This was my second visit to historic Joseph E. Brown Middle School.
City Council President Ceasar Mitchell joined us today at Brown Middle School. He lives in the neighborhood and shared with the students a little about neighborhood history. When he was young, Brown was a high school in Atlanta Public Schools. In fact, the high school was originally built in 1924 and has a robust alumni association that advocates for the school and students in the community.
I visited Ms. Ragland’s class where she was teaching coordinate algebra and geometry.
Her eighth graders seemed excited about high school. They told me about things they enjoyed most about the first day. They also enjoyed meeting their new teachers. I asked them what made the teachers likeable, and a smart young man told me they had great personalities and liked the students.
I was really impressed by the eighth grader who was able to explain, in detail how he solved for x in a very complicated algebra with a little geometry mixed in. During his explanation he was confident, he was eloquent and his answer was correct!
One of the biggest barriers to college for students is exposure to higher level math. Math requires daily practice and I’m looking forward to working with our curriculum and instruction team to beef up math instruction around the district. The Center for Public Education’s findings support earlier studies that show that the highest level of math in high school can be one of the largest predictors of college success.
What was their least favorite part of the day? Of course, one student said “homework.” While not necessarily popular, it is necessary. I will be working with principals about quality and quantity of homework to set the standard by grade level for the district.
Students expressed interest in attending Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Stanford, University of Alabama, UGA, Mercer and Columbia University. Last night many wrote about becoming engineers, professional athletes, lawyers and architects – as part of homework. Yeah!
In Ms. Jackson’s 7th grade social studies class, students were discovering their learning styles. Ms. Jackson will use this information to customize her delivery of instruction during the year.
I also had a chance to check out the media center and cafeteria. Thanks principal Crooms for a great tour.
Fun Fact: Joseph E. Brown was the first president of the Atlanta Board of Education.