LIVE BLOG: October Board of Education Meeting – October 7, 2013

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Thank you for following our live blog of the October Board of Education Meeting for Atlanta Public Schools.

View today’s agenda here:http://www.boarddocs.com/ga/aps/Board.nsf/Public

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The meeting will begin soon.

2:11pm – Board meeting called to order.

BOARD PRESENTATIONS:

APS Strategic Plan Update by Dr. Alexis Kirijan –

Mr. Chairman, members of the Board, Mr. Davis, good afternoon and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to provide an update on the district’s strategic plan.  Success in many ways is about expectations and accomplishments, all wrapped up with great collaboration and communications. Through the strategic planning process together we:

  1. Set forth expectations; and
  2. Outlined a five-year strategic plan to envision the future of Atlanta Public Schools.

The desired result of the Strategic Planning process was to create a roadmap to help us reach our goals.  The roadmap includes a clearly articulated set of core beliefs, guiding principles (our 4 E’s), mission and vision statements, focus areas, objectives and initiative.  All of which position the district to continue in the direction of educational excellence for all students.  All along the way, the board was engaged and involved in the work to develop the plan, and in a resolution on October 1st, 2012 unanimously supported the plan.  Following the October board meeting the plan was communicated to stakeholders using several different communication strategies.

We completed the stages of strategic planning: Planning and Development, Analysis and Decision-making, and Communications.  And are currently completing the first year of the Implementation stage.  In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are reviewing our Year One results and have begun to make necessary adjustments to the plan in order to continue the progress forward.

The goal was not to have the strategic plan become a shelf document, so a process for implementation and sustainability was developed.  As we enter year two, we will continue to leverage five points identified as necessary to implement, support and sustain the Strategic Plan:

Leadership and Governance in which we ask the Board to continue to focus on governance keeping students first; and to engage the community and build public trust, while continuing to adhere to accreditation standards and required actions.

○  Resource Allocation in which we will continue to consider the strategic plan as a driver for budget planning.  At the same time we will consider other partnerships to help support the strategic initiatives

○ Keeping a focus on technology, the desired result is to develop and implement a long-term technology plan to support technology to help accomplish the district’s mission.

○ Continue to be mindful of a comprehensive communications plan to build public trust by sharing the strategic plan, its impact and progress.

○ And an accountability framework informs progress and continuous improvement efforts.

The strategic plan contains 3 strategic areas of focus (called “perspectives”):  We refer to these as our three big buckets of work.  The strategic focus areas or perspectives provide guidance for APS leaders in the development of policies and regulations, strategic objectives and initiatives to realize the vision.

Our attention is on three strategic focus areas that include:

  1. Students, stakeholders and the learning environment
  2. Leadership and talent development
  3. Financial and operational systems and support.

Our strategy map is simply a diagram used to tell the story about what the district aspires to achieve, how we will go about doing it and shows the connections between the critical processes that support achievement.  The map provides a starting point for all of us and identifies the actions that must be taken to support the overall the district’s mission.  The eleven district strategic objectives shown on the strategy map are carefully identified and categorized into processes, people, the instructional program, and student achievement.  Reading the map from the bottom up, it shows a cause-and-effect relationship.  Feedback from our school leaders indicates that having the right district support system in place helps them to be more successful and our students to perform at higher levels.

The performance on the strategic plan is tracked through the Balanced Scorecard.

○ The Balanced Scorecard is developed from the strategy map and contains the performance measures that tell us exactly where we will direct our attention

○ Each division’s work includes how it will support the strategic plan and how they will collaborate with each other to ensure student success.

Today, I will not explain all of our performance measures, as they will be presented in the annual performance report, which will soon be released. The Board will receive the report by email, and it will be posted online for the public.  I do, however, want to point out some of the new measures from the 2012-2013 balanced scorecard:

○ % of students passing state standards on the CRCT and EOCT across the curriculum

○ % of students not only enrolled in AP classes, but also demonstrating AP achievement

○ % of students with disabilities who spend at least 80% of their school day in general education environment

○ % of employees who have taken 20 hours of training annually

○ And a graduation rate that now holds us accountable for ensuring that ALL students – including students with special needs – graduate with a regular diploma in no more than 5 years

Preliminary data indicates that progress was made on a few of the key measures:

○ The average CRCT score gap between APS and the state closed by 10% from the previous year. Our average score was 10.1 points behind the state average, now it is 9.1 points behind. Further, the % of students in traditional schools passing the Math, Science and Social Studies CRCT increased over the previous year.

