The Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Education as it was selected to be one of eight schools the Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten chose to visit on her cross-country “Raise the Bar: Lead the World,” tour.
The CSKYWLA Eagles cheerleaders gave the Deputy Secretary a spirited welcome as she was escorted to the school’s entrance by Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring and greeted at the front door by CSKYWLA Principal Eulonda Washington.
“I feel blessed and honored that we have been selected for this visit. It’s a testament to the work that our scholars and staff members are doing.” Washington said. “It is our purpose to pour into our scholars. If we’re going to make sure our ladies can compete with children that don’t necessarily look like them, we have to be about the work. That work includes a lot of research, forward movement and forward thinking.”
The “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” tour is an effort by the Department of Education to discover how schools are using STEM education to accelerate learning and deliver comprehensive and rigorous education. The goal is to learn from the examples set by successful programs and find ways their positive results can be replicated in more schools.
“We’re going around the country looking for examples of how districts like this one (APS) here are raising the bar giving students access and opportunity with great programming like we’re seeing here at this school (CSKYWLA),” Marten said. “We’re connecting communities across the country to learn from one another. A lot of people are going to learn from Atlanta around what’s happening here at this school and say “Wow! How can we do this? This is replicable.’”
Marten visited classrooms and interacted with students engaged in a variety of projects during her tour of the school. Students shared their progress on a group project in a social studies class, took the Deputy Secretary’s blood pressure in public health class and even demonstrated a hand-made, miniature catapult built in math class.
Each stop along the tour demonstrated CSKYWLA’s emphasis on STEM education, and how its courses provide academic pathways for its students.
“(Academic pathways) allow us to learn more before we go into college and a career,” Naija Dubose, a student and aspiring OBGYN, said after explaining a project-based learning project display to the Deputy Secretary.
The school prides itself on its academic rigor, pathways, 100 percent graduation rate and the third-highest seamless post-secondary enrollment in APS.
“Our purpose for being here today is to highlight the work that’s happening here at Coretta Scott King Young Leadership Academy with our young ladies,” Dr. Herring said. “The presence today of the U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary is extraordinarily important because it’s an opportunity to spotlight our young women who are also raising the bar and leading the world in this work.”
Marten and Dr. Herring held a private meeting with students, parents and teachers in a roundtable discussion after the tour of the school.
“We are excited as a school district to have the Department of Education present,” Dr. Herring said. “Whenever there’s an opportunity to showcase the greatness of school leadership, scholar achievement and the work that we’re doing in our community for the world to see, we are going to shout. APS is ready to stand together to continue to raise the bar, lead the world.”