Cedar Grove Middle School


Cedar Grove Middle School is in DeKalb County, Region 5 and services the Flat Shoals/Panthersville Rd. area. It was built as DeKalb's first true middle school and is working hard to overcome the challenges that are presented due to location and student population. They are also successfully closing the achievement gap between the lowest student performers and highest by raising the lower scorers. 

About the Students: Cedar Grove serves students grades 6-8 and has approximately 850 students. Many students have been held back so are older, and are reading below grade level. 97% are on free or reduced lunch, and demographically speaking the school is 98% African American and about 2% Hispanic. They do have a substantial amount of students who have been identified as having learning and behavioral disabilities varying in severity and type, and students who are classified as special education learners. 


 From the art teacher: Several years ago I taught a lesson on the theoretical idea of quilt squares being used on the Underground Railroad to communicate and also covered the topic of "found art" and using recycled materials as media. I combined the two and the students used food trash we had saved (cereal boxes, chip bags, etc) to make their own quilt squares. I would like to take that idea and focus in on the quilt square pattern Jacob's Ladder (or Underground Railroad) and it's history (noting that by now most historians say it was not used during the Civil War as a means of communication) but "In the end we must see the name Underground Railroad for this quilt block as one that remembers and honors the brave people who escaped slavery by traveling north and those who helped them.

Ideally I would like to do this with each grade level but I understand if it is only feasible to do one and that would be about 280 kids

2nd idea of what they would like: recycled materials. I would like to do something with painting, or painting with paper, but strictly painting is not my strongest area and I would like these students to have something for their portfolio

Potential Themes: I would like to make the connection between the fact that the Underground Railroad was a group effort from people of all backgrounds working together to help those in need. Just as at Cedar Grove we are all in this together striving to help our students succeed by passing their classes and standardized tests. I want these kids to feel good about what they have accomplished over the year and feel secure in their "art self"