This slideshow provides just a glimpse at some of the amazing things that happened at Atlanta Public Schools in November. Click through to see the highlights from your school. A new slideshow will be posted at the end of each month, so be sure to subscribe to APS Today and look for your scholar or your school!
Garden Hills Elementary School
The Atlanta Public Schools second annual Picture Book Bowl brought together students from kindergarten through third grade who were excited to showcase their reading skills.
Twenty-two APS schools participated in the virtual team competition over Zoom. Back in March, the Georgia Book Award Committee outlined 20 award-winning picture books for participants to read before the competition.
“This is a competition that celebrates the joy of reading and the love of reading that’s being developed in our youngest readers,” APS director of library media services Jennifer Saunders said. “The students are able to shine. They are able to show that they are readers, that they enjoy reading and are reading for the love of reading.”
Each participating school had a team of 10 students that went head-to-head against another school using an app called Buzz In Live.
The students were excited to answer the questions about the books they read and earn points for their team. They cheered when they got a question right and encouraged their classmates if they got a question wrong.
“The volunteers really liked the excitement from the students,” Saunders said. “They were also impressed by how the students encouraged each other. They said, ‘Way to go! You can do this! Keep going!’ So students were also learning sportsmanship, how to lose, how to win, and how to celebrate each other and encourage each other.”
“The volunteers were very impressed with the confidence that was displayed in the students,” she added. “This was a confidence-building activity as well as risk-taking. We think of the IB characteristics, and being a risk-taker is one of those. This gives students the opportunity to do something they may not otherwise have done before.”
By the end of the competition, it was Usher-Collier Elementary School that finished with a game-high 430 points to win the APS Picture Bowl. M. Agnes Jones Elementary School was a close second place with 420 points, and both Kimberly Elementary and Harper Archer Elementary School tied for third place with 330 points.
“This appeals to students who thrive in competition, and it motivates them and encourages them to want to do more and do better and to hone their reading skills,” Saunders said. “Oftentimes, our readers can be the more quiet students, and they don’t always get recognized. But this is an opportunity for them to really stand out and be among peers that have similar interests.”
This slideshow provides just a glimpse at some of the amazing things that happened at Atlanta Public Schools in September. Click through to see the highlights from your school. A new slideshow will be posted at the end of each month, so be sure to subscribe to APS Today and look for your scholar or your school!
By: Taylor R. Jones
Friday, April 22, represents Earth Day! And what more satisfying way to celebrate than to taste fresh grown herbs and vegetables? Today, the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Nutrition Department served chicken with pasta and green beans seasoned with district-grown garden herbs in all APS cafeterias.
The fresh rosemary and basil used to prepare these menu items were all grown inside the Benjamin E. Mays High School aquaponics and hydroponics greenhouse system. Mays High School is the only school in the district with a greenhouse that uses aquaponics and hydroponics to grow year-round herbs and vegetables. Their greenhouse has even become the flagship program for the District Grown Gardens Initiative, creating Mays’ School Urban Agricultural Club.
Not only has Mays’ School Agricultural Program helped create a nurturing environment where students can learn more about harvesting vegetables, but it has become a safe-haven that has inspired the student body to live a healthier lifestyle.
Mays High School Junior and member of the Mays High School Urban Agricultural Club, Jessica Bell, enjoys the positive impact the District’s Grown Garden Initiative has had on her lifestyle. I’ve learned so much about agriculture, the water cycle and the environment,” said Bell. I even became a vegetarian two months ago. Fresh food is just so much better for you, and it tastes better, too.”
District Grown Garden Initiative menu for Earth Day: Chicken with pasta and green beans seasoned with district-grown garden herbs.
The District Grown Garden Initiative wants to focus on increasing a student’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, while making the connection between school garden produce and foods served in the cafeteria. Between the APS Nutrition Department, the Captain Planet Foundation and Sodexo Jackmont, the program has become a test pilot at select schools, including: Beecher Hills Elementary, King Middle School, Maynard Holbrook Jackson and Mays High Schools.
Students at Garden Hills Elementary School said they loved eating the fresh-cooked vegetables.
“I liked the carrots,” said Ava Grace Adams, a pre-kindergartner at Garden Hills. “They tasted good.”
Ava’s classmate, Jack Wheeler, said he also enjoyed his meal.
“When you first eat it, it tastes juicy,” said Jack, who ate green beans and chicken and pasta that were cooked with fresh rosemary and basil.
Gloria R. Mulloy, regional nutrition compliance specialist for APS schools that include Garden Hills, said the celebration helped promote healthy eating habits.
“This shows students that food can be healthy and tasty,” she said. “Hopefully, they will come away with an appreciation for new foods and vegetables they’ve never eaten before.”
For more information on APS’ partnership with the Captain Planet Foundation, please click here.
by Britney Morgan
Saturday, January 31, 2015 marked Atlanta Public Schools’ 10th year participating in the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, a statewide competition with a quick-action game format that tests knowledge on selected, award-winning books. Created for students in grades four through twelve, the scholastic competition was started several years ago by former DeKalb County media specialist Helen Ruffin to encourage students to read.
Warren Goetzel, Media Services Coordinator for Atlanta Public Schools, introduced APS schools to the bowl in 2005 and saw it as a great opportunity to engage students in reading and literature. “The competitive nature of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl helps drive students to read,” he stated.
Coaches and their teams spent hours reading and practicing in preparation for the reading bowl. Students were required to read books that were Georgia Children’s Book Award nominees at the elementary and middle school levels, and Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Books nominees at the high school level.
Garden Hills Elementary reading bowl coach, Paige Lefont, stated that her team met weekly to discuss books and answer practice questions. She also stated her student’s excitement and anticipation during each round permeated throughout the room and that they truly enjoyed testing the comprehension and attention to detail during the event.
Maya Dickson, Garden Hills Elementary reading bowl team member said, “I feel really good about Saturday’s success and I’m excited about the upcoming competition and would like to advance to the state tournament.” She also shared, “I am a really big reader and reading all of these books lets you learn about new things such as ‘Boy on the Wooden Box’ is about the Holocaust and ‘Lions on Little Rock’ is about segregation.”
Over the years, Goetzel and his team of volunteers and media specialists have worked to grow more interest among students and they have been very successful. APS started competing in the reading bowl in 2005 with only two teams. This year, forty-two schools competed in the APS Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl at Drew Charter School and there was overwhelming support from families, community members and staff with approximately 1,000 attendees.
Students competed in a total of six rounds. Cumulative points for all rounds determined the winners at each school level.
At the elementary school level, Garden Hills Elementary won first place and Morris Brandon Elementary won second. At the middle school level, Sutton Middle School won first place and APS had its first ever tie-breaker as Atlanta Neighborhood Charter and Wesley International went head-to-head with Wesley International coming out on top, placing second. Grady High placed first and Carver High School came in second at the high school level.
These 1st and 2nd place winners of the APS Helen Ruffin Reading bowl will proceed to the Regional Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl to represent APS on February 7, 2015 @ Clayton State University.