We’re busy at work putting together the fall issue of The Atlanta Educator, an award-winning print newspaper that celebrates achievements around Atlanta Public Schools. From District staff and board members to school staff, faculty, students, parents and partners, The Atlanta Educator shows the wide range of people and programs that are making a difference in our students’ lives.
One of the most exciting stories we’re working on is the third and final phase of our High School Transformation Initiative, in which Grady, Mays and North Atlanta high schools have been converted this fall into small learning communities (SLCs) or academies — each with their own academy leader who reports to the school’s principal. We’ve found that this exciting approach leads to a more personalized learning environment.
On that note, one of the more innovative approaches within this model is the single-gender approach that APS launched a couple years ago at the middle-level (B.E.S.T. Academy and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy). We’ve taken that approach and used it at Mays High School; two of the four academies are the Dorothy Height Academy of Leadership (girls) and the Eagle Leadership Academy (boys). In the girls video above and the boys video above, academy leaders, teachers and students discuss how the single-gender approach has helped students avoid distractions, stay focused in the classroom, and developed a kind of unity that builds on being with classmates of their own gender. As one teacher noted, the approach provides a surprising amount of freedom in the classroom, as students feel less self-conscious and more willing to discuss their unique concerns among themselves.
For the girls’ academy video above, we’d like to thank Academy Leader Sharon Gay, English teacher Badia Askari and students (from left to right) Jasmin Paschal, Danielle Rainwater, Katia Villalva and Kemeera Wells. for the boys video below, we’d like to thank Academy Leader Casey Landsman, guidance counselor Andrew Ragland, business law teacher Dr. Theo Smith Jr. and students Nicholas Williams and David Smith.
Look for this article and others in the upcoming fall issue of The Atlanta Educator.