As everyone in the Atlanta Public Schools community knows too well, the COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous obstacles and challenges to quality teaching and learning despite our best efforts.
Most of our students have lost invaluable learning time since March, placing them at a greater risk of not being prepared for college, career, and life. Many have experienced the loss of loved ones; others have grappled with racial injustices and police brutality; and others still face food and income insecurity.
As I announced several weeks ago, district leadership began working with our schools to expand academic interventions to address this issue with our neediest students. These interventions launched this week.
We have developed guidelines for each school to provide face-to-face intervention for our highest-need students. Through in-person interventions, we aspire to address students’ needs in the areas of academics, wellness, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior supports.
Each of our schools and clusters will develop their own plans to meet the unique needs of their students, but all of our schools must offer interventions for their highest-need students in order to ensure equitable outcomes for students.
APS’ face-to-face intervention plans will be based on the following guiding principles:
1. All schools must offer up to 2 days of face-to-face intervention, Tuesday-Friday, or Saturdays (where applicable), for their highest need students.
2. All schools will offer face-to-face interventions within the parameters of APS’ health and safety protocols.
3. Schools know their students best and as such will have the autonomy to determine what interventions are offered, how interventions are staffed and delivered, and when (before school, during school, after school) interventions are offered in alignment with the district’s outlined criteria.
4. Schools will regularly meet to identify the highest needs students for face-to-face intervention based on their academic needs, wellness needs, and engagement, ensuring the highest-need students are identified for intervention.
5. Given that this is targeted intervention, this should not replace core instruction and should be scheduled around core instruction.
We also recommend that each school establish a “care team” that meets weekly to evaluate and coordinate their school-based interventions. This team will play an important function in ensuring students are receiving the interventions they need. We expect them to review academic, behavioral, and wellness related data to identify students most in need, coordinate problem-solving conversations with families, and triage intervention services to ensure that the widest range of eligible students are matched to the needed academic, wellness, and engagement intervention
Again, I want to assure our students, families, and staff that all face-to-face interventions will be offered in alignment with APS’ health and safety protocols, developed in close collaboration with public health officials and as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Schools will reach out to parents and families directly about their plans and whether your child is eligible for these services.
Please stay engaged and be well.