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.









Virtual Learning: Register now for summer classes (Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education)


Summer Registration has begun for the Atlanta Virtual Academy (AVA)

Registration for the summer semester is open from April 21, 2014 – June 4, 2014.  Classes for the summer session are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 and end on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Approximately 800 students are currently enrolled in one of our Atlanta Virtual Academy programs for the spring semester which runs through May 9th.

We are excited to Increase our AVA Summer Course Offerings and will continue to expand into the Fall 2014.  Summer offerings include:




Social Studies

Phys. Education

Coordinate Algebra

9th Grade Literature


World Geography


Analytic Geometry

World Literature

Physical Science


Personal Fitness

Math I A/B – Math

American Literature


World History



British Literature


US History







Students will be engaged in an interactive course that will cover important learning objectives and will be led by certified APS teachers who are content experts and are well versed in online teaching and learning.  See a sample course here.

See below for ways to support your online student this summer.

In order to receive communications regarding your AVA registration and enrollment and to communicate with your virtual teacher, you must use your Atlanta Public Schools student email address.   Please contact your local school counselor to get your email address. Using your APS email will ensure all communication reaches you in a timely manner.  Parents are also required to include an email address to receive ongoing communication.

Students can see a tutorial on accessing your APS email by clicking this here.

While the coursework is primarily online, AVA courses are similar to traditional face-to-face classes. Students complete lesson activities, homework, engage in class discussions, and take tests. We are committed to ensuring APS student success in AVA. Teachers will communicate grade progress bi-weekly and maintain learning plans for students that are struggling, and they will hold weekly online tutorials. In addition to these things, course instructors have required office hours. During this time they are available to assist students and address any individual questions or concerns.

Students are required to login daily for an average of 20-24 hours each week.  For AVA courses taken outside of the summer blended learning experience students are responsible for providing their own technology.

All enrolled students must attend a mandatory Atlanta Virtual Academy Orientation. AVA Summer Orientation will be held at the locations and times below.

Monday, June 9, 2014 – Grady HS (9am-11am)

Monday June 9, 2014 – Carver HS (1pm – 3:00pm)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 – Therrell HS (9am – 11am)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 – Coretta Scott King HS (1pm – 3:00pm)

Please take a moment to assess “Is Online Learning for You?” by taking our online quiz. Click here to access the quiz.   In addition, all students are required to get approval from their school counselor prior to registering for courses. For more information or to register for the summer semester visit


Ellis Island Immigration Simulation at Morningside Elementary

Fifth graders at Morningside Elementary School participated in an Ellis Island Immigration Simulation on January 9th, 2013. As 5th graders learn about the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, they begin to correlate their history lessons with their own great-grandparents’ and grandparents’ experiences. Thus, history becomes more “real” to them. A poll taken by the students found that nearly 60% of them had family members who immigrated to the United States within the last three generations.

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 5.16.22 PMPrior to the simulation, students read a nonfiction book, “Immigrant Kids” by Russell Freedman, and created projects on a country of their own ancestry. Each student received an immigrant identity to role-play for the simulation and were required to create a nametag and a costume to portray that character. Students also wrote a letter as their character to a fictitious relative who was living in America. The letter expressed possible questions, fears, hopes, and dreams of their characters.  During the simulation, selected students played the role of processors and received training on how to question the immigrants and complete the required paperwork. Several processors acted as appeals judges who had to make decisions regarding deportation. All immigrants who “passed” the immigration process recited a loyalty oath and were welcomed to America!  The students thoroughly enjoyed this experience and many parents joined to witness the simulation.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 5.12.53 PMThe purpose of this activity is for students to experience what it may have been like for an immigrant to leave their home country and move to America with great hopes and dreams of a new life. The experience of fear and apprehension, while being processed through Ellis Island, helps students develop empathy and connects them with the experiences of their own ancestors. Every year, we have students who discover that their own grandparents or great-grandparents came through Ellis Island, and students even bring in photos and ship’s manifestos to share with the class. The simulation is a powerful culminating activity that often evokes emotion and leaves an impression.

“I thoroughly enjoyed watching the immigration event yesterday,” says Ginger Ross, a parent at Morningside. “It brought tears to my eyes to think of my own relatives’ experience. It has forced us to talk about these things as a family.”

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Next week, Atlanta Immigration Attorney Eileen Scofield is presenting to the students about immigration and citizenship. Students will also examine “10 Immigration Myths” in an activity provided by Teaching Tolerance.