Category Archives: High School

MHS Exceptional Students Manage Successful Coffee Cart for More than a Decade

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MHS student Darby Parker collects money from a science student during the early morning Coffee Cart delivery. This is the 12th year that the school-based enterprise has been managed by students with special needs.

Every weekday morning, students at Marietta High School can be seen taking a quick break to pick up their coffee and hot chocolate orders as the school’s “Coffee Cart” makes its way down the hallways. On any given day they will meet Darby Parker, one of the leaders of the small business, who helps to organize the orders and collect payments from students and faculty members.

A school-based enterprise operated by students with intellectual disabilities, the Coffee Cart has been in operation at MHS for 12 years with 25 students participating in its daily operations. The cart provides students like Darby with the opportunity to work on the real-life skills they are learning in class and can translate to life after high school such as counting money, making eye contact with customers, greeting customers, prepping beverages, and stocking the carts.  Participating students, like Darby, work on three domains: education/training, employment, and daily living skills.

“Exposure precedes preferences, so it is essential to provide students with the opportunity to try various jobs, skills, and activities, so they can understand what their preferences, strengths, and interests are,” says Angelina Snider, Transition Specialist and Success Coach in the district’s Department of Special Services (DSS). “Participating in the coffee cart provides the students with an opportunity to grow in confidence and their skills. The students interact with almost everyone in the building.  The teachers begin by placing the students in jobs according to their strengths and the students rotate through the jobs throughout their time at the high school.”

“Darby and her peers receive individualized support from their teachers, based on their individual needs,” explains Michele Bealing-Sayles, Assistant Superintendent of Special Services at MCS. “School-based enterprises are essential for students with intellectual disabilities to practice real-world job skills with support while in high school.”

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recognizes March 4-8, 2019 as Exceptional Children’s Week across the country. This year’s theme is Building Blocks for Successful Students.  The Council for Exceptional Children is a professional organization of educators, parents and students dedicated to advancing the success of children with disabilities.

Darby_Exceptional Students_00009Marietta serves 924 students with disabilities in grades Pre-school through 12, ages 3 through 22. MCS offers services in every area of exceptionality, including visual impairments, autism, blindness, deaf hard of hearing and learning disabilities. The district provides assistive technology at all grade levels, enabling students to better participate in the general education setting.

“Our primary goal involves the use of system, school, grade level, and student-specific data to meet the needs of all learners, helping to grow the experiences and opportunities of students with exceptionalities while in school and after graduation,” says Bealing-Sayles.

So the next time you see the Coffee Cart coming down the hallway, know that it is more than an opportunity to take a break and enjoy a beverage, it is a specially designed program created to provide soft skills, work, career and employment-training opportunities for our exceptional students so that they graduate from high school better able to be successful citizens.


Marietta High School Students Win Big at GHSA Literary Meet


Marietta High School students competed in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Region Literary Meet at North Cobb High School on March 2, 2019. MHS finished 2nd overall with three students advancing to the State competition as region champions.

The GHSA Literary competition was created to promote sportsmanship and an appreciation for and study of music, speech, and other fine arts through Region and State competitions.

This is the first time in 15 years that Marietta has competed in this prestigious competition. Other high schools participating included Hillgrove, McEachern, North Cobb, and the overall region champions – Kennesaw Mountain High School.  The state meet will take place on Saturday, March 16 at Buford High School. Learn more about the upcoming state competition here.

Rhetorical Essay – Samira Butts, REGION CHAMPION

Extemporaneous Speaking – Calvin Rausch, REGION CHAMPION

Humorous Interpretation – Carson Shearer, REGION CHAMPION

Dramatic Interpretation – Jocelyn Floryance, SECOND PLACE

Duo Interpretation – Jessica Napier & Vesey Banuel, SECOND PLACE

Girls Vocal Solo – Nailah Williams, SECOND PLACE

Boys Vocal Solo – Aidan Fortenberry, THIRD PLACE

Girls Trio – Nailah Williams, Calvin Rausch, Lourdes Skeete-Dennis, THIRD PLACE

Boys Quartet – Aidan Fortenberry, Daniel Jacobs, Thomas Lewis, Nicholas Sims, THIRD PLACE

Argumentative Essay – Wyatt Strassman, FOURTH PLACE

Personal Essay – Cameron Payne, FOURTH PLACE

Congratulations and job well down to our MHS Literary team, and a special thank you to the team’s coaches and instructors – Lars Grevstad, Carla Mills, Shannon Lawson, Theresa Duarte, Tim Nielson, Holly Smith, and Craig McKinney.


