Major Changes on the Way for Grady Cluster

David T Howard School Opening in July, 2020 to replace Inman Middle School; many other cluster changes coming, too, including new athletic complex

By Matt Westmoreland, District 3 Representative, Atlanta Board of Education

Last month, APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen met with the Grady Cluster to update the community about the district’s plans to address capacity challenges within the cluster.

Over the next five years, the Grady Cluster will see $113 million capital investment from the school system— a $52 million renovation and addition at the David T. Howard building to become the cluster’s new middle school, a $33 million renovation and addition at Grady High, an $8 million investment for additional field space, and a $20 million renovation of Morningside Elementary.

New athletic complex
In addition, a sorely needed new athletic complex will provide practice fields primarily for Inman and Grady. Design for that project started in January 2017 and will finish in June 2017. Field construction will be from October 2017 to June 2018.

There will be an interchangeable softball/baseball field, a football/lacrosse/soccer field, locker rooms, public bathrooms, a concession stand, and a parking lot. Inman and Grady will always have first priority. After that, it would be open to other APS schools.

All of the projects above will be funded through the next Education Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, which will start in July 2017. Once that funding was secured through a vote by Atlanta residents last summer, the school system was able to move forward with its various planning processes.

Transformation of Howard
The district has initiated “pre-design activities” at the Howard site on John Wesley Dobbs Ave to prepare for the design phase. APS initiated a site survey and environmental assessment and began removing hazardous materials from the site. At the same time, the district has been working to select an architect for the project and has identified Stevens & Wilkinson/Lord Aeck Sargent with whom to execute a design contract. Under current plans, construction is scheduled to start in August 2018 and be completed by July 2020. Once completed, the building will have a capacity of 1,450. Current Inman enrollment sits just below 1,100.

Renovations at Grady High School
While work is taking place at Howard, the Grady campus will also undergo an $11 million renovation and see the construction of a new $22 million wing that will include 18 classrooms, 3 science labs, and a new administrative suite.  The expected completion date is July 2021

Temporary relocation of Morningside Elementary School
After the middle school moves to Howard in July 2020, Inman will house Morningside Elementary during that building’s two-year renovation. During that time period, the district will help lead a conversation within the cluster about how best to use the Inman building for additional elementary capacity.

Groups spearheading the changes
As with all projects, a design committee – composed of the school principal, architect, PTA representative, GO Team representative, faculty representative, school board representative, community member, and other district staff – will be commissioned for the Howard, Grady, and Morningside projects.

For more information
Visit and click “Grady Cluster”. Or feel free to e-mail me at or call at 404.408.0980


CINS Awards Grants to Grady, Inman, SPARK

cinslogo. to Grady High School, Inman Middle School, and Springdale Park Elementary School for being among those awarded grants by the Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools. A complete list of this year’s award winners follows.

If you want to learn more, you’re invited to attend the CINS Grant Showcase on Wednesday April 30, 2014 at 6:30 PM  at Hope-Hill Elementary School. There will be a special performance from Hope-Hill’s Pre-K class, and grant recipients will make brief presentations on their projects.

2014 Grant Awardees

  1. Instructional Personal Access Device Strategies (IPADS): Centennial Place Elementary
  2. Connecting to Literacy in a Technological Age: Hope-Hill Elementary
  3. For the Love of (Leveled) Reading: Intown Academy
  4. Yoga in the Classroom: Mary Lin Elementary
  5. Study Island: Mary Lin Elementary
  6. “There’s an App for That”: Mary Lin Elementary
  7. “So You Think You Can Cluck?”: Morningside Elementary
  8. SPARK science kits: Springdale Park Elementary
  9. Study Island: Inman Middle School
  10. Epson Document Camera: Inman Middle School
  11. Tracking the Rotational Rate of the Sun: Grady High School

Caroling Fundraiser Set for December 22-23

YouthChristmasCaroling_Small-300x283On Sunday and Monday December 22 and 23, from 4:00-7:00 PM, the Grady High School Gay Straight Alliance will be holding a Christmas caroling fundraiser to benefit Lost N Found Youth, Inc. The event will be held at the VaHi triangle island at the corner of N. Highland and Virginia avenues.

Lost N Found Youth is a small organization created specifically to help homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the Atlanta area. The group provides emergency and transitional housing and other services, but because the problem of LGBT homelessness is so great, they are not able to help everyone in need.

The Grady High School GSA will be singing carols, passing out hot chocolate and collecting donations to help Lost N Found Youth expand and help more homeless youths. The group invites all residents to attend.


Grady High College and Career Center Says Thanks for Grant

Henry_W_Grady_High_School_AtlantaEarlier this year, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association awarded an $800 grant to Grady High’s College and Career Center in support of the work the center does with seniors to prepare them for life after high school. The grant was part of a total of $15,000 in grants awarded by the VHCA in 2013.

The center’s director, Susan Muntzing, emailed last week to say thanks on behalf of the students and staff who have directly benefitted from the grant.


Grady students Nadia Brewer (left) and Tatum Young use the facilities at the Grady College and Career Center.

“The Grady CCC is appreciative!” Muntzing wrote. “We could not accomplish what we do for the students without generous donations from supporters like the VHCA.”

“The VHCA Grant Committee is excited to support the Grady CCC,” says VHCA board member Peggy Berg. “It’s a remarkable resource with many volunteers doing excellent work with our graduating seniors.”

For more information on Grady’s CCC, click here or visit the center’s Facebook page at


Players from VaHi, Other Intown Neighborhoods Help Bring Home Ultimate Gold!


The ATLien team at the awards ceremony. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

A team that includes Virginia-Highland student athletes who attend Grady High, Paideia School and other local schools traveled to Blaine, Minnesota recently to compete in the USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships (YCC). Ranked 10th out of 19 teams entering the tournament, the ATLiens, as they’re known, shocked the world, taking first place and bringing gold home to Atlanta.

