|Back to School: 2013-2014|
|Written by Joshua Smith|
Voices of Faith helps hundreds at annual event
STONE MOUNTAIN—Voices of Faith Ministries hosted nearly 300 students at the church’s Back To School Community Block Party on July 20 in Stone Mountain.
Students in grades k – 12 took in classic carnival fair such as cakewalks, popcorn and snow cone machines, inflatables and grilled hot dogs, while being fitted with new backpacks filled with school supplies.
The event was hosted by Voices’ Outreach ministry with the help of other church ministries such as the Education and Youth departments.
“Ultimately, this event is about using this as an opportunity to reach others for Christ. Seven families gave their lives to Christ on that Saturday,” said VOF Elder Ida Gartrell. “We helped our church members and other members of the community who needed assistance with getting school supplies for their families. Some are without jobs. Whatever the case may be, we know parents are out there that really couldn’t afford school supplies.”
Voices of Faith Ministries is located at 2500 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. Gary Hawkins, Sr. is pastor.
Metro Atlanta Schools:
By the numbers
Atlanta Public Schools
Superintendent: Erroll B. Davis, Jr.
Atlanta Public School System: 50,000
Elementary Schools: 50
Middle Schools: 14
High Schools: 20
City Schools of Decatur
Superintendent: Dr. Phyllis A. Edwards
City Schools of Decatur School System: 3,600 students
Elementary Schools: 4
Middle Schools: 1
Magnet Schools: 0
High Schools: 1
Superintendent: Michael Thurmond (Interim)
DeKalb County School System: Nearly 99,000 students
Elementary Schools: 71
Middle Schools: 17
Magnet Schools: 1
High Schools: 22
Superintendent: Dr. Robert Avossa
Fulton County School System: 93,200 students
Elementary Schools: 58
Middle Schools: 19
Charter Schools: 8
High Schools: 17
Superintendent: J. Alvin Wilbanks
Gwinnett County School System: Nearly 167,000 students
Elementary Schools: 77
Middle Schools: 26
Magnet Schools: 0
High Schools: 20
Superintendent: Dr. Ethan Hildreth
Henry County School System: Nearly 40,000 students
Elementary Schools: 29
Middle Schools: 11
Magnet Schools: 0
High Schools: 10
Superintendent: Richard Autry
Rockdale County School System: Nearly 16,000 students
Elementary schools: 11
Middle Schools: 4
Magnet Schools: 1
High Schools: 3
BACK TO SCHOOL EVENTS:
New Hope sets Back To School Rally
New Hope Christian Ministries, 1738 Fairview Road, Stockbridge, will host a Back To School rally on Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., to encourage students and their families for the upcoming school year.
The event includes free giveaways for school supplies and book bags. Families can also enjoy inflatables, food and music. Ministers will also be on hand to offer encouragement and prayer.
Pastor Richard Leaphart will also pray over all students on Sunday, Aug. 5, 11 a.m. 770-507-4673.
No sales tax shopping days set for Georgia
Georgia is having a sales tax holiday Aug. 9 and 10 to help back to school shoppers get more bang for their books – and clothes, computers and school supplies.
Tax-exempt items will include clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item; single purchases with a sales price of $1,000 or less of personal computers and personal computer-related accessories; and school supplies at a price of $20 or less per item.
Excluded items include accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches, and watchbands, cellular devices, televisions, furniture and books except for children’s and reference books.
For the complete list of tax-free items visit http://1.usa.gov/1aYI9fq.
Service organizations team up for ‘Boot Camp’
The DeKalb County Chapter of the NAACP and the Nu Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will host a Parent Rally and Back To School Boot Camp on Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston.
The rally will begin at 10 a.m. and the boot camp workshops will begin at 10:50 a.m. The NAACP’s Education Committee will lead the workshops. Guest speakers at the rally include: Marcia Coward, president of the DeKalb County Council of PTAs; Lonnie Edwards, Sr., former DeKalb Deputy Superintendent; John Evans, president of the DeKalb NAACP; Greg Gray, president-elect of the Nu Mu Lambda Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter; Dave Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators; Jabari Simama, president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College; and Michael L. Thurmond, interim superintendent of the DeKalb School District.
Workshop topics include: Achieving Quantum Leaps with Baby Steps, Bullying, Child Discipline, Earning College Credit in High School and Dress 2 Impress. Information on college dual degree programs will be shared as well. Lunch will be provided while supplies last. Participants who register in advance, will be served first.
For more information, register at http://dekalbalphas.org or call the DeKalb branch at 404-241-8006.
Stan Watson to host free breakfast, school supplies give away
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson will host a back-to-school celebration at his Community Cabinet breakfast on Saturday, Aug. 3, 9 a.m., at Chapel Hill Middle School, 3535 Dogwood Farms Road, Decatur.
Commissioner Watson’s “Book ‘Um and Bag ‘Um” backpack and school supply drive will benefit the students at Chapel Hill Middle School. Everyone who attends the meeting is asked to bring school supplies for the students.
