New Pedestrian Signal Light in Place at Inman Middle School

By Jack White, VHCA Board President

DSC_0509The installation of the (solar-powered) Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) at Inman Middle School on the corner of Virginia and Arcadia in almost complete. The city reports that the vendor failed to ship one needed piece; it is on the way.

This signal is an RRFB, not a HAWK, for those who are fans. A nearby example of an RRFB is the signal located across from the Midtown MARTA Station on 10th Street. That one is pole-mounted; Inman’s is overhead.

DSC_0511We appreciate the efforts of CoA Technical Project Manager Daniel Ephraim and his Public Works colleagues on this effort, which was quietly and effectively supported (as so many outcomes are in VaHi) by Councilman Alex Wan. VaHi resident and parent Mary Stouffer was a critical part of the process that led to both this light and the one at Spark; we salute her for her impressive and persistent work.

We hope it will make the crossing safer for everyone, an outcome we can promote by rigorously following the speed limit there and elsewhere.

New Life for North Highland Park Bike Rack at IMS

The bike rack at its original location at North Highland Park. Photo courtesy Jack White.

The bike rack at its original location at North Highland Park. Photo courtesy Jack White.

Rarely Used Bike Rack at NHP Repurposed for Use at Inman Middle School

By David Brandenberger

The bicycle rack that has lived at the northeast corner of N. Highland and St. Charles at North Highland Park – likely since the days of the public library – has a new home. Due largely to its obscured location at the park, the rack has received very little use since the lot was converted to greenspace. After noting the increasing use of pedal-power as a mode of transport for students heading to and from Inman Middle School (even more so now that the weather is getting nicer)—and the reality that IMS’ existing bicycle racks were often filled to capacity – the idea of relocating and donating the rack to the school was circulated with IMS staff and the LSC. Several staff members both acknowledged the need for another bike rack and resoundingly supported the gift.

Workers prepare the bike rack's new site at Inman Middle School. VHCA Board member David Brandenberger shovelling at far left. Photo courtesy Jack White.

Workers prepare the bike rack’s new site at Inman Middle School. VHCA Board member David Brandenberger shovelling at far left. Photo courtesy Jack White.

On a fine February Saturday two weekends ago, several neighborhood volunteers and Board members dug up the 10’ long, heavy steel structure, hoisted it into a truck, transported, and then installed the ‘new’ bike rack at Inman next to the portables. We are happy to report that the rack is now experiencing unprecedented use in its second career and new location!

The repurposed bike rack at its new location at Inman Middle School. Photo courtesy of Jack White.

The repurposed bike rack at its new location at Inman Middle School. Photo courtesy of Jack White.

We note that Inman now has five bike racks (up from two a year ago), a measurable reflection of the growth of cycling in VaHi. It’s also a reminder to us all to drive appropriately and be on the alert for cyclists of all ages at all times – and let’s please double our attention around schools.

APS Officials Hold Community Meeting to Discuss Inman Expansion

DSC_0004Officials from Atlanta Public Schools – including Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and board member Matt Westmoreland – met with residents on February 19 to discuss options for addressing overcrowding at Inman Middle School. If you were unable to attend, here’s a link to a video of the meeting.

APS Puts Hold on Inman Expansion Project

DSC_0004By Jack White, VHCA Board President

Yesterday, Matt Westmoreland responded to ongoing queries about the status of the Inman expansion with a note saying the Board had decided to defer confirming the pending construction contract. In a letter released last night, APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen confirmed this action, based on APS’ new estimates that project a 2015-16 school year enrollment greater than Inman could accommodate even if expanded (a process projected to take about two years).

Carstarphen’s letter grimly proposes even more portables at Inman while the school board looks at the challenge the cluster faces. The exact status of the expansion plans is unclear; it is possible that some improvements – a revamped gym and lobby, new science labs, and school bus lanes – could be made even without the classroom additions.

VHCA is investing considerable effort in following this process and will have further comments in the near future. It’s time to calmly put all the challenges and options on the table and openly consider them in a thoughtful atmosphere of respect and cordiality. VHCA is committed to meeting that standard ourselves; we expect that everyone else involved in the process will be, as well.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent, Matt Westmoreland, and other APS personnel will review the expansion dilemma at a public meeting in the Inman Auditorium at 6:30 on Thursday, February 19th. Interested residents are encouraged to attend.

