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Day One @ Dobbs

Day One, 11:45 a.m., Dobbs Elementary School (South Atlanta Cluster)

As an urban superintendent, I truly believe that our neighborhood schools have a responsibility beyond simply educating children, especially when we have so many challenges with poverty, violence and other intergenerational issues. Schools serve as the center of the community, and as community centers, they must be a resource to everyone.

That’s what we are doing at John Wesley Dobbs Elementary School, where we arrived this morning. Just like this school’s namesake, who fought to overcoming segregation with education and empowerment, we are doing things at this school to empower the community.

I came in part today, along with board members like Chair Courtney English, to see progress on the new school-based health center here at Dobbs – one of three in the district that will open Aug. 15. We also opened one at Miles Elementary for the Mays Cluster and modeled both after the district’s highly successful clinic at Whitefoord Elementary School. These centers are federally qualified community health centers and accept Georgia Better Health Care, Medicaid, Peach Care and private insurance. Fees are determined on a sliding scale based on income.

These centers are staffed by highly trained and qualified physicians, nurses, dentists and staff who provide a wide range of medical and preventative care and diagnostic testing.

At Dobbs, I also gave away some backpacks, posed with an all-girl selfie with young ladies from Dr. Corlis Robertson’s second grade class and had fajitas for lunch. Liked them; loved the jalapenos (hot, spicy and kid-approved)!


My favorite reporter on the APS Day One beat, Jamarion Thornton of JWD News

The news media has caught up with us on various stages of our tour today, and my favorite reporter by far has been JWD News anchor Jamarion Thornton. (He also happens to be a fifth grader at the school!) He asked me what it takes to be an awesome student, and I told him a successful student stays in school, focuses on school work and strives to be a responsible community member. And they should have fun, too, right?