“Peace. Love. Soap.” Service Project Helps Summer Campers in Need

MBES_Peace.Love.Soap Project

Morris Brandon fifth graders Addison Scott, Maggie Koontz, and Ceci Motley spend time organizing over 400 donations for campers in need.

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Just like their school mascot, students at Morris Brandon Elementary School are busy little bees. For the fourth time this school year, students in kindergarten through fifth grade embarked on a school-wide service project designed to help individuals in need.

This time around, students donated everything from toothbrushes, toothpaste and socks, to rain ponchos, insect repellant, and body wash, as part of their “Peace. Love. Soap.” service project to benefit campers at Camp Evergreen in north Georgia. Organized by fifth grader Ceci Motley, the project called for students to collect camping essentials for children at Camp Evergreen’s two mission camps. More than 400 items were collected.

In addition to their most recent effort, students also spearheaded three other projects. Those included: a Halloween candy drive for troops overseas; “Coins for Haiti,” which raised over $1,800 to fund a school library for the Haiti Deaf Academy; and “Heart for the Homeless,” an initiative for which students filled 200 shoe boxes with items benefiting the homeless in Atlanta.

Principal Kara Stimpson said each project demonstrates service in action.

“The goal of our work is to provide opportunities for every student to engage in community service, so with each of these projects, every classroom and student is involved in some way,” Stimpson said. “As an International Baccalaureate school, global action is part of what we do, and this has been a meaningful way to provide all of our students with an opportunity to experience that.”

May 12, 2016 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

APS Salutes Nurses During National Nurses Week


By: Erica Fatima

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. APS believes that nurses are vital to the success of its schools; nurses help heal and perpetuate a culture of caring.

School nurses and health professionals juggle a complex array of medical and social issues, seeing thousands of students, and often moving from school to school throughout the district. A typical schedule can encompass immunizations, health care screenings, hearing and vision testing; dealing with home accidents, diseases such as diabetes and asthma, student obesity, and even helping students cope who are homeless or whose parents are incarcerated.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that schools should have one nurse for every 750 students. The reality is a far cry from the recommendation; about 59% of schools have a higher ratio of students to available nurses. According to the National Education Association, about 50,000 school nurses are employed in America, but we need more.

School nurses are heroes walking among us. And for some students, the school nurse is the only health care professional they ever see.

So join us in saluting our school nurses and health professionals. If you would like to honor a nurse at the national level select this link: American Nurses Foundation Supports Nurses During National Nurses Week 2016 http://anfonline.org/Main/HonoraNurse

Or, participate in the “Safe Nurses Rock” National Nurses Week Social Media Contest. Flood your Twitter and Instagram timelines with pictures, videos and quotes using the hashtag #SafeNursesRock. Let the world know exactly how you and your colleagues embody safe practices every day.

Have a funny group picture of your team? Share it on Twitter, or create a funny video of your team participating in taking steps to remain safe in the workplace.

Ten randomly selected users will be chosen at the end of National Nurses Week. The more you post the greater your chance of winning. Click the link for more information: SafeNursesRock


May 11, 2016 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

A Living Legend: Dr. Louis Sullivan Inspires Thomasville Heights Students

Dr. Louis Sullivan

Dr. Louis Sullivan speaks to students at Thomasville Heights Elementary School during Career Day.

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

Dozens of fifth graders at Thomasville Heights Elementary School welcomed Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, president emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine and former secretary of Health and Human Services, to their school’s annual Career Day program.

As special guest speaker, Dr. Sullivan shared his personal journey from his humble beginning as a child in south Georgia to a trailblazing pioneer, compassionate physician and healthcare advocate. During his talk, which was sponsored by the Atlanta Woman’s Club, Dr. Sullivan inspired students to aim for higher heights and work hard to become successful.

“I was really inspired by my teachers,” Dr. Sullivan told the captivated group of 50 fifth graders. “They taught me to aim high. Whether I wanted to be a business owner, doctor or lawyer, I knew as long as I worked hard, I could be anything I wanted.”

THES_Dr. Sullivan and Students

Dr. Sullivan is surrounded by students and staff.

Born in 1933, Dr. Sullivan grew up in Jim Crow south Georgia. The son of a teacher and life insurance agent-turned funeral director, Dr. Sullivan shared his journey of attending segregated schools and how he was inspired by his politically active parents, as well the only Black physician in Blakely, Georgia, the small town where he was raised.

“Dr. Griffin was like magic,” he told students. “He could cure people, he had an impact on people’s lives, and I knew that since I liked science, I wanted to be just like him.”

Following his graduation from Booker T. Washington High School, Dr. Sullivan attended Morehouse College, and was further inspired by then-president Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, who encouraged students to make their mark by living with integrity, honesty, being a good citizen, and improving the community.