APS Excludes Trees Around Inman Softball Field from Removal Plan

IMG_0270New plan with reduced tree loss may be offered

By Jack White

As promised last week, APS has filed a revised plan for tree removal at Inman that excludes all the healthy trees on and around the softball field along Greencove Avenue.  They have also removed a 41” oak along Virginia Ave., the removal of which was to accommodate stormwater that this plan no longer creates.  Click here to see the revised plan.

APS’ original plan proposed removing nineteen trees that totaled 435”; the revised one proposes removing eleven trees totaling 192”. The revised plan both generates less stormwater (sparing the tree already mentioned) and makes creating a new replacement tree plan a great deal more practical.

In their note last week that addressed our concerns about removal of these trees, APS mentioned the possibility of further design efforts being undertaken with the specific goals of minimal tree loss and stormwater management. Those are worthy goals, and we will promptly share any information we receive about any new plans.

The revised plan received today still anticipates the removal of the trees around the Clemont driveway (proximal to the proposed expansion) and along Park Dr. (to accommodate new lanes for two special education busses). Those trees are included in separate appeals filed by neighbors who are understandably unhappy to see any trees go and who question whether or not the planned expansion will provide sufficient future capacity at Inman.

Our school board representative, Matt Westmoreland, has assured us throughout the process (most recently two weeks ago) that the trailers will be removed from Inman upon the completion of the addition. At a meeting with neighbors this weekend, he promised that he would review the computations of the APS demographers with this exact outcome in mind.  When we receive his report we will pass it along to residents.

Trees Near Softball Field at Inman Middle School to Remain as APS Reviews Plan Design

IMG_0270

By Jack White

Appeals of APS postings for tree removals at Inman Middle School were filed this week by both the Virginia-Highland Civic Association and individual citizens.  Two appeals filed on Tuesday by VaHi residents included all listed trees on site (including those around the construction areas), while VHCA’s (filed Wednesday morning) addressed the large trees in the field by Greencove Ave. and a large oak along Virginia Avenue, the removal of which seemed to result from a new stormwater line there.The loss of any tree – particularly one that is otherwise healthy – is difficult on many fronts. Construction activities imperil trees in many ways: reducing (often already compromised) root zones is an obvious one, and damage from nearby construction equipment is another. Trees that are already living in perilous conditions face extreme challenges when the environment around them changes dramatically. While trees lost will be replaced, losing mature trees is a major loss; saving large healthy trees produces many ecological benefits (and also makes the applicant’s tree replacement burden a great deal more manageable.)

The loss of any tree – particularly one that is otherwise healthy – is difficult on many fronts. Construction activities imperil trees in many ways: reducing (often already compromised) root zones is an obvious one, and damage from nearby construction equipment is another. Trees that are already living in perilous conditions face extreme challenges when the environment around them changes dramatically. While trees lost will be replaced, losing mature trees is a major loss; saving large healthy trees produces many ecological benefits (and also makes the applicant’s tree replacement burden a great deal more manageable.)

In addition to the judgment provided by the city Parks Department arborist on this project, we sought evaluations (both informal and formal) from other professionals, none of whom thought that any tree around the active classroom construction areas could be legally or practically saved. However difficult such opinions were to hear, the result was we found no known logical basis or legal support for an appeal to save these trees.

The trees adjacent to the softball field were another matter. While the additions to the school building along Clemont and the new bus lane along Park had been shared and examined many months ago, no review of any field re-design had been offered for discussion or reviewed in any specific way by the Inman Expansion Committee or any other citizen group.

Our dismay with this plan was especially acute because redesigning to accommodate the field’s large trees had always been an obvious and specific goal, along with providing upgraded facilities for Inman’s softball team (at least for practice and perhaps for games, if APS would accept a reduced field size.) VHCA had offered to provide funds for landscape architecture that would incorporate common design elements found both at John Howell Park across the street and at the Georgia Power facility on Ponce Place, and for hiring the very same firms to lead the process. The design phase of this part of the project – to enhance the field for Inman students and create a more visually appealing space for the community at the same time – had been estimated by APS as more than a year away.  We anticipated and looked forward to a public approach that included citizen input into the process.