“It is always an honor for me to find ways to reach back to families who are having tough times and show that we as a community, care,” Watson said. “I am grateful that I can count on my friends who share the same passion to continue to support my efforts to ensure that each student is ready and prepared with the necessary supplies for the upcoming academic year.”
The commissioner’s event is free and open to the public. No registration is required. The commissioner’s office is currently accepting donations of backpacks and other school supplies. 404-371-3681.
City of Lithonia sets Back To School Celebration
The City of Lithonia will host a “Back To School Celebration” on Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Lithonia Stewart Amphitheater, 2515 Park Drive, Lithonia.
Join Mayor Deborah Jackson, City Council members, Lithonia Police Department and other city staff members for a day of family games and live entertainment.
There will be a live broadcast by Future Movement Radio 1420/1430 AM, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Participants can enjoy food, games for all ages, a school supplies give away and a fashion and talent showcase featuring local youth. 770-482-8136 or 770-484-2455.
Higher Level sets second annual Back-2-School Bash
Higher Level Worship Church will host its second annual Back-2-School Bash on Aug. 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7302 Conyers St., Lithonia.
Enjoy a fun-filled day of activities that will include school supplies giveaways (limited supply), outdoor games and bounce houses, free food, live music and DJ, prizes and more.
Tyrone King is pastor of Higher Level Worship Church. 770-482-7160.
Elizabeth Baptist welcomes students to ‘prayer blast’
Elizabeth Baptist Church, 4245 Cascade Road, S.W., Atlanta, will host a Back To School Prayer Bash on Saturday, Aug. 3, 6 p.m.
The church will pray for students as they prepare for the coming school year. Students experiencing hardships can receive school supplies at the conclusion of the event.
The church also will be accepting applications to enter their College Prep program. Open to high school students, the program holds educational workshops, SAT/ACT prep and has other resources such as “Finding Your College Fit” and how to find resources for college.
Stonecrest Library hosts research workshop for “tweens”
DeKalb County Public Library’s Stonecrest branch, 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia, will host “Research Basics for Tweens” on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2 – 4 p.m.
The free workshop will cover how to select and limit your subject, resources available, and how to search and find materials at the library.
The workshop is open to students ages 10 – 12. Registration is required. To register, call 770-482-3828 or visit the Stonecrest branch.
Exchange Park ready for third annual Back-to-School Jamboree
DeKalb County’s Exchange Park Recreation Center, 2771 Columbia Drive, Decatur, will host its third annual Back To School Jamboree on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2 – 6 p.m.
Attendees can enjoy free haircuts, backpack and school supplies giveaways, a health fair, food, games and music. The event also includes a college fair for high school students.
Admission is free, but you must register by Friday, Aug. 2, 11:59 p.m. for free backpacks and school supplies for students. For more information or to register for supplies, call 404-687-3430 or visit www.eventbrite.com and enter “B2S Jamboree 2013.”
Rockdale Superintendent’s Welcome Back Message
After taking a break for summer fun and relaxation, it’s time to return to school! Welcome back students, teachers, parents, volunteers, and staff. We are excited to begin this school year with a focus on continuous improvement through the implementation of our strategic plan.
During the past year, we introduced a district framework for personalized learning and specialty choice options. Four new choice options were made available for this school year and over 300 students will be attending schools outside their attendance zone this semester.
The programs initiated this year are AVID, a college preparatory program, at Sims Elementary, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus at Honey Creek Elementary, International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme at C.J. Hicks Elementary, and the STEM Academy for Environmental Studies at Memorial Middle School. In addition, our Magnet School for Science and Technology became the first STEM certified high school in the state and continues to prepare students for the most demanding STEM educational and career opportunities after high school.
The Rockdale Career Academy opened a new wing to expand its offerings, providing over twenty career pathways and boasts eight industry certified programs. Future plans include health and medical sciences and early college opportunities through partnerships with local colleges. Last spring, we enrolled the first five full-time students in Rockdale Virtual Campus (RVC) and will begin this semester with thirty-two students enrolled in full-time online learning.
RVC offers a wide variety of courses, including Advanced Placement. Most colleges today require some kind of virtual learning, and we have future plans to ensure all students are exposed to online learning prior to graduation. We are making great strides in recreating public education in Rockdale County to customize the learning experience for each student. School choice gives parents and students the flexibility to attend schools or programs that specifically meet student interest and/or talents, and we look forward to building upon this framework over the next three to five years.
Rockdale County has invested in public education through the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) for over 15 years passing ESPLOST I, II and III. Once again, our community will have the opportunity to exercise its right to vote on November 6th on ESPLOST IV. If approved, the funds collected will be used to improve technology, maintain and build new facilities, and strengthen the safety and security of our schools. Please take the time to learn about the projects ESPLOST IV will fund prior to November 6th.
As always, we encourage parents and community members to become engaged in our schools. Research clearly shows that children do better in school when parents are involved and share their educational journey. We also believe that volunteers and mentors can make a major impression on a child’s life and hope you will consider finding a way to share a little bit of your time and talent with us.
As superintendent, I pledge to work cooperatively with you as we build a community alliance that will enable the highest level of success for your child and all children of this community.
Rockdale County Public Schools