And the 2019-2020 APyeS Winners Are:

Atlanta Public Schools teachers, administrators and staff tonight took a much deserved break to celebrate those among us who best demonstrate the efforts to prepare our beautiful children for college, career and choice-filled lives. I’m talking about the annual APyeS Awards, which were held at the Delta Flight Museum!

We’ve been teeing up the 2019-2020 awards season with stories about our finalists for the District-wide Excellence in Teaching Award and finalists for both Principal of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year.

Many thanks to Delta Airlines for providing us such a beautiful venue for our event. Also much appreciation to all of our partners, who made tonight’s event possible: Family First Credit Union, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inspire Brands, Four Seasons Hotel – Atlanta, the Atlanta Falcons, Ray Entertainment Design Services and Atlanta United.

Without further ado, here are our winners! Congratulations!

Krissi Davis, orchestra director, Grady High School – District-wide Excellence in Teaching Award

District-wide Excellence in Teaching Award:

Krissi Davis, Orchestra Director, Grady High School –  Krissi Davis, our High School Teacher of the Year, has served as the Orchestra Director at Grady High School since Fall 2017 and has taught for 15 years. Before teaching at Grady, Davis taught at Sutton Middle School and served as the Lead Middle School Orchestra Teacher for APS. Under her direction, the Sutton Middle School Sinfonia Orchestra performed in the National Band and Orchestra Festival in Carnegie Hall in New York in Spring 2016.

Principal of the Year:

PRINCIPAL of the YEAR:
Eulonda Washington, CSKYWLA

Eulonda Washington, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy – Eulonda Washington, an educator for more than 28 years, has been a guiding force at Coretta Scott King for the last three years.

Under Washington’s leadership, Coretta Scott King has many areas to celebrate including an increasing the graduation rate from 89.7 to 100%, becoming a state Beating the Odds school and earning a National AdvancEd certification in STEM, the first all-girls school to achieve that in Georgia.

Students at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy were the center of attention and recipients of several surprises when Good Morning America featured the school for its first-ever “GMA” Yearbook.

Assistant Principal of the Year:

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL of the YEAR: Joy Antone, Inman Middle

Joy Antone, Inman Middle School – An accomplished instructional leader with more than 25 year, she has a track record of increasing student achievement through the use of strategic planning improvement cycles and supporting a positive change in school climate. In her paper, Using Student Ambassadors to Create and Maintain a Positive Climate, has been presented at educational conferences!

Students First winner:

STUDENTS FIRST: Michelle Birdsong-Walker

Michelle Birdsong-Walker, Family and Community Engagement Specialist at Dunbar Elementary School – Birdsong-Walker has extensive experience developing parent empowerment and community outreach programs. As a result of her dedication, Dunbar Elementary has established an active PTA, a food and clothing bank and wrap-around services for families facing homelessness. She also serves as coach for the soccer team, bike club and Dancing Dolls dance team.

Schools First winner:

SCHOOLS FIRST: Sara Womack

Sara Womack, Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator – In her third year as the fine and performing arts coordinator, Dr. Womack has worked toward making APS an arts-rich district with arts-rich schools by providing opportunities for student engagement, building the capacity of teachers, and partnering with community organizations to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality, sequential arts education.

Other awards:

GO Teams – Excellence in Leadership winner:  Dr. John Waller, Principal of E. Rivers Elementary School

Outstanding GO Team: Hollis Innovation Academy, led by Principal Dr. Diamond Jack- Ford.

Excellence in Family Engagement Parent Award: Alicia DeCriscio

Excellence in Family Engagement Community Award: HTI CATALYSTS, Led by Dr. Folam Prescott 

Excellence in Family Engagement School-Based Award: Hollis Innovation Academy Family Engagement Leadership team, led by Principal Dr. Diamond Jack- Ford.  

Atlanta Volunteers Lawyer Foundation

Districtwide Partner of the Year: Atlanta Volunteers Lawyer Foundation, has tackled one of our district’s biggest barriers—transiency—through their efforts to provide stable, safe and healthy housing. Through their Standing with Our Neighbors program, the foundation embeds legal program staff inside seven APS schools to stop housing instability and work as a first responder so they can stabilize families, schools and the community. As a result, their work has dramatically decreased the mobility rate in their schools by double digits!  

