You have likely seen the hashtag on Twitter. You may have seen school shirts with the motto printed on the back. You could have been one of the hundreds of people at the Christmas fine arts program that carried the same name – One Athens.

It’s more than a hashtag. It’s more than a saying. One Athens is a concept that speaks to the vision, direction, mission and intention of the school system. It’s a mindset that invites collaboration between schools and with the community at large. It is the hope of ACS that by gaining greater understanding of what One Athens seeks to accomplish, you will catch the spirit of One Athens.

This vision of ACS is to be a community connected by education. This is the heart of the Athens City Schools story. It’s the driving force that connects one to another in the system and to the greater community. It’s what it means to be a part of this family of Athenians, to be golden.

“One Athens is at the heart of what it means to be a part of ACS. One Athens is a mindset. It is the overriding, all encompassing, collaborative spirit that knits our schools and community together through initiatives that are both instructional and conceptual.  One Athens is the guiding principle of our system. It seeks to create an identity that is clearly focused on partnerships and working in harmony toward mutually beneficial goals for students, teachers and the community. Put simply, it says that our hearts belong to the black and gold. One vision. One spirit. One Athens.” – Ginger Hickman, Communications & Strategic Planning for ACS

One Athens is an overarching ideal of the Athens City School system. It was developed as the driving principle of the Athens City Schools Five-Year Strategic Plan. The district is currently in year three of the outlined plan – the design by which the Board of Education seeks to accomplish goals as a district and achieve excellence for students and the community. The direction was determined by Board of Education board members, the superintendent and school leaders. The strategic plan puts in to effect specific goals, objectives, actions and initiatives to realize the vision of the system. It effectively moves ACS “down the field”toward the goal and vision. That vision is for the Athens City Schools and community to be connected, to be One Athens.

One Athens seeks to develop and connect each piece. Think of words like collaboration, partnership, family. One Athens encourages all to share ideas, best practices and experiences that work together for the betterment of the students, district and community. The essential element of this One Athens ideal is that it speaks to the vision of the board to be a community connected by education. Connected. To one another. To be One Athens.

Think of One Athens as a giant umbrella. It is an overarching ideal that is inherently collaborative and seeks to create a culture of partnerships that work together in harmony for our schools and community. Underneath the umbrella, there are many boxes. Each box serves a specific purpose, and each box is connected to every other box. It’s a continuous stream of connection that works together alongside one another and underneath the gentle guidance of the vision – the One Athens umbrella that all fall under – that reminds each to consider whether his “box” is honoring and contributing to the achievement of the vision to be One Athens.

From a district perspective, every initiative, every action step taken should reflect the ideals of this guiding principle. Each step should be answerable to the question, “Does this step honor the concept of One Athens?”

From a community perspective, it’s an invitation. Athens City Schools invites you to be grafted in and bound together partners. One Athens seeks to weave the community and schools together in such a way that all Athenians are Golden Eagles and all Golden Eagles are Athenians. It’s more than a street address, more than a zip code. It’s at the heart of what it means to be a true partner with this community.

It is the sincere hope that every community member, employee, student, family member and partner is inspired to find a way to be knit together with Athens City Schools in all things golden, all things tradition and all things Athens.

“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

This is your invitation, your call to connect to something more. To be One Athens.

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