Good Morning Price Middle School!

Price Middle School students were excited about the new school year.

Thank you Price Middle School for being our first middle school visit for the day! Luther Judson Price Middle School is the home of the mighty Wildcats!  The school has a strong alumni community and great partnerships with IBM and the French Consulate of Atlanta. I met Dr. Evelyn Smith from the Class of 1965, back when the school was serving high school students. Price first opened in 1954 and was known for producing top scholars and athletes.    

Price Middle is now part of the Carver High School Cluster and serves 300 students in south Atlanta.  This year we will be working hard to strengthen its relationship with the entire cluster so that it is a strong middle school in this dynamic cluster.

Mr. Hale is the new principal and had things off to great start! He plans to continue the French learning experiences for the students. Last summer, after a year-long friendship with their French peers over Skype, students at Price Middle School were excited to visit their French classmates at College de Haut Penoy in Nancy-Metz, France.  The study abroad experience was the culmination of their French language study for the school year.

I enjoyed walking into the classrooms and seeing supportive teachers who were getting to know their students.  We are looking forward to a fantastic year at Price in a safe and loving environment.

Next stop – Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School.



Get On The Bus!

I’m kicking off the first day of school with a bus ride to Bethune Elementary School.

I am so excited that I was finally able to visit Bethune Elementary School. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary is a part of the Vine City community, located near the Atlanta University Center and across from the Georgia World Congress Center. 

Last school year, Bethune partnered with radio personality Derrick Boazman, who brought the REAL Men Read program to the school.  More than 40 successful men from the Atlanta community visited Bethune to read and mentor students.  The mentors shared details about their careers in architecture, engineering, law, professional boxing and transportation with students.

This year, for the first day of school, we partnered with the Georgia Aquarium and Deepo (who looks exactly like Dora from Finding Nemo) and Captain Planet from the Captain Planet Foundation to welcome the students and their families as students entered the school. Attendance is very important all over the district and Bethune is a school where we need to dramatically increase attendance here at the beginning of the school year. Please promote good attendance every day!!!

I was able to interview the new Bethune principal,  Ms. Burnette, in the spring and recommend her. She is also very excited to join the Bethune team.  Did you know that before she became a teacher and principal, she served in the United States Airforce?  Thank you for your service to our country and welcome to Bethune Principal Burnette!

Thank you to all of the school board members who worked hard with us to get this school year off to a good start. While I know it was really hard to do, some were able to postpone the start of their day to help us at Bethune. It was great to see Board Chair English and Board Members Esteves, Briscoe-Brown and Amos there this morning!

Fast Facts:  Bethune has 550 students and their mascot is the Eagle. I was able to read the Eagle Pledge with Principal Burnette at the start of the school day.

Fun Fact:  The earliest residents of Vine City were immigrants from France, Germany and Ireland.  In 1967, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family moved to Vine City at 234 Sunset Ave.   

I will keep checking in with Bethune as we work with the school community to further promote attendance.

Finally, as a reminder to all parents, caregivers  and visitors to school today, please do not block the parking and streets or leave your cars unattended. It is important that our buses stay on time today.

Off to Price Middle School – Home of the Wildcats!

Rise and Shine. Let’s Go Back to School!

My first day of school begins with a trip to the Lakewood Bus Depot.

For those students who ride the bus, once they leave home, our APS drivers are the second “teacher” of the day after their parents. Sometimes the ride on the bus can set the tone for the whole day for our students – so getting off to a good start is essential. By visiting the Lakewood Bus Depot this morning, I was able to complete my visits to our bus depots. I visited Metropolitan Bus Depot before the start of the school year and met many bus monitors, bus mechanics, bus drivers, bus supervisors and dispatchers as they spent a couple of days practicing routes. We want our drivers to create environments that are safe, welcoming and respectful by modeling that behavior toward our parents, caregivers and students as we start and end the school day.

You will know our APS bus drivers by their maroon uniforms. The drivers I met were ready to go – I even ran into a former bus driver from one of my former districts! We were both excited to be together again in APS. Buses were already headed out as early as 5:30 in the morning. I was able to speak to the drivers through the radio and wish them well on their day.

I’ll be learning more about the bus depots. This one is in need of major facility improvements. 

I’m headed to Magnolia Park school bus stop in Vine City to ride with students to Bethune ES.

About Lakewood:  The Lakewood Bus Depot is located behind the district’s recently renovated Lakewood football stadium.  The depot houses a little over half of the 402 buses in the transportation fleet. 

In the News:  Last summer, the APS transportation department was featured in the Georgia School Bus Magazine, the official publication of the Georgia Association for Pupil Transportation. 

What’s New: Mr. John Franklin joined the district this summer as the new director of transportation.  Prior to working with APS, Franklin managed transportation for the nation’s eighth largest school district. 

Fast Facts:  APS buses will travel 21,904 miles per day, transporting 22,000 students to and from school. 

Fun Fact:  The area where the Lakewood Bus Depot now sits was once home to a popular fair that housed a circus big top, a carousel, a racetrack and a wooden roller coaster.