Cluster Partner Award Winners:

Carver Cluster – OneCoast

OneCoast has provided monthly donations of food to stock the pantries at Finch and Perkerson elementary schools.

Douglass ClusterBuckhead Church

Buckhead Church has a longstanding history of service in the Douglass Cluster and continues to provide volunteers, mentors and monetary support for wraparound services at KIPP Woodson Park.

Grady Cluster – Wheat Street Baptist Church

Wheat Street Baptist has adopted the 4th grade classes at Hope Hill Elementary. Members serve as tutors and mentors and make regular monetary donations to support initiatives, such as the school’s game room.

Jackson ClusterWellspring Living

Wellspring Living has impacted the lives of over 120 students at Phoenix Academy by providing therapeutic services and sponsoring an amazing onsite clothing boutique for personal and professional needs.

Mays Cluster Salesforce

Salesforce employees have provided service, such as volunteers and career experts, at Young Middle School and also donated $10,000 for needed uniforms and supplies.

North Atlanta Cluster – Station 16

Station 16 has supported Bolton Academy with its branding campaigns focused on IB so that students, parents and the community stay engaged and informed about school goals.

South Atlanta ClusterWitherite Law Group

Amy Witherite and her team have made a long-term commitment to students at South Atlanta High School, including providing 10 renewable scholarships to the Class of 2019.

Therrell ClusterThe Speak Life Foundation

The Speak Life Foundation has been providing life skills development opportunities at Therrell High since 2007 to include offering over 20 tours of college campuses for students.

Washington Cluster – L.E.A.D.

L.E.A.D. uses the sport of baseball to support Black males to overcome barriers to academic achievement. To date, L.E.A.D. has served over 3500 APS youth in grades 6th-12th including many at Washington High School.

APS Raises Overall District CCRPI Score to 74.1, Narrows Gap with State

District narrows gaps with state with its elementary and high school scores and surpasses state in middle school grades.

Through the course of the year, a number of state agencies, testing boards and national assessment programs deliver a wide range of data to school districts around the nation. For Georgia schools, this includes Georgia Milestones, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the SATs and ACTs, among others.

We have made it a steadfast practice to make that information readily available to everyone in the Atlanta Public Schools community through our website, social media, my ATLSuper.com blog and especially through our innovative data portal at www.APSInsights.org.

Today, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) released results for the 2019 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). And as always, in the spirit of trust and collaboration, no one rolls out their data like Atlanta Public Schools!

Atlanta Public Schools achieved an overall score of 74.1 on the 2019 CCRPI, an increase of 0.7 from 2018. The overall 2019 CCRPI score for the state is 75.9, down 0.7 from 2018, according to data released today by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). APS’ 2019 overall score narrowed the gap with the state by 1.4 points to 1.8.

At the high school level, both district and state scores increased from last year. APS outpaced the state with a gain of 4.9 to a score of 70.4, narrowing the gap 3.2 points with the state compared to 2018. At the middle school level, while the state declined 4.1 points, APS only declined by 0.6 to a 2019 score of 72.2. As a result, APS surpassed the state score of 72.1. Similarly, despite a slight decrease at the elementary level for APS to a 2019 score of 77.1, the gap between APS and the state decreased to just 0.5 points (compared to 1 point in 2018). See Figure 1.

Figure 1. APS & State CCRPI Scores by Grade Band

Additionally, 19 APS elementary schools beat the state average of 77.1, six more than last year; 13 middle schools beat the state average of 72.1, nine more than last year; and five high schools beat the state average of 77.0, the same as last year. See Tables 1-3.

Table 1. APS Elementary School CCRPI Scores Above the State

Table 2. APS Middle School CCRPI Scores Above the State

Table 3. APS High School CCRPI Scores Above the State

Six APS schools – led by Audrey Sofianos, Terry Harness, Monishae Mosley-O’Neill, Jay Bland, Brent McBride and Emily Boatright – achieved scores above 90.  Another 13 scored between 80 and 90! Congratulations to John Waller, Betsy Bockman, Sharyn Briscoe, Kevin Maxwell, Curtis Douglass, Anita Lawrence, Gail Johnson, Lara Zelski, Chris Knowles, Stacey Abbott, Estee Kelly, Gregory Leaphart and Michael Bray as well!