○ The percent of students in traditional schools passing the EOCT increased in every subject area.

(Mathematics II: 31% to 44%)

(9th Grade Lit and Comp: 69% to 73%)

(American Lit and Comp: 81% to 85%)

(Physical Science: 59% to 63%)

(Biology: 53% to 58%)

(US History: 57% to 59%)

(Economics: (68% to 72%)

○ And 55% of students with disabilities spend at least 80% of their school day in general education environment, which is an increase from 48% the previous year.

○ The perception surveys for the 2012-2013 school year were distributed three times and indicated improvement.

○ 79% of parents and community members rate the district’s outreach and engagement satisfactory and above (2012-13 target is 70%).

○ 84% of staff responses indicate that customer service of business units is satisfactory or above (2012-13 target is 75%)

○ Although the results are encouraging and show we are moving in the right direction, we know we have more work to do.

○ Stakeholder surveys indicated the need for additional safety measures, so the district is partnering with the city to provide enhanced physical security with additional full-time school resource officers, investigative detectives, school safety training and 24-hour alarm services.

○ We also know that professional development is vital to continuous improvement, so we are focused on doing a better job of providing professional development to all staff, ensuring the 20-hour policy requirement is met, and measuring the impact of the professional development offered.

The next slide highlights the 2012-2013 strategic initiatives which were identified to support our strategy.  For example, initiatives, such as Common Core, were state-mandated and fully align our curriculum.  Project THRIVE was innovative and much needed to recruit, select and retain our people.  Teacher and Leader Effectiveness is expected to have a powerful impact on student performance.  And Strategic Communications and Engagement is essential to increase collaboration across the city in schools, central office departments and community organizations.

How we choose our strategic initiatives depends on:

○ Benefits & Costs

○ Impact

○ Alignment & Prioritization

○ Feasibility

Divisions support or enhance the district-level initiatives with strategies and actions aligned to the strategic plan.  The year one preliminary results continue to show the need to increase the graduation rate and increase student attendance as well as enrollment and achievement for students in AP classes.   What this tells us is although we are making progress, we know what we have to do; we need to stay the course and proactively implement the strategic plan.

A reminder of why the strategic plan is important and how it benefits students using our guiding principles?

The strategic plan communicates the Atlanta Public Schools’ mission and vision to drive the educational program forward and bring clarity and agreement on what excellence in everything we do really means.  It promotes the equitable distribution of resources across the district for all students. It provides an opportunity to provide alignment with all levels of the organization, from the Board Room to the classroom, promoting a culture of ethics and accountability. And it provides an opportunity for inclusion and engagement, both internally and externally. The plan communicates what the right work is in every classroom, school, cluster, and region across the district.  And executing the plan with fidelity will help us meet and exceed our goals.  This concludes my presentation.  Thank you for your attention.

-end of presentation-

Chuck Burbridge gives the October financial update.  Slide will be uploaded to this blog once received from the Finance Division.

Financial Update 

ChiefFinancial Officer, Chuck Burbridge, presented the financial forecast before the board at the October 7th meeting.

According to Burbridge, the revenue and expenditure estimates for October remain the same.

COMMITTE OF THE WHOLE meeting now beginning:

Report No. 13/14-1706 Authorization to revise policy KG Use of School Facilities (First Reading)

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

Policy KG has been revised to update the language and clarify the manner in which Atlanta Public Schools allows outside groups to use school and administrative facilities. The board requested a review of this policy at its meeting on September 9, 2013.

RECOMMENDATION:

The board should accept the revision of policy KG for first reading.

REASON:

To clarify the board’s vision for the use of school facilities by community organizations.

Authorization to Ratify and Approve all Permits for Use of School Properties that have a Term of Longer than One Week at Various Schools Sites

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

Board Policy KG states that all requests for use of school facilities for a period longer than one week shall be referred to the Board of Education for approval.  Included is a list of permits that is being submitted for ratification and/or approval consistent with the Policy KG.

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Board of Education ratify and approve the attached list of use permits.

REASON:

To comply with current Board Policy KG.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

The district will receive fees according to the term and feeschedule of the permit.

Authorization to Non-renew the Tech High Charter School Contract

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

On September 10, 2008, Atlanta Public Schools received a renewal petition from Tech High School. The petition was approved and the current five-year term expires on June 30, 2014. Although the school announced its closure onJuly 9, 2012, the contract is still active. Georgia law requires that localboards vote to close or non-renew charter contracts of schools that have not met their contract goals. As a non-operating school, Tech High has failed to meet its contract goals for the past two years.

