- Created on 17 December 2012
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed hosted the 29th Annual Mayor's Masked Ball on Saturday, December 15, and with the help of celebrities, dignitaries, civic leaders and public officials, the event raised more than $1 million dollars.
It was Mayor Reed's third UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball, and the money raised will benefit UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest private provider of scholarships and educational support to minority and low-income students, and its 38 member colleges and universities. The Annual Mayor's Masked Ball is one of metro Atlanta's signature fundraising galas and premier social events of the holiday season.
"I strongly believe HBCUs are vital in preparing the next generation of African-American business owners, attorneys, doctors, artists and civic leaders and I am honored that with our annual UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball, we are able to help fund the education of thousands of students matriculating at the Atlanta University Center," said Reed. "This year's gala was truly a night to remember, and I thank the UNCF for their unwavering commitment to our nation's future leaders."
Mayor Reed co-hosted the Annual Mayor's Masked Ball with UNCF's president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax.
"Every year, the Mayor's Masked Ball brings together Atlanta leaders who are committed to education and to help the next generation of doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, business executives and entrepreneurs get the education they need to compete in a global economy," said Lomax. "The Mayor's Masked Ball is a not only a fantastic celebration, but it's an opportunity for our community to come together to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get to and through college."
This year's UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball attracted more than 1,200 attendees, including entertainers from film, television and music, major sports figures, elected officials and civic leaders and volunteers. Mayor Kasim Reed and Dr. Michael Lomax began the evening with a VIP Reception. Following the VIP reception was the signature Parade of Stars and Dignitaries, a dinner, silent auction and the Parade of Masks. Dancing followed as guests enjoyed musical entertainment by legendary national recording soul artists Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.
According to the mayor's office, this year many celebrities and dignitaries lent their support to the UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball including Jasmine Guy and Dawnn Lewis of "The Cosby Show" spin-off "A Different World," singer Jennifer Holliday, star of the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls"; comedian and actor Chris Tucker of the "Rush Hour" franchise and "Silver Linings Playbook"; and Larramie "Doc" Shaw of Disney's "Pair of Kings" and "The Suite Life On Deck."
Co-chairs for this year's ball were Ms. Lovette Russell, community advocate and philanthropist and Mr. Curley Dossman, Jr., president, Georgia Pacific Foundation. The Marquis Sponsors for the ball included Coca Cola Company, Delta Air Lines and UPS. The co-founders of the UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball are Ambassador Andrew Young and Ms. Billye Suber Aaron.
In the past six years, UNCF's Atlanta Mayor's Masked Ball has raised almost $10 million to support students who attend Atlanta's four UNCF member institutions – Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College — as well as Atlanta students attending other UNCF colleges and universities, and all the 60,000 students who attend UNCF member institutions.
Photo: Billye Aaron, who created the Mayor's MASKED Ball with Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young in 1984, with her husband Hank Aaron enjoying the 2012 ball.
- Created on 17 December 2012
The DeKalb County School district is being placed on probation by an accrediting agency.
In justifying the move, the agency accuses the school district of a decade of "poor, ineffective governance," announcing Monday that it's placing the district on probation, leading to possible removal of the school board.
After a six-month investigation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools found evidence of missing money, school board nepotism and board member influence on which schools students, particularly athletes, attend.
DeKalb is “perilously close” to running out of cash, said Mark Elgart, the president and chief executive officer of SACS parent company AdvancED. Despite annual revenues approaching $1 billion, some students don’t have textbooks and most have no access to computers or the Internet. This is because the school board, administrators and others in decision-making positions put the interests of adults before those of children, he said.
For more: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/school-board-chairman-says-district-can-recover-fr/nTYRF/
- Created on 13 December 2012
High school graduation rates for black and Hispanic students are lagging in Georgia, according to a recent analysis.
US Department of Education statistics for the 2010-2011 school year show that 60 percent of black students and 58 percent of Hispanic students in Georgia graduated within four years, which trails the state's overall 67 percent graduation rate.