I also want to recognize Deputy Superintendent David Jernigan, the associate superintendents and the Academics team, Chief Accountability and Information Officer Bill Caritj, and Executive Director of our Data Information Group Michael LaMont and his team for providing us with a full analysis of these results and for helping us keep these results in perspective as we look holistically at all the academic experiences of our students. For a complete list of APS CCRPI scores by school, see Tables 4-7 below.

What we’re seeing with the CCRPI scores largely reflects the performance trends we saw in our Georgia Milestones results. We can see the foundational work started in 2014 beginning to take effect across the District as we narrow gaps with the state. But the scores for all schools must increase so we are continuing the hard work to provide our students with a rigorous academic experience.

According to the latest results, 48 of 87 APS schools saw increases in their CCRPI scores compared to 2018. Schools achieving double-digit gains include: KIPP Vision Primary (+24.7), KIPP WAYS Primary (+21.6), M.A. Jones ES (+19.1), Bolton Academy (+17.5), Hutchinson ES (+15.7), KIPP Vision (+15.7), Thomasville Heights ES (+15.5), Forrest Hill (+14.9), Towns ES (+14.1), E. Rivers ES (+13.2), Humphries ES (+12.6), Carver STEAM (+11.4), Jackson HS (+11.3), Garden Hills ES (+10.2) and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (+10.1).

Due to changes GaDOE made to the CCRPI components and indicators and the weighting of those components, this marks the first year that one-to-one comparisons can be made to the previous year of CCRPI scores.

While the state CCRPI scores decreased overall, we are proud that more than half of our schools achieved increases in 2019. We continue to look at multiple measures, including Georgia Milestones, graduation rates, student growth percentiles, climate star ratings and other indicators in order to get a full picture of our students’ overall academic experience.

Definitions

Following the reauthorization of the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, GaDOE redesigned CCRPI for the 2017-2018 school year. Every school and district in Georgia receive a CCRPI score on a scale from 0 to 100. The CCRPI reporting system includes four components for elementary and middle schools and five components for high schools:

  • Content Mastery – The achievement of students in English language arts, math, science, and social studies.
  • Progress – A measure of growth in English language arts and math students have made relative to academically-similar students across Georgia and a measure of the progress English learners are making towards English-language proficiency.
  • Closing Gaps – The extent to which all students and all student subgroups are meeting annual achievement improvement targets.
  • Readiness – A measure of literacy, student attendance, and enrichment beyond core academic subjects in middle and elementary schools, while additionally including accelerated enrollment, pathway completion, and a demonstration of college and career readiness for high schools.
  • Graduation (high schools only) – Four-year and five-year adjusted cohort graduation rates.

The overall CCRPI score is reported on a 0‐100 scale. Each CCRPI indicator and component is also reported on a 0‐100 scale. Components are weighted and combined according to the weights defined in the table below to determine the overall CCRPI score.

For more information and analysis on all APS’ CCRPI scores, click here. To view detailed score reports for the state and every public school district in Georgia, visit  the GADOE CCRPI page.

As always, we remain focused on the academic success of every child in APS. The APS Journey has been ongoing, and it’s going to take a steadfast commitment to the course to reach the end where ALL students graduate ready for college and career.

Additional Charts:

Table 4. APS Elementary School CCRPI Scores (A-H) and Change from 2018

Table 5. APS Elementary School CCRPI Scores (J-Z) and Change from 2018

Table 6. APS Middle School CCRPI Scores and Change from 2018

Table 7. APS High School CCRPI Scores and Change from 2018

It’s Georgia Bus Driver Appreciation Day: Three Honks for Our Teachers on Wheels!

APS honors our beloved transportation team – bus drivers, monitors, mechanics and support squad – all charged with safely transporting our precious students to school, field trips, athletic events and co-curricular activities

Honk if you love our bus drivers today!

Every school day, nearly 400 buses Atlanta Public Schools take to the streets to transport more than 30,000 students over 21,000 miles to school. At the helm are our bus drivers and monitors. After a child’s parents or care givers, they are often the very first adults our students see at the start of each school day … and sometimes the last as they return home.

