Long Middle School’s ‘Distinguished’ Scholars Earn Free Trip to Disney

“Do You Believe in Magic?” That was the theme at C.W. Long Middle School, as staff prepared scholars for the 2019 Georgia Milestones Assessment.

The school’s goal was to increase the number of scholars who performed at the Distinguished Academic Level on the Georgia Milestones Assessment. Those students who met that goal would be celebrated for their efforts with a free trip to Disney.

A total of 21 scholars did just that and were offered an opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida on June 25-27, 2019. Because many had competing summer commitments, just 12 students took the trip to meet Mickey.

At the June 25 sendoff, staff prepared Mickey Mouse waffles, sausage and juice for the 12 students. Cheerleaders performed a congratulatory cheer, and Mickey and Minnie stopped by to say hello.

“This literally started as a dream,” Principal Lisa Hill told the group of scholars. “A lot of people don’t believe dreams come true. So, you all tell someone that dreams come true if you work hard.”

Principal Hill says this group of students were the highest number of distinguished students in the history of the school.

Many students attended before and after school subject-area tutoring to prepare for their exams.

“It’s not just about test scores,” Hill reassured them. “It’s about pouring into yourself.”

The “Do You Believe in Magic?” initiative was a brainchild of instructional coach Dr. Lisa Garner-Robinson and rising Assistant Principal Carla McCall-McCou, who led the crowd-funding campaign to raise money for the trip. In addition, staff made personal calls to private donors and partners to make the trip possible.

“It took a lot to put this trip together,” Hill said to the scholars, “but you are worth it.”

Meet Benjamin E. Mays High School’s New Principal

ABOUT

Dr. Mulanta Wilkins is the new principal at Benjamin E. Mays High School, bringing 19 years of experience in K-12 education with her to Atlanta Public Schools.

Since 2016, Dr. Wilkins has been the assistant principal of North Springs Charter High School, a dual magnet program in Fulton County. There, she reduced the ninth-grade failure rate in one year from 187 ninth graders to 95 ninth graders through the implementation of the Ninth-Grade Academy in 2017-2018. She also increased Georgia Milestones growth scores in algebra and geometry by 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Wilkins was assistant principal at Tri-Cities High School, where she reduced ninth-grade student discipline rate by 48 percent by implementing a student discipline program. In addition, she planned and incorporated an after-school tutorial program to offer additional instructional support to identify “at-risk” students on standardized testing in the Ninth-Grade Academy.

In addition to leadership experiences, Dr. Wilkins has held positions as an instructional leader, science teacher and science department co-chair. She has also held the titles of Teacher of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year.

Dr. Wilkins earned her B.S. in science education from Georgia Southern University, M.Ed. from Cambridge College, and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

FUN FACTS

Favorite ColorsPink and Yellow
Favorite Atlanta RestaurantPappadeaux
Favorite Past timeTraveling
Favorite Subject in SchoolScience
Favorite Personal Memory “I got engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower.”
Favorite Advice to Students “Be your best self every day.”

We Are APS highlights APS visionaries (parents, students, teachers, principals, support staff, community members, partners, etc.), who exemplify our vision of a high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators inspire, families engage, and the community trusts the system. To recommend an APS visionary for a We Are APS feature, contact your communications liaison or email apscommunicationsoffice@gmail.com.

Meet Fred A. Toomer Elementary School’s New Principal

ABOUT

Caroline E. Brown is the new principal at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School, located in the Jackson Cluster.

As Toomer’s interim principal since November 2018, Brown has decreased student suspensions and increased the percentage of students scoring “proficient” and “distinguished” on the 2019 Georgia Milestones Assessments in reading and math. Her professional development plan for the 2019-2020 school year will focus on all educators becoming proficient teachers of literacy.

Brown has devoted 18 years to Atlanta Public Schools all within the Jackson Cluster. As assistant principal at Barack and Michelle Obama Academy, she worked with a team to move the school from the 5th percentile ranking to the 46th percentile in three years as measured by the College and Career Ready Performance Index.  While serving as assistant principal at Burgess Peterson Academy, she led the team to write and implement a $1 million after-school program grant.

Prior to holding administrative positions, Brown had stints as a children’s program coordinator for the Council on Battered Women, director of a children’s center, human resources trainer, classroom teacher, and instructional coach.

She earned her B.A. from the University of Georgia and her M.Ed. from Georgia State University.

