Dancing and Celebrating our Teacher of the Year

TOTY2014-evt_078We have amazing teachers here in Atlanta Public Schools.  Last night I had the honor of celebrating our elementary, middle & high school Teacher of the Year finalists and winner at our annual award ceremony.  Elementary School Teacher of the Year Kesha Payne, third-grade teacher at Warren T. Jackson Elementary School, Jayongela Wilder, drama teacher at Carver High School of The Arts and Barry Blackmon, II, sixth-grade gifted English and Language Arts teacher from The B.E.S.T. Academy at Benjamin S. Carson Middle School are considered the best of the best by their fellow APS teachers.

TOTY2014-evt_056 Candidates for APS Teacher of the Year are nominated by their respective schools. APS then selected an elementary, middle school and high school teacher of the year from a list of semi-finalists to compete for the districtwide honor. I am happy to announce that Mr. Barry Blackmon II was named Atlanta Public Schools’ 2014-2015 Districtwide Teacher of the Year!

Mr. Blackmon will continue on to competTOTY2014-evt_068e for the Georgia 2016 Teacher of the Year next spring.  I had the opportunity to witness some great teaching and learning in Mr. Blackmon’s classroom earlier this school year.  When his students have a great academic week, he rewards them with 10 seconds of celebratory dancing.  When Mr. Blackmon was announced as the winner guess what we did…yes, 10 seconds of celebratory dancing!  Congratulations Mr. Blackmon and good luck in the spring!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Team of the Week – Way to Go Carver!

Carver_Fox5-055I kicked off today with the Carver High School Panthers, this week’s High Five Team of the Week!

The band was rocking, the team looked tough and the crowd…oh my goodness the crowd was on their feet.  Carver has so much school spirit!

Carver football is having a GREAT year.  They are ranked in their region and hold a top ten spot among state-ranked varsity football programs.  The New Schools of Carver is now 6-1 overall, and is in the first place slot in Region 6AAAAA-B. Carver is also ranked #7 in the state for Class AAAAA. You GO
Carver!  Check out the photos below from this morning’s pep rally.

Also check out the team receiving their High Five Award from Fox 5 Atlanta this morning. http://www.high5sports.com/story/26797035/team-of-the-week-carver-atlanta-panthers.


Carver_Fox5-298 Carver_Fox5-249 Carver_Fox5-223 Carver_Fox5-164 Carver_Fox5-146Carver_Fox5-041 Carver_Fox5-011 Carver_Fox5-051Carver_Fox5-096

Bunche Middle Receives Safety and Security Donation

BUNCH-ASIS-006Safety is a hot topic and I hear from community members often about safety on and off campus.  Parents, neighbors and teachers are concerned about student safety at home, at school and online.

Recently, the ASIS Foundation donated $20,500 to implement cutting edge security improvements at Bunche Middle School.  Bunche was chosen based on students’ short essays and their desire to create a safer school community for their peers.

Congratulations Bunche!

Our Three New Stakeholder Committees

I am pleased to announce the members of our three new stakeholder advisory and oversight committees: Finance and Budget Advisory Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, and SPLOST Oversight Committee.

Last month, I announced that we were creating the committees as part of our broader community engagement work in Atlanta Public Schools. We asked individuals who are interested in committee service to submit their nominations to the associate superintendent of their local school and apply online. We received huge interest from parents and community members and took our time to verify all of the nominations and make a final determination in a fair and transparent manner.

The Budget & Finance Stakeholder Advisory Committee consists of 19 members and is chaired by Chuck Burbridge, chief financial officer, Atlanta Public Schools. The Special Education Stakeholder Advisory Committee has 24 members and is led by Tammie Workman, assistant superintendent for Student Services.  The SPLOST Oversight Committee is led by Larry Hoskins, chief operating officer for the district and has 15 members.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination. We want the committees to begin working after winter break, and we’re on track to meet this goal!

The committee members are as follows:

Finance and Budget Advisory Committee

Dr. Linda Anderson, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

Dr. Tony Burks II, Principal Douglass High School

Yolanda Carr, Mays High School Cluster Representative

Tammy Dixon, South Atlanta High School Representative

Cynthia Dumas, Therrell High School Cluster Representative

Clay Elrod, Jackson High School Cluster Representative

Buck Greene, Principal – Sutton Middle School

Tye Hayes, Deputy Chief Information Officer

Felecia Josey, Washington High School Cluster Representative

Nicole Lawson, Executive Director for Human Resources – Talent Management

Cynthia Mickelburg, At-Large Member

Marshall Norseng, At-Large Member

Mark Rebillot, Grady High School Cluster Representative

JaTawn Robinson, The New Schools at Carver Cluster Representative

Joseph Salley, Principal – Kimberly Elementary School

Chandra Selles, Charter Schools Representative

Bob Stockwell, North Atlanta High School Cluster Representative

Dr. Clara Taylor, Principal – D.H. Stanton Elementary School

Toni Terry, Douglass High School Cluster Representative

 Special Education Advisory Committee

Chartez Bailey, Student – Therrell High School

Monica Blasingame, Teacher – Price Middle School

Vickie Cleveland, Executive Director for Special Education

Michelle Constantinides, Grady High School Cluster Representative

Don Doran, Principal – Drew Charter School

Christina Edward, Teacher – Sylvan Middle School

Tameka Gilliam, The New Schools at Carver Cluster Representative

Ginger Harbin, Teacher – Grady High School

Lisa Hill, Principal – Long Middle School

Dwight Hutson, North Atlanta Cluster Representative

Kenya Kemp, Mays High School Cluster Representative

Melissa Leontorvich, Industry Expert (Former Georgia State University Special Education Professor)

