Atlanta’s public school system plans a series of seven community discussions during the next dozen days to hear from parents, students and employees about how the system should operate.
“It will dramatically change the way we do business, depending on which model we choose,” new Superintendent Meria Carstarphen told more than 160 parents and school officials who attended an Aug. 25 community meeting at Sutton Middle School.
State education officials are asking the Atlanta schools to decide whether to operate as either a charter system freed from state and federal rules in return for strict accountability; or as a local system with some freedom from state and federal rules but not as much as a charter system; or as a “status quo” system, District Deputy Superintendent David Jernigan said during the Sutton meeting.
Jernigan said APS officials are trying to decide which model to choose before the school board’s November meeting.
In a press release, APS said it is required to notify the Georgia Department of Education which options it intends to adopt by June 30, 2015. An advisory committee has been created with representatives from the district’s schools and administration, as well as appointments from community groups and PTAs. The advisory committee will consider the community’s input in a recommendation it will make to the superintendent in October.
“I’m getting tons of pressure on which way we will go,” Carstarphen said. “I’m not talking about which one we’re going to do. I really want to understand this district [first]. If we try not to box ourselves in, I think we’re more likely to end up where we want to be.”
School officials have scheduled meetings to discuss the various options at the following times and locations:
Aug. 26 — B.E.S.T. Academy, 1890 Donald L. Hollowell Parkway, NW
Aug. 27 — Grady High School, 929 Charles Allen Dr., NE
Aug. 28 — Crawford Long Middle School, 3200 Latona Dr., SW
Sept. 2 — Frederick Douglass High School, 225 Hamilton E. Homes Dr., NW
Sept. 3 — Carver High School, 55 McDonough Blvd., SE
Sept. 4 — North Atlanta High school, 4111 Northside Dr., NW
Sept. 6 — Martin Luther King Middle School, 1550 Hosea Williams Dr., NE
All meetings are scheduled to last from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., except the Sept. 6 meeting, which beings at 10 a.m. and ends at noon.
The meetings are open to anyone interested in the system and residents from any part of town may take part in any of the meetings, school officials said.