Georgia Preparatory Academy: 2016 Annual Professional Learning Meeting
Web story by Lisa Kenn of DJJ Communications
With the recent end of the 2015-2016 Georgia Preparatory Academy school year, the GPA and Office of Education staff particpated in the 2016 Annual Professional Learning Meeting at the Callaway Gardens Conference Center on June 6th through 9th. Hosted by DJJ Commissioner (and Superintendent of Schools) Avery Niles and GPA Associate Superintedent of Schools Dr. Audrey Armistad, the theme of this year's meeting was "Every Student Succeeds: A Spectrum of Opportunities".
During the Annual Professional Learning Meeting, Dr. Armistad highlighted some of the Georgia Preparatory Academy 2015-2016 accomplishments which included graduating the largest of students in the history of GPA, receiving AdvancED Accreditation, and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in GPA schools.
Dr. Armistad also reminded everyone involved in the teaching of GPA youth of work yet to be done in upcoming school years. Among the official goals cited for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year included:
• A clear focus with an urgency regarding “Improving Students’ Academic Outcomes” • Strong Instructional Leadership and Professional Learning Communities in our schools • Safe, orderly, and conducive learning environments • Improving home and community relationships with a focus on parental engagement • Implementation of seamless Reentry Services for our students
In her closing statements to the assembled crowd, Dr. Armistad stated that GPA will have met their departmental mission if staff and youth alike continue to focus on their everyday commitments including the preparation of students for successful returns to their home communities via local schools, post-secondary options, and through career employment.
During the conference, many topics regarding how to make the upcoming 2016-2017 school year the most successful in Georgia Preparatory Academy history. As part of this discussion, DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles reminded administrators, teachers, and support staff that they each must set good examples for the GPA students each and every day while preparing to make learning exciting and engaging.
A highlight of the conference was the honoring of Dr. Rufus Johnson as a Legendary Educator for his forty-three years of service adn commitment to the youth of Georgia. During a ceremony in his honor, colleagues of Dr. Johnson spoke highly of all his roles throughout his career including those of a Teacher, Principal, Regional Principal, Employee, Co-worker, and, best of all, Friend. DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles presented Dr. Johnson with a proclamation signed by Governor Nathan Deal and the DJJ Education Department presented Dr. Johnson with a memorial plaque.
Dr. Johnson's presence and steady daily leadership will be missed by the Georgia Preparatory Academy family as he enjoys a deservedly happy retirement.
During the conference, attendees heard from many guest speakers with unique inspirational messages. Some of the great speakers who attended included:
• Professional speaker and Award Winning Author Keith Brown • GPA Teacher of the Year Daniel Sovereign • Special Needs Teacher and Literacy Coach Delphia Boynton • Northeast Health Science Magnet High School Teacher Steve Jones • Atlanta News Anchor and Radio Show Host Monica Pearson • Motivational speaker and Author Kevin "Chuck" Brown