The Week with Dr. Lisa Herring – Week of April 19

Following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, we in Atlanta Public Schools must continue to create spaces for conversation and peaceful protest about this issue and other social justice matters facing our nation.

As I shared on my blog, students, teachers, staff, and community members regularly express fears, worries, and questions about events they see almost every day on their televisions, computers, and phones. For me, I remain ever anxious about how we create space for difficult conversations and, when necessary, peaceful protests.

We cannot shy away from these conversations nor from the need for some to protest. We must recognize that social justice can take on different meanings for different segments of our communities and strive to find agreement among disagreement.

We created the new Center for Equity and Social Justice for this very reason. This new center provides guidance and resources to enable our teachers, staff, students, and community to equip themselves with the tools for productive conversations that lead to peace, love, and understanding as well as those tools required for the responsible airing of grievances through petition or protest.

Thanks to the work of Tauheedah Baker Jones, our Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer, and members of both her team and our Social Emotional Learning team, we have compiled a bank of resources to help with such discussions. I encourage you to explore these resources so that you can navigate through difficult discussions.

Deadline Extension for Summer Academic Recovery Academy Registration 

We have extended the registration deadline for our Summer Academic Recovery Academy.

Parents now have until Friday, May 7, to enroll in the summer program, which addresses learning loss over the pandemic and provides much-needed credit recovery and enrichment opportunities for our children. The academy is a full-day program from June 2 through June 30 for all grade levels that includes literacy and math learning each morning and hands-on lessons through PowerUp programming in the afternoon. All students are welcome to register and some select students will be strongly encouraged to attend based on academic criteria.

For registration information and more information, visit our SummerAPS website at www.atlantapublicschools.us/summeraps.

AVA Registration Deadline is May 15

As we’ve shared previously, our default instructional model for the 2021-2022 school year will be in-person five days per week. Virtual learning pathways are available through Atlanta Virtual Academy (AVA) and AVA Jr. The deadline to enroll in AVA or AVA Jr. is May 15. More information is available at www.atlantapublicschools.us/AtlantaVirtualAcademy.

If you are interested in a virtual learning pathway, please complete the survey in the Parent Portal via Infinite Campus by May 15.

Earth Day at Young Middle School

On Thursday, Atlanta Public Schools recognized Earth Day, which is on April 22 every year. Although many of our students are in virtual settings this year, many of our teachers found innovative ways to incorporate lessons about the environment to coincide with this day to celebrate the Earth.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, our district will take advantage of partnerships with Georgia Tech with virtual tours of the Atlanta Greenspace; the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with numerous virtual presentations about rainforests, endangered carnivorous plants in Georgia, and careers in botany; Trees Atlanta; and iNaturalist.

The Wolfpack of Young Middle School on Earth Day broke ground on a community garden with members of the schools’ EarthGang, and other dignitaries. What a fitting and innovative way to support our young scholars at Young Middle!

Accolades for Howard Middle Renovation

Finally, I want to share that the Atlanta Business Chronicle, as part of its annual Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards, has cited the work on David T. Howard Middle School as the area’s top Revitalization project of the year.

In awarding Howard, the newspaper praised the district’s intense effort to respect the history of the building and the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood as well as the district’s efforts to work with school alumni. The Atlanta Business Chronicle also noted that while the revitalization effort preserved numerous historic efforts – partly by referring to original 90-year-old blueprints – the resulting Howard Middle School has become a model for 21st-century education.

One of our partner schools, KIPP Woodson Park Academy with its campus that includes a YMCA Early Learning Center and a community health facility run by Whitefoord Inc., was one of two finalists for the award.

Congratulations and I want to say a special thank you to our District Operations team for a job well done!

That’s The Week for this week. Thanks for your engagement through the rest of the school year. Stay safe and healthy and, of course, be well. 

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