Before we share the details with you, though, we’re pretty sure there’s someone out there asking: What’s ultimate?

For the uninformed, ultimate is a team sport played with a flying disc – also known as a Frisbee. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or the in-goal area in rugby. Players can’t run with the disc, and must keep a pivot foot planted while holding it. Teams typically have seven players each. The field of play is usually 120 yards long – including two 25-yard end zones – and 40 yards wide. Click here for more information on ultimate.

Now, back to the ATLiens outstanding weekend (August 11-12) in Blaine.

The YCC serves as the national championship tournament among the country’s best youth leagues. This year’s tournament featured 40 teams in U-16 (under 16 years old) open, U-19 open, mixed, and girls divisions.

Nathan Haskell with a defensive steal. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Nathan Haskell with a defensive steal. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Playing in the U-19 division, the ATLiens – a team made of all-star players from nine schools throughout the city, and coached by Michael Baccarini from Paideia and Jonathan “Frito” Monforti of Atlanta’s Chain Lightning men’s ultimate team – turned in a dominating performance when they needed it most.

On Saturday the team finished first in its pool, racking up impressive 11-2, 11-3 and 11-0 victories against a single 9-7 loss. There’d be no loss on Sunday, though, as the ATLiens defeated Chicago 13-8, Delaware 13-5 and, finally, Seattle in the championship game, 13-7.

Click here to read a report on the Atlanta Flying Disc Club’s website about the ATLiens championship weekend.

Both of ATLien’s coaches couldn’t have been more proud of their team.

“Going into this experience, I’d never worked with high school kids before,” said assistant coach Monforti. “I’ve coached or captained at the college and club level, but I didn’t know what working with high school kids would be like. Lucky for me, I got to work with Michael Baccarini, one of the most renowned high school ultimate coaches ever.”

“There were lots of highs and lows throughout the time we had together as a team,” Monforti explained. “It was great to see the guys come together as a team since most of them had only played against each other in high school.”

Coach Michael Baccarini using every moment as a coaching opportunity.

Coach Michael Baccarini using every moment as a coaching opportunity. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

“It all culminated at the YCC,” Monforti continued. “The kids’ hard work and training paid off. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the weekend because youth club ultimate has a lot of turnover year to year, but the ATLiens blew my expectations away. It was the most rewarding and satisfying ultimate experience I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed working with such a first class group of gentlemen who displayed tremendous spirit throughout a tough weekend of competition. They worked very hard to bring a championship home to Atlanta.”

“While I’ve experienced highs at the highest levels of youth ultimate, this experience was something special, truly out of the ordinary and beyond compare,” said head coach Baccarini.  “These boys were so respectful and supportive of each other, exemplifying what a ‘team’ should strive to be, and is always capable of being. They showed tremendous maturity and seasoned competiveness – an honorable and respectful version of it that’s rarely seen from teams or individuals at any age level.”

“It was a delightful and encouraging experience for both me and Frito, as well as the other adult organizers,” continued Baccarini, “and bodes well for the youth ultimate scene in the Atlanta metro area.”

Here’s a list of the ATLien team members, many of whom attend or attended metro Atlanta schools including Grady, Paideia, Druid Hills, Parkview, Decatur, Brookwood and Lakeside:

Sebastian DiFrancesco, Riley Erickson and Nathan Haskell with the championship trophy. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Sebastian DiFrancesco, Riley Erickson and Nathan Haskell with the championship trophy. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Connor Brownell

Christopher Carson

Sebastian DiFrancesco

Michael Dillard

Riley Erickson

Rylan Gordon

Nathan Haskell

Felix Jaffin

Joe Lavine

Ben Mapes

Mike McGinnis

Vasiliy Mishin

Eli Motycka

Anders Olsen

Jacques Perivier

Caleb Shorthouse

Jack Smith

Jack Spiva

Joe Lavine going up big for the disc. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Joe Lavine going up big for the disc. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Danny Stevenson

John Stubbs

Jay Tolbert

Sam Trent

Leo Warren

Atlanta also sent a U-16 team to the championships and there were VaHi student athletes on that team, too. That team – ATLarge – finished the tournament in 4th place out of nine teams, well ahead of their original #8 seeding. ATLarge was coached by VaHi resident, former club player and Inman Middle School ultimate coach Paddi White, as well as Jen Waldrup and Andy Jones.

Here’s a list of the ATLarge team members, many of whom attend metro Atlanta schools including Grady, Paideia and Galloway:

Stan Birdsong

Noah Cohen

Drew DiFrancesco

Mack Hodges

Brandon Kleber

Henry Laseter

Bryson Levisay

Noah Li

Robby Odum

Fin Ouweleen

John Stubbs and Caleb Shorthouse celebrate after a score. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

John Stubbs and Caleb Shorthouse celebrate after a score. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Hank Persons

Ollie Peterson

Kiran Potula

John Roorbach

Isaac Sencer

Alex Schrader

Houston Schrader

Luke Smith

Congratulations to the players and coaches of both the ATLien and ATLarge teams for an outstanding YCC performance!

Any high school players interested in playing ultimate this fall can sign up for the AFDC Juniors Fall League, and play on Saturdays at Old 4th Ward Park between Sept. 7 and Nov. 2.

Team high fives after an opening round victory. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.

Team high fives after an opening round victory. Photo courtesy Rob Brownell.


Starbucks Sponsoring April 27th Community Service Event at Grady High School

April is Community Service Month for Starbucks globally, and here in Atlanta the iconic beverage vendor’s teaming up with Atlanta Public Schools to do some sprucing up at Grady High. The event will be held April 27th from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

“We’ll be doing some clean-up, painting and landscaping at the school,” says store manager Leigh Armstrong.

