Schools Throughout the District Celebrate Black History Month

Mason Muhammad Royal portrays famed scientist and inventor Dr. George Washington Carver in the Continental Colony Elementary School Black History Wax Museum.


The auditorium at Continental Colony Elementary School was transformed into an interactive, African American “wax museum” last week, as nearly 50 students posed as famous and influential African Americans in history.

The event is part of the school’s Black History Month celebration during the month of February. Continental Colony Principal Dr. Kristen Vaughn said the school always goes all out to pay homage to the great African American leaders and events of the past.

“Our school population is 98 percent African American. It is important for us to relate our history to our students,” Vaughn said. “If we don’t tell our stories, then who will? Also, we find that many of our parents learn a great deal from our programs and displays, and so it is good to know that we are educating the community as well.”

Tylar Woods portrays Atlanta’s first female mayor Shirley Franklin at the Continental Colony Elementary School Black History Wax Museum.

In the wax museum, students took on the persona of individuals such as Louis Latimer (scientist, inventor), Hosea Williams (civil rights leader), Andrew Young (former Atlanta mayor and Secretary to the United Nations), Sarah Boone (inventor of the ironing board), Mary McCloud Bethune (educator, stateswoman and civil rights leader) and Sojourner Truth (abolitionist and women’s rights advocate). Visitors pressed a “button” located on the hand of the statues/students, which caused them to move and quote interesting facts about the characters they were portraying.

The top winner/performer in the wax museum was Jade Evans for her portrayal of Sarah Boone. Other students receiving awards for their portrayals were Kayla Sanders as Mary McCloud Bethune, Serena Booker as Serena Williams, Christian Murray as Andrew Young, Kevin Rose at Hosea Williams, and Jayla Graham as Sojourner Truth.

Zaire Parris portrays brilliant scientist and inventor Louis Latimer at the Continental Colony Elementary School Black History Wax Museum.

Additionally, Continental Colony is continuing its annual tradition of decorating its entire foyer with homages to African American history.

Here are several other Black History Month celebrations occurring throughout Atlanta Public Schools (in chronological order):

Forrest Hill Academy | February 1-28
Students are filming a documentary titled “What Black History Means to Me.”

Grady High School | February 1-28
Teachers are incorporating African-American history facts throughout the curriculum, and a date for the annual Black history play is being developed.

Morningside Elementary School | February 1-28
Reading quotes or brief bios on morning announcements and on the school’s daily message board; Kindergarten does a unit of study on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and creates hallway bulletin boards in his honor; Kindergarten and first-grade students are being taught a song about Dr. King and will read “Martin’s Big Words”; Books related to African-American history and heroes are on display in the media center; Fifth graders will analyze quotes by Dr. King as an ELA assignment.

South Atlanta High School | February 1-28
Black history facts are broadcasted over the public address system during the day.

Morris Brandon Elementary School  | February 3-28
First Street: Students are invited to research an African American who was the “first” African American to achieve a specific accomplishment. The student will create a poster detailing the individual and his/her accomplishment. The posters will be on display in the school’s “First Street” exhibit.

Mary Lin Elementary School/Inman Middle School | February 11
Psi Phi Beta Step Team performs at the monthly “SPARK Saturday” at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This month’s “SPARK Saturday” event teaches youth about African American culture through rhythm and movement, and illustrates how today’s music and dance movements are inspired by African traditions.

Whitefoord Elementary School | February 16
(Grades 3-5) Guest speaker Nettie Washington-Douglass, great, great granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass.

Young Middle School | February 20-24
“Celebrating Black History in Atlanta”: A series of performances and guest speakers throughout the week.

Bunche Middle School | February 23
“Sankofa – Go Back and Get It.” Performing arts performances featuring dance, drama and chorus.

Long Middle School | February 23
“Remember the Times”: Thematic, living timeline created by students, highlighting moments in African-American history.

Benteen Elementary School | February 24
Essay competition and family movie night.

Brown Middle School | February 24
“Sankofa”:The annual Black History Program (sankofa translates to “recovering or retrieving the past”).

Scott Elementary School | February 24
“Lift Every Voice”: The annual performing arts program for Pre-K through fifth grade.

Whitefoord Elementary School | February 24
Black History Bowl

Continental Colony Elementary School | February 28
Pantherville Poetry Café.

Hope Hill Elementary School | February 28
Annual Black History program.

