APS Celebrates Black History Month 2018

BAMO Black History Contest - Group 2018
Barack and Michelle Obama Academy held a look-alike contest on Monday (February 12), one of several activities the school has planned to celebrate Black History Month.

Throughout the month of February, Atlanta Public Schools all across the city will celebrate Black History Month with an array of fun, innovative, thought-provoking and entertaining activities, all designed to educate and inspire students and observers.

Barack and Michelle Obama Academy on Monday (February 12) launched its slate of BAMO Black History Contest (2018)activities this month, with a look-alike contest to see which students could best match the appearance of the nation’s first African-American president and his wife. Along with the contest, students read books about President Obama, and watched and listened to media interviews featuring the 44th President of the United States and his wife.

Later this week, the school will host “Where It All Began” Day, where faculty and administrators will dress in authentic African garb. Additionally, two members of the school staff who were born in Africa will conduct brief presentations for students where they will describe what life is like in their native countries.

Here is an extended list of Black History Month activities in APS:


Date Time School Event
2/15 5:00 p.m. Dobbs Elementary School Black history program
2/16 2:00 p.m. Jackson High School Inspired By The Past:  A Vision For The Future…The Legacy of the Harlem Renaissance
2/16 2:00 p.m. South Atlanta High School Black history program
2/16 8:05 a.m. Burgess-Peterson Academy Black history program with chorus, grade level performances, and artwork (Portraits of Revolutionaries)
2/18 3:00 p.m. South Atlanta High School Band Hart County NAACP Black History Month Parade
2/23-28 All day Crim High School Torn paper artwork showcasing influential black artists
2/24 1:00-4:00 p.m. South Atlanta High School Band Atlanta Black History Month Parade, https://www.blackhistorymonthparade.com/
2/26 5:00-7:00 p.m. Mays High School Black history concert, “We Shall Overcome,” with chorus and theatre
2/27 10:15 a.m. North Atlanta High School Black history program
2/27 1:00 p.m. Cleveland Avenue Elementary School Black history program
2/27 5:30-7:30 p.m. Continental Colony Elementary School Black history program
2/28 9:00 a.m. Humphries Elementary School Celebrate Our Past to Create our Future…with music, drama, dance, and oration
2/28 10:00 a.m. Brown Middle School Black history program
2/28 1:00 p.m. Benteen Elementary Black history program
2/28 1:30 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. Sutton Middle School Black history program
2/28 5:00-7:00 p.m. Mays High School Art reception showcasing student works based on Emmett Till
2/28 6:00 p.m. Sylvan Hills Middle School Black history program with chorus, dance, band, and visual art
2/28 6:30 p.m. Carver High School Black history program
2/28 All day Bolton Academy Black history program
2/28 TBD Heritage Academy Black history program
2/28 TBD Long Middle School Black history program with music, drama, and oration
2/28 TBD Usher-Collier Elementary School Black history program
2/28 TBD Therrell High School Black history program
3/1 9:00 a.m. Miles Elementary School Black history program




10 APS Teams Advance to State Basketball Playoffs, Four as Region Champions

Douglass Girls Basketball (2018)
The Douglass girls’ basketball team won the Region 6-AA championship over the weekend and will enter the state playoffs as a No. 1 seed. The Lady Astros will host Spencer of Columbus on Friday.

Atlanta Public Schools will be well represented in the Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) state basketball playoffs this week, as 10 APS teams have advanced to three-week tournament, four as region champions.

The Douglass girls (16-6) won the Region 6-AA championship with a 59-34 win over KIPP Atlanta Collegiate last Friday night. The Lady Astros will host Spencer (Columbus-Muscogee County) at 6 p.m., Friday, in the first round of the state tournament. The Green Waves, the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AA, have a record of 7-17.

The Maynard Jackson boys (24-2) won the Region 6-AAAAA title with a 69-62 win over Riverwood (Fulton County) last Saturday. The Jaguars are currently ranked No. 10 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution Class AAAAA Top 10 poll. They will host traditional DeKalb County powerhouse Columbia (19-8), Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles are the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAAAA.