“There will also be football, basketball and art camps by Kids and Pros,” Armstrong says, “and those will be free for kids when parents volunteer.”

“We’re working alongside faculty, parents and students to invest in Grady,” Armstrong says, “and we’ll be holding an Executive Roundtable for seniors.”

Coffee, breakfast and a light lunch will be served to volunteers, according to Armstrong.

Armstrong says they’re shooting for 700 volunteers. Click here for more information or to register online.


Grady High Girls Place First in Atlanta Track Classic

Congratulations to the Grady High School girls track team which placed first in last week’s Atlanta Track Classic. The Lady Grey Knights took home the gold over second place Jackson High School and third place Douglass High.

The Grady boys track team finished third in the meet behind first place Mays High School and second place Carver High.

Individual medalists for the Grady girls and boys include:

  • Inman Madyun placed 3rd in girls 800m run
  • Dionna Riley placed 2nd at 100m hurdles AND 300m hurdles
  • Grady High Women placed 2nd in the 4x100m relay
  • Nyla Woods won the girls shot-put
  • Shomari Gervin placed 2nd in boys 300m hurdles
  • Felton Gray won boys high jump
  • Jawayln Brooks won boys pole vault

Click here to read the Patch story on the Grady teams’ success.


Education Update: April 1, 2013

Inman Middle School

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

There are several changes being proposed as well as updates for schools within the Grady Cluster. Following is a summary:

Significant Changes Proposed for Springdale Park Elementary (SPARK)

Ending Spark’s Extended Day

SPARK is one of a handful of schools with 30 minutes of additional instructional time. APS is considering ending extended day for SPARK. The Spark Parent Teacher Organization opposes this change for several reasons, including the potential impact it would have on recess, concerns about teachers’ planning time, and the extra time needed for SPARK students to transition between multiple buildings on campus.

Cutting Early Intervention Program (EIP) Teachers From 5 to 1

APS has announced it’s changing how schools will be allocated teachers for the Early Intervention Program (EIP), which will result in Spark losing 4 of its current 5 EIP teachers. The EIP teachers help students keep pace with the academic rigor of SPARK. There are more than 80 students currently served by EIP teachers and this population (as with SPARK’s overall population) is expected to increase next year. Without these teachers, SPARK will have a large community of children who will receive diminished academic support in the coming year. The SPARK PTO believes that cutting 4 of the 5 EIP teachers will have serious consequences for all of SPARK’s students.

If you have concerns or questions about the above topics, please email Superintendent Davis at; Karen Waldon, the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at; Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, Board of Education at; and David White, East Regional K-12 Executive Director at

Davis Seeks Input on Inman Middle School Overcrowding

APS is seeking public input on Inman overcrowding through the end of April 2013. Superintendent Erroll Davis advised the Grady Cluster community that trailers will remain at Inman to provide additional classroom capacity needed for the 2013-2014 school year. APS has asked for public input on the Inman overcrowding situation. Comments and suggestions should be emailed before the end of April to For additional information on the Inman capacity issue see

Inman Principal’s Coffee on Safety and Transportation

April 2, 2013; 6:00 PM; Inman Media Center

Please join Ms. Herrema for the next Principal’s Coffee. This month’s session will be held Tuesday April 2 from 6-7 PM to accommodate those that cannot attend the morning sessions. Topics to be discussed include safety and transportation. Elementary school parents from the cluster are welcome to attend.

Changes Across the Cluster: School Start Times

APS announced it is considering changing the start times for schools. APS said its goal for the new start times is to improve student safety, on time arrival, and avoid the purchase of 50 new buses. The proposed changes are:

Current Proposed New
Springdale Park Start time 8:00 am, Dismissal at 3:00 pm (this includes extended day) Start time 7:45 am (with bus drop off from 7:00 – 7:15 am), Dismissal 2:15 pm
Inman Start time 8:45 am, Dismissal at 3:45 pm Start time 9:05 am (with bus drop off from 8:35 – 8:50 am), Dismissal 4:05 pm
Grady Start time 8:15 am, Dismissal at 3:15 pm Start time 8:30 am (with bus drop off from 8:00 – 8:15 am), Dismissal 3:30 pm

The Springdale Park PTO and Local School Council (LSC) wrote a joint letter to APS in opposition of the new start times for SPARK. The PTO and LSC are concerned that children would begin to be picked up around 6:50 am, at which time it is still dark outside for most of the school year. The organizations are also concerned this earlier start time (and bus pick up time) will cause more parents to drive their children to school, which will create additional traffic problems on Briarcliff.

The Inman and Grady PTAs and LSCs have not taken a position on the earlier start times for their respective schools.

If you have concerns or questions about the earlier start time, please email John Lyles at

Springdale Park Registration for 2013-14

Registration for the 2013-14 school year will be held April 1 – April 4 from 5:00 – 7:00  pm in the school cafeteria. APS allocates resources to schools based on enrollment so it is imperative that the school has accurate counts of who will be attending.

Suggested evenings to register are:

If your last name begins with A – H: April 1; I – P: April 2; Q – Z: April 3; any/all last names: April 4.

Again, these are suggested times only so please come when your schedule allows. Additionally, a notary will be available all evenings for a $2 fee per stamp.

Please park at 803 Briarcliff Road or 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue or legal street parking – do not park next door at the Druid Hills United Methodist Church.

If you have any questions, contact Mary Stouffer at


Grady Debate Team Wins Multiple State Titles

Make it four straight state championships for the Grady High Jesters debate team.

The Jesters, coached by Mario Herrera and Lisa Willoughby, took home the gold at last weekend’s Varsity State Speech and Debate Championship held at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville.

