wow

written by Jessica, 4th grader from Mary Lin Elementary School

IMG_1238Mary Lin Elementary’s fourth graders participated in a Native American Pow Wow, a celebration that includes dancing, singing, gifts and a feast. There could be many people at a Pow Wow, and they could celebrate a good harvest, a good hunt, a new birth or a marriage.

Our Pow Wow at Mary Lin was different. Most classes presented information about different tribes from different regions, like the Inuit, Pawnee, Seminole, Kwakiutl, Hopi, and Nez Perce. One class performed skits from old Native American tales. We also had a huge feast with food from many different tribes. We enjoyed learning about Native Americans and experiencing our own Native American Pow Wow!



“The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave”

On Monday, November 5th the 3rd grade chorus at Kimberly Elementary presented a patriotic program filled with great music and articulate U.S. history facts. In honor of Election Day 2012, students wore red, white and blue as they performed songs honoring our nation.

“Under the direction of our music teacher and teacher of the year, Mr. Richard Harris, the chorus presented a patriotic program filled with great music and important history,” explained Jennifer Saunders, a teacher at Kimberly.

Students also presented a brief history of the United States, beginning with Betsy Ross and ending with the 2008 election of President Barack Obama.

“This proved to be meaningful, not only for the participating students, but for the attentive audience members of students and parents,” Saunders said.

During the program, parents and guests were encouraged to exercise their right to vote in this year’s election. The program helped students understand the importance of Election Day and voting throughout the United States.

The 3rd Grade chorus at Kimberly Elementary celebrates patriotism through music.