The recent abrupt tree posting led to multiple discussions with APS, City Parks arborist Chris Kallio, the Tree Conservation Commission, and several private consultants, all in search of a full understanding of what was driving this design and proposed tree removal and an understanding of viable options. (VHCA Planning Committee member Chip Bullock was especially insightful in this regard). The day before the appeal deadline – and after at least one appeal had already been filed by a local resident – we met with Facility Director Alvah Hardy and Expansion Committee Co-Chairs Tamara Jones and Gail Price and asked again that the field trees proposed for removal be stricken from the plan, pending a full review of the goals and options, and that the Expansion Committee be reconvened to review the plans.

Hardy agreed to review the design imperatives and the points we raised – specifics of the field placement, design objectives and options, the size of the space, methods for reducing and controlling stormwater, the alternatives we offered, and to engage an arborist with the specific goal of saving as many trees as possible. Some trees on the APS site will come down regardless of this process due to their ‘Dead Dying or Hazardous’ (DDH) status. He advised, however, that he could not complete any such review or react before the approaching appeal deadline; we proceeded with our appeal on the field trees, which we filed on Wednesday morning. (Click here to read the appeal document we filed; click here and here to view supporting documents.)

Late Wednesday afternoon, Alvah reported that he had begun the processes we had all discussed and that the trees on the field would be taken off the list of trees to be removed pending an examination of these issues, which he hoped would not take more than a couple of weeks. In that regard, he specifically referred to a ‘temporary’ delay, awaiting the creation of a brand new design plan, which he was optimistic would result in reduced tree loss. He also noted that reducing tree loss would provide other design and project benefits.

He anticipates filing an interim revised plan that excludes removal of the field trees by the middle of next week, ideally followed by a new version of a plan for the field by the end of the following week (which is, for reference’s sake, the end of the month). We appreciate this action and have thanked him for it. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the design goals and objectives in a larger and more thoughtful context.

We understand the formal legal process as follows: the appeals that have been filed are scheduled for the Tree Conservation Committee hearing of February 18th  (6:30 PM, City Hall Committee Room 2, or an adjacent space if needed).  No tree work will occur on site pending the resolution of those appeals. APS is looking at alternatives for the field design. Unless there is a brand new decision by the school board to approach the capacity issue differently (and none are contemplated, to our knowledge), the scheduled construction will continue on its existing track this summer.

With the pending appeals in place, many citizens remain very disappointed at the prospect of any tree loss, particularly for an expansion that some believe will not sufficiently address Inman’s capacity challenges and may not result in the pledged and promised removal of the trailers when the expansion is complete. While such issues are not a formal part of the plan to remove trees, they do raise anxiety levels in several contexts.  One of them is APS’ promise that the trailers will leave the site at project completion, a topic that we have discussed several times with District 3 School Board Representative Matt Westmoreland.  He has always plainly and publicly stated – at Inman this past fall and most recently in the last two weeks – that the trailers will depart upon the completion of the new addition.

An improved field re-design does not ensure that any of us will be completely satisfied or pleased with the eventual outcome. What it should do is provide clear design goals and a chance for review and comment along the way. Such a process is not necessarily small-d democratic, nor does it threaten the primacy of school needs in the process.  It does acknowledge that schools and communities have to get along as neighbors,  understanding and considering the ways in which we impact each other and working together on solutions to mutual challenges.

How hard can that be?  We’ll keep reminding ourselves and all parties of the importance of making it happen.

Inman Frosty 5K Road Race Set for December 13

Fosty-5K-2014-600You’re invited to run – in Virginia-Highland and along the Beltline – to benefit Inman Middle School students and teachers. Experienced runners, beginners, and families are welcome. Runners with strollers stay to the back, please.

5K begins at 9 A.M. Early registration is $25, ‘day of’ registration is $30. Check-in and number distribution begins at 8:00 AM.

