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Pike Nurseries to host Hydrangea Jubilee Saturday
by Neighbor Staff
May 01, 2015 06:32 PM | 2108 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Pike Nurseries is hosting its annual Hydrangea Jubilee Saturday at all store locations. Customers can learn how to plant and care for hydrangeas during two free classes – one during the devoted day Saturday at 9 a.m. and one Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Guests will even learn how to change their flower color by adding sulfur or alkaline to the soil.
The hydrangea hype does not end with the weekend event – Pike Nurseries is also featuring four special hydrangea varieties, including the Annabelle, Nantucket Blue, Blue Enchantress and After Midnight, in stores through Wednesday. These vary in color, shape, size and light requirements, making them perfect additions for landscapes and gardens of all kinds.
Information: www.pikenursery.com/pages/hydrangea-jubilee

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North Fulton parents unite against standardized testing
by James Swift
jswift@neighbornewspapers.com
May 01, 2015 06:24 PM | 718 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Crabapple Crossing Elementary mom Sheila Souza is one of many local parents concerned about the impact of standardized testing on students. “My daughter is in the third grade and the way she talks about the Georgia Milestones is like the way I talked about the SAT as a teenager,” she said. “They are already feeling that pressure and it just seems crazy.” A year ago, several north Fulton parents came together to form a grassroots organization opposed to the “overtesting” of children. The group — Parents Advocating 4 Children and Teens with Teachers Advocating 4 Children and Teens, or PACT with TACT — is now rallying against the state’s new end-of-year examinations. Organization co-founder Kay Hutchinson said the Common Core-aligned Georgia Milestones Assessment System does not accurately measure students’ understanding of in-class material. Furthermore, she said the items included in the assessments are not developmentally appropriate. “Some of the examples on the Georgia Department of Education website are startling,” she said. “The amount of writing that third graders are expected to bring together, the information they are supposed to integrate, seems really heady.” Melissa Lynch, who has children attending Crabapple Crossing Elementary, said the emphasis on test preparation is depriving students of a true education. “We’re missing out on a lot of time to actually spend on enriching the kids,” she said. “I personally feel like it’s a crime because they have lost so much instructional time this year preparing for the test.” Since the state does not have a specific opt-out policy for standardized testing, Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said students do have the ability to refuse assessments. “Parent rights are very important, and if they opt out of the test, we have asked teachers to provide [students] with an alternative activity,” he said, “because, ultimately, you can’t force a student to take a test.” According to Fulton County Schools Director of Assessment Connie Maggert, parents have sent in more than 600 requests for their children to opt-out of the Georgia Milestones. Maureen Curtis, a parent of students at Northwestern Middle and Milton High, was among those who asked for her kids to forego the new assessments. “I felt confident that my son’s grades, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores in the eighth grade and the teachers’ feedback have all been enough for me to know that he is ready to start high school,” she said. “What we need to remember is that these are children, not data.” She said Fulton County Schools did a particularly poor job rolling out the assessments in high schools. “The students are taking final exams, Advanced Placement exams and the Milestones all within a two-to-three-week period,” she said. “There have been many overlaps within those testing periods, where students are missing final exams because they are taking the Georgia Milestones tests that do not even count this year.” Cardoza said test results, expected to return this fall, will be used as “benchmark” data for future assessments. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the test results will be used as promotion criteria for third, fifth and eighth graders. The assessment outcomes will also reflect 50 percent of teacher evaluations. “Every day, I hear about a couple of more teachers leaving for a different school district, a private school, a different state or other professions because the stress is too much,” said Northwestern Middle and Milton High mom Cheri Schuster. The high stakes testing, she said, could possibly goad educators into a predicament similar to the Atlanta Public School System cheating scandal. “It’s contaminating the relationships and the decisions made,” she said. “It’s setting us up for a toxic situation.” Crabapple Middle and Roswell High mom Jennifer Friedman said many Fulton County educators are frustrated yet afraid to publicize their concerns. “We want to speak for them and make everyone aware of how stressful their environment has become,” she said, “and how they feel shackled by this process of teaching to the test.” With schools investing so much into assessment outcomes, Hutchinson said educators are losing their love of teaching, while students are losing their love of learning. “We feel jaded, that McGraw-Hill, Pearson and other testing companies are making big profits off the backs of our children and teachers,” she said. “We’re OK with reasonable amounts of data, but we’re baffled as to how we’ve gotten here … it’s just enough.” Cardoza said the 2016 assessments will be similar to this year’s tests. He said it is too early, however, to determine if promotional or evaluation waivers will be allowed or if parental opt-out criteria will change.
