APS will transform small high schools into small learning communities

Students at schools such as Carver Early College will now attend Small Learning Community Academies. The SLC model is not only a win-win for the students, but for teachers and faculty, allowing for more collaborative opportunities.

When Atlanta Public Schools (APS) opens its doors for the 2012-13 school year, all of its high schools will be operating under one principal per campus.  In August, APS plans to restructure all of its small high schools by transforming them to Small Learning Communities (SLC), a model that includes small, themed academies led by academy leaders who report to one principal.

APS currently operates five high schools under the SLC model: Douglass, Grady, Jackson, Mays, and North Atlanta.  The following schools will be transformed into high schools with one principal and academy leaders for each discipline:  Carver (School of Arts; Early College, Health Sciences and Research, Technology); Therrell (STEMS, Health Science, Law & Govt.); Washington (Banking-Finance-Investment, Early College, Health Science Nutrition, Senior Academy); South Atlanta (Computer Animation & Design, Health and Medical Science, Law & Govt.).

While APS is eliminating small schools, the disciplines (Arts, STEMS, Technology, Early College, etc.) will remain in the restructured school, operating as academies.  Although students will continue in their selected disciplines, they will have access to broader course offerings and will be allowed to take courses in other academies on campus.  In addition, each school restructured as an SLC will operate on a single schedule which will allow for better school building management.

The SLC model is not only a win-win for the students, but for teachers and faculty because it allows for more collaborative opportunities among all teachers on campus, better coordination of class schedules and common planning times.  The restructuring also supports APS’ implementation of the K-12 school clusters and is anticipated to save the district $700,000.

APS would like to hear from you.  Please take a moment to fill out our survey and post comments about this transition.  Feedback forms are available online: http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/hsfeedback .

92 thoughts on “APS will transform small high schools into small learning communities

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  1. It’s not fair that early college stays the same. School of arts is rated 6 for the top best schools, Why would you want to ruin our chances to be get in a good college and fall below the top ten. IT’S also unsafe to travel way across the campus to get to another class. When I came to Carver I obviously wanted to go to school of arts for a reason.

  2. The principal will undergo two interviews, the first round will consist of an interview by a panel, the two top interviewers will be selected to be interviewed by the Superintendent of Curriculum, then she will make her recommendation, then the selected candidate will go before the board to be voted on.

  3. As a graduate of D.M. Therrell School of Law, Gov’t and Public Policy, now a sophomore at Bethune-Cookman University, I was very fond of the separate schools. The atmosphere was much more intimate. Each teacher and administrator knew every student and the flow of business around each particular school was smooth. I do agree with the previous comment that Ann posted, why is the school system asking for opinions after the decision has been made. My question for the APS administration is- How will the principals for these schools be selected? As it relates to Therrell Educational Complex, I undoubtedly know that Mr. Byron Barnes will be the best candidate.


    Proud Alumnus (Class of 2010)
    Bethune-Cookman University, Sophomore
    Mass Communications Major

  4. I find it appalling the way APS is treating the teachers, to be granted a year for transistioning, but to have the teachers attend a job fair and reapply for their positions is insulting! South Alanta Law and Social Justice has continued to produce great results, as well as Early College, and to dismantle these schools will be another bad decision. Yes APS granted a year for transistioning, but what they are doing is dismantling all of the hard work that our schools have done to excell. Where is the justice in that? No one at APS can clarify if some of the schools that are scheduled to merge are on the Ga Dept of Education lowest performing list, and are now going to be considered Priority Schools, and Early College, or SLJ are not, then once the merger s completed will the schools now be considered Priority schools? My understanding is yes, what kind of message are we sending to our students,teachers,support staff,and parents who are supportive, engaging, and who have worked tirelessly to ensure that each child reaches their fullest potential, to now contradict and say that hard work pays off, when in fact under the guideliness by APS to make these changes without First fixing the problems as outlinedby the state is not acceptable!

  5. Early College is one, if not best thing APS has going for it. If it is not broken don’t fix it.

    The changes being proposed, if implemented four years ago, most likely would have caused me to seek other educational opportunities
    For my child. Early College being housed in separate building along with the staff and students have built a culture of achievement, Where it is Cool to make all A’s even for black Males and attend after school study sessions and with no ridicule of peers. Let’s not change this culture and staff.

    There are Middle class residents zoned for this school, who are watching this issue very closely, if this situation is not handled properly, you
    may see middle class flight from the neighborhood adding to an already depressed tax base.

    You have a mini Morehouse and Spelman going at full stride. Do not break the stride.

  6. I agree with the student. @Parent and alumni I have seen the data. All of the schools are not performing high. However, statistics/data shows that they have improved over the years.

  7. The entire high school transformation into small schools was and is an very ineffective way to manage a high school. I am for high schools being managed by a strong principal with total control.

  8. Come out to the scheduled meetings that are upcoming and ask questions about the transformation. They are all posted on the web.

  9. I understand your passion for small schools, however it has proven to be ineffective. Why continue doing something if it is not working? I think it is easy to look at individual schools and conclude that one in particular is doing well, but you have to look at the entire picture when it comes to making this type of decision. On a larger scale, this model hasn’t been successful. Ask the administrators for the data.