The race begins at the school on Virginia Avenue, then continues along Atlanta’s beautiful Beltline from Piedmont Park to Old Fourth Ward skate park and back. See map below for course route.

Click here for more information or to register.

2014 Frosty 5K Final map copy

Betsy Bockman Back In As Inman Principal

DSC_0004Dr. Betsy Bockman will return to Inman Middle School as principal, effective July 1. Click here to read yesterday’s announcement on the Inman website, or read the full text below:

Greetings Inman Middle Community,

During Monday’s school board meeting, the Atlanta Board of Education unanimously approved the selection of Dr. Betsy Bockman as Inman’s next Principal, effective July 1. Dr. Bockman served as Principal of Inman for eight years (and at Morningside for five years) before being lured away by APS to serve as the Interim Executive Director for the East Region. While serving in that capacity, Dr. Bockman enhanced her already strong relationships with the Principals of our feeder elementary schools and, along with the other three regional interim EDs, had the opportunity to deeply imbed the voice of Principals and schools as they helped redefine school operations post-cheating scandal. For the past two years, Dr. Bockman has served as Principal at Coan Middle School. You can read about the great things happening at Coan HERE.

Dr. Bockman earned her doctorate in Educational Studies/Urban Education from Emory and also holds degrees from UGA and Georgia Southern. Many of you know Dr. Bockman and her family because they live in the Inman district. She has a daughter at Inman in the 8th grade and is the parent of two rising 6th graders.

Dr. Bockman is excited to be returning to Inman and says: “I had the unique opportunity to experience Inman as a parent these past three years and felt many of the normal frustrations, confusion, and successes that all middle school parents experience. This will help shape my work as I explore new territory as a parent and principal. I know my sons will have a great experience at Inman over the next three years. We all have new things to learn.”

The PTA looks forward to working with Dr. Bockman to continue our support of the Inman Middle School community.

Inman Middle School Expansion Update

DSC_0004Re-posting the following from the Virginia-Highland Morningside Parents Association discussion board:

At the first Inman Expansion Committee meeting held January 21, 2014, representatives from the architecture firm BRPH shared their Conceptual Design Package for the proposed Inman Middle School addition. A project overview can be found on the Atlanta Public School’s Facilities Department webpage at http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/Page/40689. The project’s current tentative start date is December 2014.

The proposed addition would add approximately 20,000 sq. ft. on two levels (approx. 12,000 sq. ft. to the foot print) to the east (main entrance) side of the building. This expansion would include seven regular classrooms, two health classrooms, one technology lab, renovations to the existing band room, additional bleachers in the gymnasium, reworking of the locker rooms and coaches’ offices, and a complete renovation and addition to the main lobby area. A new stairway and elevator in the main lobby area will allow access to the media center and second level. In addition, the student entrance on Clemont Drive will be shifted over to the new addition and will provide a larger buffer zone for students between the street and the building, and a pull-off for special education buses will be added along Park Dr. Enhanced entry security at the front is planned, including a security vestibule closer to the main office. While the plans are in a very early stage, the building layout in general seems to be well thought-out, and we (authors of the VHMPA post) look forward to its continued development.

The next Inman Expansion Committee meeting will be held in March (date TBD). If you have questions or comments regarding the current conceptual design, please feel free to contact the Inman parent representatives on the committee: Tamara Jones (IMS LSC rep) at tjones@keepers-bags.com or Gail Price (IMS PTA rep) at gailanddave2@comcast.net.

Inman Middle School Principal Stepping Down

 

Paula Herrema

Paula Herrema

As reported in VaHi Patch and other sources, Inman Middle School’s principal Paula Herrema has announced she will be stepping down from her post at the end of the month for health reasons.

Veteran principal Thomas Kenner will replace Ms. Herrema on an interim basis at least through the end of the year.

The VHCA would like to thank Ms. Herrema for her outstanding contribution to the education of Virginia-Highland’s middle schoolers during her tenure.

Inman PTA Sponsors Cyberbullying Workshop

DSC_0004Passing along this notice from VaHi resident Cathy Lepik and the Inman Middle School PTA:

The Inman Middle School PTA invites the community to a parent/student cyberbullying Workshop. 

