We want your demographic feedback: Letter from Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr.

Dear Atlanta Public Schools Stakeholders,

I am writing to reemphasize that we are at the beginning stages of our demographic study for Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

Contrary to speculation, online references, and other discussions occurring in the community, APS has not made final decisions regarding our current demographic study and school closings. In fact, we have no plans of discussing the published draft scenarios with the demographers until after the holidays.

Please keep in mind that the published draft scenarios were developed based on two variables: capacity and cost. As we move toward making a final decision about school zones, five variables will factor into our decision: academic impact, community input, school capacity, cost and policy implications. Based on your feedback and the other four variables, the final maps likely will not resemble any of the currently published draft scenarios.

The community, APS staff and the demographers recently have begun evaluating the presented scenarios. We expect this process to conclude March or April of 2012. Further, we have no interest in destroying thriving school communities that have a rich tradition of fostering academic success and student achievement; however, as a community, we must be realistic about the current capacity issues in many of our schools. Our students are counting on us to make sustainable decisions that are in the best interest of all students today, and in the future.

Although we have completed our first round of community meetings, parents and community members still have an opportunity to provide feedback via our online feedback form (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2SPYCCK). I urge you to give us feedback. If you do not like any of the scenarios, say so; however, if there are scenarios or parts of a scenario that you like, let us know that also.

Finally, we will host additional community meetings in January after we have considered each of the presented scenarios and incorporated your feedback. Again, please review the scenarios and provide input to ensure that we implement plans that are best for our schools, our communities, and most importantly, our students. No final decisions have been made; we are in the beginning stages of the process, and we need your input as we move forward with planning.

Thank you for your commitment to the students of Atlanta Public Schools.

With warmest regards and best wishes for a happy holiday season,

Erroll B. Davis, Jr.

8 thoughts on “We want your demographic feedback: Letter from Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr.

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  1. Mr. Davis, I also am a member of the church across the street from G.A. Towns Elementary. We have formed a coalition and commitment with our school. We’ve met with the community liason, Lisa Riggens and have accessed the needs and solutions. Our church membership and Pastor Kenneth Walker has already begun working with Ms. Riggens and the Community Recreation center (Friends of Collier Hts.) with much success and appreciated openness. The Church was in attendance and support of the open Mic gathering at the Rec. center for teens.
    Teens grow from kids, we must support our neighborhood kids so they to can grow to teens who can expresss themselves as the teens did so well at the Collier Rec center on Dec. the 3rd.
    The Church (Greater Elizabeth Bible Church) also has been blessed to be apart of forming a support group of Father’s who have children attending G.A. Towns, with the help of Ms. Riggens (Ga Towns Comm. Liason), Peter Richardson (APS-Parents as Partners Academic Center Rep.) and Atlanta Public Schools Parent Mentor Program..
    From a humble joining of like minds, in support of Our Children, all can not be for naught.

  2. Mr. Davis,I am a member of Greater Elizabeth Bible Church!which is directly across from G.A.Towns Elementary School..the church has been open for three weeks now,Our goals is to bring peace,love, and awareness…to the community..I graduated from Towns in ’71, also I had sisters,and brothers that graduated as well,this atea has GREAT potiential,the students will not only be given an education,but the will get a chance to meet our wonderful Pastor Kenneth A. Walker…He is already involved in the school..Please give our FUTURE. A CHAN CE. Thank You!!

  3. Mr. Davis my name is Pastor Kenneth Augustus Walker. I am the Senior Pastor of Greater Elizabeth Bible Church which is directly across the street from G. A. Towns Elementary School. We have only been in the community for three weeks and are already working feverishly to assist the school in multiple ways. Some men from our Church participated in the Fatherhood program last week. Our Men’s Ministry is fulfilling a Christmas wishlist for a family of five on Christmas Day and the presentation will be made during our 10AM worship celebration.

    Also, I am a member of the G. A. Towns School Council. As you can see, we have a vested interest in the life of the students and the school.

    At tonight’s Council meeting we learned that Towns has a 50% chance of closing based on the demographic study. On behalf of my congregation, we are asking that you give Towns the highest consideration for remaining open.

    Towns represents the most stable entity in the life of many of the students in our neighborhood. We feel that closing the school would represent another unhealthy uprooting in the lives of the students who fight so hard against so much on a daily basis to just get to school each morning. Should Towns’ doors remain open, Greater Elizabeth Bible Church will increase our efforts to help the school!

    Thank you for allowing our voice to be heard in this very critical matter.

    I also want you to know that Dr. Abgail McKinnon is doing an INCREDIBLE job as the interim principal and Ms. Carla Brown Thomas is an exceptional Instruction Coach.

    Pastor Kenneth Augustus Walker

  4. @ NRR, where are you getting your data from? The attendance is not awful, in fact, 80% of students who are invited to attend during the intersessions do attend. Data also shows that because of the addtional time alloted to these students that their preformace increases. It is my thought that we have more year round schools. I also think the district needs to support these school better.

  5. If we are truly looking at cost and considering academic progress, please review the year-round schools calendar. In my opinion, the cost to run these schools are much higher than a traditional school, the attendance is awful and this greatly impacts academic progress. Data shows that this schedule is not beneficial to the children. So, please consider alleviating this schedule and have all students in APS follow the traditional calendar. It would make a great difference in academic progress and financial cost!

  6. There is plenty of land to build at Grady H.S. Why couldn’t the portable units to the left of the main building be removed and a significant structure be buiilt to house the influx of students? Remove the tennis courts and build something there (lease courts at Piedmont Park). Current gym is in disrepair and could be remodeled to be a mixed use gym/offices/small classrooms. More thinking needs to be done on current buildings, within performing schools, before uprooting communities who made those schools great.

  7. Thank you for clarifying. I hope and trust you will consider ALL factors before closing schools. Some schools do not have the parent influence, but that is why the students need to stay in these small community schools. Teachers are acting as parents and providing the involvement and nuturing relationships our children lack. We attend recitals, football games, chorus performances, etc. The students could get lost in the shuffle when sent to “populated”, overly enrolled schools.

  8. Mr. Davis, when are you going to release the updated data on which all of these options were based? The taxpayers funded this study, they must live with the consequences (or move out of the city). They have every right to see the underlying data. It it was ok to release it in the data in the intial report, then it should be ok to release the revised data also.

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