Clayton Connection

Bringing you the latest on Clayton County

Local Students Visit Capitol

Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta

Image by DoNotLick via Flickr

Riverdale High School Technical Student Association members were recently hosted at the Georgia state capitol to garner support from state officials on behalf of Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs).

While at the capitol, students had the privileged opportunity meet various education leaders in the state and have their photograph taken with Gov. Nathan Deal and Sen. Valencia Seay.

The Riverdale TSA team is respected throughout the state having recently won first place at the state conference in the Chapter Team Parliamentary Procedure event. Student Lugman Muhammed took home first prize in the Outstanding Student category.

Congratulations Riverdale TSA students!

By Hannah Springston


Clayton County’s Government Website Received an A+ Rating

For the second consecutive year Clayton County’s government website received an A+ rating for its openness and accountability in displaying information to the public. They received the rating from the Sunshine Review which recognizes the best state and local government websites in the United States.  

The Sunshine Reviews analyzes transparency of a website and how much information they share with their public. In order to received an A+ rating, websites must disclose certain information regarding budgets, meetings, elected and administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records, and taxes.

“The A+ transparency rating that Clayton County received for its website speaks volume to the Board of Commissioners’ efforts to keep the residents of the county informed regarding the day-to-day operations of the county”, stated the county’s director of information technology, Brett W. Lavender. “When we began developing our new website design last year one of our goals was to retain the same degree of transparency that had existed previously.With our website receiving another A+ rating for the second consecutive year, we obviously achieved that goal. I am proud of all of the hard work and effort by the entire IT team that went into the design, implementation and launch of our new, award winning site.”

In 2010 Clayton County was just one of two counties in the state of Georgia to receive an A+ ranking by the national website disclosure program. This year’s 2011 Sunny Award winning Georgia counties also include Cobb, Henry and Richmond.

For more information please visit or

By: Rachel RImmer

Clayton County Public Schools to Host Family and Consumer Science Competition

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

Image via Wikipedia

Clayton County Public Schools will host 184 students representing 25 Atlanta area schools during the Georgia Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Students Taking Action with Recognition (FCCLA-STAR) Regional Event. The competition will be held Saturday, March 12, from 9:30 until noon at Charles Drew High School in Riverdale.

FCCLA is a student led organization implemented for young men and women up to grade 12 with a special interest in Family and Consumer Sciences. STAR events encourage students to excel their knowledge in the field through the application of learning cooperatively, individually as well as competitively. This year’s regional event will include 28 STAR events designed to acknowledge students for their achievements in categories such as chapter successes, leadership skills and career development.  

The reach of programs developed by these students is limitless. A former STAR winner continuing to expand her impact on her community is Ann Tran, an eighth-grader at Babb Middle School. This year her entry under the Action division describes her extensive plan with a fellow seventh-grader to minimize youth obesity: Student Body. The program was conceptualized from Michelle Obama‘s national campaign, America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generations of Kids. The two middle school girls developed multiple workout video clips to be played over the school’s broadcast system each week, allowing students the chance to exercise during homeroom.   

The two highest scoring teams from each category will advance forward to compete in the Georgia FCCLA State STAR Events on April 15, 2011 in Athens. All competitions will be held at the Classic Center.

For more information about the event, you may contact the Department of Communications at 770-473-2735.

By: Carly Krei

Technology Transports Students

Skype Technologies S.A. logo

Image via Wikipedia

It is amazing how technology has changed communication and the learning process.

A group of Clayton County students took full advantage when they had the opportunity to be transported to another culture using Skype, a global online video telephone service that is free and easy to use.

Elite Scholars Academy AP World History students and teacher, Kweku Omowale, had the opportunity to travel across the seas to visit a classroom of 14-year-old students in Turkey.

The students engaged in a three-hour Skype session prearranged between the schools where students and four teachers spent the time sharing videos from their culture, displaying their favorite foods, introducing students and exchanging music before allowing the students to ask each other questions about daily life in the respective countries.

Before the meeting happened, students prepared a PowerPoint presentation to be displayed along with the phone call.

“With Skype, students can learn from other students, connect with other cultures, and expand their knowledge in amazing ways,” Omowale said.

Omowale wants students at the Academy to take full advantage of the creativity technology can inspire and also use blogs and with his students.

If you’d like to contact him to learn how to take full advantage of technology in the classroom, e-mail Omowale at

By Hannah Springston

Neighborhood Stabilization Program Manager to Participate in Leadership Institute

Clayton County’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program Manager Mickie Williams is set to take part in the three-day National Housing Revitalization Institute at Harvard University from March 15-18. Williams has been invited to speak with others across the nation to address the issue of foreclosures and discuss strategies that may result in solutions.

The Center for Community Progress (CCP), the nation’s leading organization that deals with developing effective strategies for the reuse of vacant buildings and land, will hold its first Leadership Institute. Urban planning and community development commissioners from 14 communities from Georgia, New Jersey, Minnesota and Tennessee will participate in the Institute. All 14 communities have many vacant properties and other challenges due to the slow economy and the foreclosure crisis.

Williams is honored to have her team’s efforts recognized and to receive an invitation to the national leadership forum.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Clayton County and me, to join leaders from across the country in a setting where we can have in-depth discussions with national experts to explore causes and solutions that will prepare us to return armed with best practices to address the considerable challenges we face,” Williams said.