“Submit the Documentary” The Virtual Reality of Cyberbullying™ 

Thursday, January 23, 2014 

6:00 PM, Inman Middle School Auditorium 

Inman students in attendance with a parent will receive a homework pass. Concessions will be offered to benefit the Inman Drama Club. 

A must-see for every middle school and high school student and their parents. SUBMIT* The Documentary is a 45-minute look into the frightening new reality of cyberbullying. 

It’s in the news and it’s in our schools…cyberbullying is bullying by means of electronic technology committed through email, instant messaging, mobile applications, social media, chat rooms, and blogs or through messages and images sent through a cell phone. Because of the anonymity, kids who never thought of being a bully are becoming harassers. By exploring the complicated dynamics behind cyberbullying, Submit the Documentary describes the impact and outcomes of advanced technology and human nature in a lawless, new, social frontier. 

A Q&A will follow, lead by cyberbullying expert, Dr. Patricia Agatson, co-author of the book, Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. Dr. Agatson has been quoted in articles on cyber bullying in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and CNET News, and has appeared on CNN as well as other local and national television segments to discuss cyber bullying. 

SUBMIT* The Documentary is rated PG, but the subject matter is sensitive and may not be suitable for younger children. Please use discretion. Click here to view the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyAtYa6qMWM 

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls cyberbullying the “most common online risk for all teens.”

Please join us for this important evening!

Inman Middle School To Host APS BOE Candidate Forum

DSC_0004The PTA’s of Inman Middle and Mary Lin Elementary schools are hosting a two-hour forum for candidates running for a seat on Atlanta Public Schools’ Board of Education next Wednesday October 9 starting at 6 PM. Candidates for District 1, 2 and 3 seats are expected to attend.

For more information, click here.

Top Ranked Inman Softball Team Surges Into Playoffs

DSC_0004Passing this info along from VaHi resident Mark Arnold. When I told Mark we’d be glad to help promote this in hopes of drumming up some support, he replied:

“The parent turn-out has actually been great!  Lots of fans this year which has not been the case in past years. My motives are somewhat selfish, though – my daughter is one of the two pitchers.  I’m having a blast, probably more so than her.”

Inman Middle School’s softball team is ranked #1 going into the playoffs! The next game is tomorrow October 10 at 5:30 PM at Crim High School, 256 Clifton Street, SE, 30317.

If they win tomorrow there’ll be a semi-final game on Tuesday October 15. If they win that game, the championship game will be Thursday October 17, also at Crim.

Come out and support our neighborhood middle school softball team!

2013 MS Softball Final Rankings2013 MS Softball Brackets

Inman BBQ and Blues Bash Set for October 4

DSC_0004Passing this along from our friends at Inman Middle School:

When: Friday, October 4 from 6-8pm (or later for folks who just can’t get enough)!

When Nancy Zintak and Warren Bruno started throwing this party in the 90’s, the only other school-wide event for Inman parents was a spaghetti supper in the cafeteria. We’ve come a long way since then, and the BBQ and Blues Bash has only gotten better with age. And you’ll want to make sure to come this year because it’s Nancy and John Zintak’s last year (finally!) as Inman parents.

So, come on out to John Howell Park (directly across from Inman) on Friday October 4. Bring your whole family, a cooler if you don’t want water or soda, and your appetite for lip smacking BBQ from Fat Matt’s! We’ll have a great blues band, delicious desserts baked by Inman parents, and – best of all – fellowship with your Inman community. Come out and enjoy what we hope will be the first nip of fall (or a cool drink if it’s still 85 degrees) and meet the parents of all the friends that your kids are texting! You can even skip the ticket line and buy your grub NOW http://inmanmiddleschool.org/inman-bbq-and-blues-bash/.

This is not a fundraiser; it’s a party! BBQ is $7 for adults and $5 for kids.  We’re barely breaking even!  The music and camaraderie are FREE!  So book the date now, and see you on October 4!