  10. Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. I am currently a sophomore at Carver Early College. It has been brought to my attention that there has been a recommendation to close all schools that are under the current small school initiative and merge them into one large high school with small learning communities. As a concerned student, I want you to know that I do not approve of the proposal to close Carver Early College High School or any other high performing schools located on this campus and city.
    Seven years ago, not only Carver High School, but majority of Atlanta Public Schools was performing below standards. As a result, the APS High School Transformation Initiative was created by former Superintendent Beverly Hall to create smaller, 21st century learning centers because as stated on atlantapublicschools.us, “research shows that high school students learn better in smaller, more personalized settings.” Eliminating the small schools will be redundant and senseless because it will show the nation that we will be taking steps back for financial relieve and not taking steps forward for educational success. As Karen Waldon, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, stated, “This is about maximizing resources so students benefit”, but I disagree with her mainly because we, the students, already the resources we need throughout our high school career. We have the immeasurable resources of principals, teachers, students, parents, community members, and stake holders that will definitely benefit each and every student to the fullest potential. Each school is a family and each school offers different opportunities for their students. Students have a choice, and this proposed decision will eliminate our voices and rights.
    Traditional high school is not for everyone and this proposed transformation will absolutely disrupt the learning environment and statistics that Atlanta Public Schools has created during the last several years. For years the New Schools at Carver has flourishes under the small school initiative giving rise to tremendous test scores and schools on campus being ranked among the top schools in Georgia. As of 2011, Carver Early College class of 2011 has had a 97.5% graduation rate. As Superintendent Davis has stated publicly on numerous occasions, Carver Early College is the highest-performing high school in our district. It’s also the 18th highest-performing high school in the state, and has the second-highest graduation rate in Metro Atlanta. Our school is a model for others, and it has the data to illustrate that small high schools work! If Carver Early College is the highest performing school, why is it on the list to be shut down?
    In addition, the proposal of this transformation is a hastened decision that is causing many people to panic. You cannot expect to make successful decisions in one month prior to the end of the school year. Therefore, you all should vote against the proposal or delay the time for a couple years to get the students prepared to merge.
    I am urging you to oppose this proposal and maintain the legacy of high achievement that has taken the principal, teachers, students, parents, community members, and stakeholders seven years to establish. Our parents and community members have voted you all in your position to represent our voices and now is the time for us to be represented. The fate of our future lies in your hands.

    A concerned and dedicated member of the Carver Early College Family

  11. ATTENTION EVERYONE: APS will be holding meetings on the different campuses on the table for restructuring. Please attend the meetings and let our voices be heard. There is strength in numbers. Let’s give them all we have. THESE ARE OUR SCHOOLS NOT THEIR EXPERIMENTS!!!

  12. As a top ten student of Carver Early College’s 2013 class I honestly am disturbed that you did not clearly address the issue of class ranks. The issue is not about scholarships but the disregard for students that have worked very hard over the past few years. Please stop ‘beating around the bush’ and give us clear answers. Stop the pleasant people pleaser vocabulary and be direct. Phrases like ‘higher standards’ and ‘improving schools’ and ‘classroom collaboration’ sound great but the application of these ‘great’ methods consistently fumbles or fails. When were the students asked what they want or what they think is best? sure we are naive or ignorant of the inner mechanisms of APS but we feel the effects the most. Not just the teachers or principals or the students. If you expect to see positive changes in the world stop messing with the next generation. We already battle academically because our schools have failed us before high school. I digress.

  13. I totally agree with you. As parents they need to hear our voice before making a decision for our kids future. I too am a very involved parent and feel disrespected with the lack of communication that was received.

  14. It’s about the results of this transformation! Check the attendance rate, check the EOCT results, check the drop out rate, check parent and alumni involement (it doesn’t add up-it’s pitiful). Upholding the fine legacy of BTW and producing fine young people that can make a positive contribution to society is what’s important and most of all what I am concerned about!!! Everything else is a bunch of smoke and fluff!

  15. BTW wasn’t granted a transformation period to small schools.

  16. The way APS delivered the decision to close the small high schools within six weeks of the closing of the school year is wrong! We as parents weren’t notified, and totally disrespected! It’s not right to our parents, teachers, and most importantly it’s not right to our children! While I understand the need for budget constraints, I do not agree with the lack of transparency that APS has not demonstrated. Why weren’t the small schools granted a one year transition period? Children will not know what teachers, administrators or classes that will be offered. Teachers who we say are vital, are having to reapply for their jobs, it’s insulting!! I’m a very involved parent, and this is unacceptable! We the constiuients did not have a voice when the board, hired the superientendent, but we will have a voice when we vote these representatives out!!!

  17. I think you missed the point that the 4 adminstrators and this model has been noneffective. The data is proof in the pudding. If something is not working, why continue doing it???? It is not personal, it is about doing what is in the best interest of the students and not the adminstration, which is why I was not a supporter of this model in the beginning.In actuality this model was a way to spend money that was afforded to the school system at the time of its inception. Do some more research and then you can make informed decisions and comments about this matter. Feelings are perfectly fine to have, but they do not drive decisions.

  18. …will there be an open forum for parents and students to discuss their concerns, in a mature manner, about the transformation. I feel that there should be one.

  19. I believed we have promoted gang violence in our schools. Seperating one school into segragated parts. It has become a problem in my becoming of a senior.

  20. If you are so concerned with what we do, why don’t you come to the Carver School of the Arts spring concert, “The Legend of P.O.C.” on April 20 at 7pm. Tickets are $10 at the door and in advance. It will take place at North Atlanta High School. Or you can see the musical “The Show Must Go On” April 13 for $8 at Frederick Douglass High School at 7pm. And all schools are welcome to participate in the musical.