Numerous individual Grady students won awards. According to VaHi Patch, senior Isabelle Taft captured two state titles, one in extemporaneous speaking and one in impromptu speaking. The twin titles were noteworthy because with them, Taft has won more state championships than any individual competitor in the history of the organization.

Here’s a link to the full Patch article.

Congrats to Ms. Taft and the Grady High Jesters from The Voice!


APS Officials Hold Meeting at Grady to Discuss Issues Related to Recent On Campus Shooting

Atlanta Public Schools officials met Thursday evening at Grady High School with parents and other concerned citizens to discuss this week’s shooting at the high school, as well as issues related to it.

Officials praised Grady administrators and staff for their quick response to the incident. However, there was acknowledgement of gaps in existing security procedures.

Here’s a link to a Patch article written by a Grady parent with details on the meeting as well as a transcript of the live blog from the event.


Education Committee Update: March 1, 2013

APS Board to Vote on Proposed 2013 Calendar on March 4

The Atlanta Public Schools’ Board will vote on the proposed 2013-14 school calendar at its Monday March 4 meeting. The meeting will start at 2 PM and will be held at the APS Administrative Building at 130 Trinity Avenue, SW.

Under the proposed calendar, school will begin on August 5, 2012 and end on May 23, 2013. Here is a link to the proposed calendar:

Monday’s meeting will include two opportunities for in-person public comment. Community members may sign up at least one hour prior to the beginning of the Committee of the Whole meeting to address the board regarding a specific action item on the agenda. Community members may address the board on any topic at the regular community meeting by signing up between 5 and 5:50 PM or by calling Dr. Howard Grant’s office at 404-802-2200 one hour prior to the meeting.

Pre-K Lottery Application Process Begins Next Week

The 2013 Pre-K lottery application process will begin next week and you can submit your application each Wednesday in March. Go to the APS website to learn more:

For the upcoming year, there is a pre-K program in the Grady cluster at Hope-Hill Elementary. If you are interested in APS pre-K program, please visit the website to learn more.

Grady High Students Earn Advanced Placement Awards

The Virginia-Highland – Druid Hills Patch is reporting that 77 Grady High School students have earned AP scholar awards in recognition of exceptional achievement on the College Board’s Advanced Placement exams.

Highlights include:

  • 5 students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.
  • 28 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
  • 20 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
  • 29 students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher.

Click here to read the full Patch article.


Grady High Wins 14th Straight Mock Trial Regional Championship

Congratulations to the Grady High Draggins for winning their 14th consecutive mock trial regional championship. The Draggins defeated the Atlanta International School in the finals this past Tuesday February 12.

The state competition will be held March 16 in Lawernceville at the Gwinnett Justice Center.

Click here to read a Patch story on Grady’s impressive accomplishment.

Way to go Draggins and best of luck at the state competition!


Grady High to Host “State of the Cluster” Meeting

The location of a future new 6th grade academy and other capacity issues are expected to be on the agenda when Grady High hosts a State of the Cluster meeting this Thursday February 7 at 6:30 PM. The meeting is open to the public and all interested parties are invited to attend.

Click here to read a Patch story about the upcoming meeting and to view a January 31 letter from APS Superintendent Errol Davis to the Inman Task Force regarding capacity issues. In the letter Davis acknowledges last week’s meeting with members of the VHCA board of directors and their discussion of concerns raised in an analysis of the three Task Force-recommended academy sites. The analysis was done by Aaron Fortner of the planning firm Market & Main at the request of the VHCA.

Click here to read VHCA board president Jack White’s comments about their meeting last week with Davis and to view a copy of Fortner’s presentation. Fortner will provide insight on his analysis at this month’s regular meeting of the VHCA board (Mon. Feb. 11, 7 PM, Ponce library).


VHCA Board Members Meet With APS Superintendent; Discuss Overcrowding Task Force Recommendations

Inman Middle School

By: Jack White, VHCA Board President

In December, the Inman Task Force formed by school board representative Cecily Harsch-Kinnane issued a report on the two issues it was asked to consider: (1) whether a 6th or 8th grade academy would be a better short-term solution for the Grady Cluster’s overcrowding, and (2) potential sites for such an academy. The Task Force preferred a 6th grade academy and named three possible sites, two of them in Virginia-Highland (one next to the existing Inman building, and the other being the block south of Cresthill Avenue and west of Monroe now occupied by about eight private homes that would be torn down.)

The VHCA Planning Committee asked Aaron Fortner – the principal at Market & Main and our municipal consultant for several years – to analyze a number of important factors outside the purview of the Task Force, particularly the traffic, policy, and planning implications and impacts of construction at the two VaHi locations. His firm compared such outcomes at those two sites to a third location also recommended (less enthusiastically) by the Task Force: the Howard School located in the Old Fourth Ward.

The Market & Main analysis is available here.

Well aware that APS will consider many factors in reaching this decision and facing an announced end-of-January deadline, we very much wanted this information and these concerns to be in front of APS Superintendent Erroll Davis before he acted. Accordingly, members of the VHCA Planning Committee met with Superintendent Davis and other APS officials last week to present the findings contained in the Market & Main report.

Our discussion with Superintendent Davis was cordial, detailed, and thorough; he specifically asked about the history of the neighborhood, the Civic Association, and its historic support of public education. Davis spoke carefully, as he always does, making several key points: (1) His anticipated January deadline for a decision will not be met; (2) He is looking for a site that could accommodate a middle school in the future, though he did not say that one would be built; (3) None of the locations recommended by the Task Force is ideal, and APS is reviewing many options, including the original three sites.

