Congratulations to the 1st Place Parkside Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Team!

And the winner is………………


Congratulations to our stellar readers and quick fingered competitors who took home the first place award at this weeks Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl (HRRB) competition for Atlanta Public Schools.  Team members will now advance to the Regional Reading Bowl on Saturday, February 5th at Clayton State University.

HRRB is one of the most rigorous reading bowls in the state.  Selected 4th and 5th graders from Parkside read 17 middle school level novels, all of which are Georgia Book Award Nominees, during the summer and the school year and attend after school practices to prepare for the competition.  We are so proud of our students, their parents, our Media Specialist Mr. Clay and our teacher volunteers!

Learn more about the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl:

Several Years ago Mrs. Helen Ruffin,a very dynamic and innovative person was the library media specialist at Sky Haven Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia. In 1985, she served on the selection committee for the Georgia Children’s Book Award nominee program. This literature program began in the Department of Language Education at the University of Georgia’s College of Education. This literature program inspired her to use the nominee books to encourage her students to read.


The Annual Father/Daughter Dance Needs You!

Are you a creative mom or dad who loves to plan a party? Well, one of Parkside’s biggest parties is looking for parent volunteers and a dedicated committe chair to assist with this year’s Father / Daughter dance! For more information on how you can help, email us at

Daddy and Daughte enjoy the Parkside Father Daughter Dance 2010

Dr. Luck has Super Bowl fever…maybe we should throw some cold water on him!

If you dropped your child off in the carpool this morning at Parkside, you couldn’t miss our Principal, Dr. Luck, twirling his “terrible towel,” in the air, jumping up and down ranting about his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.  Don’t worry, only a few children were frightened 😉

Dr. Luck has "Steeler Fever"....again!

Quizlet is an online gem for parents

Looking for an easier way to create flashcards, quizzes or mock tests for your child at home? Hoping to find free pre-made learning aides that can be used the night before a big test? Then I highly suggest you try Quizlet.

Last night my 5th grader had a big science exam. The material was more than I could handle on a Sunday afternoon and honestly, covered topics, that I hadn’t seen in years!  After about 30 minutes with Quizlet we had transformed her notes and study guide into a tool that she could use to study online, on my phone and even print out and take with her. The program allows you to create your own work or use the cards and quizzes created by others. And best of all, it’s free!  Try it at

Weekly Legislative Wrap-up 23 January 2011

Weekly Legislative Wrap-up 23 January 2011
by Otha Thornton on 1/24/2011

Week 1 -2011 Legislative Assembly

What has Georgia PTA done for You lately?

Short report this week

Week 2 – January 17-23 Administrative Notes

This weekly report will provide the most current education information available and will be

A powerful voice for all children,
A relevant resource for families and communities, and
A strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child.
The Assembly did not meet this week, so members of the Legislative Committee attended the Joint Appropriations Committee’s budget briefing, the State Board of Education meeting and Georgia Public Budget Institute Conference on the 2011 midyear and 2012 budgets. See summary report on the budget recommendations for this midyear FY11 budget and next year’s budget are on the Capitol Watch section of Georgia PTA’s website,

Please share this information with all of your PTA officers, unit members, teachers, and school administrators. We welcome feedback and will be responsive to your comments and concerns.


Information for Week

Our resolution was passed by the Georgia PTA Board of Directors this weekend to oppose the food tax Tax Council recommendations . For the second week I am enclosing again Prefiled legislation posted by Mrs. FitzGerald that deals with revenue funding for education and SPLOST .


Quality Basic Education programs are recommended for an austerity reduction of $60 million. Equalization is not to be cut at all, but pupil transportation will take an $8 million decrease in FY 12

Be aware that school nurses are recommended for a 10% cut higher than average for any agency. It will be just under 25 million for FY12.

