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State Superintendent Observes Banneker Transformation

Superintendent Woods w Banneker 3D students State School Superintendent Richard Woods visited Banneker High School recently to see and hear the school’s “turnaround story.” Once designated as an underperforming school, the school has been removed from the state’s failing schools list and was named a “Beating the Odds” school in 2018.

“We have new programming, a 3DE school-within-a-school that creates a rigorous standard-based, high learning environment,” said Banneker Principal Dr. Duke Bradley. “The fact is, there’s something new about our academic team that has transformed us more than anything else.”

3DE by Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization dedicated to re-engineering high school education nationwide, was introduced at Banneker in 2015. Heading Banneker’s 3DE program is Dr. Ava Debro.

“Any student zoned for Fulton County can apply to the 3DE program,” Dr. Debro said. “We look at grades, but because of the relationship we have with Junior Achievement in Georgia, we want all students, not just high achievers.”

3DE’s school-within-a-school design integrates real-world connectivity through case study methodology, project-based learning and real-world experiences. Developed as a joint venture between Junior Achievement (JA), school systems and the business community 3DE shifts education from learning in silos to infusing real world concepts and themes across subjects. The four-year program engages students and prepares them for success.

Superintendent Woods observed a planning meeting of Banneker 3DE instructors, and asked how the 3DE content could be integrated into regular classrooms. “We recently talked about how our curriculum allows us to sit down and plan and talk about interest rates in a business class and organically talk about interest rates in a math class,” said instructor Connie Moran.

DeAnte Kent, 3DE Student Government Association (SGA) President, was voted to the leadership position by the students. “I am the voice of the students,” Kent said. “If our class wants to do something, I come back and talk with Dr. Debro and the team about it.”

Woods also visited the Student and Family Engagement (S.A.F.E.) Center, and learned how students’ personal needs are met through the center’s weekly food giveaways, clothing closet, and washer/dryer availability.

“We have an extensive amount of kids who are living at extended-stay hotels,” said S.A.F.E. Center Director Igola Richardson. “They can drop their clothing off with us or do it themselves.”

“We’ve learned how students have overcome,” said Superintendent Woods. “It’s also reflective of the good things that are going on within the school.”

Soon Banneker will graduate its first 3DE senior class. “It’s exciting now to see our first graduating class in May 2019,” said Dr. Debro. “We are the only school in the country that has remained true to the 3DE structure.”

“We’re glad that we’re able to tell a new story about Banneker High School,” Dr. Bradley said.