West Manor Elementary School| February 28
Annual African-American history program.

Whitefoord Elementary School| February 28
Black History Performing Arts Program.









Miles Elementary celebrates Black History Month

L.P. Miles Elementary celebrated Black History Month with its annual program Friday. Parents and community members were delighted by the talent of the participating classes. After a rousing welcome by student hosts Deonte Bryant and Keari Bryant of Karen Pettigrew’s fourth-grade class, the talent began.

Performances were provided in by each grade level including pre-k and featured a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King by the school chorus.

The program was directed by music teacher Letricia Henson. Art teacher Dr. Russell Kennedy, stage manager/physical education teacher Rico Eberhart and media specialist Dr. Reginald Ponder were among the wealth of faculty talent that helped pull the program together.

The weeks prior to the program included thematic events with historically black college and university (HBCU) shirts, dressing up as a favorite African-American hero and black history trivia through out the month. Visit the APS Media Gallery for a full set of photos.

Long Middle School celebrates African art for Black History Month

Long Middle annually holds an art exhibit in celebration of Black History Month. Under the guidance of Principal Dr. Elizabeth Harris, students get a chance to see a range of African items on display — often provided by school staff, “that is reflective of our culture,” she says. “Each year, it grows more and more and more.”

One eighth-grader was particularly impressed with the display: “These are very unique pieces of artwork. I like it because they have a very unique design of animals, like zebra and giraffe, type of design.”

Check out the video above as the staff showcases the works, and the students get a chance to experience them.

Major League Baseball enlists two Atlanta legends for Civil Rights history lesson at Young Middle

In honor of Black History Month, Major League Baseball‘s long-time home run king Hank Aaron was joined by former U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and Major League Baseball to talk to students about the sport’s connection to the Civil Rights Movement during an assembly at Jean Childs Young Middle School on Feb. 14.

Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball initiatives for the Major League Baseball, opened the assembly by asking the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. “Did you know that Ambassador Young wanted to be a dentist — just like his daddy?” said Solomon. “And that Hank Aaron wanted to be a carpenter? Kids like you can be whatever it is you want to be. But it is going to require a lot of hard work.”

Continue reading “Major League Baseball enlists two Atlanta legends for Civil Rights history lesson at Young Middle”

APS celebrates Black History Month — on the airwaves

Atlanta Public Schools salutes the heroes of Black History Month with compelling programming on its two television channels. First we invite you to flip to Channel 22 to watch “A History of Black Achievement in America,” an original, eight-part series that documents black achievement in American history, its defining role in the growth of the country, and its influence on current events. Presented by James Avery, the series highlights the many contributions of black Americans who have influenced our culture, enriched our society with their achievements, and shaped the history of the United States.

Then there’s this month’s episode of “APS Today,” on PBA30. The February edition is hosted by Maynard H. Jackson High students Alexus Montalvo and Montanez Baugh (pictured, above) as we feature five African-American APS graduates who have established themselves in various professions and civic causes. The show airs Monday, Feb. 14, at 11 p.m.

Humphries Elementary turns Principal for a Day relationship into partnership

As part of its annual Black History Month program, Humphries Elementary School received a bit of good news when Principal Donald Clark announced a partnership with MVG Consulting Group, LLC. The group participated in last fall’s popular Principal for a Day program at the school in which community partners follow a principal throughout the school day to gain a better perspective on how APS is educating our students. 

The company is the husband-and-wife team of Monty and Von Green, who started their own business focusing on technology applications, software creations and utilization, and data usage and interpretation. According to Principal Clark, “They will work with our staff to enhance the quality of  intergration into classrooms, expanding the knowledge of our staff in the use of technology and assisting with tutoring and mentoring with our existing partners.”

After the signing ceremony, Humphries students showcased their talent through a dynamic black history program. Performances represented all ages and grades at the School.

Atlanta Hawks honor Dr. Hall as African-American leader for Black History Month

As part of this year’s celebration of Black History Month, the Atlanta Hawks are honoring prominent African-American leaders during home games in February for their civic contributions, accomplishments and leadership. During Wednesday’s night game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall and her work to tranform the district were recognized. Among her accomplishments cited were her being named as the American Association of School Administrators’ 2009 National Superintendent of the Year; Georgia Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association; and as one of the 100 most influential Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine.

By the way, the Hawks really honored Dr. Hall by winning, 98-92! For more photos, check out the gallery here.