  21. Students have a choice! If students want to focus on arts they should come to arts. The rigorous wok schedule at Early College does not allow space or time for a plethora of options. Our programs at Arts flourish because of student dedication to their disciplines. Our mission is to infuse academic rigor with artistic excellence. Under this new model the Early College concept may not even be possible due to complications and the lack of manpower to track and identify all students. The principals do collaborate. There is one homecoming coronation, one prom, and one yearbook. Seniors graduate together, but it is not fair to merge gpa’s that were not achieved through the same courses, teachers, and/or opportunities.
    It seems as though we can do a lot of finger pointing, but nothing is really getting done. If you are around the same students most of the time, wouldn’t it make sense that they are the people you would represent and who would vote for you? And the attack on Washington’s administration is representative of ad hominem which is a logical fallacy or a piece of unreasonable logic that renders your argument invalid Derrick. And I learned that at Carver School of the Arts.

  22. I agree, four principals on a campus was not very well thought out.
    For these reasons we definitely need 1 person in charge:
    a. Decision making has been a disaster
    b. 4 PTA’s which were non effective
    c. 4 school queens
    d. 4 Vals and Sals
    e. Not enough collaboration among the children from the different schools.
    f. The principals did not come together to manage the entire campus, they only focused on their schools.
    e. Children were not able to take any of the fine arts unless they attended SOTA.
    f. Early College is not what people on the outside think it is. There are students in the other schools that are doing well.
    g. I dont agree with the partnership at Georgia State, We should have partnered with a two year institutions. Georgia State was okay, but it was not the best fit for the legacy class (Class of 09).

    Concerned parent

  23. WOW!!! where is the music and art program??? These programs greatly contribute to students being able to further their education. Do adminstration even see this as a priority? If they did, there wouldn’t be a need to ask this question.

  24. Mom of a BTW HSN student, this model is extremely broke!!! Please look at the data, it has failed our kids.

  25. @talkaps…I agree we all want what is best for the students. One of my main concerns is the relationship that has been developed with the staff/principals and now the upcoming seniors who have been under this umbrella since their freshman year has to change what they have grown accustomed to. Also, in my personal opinion, if you are to change leadership, seek outside, because I feel if a principal that is currently within is chosen, they will only have the best interest of the students that are currently under them now.

  26. @parent and alumni BTW, I am quite sure that it can work with one principal and the individual team leads, my concerns is that so far the students, particularly the juniors(upcoming seniors), have already developed a relationship with the current staff/principal and now that is going to be changed at the last minute.

  27. In regard to class rankings the concern is not just for the few students who will go from top of the their class to just a member of the pack. The concern is for the drastic change that is being forced on these kids without an ounce of diplomacy being exercised. If it is the kids you are worried about then you should at least solicit their opinions. High school students are old enough to give you an honest and thoughtful assessment of the small school effect on them. The powers that be completely bypassed the parents and students in this process. By the way, the zell miller scholarship is not the focus of the class ranking debate. These kids want the best credentials possible in order to compete for scholarship dollars to whatever university they are interested in. No one wants to be forced to attend school in Georgia because that’s all that is available financially. The goal for all students should be to have as many post secondary options as possible so that they can make an informed decision regarding their future. Your remarks on this issue are totally missing the point and only serve to substantiate your disconnection to the students and parents in APS.

  28. It’s about time someone stepped in and has vision! Small communities is a greaat concept and can work with the right direction and leadership. The New Schools at Carver has been a first stage production since its opening. The principal’s there act as if they are kings!!! Send them on there way as you guys did Dr, Hall……

  29. In regards to parents/students who are concerned about class rankings – Superintendent Davis will be the first to say that “competition makes you stronger.” This decision is about what is best for all students, not a few. Class rankings are not expected to play a role in this decision. In no way does this sully the work of the students – they rightfully earned whatever gpa they currently have and it will simply be reflected in a larger group/school setting. If the concern is about the Zell Miller scholarship, you do not have to be a val/sal to qualify. Students who graduate from an eligible high school with a minimum 3.7 grade point average combined with a minimum score of 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 composite score on the ACT test in a single test administration qualify for a Zell Miller scholarship.

  30. Bulldog Parent, I truly believe one principal and 2-4 assistant principals can create an environment of adnstrators developing one on one relationships with students. Although this is important, it does not support spending almost a million dollars at the adminstrative level alone. Other factors (drop out and graduation rate, test scores etc…) greatly contribute to this decision.

  31. I am pretty active and what I can say is that a group of young people are being developed that have no discipline and very little respect for themselves and adults. The most important factor to remember is WHAT’S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF STUDENTS.

  32. The BELL has rung go back to your corners! Instead of heaving poison darts at one another why not, try supporting the students. At the end of the day, that is who is essential. While you continue to belittle principals and staff members, are you concerned about the actuality that our children are being left to float without direction in society? Or is your only concern about who has the most post on their sides?

    Round 2 Come out fighting.

  33. @ parent & alumni do you really think Doc would do that? Obviously you don’t know her. Have you been to a PTSA Meeting? Have you been to the school to see how she loves her students? I didn’t think so…

  34. What happened to the fine arts program. As an alumni of this great institution I am sadden at the fact that our music department is very poor. If not for the marching and concert Bands ,I would not be where I am today. The small school concept may have been a great idea but lost in the shuffle was something that mean the world to many of us. I don’t care about dividing the school, but what I do care about is dividing the students. We were one family when I attended and that’s what we need to get back to. Thank you

    Dr. G.V. Freeman C/O 1962

  35. Dr. Nichols,
    Everybody is aware that you have been asking students to partake in a letter writing campaign on your behalf. How unethical!!!

  36. I am thrilled that high schools are returning to 1 leader. It is evident based on attendance, low enrollment, test scores etc… that small schools has not been beneficial to student success. I believe that this model transformed to quick, before true results could be determined from the first school that was tranformed. The fast transformation has clearly been nonproductive.

    In addition, the four principals at B.T.W. have proved inexperience in building partnerships with parents and alumni. Leadership also encompasses working with others besides students and faculty. Also, this model has created a level of division within the spirit of the Bulldog nation and all of a sudden administrators are interested in being one BULLDOG Nation since the news of the transformation was disclosed.