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Nina McLemore boutique to host history center fundraiser
by Neighbor Staff
May 01, 2015 06:21 PM | 202 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Atlanta History Center’s Members Guild, a volunteer fundraising arm for the Buckhead facility, will host shopping and cocktails for a cause May 14 at 6 p.m. The event will take place at the Nina McLemore Atlanta Boutique at 110 E Andrews Drive in Buckhead.
Nina McLemore, raised in the South, understands the importance of Southern heritage and is a strong advocate of giving back to its community. Fifteen percent of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the center.
Information: www.ninamclemore.com

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Beacham & Co. closes third $3 million-plus sale of 2015
by Neighbor Staff
May 01, 2015 05:54 PM | 502 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Buckhead-based Beacham & Co., Realtors Friday announced it closed on the sale of 2973 Habersham Road, the fifth highest sale in Atlanta this year according to the local Multiple Listing Service. Glennis Beacham represented the seller. Located on a 1.33-acre lot in the Peachtree Heights neighborhood of Buckhead, the 1925 Tudor-style cottage was originally designed and built by Joel Chandler Harris’ family. Harris was a journalist, fiction writer and folklorist best known for his collection of Uncle Remus stories. The home recently underwent a meticulous restoration by builder Rick Fierer and architect Greg Palmer. The proper-ty’s superlatives include a walk-out loggia with second kitchen and massive fireplace overlooking a saltwater pool and terrace areas. The main house has three bedrooms plus a detached carriage house and guest apartment with a fourth bedroom and bath. Other notables include eight masonry fireplaces and a slate roof. The Habersham sale was the third this year of $3 million or more by Beacham & Co. No other Atlanta real estate firm has participated in three separate sales of $3 million or more this year according to the service. In the single-family detached home market, Beacham & Co. is Atlanta’s top selling office by dollar volume sold since opening its doors in 2006.
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Buckhead Coalition votes in new members, replaces others
by Neighbor Staff
May 01, 2015 05:30 PM | 493 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Buckhead Coalition, a chamber-like, invitation-only organization of 100 CEOs, Friday announced it has voted in 10 new members to replace departing ones. The coalition, which charges its members $9,000 in annual dues, has a waiting list of almost 30 applicants. The new members are: W. Millard Choate, president and CEO of Choate Construction Co.; Steven DeFrancis, CEO of Cortland Partners; Kevin Greiner, president and CEO of Gas South; Mark Kauffman, president of Kauffman Tire Inc.; Meredith Leapley, CEO of Leapley Construction; Jonathan D. Rodbell, partner of Atlanta Property Group LLC; Tony R. Smith, president of Simmons Bedding Co.; Carol B. Tomé, CFO and Executive Vice President for Corporate Services of The Home Depot; R.E. “Ted” Turner, chairman of Turner Enterprises; and Jeremy Wing, founder and president of Pay-scape Advisors. In addition, the following firms changed their representatives as follows: DPR Hardin replaced Brantley Barrow with Regional Manager Russ Brockelbank; OliverMcMillan replaced Paul Buss with CEO Dene Oliver; Brightworth LLC changed Chris Dardaman to Managing Partner Ray Padrón; Cartel Properties named Vice President G. Matt Rohrig for George Rohrig; CBRE Inc. replaced John Shlesinger with Senior Managing Director David P. Lanier and Branch Banking & Trust Co. replaced Brant Standridge with new Group State President Dontá L. Wilson.
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