VHCA Comments on APS Superintendent Davis’ Letter to Inman Task Force

DSC_0003On July 26, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Errol Davis sent a letter to Inman principal Paula Herrema and the Inman overcrowding task force announcing his decision to recommend a small expansion of Inman Middle School – 6 to 8 classrooms consisting of a total of about 10-12,000 square feet. In effect, these classrooms will replace the temporary trailers now on Virginia Avenue. Click here to read a copy of Superintendent Davis’ letter.

We love and value Inman very much, and we will all be glad to see the discussions end and the trailers go, but in a report and meeting with the Superintendent last January, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association expressed deep concern about the wisdom of making permanent the higher enrolment levels that came with the trailers. All parties agreed that the Inman site did not meet APS’ own guidelines for field space and parking; at their time of installation, the new trailers were presented as a bridge to a solution that would have appropriate amounts of all the school spaces – buses, parking, auditorium, gymnasium, learning center – needed to accommodate the Grady cluster’s expanding middle school numbers.

Our specific worries were those expressed by many citizens on the streets adjacent to the school: the extra capacity had worsened the already challenging traffic issues in the neighborhood. A dozen-plus school buses assembling every afternoon on Clemont and Park Drive – along with waiting parents – and the accompanying general congestion are real quality of life challenges for those near the school. The effects are widespread and especially acute on Clemont and Greencove, which were never designed for such purposes and whose only outlets are onto already overloaded streets.

Last year we were part of an effort – the Inman Transportation Task Force – that has been trying to make this unwieldy situation work as well as it can. The Transportation Task Force has representatives from the school staff, APS administrators, the school PTA, the City of Atlanta Police and Traffic Bureau, VHCA, and Councilmember Wan’s office. This group – along with Inman principal Paula Herrema – have been sympathetic and energetic, and some progress has been made. The issue of there being simply too much traffic in limited space remains.

We assume that the Superintendent has concluded that this new expansion – presumably combined with the departure of Centennial students from Inman, as that school adds a 6th grade in 2014-15 and then a 7th and 8th over the next two years – will address the future middle school needs of the cluster. We hope that this premise is correct; it will be particularly disappointing if shoehorning more students into Inman’s very tight spaces doesn’t solve the long-range capacity problem. Any further additions on the site appear to be undoable.

This also represents an opportunity to try to identify approaches that will mitigate the bus and parent pickup/drop-off issues. To that end, we have been assured by our local School Board representative that she will do her very best to see that our neighborhood voices will be heard and we will be an integral part of the design process. The Superintendent made similar representations when we spoke last winter. We cannot promise exact results; we can say that we will use all the professional resources at our disposal to do everything we can in terms of communication and planning.

Our goals in this process are to produce the best outcomes possible for all those involved. The needs of Inman’s students are very important, including improved field facilities, as the Superintendent notes. The neighborhood needs to address and manage its traffic challenges. If you have thoughts and suggestions, please send them to planning@vahi.org

Lola Carlisle

Chair, VHCA Planning Committee

Inman Student Takes Home 2nd Place in State Technology Fair

Karen Wilksa Photo Credit: Virginia-Highland/Druid Hills Patch

According to VaHi Patch, Karen Wilksa, an 8th grader who recently transferred to Inman Middle School from Finland, won second place in the multimedia category at the State Technology Fair.

Karen created her project – which explains mathematical functions by using photo drawings, text, and a voice-over – in math class.

Max Nevins, an Inman 7th grader, also participated in the statewide competition which included about 700 participants.

Here’s a link to the Patch story.

Save the Date – Inman Frosty 5K!

Inman Middle School’s annual Frosty 5K Fun Run is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10 AM. Sprinters, runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome both for the race – which runs mostly along the BeltLine – and the post-race festivities. You can do it! Register now at www.InmanFrosty5K.com.

Thanks to Whole Foods on Ponce, Phidippides, Judi Weber Designs, Midtown Bowl, Silver Smiles Orthodontics, The Maxim Law Firm, Southwest Rink at Park Tavern, FIG Partners, Epps Aviation, Fifth Group Restaurants, Rapid Signs and FitWit for stepping up to sponsor this year’s Fun Run. If you or someone you know has a business that might be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Adrienne Maxim at adrienne.maxim@gmail.com or Beth Downes at bethdownes@msn.com. And please let our sponsors know we appreciate them by patronizing them when you can!

