August 21st Virtual Transform Westside Summit: Preparing for Back to School on the Westside
The August 21st Transform Westside Summit featured several principals from Atlanta Public School’s Washington Cluster as Westside Future Fund President & CEO, John Ahmann, moderated a panel discussion on preparing students, parents, and teachers for the new school year. Joining the panel were Dr. Angela Coaxum-Young, Principal at Booker T. Washington High School, and Dr. Diamond Ford, Principal at Hollis Innovation Academy. Contributing to the discussion via prerecorded interviews were: Dr. Margul Woolfolk, Principal, M. Agnes Jones Elementary School; Tiauna Crooms, Principal, Brown Middle School; and Yolanda Weems, Principal, Tuskegee Global Academy. Craig Lucie, Owner of Lucie Content and former WSB-TV News Anchor, fielded questions from viewers to the panelists.
Dr. Diamond Ford, Principal at Hollis Innovation Academy
Speaking to the unique challenges of conducting virtual learning, Dr. Ford expressed the mindset with which she and her staff embrace the unfamiliar: “Something we’ve been saying since we started school is that we are all first year principals, all first year teachers.” Dr. Ford also highlighted the virtual town hall meetings she holds with parents, teachers, and students while emphasizing the need to stay connected to ensure student success.
Dr. Angela Coaxum-Young, Principal at Booker T. Washington High School
Echoing Dr. Ford, Dr. Coaxum-Young also spoke about strategies for helping students avoid internet fatigue and called on community partners to help provide safe alternate workspaces to assist in keeping students engaged in learning.
Principal Crooms, Principal Weems, and Principal Woolfolk each spoke about the lessons from the 2019-2020 school year that their schools will carry into 2020-2021. Each highlighted the specific ways their schools are supporting students—especially those with special needs, parents, and staff. The principals also envisioned the role virtual learning will likely continue to play in education after COVID-19.
Tiauna Crooms, Principal, Brown Middle School
Yolanda Weems, Principal, Tuskegee Global Academy
Dr. Margul Woolfolk, Principal, M. Agnes Jones Elementary School
Kathleen St. Germain, Senior Property Manager at Taylor Made Property Management, also joined the summit to share updates and information about Home on the Westside, WFF’s high quality affordable housing program which prioritizes those with ties to the Historic Westside. Residents at risk of displacement are encouraged to apply for Home on the Westside here or call 470-377-1696.
David Garcia, Voter Education & Outreach Coordinator at Fulton County’s Department of Registration & Elections, helped close out the summit by sharing crucial voting information for 2020 elections. Fulton County residents are encouraged to send questions on voting logistics to email@example.com.