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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

To help aid the selection of the next permanent superintendent of the district, the Atlanta Board of Education has formed a community panel of more than 15 parents, teachers, students and community leaders.
Community advisory panel formed to advise district superintendent selection
Shalin BhatiaApril 22, 2024

The Atlanta Board of Education has formed a community panel of parents, teachers, students and community leaders to provide community input in...

New AP Capstone teacher facilitates warm environment for students

Brennan Fritts
AP Capstone teacher Lisa Boyd helps Sophomore Jamie Drake with an AP Seminar assignment.

New AP Seminar and AP Research teacher Lisa Boyd began her career with an interest in law. Now reflecting on 27 years of teaching, Boyd said that education has always been her true passion.

“I decided to take the teacher test and within a couple of weeks, I got a job teaching high school,” Boyd said. “[High school students] are intellectually stronger, so we can talk about deep ideas, but there’s still so much growing to do and it’s such a pivotal time in terms of preparing you to be ready for college and life.”

Collaboration with students is important for student success, Boyd said. 

“I believe in making sure the environment’s comfortable so that everyone feels welcome and open to share, open to be involved in the classroom,” Boyd said. “We do a lot of group work. We do a lot of things where we’re having conversations about who we are and writing about that. I think those are really key, important concepts.”

In order to make her class more pleasant for students, Boyd keeps a coffee and tea machine in her classroom that students use freely. She continues to allow her students to get coffee or tea whenever they want at Midtown.

“Having an environment where kids can say ‘I’m a little tired today, a cup of coffee would be great’ or ‘some lemon ginger tea would be awesome’ just makes everything a little easier,” Boyd said. “I’ve done that for years, so I’ve got tons of coffee cups because my students have donated them over the years.”

Boyd said she particularly likes teaching sophomores because she can see them mature throughout the year, in both personality and in the class.

“I love teaching sophomores because they go through such a big transformation moving from that level of moronic, kind of silliness, to sophistication,” Boyd said. 

The AP Capstone program, designed to teach students research skills applicable to college work, encompasses both AP Seminar and AP Research. Through the Capstone program, Boyd said she uses classwork assignments that challenge her students to think outside the box.

“So far in [Boyd’s] class, we’ve been looking at essays and annotating them,” Sophomore Siri Bluestone said. “She’s also been cutting out parts of essays and poems and we’ve been arranging them like a puzzle. These exercises really make us think. Even though it’s a challenge, it is always satisfying to complete.”

Junior Kate Rebillot is a student in Boyd’s AP Research class and said she enjoys Boyd’s passion for learning in class.

“I like that [Boyd] really cares about us learning, instead of just the grades that we get,” Rebillot said. “I think she will be really supportive of my work and make sure that I can succeed to my own expectations.”

Sophomore Jamie Richards is taking AP Seminar this year. He said he appreciates Boyd’s teaching style, as it matches his learning style.

“I really like [Boyd], she’s a good teacher,” Richards said. “She’s really good at giving me assignments that are actually teaching me. I also like that she is very thorough. When I go to ask her questions, she makes sure that I truly understand the answer before I walk away.”

Sophomore Jamie Drake, in Boyd’s AP Seminar class, said that Boyd’s personality is what makes her stand out as a teacher.

“She’s very fun and energetic.” Drake said. “I think she and the general [AP Seminar] curriculum will help me strengthen my presentation skills and my ability to work with people.”

Sophomore Gabrielle Witmer said that Boyd’s classroom is well-organized and adds to the overall experience of a community.

“I like her room; it’s really well-lit and laid out,” Witmer said. “The room has circle tables like it used to be in elementary school. So it has the warm, nostalgic kind of feel.”

As Boyd continues with her first year at Midtown, she said she hopes to immerse students in a welcoming environment. 

“Learning doesn’t happen in isolation,” Boyd said. “We are much better when we do it together. My philosophy is that I want my classroom to be a community. I want kids to feel nurtured and heard and to have it be kind of a second home. I think we do our best work when we are supported by others and when we are a community.”

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Brennan Fritts
Brennan Fritts, News Section Editor
Brennan Fritts is a sophomore and this is her first year writing for the Southerner. She enjoys volleyball and hanging out with friends.

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