Interested in helping out with the run as a volunteer? Come help, have fun, and get a t-shirt without breaking a sweat! Sign up today at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409084AACAC292-inman.

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 http://inmanfrosty5k.blogspot.com/. 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 jrousso@atlanta.k12.ga.us.

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 tblevins2@atlanta.k12.ga.us 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 Grady101series@gmail.com.  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 www.atlantafamilies.org.

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 ordcrumpler@atlanta.k12.ga.us.  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

Barefoot Mountain Farms: A Neighborhood Tradition Benefitting Inman Middle School

Where are you going to go to find the most beautiful, long-lasting Christmas tree in town? To Inman Middle School, of course!

Hal and Tina Hollcroft, owners of Barefoot Mountain Farms, have been Inman fundraising partners for fourteen years (since Don Doran was principal at Inman). The Hollcroft’s love of farming and support of children in education has been a driving force in the relationship. Barefoot Mountain’s Fraser Fir Christmas trees are grown with care near Laurel Springs, NC in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This season’s sales will be in honor of Hal who lost his battle with cancer on February 2, 2012.

Tree sales begin November 23rd and the lot – located at the corner of Virginia and Greencove avenues – will be open Monday through Friday, 10AM to 9PM; Saturday & Sunday, 9AM to 9PM. Delivery and set up services are available.

Check out the Barefoot Mountain website at www.barefootmountain.com for a breathtaking view of the farm.

Education Committee Update

By: Nicole Foerschler Horn

Morningside Town Hall Meeting with APS Executives Set For November 14

John O’ Connor, APS Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Vickie Cleveland, Executive Director for Special Education, will be on hand for a town hall meeting to be held Wednesday November 14th at 8:30 am in the Morningside Elementary Media Center. The event is open to all families in the Grady Cluster.

The Office of Student Programs and Services (OSPS) is composed of the following units: Department of Special Education – Counseling Services – Nursing Services – Psychological Services – Parent Involvement Program – Social Work Services – Homeless Education – Truancy Intervention – Student Support Team – Student Placement – Student Tribunal and Alternative Placement – Student Records.

Your are invited to come and learn about the Office of Student Programs and Services which provides comprehensive, collaborative and coordinated services to students, staff, parents and communities. OSPS ensures that all efforts focus on student success and the goals central to APS’ strategic plan. Additionally, OSPS supports acquisition of the skills essential to academic achievement, career and educational decision-making, and personal/social development. These programs are fundamental to providing wrap-around services.

Furthermore, the Office of Student Programs and Services develops and coordinates early intervention strategies to ensure that curriculum, instruction and behavioral practices best meet the educational needs of all students; provides parenting education opportunities; enhances family-school partnerships; develops community outreach; and establishes partnerships with businesses and human services agencies.

Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to the Special Education Committee Chairs, Michelle Constantinides at michelle.constantinides@gmail.com or Kim Martin at kcmartin6@comcast.net.

Support SPARK’s All-Star Book Fair

Springdale Park Elementary’s ALL-STAR BOOK FAIR continues online until November 10th. Buy books as holiday presents, to enhance your child’s library, or to donate to your favorite teacher’s classroom. This is a great way to support our neighborhood elementary school because a portion of the proceeds goes back to SPARK.

Visit http://onlinebookfairs.scholastic.com/default.aspx?f=3032128 to shop until November 10th. If you do not have a student at SPARK, please put VHCA in the “Classroom Teacher” box during the checkout process. All books are shipped to SPARK and we will deliver the books to your home.

Books will be shipped within three days of the close of the online fair.

Questions?  Contact Lynne Kushner at lynnek@me.com.

SPARK Teacher Wins Outstanding Educator of the Year Award

Click here to read a great story on Patch about Brittany Beaumont, a first grade teacher at Springdale Park Elementary who was one of eight educators honored recently with an Atlanta Families’ Award for Excellence in Education.

Inman Middle School Named One of State’s Top Performing Title 1 Schools

Click here to read an AJC.com story about Inman Middle School being one of 46 metro Atlanta schools named to the state’s list of top performing Title 1 schools.