The North Atlanta boys (19-9) enter the tournament ranked No. 9 in the AJC Class AAAAAA Top 10 poll, after defeating Cambridge (Fulton County), 69-62, in the Region 7-AAAAAA title game. As the region champion and No. 1 seed, the Warriors will host Apalachee (Bartow County), the No. 4 seed from Region 8-AAAAAA, Friday at 7 p.m. The Wildcats are 11-14 this season.

The Therrell boys (18-7) defeated rival South Atlanta, 80-73, last Friday to win the Region 6-AA championship. Therrell is ranked No. 5 and South Atlanta is No. 6 in the latest AJC Class AA Top 10 poll. Therrell will host Heard County (7-19), the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AA, Saturday at 7 p.m.

Here are the other APS schools that advanced to the state tournament:

Maynard Jackson (17-6) is the No. 2 seed from Region 6-AAAAA. The Lady Jaguars will host Miller Grove (DeKalb County), the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AAAAA, Friday at 6 p.m. The Lady Wolverines are 15-11 this season.

KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (13-11) is the No. 2 seed from Region 6-AA. The Lady Warriors will host Heard County (9-14), the No. 3 seed from Region 5-AA, Friday at 6 p.m.

South Atlanta (12-11) is the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AA, and will play at Callaway (Troup County), Friday at 6 p.m. The Lady Braves are 8-12 this season.

Therrell (9-12) is the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AA. The Lady Panthers will travel to Lamar County to face the Lady Trojans (20-6), the Region 5-AA champions, Friday at 8 p.m.

KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (10-18) is the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AA. The Warriors will travel to Columbus to face Jordan (12-12), the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AA, Saturday at 5 p.m.

South Atlanta (23-4) is the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AA. The Hornets, last season’s Region 6-AA and Class AA state champions, will host Temple (Carroll County), the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AA. The Tigers are 12-12 this season.

North Atlanta boys basketball (2018)
The North Atlanta boys basketball team won the Region 7-AAAAAA championship over the weekend and will enter the state playoffs as a No. 1 seed. The Warriors will host Apalachee of Bartow County on Friday.

Forrest Hills Academy Students Participate in Future Business Leaders of America Conference

FBLA Pic #1
Left to right: Forrest Hills Academy students Chris Kent, Kevin Knight, and Lamar Upshaw recently participated in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Region Leadership Conference.

Congratulations goes out to Forrest Hill Academy students Lamar Upshaw, Chris Kent and Kevin Knight, who recently placed ninth in their district and 15th in the state for the Digital Video Production Event at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Region Leadership Conference.

Thanks to Forrest Hills’ partnership with re:imagine/ATL, students recently received a five-week mentoring and film production program worth nearly $10,000. Students were given the unique opportunity to work with a local film producer to create and shoot a three- to four-minute video that asks, “Why does your school need a FBLA chapter?”

In honor of their hard work, members of re:imagine/ATL treated Lamar, Chris and Kevin to a celebration dinner at a local restaurant. The three students later attended an animation workshop to further their newfound passion of learning more about film and technology.

Although the competition has ended, Kevin, Chris and Lamar plan to continue their work with re:imagine/ATL. Kevin plans to begin his first internship with a local production studio in Atlanta, while Lamar hopes to earn a scholarship to attend “The Green Room,” a summer music video camp at re:imagine/ATL.

Forrest Hills business teacher Mat Smith said the experience has led to several career-oriented opportunities for students.

“Together with our partners, Forrest Hills Academy has proven that a FBLA chapter is both impactful and beneficial to our students,” Smith said.



APS Students Showcase Their Talents at 57th Annual Districtwide Spelling Bee

2018 Spelling Bee Champions
Davis Trimble, center, a fifth grader at E. Rivers Elementary School, won first-place honors in the 57th Annual Districtwide Spelling Bee. Morris Brandon’s Lily Nastopoulos placed second; and Jacarri Almond, who attends B.E.S.T. Academy, earned third-place prize.

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

With profound deliberation and mastery, E. Rivers Elementary School fifth grader Davis Trimble successfully spelled “T-R-O-I-K-A” to become first-place winner of the Atlanta Public Schools 57th Annual District Wide Spelling Bee after eight grueling rounds of competition.

“It feels good,” Davis said after being crowned champion. “I spent a lot of time studying and it really paid off.”

