As the fourth largest school system in Georgia, and the largest charter district, Fulton has more than 13,000 full-time employees, including more than 6,800 teachers and other certified personnel, who work in 100 schools and 14 administrative and support buildings. During the 2011-12 school year, approximately 93,000 students will attend classes in 58 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, 16 high schools (includes two open campus high schools) and 7 charter organizations (some charters have multiple campuses but are considered one school).
MPE opened its doors in 1973. We are truly a neighborhood school where families contribute to our accomplishments and culture. Three of our teachers and many of our parents were MPE students. Our school is one of the reasons many choose to remain in or return to our community. There is tremendous pride in being a Mountain Park Mustang. Our school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2003 and 2013! In 2013, we were one of 9 schools in the state of Georgia to receive this honor.
Our students come from neighborhoods of single family and town homes. During the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 7.5% of our students were eligible for free or reduced priced meals. 12% of our students are identified as special needs and 12.5% are identified as gifted learners. Over the past three years, our student population has become slightly more diverse with 80% Caucasian, 5% African American, 5% Hispanic and 5% Asian students. 1% of our students are served in the ESOL program.
Mountain Park’s mission statement is Learn to Think! Think to Learn! This mission guides our work. In addition to exemplary performance on both normed and criterion referenced tests, our students and school have been recognized for accomplishments in other areas e.g.: Georgia Young Author’s Competition, Fulton Technology Competition, Fulton County Spelling Bee, PTA Reflections, Evergreen School, Adopt-A-Stream and Energy Star awards. Staff members have been recognized as the Georgia Gifted Teacher of the Year and Fulton County Counselor of the Year. Teachers have received numerous grants and have been selected for leadership opportunities in the district.
Aligned with our mission statement of “Learn to Think, Think to Learn”, it is our goal to foster students who love to learn and are critical thinkers. Through our implementation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), based on the work of Joseph Renzulli, students are challenged to go beyond the Common Core Curriculum and become navigators of their own learning. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model's $20,000+ budget is completely funded by parent donations and enables us to bring gifted pedagogy to all students.
Differentiated instruction at all levels enables students with learning challenges to thrive as well as provides challenge for those working above grade-level. Teacher teams operate as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), freely sharing best practices, analyzing student work and looking at data to enhance and promote learning for all students. Our implementation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model will be enhanced and revamped next year as we implement our new model for Project-Based Learning and Talented and Gifted instruction.
Our school community consists of high-achieving students, dedicated staff committed to continuous improvement, involved parents and business partners who support a rigorous learning environment. We are invested in supporting the whole child. Visitors often comment about our warm and inviting atmosphere. Teachers and staff truly care about students and one another, creating a nurturing and collaborative environment while maintaining high expectations for all. We work as a team.
Along with encouraging critical thinking, we support activities that foster student leadership such as Student Council, Environmental Club, Interact Club, Drama Club, Art Club, Chorus, Safety Patrols and WMPE, our student produced daily news show. Student Council sponsors monthly service projects, including Relay for Life, Jar Wars for Cystic Fibrosis, Angel Tree Project (gifts for senior citizens) and Reverse Trick-or-Treating at a nursing home, among others.
Our teaching team is committed to continuous improvement. We volunteered to be one of the first schools in our district to undergo a School Quality Review by Cambridge Education America. We embraced feedback from this process to improve learning. This includes ongoing professional development, peer workshops, peer observations and collaboration with teachers outside of our school. Teachers believe all of our students can succeed and are deeply invested in ensuring that they do.
Our highly involved parents are an integral part of our team, supporting our students and staff. We consistently maintain 100% PTA membership. Parent and community volunteers are visible daily: in the Science Lab, media center, cafeteria, serving as academic assistants and mystery readers, working with our Schoolwide Enrichment Model, as well as producing an annual parent/teacher led drama production for over 200 students. Our generous parent support provides SEM speakers, experiences and materials, Cultural Arts performances, Field Day, and technology/facility enhancements.