Mario M. Watkins – principal at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School


Mario M Watkins Bunch MS

Picture credit – APS

Talk Up APS is running a series of new principal profiles and published a profile on Mario M. Watkins, the principal at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School. The following is the article in full (republished with permission).

  New principal Mario M. Watkins announces open door policy at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School

Mario. M. Watkins was recently appointed principal of Bunche Middle School in southwest Atlanta. An innovative veteran educator with 20 years of public education experience, Principal Mario M. Watkins has served for over 10 years in K-12 administration.

During the past two years, Principal Watkins has served as the interim principal at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School and is excited to now make Bunche his permanent home. Watkins says that during his tenure, Bunche has made significant gains on their CCRPI (College and Career Readiness Performance Index) from a 48 to 71. Bunche has also greatly reduced the number of disciplinary infractions and tremendously improved their school-wide climate and culture. 

Watkins’ personal academic background includes a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Xavier University, Masters of Public Health, Policy and Management from Emory University, Broad Field Secondary Science Teacher Certification from Oglethorpe University, Educational Leadership Certification and an Education Specialist in Biology degree from Jacksonville State University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Science Education at the University of Georgia and has taught science at the collegiate level at Atlanta Metropolitan College. 

Principal Watkins’ passion for education stems from his deep desire for all students attending Bunche to get a quality education. 

As a dedicated father and prideful member of the local Ralph J. Bunche community, Watkins continues to remind his staff to deliver instruction to their students in a way that they would like to see delivered to their own children. 

As he enters the 2014-2015 school year as the appointed principal, Watkins says the main goal for Bunche Middle School is student academic success. 

“As we enter year three under my leadership, we are making quality classroom instruction our number one priority,” says Watkins.  “The second overarching goal will be to implement a school-wide writing program that will be taught throughout all four core content areas.” 

In a letter to parents Principal Watkins lays out a list of upcoming changes and improvements for the 2014-2015 school year at Bunche Middle School. The changes are a part of an effort of moving the school towards becoming a GA School of Choice and national school of excellence. Some of the changes include better communication with parents, utilizing the school’s Facebook page, monthly newsletter and school website. The letter mentions an “open door” policy where parents are welcome to visit the school to provide continuous input for change. In the letter Principal Watkins states “As your facilitator for change, I look forward to meeting you and establishing a partnership for promoting student success.”

A complete list of changes and improvements for the 2014-2015 school year at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School is below:

  • Newly implemented Professional Learning Communities to give teachers the opportunity to effectively plan and implement the new GA Common Core Curriculum
  • Higher academic expectations for our teachers and scholars focusing on positive school culture and climate using Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies.
  • A concerted effort to improve the overall customer service experience among students, parents, community members, and other stakeholders
  • Better communication with parents using our new Facebook Page, monthly digital Parent Newsletter, and regular website updates
  • 150 newly purchased iPads for teachers’ classrooms to inspire a world-class, 21st century learning atmosphere
  • Two newly hired connections teachers to provide a foundational exposure student to the fine arts and to health and wellness
  • An “open door” policy where parents are welcomed and invited to visit the school to provide continuous input for change

Bunche Middle School is currently undergoing construction. The new Ralph J. Bunche Middle School is slated to open in July of 2015. 

Along with the construction of a new campus, Bunche was selected as the winner of the ASIS Foundation School Funding Competition, winning $20,000 worth of security equipment to support their efforts in providing a secure learning environment for their children. The award is presented to a school whose administration has clearly demonstrated the challenges they’ve faced to ensure the safety of their students, parents and staff. The security equipment will be installed by September 5, 2014, and the formal presentation of the award will take place on September 26, 2014.

Principal Watkins stated that the equipment would be moved and installed in the new Ralph Bunche Middle School campus once the renovation is complete.

Bunche students and staff will remain at their temporary relocation site during the 2014-2015 school year, the former Archer H.S. facility, until renovations and additions are completed in the summer of 2016. The Archer facility is located at 2250 Perry Blvd. N.W. Atlanta, GA 30318.

Mr. Watkins – we look forward to your continued success at Bunch Middle School.

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