High School Math

High School Math if scheduled for another adjustment. Beginning with students entering 9th grade in Fall 2011, it is recommended that local boards of education will decide if the current integrated math or the traditional Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II sequence will be taught

Charter Schools

At the January 20th State Board of Education meeting, the board delayed the revocation of 3 charter schools renewals this month and has placed on agenda for the February meeting. The Board anticipates that a decision from the Supreme Court on commission charter schools will take place next month. This is not locked in stone, just projections. PTA supports charter schools that have been approved by the local school boards and encourage parents with children in charter schools to attend these meetings. We did not have many charter school parents at meeting. The one parent that was there that I spoke with stated that, “It was a very eye opening experience.” For the three charter schools that were up for revocation, there were no parental spokespersons present.


Working Legislative Priorities

At the Joint Appropriations Committee this week, Dr. John Barge reviewed the FY 11 and 12 Budgets with the committee.

School Nurses was one of the major questions asked by one of the representatives during this session. We are continuing to see a decline in funding for nurses. For the FY 12 Budget, we will see a decline from 26 to 24 million dollars.


Weekly Quote/Reading Recommendations

“Don’t put first rate energy into second rate things ”

The Outliers – The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell – Exceptional book that addresses the components of success: cultural legacy, opportunity, and preparation

Otha Thornton

Georgia PTA Legislative Chairman

Parents: Important Meetings This Week

Two very important meetings will occur this week in our city that deal directly with the Atlanta Public Schools system, it’s recent probation sanction by SACS and the six required actions that Board Members must take to keep Atlanta Public Schools from losing it’s accreditation.

APS Board Meeting: Monday, January 24th, 2pm at 130 Trinity Ave. Mark Elgart, President of SACS will be present to answer Board member questions. It is at this meeting that the Board will vote whether to accept the report or challenge the report.

Community Meeting: Tuesday, January 25th, 7:30pm in the Grady High School Theater, 929 Charles Allen Drive. The purpose of this community meeting is to provide information and answer questions about APS’ accreditation status.

Parents, we highly suggest that you familiarize yourself with the recommendations made by the report.  It is important that all stakeholders, including parents, are up to date on the developments of this probation, the ongoing CRCT investigation by Federal agents and the overall well being of our school district.  A copy of the report from SACS is available on the APS website.  Click HERE to read the report.

Message from Brenda Muhammad – Board of Education Representative

Dear District 1 Constituents:

By now, you have undoubtedly heard media reports regarding the accreditation of Atlanta Public Schools. I wanted to use this forum to communicate with you directly the facts of this determination, and to reassure you that our children’s education is not at risk.
The first thing you should know is that the decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to place Atlanta Public Schools on probation in no way applies to the system’s academics. It is strictly directed to the Board of Education. Let me assure you that APS accreditation is fully intact and, while the ruling only affects high schools within the system, your graduating seniors will graduate from an accredited school.
It is also important to know that Board members take our governance role very seriously. It is never our intent, nor would we ever do anything to jeopardize the education of our children. My fellow Board members and I are on one accord in our resolve to right the ship. We are currently reviewing the AdvancED/SACS report, and have been given nine months in which to answer six criteria. We will do whatever is necessary to retain our accreditation.
Our first report is due May 1st, with the final report due by September 15, 2011. I will keep you informed throughout the process of all reports submitted, before SACS monitors return on September 30, 2011 for final review.
I invite you to visit the APS School Board website at to review the AdvancED/SACS report in its’ entirety. There is an area designated for public comment. I encourage you to post your comments.
Finally, I strongly encourage you to visit our board meetings so that you can witness for yourself the operations of the board. Our Committee of the Whole meetings are usually scheduled for the first Monday of each month. Please refer monthly to the APS website for exact date and time of these meetings. Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 24th at 2pm. Mr. Mark Elgart, Executive Director of AdvancED/SACS is scheduled to attend and answer specific questions of the board regarding the recently received report. If your schedule does not permit you to attend this or other meetings, please let me continue to hear from you as we work together for the good of the children of Atlanta.
Brenda Muhammad
Atlanta Board of Education District 1
404 226-5484