Category Archives: Board of Education

Marietta City Schools Elects Board Chair and Vice Chair

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Jason Waters, Chair

The Board of Education of the City of Marietta unanimously voted to elect members Jason Waters, Chair and Allison Gruehn, Vice Chair, during the Board’s January 8 work session.

Waters, a Cobb County native, was elected to the Board in 2013 and re-elected in 2017.  “I am honored that my fellow Board of Education members have trusted me to hold this position for another year,” said Waters.

Professionally, he works as a Chief Financial Officer and Licensed Mortgage Originator and is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™. Mr. Waters earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Georgia. He and his wife Katie have three children, with the oldest two attending Marietta City Schools.

Allison Gruehn, a 1991 graduate of Marietta High School, first joined the Board in 2015 and was re-elected in 2017. Representing Ward 4, Gruehn and her husband Chris have

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Allison Gruehn, Vice-Chair

two children attending Marietta City Schools. A graduate of Davidson College, Mrs. Gruehn is an agent with Johnny Walker Realty.

Board member Angela Orange will serve as the district’s Legislative Liaison and Kerry Minervini will continue for a second year as the Board’s liaison to the Marietta Schools Foundation.

In her capacity, Orange will work with the district’s legislative delegation to advocate for Marietta’s legislative priorities. She will also work closely with the Georgia School Board Association to better understand legislative policies that may impact the district.

Minervini continues to support the Foundation, which provides much-needed support to the district’s students and staff, updated monthly on decisions made by the Board and also informs fellow BOE members about the activities at the Foundation.

“As superintendent, I am grateful for our Board of Education and their continued commitment to the students, families, and staff of our district,” remarked Superintendent Grant Rivera. “I am honored to serve and support our Board officers as we continue to make MCS special, different, and better.”

The current slate of officers will serve for one year.

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MCS Central Office Conference Room Named for Lemon Street Principal

Willie Hill_2018_00031On Friday, December 14, Marietta City Schools honored former Lemon Street High School Principal Willie Hill with a dedication ceremony. The district named the main conference room at the Marietta Central Office after Mr. Hill to honor of his legacy as long-time school and community leader.  

Speaking to the audience of 75 guests were his wife, Nellie Swint Hill, his daughter, Yolanda McGhee, Earnest Williams Chapter President of Omicron Mu Lambda/Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Don Johnson representing Mount Zion Church, and former Marietta High School Assistant Principal and first African American leader at Marietta City Schools, Josetta Walker.

A native of Brooks County, Georgia, Mr. Willie Hill served as principal of Marietta’s high school for Black students, Lemon Street High School, from 1965 – 1967. He was the school’s final principal prior to its integration with Marietta High School.

Post-integration, Mr. Hill was named assistant principal of Marietta High School and later became principal of Marietta’s Wright Street Elementary and Park Street Elementary schools.

During the event Superintendent Grant Rivera addressed the Hill family, along with various community members in the audience,  “When I look up at this inscription on the wall and his picture, it’s a reminder to me as superintendent and as an educator in this community to live up to the values of Mr. Hill.”

Upon his retirement as a school leader, Mr. Hill worked as Director of Educational Planning and System Development for Marietta City Schools. A long-time member of Zion Baptist Church, Mr. Hill was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Eden Lodge #46, the NAACP, and Board Member for the MACO Credit Union.

Mr. Hill was married to Nellie Swint Hill for thirty-eight years. To this union two children were born: Yolanda Hill McGhee and William Bernard Hill.

Mr. Hill departed this earthly life in 1997, but his legacy in the Marietta City Schools lives on in the fortitude of our students, teachers, and staff.

His picture and biography will now hang at the  entrance of the district’s main conference room

Lockheed Elementary Awarded $70K STEM Innovation Grant

For several years, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has partnered with Lockheed Elementary to support STEM education through their Community Relations Department. This year, they wanted to increase their support to reach more students and to have a greater impact on the Lockheed school community.  Through the vision of Lockheed’s STEM teacher, Merrill Sperling, Lockheed recently received a $70,000 grant from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. In the spirit of inspiring innovation and creating learning experiences through the use of technology, this grant will fund a new STEM Innovation Lab (iLab) at the school.

“What started out as a simple question has evolved into what will be an innovative place for the students, staff, and community of Lockheed Elementary to enjoy for many years,” said Merrill Sperling, the STEM teacher at Lockheed Elementary. “Lockheed Martin has been so kind and generous to Lockheed Elementary and is committed to assisting our great school, students, staff, and community.  We are truly blessed to have them as our partner.”

This Innovation Lab will be designed as an elementary school version of Lockheed Martin’s iLab, a place where their engineers and scientists create and collaborate with others around the world using advanced, cutting edge technology. The Innovation Lab will be a 21st Century learning environment where teachers and students have access to unique learning experiences and technology that promotes STEM education, which is a critical focus for Lockheed Martin.