RECOMMENDATION:

Having received no renewal petition from the governing board of Tech High School and given the voluntary dissolution of the school by its board, the Superintendent recommends that the board deny a renewal of the Tech High School charter.

REASON:

Georgia law requires local boards to vote to close or non-renew charter contracts of schools not meeting contract goals.

Authorization to Approve KIPP Charter Cluster Petition and Enter into and Execute a Contract Agreement

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

During the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers approved legislation allowing groups of charter schools to reorganize under one contract as charter clusters. KIPP Atlanta has submitted a petition requesting approval to become a charter cluster authorized by Atlanta Public Schools.

While KIPP’s cluster plan does not materially change its instructional program or the population it serves, cluster status allows KIPP to pool its resources and to eliminate the inefficiencies created by operating as six separate schools.  As a charter cluster, KIPP plans to reduce administrative spending and offer more robust supports for all students in the cluster.

Reorganization under one contract also puts all KIPP schools in the district on the same five-year renewal schedule. The Office of Innovation will continue to monitor each KIPP school individually and hold each schoolresponsible for meeting its goals under the performance framework. Should any school within the cluster need to be closed, this can be done through boardaction, as is the case currently.

Charter Cluster status does alter the enrollment preferences at two KIPP schools, establishing enrollment priorities for students graduating from KIPP Vision Primary wishing to attend KIPP Vision and for students graduating from KIPP STRIVE Primary wishing to attend KIPP STRIVE.

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Atlanta Board of Education accept the recommendation of the superintendent to approve the KIPP Atlanta Schools charter cluster petition and that the board chair and superintendent be authorized to sign any documents required for the charter school including, but not limited to, the APS charter agreement, state charter documents, state or federal grant applications, grant budget forms, and minor modifications to the charter agreement.

REASON:

Georgia law requires local boards to approve or deny charter school petitions submitted locally within 60 days of submission.

FROM THE AJC:  ”

The Atlanta Board of Education unanimously voted Monday to organize six city charter schools as a cluster, allowing them to pool resources in an effort to operate more efficiently.

The school board granted the charter cluster petition to KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Academy, KIPP STRIVE Academy, KIPP STRIVE Primary Academy, KIPP Vision Academy, KIPP Vision Primary Academy and KIPP West Atlanta Young Scholars Academy.

The charter cluster plan gives KIPP primary school students the opportunity to enroll in KIPP middle schools before the general public, and it puts all the schools on the same five-year schedule to seek renewals of their charters from the school board.

– See more at: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/group-charter-granted-to-atlantas-kipp-schools/nbHxj/#sthash.AUYz7rN2.dpuf”

Authorization to Enter into and Execute a Contract to Provide Fire Sprinkler Maintenance and Repair Services

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Atlanta Public Schools procurement services department solicited vendors to provide fire sprinkler maintenance and repair services.  Five (5) proposals were received and evaluated (list of bidders attached).

RECOMMENDATION:

That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute a contract with Cliff’s Fire Extinguisher Company, Inc., to provide fire sprinkler maintenance and repair services. This contract shall be for one (1) year with four (4) one-year available options to be exercised at the discretion of the superintendent.  This contract is conditional upon the firm’s ability to comply with requirements set forth in the solicitation document.

REASON:

To provide fire sprinkler maintenance and repair services.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

The estimated annual cost of this contract is $200,000.

FUNDING SOURCE:

Funds are available in general fund account number 100-6713-4300 and various capital and SPLOST accounts.

Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Asphalt and Concrete Services

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Atlanta Public Schools procurement services department solicited vendors to provide asphalt and concrete services. Five (5) proposals were received and evaluated (list of bidders attached).

RECOMMENDATION:

That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with Atlanta Paving & Concrete Construction, Inc., HEH Paving, Inc., Pittman Construction Company, Inc., Randolph & Company, Inc. and Technique Concrete Construction to provide asphalt and concrete services. These contracts shall be for one (1) year with four (4) one-year available options to be exercised at the discretion of the superintendent.  These contracts are conditional upon the firm’s ability to comply with requirements set forth in the solicitation document.

REASON:

To provide asphalt and concrete services.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

The estimated annual cost of these contracts is $400,000.

FUNDING SOURCE:

Funds are available in general fund account number 100-6705-4300 and various capital and SPLOST accounts.