The Market & Main report makes no recommendation as to what location should be picked, but we are aware that the conclusions in it may not be welcomed by anyone who believes that expansion at the Inman or Monroe sites is the only acceptable outcome to the attendance challenges facing the Grady cluster. The report focuses on the overall impacts of building in VaHi – increased traffic, non-conforming land use, congestion – and the implications that flow from them, specifically those that might contribute over the long run to permanently altering the residential character of the neighborhood.

Such challenges exist in many contexts independent of possible new school construction. The popularity of the Beltline has heightened traffic/pedestrian conflicts on an already-stressed Monroe (where both the Piedmont Heights Master Plan and the Beltline Plan suggest changes), and pedestrian safety on Briarcliff is a very real concern for those walking to SPARK. A separate public meeting next week at Inman Middle School will hear about pending traffic changes intended to relieve congestion on Ponce.  The neighborhood has existing un-built commercial and residential capacity, the eventual utilization of which is very likely to exacerbate today’s traffic challenges.

The permanent impacts of unplanned construction in our neighborhood outside the Comprehensive Development Plan require especially thorough consideration. Our primary goal – as it is frequently is in such matters – was to examine the traffic and policy issues in a professional context with an independent planner, and that is what Market and Main provided.

As always, please let us know your thoughts about the report. Aaron Fortner will be at our next VHCA meeting (February 11th, 7 PM, Ponce library) to amplify on his work.


Grady High School Ranked #1 in City of Atlanta for SAT Scores

If you’re looking for another reason to feel good about living in a place where you can send your kids to Grady High, you’ve got one.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle announced today that its Education Guide, which comes out later this week, ranks Grady as tops in the city of Atlanta for students’ SAT scores. Click here to read today’s announcement.

Kudos to the students and teachers at #1-ranked Henry Grady High School!


Education Committee Update: January 15, 2013



By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Atlanta Public Schools’ Calendar Community Input

APS is seeking community input on next year’s school calendar.  The School Calendar Forum in our community will be held at Inman Middle School on Monday, January 28th from 5:30 PM until 7 PM.

Click here to see the proposed calendar:$file/20130114%20calendar%20draft%20final.pdf

As reported in The Buckhead Patch last year, the three general models for school calendars are:

Balanced Calendar: A “balanced” calendar features 8-9 week blocks of instructional days with weeklong breaks evenly distributed throughout the school year. A balanced calendar usually includes a 9-10 week summer break.

Traditional Calendar: A “traditional” calendar features long blocks of instructional time with limited breaks during the school year. A traditional calendar usually includes a 10-11 week summer break.

Year Round Calendar: A “year round” calendar usually features 8-9 week blocks of instructional time with 3-week breaks distributed throughout the year. In a year round model, intersessions are provided for students during these breaks with opportunities for catch-up and enrichment, if funding is available. A year round calendar usually includes a 5-week summer break.

School Start Times: Proposed Changes

APS announced last week it is considering changing the start times for schools. The proposed changes are:

Elementary:  Start time 7:45 (with bus drop off from 7:00 – 7:15), Dismissal 2:15

Middle School:  Start time 9:05 (with bus drop off from 8:35 – 8:50), Dismissal 4:05

High School:  Start time 8:30, Dismissal 3:30

The proposed changes were presented to the Atlanta Board of Education on January 14 and will be voted on during the February 4th meeting.

For more information about the proposed changes, read the Midtown Patch article:

If you are interested in speaking at the upcoming BOE meeting, you may sign up at 5 p.m., prior to the board meeting.

Navigating through Common Core: An Interactive Workshop for Parents

APS will host an interactive discussion with parents about Common Core. Discussion topics include:

  • Common Core – State Standards, the impact on my child and me
  • Common Core – Resources to help my child at school and home
  • Common Core – It’s easy as “ABC”

The two regional meetings for the Grady Cluster are scheduled for January 31:

10 AM – Noon: Crim High School, 256 Clifton Avenue, SE, Atlanta GA 30317

6 PM – 8 PM: Drew Charter School, 301 East Lake Boulevard, Atlanta GA  30317

If you have questions, contact APS Family Engagement Specialists Shelia Cornelius or Renee Shields at 404.802.3820.

Congratulations to Grady High School’s Posse Students

Three of the twelve APS seniors recently named 2013 Posse Scholars (each earning a four-year, full-tuition scholarship worth approximately $100,000) are from Grady High School. The awards come from The Posse Foundation, which recruits students who demonstrate extraordinary academic and leadership potential and sends them to college in supportive, multicultural teams called “posses.” Join us in congratulating Grady High seniors:

  • Autumn Rivers, who will be attending Bard College
  • Diana Powers, who will be attending The College of Wooster
  • Bill Vaughn, who will be attending Syracuse University

Named in December, Posse Scholars will spend the rest of their senior year and the summer – January to August – participating in intensive college-preparatory training sessions every week. Then, throughout their college years, scholars will continue to receive support and development in the form of mentoring, retreats, internships and other meaningful activities. The Posse Foundation administers a rigorous college access and youth leadership program that boasts a college graduation rate of 90 percent.

Again, best wishes and congratulations to the 2013 Posse Scholars across APS!


Education Committee Update: January 2, 2013

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Grady Debate Tournament, Traffic and Volunteering

Grady’s debate team The Jesters is getting ready to host their big debate tournament of the year, “The Quest for the Dream” regional tournament on January 11th and 12thThis tournament enhances the prestige of the Grady High School speech and debate team and is a major fundraiser for The Jesters.

What does the tournament mean for Virginia-Highland? The tournament is held at both Grady High School and Inman Middle School, using hundreds of classrooms and common facilities at both schools. Tournament preparation begins at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, January 11. First rounds of the tournament start at 5:00 p.m. and conclude by around 10:00 p.m. Friday.  The tournament resumes on Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. (with preparation starting at 6:30 a.m.) and lasts until about 9:00 p.m.

