Cool Girls Inc. will honor Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen as its Cool Woman of the Year at the “Cool Girls become Cool Women” Hot Pink Party, 7p.m., Saturday, April 23, 2016. The annual event celebrates 27 years of service to more than 6,000 girls in the Atlanta community at the Lowes Atlanta Hotel, 1065 Peachtree St., NE Atlanta 30303.
“To be seen as a role model for our beautiful young women of Atlanta is one of the highest honors I can imagine, and it’s an honor I take seriously and strive to earn every single day,” Superintendent Carstarphen said. “And I think it’s cool to do everything we can to help our girls to rise up and break free of whatever social, educational or economic barriers they have to become the Cool Women of their Generation.”
Cool Girls provides after-school programming for more than 400 girls at nine Title I schools in Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County schools. The organization currently serves students at APS’ Hope Hill and Parkside elementary schools and has worked with students at Eastlake and Whitefoord elementary schools and Coan and King middle schools in the past.
Other honorees this Saturday include Cool Volunteer of the Year, Terra Washington and Cool Girl of the Year, Linda Lowe at the fundraising event that supports Cool Girls Inc.’s after-school clubs, mentoring, field trips and college preparatory programs that are offered free of charge to girls in need.
Carstarphen joins a distinguished group of past honorees that include Brooke Baldwin, Kathy Betty, Johnetta B. Cole, Barbarella Diaz, Shirley Franklin, CeCe Winans, Antoinette Tuff and Alfre Woodard.
By: Taylor R. Jones
Friday, April 22, represents Earth Day! And what more satisfying way to celebrate than to taste fresh grown herbs and vegetables? Today, the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Nutrition Department served chicken with pasta and green beans seasoned with district-grown garden herbs in all APS cafeterias.
The fresh rosemary and basil used to prepare these menu items were all grown inside the Benjamin E. Mays High School aquaponics and hydroponics greenhouse system. Mays High School is the only school in the district with a greenhouse that uses aquaponics and hydroponics to grow year-round herbs and vegetables. Their greenhouse has even become the flagship program for the District Grown Gardens Initiative, creating Mays’ School Urban Agricultural Club.
Not only has Mays’ School Agricultural Program helped create a nurturing environment where students can learn more about harvesting vegetables, but it has become a safe-haven that has inspired the student body to live a healthier lifestyle.
Mays High School Junior and member of the Mays High School Urban Agricultural Club, Jessica Bell, enjoys the positive impact the District’s Grown Garden Initiative has had on her lifestyle. I’ve learned so much about agriculture, the water cycle and the environment,” said Bell. I even became a vegetarian two months ago. Fresh food is just so much better for you, and it tastes better, too.”
District Grown Garden Initiative menu for Earth Day: Chicken with pasta and green beans seasoned with district-grown garden herbs.
The District Grown Garden Initiative wants to focus on increasing a student’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, while making the connection between school garden produce and foods served in the cafeteria. Between the APS Nutrition Department, the Captain Planet Foundation and Sodexo Jackmont, the program has become a test pilot at select schools, including: Beecher Hills Elementary, King Middle School, Maynard Holbrook Jackson and Mays High Schools.
Students at Garden Hills Elementary School said they loved eating the fresh-cooked vegetables.
“I liked the carrots,” said Ava Grace Adams, a pre-kindergartner at Garden Hills. “They tasted good.”
Ava’s classmate, Jack Wheeler, said he also enjoyed his meal.
“When you first eat it, it tastes juicy,” said Jack, who ate green beans and chicken and pasta that were cooked with fresh rosemary and basil.
Gloria R. Mulloy, regional nutrition compliance specialist for APS schools that include Garden Hills, said the celebration helped promote healthy eating habits.
“This shows students that food can be healthy and tasty,” she said. “Hopefully, they will come away with an appreciation for new foods and vegetables they’ve never eaten before.”
For more information on APS’ partnership with the Captain Planet Foundation, please click here.
By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Students at Charles L. Gideons Elementary School recently received new pairs of New Balance athletic shoes, thanks to the generosity of leading fathers of players in the National Basketball Association.
Earlier this month, members of Fathers and Men of Professional Basketball Players rallied together to help improve the lives of young people by donating 100 pairs of new shoes to Gideons students. Members partnered with Shoes That Fit, the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of new athletic shoes to children in need. Designed to improve a child’s self-esteem and let them know that someone cares, Shoes That Fit provides children with new shoes so they can attend school in comfort and with dignity, better prepared to learn and play.
Some of the members of who attended the event included: Charles Paul Sr., father of Chris Paul, LA Clippers; Dwight Howard, Sr., father of Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets; Dwayne Wade, Sr., father of Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat; Rod Ivey, father of Royal Ivey, assistant coach of the Oklahoma Thunder; and Carlton Jack, father of Jarrett Jack of the Brooklyn Nets, among others.
While at Gideons, many of the NBA dads provided encouraging and motivating words, while others shared their own personal stories with students about growing up in similar neighborhoods. Some even offered to serve as mentors.
“Gifts and material items are always great for students to receive; however, meeting and learning from people as they build meaningful relationships will last a lifetime,” said Clara Matthews, counselor at Gideons Elementary. “I am excited about the students knowing that people care about them and their well-being.”
Students at Gideons were recommended for the opportunity through the school’s partnership with The Impact Church, located at 2323 Sylvan Road in Atlanta. Approximately 99.4 percent of the students participate in the federal free and reduced cost meal plan, which is an indicator of need.
