District ramps up for ‘Day One APS’ on Monday

APS students begin the 2010-11 school year on Monday, Aug. 9, with a projected enrollment of 47,789 students at more than 100 schools throughout the district. On the first day of classes, teaching and learning will commence in all APS schools that are on the traditional calendar. The district also has three year-round schools that began classes on July 14. Here are some of the programs and innovations that will greet students and their parents on the first day of class…

Effective teacher in every classroom
· Effective Teacher in Every Classroom (ETEC) is the latest APS school reform program. Statistics show that an effective teacher in the learning environment is the most essential element in spearheading student academic achievement. This data-driven program includes new technology to help principals and administrators evaluate teacher performance and provide professional development support with the goal of placing an effective teacher in every classroom.

Small schools/learning communities in all high schools
· Small schools/learning communities are associated with all APS high schools this year. The program started five years with the conversion of Carver High School into The New Schools at Carver that now has four small schools incorporated into the single campus. Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, all APS high schools have been effectively transformed into small schools/learning communities. This program has proven successful in nurturing students and escalating academic performance, while reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates.

Middle school transformation
· The middle school transition program was piloted last year at several APS middle schools and is being expanded to all APS middle schools for the 2010-11 school year. Part of the program involves the 6th grade transition that uses dual certified teachers in English/Social Studies and Math/Science in transitioning incoming middle school students from elementary schools into a two-teacher environment. The program is intended to nurture first-year middle school students and ease their transition from elementary school, where students are often taught by one or two-teachers.

Single-gender middle schools open high school programs
· The district’s two single gender middle schools are opening their associated high schools this year with incoming freshmen at B.E.S.T Academy for boys and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy for girls. C.S. King Academy’s new state-of-the-art campus opened for the first time in January 2010.

Top to bottom renovations underway at four APS schools
· Major renovations are currently underway at four APS schools, including North Atlanta, Benjamin E. Mays and D.M. Therrell high schools and Continental Colony Elementary School. These projects involve complete renovations and upgrades of the existing buildings and campuses, costing more than $100 million. The high school renovations are designed to facilitate the small schools/learning communities within a single campus concept, currently in place at all APS high schools. New auditoriums, gymnasiums, locker rooms, art and music spaces, media centers, kitchens and cafeterias are part of the upgrades, along with new HVAC, electrical, lighting, voice, data and video infrastructures.  All four projects are scheduled for completion by the start of classes next year.

Rebuilt Grady Stadium reopens
· The newly rebuilt Grady Stadium reopens this year following an $8 million, year-long reconstruction project that includes new lighting and sound systems and a new synthetic field. The district’s other stadium – Lakewood Stadium – will undergo a similar upgrade beginning this year.

First in state hybrid school bus
· APS is the first district in Georgia to incorporate hybrid school buses into its transportation fleet. These vehicles combine fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions by using high-tech diesel engines and lithium battery-powered electric motors. Lower maintenance costs and reduced noise are additional benefits associated with these state-of-the-art vehicles.

Wireless infrastructure project continues
· The district is continuing its wireless infrastructure project for all schools and offices that will enable instant access to the district’s network and the Internet in a totally wireless environment anywhere on APS property. All schools are already equipped with desktop and laptop computers and “smart” boards through which specially-designed curriculum is conveyed to students in an interactive manner that effectively engages today’s 21st Century students in an fully-participatory learning environment.

Twelve-week accelerated academic recovery program
· The district is initiating a 12-week accelerated academic recovery program for students at schools with severe and moderate erasure findings, who scored below grade level on the 2010 CRCT tests. The concentrated program is designed to quickly bring these students up to grade level through regular school day pullouts and before and after school programs.

New CRCT testing practices initiated
· The district enacted new testing practices and procedures for the spring 2010 CRCT administration based on preliminary results of the independent investigation into 2009 state erasure findings. Additional changes to the district’s testing practices and procedures will be incorporated into the 2011 CRCT administration in all APS schools, based on the final report of the independent investigation which was released on Aug. 2.

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