According to Grady, 500 debaters and 150 judges from Georgia and nearby states will participate in the tournament. The entire debate team and many parent and community volunteers will also participate. Expect heavier than normal vehicular and pedestrian traffic and overflowing parking lots at each school.

This is an amazing event for the Grady Jesters and a wonderful opportunity for students from across the country to experience the unique beauty of our neighborhoods and schools. If you’d like to volunteer to help with the tournament, contact Janet Kishbaugh at

Books for SPARK Kids

If you have gently used books, appropriate for children in grades K-5 (especially 3-5), please consider donating them to Springdale Park Elementary. SPARK keeps several shelves of books in the cafeteria which students can enjoy each day during their lunch period. We are in need of a few more books, particularly for our older children. Both fiction and non-fiction books are needed. You can drop off any books you care to donate at the SPARK front office.

Grady Knights of Sound Pure Essence Dancers Win Gold

Congratulations to the Grady Knights of Sound Pure Essence Dancers for winning a trophy in the Gold category on November 11 in the Battle of Dance Line competition at the Georgia World Congress Center. The competition between Atlanta-area high schools judges stand routine, attire, technique, choreography and dance routine.

The Southerner – High School Journalism Hall of Fame

The staffs of the Grady publications and broadcast programs traveled to San Antonio November 15 – 18 to attend the National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) fall convention. The Southerner was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame for receiving All-American ratings for 10 of the past 11 years. Additionally, the Southerner received its eight Pacemaker Award, widely considered the Pulitzer Price of high school journalism.

College & Career Connection Spotlighted

The Atlanta Intown newspaper featured the College & Career Connection  (CCC) in its December edition. It’s a great article on the history of the CCC and how the organization seeks to help all students at Grady High School. Check it out at, page 39, for.

Grady Book Club

Join the Grady Book Club for discussions of recent and classic books. Meetings are on the third Monday of each month at 6:15 p.m. in the homes of members. See the Gradygram for meeting locations, or contact Upcoming meeting include:

• January 21 – Everybody Was So Young:  Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill

• February 18 – The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore



Grady High Carolers Entertain at 2012 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes

Special thanks to the Grady High School carolers and instructor Kevin Hill for providing much-appreciated Christmas spirit during this year’s rather warm Tour of Homes. The group gathered Saturday at 1 PM at the triangle and entertained shoppers and tour-goers at several locations near the N. Highland/Virginia Avenue intersection before heading off to carol at several of the homes on the tour. The kids had fun and everyone enjoyed their wonderfully festive spirit.

Click on the album below to view images of the carolers as they made their rounds as well as a few other pictures from the tour. We’ll post more tour photos as they become available.


2012 Tour of Homes featuring the Grady High School Carolers

Education Committee Update: December 2, 2012

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Register Now for the Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman’s annual fun run is Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race and the after-race festivities. You can do it!  Register now at Students can enter the password “eagles” to register for only $10.

Springdale Park Elementary School Prospective Student Parent Tour

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about Springdale Park Elementary School. The tour will be held on Wednesday, December 4th at 1 PM. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Rousso at

Principal Evaluation Survey

APS is conducting an evaluation survey for each of its principals. To take the survey through the Internet, you must first opt in by filling out an online form that requests your name, school, e-mail address, and identification as parent or community member. A link to the survey will then be sent to you by e-mail, though not immediately.  If you do not receive the link within 24 hours of completing the opt-in form, contact Deandra Crumpler, 404.802.2711 or You may also fill out a survey for a school in your community, even if you do not currently have a child at the school, but you may have to opt in on separate days. Paper copies of the survey are also available in the front office and should be returned to the front office. To get started, go to Principal Survey Opt In. For more info, go to Flyer on Principal Survey

Upcoming CINS (Council of Intown Neighborhoods and Schools) Meetings

What: APS’ Human Resources – Hiring, Staffing, Leveling and Professional Development

When: December 12, 2012 – Noon

Where: Springdale Park Elementary School, 1246 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306

What: 2013 Legislative Agenda for Education

When: January 16, 2013 – 7:00 pm

Where: Centennial Place Elementary School, 531 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30313


Education Committee Update: November 19, 2012

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Inman Recognized as a “Highest Performing” Title 1 School

Inman Middle School is among the top 5% of Title I schools in the State of Georgia according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Inman Middle School is also one of only two schools in Atlanta Public Schools with the Highest-Performing School distinction.

Register Now for the Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman’s annual fun run is Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race and the after-race festivities. You can do it!  Register now at Students can enter the password “eagles” to register for only $10.

Springdale Park Elementary School Prospective Student Parent Tour

Parents of prospective students are invited to learn more about Springdale Park Elementary School. The tour will be held on Wednesday, December 4th at 1 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeanine Rousso at

Inman Transition Meeting for Parents of Rising 6th Graders

Inman will be hosting a series of meetings for parents and students of rising 6th graders. The first meeting will be on November 29th at 7 p.m. in the media center at Inman. This is a meeting for parents only.

Also, parents of rising 6th graders, zoned for Inman Middle School, should have received in the mail the 2012-2013 Inman “Transition In” material. Included in that material is a special welcome from Ms. Herrema, this year’s “Transition In” schedule, a list of documents required for registration and other important information just for rising 6th grade families. If you live in an area zoned to attend Inman Middle School and have not received your transition mailing, please contact Inman’s 6th Grade Counselor, Ms. Tina Blevins, at or 404.802.3215. Parents of all 5th grade students zoned to Inman, but who are not currently enrolled in one of Inman’s feeder elementary schools listed above, should also contact Ms. Blevins if they plan to attend Inman next year so that you can receive future in-zone mailings.