“As an industry leader and community partner, Lockheed Martin is committed to supporting and collaborating with our school by providing programs and resources that enhance learning through innovative technology that will inspire our students to become scientists, engineers and mathematicians in the future,” said Coretta Stewart, principal at Lockheed Elementary.

The iLab will provide an amazing learning environment where students and staff can engage in innovative and collaborative learning experiences to explore, design, and create. Marietta City Schools is appreciative of the continued support of Lockheed Martin and their investment in our students.

“Lockheed Martin is proud to elevate our long-standing partnership with Lockheed Elementary School,” said ShaTonya Nicholson, Community Relations Manager at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA. “We are excited to expose young minds to the wonderful world of STEM and look forward to their future contributions as a result of this engagement.”

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A Golden Radish and a Garden for MCS

Marietta City Schools has been selected as a 2018 Gold Level Golden Radish Award recipient! The Golden Radish Award salutes Georgia school districts for best practices in farm to school programs, such as local food procurement, exposing students to new foods through taste tests and incorporating gardening and cooking activities into the curriculum. In its third year being recognized, the MCS Nutrition Department is proud to receive the gold level award for the first time. The nutrition department was recognized at the November 2018 Board of Education meeting.

MCS Nutrition Director, Cindy Culver believes the creativity and hard work of her team made the difference this year. “From school gardens to partnering with groups such as Atlanta United, they’ve gone above and beyond to introduce our students, parents, and teachers to the benefits of healthy eating.” Check out this video from Park Street Elementary and find out why our MCS Nutrition Department is #SpecialDifferentBetter.

Andrea Archuleta: MCS November Employee of the Month

BOE_November_2018_00019Andrea Archuleta is the Gifted and Talent Development/MILE teacher at Dunleith Elementary School, joining MCS in 2017. During her first year at Dunleith, Andrea has made an impression on her students and fellow staff. A veteran educator with almost 20 years of experience, Andrea launched Dunleith’s MILE and Jr. Beta Clubs in addition to sponsoring the STEAM Day, You Be the Judge Mock Trial, Honors Day, and Dunleith’s Safety Patrols.

The Jr. Beta Club students are involved in several service projects this year. They have written letters to our Troops, hosted a cheer station at the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure, and are partnering with Walton Village seniors in the community, along with donating toys with the seniors to children in need during the holidays.

She continuously attends workshops and trainings to deepen her professional and

personal growth. Andrea’s colleagues say she is a “shining star” and everyone is drawn to her high spirit. She works tirelessly to collaborate with teachers and support staff to extend themes and units into her classroom with the students she serves. One of her passions is serving others, which she does by volunteering at local shelters, senior citizens communities, and her church.

Andrea is crafty and enjoys doing “DIY” projects, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends. Andrea has one daughter who attends the University of Georgia and is her “joy.”

We congratulate Andrea Archuleta for being our November District Employee of the Month!

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Two Marietta Students Named National Merit Commended Students

BOE_November_2018_00074The National Merit Scholarship Corp. (NMSC) has announced the names of 35,000 Commended Students nationwide in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. This year, two Marietta High School students, seniors Lily Grace Sheram and Andy Chinuntdet have received the honor of Commended Students. Both were recognized during the district’s November Board of Education meeting.

Commended Students are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit – Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) used for the program entry.  Lily Grace and Andy received a Letter of Commendation from the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

About 1.6 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Lily Grace holds a 4.5 GPA and has shown interest attending Brown University, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill or Emory University after graduation. Andy also boasts a 4.5 GPA and has plans to study aerospace engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or Georgia Tech next fall.

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Bryce Woods: MCS Student of the Month

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Student of the Month Bryce Woods is a fifth-grade student at the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics. Bryce is a high achieving student, who puts forth 100% effort in all that he does. He works extremely hard to keep his grades up, never giving up or showing frustration. Bryce never hesitates to ask questions when he needs help. Bryce is a compassionate student who always puts his classmates and others ahead of himself. His teachers describe him as fair, collaborative, creative and sensitive, and a student who creates a team feeling in his small groups.

Whether on the football field or on the basketball court Bryce is a natural leader.
He has shown great maturity at this young age, letting others shine while he steps back and is proud of what they accomplish.

One example of Bryce’s character was during an activity called “Kindness Rocks” the
MCAA students collaborated with the Early Learning students. They painted Kindness rocks with the pre-K students. Bryce befriended a pre-K student and they made an instant connection, he showed extra patience and kindness working with this student.
“He is a leader in the classroom, throughout the building and on the field as QB of
his football team,” said Dr. Tricia Patterson, principal of the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics.