Josie Love, Principal – Carver School of Technology

Denice Morgan, Washington High School Cluster Representative

Sharron Paige, Douglass High School Cluster Representative

Keyona Revere, At-Large Member

Cassandra Rainey, Therrell High School Cluster Representative

Charlene Salter-Legend, Jackson High School Cluster Representative

Joan Sloan, Industry Expert (Kennesaw State University)

Ashley States, Teacher – Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School

Kara Stimpson, Principal – Brandon Elementary School

Nyree Sears, South Atlanta High School Cluster Representative

Richard Quartarone, Charter Schools Representative

Tammie Workman, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services

SPLOST Oversight Committee

Corey Anderson, At-Large Member

Dr. Danielle Battle, Associate Superintendent of Elementary Schools (Carver, S. Atlanta, & Mays Clusters)

Chris Bennett, Mays High School Representative

Gayle Burnett, Manager of Data & Compliance, Office of Innovation

Kathy Davis, At-Large Member

Michael Everly, North Atlanta High School Cluster Representative

Dr. Timothy Gadson, Associate Superintendent for High Schools

Shawna Hayes-Tavares, Therrell High School Cluster Representative

Melissa Hughley, South Atlanta High School Cluster Representative

Tamera Jones, Grady High School Cluster Representative

Dr. Greg Middleton, Associate Superintendent for Middle Schools

Luana Slaughter, Jackson High School Cluster Representative

Rhoda Spence, Douglass High School Cluster Representative

Valeria Williams, Washington High School Cluster Representative

(Vacant), The New Schools at Carver Cluster Representative

Breakfast with PFAD and Lunch at BizTown

JAsuper2014-042I spent a lot of time in the community last week! Here are photos from two fantastic visits – our district’s Project for a Day breakfast and my visit to BizTown. Junior Achievement and Chick-fil-A Foundation’s, Discovery Center BizTown, which opened one year ago, operates as an interactive marketplace representing the local business community.  It’s an interactive financial literacy program and students receive job assignments as an employee, tax payer and consumer in their assigned businesses.  What a cool idea!

JAsuper2014-029I had an opportunity to spend time with Jack Harris, President and CFO of Junior Achievement of Georgia and have lunch with students from Long Middle School and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Project for a Day is an annual event where volunteers and organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, United Way, City of Atlanta Recycling, Project GRAD and Junior Achievement spend time in schools working with students on activities that range from recycling awareness and bullying prevention to filling out college applications.  I look forward to seeing tons of volunteers in our schools November 6th for this big day.

JAsuper2014-067 JAsuper2014-065 JAsuper2014-058





No School for Students – Tons of Learning for Adults

I’d like to remind our parents and students that Thursday, Oct. 9 is our Districtwide Professional Learning Day.

October 9 is a day off from school for students but a day on for all full-time APS employees, instructional and non-instructional. October 10 through October 13 is fall break and Columbus holiday, so schools will be closed for students and school staff.

PL_Day2013-034On October 9, our teachers will participate in professional learning activities at the school, cluster or district level.

What does a professional learning day look like?  Well, in one cluster, I know that teachers and principals from nine schools will convene as a group to study student performance data in math and to coordinate strategies for improvement. Another example of the kind of training taking place on the 9th is that the district’s teaching and learning team will provide learning sessions on best-practice instructional strategies in literacy and writing. The sessions will guide our educators in helping students transition to the Georgia Milestones, the state’s new assessment that is more rigorous and comprehensive, and includes open-ended/constructed responses.

Our educators are doing the work to support our students and improve achievement.  Operations employees will also participate in special training sessions on October 9.

We will see students back in class Tuesday, Oct. 14.

‘Shout Out’ to our great students, teachers and schools

There are a lot of GREAT things happening in our district.  Each month I will give “shout outs” to students, staff and volunteers who are helping us achieve excellence in Atlanta Public Schools.

Let’s give a shout out to…

Senior football player Travodius “Vodi” Ferguson at Maynard Jackson High School made the Georgia High School Football Daily “Best of the Rest” top performances list!  Max Preps listed him in the “Best of the Rest” category after he had eight solo tackles, three assists, three stops behind the line and a 45-yard TD return of an interception in a 14-12 loss to Decatur.

Carver’s RB Gregory Peyton was also named to the list after he rushed for 165 yards on 21 carries, caught a 70-yard TD pass and had 95 yards in returns (for a total of 330 all-purpose yards) in a 16-12 victory over Grady.

Florida A&M University offered 39 APS students more than $1.4 million scholarship dollars!  Way to go Class of 2015!  One APS student, Omonua Kiyitto of Therrell High School, received an offer of $113,940.  CLICK HERE to view a full list of winners.

Five APS students have been chosen for internships with MARTA this school year!  The students and their respective MARTA departments and schools are as follows:

  • RECRUITING: Samaria Christian (CSKYLA)
  • ACCOUNTING: Paris Johnson and Vanessa West (Johnson-CSKYLA and West-Mays)
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Andre Jackson (B.E.S.T.)
  • LEGAL: Melia Sharp (CSKYLA)

Coach Braddy attends the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Leaders Summit. Congratulations on your great work. Photo Credit: Alliance for a Healthier Generation Georgia

Coach Amelia Braddy of Parkside Elementary was on hand in Washington D.C. in September to accept the school’s Silver award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  President Bill Clinton honored 250 schools for meeting the Health Schools Program benchmarks for creating healthy changes and exceeding federal nutrition standards.  Our district has received bronze medal recognition in the past, but this marks the first time we’ve been awarded silver!  The Alliance is a partnership between the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association.  CLICK HERE to read more.

Mays High School has been approved by the GA Department of Education to begin their Business and Computer Science Industry Certification process this school year.   Upon successful completion of this process, Mays High School will be recognized for having exceptional Business and Computer Science programs.  Congratulations Mays High!