Congratulations, APS Class of 2015!

Booker T

Graduation elicits a broad swath of emotions from the thrills of reaching the end of high school to the pride of a job well done to the sadness of leaving friends, families and classmates behind to go to the next step of college, career and life.

For me, the graduation of Atlanta Public Schools’ Dr. CClass of 2015 marked my first with the District and brought forth in me all of those emotions.

I can hardly express the thrill of attending all of the graduations and generating great memories that I will always cherish.

  • The chance to lead enthusiastic school cheers at Mays, Jackson and Grady
  • The stirring musical performances from North Atlanta, Douglass and Therrell
  • Heartfelt speeches about perseverance, grit and determination from students at Carver, South Atlanta and Crim high schools
  • The joint ceremony with B.E.S.T. and Coretta Scott King academies where nearly every graduate on stage had been accepted to college
  • The 90-year legacy and sense of family and community at Washington
  • Sharing my first APS graduation with the first-ever graduating class from KIPP Collegiate Atlanta.

And then there’s the pride. The pride that the Class of 2015 is 2,250 graduates strong, earning more than $85 million in scholarships for college.South Atlanta

And finally a sense of sadness, because I, too, will miss all of the students of my first graduating class as APS superintendent.

For the families, friends, teachers, staff and community members who did not get a chance to join any of the fantastic APS graduation ceremonies last week, I invite you to visit to view them and experience some of the excitement for yourself. Go to Twitter and search for #APS2015 or your school’s hashtag and see running accounts, photos and videos of every graduating class.

You can also visit our TalkUp Blog, which featured numerous students across the District including all of our valedictorians, salutatorians and STAR students and many of our Posse, Gates and Georgia Scholars as well as other champion athletes and students. Crim

Needless to say, we are super proud of our students.

And we know that they will continue to make us proud, because they know it doesn’t end with graduation. As I told them at graduation, the word “commencement” literally means “beginning.”

And while they experience a fresh beginning, it’s not a hard, new start. They have all of the lessons, experiences and friendships they developed at APS with them and the support of family, teachers and the community.Family

We wish them all the best of luck. We are definitely proud of them, and we will miss them.

‘Shout Out’ to our great students, teachers and schools

There are a lot of GREAT things happening in our district.  Each month I will give “shout outs” to students, staff and volunteers who are helping us achieve excellence in Atlanta Public Schools.

Let’s give a shout out to…

Senior football player Travodius “Vodi” Ferguson at Maynard Jackson High School made the Georgia High School Football Daily “Best of the Rest” top performances list!  Max Preps listed him in the “Best of the Rest” category after he had eight solo tackles, three assists, three stops behind the line and a 45-yard TD return of an interception in a 14-12 loss to Decatur.

Carver’s RB Gregory Peyton was also named to the list after he rushed for 165 yards on 21 carries, caught a 70-yard TD pass and had 95 yards in returns (for a total of 330 all-purpose yards) in a 16-12 victory over Grady.

Florida A&M University offered 39 APS students more than $1.4 million scholarship dollars!  Way to go Class of 2015!  One APS student, Omonua Kiyitto of Therrell High School, received an offer of $113,940.  CLICK HERE to view a full list of winners.

Five APS students have been chosen for internships with MARTA this school year!  The students and their respective MARTA departments and schools are as follows:

  • RECRUITING: Samaria Christian (CSKYLA)
  • ACCOUNTING: Paris Johnson and Vanessa West (Johnson-CSKYLA and West-Mays)
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE: Andre Jackson (B.E.S.T.)
  • LEGAL: Melia Sharp (CSKYLA)

Coach Braddy attends the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Leaders Summit. Congratulations on your great work. Photo Credit: Alliance for a Healthier Generation Georgia

Coach Amelia Braddy of Parkside Elementary was on hand in Washington D.C. in September to accept the school’s Silver award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  President Bill Clinton honored 250 schools for meeting the Health Schools Program benchmarks for creating healthy changes and exceeding federal nutrition standards.  Our district has received bronze medal recognition in the past, but this marks the first time we’ve been awarded silver!  The Alliance is a partnership between the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association.  CLICK HERE to read more.

Mays High School has been approved by the GA Department of Education to begin their Business and Computer Science Industry Certification process this school year.   Upon successful completion of this process, Mays High School will be recognized for having exceptional Business and Computer Science programs.  Congratulations Mays High!