For two years, Stanley Sellers III, has avidly served as Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta’s Site Coordinator at Parklane Elementary (Fulton County). Parklane Elementary is one of the lowest academically performing elementary schools in East Point, Georgia as several of its students live at or below poverty. Many students from Parklane Elementary live close to Martel Apartment Homes, low-income housing, where several residents are disenfranchised due to violence, drugs, incarceration, and poverty. Sellers, who taught high school English for 17 years, was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. While residing in Cleveland, Sellers lived in a similar living environment as students who currently live at Martel Apartment Homes.
This summer, Sellers’ primary goal is to reinforce and keep students academically on track for the upcoming school year. To achieve this goal, Sellers sought to offer math and reading tutorial sessions to school aged children who live at Martel Apartment Homes. Sellers stated, “I want children to focus on math and English. It’s about literacy. We must change the narrative about these subjects. It’s not all about athletics where sometimes the academic piece is placed on the backburner.”
Sellers gained approval from the East Point Housing Authority to conduct tutorials at Martel Apartment Homes every Saturday beginning June 15 through August 3 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Next Sellers initiated a grass roots marketing effort to promote the tutorials for students to attend. Initially, Sellers directly informed students at Parklane Elementary of the tutorials before the end of the 2018 – 2019 academic school year and provided them with informational flyers to share with their parents. You might imagine the students weren’t overly excited to attend tutorials on Saturday afternoons during their summer break and several of the flyers were conveniently left on school buses. This didn’t deter Sellers as we walked Martel Homes entire complex to promote the tutorials. Also, the East Point Housing Authority provided Sellers with a phone listing to contact students’ parents directly. He called every parent listed. Additionally, the Special Programs Director at the East Point Housing Authority and the Residence Counselor at Martel Apartment Homes helped spread the word about the availability of the tutorial sessions to residents.
Sellers recruited his 15-year-old daughter, Assata, and his 13-year-old son, Stanley IV, as tutors for the summer tutorial program. Assata is a rising junior at Tri-Cities High School who takes advanced placement courses and will be attending law camp later this summer sponsored by the National Bar Association at Howard University. Stanley IV is a rising freshman at Riverwood International Charter School and speaks fluent Chinese. Sellers commented, “Peer interaction is important. I’m seen as more of an authoritative figure at Parklane. I wanted the students to interact with tutors who are their peers.” The Sellers siblings underwent math and reading tutoring exercises conducted by their dad to verify they could properly tutor the students.
This summer’s last tutoring session at Martel Homes will be hosted on Saturday, August 3 with a Back-to-School theme celebrated with a cookout and school supplies give-a-way drive.