Homer and Clifford the Big Red Dog Support School’s Out! Reading Is In! Summer Literacy Event at D.H. Stanton

APS students receive four free books to read over the summer break

By Mariama Tyler Jenkins

D.H. Stanton reading pic

Photo Credit: James Hammond
The Brave’s mascot and Clifford the Big Red Dog visit D.H. Stanton Elementary to support “School’s Out! Reading Is In!” Summer Reading initiative. Students received four free books and a backpack to help promote reading over the summer break.

Reading is in logoSchool may be out for APS students, but we want students to know that Reading is in. This year, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) launched “School’s Out! Reading is In!”, a summer reading initiative for all APS students in grades kindergarten through  rising 12. The program aims to help combat summer slide –the academic loss students experience during summer break–by providing reading resources and opportunities for students of all ages. Some 50,000 students received four, grade-level appropriate books to read during the summer break.

In order to build additional excitement around summer reading, schools across the district held summer reading kicks-off events to promote literacy and get students excited about reading over the summer. Students received colorful backpacks stuffed with books and a letter from APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen. The letter encourages parents to spend time reading with their children. Students also will receive incentives designed to encourage and reward reading.

“Research shows that children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three or four times more likely to drop out in later years,” said Dr. Alisha Hill, Atlanta Public Schools’ 6-12th grade literacy coordinator. “APS is working not only to promote early literacy, but also to foster a joy for reading and writing that extends beyond the classroom so that our students can excel in school and in life.”

School’s Out! Reading Is In! includes opportunities for families to engage in reading activities in their communities such as local libraries and bookstores. During the summer, students and their families can track their student’s progress and participate in fun activities that are centered around the selected books.

“Students were really excited to see Homer and Clifford delivering the books It made it really exciting and I am sure it is going to encourage them to read during the summer,”  said Dr. Clara Taylor, principal of D.H. Stanton. “Our parents are aware of how importing reading over the summer is to student learning.”

The literacy initiative goes through August 2015. Once schools are back in session, teachers will incorporate the books as part of their literacy instruction at each school. Parents and community members can visit the Atlanta Public Schools website for more information at www.atlantapublicschools.us/summerreading. Click here for a list of summer reading books by grade level.

May 29, 2015 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Brown Sisters from Maynard Jackson High School Graduate at the Top of Their Class

By Taylor Jones

Identical twin sisters Keairra and Karemma Brown graduated at the top of their class from Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School May 23 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Keairra ranked second, earning the title of salutatorian, and Karemma, ranked fourth.

Twin sisters Karemma Brown and Keairra Brown, salutatorian of Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School on graduation day. Photo Credit: Scott C. King, APS

(From L-R) Twin sisters Karemma Brown and Keairra Brown, salutatorian of Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School on graduation day. Photo Credit: Scott C. King, APS

The sisters have a lot in common. In addition to being in the top 10 percent of their class, throughout their high school career— the Brown twins have shared the same classes and the same difficulties. However, they continue to persevere to set a great example for their younger twin sisters who are in the 10th grade and attend Maynard H. Jackson High School.

“We haven’t attended the same school since elementary school, [so] we want them to do the things we didn’t do,” says Karemma. “[Our sisters] have a lot of responsibility to keep.”

Leading up to graduation, the Brown sisters completed rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, while they continued their search for and applications to various colleges and scholarships. After having received many acceptance letters, Keiarra and Karemma both have decided to attend Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Keairra plans to tackle a double major in Biology and Chinese, while Karemma has plans to major in premedical studies with dreams of becoming an anesthesiologist. In addition to these goals, the sisters have a wide array of dreams and interests.

Karemma is considering law school in order to become a malpractice lawyer. Keairra, on the other hand, says she would love to join the Peace Corps to take a break from studying after receiving her undergraduate degree. Regardless of their vision or plans after high school, the Brown twins are well on their way to becoming successful.

May 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Five APS Seniors Awarded National Achievement Scholarships

By Kimberly Willis Green

Five seniors from Atlanta Public Schools (APS) are recipients of the National Achievement Scholarship®, the Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarship®, and the College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

The 51st annual National Achievement Scholarship® Program is a privately financed academic competition that honors scholastically talented African American students with $2,500 scholarships funded by grants from corporate organizations, professional associations and NMSC. Two APS students are among 700 nationally to receive the National Achievement Scholarship:

Henry W. Grady High School

Samantha A. Bowie              Career Field: Sports Management

Christopher J. Brown            Career Field: Astrophysics

The 60th annual Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarship® are awarded to finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor supports. Funded by more than 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations, these annual stipends are renewable for up to four years and range from $500 to $10,000. Some awards provide a single payment between $2,000 and $5,000. One APS student is among 1,000 students from across the country to receive the Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarship:

North Atlanta High School

Kelton B. Pruett                   Career Field: Law

Corporate Sponsor: Southern Company

Additionally, colleges that participate in the College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship® Program selects scholarship winners from finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. The awards range from $500 to $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study. Two APS students will receive the College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship:

Henry W. Grady High School

Colin W. Bray                                 University of Oklahoma – Engineering

Benjamin I. Simonds-Malamud      Northeastern University – Library Sciences

Over 1.4 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2014, some 16,000 semifinalists were designated on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists have to fulfill requirements to advance to finalist standing. Each semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also are required to have an outstanding academic record, an endorsement and recommendation from a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirm their qualifying test performance. From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 met finalist requirements.

