As I celebrate my first Black History Month as superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, I have thought about the underlying evolution and purpose of this traditional part of our school calendar. While we certainly celebrate those African Americans who shaped our culture, our politics, and our way of life, do we do enough to delve into our personal heritage or our own possible impacts on the history to come?
As for my own history, it is humbling for me to reflect on the many trailblazers, historians, civil rights leaders, and cultural architects who have shaped my journey and the black female leader that I am. My journey has been shaped by the fact that I am a granddaughter of both a sharecropper and business owner. I forever celebrate that I am a daughter of a pastor and civil servant.
This same history, my history, is crafted and impacted by a personal journey steeped in education and faith, shaped by the influences of attending Spelman College, here in Atlanta, often rated as the country’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In knowing my history, I know that strong African-American men and women help give me the strength and assurance to tackle such challenges as achievement gaps, equity, or learning, leading, and serving others during a pandemic. And, the creation of a new division in APS focused on equity and social justice promises to be history in the making for our district.
I share more in my blog at www.talkupaps.com, and I encourage you to take a look.
Drive-up & Walk-up COVID-19 Testing at Douglass High
This week, I am proud that we launched a drive-up and walk-up COVID-19 testing site for our students, families, staff and the community at Douglass High School located at 225 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive, NW!
The District is teaming up with some of Atlanta’s leading healthcare organizations – Viral Solutions and pediatric researchers from Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – to bring highly efficient drive-through PCR COVID-19 testing at no out-of-pocket expense to the entire APS family.
Our APS family also has the choice of being tested again at the same time, using new, emerging, easier, and simpler methods. This second free test will help researchers develop test-at-home technologies that will save lives – from Atlanta to all across the globe. Each person tested receives a gift card, along with the assurance that they played a part in helping end this global pandemic.
The outdoor testing area is located on the north side of the building, and will be open from 9 AM – 6 PM, Monday through Friday, through the end of the school year.
Donation of Air Purifiers
We must also thank Operation HOPE, 100 Black Men, and other philanthropists for another recent generous donation to Atlanta Public Schools. These groups donated more than 100 air purifiers at the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Learning and Leadership this week, which we will soon distribute to our schools.
A big thank you to John Hope Bryant, Tommy Dortch, and Fred Maxik for helping us continue to protect our Atlanta Public Schools community. Thank you!
That’s “The Week” for this week. As always, stay healthy and please be well.