Q and A session with amazing students at Grove Park

IMG951769Whenever I visit our schools, I just love to see the great work of our amazing students display on the walls. Grove Park has managed to take a large, grand entrance, infuse it with art and make it feel welcoming.  It is important that our children are exposed to many different forms of the arts as it directly impacts student achievement.  I was happy to see this and I must say, I was impressed by their work!

During my visit I was interviewed by some amazing fifth grade students.

IMG951766The impromptu interview was hosted by three intelligent young ladies; Rekeeseya, Raegan and Diamond. They asked me some tough questions about my job as the superintendent. 

Here are some of the thought provoking questions they asked during our short Q&A session.

Q: Do you like running the Atlanta Public Schools system?

A: Yes, it’s a great job! The best in the city.

Q: Is running APS a challenge?

A: No it is not a challenge. I think it is an opportunity to do great things for children and to support our families and staff in the way that they all deserve.

IMG951756Q: Do you like being the superintendent?

A: Yes, I love this work. It’s a calling for me.

Q: What do you like about your job?

A: I like the students the most. Especially the students who were interviewing me because you can tell they have great strengths and talents that they bring to school every day. It’s our job as the adults to mine those things and give them hope about the future.

Q: What are the challenges facing the Atlanta public schools?

A: I think the biggest challenge is the culture in the district and around the district. This is a school system that needs everyone inside and outside of schools putting our decisionmaking and everything we do with children at the center. When we don’t do that, bad things can happen for children and that is unacceptable. Therefore, we need a culture that is student-focused. I think another significant challenge is that the district has not had an instructional vision that drives the use of all of our resources such as time, people and money. So we need to be sure that our vision and the work we’re doing every day in our mission supports a college and career focus.

 IMG951760Q: What is your favorite restaurant?

 A: I love breakfast. I think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so  I spend a lot of time thinking about places where I can eat breakfast 24 hours a day. My favorite place is Thumbs Up! But, I am still a committed patron of Waffle House. (The students and teachers later told me about two other places that are great to get breakfast, so I’ll be trying out Highland Bakery on Highland and the Majestic on Ponce de Leon. I can’t wait!)

My tour continued with a visit to Ms. Boldon’s classroom.  What an inspirational classroom leader! Ms. Boldon has lost 240 pounds during the past three years and has been featured in Women’s Health Magazine.  Her drive for her personal best has translated into high expectations in her classroom.

IMG951760We ended our tour with Ms LaToya Jenkins who is a recent Steve Harvey Hoodie Award winner!  Ms. Jenkins was nominated by her parents who told the awards committee about her dedication to the cultural and academic growth of her students.  She’s traveled all over the world with her students and is an 18 year veteran teacher.

Thank you Principal Muhammad for a great tour.  There are great things taking place at Grove Park!

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