    Reseach has shown that music and art are key factors in being tools to help students succeed. It concerns me that the music program at BTW doesn’t exist. Where is the chorus teacher PRINICPALS???? A large percentage of students that have attendend this wonderful insitution were able to have their higher education funded through music and art scholarships. I truly believe that continued growth in the area of leadership is needed with the current adminstration therefore, the entire adminstration at B.T.W. should be reassigned.

  37. @Bulldogs Parent – Thank you for your feedback, however, “Doing the best they can” is not the bar we want set in our schools moving forward. We want the best leadership and best programs possible in all APS schools.

  38. I agree with the transformation from Small Schools to Small Learning Communities. The students doesn’t care about tradition, what policies are they accustomed too? They are very disrespectful.

  39. I agree with you Ann. I am a proud parent of three kids. My prayer for all of the families that are being affected by these changes are that we continue to stand strong and support our kids education no matter how difficult the changes may be. Attend the meetings and protest at the rallies. Let your voices and concerns be heard. If we dont stand for something we fall for anything. We can not afford to let our children down. Getting quality education is priceless but more importantly our kids have gifts and talents that stretch beyond their level of understanding. For those of you who are parents and community members in south east atlanta, rallies and rumors of war should be heard of and our children voices should be heard in the media and on the streets of southeast atlanta. Our voices will never be heard if we dont come together as one. Organize a rally, protest how you feel, add some fuel to this fire. This matter would be worth the fire hoses, the dogs, and the police. And I hope ms. thornton remain principal as well. Good job and well done ms.thornton.

  40. I think they should leave it like it is. All the principals are doing the best they can with the resources they have been provided. All the principals know each and everyone of their students by face and names. It would be disheartening to take the relationship away from the students that they have already established with their current principals and teachers. I believe it will cause a mini-war of the schools to just take this away from the student now. I say this because 1. the students love their principals and teachers of their selective small schools and 2. they have gotten accustomed to the policies of their respective academy.

  41. Not sure who Derrick is but I am a parent of a student in HSN and I know of Dr. Nichols and thinks she is doing a good job. I truly believe that all the principals are good for the academies that they are in. If APS gives them(Dr. Scavella, Dr. Nichols, sorry the other principal thinks she’s better than everybody so I don’t know her name so I will just call her Ms. Early College), the resources and funding needed, then the principals will assure that the students are getting all the proper training to prepare them for their future.

  42. we have one of the best principle in b.f.i and having a small school is very good it keeps us very organize and it keeps us very focus I have never had a principle like the one we got I think that we should be professional and not make it looks like we don’t have a good principle because we do not only is she the best she is also a sweet and lovable person so I don’t need nobody to tell me the type of principle I have because I already know that we have the best principle in the world.

  43. Derrick,

    I just started attending Washington BFI, and Dr. Nichols knows my name and has taken her time to get to know me. She has offered many opportunities to her students. I think you should know our school and principal before you decide to criticize it.

  44. dear, derrick long

    Dr. nichols is not a bad principal she is a really a good principal because she dont play with us she but her job and derrick u should not talk bout washington because WE DONT KNOW U OR U DONT KNOW OUR PRINCIPALS so there for you should talk bout some body els.

  45. Derrick,
    The defense of those mentioned is shown in their work and accomplishments during their tenure at Washington High. If you want to attack the small school concept then by all means do but only with statistical facts that can support a well educated thesis. Until then your negative comments hold very little substance and is quite sad that you can’t express yourself in a very well educated manner. Remember to do your part as a member in the black community and hold yourself accountable before you accuse others from meeting a certain standard.

  46. I WISH I WAS IN BFI. They have great teachers and the are provided with great oppotunities.

  47. Derrick,
    I Completely Disagree With Your Comment. Dr. Nichols Is Doing A Outstanding Job. Not Only For Her Job But For Her Students As Well. She’s There For Us On A Principal Level and On A Personal Level. She Sees More In Us And This School. And She Believes That We are Not “45” But “1600”. And Has Taught US To believe It As Well. That’s Why The Closing Of Small Schools Brought Her And Us Students To Tears. We Are A Family And You Would Have To Be In This Family To Know How It Operates Your Clearly An Outsider Looking In. And I Speak On Behalf Of Both Of My Brothers And My Cousins When I Say That Mrs.Crooms Is Doing An Awesome Job As Well. They Go Above And Beyond For US And It Makes Me More Sad Then Disappointing To Know That You Clearly Dont See This. Both Dr. Nichols And Mrs.Crooms Are Doing An Great Job And I Hope That They Are Here Together working As A Team Next Year At Washington.

  48. I’m amazed at these comments. People who don’t attend BFI shouldn’t have ANYTHING to say because obviously, you wouldn’t know whats going on, on the 3RD floor. I support BFI to the fullest and we are probably one of the best small schools in BOOKER.T.Washington. I love my principle and we have GREAT teachers, and beyond smart students. i See We Got SOME HATERS .

  49. I do say sire you should know that our Principle Dr. Nichols is a very good principle unlike your High school principle. If you were smart you would stop trying to manipulate our principle Dr. Nichols because if you call her an Ass the I don’t know what you should call yourself. There aren’t many LEADERS in this world like Dr. Nichols but I guarantee that if you were to meet her in person that you wouldn’t be able to comprehend the words or the hard work that we put in up here at Booker T. Washington baby ahh boy U betta get rite young Buck

  50. Excuse me Mr. Derrick Long i feel very offended by your nasty comments and opinion’s about my principal Dr. Nichols at Washington high school Banking
    Finance and Investment . Dr. Nichols is a highly educated principal that looks out for her school and her students. Also, you are making yourself look like a fool because your trying to throw shots at people with misspelled words. You should go back to school yourself and learn how to spell instead of trying to talk about someone else.

