12.7 APS Weekly News Tip Sheet (Week of December 6, 2021)

Office of Communications and Public Engagement
130 Trinity Avenue SW | Atlanta, Georgia 30303


Seth Coleman, Director of Media Relations & Television Broadcast

404-802-2891, office
404-406-5570, cell


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     

December 7, 2021

Atlanta Public Schools Weekly News Tip Sheet (December 6 – 11)

Editors/Producers/Reporters: The following is a list of events, programs, accomplishments and/or initiatives occurring in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) this week. Please use it as a guide as you develop your coverage plans.

Members of the media are invited to attend all events on the Weekly APS News Tip Sheet. If you have an interest in these stories, please contact Seth Coleman, Media Relations Director. Thank you for your interest in Atlanta Public Schools!

Atlanta Board of Education Extends Contract of Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring


The Atlanta Board of Education (ABOE) extended the contract of Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring for one year, through the 2023-2024 school year, at its monthly meeting Monday evening.


“We greatly appreciate the work that she and her team are doing and have done for our students and families in Atlanta Public Schools,” said Board Chair Jason Esteves. “Dr. Herring is someone who is genuine, honest and holds herself accountable. She has done and continues to do great work that will improve student achievement both academically and in terms of whole child development, despite the significant challenges of the pandemic. We look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Herring and continuing the progress we have made.”


Dr. Herring led Birmingham (AL) City Schools prior to becoming superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS), July 1, 2020. Under Dr. Herring’s leadership:


  • APS achieved an 83.1 percent graduation rate for cohort 2021, an all-time high graduation rate for the district, which narrowed the gap with the state rate of (83.7) by 2.9 percentage points to a difference of just 0.6 percentage points (the first time that APS has been this close to the state graduation rate).


  • The district’s multi-layered, comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation strategy is the most successful of any district in metro Atlanta and in Georgia. APS is the only metro area district that has been able to maintain in-person instruction throughout the entire first semester without having to transition to virtual learning, while keeping students, teachers and other employees safe.


  • Minimum wage for all full-time employees has been increased to at least $15 per hour, along with other financial commitments to the district’s workforce, such as 2 percent salary increases and retention bonuses.


Additionally, Dr. Herring and her administration have:


  • Held dozens of town halls, community conversations, and stakeholder engagement sessions to connect with thousands of APS stakeholders on various key topics and expand stakeholder engagement throughout the APS community.


  • Developed and implemented the APS5, five areas of focus for monitoring and measuring the progress of the district’s goals set forth in the 2020-2025 strategic plan.


  • Secured the renewal of the five-year APS charter system contract by the State Board of Education, providing the district continued flexibility and autonomy with respect to state law.
  • Created the department of Innovation, Improvement and Redesign to identify and scale best-practice initiatives across clusters and schools.
  • Founded the Center for Equity and Social Justice, taking courageous steps to put policy into action and reimagine public education through the lens of equity.


  • Restructured multiple departments, employing a systems-thinking approach to ensure APS provides first-rate district-level supports for schools and teachers.


  • Moved to a model of Student Outcomes Focused Governance to tie performance at all levels to student success.


“I am thrilled by this vote of confidence in this team from our Board,” Dr. Herring said. “We know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I look forward to continuing our efforts to meet those challenges by fostering academic excellence for all of our students, building a culture of student support, equipping and empowering leaders and staff, and creating a system of support for schools.”


Atlanta Public Schools Celebrates Inclusive Schools Week, December 6 – 10


The Atlanta Public Schools Department of Special Education proudly celebrates Inclusive Schools Week, Dec. 6-10.


This year's theme is “Rebuilding Our Inclusive Community Together.” Inclusive Schools Week (ISW) activities will vary from school to school. Celebratory activities include daily videos/announcement, SEL lessons, art day, Elbert Einstein Day, Pride Day, a jump rope contest with prizes, and much more.


Additionally, the Department of Special Education will host a virtual Inclusive Schools Week program on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom. The program and celebration activities will highlight the resilience of teachers, students, parents, and staff as we collectively navigate during these unprecedented times. The ISW program will include guest speaker Dr. Muhsinah Morris, program director of Virtual Reality Project, interim department chair and assistant professor of chemistry at Morehouse College; a performance by C.W. Long Middle School’s Chorus; and a spotlight on North Atlanta High School's Best Buddies Charter Club.


