One Community, One Athens
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.
One Athens is the 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 through and through.
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.
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.
One Athens is an overarching ideal of the Athens City School system. Mission 2030, our ACS Strategic Plan, begins with One Athens, the guiding light that fosters collaboration and unity within the district and the broader community. Mission 2030 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 and 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.
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
One Athens is an invitation and a calling to connect to something more - to be One Athens.
Classic. Southern. Character.
We’ve been a classic since 1818 when Athens incorporated as a city before Alabama became a state. In 1819, voters made our city the county seat of Limestone County.
Since settlers first came to the area in the early 1800s for rich farm dirt, the city has grown into a commercial and industrial hub of 24,000 residents. We have the commercial growth on our interstate corridors and the job growth at our industrial parks. In 2013, the city was named the No. 3 Most Business Friendly City in the state. As our city has grown, it has maintained its charm.
We’re still Southern. That is most evident in downtown Athens and around The Square. In Athens, going to "The Square" is an experience we often take for granted. Our lives have been spent grabbing an ice cream cone, strolling the sidewalks, or resting on a bench under the dogwood trees. It's the place to find the perfect outfit or become mesmerized by the toy train winding through a window display at the hardware store. The historic Limestone County Courthouse is the backdrop for parades, high school pep rallies, storytelling, and art events and is surrounded by a retail area to shop for the unique and dine on divine cuisine.
Our quality of life is one reason Athens was named the No. 9 Best City in Alabama in 2013, the 18th Best Place for Homeownership in the state in 2014, and the No. 7 Safest City in Alabama in 2015.
These accolades highlight that we’ve still got Character. You’ll find events unique to Athens, such as the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention and Athens Grease Festival. You’ll find unique stories, such as the choosing of the Golden Eagle for the Athens High mascot and the legend of whether the president of Athens State University saved the college during the Civil War with a letter from President Abraham Lincoln.
When you visit Athens, we invite you to stroll our sidewalks and hear our stories. Discover for yourself why our city is Classic. Southern. Character.
Shop & Eat Local.
In a 2012 survey by the American Planning Association, when people were asked what made an ideal community, the top answer was having locally owned businesses nearby.
Unfortunately, it’s tough these days for local businesses to stay open. They face stiff competition from big chain stores, as well as from online retailers, which can usually offer lower prices and a larger selection. If you want to see your town’s local businesses survive and prosper, the best thing you can do is go the extra mile – or more accurately, stay close to home – to shop there.
Why Shopping Local Matters
When you have shopping to do, it’s tempting to take the easy route and head down to the mall – or easier still, just browse Amazon.com. Major chain stores and Internet retailers offer a huge selection, plus the convenience of one-stop shopping. On top of that, their prices may beat our local stores.
But keeping your dollars in Athens has other advantages that are just as important as saving a few bucks, even if they’re not immediately obvious. Here are just several of the many benefits you can reap by shopping locally:
A Stronger School System. During 2016, $9.3 Million dollars was generated for our schools from local sales taxes. In addtion, whenever thier is a school fundarisrer, our local businesses are the furst to contribute!
A Stronger Economy. Local businesses hire local workers. In addition to staff for the stores, they usually hire local architects and contractors for building and remodeling, local accountants and insurance brokers to help them run the business, and local ad agencies to promote it. They’re also more likely to carry goods that are locally produced, according to the American Independent Business Alliance. All these factors together create a “multiplier effect,” meaning that each dollar spent in a local store can bring as much as $3.50 into the local economy. By contrast, large chain stores tend to displace more local jobs than they create because they often drive local retailers out of business.
A Closer Community. Shopping at local businesses gives neighbors a chance to connect with each other. It’s easier to get to know someone you see often at a local coffeehouse than someone you only wave to on your way in and out of your house. Knowing your neighbors makes it possible to exchange favors, such as pet-sitting or sharing tools.
A Great Place to Live. The last factor is more difficult to measure than the others, but it’s just as important: Local businesses simply make our town a better, more interesting place to live. One suburban housing development looks much like another, but a town center with thriving local businesses has a feel that’s all its own. Local eateries, bars, bookstores, food markets, pharmacies, and gift shops all combine to give a place its unique character.
When you invest money in our local economy, you’re not just helping local business owners – you’re also helping our schools and your family! You’re making your town a better place to live in, with a rich character, a thriving economy, and a tightly knit community. And the more local businesses prosper, the more new ones will open – making it even easier to continue shopping locally in the future.
The Partners in Education program was established by the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce to provide area businesses an opportunity to support our local schools through community service and service project-orientated tasks. Participating Chamber Member businesses are partnered with a school in Athens City, Limestone County, or area private institution and help by providing their time, resources, and staff with hands-on activities at their partner school. The program also provides educational opportunities for students to increase their knowledge of area businesses and industries.
The Athens City School System appreciates our partners and their commitment to improving and supporting our schools.
The 2023-2024 partners include:
- Athens High School | First Metro Bank
- Athens Intermediate School | Ridgeline Construction
- Athens Middle School | Griggs Orthodontics
- Athens Renaissance School | First Methodist Church
- FAME at Brookhill Elementary | First National Bank
- HEART at Julian Newman Elementary | Athens-Limestone Hospital
- iAcademy at Athens Elementary | Family Security Credit Union
- SPARK Academy at Cowart Elementary | Friendship Methodist Church