FUN FACTS

Favorite ColorsBlack and gold
Favorite HobbyReading outdoors
Favorite Neighborhood RestaurantAnna’s Barbecue
Favorite Subject Math
Favorite Advice to Give Students“Persevere and do your best, and that’s perfect.”

We Are APS highlights APS visionaries (parents, students, teachers, principals, support staff, community members, partners, etc.), who exemplify our vision of a high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators inspire, families engage, and the community trusts the system. To recommend an APS visionary for a We Are APS feature, contact your communications liaison or email apscommunicationsoffice@gmail.com.

Meet Booker T. Washington High School’s New Principal

ABOUT

Dr. Angela S. Coaxum-Young is the new principal of Booker T. Washington High School. Since 2014, she served as assistant principal at South Cobb High School in Austell, Georgia. The school increased its College and Career Ready Performance Index composite score over 10 points in the last four years – from 62.7 in 2014 to 74.9 in 2018. She developed the Connected Learning Framework that became the model of effective classroom practices across the school. Under her leadership, there was continuous growth with the science program as measured by the Georgia Milestones Assessments results over the years of 2015-2019.

In addition, Dr. Coaxum-Young has held positions as director of Student Support Programs at the Main Street K-8 Academy in College Park, Ninth-Grade Academy coordinator and social studies interrelated teacher at Benjamin Banneker High School in College Park, and social studies teacher/eighth-grade team leader at Campbell Drive Middle School in Miami. She earned her B.A. in sociology from Bethune-Cookman University, M.Ed. from Nova Southeastern University, Ed.S. from Georgia College and State, and Ed.D. in educational leadership from Georgia Southern University.

Her career highlights include being named “Top 40 under 40” for Bethune-Cookman University and founding Favor Academy of Excellence, Inc. in 2009 with a mission to serve the underserved and under-resourced community with quality academic support programs.

Under Washington High School’s guiding motto, “We Shall Rise,”  Dr. Coaxum-Young plans to establish solid instructional and operational structures that promote continuous academic growth for Washington students.

Dr. Coaxum-Young is a military wife and mother to a teenage daughter and identical twin 10-year-old boys. 

FUN FACTS

Favorite Subject“I love history. I’m a Civil Rights fanatic.”
Favorite Personal Insight“I barely graduated high school, and now I’m a doctor. I’m proof that anything is possible.”
Favorite Local Restaurant Surin of Thailand
Favorite Color“Yellow, but my new favorite color is blue.”

We Are APS highlights APS visionaries (parents, students, teachers, principals, support staff, community members, partners, etc.), who exemplify our vision of a high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators inspire, families engage, and the community trusts the system. To recommend an APS visionary for a We Are APS feature, contact your communications liaison or email apscommunicationsoffice@gmail.com.

Community Conversations Scheduled to Help Create the Next APS Strategic Plan

Community Conversations have been scheduled throughout the city to discuss the next Atlanta Public Schools Strategic Plan. The community is invited to come out to hear about the great work of each cluster and help develop the next district strategic plan. Through these sessions, parents, students, employees, and community members will learn more about all of the schools in their Cluster and provide input on the future of APS.
All meetings are held from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Download printable flyers here: http://bit.ly/APSstrategicplan2019

We Are APS: Keisa Campbell

APS Student Information Specialist Crowned Ms. Georgia

Keisa Campbell wears many crowns: mother, mentor, image consultant, certified professional life coach, licensed hair stylist – and, since June, Ms. Georgia 2019!

Campbell is an Atlanta Public Schools student information specialist. In this role, she leads the production of APS information storage systems, communicates information systems policies, conducts training, plays a key role in state reporting, and oversees the input of accurate and complete student data to ensure instructional continuity and appropriate funding of educational programs.

Campbell’s impact in the District extends beyond her job duties. Often times, she serves as a confidant to staff who need a listening ear and open heart. Likewise, as the reigning Ms. Georgia, she plans to use her platform to help enrich the lives of women, girls and families in the community.

Learn more about the pageant and her platform in the question and answer below.

Why did you decide to participate in The National Mr. & Mrs. Black America Pageant?

I started building my platform of Beautiful Living a few years ago, with the sole goal of empowering and building women to overcome difficult experiences and circumstances that many encounter in their lifetime.  When the opportunity to be crowned Ms. Georgia was presented to me,  I was confident this would provide the leverage needed to expand my platform and reach more women in an effort to make a difference in their lives. Ironically, just before I was chosen,  I read  Shonda Rhimes’ book, “The Year of Yes.” This was a defining moment, and I recognized the significance in my commitment to accept this challenge not only for me but for all of the beautiful women I humbly aspire to serve.