Grady 101 – For Parents

Thursday, November 29, 2012, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Inman auditorium, Inman will host for parents the first of three “Grady 101” presentations. This presentation is titled “Program of Study” and the presenters will be Grady staff members Ms. Blankenship, Lead Counselor; Ms. MacBrien, Transition Liaison; and Ms. Sabb, AP Coordinator/Instructional Coach. In addition, forms relevant to the presentation and a FAQ document will be distributed. The second presentation, “Student Support,” is scheduled to take place in January, and the third, focusing on clubs, teams and other aspects of student life at Grady, will be held in March. While there will not be a formal Q&A session as part of the presentation, questions can be submitted to  A response will be sent to all emails. The presentation will be recorded and posted on both Grady’s and Inman’s websites. In addition, the forms distributed, including the FAQ, will be posted on both websites. Finally, a list of Grady parents willing to discuss their experience(s) at Grady will be distributed.

SPARK Teacher Wins Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education

Brittany Beaumont, a first grade teacher at SPARK, was one of eight educators in Atlanta honored with the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education.

Superintendent Erroll Davis, Atlanta Falcons football players and Homer, the Braves mascot, were among those who surprised teachers in their classrooms with the news that each would receive a $7,500 grant. Each award includes $3,500 for a school project of the winner’s choice, $1,500 for a professional development opportunity to boost the educator’s effectiveness and a personal stipend of $2,500.

The award is designed to retain excellent teachers and school leaders, inspire other educators, and raise public awareness about the work of high-performing educators. Since 2005, Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education has recognized outstanding teachers and school leaders for their commitment to excellence.

The aim of Ms. Beaumont’s project is to build strong foundational writing skills in students and give them the tools they will need to be lifelong writers. Through the implementation of this project, a writing culture will be established in the classroom that integrates writing skills into all subject areas. Students will be provided with needed resources and challenged to apply a variety of skills and strategies that will increase the quality and effectiveness of their writing. They will also make use of technology resources as they work to digitally publish their writing. The project will culminate with a writing festival where students will celebrate the art of writing and will showcase their best work to invitees: parents, administrators, community members, and local authors

“I’m so thrilled to have been selected as an AFAEE winner,” Ms. Beaumont says. “I’m really looking forward to implementing my writing initiative project and helping my students to become writers for life. I also look forward to sharing my experiences and resources with other teachers and students.”

The organization has raised more than $1 million for the awards program. For more information or to nominate a teacher for the 2013 awards, visit

Principal Evaluation Survey

APS is conducting an evaluation survey for each of its principals. To take the survey via the Internet, you must first opt in by filling out an online form that requests your name, school, e-mail address, and identification as parent or community member. A link to the survey will then be sent to you by e-mail, though not immediately. If you do not receive the link within 24 hours of completing the opt-in form, contact Deandra Crumpler, 404.802.2711  You may also fill out a survey for a school in your community, even if you do not currently have a child at the school, but you may have to opt in on separate days.  Paper copies of the survey are also available in the front office and should be returned to the front office. To get started, go to Principal Survey Opt In. For more info, go to Flyer on Principal Survey


Voice – Spring 2010

Download PDF (3.0 MB)

– Triangle island renovation nears completion
– Home Tour recap
– Local Haiti relief efforts continue
– President’s Corner: Callanwolde silent auction results
– SPARK students introduced to debate
– Spotlight on Grady High School
– Grow fruit in your garden
– Streetscape update
– Green Dream silent auction a success
– Safety update: Reed administration and the APD
– Orme Park Phase One improvements
– How healthy are your trees?
– History part VI
– Col. Mustard reviews Rosebud


Voice – Winter 2009-10

Download issue as PDF (7.0 MB)

– VaHi Green Dream silent auction
– 15th annual Tour of Homes
– President’s Corner
– SPARK opens its doors
– Spotlight on Grady
– VaHi’s Green Dream
– Spotlight on public safety
– Spotlight on businesses: Atlanta Activewear and Knitch relocates
– City responds to streetscape project concerns
– Col. Mustard reviews George’s
– Update on Callanwolde drainage concerns


Crime reports

Business Owners Making Bank Deposits

I got an e-mail report this week from Rajesh Ramakrishnan from the Chevron store at Virginia and North Highland Avenues about how one of his tires was slashed just before he left to make a bank deposit in an attempt to rob him. No robbery – but a new tire purchase. A similar incident was reported from the Bank of America parking lot on Flat Shoals Avenue, S.E. in East Atlanta where the victim was looking at his slashed flat tire when the perp opened his passenger door and grabbed his bank bag. Don’t think you are not being observed when you are on bank deposit missions – be alert!!

School Break-ins

Grady High School was broken into this past week and lost a lot of computers. Paidea School on PDL Avenue also lost 15 more computers – in addition to those stolen earlier in multiple break-ins the past few months.

Thievery From Pickup Trucks

There are reports from all over Zone 6 about tool and equpment thefts from trucks parked in front of residences while work is being done. Warn your lawn service and maintenance guys while they are working at your house. I realize it is hard for them to chain down their tools while they are working – but these thefts are rampant.

Crime reports from APD

The following categorized reports are gleaned from our Zone 6 crime stats for weeks 22 and 23 of 2009 with emphasis on our VaHi beat 603, but with news from all over the Zone as it pertains to us. Read these reports and see how you can alter your daily routine to avoid some of these situations.

