Dear Parents, Employees and Friends of Atlanta Public Schools,
As school doors open, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) enters this academic year refreshed, refocused and ready to offer students a world-class education. With each new school year, APS continues its journey to excellence, delivering innovative curriculums taught by some of the best educators in the country.
With support from parents, civic and business leaders, APS has exceeded the expectations for an urban school system. Our test scores have been rising, our students embrace languages ranging from Arabic to Chinese, our class of 2009 graduated with more than $92 million in scholarship offers, and our phones ring with constant requests from people who want to see the success personally. Yet the journey must continue; APS is working hard to set the standard for a top-performing urban school system. As we embark on an exciting new school year, I am pleased to share a few highlights. Each offers a glimpse at the success yet to come:
* Test scores keep rising: For nine consecutive years, our students have shown gains on Georgia assessment tests. In 2000, only 43 percent of APS fourth-graders met or exceeded state standards on the math portion of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). This year, 71 percent earned that distinction on the math test. Forty-seven percent of the district’s eighth-graders met or exceeded state standards on the English/Language Arts portion of the CRCT in 2000, compared to 90 percent in 2009. Students also excelled on the Georgia High School Writing Test. Ninety-two percent of APS students tested passed the exam, outpacing overall results for the state of Georgia.
* Quality instruction continues: Rigorous training programs offer math and science teachers innovative tools and real-world scenarios required to challenge APS students. Funded by a $22.5 million grant from the GE Foundation, these programs reinforce our emphasis on quality teachers, increase test scores, and foster student interest in these subject areas.
* APS shares its success with the world: The district Web site, as well as sites for all APS schools, allows visitors to access stories, videos and galleries charting our journey. Parents can sign up for e-alerts via e-mail or text messages, or view an interactive district calendar. We also launched The Atlanta Educator, a newspaper showcasing the district’s best and brightest. “APS Today” also shines a light on students and distinguished alumni on PBA 30. These communications tools help us spread the good news.
We still have miles to go before we can rest, but our journey has produced real growth in student performance. My vision is that every child who walks through our doors will walk out after four years of high school, fully prepared and fully armed with real options for college and career.
In my 10th year serving the students of Atlanta Public Schools, I can tell you without reservation that the best is yet to come. I encourage you to consider this guidebook as a road map for our journey to excellence.
I look forward to sharing this leg of the journey with you.
Beverly L. Hall, Ed.D., Superintendent