  51. Hi, I am a concerned Booker T. Washington student of the small school BFI. Sir you state that small schools are a joke, but to all of us your spelling is a joke. I on the other hand prefer being in a small school. I say this because I’ve grown to like all my principles and teachers, so I think it will be ignorant to have to meet new principles and teachers. Leaving and coming back next year will be hard on us as students because we know that our teachers that we grown to love are gone. To know that our once great principles who would start Saturday schools for students who are taking the EOCT and spending their own money to feed us on Saturday. The real Quanteric Pope.

  52. Derrick,
    For one, you do not attend Washington BFI, so I’m sure you have no idea what goes on in this small school. Here at Washington, we receive valuable information and great opportunities, which gives us a better understanding of our future. Now Dr.Nichols is a GREAT principle and knows each and everyone of her students. She provides is with job fairs, professional speakers, great ideas, and information about BANKS, which clearly represents our school name (BANKING, FINANCE & INVESTMENT ). Its obvious that you didn’t learn as much WHENEVER you were in school because your comment is VERY unprofessional, but then again, lets be reminded DERRICK LONG, that you do NOT attend BFI. Who cares what you think about DR.NICHOLS? I’m sure none of our wonderful teachers do , neither Dr.Nichols herself. ALSO, your comment made you look insecure about your education. Sure you probably didn’t even finish school, but to disrespect our principle and you don’t even know her, shows what you lack and didn’t learn LOL . Moving on, find some thing better to do with your life.

  53. at washington we not perfect but we try our best. we are not a school in BFI


  55. Well Derrick,
    This shows how much you know about our school and how we operate. Me as a proud student at Washington I love what my principal has done for me and the school. And it looks like your very illiterate and get pass and high school education. What I think that you should just stop cause you sound stupid and unaware of what goes on in Washington High School Banking Finance and Investment. And the ignorance that your showing now proves that you have no clue on whats going on


  57. man you just want some fame. man i dont know if you go to this school or not but if you do u must be a lame because any cool person at washington know where its good at. i dont know where you from but round here we get our work done, and just to let you know something B.F.I got the best principals becacause Dr.Nicholas cares about us. maybe you dont got nobody in your family to show you no love.you gets no love round here. let me see u in public man i aint even gone say no words. best believe it patna.

  58. Excuse me Derrick Long, I am a PROUD student here at Washington BFI and my principal, Dr.Nichols knows what she is doing. Dr.Nichols have been one of the most experienced principals in APS. Dr.Nichols have taught us well and have led us to the victory and education to the best of her ability. We at Banking , are proud that our principal is doing her best. Our small school is one of the few that takes learning seriously. We are not a joke and our EOCTs scores show that. We have the best principal in APS and all of our student are happy that Dr.Nichols is still going to be in touch with the TOP scholars of Atlanta Public Schools.

  59. i agree with the disposal of small schools for the sake of saving money and providing a better learning experience but obviously the person who decided to post untrue and vulgar statements about two principals at Washington High must be a student or an upset parent of a student that is experiencing failure in school so they decided to lash out at what they think is the problem. This is very immature, ignorant, and irresponsible.

  60. First of all you cant spell, and you talking about my principal need to be put back into a classroom, come on dude. You don’t know Dr.Nichols like we do, so just stop saying negative things about her please. I totally disagree with you about not having small schools anymore, because you think Dr.Nichols is a bad principal what about the other small schools principal’s who don’t know us yea think about that. I don’t think one person could have total control over a school anyway. We already have problems with teacher’s and kid’s in the different small school’s with the many principal’s, so what makes you think changing the small school’s into small learning communities will help. I hope you think about this decision differently now.

  61. Derrick,

    You are making a complete fool of yourself. Here at Washington High School of Banking, Finance, & Investment; Dr. Nichols has opened the doors to numerous business opportunities. Ernst & Young, Delliotte, and the S.E.C to name a few. She also has every child’s best interest at heart.
    She has created a bond with each and every student that has enrolled in her small school. The school is one of the top small schools in the APS district. So Derrick it would behoove you to rethink your ridiculous comments.

  62. Dear Derrick,

    I feel that your negative comments came from a result of you maybe getting dismissed from the school because of behavior or attitude while attending Washington. I am a student at Booker T. Washington and I strongly disagree with your accusations about Dr. Nichols and Ms. Crooms. All of the principals at Booker T. Washington are highly proficient and are great leaders. For example, for the past two years Ms. Crooms has had several students to win scholarships and attend great universities and colleges. Dr. Nichols has reopened the student bank, run by the students of BFI. Also she has brought in numerous mentor programs, such as Ernest & Young College Map, Security Exchange Commission Program, leadership program for young women, Blue Links, Deloitte, Saturday SAT Prep, Princeton Review and others. My ninth grade year 25 students were taken to New York City to visit the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations where a meeting was in session.

  63. Derrick,
    I totally disagree with your comments. I am a proud student at Washington High School (BFI) and Dr.Nichols is doing a great job. She has provided us with numerous opportunities in the business field. She has invited many different guest speakers to talk to us. She has also made a special connection with all of her students, and I am one of those students. I am a student with a disability who sometimes has to be hospitalized. Dr.Nichols has found a way to help me stay connected and on track with what we are doing in our school during those periods that I am hospitalized. She also took the time out of her day to even visit me while I was in the hospital. So you should definitely think again about MY CURRENT PRINCIPAL!!!! And you should check your grammar as well.