Held on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at Frederick Douglass High School in partnership with the Atlanta Association of Educators, this year’s spelling bee also produced two other winners: Morris Brandon’s Lily Nastopoulos and B.E.S.T. Academy’s Jacarri Almond, who received second and third-place honors, respectively.

Lily and Jacarri will join Davis in representing APS at the Georgia Association of Educators’ Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Douglass High School.

57th Annual Districtwide Spelling Bee

Students from more than 35 schools across the district participated in this year’s spelling bee, competing to spell a bevvy of difficult words, such as tempestuous, gargoyle, requisites, chinchilla, forsythia, peloton, camphor, diphthong, and more.

However, it wasn’t until Davis masterfully spelled the winning word, troika – which means a group of three – that a spelling bee champion was finally named.

“The spelling bee showcases some of the district’s best talent from elementary and middle schools in every cluster, and all of them are really fabulous spellers,” said Jermal Riggins, K-5 literacy coordinator for APS. “We are extremely proud of all of these outstanding students.”






UPDATE: North Atlanta Swimmers, Divers Shine at State Competition

Drew Sheldon - NAHS Diver (2018) cropped
North Atlanta junior Drew Sheldon placed eighth overall in the Georgia High School Association State Swimming and Diving Competition. The state’s two largest classifications compete together.


It was a big weekend for the North Atlanta swimming and diving program at the Georgia High Schools Association state meet!

Junior diver Drew Sheldon got things started on Friday when he earned the title as the top diver in Georgia’s second-largest classification (Class AAAAAA). In swimming and diving, the schools in the state’s two largest classifications – Class AAAAAAA and Class AAAAAA – compete in the same division, while schools in Class AAAAA through Class A compete against each other in another division. Drew placed eighth overall but was the highest scoring diver among competitors from Class AAAAAA schools – the first time this has ever been accomplished by a diver from Atlanta Public Schools. No other divers from Class AAAAAA placed in the top 10 and only four others placed in the top 20. It is a big week for Drew as earlier he was notified that he has been selected to compete for USA Water Polo’s 18-and-Under Olympic Development Team for the Southeast Zone.

 Also on Friday, North Atlanta senior Farley Tranakos qualified to compete in the girls’ state competition. Even though she just began competing in the sport last year, Farley is believed to be the first APS female to qualify for the state diving competition.

Then on Saturday, the North Atlanta girls’ team placed seventh in Class AAAAAA. It is the first time an APS team has placed in the state meet. Outstanding performances were turned in by the Warriors’ 200-yard medley relay team (fifth), made up of sophomore Taylor Hicks and freshmen Savannah Mason, Zoe Mock and Hannah Dabney; the 200-yard freestyle relay team (sixth) of seniors Lindsey Reeves and Katherine Jackson, junior Hunter Smith and freshman Hannah Dabney; the 400-yard freestyle relay team (sixth) of senior Lindsey Reeves, sophomore Taylor Hicks and freshmen Hannah Dabney and Zoe Mock;  Zoe Mock in the 100-yard breaststroke (11th); Taylor Hicks in the 100-yard backstroke (fourth); Hannah Dabney in the 50-yard freestyle (10th); and Taylor Hicks in the 200-yard intermediate (third).

The boys’ squad did not place in the team competition, however, the 200-yard freestyle relay team of juniors Ethan Roman and Bowden Maiellaro, and freshmen Ben Aspinwall and Jack Bynum placed 10th, and freshman Ben Stelle placed 11th in the 500-yard freestyle.

Farley Tranakos - NAHS Diving (2018) action
Farley Tranakos

Humphries Elementary School Celebrates Students with Perfect and Near Perfect Attendance


Humphries ES Perfect Attendance (2017)
227 students at Humphries Elementary School had perfect attendance or missed less than three days of school during the first semester. The students were honored at a ceremony at the school on Friday.

(Click here to view the video.)

School attendance is vital for academic success, and it is really serious business at Humphries Elementary School. On Friday, 96 students with perfect attendance, along with 131 more with no more than three absences during the first semester, were honored for their dedication to coming to school.

During the hour-long ceremony, students received a certificate and were treated to

Que 9 at Humphries ES 1
Teenage rapper Que 9 performed at the Humphries Elementary School celebration for students with perfect or near perfect attendance.