Authorization to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Supplies

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Atlanta Public Schools procurement services department solicited vendors to provide heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) supplies.  Six (6) proposals were received and evaluated (list of bidders attached).

RECOMMENDATION:

That the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with Airgas Refrigerants, Inc. , C.C. Dickson Co., HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, Ltd., Johnstone Supply and Trane US, Inc.to provideheating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) supplies. These contracts shall be for one (1) year with four (4) one-year available options to be exercised at the discretion of the superintendent.  These contracts are conditional upon the firm’s ability to comply with requirements set forth in the solicitation document.

REASON:

To provide heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) supplies.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

The estimated annual cost of these contracts is $450,000.

FUNDING SOURCE:

Funds are available in general fund account number 100-6711-6100.

Authorization to Amend Report No. 09/10-1245 to Provide Recruiting Services for International Teachers

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Atlanta Board of Education authorized the superintendent to execute contracts with Global Teacher Research & Resources, Inc. and VIF International Teachers in June 2010.  The original action item authorized expenditure for $615,000. Additional recruiting services for international teachers are required therefore additional funding is being requested.

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Atlanta Board of Education amend Report No. 09/10-1245 to increase the authorized amount from $615,000.00 to $ 1,250,000.00. This represents an increase of $636,000 from the current authorized expenditure amount.  The $1,250,000.00 is included in the FY14 budget.

REASON:

To provide recruiting services for international teachers.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

The total annual cost of these contracts shall not exceed $1,250,000.

FUNDING SOURCE:

Funds are available in general fund account number 100-1200-3210.

Authorization to Amend Report No. 10/11-1150 to Enter into and Execute Contracts to Provide Musical Instruments and Equipment

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Atlanta Board of Education authorized the superintendent to execute contracts with Cascio Interstate Music, Ken Stanton Music Company, Music and Art Center, National Education Music Company, Shar Products Company, Unitech Products Corporation, Washington Music Center and Wenger Corporation to provide musical instruments and equipment.  The total estimated value of thesecontracts was $335,000. Additional funding is required for additional equipment.

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Atlanta Board of Education amend Report No. 10/11-1150 to increase the authorized amount from $350,000 to $425,000 per year to provide musical instruments and equipment. This represents an increase of $75,000 from the authorized expenditure amount for the current year.

REASON:

To provide musical instruments and equipment.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

The estimated annual cost of these contracts will be $ 425,000.

FUNDING SOURCE:

Funds are available in general fund account number 100-1267-6150 and various SPLOST accounts.

Authorization to Enter into a Lease Agreement with Meridian Educational Resource Group also known as WhitefoordCommunity Program to Lease Space in Several Schools

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Meridian Educational Resource Group also known as Whitefoord Community Program (WCP) has a long standing relationship with Atlanta Public Schools, Whitefoord Elementary School, Coan Middle School, and Crim High School.  WCP currently operates school based health clinics in each of the schools to provide primary healthcare to students, parents, and the community.  In the past WCP has received a Health Resource & Services Administration grant to perform capital improvements to the school based health clinics.  The grant requires WCP to have a long term lease agreement for the sites.

The lease agreement will be for five (5) years with an option for an additional five (5) years.  The terms will include a termination clause of 180 days for need by Atlanta Public Schools. The space for the clinic will be provided at no cost; however, the lessee will be responsible for the custodial services for the space provided and supplies as well as any non-structural maintenance of the center.

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Superintendent be authorized to execute lease agreement with the Meridian Educational Resource Group also known as Whitefoord Community Program.

REASON:

To allow the Whitefoord Community Program to continue to operate the school based health clinics and perform the proposed capital improvements to the clinics.

Authorization to Negotiate and Enter into a Joint Use Agreement with the City of Atlanta for the Pool at the M.L. King Middle School Site

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The City of Atlanta (COA) King Natatorium was closed and will be scheduled for demolition due to structural damage.  The COA has currently moved their aquatics program to King MS until a permanent location is determined. The COA is requesting a three (3) year agreement for the use of the pool.  The City will be responsible for the maintenance of the pool.  Atlanta Public Schools and the City of Atlanta worked together to address all security issues associated with the joint use of the facility.

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Superintendent be authorized to execute the joint use agreement with the City of Atlanta for the use of the King Middle School pool facilities.

REASON:

To allow the COA aquatics program to continue as well as reinstate the aquatics classes at the King Middle School.