How to Access Your Child’s MAP Scores

In Marietta, we believe in empowering families, allowing home to become an extension of a child’s classroom.  In an effort to better engage families, Marietta City Schools has updated the district’s assessment webpage with a new video that explains both how to access Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) scores and how to leverage such scores to better support students.

Marietta City Schools invites parents with students in grades K-9 to learn more about this assessment, which is given up to three times per year and gives valuable information to MCS staff and families about how best to support children. MAP is a state-aligned, computerized adaptive assessment program that provides Marietta City Schools educators with the information they need to improve teaching and learning and to make student-focused, data-driven decisions. Educators use the growth and achievement data from MAP to develop targeted instructional strategies and to plan school improvement.

With the help of Sarah Pulley, West Side Elementary School’s TOTY this past year, we offer this video resource to answer two basic questions: 1) where do I find my child’s MAP results, and 2) what should I be doing at home with these results?

View the MAP Parent Toolkit:

Learn more about assessments in MCS:

Marietta High School Students Place 3rd in Regional Reading Bowl

Marietta High School’s reading bowl team placed third in the Regional Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl competition, Saturday, February 9th.

The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl is a rigorous reading competition in a game format created by former Dekalb County media specialist Helen Ruffin as a way to use books to encourage students to read.  Teams from schools throughout the state of Georgia compete to show off their knowledge of the selected books.

MHS students competed against 5 other area high schools, including Walton, South Paulding, East Paulding, Griffin, and  South Cobb.

Beginning in September, the students read 10-20 Georgia Peach Award nominated books and were quizzed on their knowledge during the six-round competition. The MHS Reading Bowl Team consist of 6 students, Bennett Lindsley-Smith (Freshman), Isabel Hardy (Sophomore), Amelia Floryance(Senior), Abigail Creyts(Sophomore), Laurel Thornton(Senior), and Chinemerem Amechi(Sophomore).

Congratulations on an impressive showing at regionals, and demonstrating what makes Marietta special, different, better.

A Perfect ACT Score for MHS Junior, Emily Howard

BOE_February_2019_00086A Marietta High School student has achieved a perfect score on the ACT – something that less than one percent of students in the United States can add to their resume.

Emily Howard, a student at MHS, recently scored a perfect composite score of 36 on the American College Test or ACT. According to ACT statistics, only 0.195 percent of all test takers earn a perfect score, putting Emily in the top one percent of all test takers in the nation.

Emily first took the ACT her sophomore year and scored a 33. But, when she learned of her most recent score she was shocked, to say the least.

“I was sitting on my couch when my mom mentioned the scores had come in,” Emily explained.  “I quickly logged in and checked.  When I saw the scores, the only thing I could say was, “What?!”  I was in total shock and even started crying. The score was so much higher than I was expecting, and I was thrilled.”

Melanie Myers, Emily’s mother, said Emily was hoping to get a score high enough for some potential international college applications, so it was wonderful to see her reaction to not only meeting that goal, but exceeding it.

Emily is a well-rounded student who participates in several extracurricular activities, including serving as a member of Beta Club and Interact Club. She is also a founding member of the MHS Science Club. Emily is excited about the opportunities her score will provide.

“It opens many doors for me both academically and financially,” Emily said. “My score qualifies me for many scholarships, and I can also apply to more summer programs and colleges with better chances of getting accepted. My score is a step towards my future and it means a lot to me.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science, each scored on a scale of 1-36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students have learned in school. Students who earn a 36 composite score have likely mastered all of the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in first-year college courses in the core subject areas.

Emily also has some advice for students who are striving to score high on the ACT. She says you have to be willing to put in the work.

“If you have resources open to you, use them,” she explained. “Take the official exam freshman or sophomore year to get a starting point.  Don’t let that score discourage you! Remember it is a baseline and you will improve.  Before you take the official exam again, sit for some practice exams and build up your testing stamina.  Always get a solid eight hours of sleep the night before the exam, and eat a good breakfast the day of the exam. In the end, if you put the work into it, you will do well.  I wish everyone luck in any future testing!”

Emily Howard was recognized at the February Board of Education meeting for her perfect ACT score.