THES_Career Day 2

From left to right: Preston Marshall, community volunteer; Angela Bolin, counselor; Donna Foland, education chairperson, Atlanta Woman’s Club; Dr. Sullivan; Principal Cynthia Jewell; and Board Member Leslie Grant.

A hematologist by training, Dr. Sullivan taught at Harvard University and other institutions before serving as founding dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1975.

In 1989, Dr. Sullivan was tapped to serve as secretary for Health and Human Services. He used that role to advocate for gender, racial and ethnic diversity.

Wrapping up his talk, Dr. Sullivan encouraged students to continue their education and abstain from drugs and pursue healthy habits.

“You’re more in control of your life if you get an education,” he said. “No one can take that away from you. Focus on developing yourself and you’ll have a satisfying life. Learn as much as you can, plan for the future and work hard for it, and you will achieve.”








May 10, 2016 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

Bolton Academy Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Cinco De Mayo @ Bolton5

By: Taylor R. Jones

On Thursday, May 5, Bolton Academy celebrated its 16th Annual Cinco de Mayo program. Students, teachers and parents observed the festive occasion with traditional Spanish food dishes, music, face painting and more.

The Bolton Academy administration and Parent Teacher Association helped make the event a success, as did Spanish teachers Liliana Quintero and Eduardo Muga, who planned the celebration.

Not only does May 5 designate a time of celebration for the Bolton Academy school community, it also marks a day of remembrance for the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862, near the city of Puebla during the French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended in a victory for the Mexican Army over the occupying French forces.

Be sure to take a look at Bolton Academy’s Cinco De Mayo celebration below.


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May 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Garden Hills Students ‘Travel’ to Mexico Via International Travelers Program

GHES_International Traveleres

Garden Hills Elementary School students celebrated International Travelers Week, May 2-6.

Garden Hills Elementary School students “traveled” to Mexico last week, and never left their classrooms.

On May 2-6, students participated in a week-long immersion celebrating Mexican history, culture, cuisine, geography, and festivals through a program known as International Travelers. Art projects ranged from students learning about the cultural significance of the charro and making wearable sombreros and Mayan codices, or bark paper hieroglyph books, to exploring Mayan and Aztec civilizations, and making the Day of the Dead ofrendas, or altars, honoring famous historical Mexican figures.

Members of the Garden Hills Parent Teacher Association worked tirelessly to ensure that students experienced the most authentic sights, sounds and tastes of Mexico. During the week, a Mariachi band greeted students arriving at a beautifully decorated school, children participated in a Mexican hat dance lesson, and nearly 70 parents provided home-cooked Mexican cuisine for the school community to sample in the school’s courtyard.

Using a curriculum developed by International Travel Academy LLC, International Travelers was fully funded by the Garden Hills PTA and foundation. This year’s program introduced students to different cultures, music, food and ways of living. Garden Hills also introduced a kindergarten Spanish-English dual immersion class this school year and celebrated global diversity with its very popular annual event, the International Dinner.

“As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, learning to respect the unique differences and integrity of each culture worldwide has become an essential component of educating a well-rounded student,” said Krista Reilly, an instructional coach at Garden Hills. “International Travelers is just one component of a year-long global education effort by Garden Hills.”

Principal Tommy Usher said it was rewarding to see students engaged in the activities.

“It was great to see the kids excited about celebrating such a rich culture through engaging experiences,” he said. “It not only strengthened students’ cultural identity but also fostered an understanding of a culture so strongly represented in the school.”

May 10, 2016 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

APS to Host First-Ever High School All-Star Baseball Classic at Turner Field, Presented by L.E.A.D.

APS All-Star Baseball infographic

Negro League baseball legend Othello “Chico” Renfro (second from left) played baseball as a student-athlete at Atlanta Public Schools Washington High School. As a member of the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs, Renfro was a teammate of Jackie Robinson (far left), who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Atlanta Public Schools has a long and storied athletic history, and that includes baseball. Now APS will honor its baseball tradition by hosting the first high school all-star baseball game in the district’s history.

The Atlanta Public Schools All-Star Baseball Classic, presented by L.E.A.D., will showcase nearly 50 of the top baseball student athletes in metro Atlanta from 10 APS high schools:  B.E.S.T. Academy, George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, Henry W. Grady, Maynard H. Jackson, Benjamin E. Mays, North Atlanta, South Atlanta, D.M. Therrell and Booker T. Washington.

Adding to the significance of the event, the game – scheduled for Tuesday, May 17, 11 a.m. – will be held at Turner Field. The APS All-Stars practiced together from 10 a.m. to noon, on Saturday, May 7 at Jackson High School. APS All-Star Baseball logo

Along with permitting the APS All-Star Baseball Classic to be played at Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves will present the All-Stars and their coaches to Braves Country on May 12th during an on-field presentation before the Braves face off against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The inaugural game represents the vision of C.J. Stewart, who grew up in one of Atlanta’s most dangerous housing projects, Hollywood Court, dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player. After starring at DeKalb College (now Georgia Perimeter College), he was signed by the Chicago Cubs organization. After his playing days ended, Stewart became a baseball instructor and started L.E.A.D., which stands for “Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct.” The mission of the non-profit organization is to create positive outcomes for at-risk, minority, inner-city youth by leveraging the relationship between education, athletics and service.