Their interaction with our students can often set the tone for the day and whether they are truly ready to learn. They are more than transportation professionals … they are our Teachers on Wheels! And I cannot thank them enough for keeping Students and Safety First and doing their part in our mission to graduate every child ready for college and career.

Today is Georgia Bus Driver Appreciation Day, which also kicks off National School Bus Safety Week. But I love our transportation team – bus drivers, monitors, mechanics and support squad – so much that I consider every day as Bus Driver Appreciation Day! Safety is so essential that every week MUST be School Bus Safety Week.

Research studies from the Brookings Institute and others tell us that there are great benefits associated with students riding the bus – including the following:

  • Students who ride the bus have fewer absences.
  • Students are 50 times more likely to arrive at school safely on a school bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends.
  • Students who ride the bus are more confident and have higher self-esteem and social skills.
  • Students who take the bus are contributing to cleaner air by doing their part to reduce pollution.
  • And students who take the bus are benefiting the community! Fewer cars means less Atlanta traffic, lower emissions, and safer roads!

Who makes this possible for APS students each day? Teachers on wheels! Our bus operators and monitors, mechanics and transportation support personnel!

That’s why we support them with specialized training, including social emotional learning techniques that focus on the ability to set goals, overcome obstacles and develop healthy relationships. Earlier this summer, we celebrated our APS Elite Bus Drivers – drivers who have perfect attendance and remain accident-free. Check out this amazing video!

If you are not able to thank a bus driver, monitor or anyone else from our transportation department today or this week, there is one thing everyone can do to show their appreciation: Drive safely. Drive slower and safer, especially around the vehicles carrying our most precious cargo.

Nine APS Middle School Scholars Selected for REACH

Atlanta Public Schools has a specific mission to see every student graduate ready for college and career. And while we often think mostly about high school students when thinking about graduation and entering college, we fully live the mission when we think about students in all grades.

Today, we focused on middle school students; specifically nine eighth grade students selected as REACH scholars for the Class of 2024. As REACH scholars, these students along with their families participating in a signing ceremony at Phoenix Academy to commit to continuing excellence throughout their education to earn scholarships to colleges and universities in Georgia.

REACH Scholars from Atlanta Public Schools include:

  • Amir Robinson of B.E.S.T. Academy
  • Jameeya Woods of Brown Middle School
  • Calik Hill of Bunche Middle School
  • Shataira Hightower of Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy
  • Ajoni Douglas of John Lewis Invictus Academy
  • Laiylah Sheffield of Kindezi Old Fourth Ward
  • Alexis Hernandez-Tellez of King Middle School
  • Kelly Abigail Reyes-Cruz of Sutton Middle School
  • Leia Maduakalom of Wesley International Academy

REACH, which stands for Realizing Education Achievement Can Happen, was created in 2012 by former first lady, Sandra Deal, and former Governor Nathan Deal to encourage middle school students to continue excellence throughout their education. I am thankful that Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp have continued the program that not only honors and recognizes student achievement but challenges them to go further … to not only graduate from high school, but to achieve success in college itself.

The program doesn’t stop there. It creates partnerships with families, the community and with Georgia’s institutes of higher learning to ensure the supports are there so our students achieve and find success in both college and career.

Each of these scholars – along with their parents and care-givers – sign a commitment to complete certain obligations and responsibilities in order to complete their work as REACH scholars and earn their $10,000 scholarships. These are:

  • Keep an overall 2.5 (“C”) grade point average
  • Have good attendance
  • Have good behavior and remain drug and crime free
  • Meet with your assigned mentor weekly
  • Meet with your assigned academic coach at least once each month
  • Attend REACH events, meetings and programs
  • Engage in activities to prepare for college
  • Graduate from high school with a diploma
  • Enroll in and graduate from Georgia HOPE-eligible post-secondary institution

The program requires a lot of hard work, but I believe in our REACH scholars. I cannot wait to see how they progress through middle school, high school and into college!

APS 2019 Graduates Achieve 19.1 Average Composite ACT Score, Slight Gain over 2018

About a month after the College Board released SAT data, the other leading college entrance exam has released its own data. According to figures released today by ACT, Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) 2019 graduates achieved an average composite ACT score of 19.1, a slight increase of 0.4 points from the 2018 average of 18.7 and the highest in recent history.