For more information about the leadership institute or The Center for Community Progress, visit or call (877) 542-4842.

By Sarita Gandhi

Morrow Elementary named “School of Excellence in Student Achievement”

Morrow Elementary School, 6115 Reynolds Road in Morrow, Ga., has been selected as a “2010 School of Excellence in Student Achievement.” The school serves a culturally diverse population of about 500 students.

Morrow Elementary was selected as one of 22 schools by State Superintendent Dr. John Barge. The school received the award based on its continuous gains in student assessments for reading and math over the past three years.

A few weeks prior to the selection, Morrow Elementary was named a platinum level Distinguished School under the Single Statewide Accountability System. Morrow Elementary received this level for achieving the highest increase in students meeting or exceeding the standards.

“The success of Morrow Elementary School can be credited to a teaching and support staff that is totally committed to increasing student achievement,” said Principal Tim Foster. “The staff understands how important it is to take ownership of each individual student and to provide each of them with instruction that meets their specialized needs.”

“The district is extremely pleased with the achievement of these students and staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Edmond Heatley. “I commend everyone associated with this accomplishment.”

“This is evidence that our commitment to increased rigor in our classrooms is working,” he continued. “We are committed to achieving this level of excellence for all of our students.”

This is the third award for the school since December 2010. The school was one of 34 schools in the district that received the distinction of 2010 Title I Distinguished School from the State of Georgia.

The Georgia Schools of Excellence are selected based on either their ranking in the top 10 percent in Georgia assessments or for demonstrating the greatest continuous gains in reading and math assessments for the past three years. Each of these schools will receive a $1,000 check from Georgia Natural Gas to be used however they wish.

For more information please contact Jacqueline Evans at (770) 473-2735

By: Rachel Rimmer

Geocaching Makes Its Way to Clayton County

An example of container for geocaching game, C...

Image via Wikipedia

Clayton County has recently begun to partake in the newest family-friendly technology trend: geocaching. This virtually-simulated treasure hunt has led approximately 4 million participants on quests around the globe, and is now offered at numerous locations in the Clayton County area.

Geocaching was created over a decade ago to give families and vacationers an incentive to discover more deeply the wealth of local landmarks and locations. Adventurers simply plug a set of coordinates into their GPS from the geocaching website to search for a hidden “geocache” treasure at every location. 

Clayton County is taking advantage of this rapidly growing technology trend in adding nine geocaching locations in the cities of College Park, Forest Park, Jonesboro, Lake City, Lovejoy, Morrow, Riverdale and other nearby site locations.

In participating in geocaching, the county hopes to “give exposure to all the great historic sites and visitor attractions” in the area, according to Gail Webb, Archway Professional and member of the Clayton Historic Tourism Committee.

If you are interested in participating in the hunt for one of Clayton County’s caches, visit here!

By: Carly Krei

Celebrated Author to Visit North Clayton Middle

Cover of "The Skin I'm In"

Cover of The Skin I'm In

North Clayton Middle School will celebrate Read Across America Day on Wednesday, March 2, by hosting vibrant young adult fiction and poetry author, Sharon Flake.

Her stories are celebrated and relevant to the middle school students as the stories are centered on challenges African-American youth face in adolescence.

The visit was encouraged and sponsored by members the schools Girls Leadership Academy, who are big fans of Flake’s books.

The young girls were so passionate about the visit that they raised the funds to bring Ms. Flake to their school through fundraisers.

From 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., the author will be hosting separate sessions getting to know students through book discussions and signings.

Flake is noted for winning multiple literary awards including: the New York Public Library Top Ten Books for the Teen Age selection in 1999 and the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in 2006.

Famous books by Flake include The Skin I’m In, Money Hungry, Begging for Change, Who Am I without Him?, Bang! and Short Stories about Girls and the Boys in Their Lives.

If you would like to visit the event or learn more, NCMS is located at 5517 West Fayetteville Road, College Park, GA.

By Hannah Springston

A Lovejoy Highschool Student Played at Carnegie Hall

On Feb. 19th 2011, Darrell Jones, a Lovejoy Highschool senior was center stage at New York’s magnificent Carnegie Hall. Jones was a part of the 2011 High School honors performance series.

Jones was given the honor to perform at Carnegie Hall from the Board of Commissioners in January. This Saturday, Jones performed with various musicians from across the United States and Canada in New York. The performance was also featured on this weekend edition of NBC’s Today Show on Saturday morning.

Jones began playing string instruments in elementary school and since then he has been very successful. In middle school, Jones learned the viola and since then he has been taking violin lessons. He is a magnificent player in both string instruments and represented Clayton County proudly on Saturday.


By: Rachel Rimmer

Clayton State Laker Women’s Basketball Team No. 1 in Nation

According to a The USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, Clayton State for 2010-2011 is a top-ranked team in the nation in Division II. The Clayton State Lakers (24-0, 13-0 Peach Belt Conference) are the nation’s only undefeated team in Division II women’s basketball and garnered 717 points and 26 first-place votes in the poll.

This is the first time Clayton State has ranked No. 1 in the country, not only in women’s basketball, but also in any sport.

“While we are flattered and honored to be the number one-ranked team in the nation at this moment, we realize that we haven’t won anything,” says Clayton State head coach Dennis Cox. “It just means we have to work a little harder because the target just got a little bigger.”

Congrats to the Lakers and Clayton State University!

By Sarita Gandhi