Through year-round programming, Stewart is providing deserving inner-city youth with a pathway to high school graduation, college access and career opportunities. L.E.A.D. is developing a fraternity of youth called Ambassadors: college bound, civically engaged student-athletes who are prepared to be positive change agents in their communities and world.

“This inaugural All-Star Game will serve as an inspirational catalyst to first, unite student-athletes from different schools and position them to use the game they love to lead Atlanta and to lead the world,” said Stewart, who attended elementary school in APS. “Atlanta needs young men who will grow up to lead this city and baseball helps develop those leaders. We are excited about providing this platform for leadership through the All-Star game via our partnership with APS.”

Stewart noted that several notable Atlanta leaders played baseball while in high school in APS. The list includes:

  • Courtney D. English – Atlanta Board of Education Chair
  • Andre Dickens – Atlanta City Councilman
  • Kwanzaa Hall – Atlanta City Councilman
  • Johnny Isakson – United States Senator
  • Ceasar Mitchell – Atlanta City Council President
  • Othello “Chico” Renfroe – Negro League Legend
  • Donn Clendenon – Major League Baseball World Series

“Baseball changed my life,” English said. “Teamwork, discipline, work ethic, sportsmanship are all skills I use every day as chairman of the Atlanta Board of Education, and I learned them all on the baseball field. The chance to play in a citywide all-star game creates a level of camaraderie and pride between students that is simply invaluable. L.E.A.D. is a part of APS’ solution to create choice-filled lived for our students.”

Senator Isakson said, “I was a catcher on my high school baseball team, and it helped prepare me for public service in the Georgia state legislature and the U.S. Congress by teaching me to build trust with members of my team. Teamwork and building personal relationships are important factors for success in life, whatever your path. I would have been honored to participate in an All-Star game. It’s great to get to compete together with great athletes from other teams and other schools.”


May 9, 2016 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Wellness on Wheels Food Truck Debuts at APS High Schools


The Atlanta Public Schools Wellness on Wheels food truck is designed to incorporate wellness and increase student meal participation.

By: Alicia Sands Lurry

The new Wellness on Wheels (WOW) food truck made its debut at high schools across the district last week.

Emblazoned with pictures of colorful, mouth-watering fruits and vegetables, the bright yellow WOW food truck is the first of its kind to be introduced in metro Atlanta. Designed to incorporate wellness and increase meal participation, this new concept offers Atlanta Public Schools students healthy meal selections at prices identical to those in school cafeterias. The truck also features locally grown fruits and vegetables and cuisine prepared by APS chefs.

Last Monday, dozens of students at Henry W. Grady High School stopped by the WOW truck. Selections included a Philly cheese steak sandwich; spicy, vegetarian black bean wrap (both came with raw carrots and baked chips); and a chef’s salad. Strawberry and tropical fruit smoothies were also on the menu.

“We’re trying to keep it fun, but do it with a healthy twist,” explained Executive Chef Lisa Cantor, who estimated that 200 students purchased lunch off the WOW truck.

Students like Malik Stevens seemed to like the new concept.

“I think it will attract more students and encourage them to eat at school,” said Stevens, who ate the Philly cheese steak sandwich.


Students at Henry W. Grady High School wait in line to purchase food from the new Wellness on Wheels food truck.

Those are encouraging words for APS Nutrition Director Marilyn Hughes. According to Hughes, the truck affords students the opportunity to experience a non-traditional encounter with foods they normally eat in their school cafeterias.

“We’re hoping the colorful graphics will target student interest and excitement to increase meal participation,” she said. “The food truck also provides an additional point of sale, and is well-equipped to serve nutritious foods to a large number of students in a faster time frame.”


Gracie Dunn, a 10th grader at Grady, welcomed the idea.

“It’s nice,” said Dunn, who grabbed a strawberry smoothie during her lunch break. “It’s something different and it’s fun. We haven’t had anything like this this year.”

Hughes said the Nutrition Department enjoys providing students with special, healthy food options.

“We want to put the food closer to students so it is part of their social environment,” she said. “If we can do that, we’re sure that students will make food a choice.”

Hughes said the food truck will rotate through APS high schools and other school locations this spring, and can be reserved by any APS site for special occasions including field days and health fairs.

The WOW truck will be at William J. Scott, Perkerson, Burgess-Peterson, F.L. Stanton, Peyton Forest, and Beecher Hills elementary schools, May 6-16. It stops by Sylvan Middle School and Perkerson Elementary, May 18-25.






May 3, 2016 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

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