Take me out to the ballgame!

image1There are some experiences in life that you just know you will remember forever. Tonight is one of those really special moments for me because I am attending APS Night at the Atlanta Braves vs. Miami Marlins game at Turner Field with about 150 of our APS team members. It’s so much fun that I can’t wait to post about it tomorrow, so I am trying to do it in real time.

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Atlanta Public Schools ready for some Braves baseball!

For some of our colleagues it was their first ever Braves game (Welcome to Atlanta, APS and Atlanta Braves, Rachel!) However, the evening was not memorable just because of the burgers and nachos (though they were delicious!) or the game itself. The evening was unforgettable for me because it is more clear than ever that many generous partners and fellow staff members are working together in an effort to engage APS employees and help radically transform our district culture.

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Board of Education Member Steven Lee joins the Atlanta Public Schools for APS Night at the Braves

First, none of this would have been possible without the outstanding work of my colleague, APS Partnerships Manager, Kenita Williams, who has been able to establish a great partnership with the Braves so that they support our schools, staff and students.

Second, this partnership has produced some unbelievable opportunities for our students and staff. For example, in March, the Braves coordinated an initiative to make the prom dreams come true for our young high school girls in need by providing them with free prom dresses and a makeover (how awesome is that!) Then again in May, the Braves also supported this summer’s Schools Out, Reading’s In campaign to promote literacy so that all of our APS students could have books to take home and read over the summer (even cooler)!

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Peyton Lloyd, a student at KIPP Ways Academy, joins the fun with the APS Crew and me.

Third, the latest installation of fun and support is tonight’s APS Night at the Braves to treat our employees to a free game to reward them for their hard work and commitment to the team. When I heard of the opportunity to do this, I immediately offered the tickets to staff districtwide and also targeted invites to other amazing colleagues who serve the district such as our teacher and principal advisory committees, Back-to-School Bash planning committee, our leadership cabinet and the East Atlanta Village Fundraiser (EVA) running club.

Although the Braves lost 7 to 1, we stayed until the end. So we were still there cheering our hearts out when first baseman Freddie Freeman scored the Braves lone run in the eighth inning. I also know what that feels like as we work to transform APS. We won’t win at everything every day, but I know we have folks who will work to be a strong team and play each day with heart and commitment. I am a “forever fan” of not only APS, but the Braves as well.

The evening was an opportunity for all of us to engage with our colleagues and friends and also meet new APS family members. Thanks to everyone who came out on this beautiful evening. I will never forget it and can’t wait for the next APS night at the Braves where we hope to turn it up even louder at Turner field with our APS pride.

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The dream team of Atlanta Public Schools filling the night’s best section at Turner Field. Go Braves! Go APS!

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