Christmas cookies and apple cider, while teenage rapper Que 9 made a surprise appearance and performed his hit single “Red Light, Green Light.” Parents who were winners of a lottery drawing received their gift – a $50 American Express gift card – and CIGNA Healthcare executives Helen Glenn, Thomas Hunter-James and Reggie White gave words of encouragement.

CIGNA Healthcare is one of Humphries Elementary’s community partners, and provided the school with funding to purchase one Christmas present for all 227 students with perfect or near-perfect attendance.

“At some point I hope it will become intrinsic,” said Humphries Elementary Principal Melanie Mitchell. “When they leave and go to middle school [attendance] may not be celebrated as large, I hope they remember the message that it is important to be in school every day. When you show up and you are accountable, that’s a skill that we all need.”

CIGNA Execs at Humphries ES (2017)
CIGNA Healthcare executives Thomas Hunter-James (far left), Helen Glenn (second from right), and Reggie White (far right), helped provide Christmas presents for all 227 Humphries Elementary students with perfect or near perfect attendance. Humphries Elementary Principal Melanie Mitchell (second from the left) presented the gifts to students on Friday.

APS Partners with City of Atlanta to Offer an Enhanced Social Studies Curriculum Inspired by Atlanta City Design

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen joined City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to announce a new partnership to write an interactive curriculum based on the Atlanta City Design. The inquiry-based curriculum will be implemented as a six-week exploration into urban planning and the history of Atlanta’s design as well as aspirations for the city’s future. This new partnership is highly unique and represents the first time the City and APS have collaborated to develop a curriculum of this type. Department of City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane worked with Janean Lewis, APS social studies coordinator, to lead a team of teachers and the Atlanta City Studio staff in a collaborative writing camp, to design the curriculum.

“Atlanta Public Schools is proud that our students will have a voice in the future design of our city through this unique City Design partnership and curriculum enhancement,” said Dr. Meria Carstarphen, APS Superintendent. “Eighth graders will have an amazing opportunity to guide our city toward becoming a ‘Beloved Community’ by experiencing the city from a new lens and sharing their visions and plans for the future design of Atlanta.”

The Atlanta City Design: Aspiring to the Beloved Community is the anchor text for the urban planning unit of the new curriculum. The Department of City Planning, with the input of residents, visitors and local designers, worked for more than a year to create the Atlanta City Design. The Atlanta City Design promotes sustainable design that incorporates the social, economic and environmental needs of the city. The design also aims to improve and accentuate Atlanta’s authentic character in a way that can accommodate a much larger population, offer additional transportation solutions and ensure more affordable housing opportunities.

“The Atlanta City Design is one of the most forward-looking and exciting projects in our city’s history,” said Mayor Reed. “I am delighted that the City of Atlanta has been able to partner with the Atlanta Public Schools to integrate the design initiative into their middle school social studies curriculum. These young students represent our city’s future, and there is nothing more important than engaging with them as we plan for the future. I hope that we will learn as much from the students as they learn from us.”

APS eighth graders will engage with the learning modules in the Spring semester; the modules will culminate with each student completing a capstone project. APS also plans to teach the curriculum to ninth graders starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

“A major focus in our curriculum revolves around civic engagement. I proposed this project so that our city’s youth can take advantage of the invaluable resources that are right in their own backyards,” said Lewis, who is the main curriculum writer. “Our vision, with the partnership is to support students in understanding how their city’s history impacts its development and how they can be engaged and involved in its future.”
The Atlanta City Design focuses on five core values:

  • Equity is ensuring that all the benefits of nature, access, ambition, and progress accrue fairly to everyone.
  • Progress is to protect people and places with meaning from the market forces that will otherwise overrun them.
  • Ambition is to leverage the disruption of change to unlock new opportunities for people to do what they want with their lives.
  • Access is to update our hub of transportation for a new generation while also building a sense of community and place.
  • Nature is to protect and expand the ecological value of our watersheds, forest and habitat in the face of rapid urbanization.

The Atlanta City Design book is available at http://www.atlcitydesign.com. The document articulates an aspiration for the future city that Atlantans can fall in love with, knowing that if people love their city, they will make better decisions about it. These decisions can be reflected in all the plans, policies and investments the city makes, allowing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of the Beloved Community to guide growth and transform Atlanta into the best possible version of itself.