Can you provide some insight about the competition?

The National Mr. & Mrs. Black America Pageant is less about beauty and aesthetics and more about building strong and healthy lives which in turn yield strong marriages, families, communities, and economies. I was prepared for the pageant well before receiving the call as my daily living is centered around being a beacon of hope and help for my family, friends and my community. Through these character-building blocks, I’ve been prepared for this role and responsibility for a very long time. I went through a strenuous interview process to be chosen to represent Ms. Georgia. 

What does winning Ms. Georgia mean to you?

Winning Ms. Georgia is an honor that I will forever hold dearly in my heart. Being a teen mom, people had preconceived ideas about what they envisioned my life to be.  The odds are sometimes stacked against you when you choose the road less traveled. However, with tenacity, support from my family and the inner strength to not allow one circumstance to define me, I changed my trajectory.  Essentially,  my past did not define my future.  Whatever you are going through or have been through, know that you have the opportunity to write your own story.  Anything is possible when you decide to say “yes” to yourself and be true to living your authentic beautiful life.  I am reminded every day that I am a queen!

What is your platform? What do you plan to do with the title?

Beautiful Living is my platform that is predicated on empowering women in the areas of purpose, wellness, finances and how to show up for what they are called to do. One of my goals is to bring transparency to the importance of wellness, which encompasses self-care, mental health and social well-being. In addition to wellness, developing a plan to execute financial prowess that will focus on budget creation and eliminating debt, which is critical as women evolve and find their purpose through vision planning, styling and beautiful living.  I will host a series of community events and workshops centered on these areas. 

Ms. Georgia Keisa Campbell, leading a life coaching and vision board session.

Will you be participating in the 2019 National Pageant?

Yes, I will be participating in the 2019 National Pageant on Oct. 20 in Wisconsin, where I will compete for the national title. Finals include interview, evening gown, stage chat, project completion, and fashion wear categories.

Any additional insights/information?

Beautiful Living will be hosting “A Purse with a Purpose” community event on Aug. 24, 2019 to benefit Dress for Success Atlanta, a charity close to my heart. For more information on how you can donate, be a sponsor or participant please send an email to beautifullivingllc@yahoo.com.  You may follow my progress on Facebook @Ms. Georgia 2019 Keisa Campbell.

We Are APS highlights APS visionaries (parents, students, teachers, principals, support staff, community members, partners, etc.), who exemplify our vision of a high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators inspire, families engage, and the community trusts the system. To recommend an APS visionary for a We Are APS feature, contact your communications liaison or email apscommunicationsoffice@gmail.com.

APS Kicks Off 2019 Football Season With Media Day at College Football Hall of Fame

APS football players and head coaches from 11 high schools across the District gathered for the 2019 Football Media Day at Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.

Atlanta Public Schools officially kicked off the 2019 football season on July 23 at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, as head varsity coaches and dozens of football players from all 11 APS high schools discussed their team’s chances this season.

Consider this: Last year, for the second consecutive season, six APS schools advanced to the state playoffs: Carver (seventh straight season in the state playoffs), Douglass (won 10 games for the first time since 2004), Maynard Jackson (four of the last five seasons in the state playoffs), Mays (nine of the last 10 seasons in the state playoffs), South Atlanta (first time in the state playoffs since 1994), and Washington (first time in the state playoffs since 2012). 

While showcasing five members of his team during the July 23 event, Derrick Avery, head football coach at Booker T. Washington High School, praised two outstanding seniors: Mahlon West and Vachon Raye, who are currently competing to become the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, of their graduating class. In addition, three of the other players have earned a 3.5 GPA or higher, scored competitively on the ACT and SAT test scores, and garnered numerous scholarships.

“These students show talent both on and off the field,” Coach Avery said. “As a coach, I’m most proud of these players’ academic standing and the fact that they’ve shown a lot of character to reach their athletic level.”

APS Athletic Director Jasper Jewell said the annual Football Media Day is especially designed for each high school coach to showcase those top players who’ve shown commitment and worked hard in the off season.

“This means a lot for our kids, because we’re right here in the inner city, and APS is the epicenter of the city Atlanta. And for us to have this relationship with the College Football Hall of Fame is huge,” Jewell said.

“Our students walk in the door and they really can see their dreams right before their very eyes. Not only do they get the opportunity to take advantage of media day, they also get an opportunity to tour the facility as well. They see what they would like to be and the pattern they’d like to follow if they choose to pursue an athletic program. For these kids to get this experience means the world to me.”