Authorization to Declare Several School Sites Surplus Properties

THE SUPERINTENDENT REPORTS:

The Atlanta Board of Education authorized the engagement of a Real Estate Consultant to dispose of surplus properties that are no longer needed by the district.  Several properties that are proposed to be disposed of have not been declared surplus and are no longer needed for district purposes.  The following facilities have been closed and are no longer deemed needed for district purposes:

Adair Facility Doane Street Property
Carter Facility Old Dobbs Property
Wright Facility Claire/Daleview Properties
Collier Heights Property Old Finch Site
West Atlanta

RECOMMENDATION:

That the Board declares these properties surplus and no longer needed for district purposes.

REASON:

To allow these properties to be marketed and sold by the Real Estate Consultant.

____ LIVE BLOG ON HOLD (4:21PM).  WILL RETURN SHORTLY._____

Executive session and Committee of the Whole meeting has ended.

Special Presentation

Tonight, we celebrate three outstanding JROTC cadets.

Recently, three Atlanta Public Schools JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) cadets were awarded the national Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement recently by U.S. Army Cadet Command and the Legion of Valor Headquarters in Cypress, California.

Cadets Elonte Porter from New Schools at Carver High School, Lam Dang fromMaynard H. Jackson High School, and Odyssey Wilson from Benjamin E. Mays High School, were three of only five JROTC cadets in Georgia to win this award. Nationally, the Legion of Valor is authorized at a level of roughly one per every 4,000 cadets. The award is a rare honor, as fewer than 100 are awarded nationally every year. Cadets earn the award based on their academic excellence; leadership potential; and service to their school, community and nation.

APS has one of the largest JROTC programs in the state. A total of 2,900 cadets participate in JROTC in 11 APS schools. JROTC is no longer perceived as a pipeline to or recruiting arm of the military. Rather, it is a high-quality, leadership-development, character-building program for students. To learn more about APS’ JROTC program, watch APS’ made-for-television special presentation and view photos from an intensive training session that took place this past summer at Fort Benning, Georgia. In addition, visit the APS JROTC department online.

6:05pm

Community meeting now beginning.

Senator Vincent Fort:  I felt compelled to come and be with you this evening.  I was concerned when I heard that some BOE members thought that taking $146,000 from the business community was an alright thing.  Hopefully by your actions today, I hope this board will do the right thing and say no we will not accept money from the business community, the Chamber or anyone else.  This is the criticial issue…because where we went wrong with Supt. Hall is that the business community said we defend her and she didn’t do anything wrong.  I don’t think this board did enough to hold the superintendent accountable.  I hope that by your actions tonight you will send a message to the community that that has changed and that the board is going to stand up and do the oversight that is necessary.  There has also been discussion about the $300k supplement for the new superintendent.  Some of likened it to a football coach.  This isn’t football.  This ain’t a game.  This is our children.  I want that $300k to go to teachers, to bus drivers, to the cafeteria workers because if they don’t come, this system will close down, like that.  I would hope that this board would do the right thing and provide oversight.

Education Association Representative:  We are pleased to hear that the BOE is interested in adding money to the salary of the superintendent, we believe those funds should be added to areas that directly impact students, such as educators.  We need to decrease the amount of politics in education so that we can focus on who and what matters.

Community Advocate/Parent:  I think we all understand that it is a daunting task to take on the leadership position of APS.  It doesn’t look good for board members to ask questions about the superintendent search when the board only has 3 main functions.  I want to say thank you to operations for getting things fixed a the Sylvan Hills location.  Equity means that all schools are prepared not just some on the first day of school.  I think we also need to make sure we are valuing our non-classified workers and teachers so they are not disgruntled.  As a parent, I don’t want a disgruntled bus driver driving the bus or a disgruntled cafeteria worker fixing the food.

Public Employee Union Representative:  I understand from the superintendent’s office that we will be going into mediation on the 16th, so I will tone it down just a little bit.  I want to thank the district for hearing at least some of the pain of the workers.  We have a long way to go, lets be clear on that.  How does it feel to work 40 hours and get a paycheck that only reflects 30 hours.  How does it feel to work 20 hours and get a paycheck not at all.  How does it feel to come over to payroll and be told not here not now and be told that you have to pay to park in the parking deck.  This weekend we went to the superintendent’s home, they tell me that he is a respectful man and influential man, but he hasn’t taken the time to meet with a single bus driver.  It is easy to say it’s the bus drivers fault.  They are simply asking for their paycheck. They just want to be treated with dignity.  Yes we did, to dramatize the point, send our fliers saying our superintendent was missing.  We got word that he was at the Georgia Dome so we went over and talked to the 100 Black Men and said you may be missing one, you may be down to 99.  Of course we did this to dramatize.  I hope this board will do the right thing.  Tonight we ask the superintendent to hear the words of his workers.