Marietta City Schools Named to the 9th Annual AP® District Honor Roll

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MCS is one of only five school districts in Georgia to receive this honor

Marietta, GA –  Marietta City Schools has been named to the 9th annual AP® (Advanced Placement) District Honor Roll by the AP College Board. Marietta is one of only 5 school districts in the state of Georgia to receive this honor and joins 373 total schools in the U.S. and Canada to receive the distinction.

“To be recognized on the AP® Honor Roll is a tremendous accomplishment,” said MCS Superintendent, Dr. Grant Rivera. “This recognition from the College Board is an excellent metric of how our students and teachers in our Advanced Placement classrooms are succeeding, and I am incredibly proud of the success of our district AP Program, as well as our students who continue to show a high level of motivation and commitment to their learning.”

The annual AP® District Honor Roll recognizes districts for increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Honor Roll Districts defy the expectation that expanding access automatically results in a decline in the percentage of exams earning scores of 3 or better.

“Marietta High School students are extremely fortunate to have some of the best AP teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with throughout my career,” said Marietta High School Principal, Keith Ball. “Three of our AP Teachers, Dr. Bishop, Dr. Vermilya and Mrs. Dejarnett, have more than 125 years of combined experience and tremendous success. I am excited to continue to build our AP program and to provide more access, and improved performance, for all students.”

According to the College Board, which awarded the distinction, reaching these goals indicates that Marietta High School is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit from rigorous AP course work. In 2018, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. Inclusion in the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2016 to 2018, looking across 38 AP Exams, including world language and culture.

National Signing Day: 11 Marietta Student-Athletes Sign Letter of Intent

Marietta High School held their National Signing Day ceremony for 11 students signing their letter of intent for athletic scholarships on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at the Marietta Performing Arts Center (MPAC).

Usually held the first Wednesday of February, National Signing Day has traditionally been the first day that a high school senior can sign a binding National Letter of Intent for a collegiate sport with a school that is a member of the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Only 2% of approximately 7 Million high school athletes get the opportunity to play at the collegiate level, making this a special celebration for student-athletes receiving scholarships across the nation.

“Signing day is always a special day for high school athletes who have committed to play at the next level,” said Marietta City Schools Athletic Director, Craig McKinney. “It symbolizes the moment where are all of their years of hard work result in the achievement of a dream.”

8 of the 11 students are scholar-athletes, with 5 boasting 4.0 grade point averages.  

McKinney shared that with the support of their parents and coaches, these young men and women have learned a valuable lesson that will serve them well in their transition to adulthood.  

“By setting goals, developing a plan and staying committed to that plan, success will follow no matter what the goal is.”

The following students signed their letter of intent during Marietta’s National Signing Day ceremony:

signing day_Marietta High School_2019_00010Ellie Hall, Cross Country/Track & Field
University of Georgia

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Ani Henderson, Cross Country/Track & Field
University of Georgia

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Karena Grigenas, Track & Field
University of New Orleans

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Josie Konigsmark, Track & Field
Kennesaw State University

signing day_Marietta High School_2019_00051Kevin Abrams-Verwayne,  Football
Garden City Community College

signing day_Marietta High School_2019_00062Kareem Hobbs, Football
University of Tennessee – Martin

signing day_Marietta High School_2019_00078CJ Swan, Football
University of Tennessee – Martin

signing day_Marietta High School_2019_00095Mac Thompson, Golf
Georgia State

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Rafaella Abbud, Soccer
Kennesaw State University

signing day_Marietta High School_2019_00106Kacie Banks, Tennis
University of New Haven

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Junmoke James, Tennis

Lehigh University

Congratulations to all of our Class of 2019 athletes!

Multiple Scholarships Available for Marietta Seniors through Kiwanis Foundation

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The Marietta Kiwanis Foundation is offering multiple scholarships to high school students from Marietta City and Cobb County. The deadline to submit applications is March 15, 2019.

This is a memorial scholarship established in 1988 by Mr. and Mrs. James L. Howard in memory of their late mothers, Mary Miller Turner and Ellie Morris Howard.  This undergraduate scholarship is available to a student who is entering or attending an accredited college or university AND who is either a staff member of the Cobb County Schools or the Marietta City Schools or who is a dependent of such a staff member.  Selection emphasis will be placed on academic achievement, character, and financial need.

This is a memorial scholarship established in 1993 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation.  This scholarship is available for any high school graduate or equivalent who is committed to pursuing vocational/technical education at Chattahoochee Technical College.  Selection emphasis will be placed on academic achievement and financial need.