  64. Well Derrick,

    I guess you are another example of an individual who does not have the children’s best interest or education at heart. Dr. Nichols does an excellent job of knowing each student’s name and takes a personal interest in them. What other principal do you know that has an open door policy for teachers but most importantly students. As far as Mrs. Crooms, her dedication and hard work lead to her being appointed to the position. This seems like a personal vendetta on your part Derrick. NOT THIS TIME !!!!!

  65. I am very disappointed with the comments in regards to Dr. Nichols and Mrs. Crooms, apparently you have a some issues that you need to have resolved. They are two outstanding individuals who truly have the children of Washington HS interest at heart. You apparently don’t know who they really are. Calling another individual ignorant is truly not very manly of you, Mr. Derrick.

  66. Derrick,
    I have to disagree with you. Principal Nichols and Crooms are doing a wonderful job. You are either a disgruntled employee or the parent of a child that did not want to follow rules in the school. I am thinking you are an employee that just could not teach to the standards. At Washington, we are required to teach the standards and make students have an enjoyable high school experience. The principals at Washington have done a good job with changing the culture at the school. Washington has a rich tradition and the principals are preserving it. So Mr. Long, check your opinion because you sir, are ABSOLUTELY WRONG!!!!

  67. The Small Schools at Booker T. Washington High has divided a tradition. Booker T. Washington High School of Health, Science & Nutrition has not provided the students with the skills needed to further their career in the Nutrition or the Healthcare field. If the Small School have not been providing our students with the necessary skills that upon graduation, our students would graduate certified in an Allied Healthcare field. Our school has a kitchen that isn’t being used. The Small Schools here are not governed by SAC Accreditation and the EOCT test scores need improvement. I agree with the transformation.

  68. The small school concept is a joke. Unless you broke down parents in the city of atlanta are going to give APS the money to pay the ignorant principals they hired at Washington High School you should probably just give up. I also think its an excellent idea to get rid of they idiots that are far too inexperienced at Washington High School. Dr. Nichols a complete ass over at Washington. She was unfit as a principal over students in addition to being expremely unprofessional. Ms.Crooms another unexperienced individual for the principal position at Washington. One day she was an assistant principal the next principal over senior academy. Im glas the new person in charge is making these well needed changes at that school. Hopefully he will get rid of these two idiots and put competent LEADERS in these positions. Maybe send Nichols and Crooms back to the classroom where they belong. Its just a sad case over there. If they do decide to keep the small schools I think having competent, capable, and experienced principals in these position would help.

  69. I agree with LaMira, My kids attend Washington HSN. It is truly a perk that not only the teachers know each and every student but the principal as well knows them. With the small schools you feel so much more welcomed than in larger community schools. I truly hope that APS reconsiders what is really best for the kids and not just about saving money. It seems to meet that money is more important to APS than what is best for the kids. APS doesn’t seem to care about how this will really affect the students. My kids too embraced the uniform policy to show that their career goals after graduation would be in the Health Science Nutrition field. I also agree with Yvette, what will happen to the Project Grad program. APS is not giving to the students, they are in fact taking away. You are taking away class ranks. How devastating this will be to some students. That goes back to what I said earlier APS really doesn’t care. I feel that APS should continue under the Small schools model and gradually phase out of it if that what it chooses to do. Also why try to fix something that isn’t broken!!!

  70. I am really upset of the fact of ANOTHER transformation within the schools. I have 3 children attending STEMS @ Therrell. My children and I love the atmosphere and the one on one attention that they receive from the administrators. We are so proud of our kids for embrassing the uniform policy, and they love it. I am so excited about the relationship that my children (My meaning all students) have with Ms. Gaynor. I have never been to ANY school where the PRINCIPAL can look at the students and know their name and what class they should be in and what subject they are having trouble in, and that really shows the PERKS of being a small school. I volunteer at STEMS at least twice a week because the atmosphere is so friendly and respectful, that it only takes an email or a call to ask if I will chaperone any event at the school. My children are so comfortable with the staff and their peers that it is unreal sometimes. I really think it would be a HUGE mistake to take that away from these kids, in the world that we live in, with so much hatred and no loyalty. I just see more kids getting lost and dropping out because they won’t have that hands on help and push that I’ve seen, they can get from a small school. With so many of our babies having attention and learning disorders, why would we want to put them back into an atmosphere where they feel they have no way of success? Please rethink this plan, because I am a parent with an IEP student, and her whole attitude towards school and learning has changed because she feels she is getting the help she needs, which has gotten her grades up tremendously, allowing her to participate in TSA and ALL athletic activities she desire. The one on one attention has helped my senior through her roughest subject since she started school. So please, listen and adhere to the comments that the parents are submitting, because after all these are OUR schools.

  71. I think the small learning communities is a wonderful idea. I have two concerns however. What is APS doing to ensure that all students have access to high quality musical instruction. For years, North Atlanta High School and Mays High School have been the only high schools in APS offering Band, Orchestra, and Chorus at a high level of musicality. Other schools have been fighting just to have a band class. These schools have also been the only ones with resources to afford students the opportunities to participate in such programs. At the Middle School level, Inman, Bunche (prior to 2012), and Young Middle have been the only middle schools. Are their plans to ensure that all schools have resources to provide the performing arts and not make it merely an option and dependent upon the blood sweat and tears of the individual directors. We as directors can not create the schedule nor can we pay for instruments out of our pockets. Let’s work together to restore APS back to it’s musical dominance that it once held.