Congratulations to Bryce Woods, the Marietta City Schools Student of the Month!

Marietta Launches New ‘Uber-Like’ Bus App

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Marietta City Schools introduces “Marietta Ride 360,” a mobile application from Traversa which gives an MCS family the ability to access bus routes, stops, pick-ups and drop-offs in real time using GPS technology. Parents can find the app in iTunes or Google Play Store by searching for TRAVERSA RIDE 360.        

“We have a responsibility to over-communicate with our MCS families when their child is on a school bus,” said Superintendent Grant Rivera. “Marietta Ride 360 is a smartphone app, much like Uber, that will detail both the location of a bus and the exact arrival time. No more guessing and no more waiting.”

Parents and guardians will also be able to share the information with others if they so choose. “Marietta City Schools is the second school district in Georgia to offer this service from Traversa, one of the nation’s leaders in routing software,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Erick Hofstetter. “Our transportation team has worked tirelessly over the last year to bring this GPS technology to Marietta City Schools.  Our goal has always been to make the life of an MCS family just a bit easier – we are excited about doing just that with this new app.”

Parents with questions about the new service can call the MCS transportation office at 770-429-3110. Visit www.marietta-city.org/ride360 for more details.

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Marietta City Schools Outpaces State and Nation in SAT Scores and Gains

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African-American, Hispanic, and White Students all show greater gains than their counterparts throughout the state and nation.

SAT mean scores for Marietta City Schools (MCS) when compared to other public schools in the nation, outperformed other districts by 23 points. Students saw significant score increases in both Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math.

Compared to other districts in Georgia, Marietta outperformed the state in EBRW (+9) and Math (+8). Overall, Marietta High School (MHS) students not only outscored their counterparts throughout the state and nation but also grew significantly with a gain of 15 points overall from 2017. When compared to private/independent schools as well as public schools, Marietta’s class of 2018 also outperformed the state (+8) and nation (+4).

SAT2Comparing scores from 2017 to 2018 in public and private schools, Hispanic students across the nation saw no change in SAT mean scores and the same subgroup only saw a 6 point increase in the state of Georgia. In Marietta, however, Hispanic student’s scores surged with a 17 point increase, outpacing both the state and nation in growth. The same can be seen with African-American students who moved up 9 points, higher than the (+5) increase in the nation and (+8) increase by the state. MCS White students saw the largest jump in scores with that same subgroup increasing nationally (+5) and in Georgia by (+11), but in Marietta by (+37).

The class of 2018’s Erin Griggs, a third generation Marietta graduate and freshman Psychology major at Florida A&M University attributes her preparedness for the SAT to the rigor of her classes at Marietta High School. “At Marietta, we had the opportunity to take a diverse offering of classes including International Baccalaureate, AP, and Honors,” said Griggs. “The tough classes plus the academic support provided by our college advisor and tutors in the Student Life Center gave me a lot of confidence as I prepared for the SAT exam.”

Marietta also saw an increase in the number of students taking the examination with 251 students sitting for the test for the cohort of 2018, an increase of 35 students.

“While it is exciting to see our students performing better on game-changing exams suchClassof2018Stats (1) as the SAT, it is equally exciting to me to see more students being encouraged to take the test,” said MCS Superintendent, Grant Rivera. “When students are learning to their fullest potential, instead of being intimidated by these types of exams they embrace them, knowing that they are well prepared by our high school to succeed.”

Currently, 300 juniors and seniors are enrolled in the district’s new for-credit SAT prep course offered during the school day, and that number is expected to climb each semester. The Board of Education’s choice to hire a full-time college advisor also contributed to the number of students taking the exam.

“Access equals an increase in opportunity,” said Marietta Schools Board of Education chair Jason Waters, “And here in Marietta where our mission is to prepare students in such a way that they can maximize their career, college, and life opportunities, it is important that all students are encouraged to take high-stakes exams if they have dreams of attending post-secondary institutions.”

MHS Class of 2018

Andrea Langston: MCS Employee of the Month

Andrea Langston is a Special Education teacher at Hickory Hills Elementary and has been with MCS since 2012. When leadership identified the need for a self-contained class for grades 3-5 at Hickory Hills, Andrea developed sensory exercises and activities during her summer break to ensure student success.

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Andrea is described by her peers as a quiet, unsung hero who is committed to giving her all to her colleagues and students. She enjoys implementing various strategies and techniques to best assist her students. And while positive and upbeat, she prefers to stand in the background and remain humble about her accomplishments.
Andrea moved to Georgia from Virginia with her husband and children in 2012. Three of her children attend Marietta City Schools. She loves singing, dancing attending church and has a passion for working with the elderly and children.
Congratulations to Andrea Langston, the Marietta City Schools Employee of the Month!
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