Founded in 1992 in Claremont, California, Shoes That Fit is the largest national organization of its kind. Today, the organization helps children in need in thousands of schools across America. Over 1.4 million pairs of new shoes and other necessities have been raised and distributed to children in need.
by Kimberly Willis Green
ATLANTA – In celebration of Earth Day on Friday, April 22, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) will serve chicken with pasta and green beans seasoned with district grown garden herbs in all APS cafeterias. The fresh rosemary and basil harvested to prepare these menu items were grown inside the Benjamin E. Mays High School aquaponics and hydroponics greenhouse system.
Mays High School is the only school in the district with a greenhouse that uses aquaponics and hydroponics to grow year-round herbs and vegetables. The Mays Greenhouse, operated by Ray Williams of Mirror Image Mentoring, was selected as the flagship program for the District Grown Gardens initiative and is funded by Sodexo-Jackmont Corporation. Students from the Mays High School Urban Agriculture Club, Williams, and Mays High School Advanced Placement Biology and Environmental Science instructor, Tamiko Gray, maintain the greenhouse and school garden. She uses the greenhouse as a living classroom and integrates gardening into her curriculum.
The District Grown Gardens initiative focuses on increasing student’s consumption of fruits and vegetables while making the connection between school garden produce and foods served in the cafeteria. A collaboration between the APS Nutrition Department, Captain Planet Foundation and Sodexo-Jackmont, the program is being piloted at select Beecher Hills Elementary, King Middle, Maynard Jackson High and Mays High. APS Student Wellness Ambassadors (SWAs) will host garden tours at Long Middle and hydroponic displays at Mays High School. Additionally, fresh harvest herbs and vegetables will be featured in cooking demonstrations at select schools.
Please click here to preview the APS District Grown Gardens Video.
What: APS Nutrition Department serves a district grown garden herb menu and cooking demonstrations at select pilot schools during Earth Day.
When: Friday, April 22, 2016
Where: 10:15 a.m. M.A. Jones Elementary – 1040 Fair St., S.W. 30314
10:30 a.m. Garden Hills Elementary – 285 Sheridan Dr., NE, 30305
10:45 a.m. Long Middle School – 3200 Latona Dr., SW, 30354
11:45 a.m. Maynard Jackson High School – 801 Glenwood Ave., SE, 30316
11:50 a.m. Mays High School – 3450 Benjamin E. Mays, Dr., SW, 30331
About Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 98 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us.
About the Captain Planet Foundation Partnership with APS
The Atlanta-based Captain Planet Foundation’s (www.captainplanetfoundation.org) Project Learning Garden program helps teachers substitute a hands-on garden lesson for a classroom lesson, while teaching the same required curriculum standard in math, science, social studies, health or language arts. The Foundation has expanding its Project Learning Garden program through the implementation of a 2015-2016 school year “Garden-to-Cafeteria” pilot in selected Atlanta Public Schools, including M.L. King Middle and Maynard Jackson High School. Each school will expand its existing gardens in order to grow and provide garden produce for its cafeteria. Sodexo-Jackmont, APS’ school food service vendor, helps fund the Garden-to-Cafeteria expansion of this project, as does Kaiser Permanente. CPF’s FoodCorps (www.foodcorps.org) service members assist schools with tasting events, lessons, and other garden-based activities.
About Mirror Image Mentoring
Mirror Image Mentoring is a longstanding partner at Mays whose mission is to grow youth through sustainable agriculture and community gardening. Williams, who has years of experience in agriculture and gardening, mentors students through his organization, using behavior modification principles, and provides employment opportunities after high school.
By Seth Coleman
As schools throughout the district administer various tests this spring designed to measure student growth, Beecher Hills Elementary School hopes a new initiative implemented this year will boost test scores the way it has improved parental involvement.
The Academic Parent-Teacher Team (APTT) concept is an innovative program designed to build and enhance school-family partnerships. APTT operates from the premise that schools function best when families and teachers work collaboratively to help maximize student learning in the classroom and at home. The program was created by WestEd, a non-profit youth education group that is a longtime partner of Atlanta Public Schools.
The Georgia Department of Education has partnered with WestEd to train and support Title I schools in the APTT concept. Beecher Hills is one of just 33 schools statewide, and the only Atlanta Public School, implementing the APTT concept. This summer, Beecher Hills teachers will train teachers at Heritage Academy Elementary on using the APTT concept, which will be implemented at that school starting in the fall.
The APTT model supplements the efforts of traditional parent conferences with whole-class meetings where parents learn exactly where their child is in comparison to academic standards, where their child needs to be by the end of the school year, and how they can help support their child’s learning outside of the classroom.
Additionally, at the beginning of the school year, grade-level teams select a critical, grade-specific standard and then focus their quarterly APTT meetings on concepts that will help students master the standard. During the APTT meetings, parents sit in their child’s chair in the classroom and participate in the same learning activities. Also, parents are shown how their child is progressing in class compared to the other students.
“It lets parents see exactly what their children are learning and how they are learning,” said Beecher Hills Principal Crystal Jones, who noted that parental involvement has grown exponentially with the implementation of APTT. Last year, about 30 percent of the school’s parents participated regularly in school activities. This year that number has increased to over 70 percent.
While parents are in the classrooms during APTT meetings, students rotate through various activity stations set up throughout the school. The stations feature arts and crafts, snacks, movies and a play room featuring various physical activities, such as a bounce house and jump rope station.
“The kids love it because all of the activities are a lot of fun,” Jones said. “The parents love it because they can experience what their child is learning and see the progress their child is making. We think it has made a difference in our school and we hope our test scores reflect that.”