"The Department of Special Education is excited to celebrate our inclusiveness through week-long activities in our schools and an annual program that showcases our APS students, parents and staff," said Anne Dirden, assistant director of Special Education. "This gives our schools an opportunity to highlight their accomplishments, make plans for the future, and propel our school district to new levels of inclusion."

Read more in Talk Up APS.


(Wednesday, December 8 | 10 AM) Mercedes-Benz USA to Host Second Annual Winterfest Celebration at Hollis Innovation Academy, Miles Elementary School


WHAT:         Mercedes-Benz USA, in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, will be hosting their second annual Winterfest celebration. Festivities will include distribution of 400 Honeybaked Hams at the annual ham drive, a visit from MBUSA ambassador and Atlanta United FC Goalkeeper Brad Guzan and APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring, and a special program for students led by MBUSA CSR partner, Safe Kids USA. 


This end of year celebration helps the local communities through MBUSA’s commitment of time, talent and treasure, and further fulfills the MBUSA mission to educate and empower the next generation through our collaboration with our CSR partners. This year’s community give-back event will also be replicated in Jacksonville, FL and Birmingham, AL. 


WHEN:         9 AM – 1 PM (Media may begin to arrive at 9 AM)


WHERE:       Hollis Innovation Academy | 225 James P. Brawley Drive, NW
(APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring will be on site and available for
interviews, 10 – 11 AM


                     L.P. Miles Elementary School | 4215 Bakers Ferry Road, SW      


NOTE:          Masks are required indoors per APS COVID-19 protocols.


CONTACT:  MBDICSR@sunshinesachs.com


(Saturday, December 11 | Noon) Carver to Play for State Championship in Football for First Time in 54 Years


Carver High School has advanced to the championship game of the Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) Class 3A state football playoffs for the first time since 1967!


The Panthers (11-2) knocked off defending Class 3A state champion Pierce County 19-17 in last Friday’s semifinal round as senior running back Quintavious Lockett scored three touchdowns.


Carver will now face Cedar Grove (DeKalb County) in the championship game. The Saints (11-3), the Region 5-3A champions, have three of the last seven state titles with their last championship coming in 2019.


Tickets may be purchased in advance at:




Atlanta Public Schools Reschedules Community Meetings for Facilities Master Plan Process


Atlanta Public Schools has rescheduled a virtual community meeting to receive input on the district’s Facilities Master Plan.


The meeting will now be held on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 6 – 7:30 PM. This informational meeting will share the background of the work to date, current enrollment data, estimated future enrollment, and the potential impact those projections have on school buildings.


Community and staff can register to attend here (http://tinyAPS.com/?FMPDecember). For additional information about Facilities Master Planning, visit: www.atlantapublicschools.us/FMP.


Additionally, the community is encouraged to provide feedback and share ideas through the APS Let’s Talk portal, available 24 hours a day.


The current Facilities Master Plan timeline includes presenting school options to the APS Board of Education in late March 2022. Following review by the APS Board of Education, the options will be shared with the public during Community Conversations in all nine APS clusters in April 2022. The final recommendations will be presented to the Superintendent at the end of April 2022, followed by an anticipated first reading of the final recommendations by the APS Board of Education in early May 2022. A second reading is anticipated at the beginning of June 2022.


The completed Facilities Master Plan will make recommendations to address capacity and enrollment in APS facilities over the next five (2025-2026 school year) and next 10 years (2030-2031 school year). It will include recommendations for the best and highest uses for district properties, as well as a property disposal plan. 


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About Atlanta Public Schools


Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 87 schools and five programs. The District is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 64 traditional schools, 19 charter schools, six partner schools, two alternative schools and five alternative programs. To learn more about Atlanta Public Schools, follow us on social media – Twitter (@apsupdate), Facebook (Atlanta Public Schools), and Instagram (apsupdate) – or visit us online at www.atlantapublicschools.us.