However, the percentage of 2019 APS graduates taking the ACT decreased compared to 2018, from 72% to 52%. ACT participation among 2019 graduates also declined at the state and national levels, and the average composite scores were stable (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Average ACT score and participation – APS, Georgia, and nation

While we saw a decline in ACT participation, we have actually seen a dramatic increase in the total number of students taking college entrance exams. As I wrote earlier this month, the district engaged in a simple and targeted initiative with SAT School Day last year, which allowed all juniors to take the SAT exam at their home school during a normal school day, removing funding and transportation barriers for many students.

The APS class of 2019 was the first cohort to participate in SAT School Day: Students had the opportunity to take the SAT in their own schools, on a school day, at no cost to them. As a result of this initiative, 90% of 2019 APS graduates took the SAT – nearly 900 students more than the class of 2018.  As expected with such a dramatic increase in participation, the average total SAT score for the class of 2019 decreased 53 points compared to 2018, from 997 to 944. For the first time since the redesigned SAT in 2016, more graduates took the SAT than the ACT.

I really want to stress the importance of this as I did in my previous blog post. Without taking a gateway exam, like the SAT or ACT, college is not an option. But so many of our students in the past did not have the opportunity because of funding or transportation issues. This is a perfect example of APS removing barriers of the past, creating equity and increased rigor … in all, living the mission of college and career readiness.

We will continue to do more.

Returning to the test results themselves, three APS schools exceeded the average ACT score for the nation (20.7):  Grady High School (23.1); North Atlanta High School (22.2); and Drew Charter (21.1); Grady and North Atlanta also exceeded the state average ACT score (21.4).  See Table 1.

Table 1.  2019 ACT results by school

For more information, including more school level results, please visit APS Insights at https://apsinsights.org.  

Stirring the Pot: APS Nutrition Goes for Gold … Cooks Up Platinum Radish Award!

As we celebrate National School Lunch Week, so many reasons to showcase the APS Nutrition Department

As a school district, especially one in an urban setting, Atlanta Public Schools often must make a priority of not only feeding young minds with good academics but young bodies with good food. Three of every four APS students quality for free and reduced lunch, so it’s a great pressure on our Nutrition Department to ensure all of our children get the right meals for a productive school day … every day.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D2XNDPlXgAA2-qp.jpg

I’ve had the opportunity to brag many times lately about our Nutrition Department, led by Dr. Marilyn Hughes, and our new food vendor, Southwest Foodservice Excellence, also known as SFE. They strive to include healthier options, more locally sourced foods and tastier selections for our students.

This is the perfect time to showcase APS Nutrition because this week is National School Lunch Week, when the district and school systems nationwide recognize the essential purpose of a school lunch.

APS serves 155,000 meals each and every week! With the theme of “APS School Lunch: What’s on Your Playlist?”, our Nutrition Department is spotlighting healthy menu items offered daily to all APS students.

On Thursday, Oct. 17, our school cafeterias will feature Chicken and Waffles and Turkey Ham and Cheese Quiche. On Friday, Oct. 18, the menu will include Chicken Gumbo.

I can be the biggest critic of school lunches as my Day One blog shows (amazing cole slaw and sides but thumbs down on turkey burger!)

And I was so excited that the District qualified this year for a national program that enabled us to provide free meals to all students! Through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), 77 of our schools provide breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge with no meal applications! That has equated to feeding an additional 2,100 to 2,700 students every day!

Here’s the latest reason to brag: APS was one of only 22 Georgia school districts to receive the Platinum Radish for its farm-to-school initiative. (FYI, there are 181 school districts in Georgia.)

The Golden Radish Awards are presented annually by the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health, the UGA Cooperative Extension, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and Georgia Organics, to local school districts doing extraordinary work in various aspects of the national farm-to-school program – which includes serving meals in schools using fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, incorporating school gardens throughout the school curriculum, and bringing real farmers into schools to talk about the fresh food industry.

Awardees are divided into four categories – honorary, bronze, silver, gold and platinum – depending on the quality of their programs. This year, 90 schools districts received a Golden Radish Award with 22, including APS, earning the highest level.

