The Carter Center was jam-packed this morning as Realtors and other community and business partners joined APS staff and school board members listened to APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall deliver her sixth annual State of the Schools Address.
You can read the entire press release on our district Web site here, but stay tuned for more media stuff. Scott King was literally all over the place and we should have a really cool gallery of images shortly. Hall was very proud of the work that’s been accomplished …
During her address, Hall cited improved test scores, higher graduation rates, strong leadership from the district office and school board, and continued support from community partners as APS achievements. She also pointed to the challenges ahead, such as the continued need to recruit and retain quality teachers.
“We want our best teachers to remain connected to the classroom, but we respect the fact that they have aspirations,” Hall said. “So we plan to offer several career path opportunities, with incentive pay, to put talented teachers in leadership roles inside the classroom.”
One of our favorite moments came when, in a fitting moment of chronological context, 10-year-old F.L. Stanton fifth-grader Sydney Stepney introduced Hall on the eve of her 10th anniversary as superintentent by reminding everyone how, when Hall was a fledgeling teacher, her students “nearly drove her away” from her middle-school classroom! “I’m only 10,” Sydney said, “but I have a teenage brother!” So she knew where Dr. Hall was coming from. Stanton, as everyone may recall, was a 2008 National Blue Ribbon School, as honored by the U.S. Department of Education.
The address’ theme was an “open house” one in which we encouraged our stakeholders and prospective parents to “take a look” at Atlanta Public Schools. With APS becoming a model urban school district, Hall said, it’s “the right choice for the right price at the right time.”
Business and community partners certainly were in agreement, including Metro Atlana Chamber President Sam Williams, APS Education Committee Chair (and Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation President) Penelope McPhee and Target Group Vice President of Stores Gordon Schmidt all in attendance.
It was a busy day for Hall, who went from the Carter Center back to the APS Center for Leadership and Learning building to participate in a “webinar” sponsored by Education Week magazine. This live chat featured a discussion on leadership with Dr. Jerry Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. Read the transcript here.