  72. @talkupaps- I believe heartbroken attends Carver of the Arts, but I am a parent of a student who attends Carver Early College who suppose attend Georgia State (dual enrolled) in Aug. My son have worked really hard, kept his grades in great standing (GPA 3.5) so I understand how parents & students may feel like the school board is letting them down by combining all high school students & teachers at Carver. When you state many kids in the district are not experiencing the same level, the kids that live in Carver HS zone had the same chance to apply themselves to get into a school they wanted to attend (Arts, Health & Science, Early College and Technology) only difference is some of the schools req the student to write an essay, do an interview and attend a meeting and middle school grades & test scores were evaluated. Some kids decided not to apply & other kids were accepted and decided the academics were to rigorous and changed to another school on Carver campus. So every student on the campus had a choice. This school is in no means in the best of neighborhoods, I know because I lived in it but Carver Early College is an excellent school! I am quite sure the other schools are in their own way. What I feel is very wrong and harsh the notice of the change were given to us the Friday before Spring break like our schools, teachers and students don’t matter. No meetings held prior for the staff admin, teachers, parents and students, unlike when Grady HS & Inman MS was hit with a possible change, meeting held every week for all involved, media coverage, and people concerns taken into consideration. There is a disconnect somewhere in the school system and it will show when the graduation rate drop & more kids drop out. Well I guess its time to move back to NY where the school system is more stable and education matters. If they hold a meeting for all to attend I will be there to support Carver but it sounds like the decision have been made. Understand the unique programs at the small school before eliminating. Great job Mrs. Thorton & I’m quite sure Mr. Errol & his staff children don’t attend Carver Early College or any of the other schools that will undergo changes.

  73. My concern is with the Project grad program. Will this program truly be dismantled? If so what does that say for the students who have already signed their contract and begun their summer institutes? Will APS honor its end of the bargain. Many students and parents
    are looking to see where APS integrity lies.

  74. I am a parent of a rising senior at Carver Early College and I agree with the all the students. As well, my daughter has worked very hard in school to maintain her rank at EC and I would hate to see it all be for nothing. I think it is sad, heartbreaking and disappointing for the 2012-2013 senior classes of all the small schools to be giving this news at the most critical time of the high school year. They should be focusing on college applications, SAT/ACT, and deciding what schools they would like to visit, not worried about class ranks. I would like to see the 2012-2013 class graduates as individual schools and maybe gradually transition the schools into one.

  75. The Small Schools concept was truly a waste of money. The Schools of Carver’s Early College, [which is really “The school for the gifted”] would be best served by having a different principal. The students and staff need an instructional leader.

  76. I’m the proud mother of South Atlanta’s School of Law & Social Justice #1 ranked student and I’m also concerned with how these changes will affect her class rank. As the other students stated they have worked extremely hard to attain and maintain their ranks according to the particular curriculum at their small school and now it could possibly be taken away because I honestly don’t think one year is sufficient time to adjust. If these changes are needed for the benefit of students then let’s make them but I think some kind if consideration should be given to the rising seniors at all high schools in regards to their ranking.

  77. Its heartbreaking how APS is on the way of ruining the juniors education. We worked to hard to get this done to us at the last minute.It is one day from May and you expect this to go smoothly , I don’t think so we go back in August that’s not alot of time. I really worked my butt off these last 3 years at Carver School of the Arts. I’m not number one in my class but, I’m in the top 10% of my class of 2013. It is so heartbreaking that another student might take my place because of APS. Furthermore, its been like this for my whole 3 years and when I’m about to graduate in a year APS changes it with no consideration of the most important thing, the children. We deserve the best and that is to keep The New Schools at Carver the same.

  78. @Heartbroken – First of all, congratulations on your outstanding achievement. The focus of the transition of our high schools has very little to do with economics and very much to do with academic focus. While you may have access at Carver Early College to a myriad of rigorous classes, many of your fellow students throughout the district are not experiencing the same level of options and/or rigor as you. As a district we owe it to all students to provide them with a stellar education, no matter the school the attend or neighborhood in which they live.

    In regards to the rezoning, please take a look at this blog later tonight or in the morning. We will soon post the superintendent’s final proposal which will contain some changes from his previous recommendation.

    Thank you for reading the blog and please be sure to reply using our feedback form link provided in the article above.

  79. Changing New Schools Of Carver will effect every single student there but most importantly the Juniors. I Attend Carver School of the Arts and I am one of many juniors who auditioned to get in . I Have worked very hard to maintain my spot in that school. Us juniors have see the potential that carver has and what we can do. We have been there too long to get our rank taken away from us. The school will not be the same. It will be worst than what it is. Instead of trying to make us students fail, help us by keeping our school the way it is.

