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Jackson High School to Reopen Today Following Renovations

The changes are more than cosmetic for Jackson students who spent the last school year attending classes at the Coan Middle School campus in Kirkwood. They underscore the multi-pronged turn-around plan at the high school.

Jackson High School has undergone a major facelift, that includes internal and external changes, including the construction of this glass peak above the entrance. PHOTO CREDIT: Péralte Paul
Jackson High School has undergone a major facelift, that includes internal and external changes, including the construction of this glass peak above the entrance. PHOTO CREDIT: Péralte Paul
GRANT PARK — When students walk through the doors of Maynard H. Jackson High School today, they'll be entering a complex that has been undergoing a metamorphosis for the past 18 months.

The roughly $40 million renovation makes Jackson among the last of Atlanta Public Schools' secondary institutions to undergo a major renovation.

Among the highlights:
  • A new media center
  • A new classroom corridor
  • A rooftop community farm and garden
  • New competition and practice gymnasium
  • Improved performing arts spaces
  • A new turf football field
  • A 400-meter track
  • Baseball field
  • New softball field
  • Three tennis courts
  • A renovated auditorium
  • A renovated cafeteria
(The part of the campus that will include the weight room and shooting range won't be finished until later this spring.)

The changes are more than cosmetic for Jackson students who spent the last school year attending classes at the Coan Middle School campus in Kirkwood. 

They underscore the multi-pronged turn-around plan at the high school, which has historically lagged other high schools statewide in academic performance.

But Jackson has received an influx of change from the district's central office Downtown, which included the hiring of a new principal, Stephanie Johnson.

Johnson, who was a principal in the Clayton County schools, was brought in in 2012 to turn Jackson around academically, reestablish ties with the neighborhoods that feed into Jackson and get the parents of potential students reengaged and boosters for the school.

Admittedly, at several meetings with parents within the Jackson cluster, she said change wouldn't come overnight and that she knew the school would have to win back the communities' trust.

The early signs do show improvement. Jackson, for the first time in several years, had a Star Student, noteworthy in that it brings scholarships and automatic admissions to state universities.

The school also marked and impressive seven Governor's Honors students this year, a net gain of five from the year before.

The biggest win for the school was its acceptance into the highly selective International Baccalaureate program, a rigorous system of academically challenging learning standards that many high schools seek to join.

On Tuesday, as school staff and construction workers put some last-minute touches to ready the campus for today's reopening, Johnson took East Atlanta Patch on a tour.

Please click on the video to watch some of the highlights of the that tour.
Hayden Hancock January 08, 2014 at 10:04 AM
These kids don't need a new sports complex, they need to focus on their academics. According to the schools website, the performance is atrocious... Only 16% could pass Math I?

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