Most notable farm-to-school achievements from the past school year include:

  • APS students participated in Farm to School lessons 85,601 times through classroom and hands-on gardening activities. Whew!
  • APS partnered with the Wylde Center in Edgewood to complete 11 school-wide taste tests featuring local produce, including corn salad and mango avocado salsa.
  • In 2019, 52 kindergarten classes visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which features an edible garden exhibit. The Wylde Center in the Edgewood Community Garden hosted 41 class field trips, which featured chickens, a pollinator garden, a rain garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, mushroom logs and compost bins. The Wylde Center also visited more than 500 classrooms and school gardens.
  • Lunch at APS includes a daily vegetarian entree and a daily salad bar, known as the APS Salad Bowl, which includes locally grown vegetables.

Dr. Hughes and her team accepted the honor during a special event earlier this month at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Thanks to Dr. Hughes, her team and everyone with SFE for such great work!

Meanwhile, I’ll keep bragging about our Nutrition Department – our chefs and cafeteria staffs – and I’ll keeping eating – and rating – our school food with our students all year long.

#APSNutritionNow

Creating ‘Llama Drama’ for Georgia Pre-K Week

In pre-kindergarten classes across the district this week, our youngest students reveled in the story of a totally turned up Baby Llama in red pajamas, waiting for his mama, coping with bedtime drama.

As part of Georgia Pre-K Week, a celebration of the lottery-funded Georgia Pre-K program, school officials, board members, parents, caregivers and community and business leaders came out in force to read to classes across the district. The state book this year is Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, which offers multiple opportunities for funny faces and sounds.

My opportunity came at Perkerson Elementary School with Claire Dent’s class, who welcomed me with an enormous banner and a room full of enthusiasm. Her students loved the book and cheered, snored and even yelled (sorry, Principal Ford!) at all the right moments!

In its ninth year, Georgia Pre-K Week is a statewide effort held during the first week of every October to raise awareness of the benefits of quality Pre-K programs. The community is encouraged to visit and read to Pre-K students so they can experience first-hand the quality learning that takes place there. We want them to get their own validation about the numerous extensive studies that show that quality pre-kindergarten programs result in greater school success and an improved workforce.

Presently, the state reports that more than 80,000 children in Georgia are enrolled in pre-K programs. Since 2014, APS has increased Pre-K seats from 986 to 1336 across all schools, including traditional, partner and charter.

We’ve been focused on enhancing the quality of our early learning, as well as strengthing alignment and connection between the early grades. In addition, we’re building strong relationships with our early learning partners. We’ve had the opportunity to engage in innovative partnerships like the Whitefoord Early Learning Academy with Whitefoord Inc., and the Barack and Michelle Obama Academy and Dunbar Elementary School with Sheltering Arms, where we’re exploring new and creative ways of partnering to ensure that more children 0-3 are served across Atlanta.

We are especially focused on literacy as it serves as the primary tool that moves people out of poverty into careers which will enable them to be self-sufficient members of society. Literacy is not just a personal benefit; it’s an essential skill that everyone in our community regardless of age, race, gender, or background must have in order to coexist as effective citizens in the world.

Too often, these students cannot catch up, due to lack of engagement, challenging psycho-social hardships, and other factors. They end up struggling through elementary, middle and high school, never attaining the skills they need to get to and through college or a sustainable career.

Part of our strategic plan for Atlanta Public Schools involves closing the equity gap among our schools and students. Not surprisingly, the first step to decrease this gap begins with making sure that our children are able to read and write the words which will enable them to achieve greatness and have a shot at rewarding options after they leave us.

We’re encouraged by the work of the PAACT – the new Promise All Atlanta Children Thrive initiative – led by GEEARS: the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students – that is intended to serve as a guiding and galvanizing tool to enhance and align early learning in Atlanta.

This Early Education Leadership Council, on which I participated, delved into the challenges faced by Atlanta’s children and families, learned about the about existing effective solutions, and developed a set of recommendations. We developed a vision to transform the city of Atlanta with this PAACT.

While our children don’t to have to act like Baby Llamas and should turn down the drama at bedtime, we adults must really turn it up for early education and literacy!