Huddle up, fans of our schools, teams and athletes in Atlanta Public Schools. After playing football with B.E.S.T. Academy, Carver, Douglass, Grady, Jackson (USA Today covered my touchdown!), North Atlanta and South Atlanta, I’m ready for opening day! (Don’t worry KIPP Atlanta Collegiate, Therrell, Mays and Washington! I’ve got my eyes on you next!)
I’ve worked with the cheerleaders at Carver, the softball players at Coretta Scott King and trained on weights with Douglass. I even dove into the pool with the water polo squad that included students from across the Grady and North Atlanta clusters (and with Olympian Genai Kerr to boot)!
So when football season for Atlanta Public School officially opens today, you know I will be there.
The season opens tonight with three APS games all starting at 7:30 p.m. At Grady Stadium, the North Atlanta Warriors and the Grady Knights face off for their first game of the season. I cannot choose! Can they both win (or at least tie)? Go Warriors and Knights!
At Lakewood Stadium, the Carver Panthers are prepared to put a leash on the Lithonia Bulldogs. Go Panthers!
Our Douglass Astros travel to take on Calhoun on the Yellow Jackets’ home turf. Beat the buzz out of them, Astros! The Big! The Bold! The Black! The Gold!
No matter which team you cheer for, we want all of our APS football fans to huddle up and have a ball while enjoying their games in a safe and secure atmosphere. Following a shooting incident near Grady Stadium last year, we developed an updated game management plan for events at both of our stadiums to ensure a better game day experience for students, families and the surrounding community.
We designed our #APSUnitedWePlay campaign to improve civility and behavior standards for spectators in and around our sports venues. This includes crowd management, ticketing, traffic and parking, and emergency planning. And we have used elements of our social emotional learning (SEL) initiative as well as our new police squad to further improve the game experience.
As part of #APSUnitedWePlay, we have:
- Created a more visible police presence both inside and outside Grady and Lakewood stadiums, including assigning more marked vehicles outside the stadiums
- Managed ticketing procedures to ensure quicker service and shorter lines
- Assigned perimeter security officers around the stadiums to focus on pedestrians walking to and from the games through neighborhoods
- Improved security mobility with use of additional vehicles for quicker responses
- Improved staffing and training for stadium employees in the form of drills and exercises.
I want every community and every school cluster to have the confidence that we are very serious about our security measures so they can enjoy themselves at our games.
Are you ready for some football? You know I am! I look forward to seeing everyone at the games tonight and throughout the season!