Bus Driver:  We came down here Monday to get our paychecks corrected and we were told by HR and Transportation that getting the checks corrected was not a priority.  That’s not fair.  We waited 2 hours and nothing was done.  They wouldn’t even let us park in the parking lot.  I also want to speak about the safety at MJHS and my principal has had a hard time getting monitors. We need to dig in and put it into security for not only Jackson but all of our schools.

Toomer Elementary Parent:  We are facing an attrition crisis.  Last year we lost 30% of our students after the BOE voted to expand Drew Charter.  For Toomer parents, the draw of PK-12 at Drew is too big a draw to pass up.  [Speaker says that PK-8 model is best for Toomer].  For all of these reasons be feel now is the right time to persue a K-8 pilot at Toomer which will result in a strong Jackson cluster.

Toomer Elementary Parent asks that the BOE consider a K-8 pilot for Toomer.

Atlanta NAACP representative asks the district to consider smaller class sizes and to work to eliminate the school to prison pipeline.

Jackson HS Parent: I stood here once before, and said that it was unimportant who caused the leak in our collective educational boat. What really mattered was that we all worked together to bail it to keep from sinking.

We need to continue bailing but I implore you, please stop making new holes.

The latest of these is the security in our schools. This follows on the heels of the slow torture of last year’s budgeting process, transportation snafus, the seemingly contradictory plagues of overcrowding AND under-population, the worst HR process imaginable—the list goes on…

Despite having created an ad-hoc plan last year at Maynard Jackson that was beginning to show results, this year, you started over from scratch. A process which included neither the school’s principal nor Major Meadows in it’s creation—the two most invested parties in the plan’s successful implementation. Unsurprisingly, it was grossly inadequate. Furthermore, this is not limited to just our high school. It’s a district-wide problem. I believe this process is endemic to the Trinity Avenue-centric approach managing our schools that has been a hallmark of APS for more than a decade.

For two and a half years, I’ve preached the promise of our community high school—my daughter is a freshman this year—and I believe that before she graduates, this can be among the best high schools in the state. You’ve hired a great principal, fighting is down, scores are up and excitement is growing. Three nights ago, the families of the Jackson cluster filled the stands at Grady stadium and collectively affirmed their commitment to our elementary and middle school students’ future at Maynard Holbrook Jackson high school.

But here’s the catch: we need you to quit making it so hard.

Quit making ill-informed decisions. Really listen to your teachers and school administrators—they know what they need; they live that need daily. It’s your job to help figure out how they get it; not to tell them why they can’t have it or don’t really need it. Stop tying principals’ hands. Figure out what each individual school needs to be a safe learning environment and let it happen.

Quit poking holes in the boat and maybe we can start moving forward instead of slowly sinking in place.

Washington High School parent says that no further testing has been done at the school concerning mold and mildew.  She says students have continued to complain, however no new testing has been performed.  “Your agents have told you that the HVAC systems must be replaced but there is no budget alloted.”

Washington High parent asks that the additional funds for the superintendent be used for schools in APS that are “lacking.”  Says that the mold issue is still a huge concern. “How long do we have to wait?  How long do our children have to suffer.”

Jackson HS Cluster Parent:  The problems we have at Jackson are problems everywhere.  Communities build schools.  Get behind the communities, get behind the schools.

Comunity Member:  We have incompetent leadership from Bethune Elementary to Washington High School.  Why aren’t the principals here talking about the mold at Washington?  Here we are, representing the children.  We bring it to the attention of the administrators and Ms. Waldon.  Now we have Kennedy that will have meetings this week.  This is not a college and career meeting…we don’t need a charter high school that will drain Washington.

Community Meeting and public comment has now ended.  Legislative meeting beginning.  This meeting is televised and can be seen on Comcast  channel 22.

–excerpt from legislative meeting–

Superintendent Davis speaks about the Human Resources department and the opportunities for improvement that existed a year ago when Michael Gray arrived.  His contract will expire on October 15th.  “I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the system to thank Michael Gray and Rick White.”  Davis says that Mr. Gray will return to retirement.

Board Chair McDaniel:  “We appreciate your contributions to APS.”

Davis says that the board will be presented with a CIO and Chief of HR candidates at the next board meeting.

7:51pm – Board adjourns legislative meeting.

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