  80. I am currently a junior a Carver School of the Arts. For almost 3 years I have maintained my class rank as number one. I am currently a member of our dance ensemble, National Honor Society, Beta Cub, Marching Band, PEARLS, and other organizations. Te beauty of our campus and our institution is in the opportunities offered in these small schools that small academies won’t offer. Each school is a family and therefore each school offers different opportunities for their students. You know every teacher in your school and have a personal relationship with every student. There are no discrepancies between classes (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior) because you are all on the same hall and you all eat lunch together.
    For years the New Schools at Carver have flourished under this model giving rise to excellent test scores and schools on campus being ranked among the top 50 schools in Atlanta. With this record of excellence is it truly right to take away all that these teachers have worked for in order to save money? What money will truly be saved by integrating our campus? We will still have to utilize all buildings resources and teachers, so are there budget cuts that you aren’t making us aware of?
    This is especially regarding the junior class, or the graduating class of 2013. We have been under this model for 3 years and all of a sudden preceding the start of our senior year we are dictated to that we must change everything we have known since 2009 and just readily adopt this new model because of funding. What about the students? What about the 4 valedictorians and salutatorians of the class of 2013 75% of which will have to forfeit their rank to students who operated under other curriculums? What about the early college students who operate on a 4 by 4 schedule and have already completed all coursework required to graduate. Can they continue to go to Georgia State University when the other 75% of the junior class has operated 4 by 8 and still have courses to take? Yes it sounds like a good idea to give all the students the same opportunities, but for the students who have prospered and matriculated into their current places, who have worked hard to secure their future, and whose reality you are now altering and obliterating, it is too late. You are telling us thanks for trying but no thanks and is that the message you want to send to your students.
    You are closing schools and rezoning in a way that better neighborhoods are going to better schools and the Thomasvilles and Summer Hills neighborhoods are going to schools with recorded low achievement rates. According to the meetings held each school closing will save an estimated $500,000 but you have a $10 million expansion for Brown Middle School to accommodate students from John F. Kennedy and surrounding closings. You would have to close 20 schools to balance out this proposed project and you have allowed students, teachers, parents, and administrators to speak at meetings on this subject, but when did you ask about restructuring? This has not been presented as a proposed project, but as a set change. You grandfathered in the small schools at Washington High School starting the year we began high school and now the year we are preparing to leave you just abandon it. What does this speak of the stability of our school system? Are you really planning this out or just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks?
    We will not allow you to take away what we have worked so hard for. We will not allow you to destroy our schools for monetary gain. Education is more valuable than money and if you want students to graduate maybe you should show them that you care rather than saying that funding means more than school quality. Our schools will never be equal as long as you keep changing the model before it has time to produce efficient data. If money is really the matter then maybe you should actually persecute and fire the teachers involved in the cheating scandal so that you can stop paying two salaries per position. Interfering with the quality and structure of our school is not the answer if money is the question. 2012-2013 is my senior year. You can phase out the small schools. You can alter the winning formula and watch our schools spontaneously combust under this new mixture. You have the power to determine the quality of our next school year and our parents elected you or you were appointed under the assumption that you would perform your duties well. You will not however destroy my senior year nor will you destroy the status the school has worked so diligently to achieve as well as maintain. John Dewey said “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself,” today I ask you to let me live my life without you defining it for me and restructuring it as you please. Edward Everett said “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army,” but today I stand before not only as a scholar but as one out of an army of students who will fight you until the end of this for the liberty of our present state of education.
    This extraneous and trifling decision will not be imposed upon us as if we have no choice in our own educational system. As you read this I hope my words have resounded through your ears and that you can visualize three would have been valedictorians’ and three should have been salutatorians’ faces as they sit at their graduation listening to a speech that should have been theirs as well. Imagine sitting as a face in the crowd when you once were in the top 10. Imagine the heartache knowing your best year of high school supposedly will be ruined because of funding. Is this fair to us? Are you thinking of us? Or is there some generic solution to all of our discrepancies that won’t really solve any of them? Thank you for reading this but look forward to hearing more from us until you change this proposal.

  81. As a special educator it is my sincere hope that with the oncoming restructuring in school that were once Small Schools, that there will be consideration given to the appropriate placement of students with disabilities. With Small Schools, students were thrown into inclusive education that were and continue to be in dire need of more support. Some students just cannot make it in a regular education setting and should not be forced to do so with simply a collaborative instructor thrown into the classroom.

  82. I agree with Ann,

    Carver Early college has had much success because of the strong leadership at that school. Are they going to ensure that the same rigor and discipline is enforce or will they lose focus. Will they take the strongest of the four or five current principle and make that person the principal of the entire school.

    I just dont want to see Carver slip back.

  83. A bigger concern for me lies with making sure the Schools at Carver leadership maintains focus. That these communities remain small. Example a group of ninth graders was at a capacity of 100 plus students. This community of students were focused and the prinicpal, Ms. Thorton ensured that there was a rigorous teaching and learning curriclum in place.

    Discipline was under control; advisors and teachers were dedicated to reaching out to parents. Uniforms wer in place…… Students dress for success and this process, maintained focus within the campus for Carver Early College students……Scores and student learning was at a all time high…..

    My thoughts,” if its not broke, why fix it”…….

    Academy leaders, tell me more about these individuals. Will these leaders be certified teachers and/or principal downgraded to Academy leaders. We need skilled leaders in these positions.
    Leaders who are administrators by mind and process. A teacher could not just come in and maintain the rigor needed. There’s a lot involved when it comes to knowing the curriculum and how to drive both teaching and learning…..Please keep this at the top of your planning process…..

    Uniforms should also continue to be in place. The Art School at Carver stemmed away from uniforms to model individuality; this didn’t work, many of the students are observed with their pants before their waist; leadership at this school allowed this to happen……short dresses and to many colors that took attention from learning to how you look…….

    Last, but certainly not least, we are now asked our opinion(s) after the decision to merge these schools.

    Why didn’t the District (Superintendent Errol) involve parents, students and community leaders in the decision making process before now?

    Why ask for our opinion now?

    How will the principal at Carver Schools be selected under the new management?

    How will parents be involved in this process?

    Concerned Carver Parent, Direction

  84. I am aware of he small learning school concept however, as a parent of two gifted children I don’t feel that when we look to making changes that enough is done in support of this group. Why hasn’t the board ever considered a school for the gifted? Why is it that we talked about this group of children but we don’t truly provide for them in a manner where their talents can be nourished and allowed to truly blossom?

  85. We appreciate your advocacy @Shawnna! Feel free to reach out to Dept. Supt. Karen Waldon in the future about concerns regarding curriculum and instruction. She loves children and she listens to parents.

  86. The funny thing, is that when we first started this process of high school transformation I questioned the amount of money we were planing to spend and the Board just ignored it. I am happy to see our new leadership making wise fiscal choices for our school system!

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