  • Aggravated Assault – At the Briarcliff Summit a resident was stabbed by a visitor. At the Platinum 21 on Piedmont Road, a bar fight resulted in the security guard getting hit on the head with a bottle.
  • Auto Thefts – Amazingly – no auto thefts for this two week time period in Beat # 603, but there were 9 stolen in week 23 in Beat # 604 just south of us. Scooter thievery continues at a rapid clip around the Zone – even when they are chained (guess you have to hide them now). There is a black motor scooter with a Georgia Tech decal on it parked at the northeast corner of Barnett and Drewry Streets that has been there for over a week now – I am amazed it has escaped being stolen so far. Is it abandoned or does anyone know who the owner is?
  • Auto Theft Recovery – An abandoned vehicle report on Arlington Place reunited a stolen car with it’s owner. A scooter stolen from Greenwood Avenue was taken to Atlanta Motorcycle and Scooter on Elizabeth Street, N.E. for repair where it was identified even though the VIN had been scratched off. The person who brought it in left a Roswell address – no word as to whether it was a legitimate address.
  • Commercial Burglary – Viagra pills were taken from a unit at a storage facility on Cheshire Bridge Road. The Teuscher Chocolate store on North Highland Avenue in Morningside was entered via a smashed glass front door. Ru Sans restaurant on Piedmont Avenue was entered through a smashed front glass front door also. The tennis store at Ansley was entered via a smashed rear door window. Urban Body on PDL Place was entered twice – on 6/5 and 6/6 with a flat screen tv and a computer monitor stolen. In yet another theft at this beleagured business, their a/c units were stolen. Atlanta Motorcycle and Scooters on Elizabeth Street was entered by pushing in their exhaust fan. Does your business have such a vulnerable spot and can it be welded into place to better secure it? The San Francisco coffee shop on North Highland Avenue just south of PDL Avenue was entered via a pried open front door. South of us – the North Highland Pub, The Albert, Brewhouse Cafe, Shaun’s and the 97 Estoria were all broken into. Java Jive on PDL Avenue had copper piping taken from their rooftop a/c unit. Not an easy time for small business owners on top of the lousy economy.
  • Larceny From Auto – Vehicles were broken into on Highland Lane, Los Angeles Avenue, North Highland Avenue (3), PDL Avenue (4), St. Charles Avenue (2), Barnett Street, Bonaventure Avenue, and Briarcliff Place. Of these 14 separate incidents – 11 of the vehicles were owned by folks out of VaHi. Please, please, please – warn your visitors to clean out their cars, especially if you are in the hospitality business. There were wheels stolen from cars on Hillpine Drive and Moreland Avenue. Also all around Zone 6 in this time period there were eleven GPS systems stolen, 7 in-dash stereo radios ripped out, 2 license plates taken off, one hand gun added to the arsenal on the streets, and (now that scrap metal prices are going up again) a catalytic convertor sawed off.
  • Larceny Other – Kid’s bicycles were stolen from Brookridge Drive, and another bicycle taken from a Monroe Drive front porch. All across Zone 6 lots of chained bicycle thefts also – guess you have to take them inside when not being ridden – chaining is not enough protection now. Two thefts reported from inside Zone 6 churches – the Inman Park Methodist Church on Edgewood Avenue had a laptop stolen, and a volunteer worker at St. John Lutheran church on PDL Avenue had a credit card stolen from her purse. At the Eastlake YMCA cash was stolen from an unsecured locker. The bread man had his p/c stolen while stocking his goods at the PDL Avenue Kroger store. The Edgewood Kroger store caught 4 shoplifters. At a Georgia Power substation on Moreland Avenue thieves cut fencing and took 4 ground wires (for scrap metal I presume) – too bad they weren’t zapped. An unwatched purse was taken from a shopping cart at the Edgewood Bed, Bath & Beyond store. This is a real sick report – 25 metal grave markers were stolen from South View Cemetery on Jonesboro Road (for scrap metal again I presume).
  • Pedestrian Robbery – On 6/3 at 1:40 a.m. a male and female were robbed at gunpoint by a lone b/m at North Highland Avenue and Highland View. On 5/27 at 11:30 p.m. a female waiting at a PDL Avenue bus stop was pushed to the ground and robbed of her cell phone.
  • Residential Burglary – A PDL Avenue apartment was entered via a kicked-in front door. On Los Angeles Avenue entry was made through an unsecured garage door. A Greenwood Avenue apartment resident had a bicycle stolen – not listed as to whether this was inside the apartment or on the porch. All around Zone 6 in this time period – entry was made to residences via kicked-in doors 14 times, and another incident involved a pushed-in window a/c unit. If you know folks who have window a/c units – make sure they have their units bolted into the window frame.

Be alert and stay safe!!



Voice – Spring 1991

Download PDF(part 1, pages 1–10, 6.4 MB)
Download PDF (part 2, pages 11–20, 5.0 MB)

In part one:
– A VaHi pioneer (Richard C. Todd) and his legacy to this neighborhood, by Jeni Evans
– Franklin Garrett speaks at March meeting. He will be presenting a history of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.
– Being a security-conscious neighbor, by Ken Lavine, VHCA public safety co-chair
– Grady students speak out: Essays by Grady 9th and 10th graders on homelessness, war and other current issues
– The VOICE – ten years ago, by Beth Marks
– Variances and how to get one, by Steve Jagger
– Inman Middle School, by Ellen England and Janice Giddens
– New playhouse at library
– Good neighbor policy, by Kathy Couch
– St. Patrick’s Day 5K race, by Doug Sligh
– About the Ponce de Leon Task Force survey

In part two:
– Ponce de Leon Task Force survey form
– Inman wants more tutors
– CINS awards mini-grants to area teachers, by Laurie Del Martin
– Grady High School news, by Laurie Del Martin
– Help support CINS when you get your emmision test
– Top sellers at Morningside Elementary gift wrap sale
– And the pick-up goes on…recycling in 1991! By Nan Hunter
– Help for the Highland homeowner, by Virginia Temple
– Be on the lookout for the “ACORN” man!