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 106 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 National Merit Scholarship Corporation

National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 440 independent corporate and college sponsors that share NMSC’s goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education.


May 28, 2015 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

CTAE Celebrates Champions!


by: Brene Bradley

The Office of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) honored students at the 2015 Celebration of Champions, a student achievement awards ceremony for students who complete career pathways.  More than 250 Completers from high schools throughout the district were recognized for earning distinction as CTAE Program Completers and for passing their end-of-pathway, industry-recognized exams.  The Georgia Department of Education defines completers as those students who successfully pass at least three courses in a chosen career pathway such as Biotechnology Research & Development, Therapeutic Medical Services, Engineering, Entrepreneurship (Small Business Development), Interactive Media, Graphic Design/Communications, or Broadcast Video Production.

The celebration was held at Atlanta Technical College on April 23.  The students were treated to an inspirational message from motivational speaker, Billy Boughey.  The program gave special recognition to over 180 completers who had a cumulative GPA of 90 percent or higher.  The 2015 CTAE Valedictorian is Anna Hurie Gustafson, a North Atlanta student who completed the Audio-Video Technology & Film pathway.   Eight students earned special distinction for completing, not one, but two pathways: Aliya Nicole Maloof and Pares Daquan Richardson, Henry Grady High School; Londen Aliel Mackey, North Atlanta High School; Milik Marcello Butts, Windield Cheeta Daughterty, James Matthew Clark III, and Tamiara Jasmine Hicks from Booker T. Washington High School; and Dequavius Sinkfield, Mays High School.

Three students were also awarded the CTAE Achievement Scholarship of $1,000 each: Anna Gutstafson – N. Atlanta High School, Kayla Stripling – Coretta Scott King High School, and Larissa Alexander – South Atlanta School of Healthcare Science.

In addition to students, teachers, and principals, district staff and CTAE Advisory Board members attended the event.  This year marks the sixth year that Atlanta Public Schools has recognized its Completers.

CTAE also acknowledged more than 1,000 students as program completers for the 2014-15 school year!

One testing agency, Working in Support of Education (WISE), honored BEST Academy High School as one of the W!SE 100 Best High Schools Teaching Personal Finance in our national network.   Alisha Foots and David Turner will receive a special award in recognition of this fine accomplishment.

May 26, 2015 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Future Entrepreneur D’Ariel Myrick is Booker T. Washington’s 2015 Salutatorian


At a young age, D’Ariel Myrick seemed to thrive on knowledge. She began walking and talking at an early age and by elementary school years, she was allowed to visit upper grade levels, settling in the gifted program where she was challenged beyond her imagination. In 6th grade, D’Ariel found her true calling—writing. By 2011, D’Ariel knew she would be an international model, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. In her final year at Booker T. Washington High School, D’Ariel juggles high school, dual-enrollment, and an internship, while endeavoring to be an amazing daughter, friend, and citizen. Other than writing, her passion is to help any and all future community service projects.

Plans to Attend: University of Georgia
Major: English
Career Goal: Entrepreneur

May 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

Booker T. Washington’s 2015 Valedictorian DeVaughn Davis plans to attend The Ohio State University


DeVaughn Marcel Davis began his education in Atlanta Public Schools. He attended Fickett Elementary, Brown Middle, and is currently the Valedictorian of the historic Booker T. Washington High School. He has been ranked the top student of his graduating class since his freshman year. Currently, he is dually-enrolled at Georgia State University where he boasts a 3.9 GPA. Because DeVaughn recognizes the value of hard work and diligence, he also understands the importance of giving back and being a leader. He currently serves as president of Gentlemen of Quality, a mentoring program unique to Washington for a select group of young men earning over 300 community service hours. Moreover, he also serves as the editor of the yearbook staff. He lives by the quote, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”- Confucius.

Plans to Attend: The Ohio State University

Major: Animal Science

Career Goal: Veterinarian

May 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm Leave a comment

Mya Green 2015 Salutatorian of Therrell School of Technology, Engineering, Math & Science Plans to Attend Tuskegee University and Study to Become a Wildlife Veterinarian


Mya Green is an active participant in multiple extracurricular activities at her school, including softball, tennis, drill team and performing arts. Mya serves as Parliamentarian for the Student Government Association and as a College Ambassador for Project GRAD. Her hobbies are writing, fencing, and reading interesting novels. She believes her greatest distinction is graduating high school at the age of 16. After high school, Mya plans to attend Tuskegee University to pursue a degree in animal sciences. Mya’s lifelong dream is to find a cure for a serious animal illness and to one day work on a wildlife reserve.

Plans to Attend: Tuskegee University

Major: Animal Science or Biology

Career Goal: Wildlife Veterinarian

May 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

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