This is a scholarship established in 1991 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation.  This scholarship is available to assist a teacher or student accepted into an accredited college or university in Georgia who is pursuing a major in the field of special education.  Selection emphasis will be placed on academic achievement, character, and financial need.

This is a scholarship established in 1997 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation.  This graduate or undergraduate scholarship is available to a student entering or attending an accredited college or university AND who has been a member of a Kiwanis Key Club or Circle K for a year or more or who is a family member of a currently active Kiwanis Club of Marietta member.  Selection emphasis will be placed on academic achievement, character, and financial need.

This is a memorial scholarship established in 2001 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation in honor of the late Raymond Steve Tumlin, Sr., a dedicated Marietta Kiwanian, business, civic, and community leader in Cobb County.  This scholarship is available to a graduate or undergraduate student entering or attending an accredited college or university and who is currently a member of a Kiwanis Club, Kiwanis-sponsored youth organization or who is the son, daughter, or spouse of a currently active Kiwanis Club of Marietta member.  Selection emphasis will be placed on academic achievement, character, and financial need.

This scholarship was established in 2006 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation in honor of Mr. Bill Kinney, the Senior Associate Editor of the Marietta Daily Journal.  This scholarship is available to a graduate or undergraduate student entering or attending any accredited college or university and who is pursuing a major in the field of Journalism.  Selection emphasis will be placed on financial need and academic performance.

This scholarship was established in 2010 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation to recognize those who are left behind.  This scholarship is available to a dependent of a person who is either on active duty or employed in the reserve, or a veteran of the military, law enforcement, fire department, or EMT services.  Applicants or their parents must reside or work in Cobb County. The applicant agrees that verification of dependency may occur during the selection process. Emphasis for this award will be placed on the essay, character, and academic achievement.

This scholarship was established in 2018 by the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation in memory of “The Flag Man”,  Glenn Graham. The MCS Superintendent will submit 3 candidates by March 15 for final selection by the Kiwanis Scholarship Committee

The Marietta Kiwanis Foundation Scholarships are made possible through the generous financial gifts of individuals, businesses, and community residents throughout Cobb County., and through the organization’s Flag Project where over 1,600 American flags are placed in front of businesses and residences throughout the community six times each year.

For more information and to apply, visit the Marietta Kiwanis Foundation website at

Marietta’s Ellie Hall Selected as 2018-19 Gatorade Runner of the Year


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“Ellie Hall is by far the best female athlete I have had the privilege of coaching,” said Jack Coleman, Head Cross Country Coach at Marietta High School.

Marietta High School’s Ellie Hall has been selected as the 2018-19 Gatorade Georgia Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. The most prestigious award in high school sports. This is the Gatorade Company’s 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, and the award distinguishes Hall as Georgia’s best high school girls cross country runner. The award recognizes Hall, not only for athletic excellence, but her commitment to academic success, and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the racecourse.  

Candidate selections are determined by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee which consists of an elite group of high school sports evaluators with strong experience in assessing thousands of student-athletes in the country based on their statistics, GPAs and community service.

Hall is the state’s only girl to qualify for a national championship meet, placing 3rd at the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional championships this past season, crossing the line in a personal-best time of 17:48.40—one of three times she clocked a sub-17:53 over 5K last fall.

She also led her team to a state class title rounding off her campaign with a top-100 finish at the national NXN Final (89th in 18:36.40).

“Ellie Hall is by far the best female athlete I have had the privilege of coaching,” said Jack Coleman, Head Cross Country Coach at Marietta High School. “Ellie trained herself into the runner she is through consistent work in-season and offseason. She paid particular attention to doing the little things to make progress, and she never had a year in which she did not show significant improvement. She’s a role model for the team on and off the racecourse.”

Hall has maintained a 4.46 GPA in the classroom and has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in cross country and track and field on scholarship at the University of Georgia this fall.

BOE_December_2018_00048 (1)Active in a number of school and community organizations, Hall is a member of the Beta Club and the Marietta High Athletic Council. She’s also a member of Marietta’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership team and was selected for a scholarship-supported summer leadership camp through her church community.

Hall make’s history as Marietta High School’s first Gatorade Georgia Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year and is now in the running for the national award to be announced in February. Past winners in include top nationally celebrated athletes such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Derek Jeter.

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