Three states _ Minnesota, Nevada and Utah _ had lower graduation rates for Hispanic students than Georgia. Seven states had lower graduation rates for black students. In Georgia, the 76 percent graduation rate for white students trailed all but four other states.
Interviews with educators suggested there are many reasons students fail to graduate, from unplanned pregnancies to a desire by students living in poverty to quit school and get the extra income that even a low-paying job offers. None of those problems are necessarily tied to race.
''The statistics are very disturbing,'' said Sterling Hudson III, a former dean at Morehouse College who runs Child First USA, a nonprofit education group that works with at-risk students. ''With all of the so-called reforms in Georgia, you'd think we'd be doing better.''
One problem is that standards in initial grades are too low, Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa said.
''You have a false sense of security all along the way,'' he told the newspaper. ''As they get older, they're not prepared to handle the more rigorous coursework. They can't handle it.''
In Georgia, high school graduates earn more $8,000 more annually than dropouts, according to a 2011 study by the Alliance for Excellent Education. Georgia Superintendent John Barge said not all parents understand that.
''Having been a high school principal, I've heard parents say, 'I didn't finish school, and I'm doing fine,''' he said.
- Created on 14 December 2012
Three new DeKalb County School District (DCSD) construction projects were recently initiated with groundbreaking ceremonies.
Using funds from a voter-approved Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST), the projects include:
• New construction of a 35-classroom addition, an auditorium and an amphitheater and renovations to the existing building at Southwest DeKalb High School;
• the addition of a two-story classroom addition and renovations to common
classrooms at Miller Grove High School; and,
• a new ninth-grade wing, new administrative area and new common classrooms at Martin Luther King Jr. High School.
In November 2011, DeKalb County voters approved SPLOST IV to support construction in DeKalb County. The one-cent tax, which will help fund projects through 2017, will fund more than 300 projects district-wide.
"We are so grateful to the citizens of DeKalb County for voting to support the future of education in our community," said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson.
SPLOST has provided more than $1.2 billion in revenue to support the Capital Improvements Plan for DCSD since 1997. Since then, 22 new schools, 22 major renovations/modifications along with many other capital renewal projects have been successfully completed. Additionally, SPLOST funds have been used to improve technology in the classroom and replace school buses as needed.
To view the list of projects in SPLOST IV, visit http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/splost-iv/board-approved-splost-iv-sequence-schedule.pdf
Photo: DeKalb County School District Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson was joined by Board of Education member Jesse "Jay" Cunningham, Jr. and other community members at a recent groundbreaking ceremony at Southwest DeKalb High School.
- Created on 12 December 2012
(CNN) -- Florida A&M University, under fire in the hazing death of a drum major and over its finances, was put on probation for one year by an accrediting agency, officials said Tuesday.
FAMU expects more details of the sanction within the next week, the Tallahassee institution said in a statement.
Administrators learned from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges that FAMU's accreditation is in jeopardy. The loss of accreditation would put thousands of students at risk of not being eligible for federal financial aid.
The regional accrediting agency has expressed concerns about academic policies, student rights, the control of finances and the institutional environment, according to FAMU. It asked the university to provide information about policies that protect students when they participate in university-sanctioned events.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement separately investigated alleged "financial irregularities" involving the marching band.
"It is important to emphasize that FAMU remains an accredited institution, even while under the probation sanction from SACSCOC," interim university President Larry Robinson in a statement. "We are committed to addressing the areas of concern, and ensuring that FAMU is compliant with all SACSCOC accreditation standards."
The probation comes as a Florida circuit court judge weighs whether to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought by the family of drum major Robert Champion Jr., 26.
Champion died in November 2011 after being beaten on a bus in Orlando, Florida, after a football game at which the school's famed marching band performed.
The hazing was part of a ritual known as crossing the bus, in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members, band members have said.
In September, FAMU responded to the lawsuit by filing court documents saying that the institution was not responsible for Champion's death. The school asserted that Champion broke the law and school policies when he willingly took part in the hazing that killed him.
"My reaction is that the school did not take the responsibility to keep my son safe," Robert Champion Sr. said.