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Posted by on October 10, 2012.

Buckhead: state Department of Education says it would not take over North Atlanta High

Superintendent Erroll Davis responds to parents and students on Oct. 9 during a Q&A session at North Atlanta High.

Posted at 3:57 p.m.

Superintendent Erroll Davis painted a bleak picture of North Atlanta High’s future during a meeting on Oct. 9 concerning his decision to overhaul the school’s leadership team, but the state Department of Education says the high school did not face a state takeover.

During the meeting, the superintendent said he needed to remove North Atlanta’s principal and academy leaders because the school was in Needs Improvement 4 status, meaning it did not meet standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The state successfully obtained a waiver from the law, meaning the state will not use those benchmarks in determining school performance.

Davis told the North Atlanta High community that it was fortunate the state obtained the waiver, because one more year in Needs Improvement would mean dire consequences.

“If we went to an NI5 status, the state would’ve seized this school and we would’ve fired all the leadership in the process,” Davis said. “That’s where we are.”

Department of Education Spokeswoman Dorie Turner Nolt told the Buckhead Reporter that under the law the state can not “take over” or “seize” struggling schools.  She said when a school reaches NI5, the school receives a state monitor.

“A state monitor does not mean a takeover,” she said. “There is nothing in the statute that allows for a state takeover.”

She said individual school districts still made all hiring and firing decisions when a school was placed on NI5 status.

Davis said the state’s switch to Common Core standards would’ve provided even tougher benchmarks for the school. He said he didn’t want to keep leadership that could not meet the standards established by No Child Left Behind.

The Buckhead Reporter has reached out to Davis to ask if he can further explain his assertion that the school faced a takeover and will update this story with his response.

To see more coverage about the meeting and to hear Davis’ remarks, click here.

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