Enjoy a Safe, Warm, & Relaxing Semester Break!

It’s hard to believe that the semester break and the New Year is already here! It’s time for us to take a break, relax and spend time with family and friends to rejuvenate! I’ll see all students back on Monday, January 7, 2019!

Reflections of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close and we reach the halfway point of another amazing school year in APS, I want to share how grateful and inspired I am to be working with such an amazing team of professionals all focused on one important goal: preparing every one of our students to graduate ready for college and career. I want to send a special thank you to our 6,000 APS employees who are committed to our educational mission and are working hard every day to achieve it.

To kick off the start of our winter break, please enjoy this video medley featuring the winners of the 2018 Superintendent’s Winter Card Contest!

In reflecting on the year so far, here are a few of my favorite and amazing moments!  

“Day One. Be There.” Campaign

We kicked off the year strong on August 1, 2018, with our “Day One. Be There.” campaign. Like thousands of our students, that morning, my team and I boarded one of our school buses with excitement and anticipation for a long but wonderful day ahead! As part of our Day One tradition, we visited students, teachers, administrators, support staff and the community from around the District to report on Back-to-School happenings. We could not have done it without each of you. Thank you for a fantastic Day One!

Graduation Rates

APS achieved its highest graduation rate ever this year at 79.9 percent (79.93 to be exact)!  In addition, our graduation rate increased by 20.8 percentage points since 2014 and this year’s rate represents a 2.9 percentage point gain over last year. WOO-HOO!

State of the District

APS ROCKS! Hundreds of our students rocked the stage at this year’s State of the District concert on Friday, October 5 at the Walden Athletic Complex. We shared our “essentials playlist”, which included our A-sides, featured hits, and B-sides (whomp whomp), along with chart-topping student performances from this year’s tour stop on our Journey of Transformation. We also celebrated the grand opening of the Walden Athletic Complex with a special ribbon-cutting event.

ACT/SAT Participation on the Rise

The number of APS students taking the ACT and SAT continues to increase. Keep up the good work!

CCRPI Scores

The newly redesigned CCRPI scores came out this year, and 34 APS schools scored above 70. Of that number, 14 schools achieved an overall score at or above 80 and five achieved an overall score above 90! APS earned a score of 73.4 out of 100 with the average CCRPI score for the state being 76.6.

APyeS! Awards

We celebrated some of our rock stars at our annual APyeS! Awards. These awards recognize and honor the excellence in our teachers, education leaders and partners who are driving change through our transformation and making it possible for our students to succeed.  Congrats, again, to all our winners!


I was delighted to host our inaugural all staff #MeriaMeetUp event on APS Xchange powered by Workplace by Facebook on November 6! It was a live, interactive chat about a number of timely topics, including a recap of the State of the District, an important budget update, and other topics raised by staff. Thank you for participating, and I look forward to doing more of these in the coming months!  

Beat the Odds

The “Beat the Odds” results came out early this month and 46 APS Schools (or 52% of our schools) “Beat the Odds” according to the analysis from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.  In addition, APS exceeded the State and we were second among large metro-Atlanta districts. Good job, team!

Being Prepared for Inclement Weather

Inclement weather and other unexpected issues can sometimes disrupt school operations. I want to send a shout out to our Operations team who worked diligently this year through the impacts of natural disasters like hurricanes Michael and Florence and through the impact of the most recent boil water advisory. Thank you for lessening the disruptive impacts of these events!

Volunteer Drives

Volunteering and giving back to the community is so important, and I’m thankful to all of you who have played a pivotal role in supporting our schools and community by volunteering through TutorMate, Junior Achievement Discovery Center, the American Red Cross, and the Empty Stocking Fund. Thank you!

Superintendent’s Winter Card Contest

Over 200 of our APS students showcased their talents in our 2018 Superintendent’s Winter Card Contest! We had students from elementary school through high school submit winter card designs for this year’s competition from every cluster in APS (Carver, Douglass, Grady, Jackson, Mays, North Atlanta, South Atlanta, Therrell, and Washington). Plus, students from Crim Open Campus, BEST Academy, and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy submitted as well.

It was so inspiring to look at the world through our students’ eyes and take in the vast array of creativity reflected in their artwork. Great work!

Other Amazing Moments

What a great first half of the school year! I will certainly miss all of our wonderful students, teachers, and staff over the semester break, but I’ll be back tweeting and blogging again in the New Year on Monday, January 7, 2019. I can’t wait to connect with you then.

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