Nearly four years after some Atlanta students sat down to take the 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test, the criminal investigation into cheating on those exams and allegations of a culture that supported it, is now being heard by a Fulton County grand jury.
Right now there’s only speculation as to who is testifying and just as important, about what.
Criminal defense attorney and WABE legal analyst Page Pate says in grand jury hearings there’s only one side to be heard.
It’s an idea the district has been considering for a while and could happen soon.
“We’re looking to make a transition for the 2013-14 school year,” says APS spokesperson Steve Alford.
Right now New Schools at Carver, South Atlanta High School, Therrell High School and Washington all have what’s called small schools, basically four schools within a large campus.
For example, New Schools at Carver has Early College, Technology, Performing Arts, and Health Science and Research as its small schools.
APS wants to transition the four schools into one high school with four academies.
Alford says the change will allow students to attend classes across all the academies.
“Based on the small school structure, if you have student say in a technology school who wants to take an AP class that’s only offered at the art school on the same campus now, that student can’t cross register and go take that AP course there.”
AP stands for Advanced Placement.
Operating the current small schools concept is also expensive says Alford.
Each has their own principal and operate has four small high schools.
Under the new small learning communities’ model, there would be one principal.
However, he says it’s not clear if the changes would also mean layoffs.
“We will realize opportunities because we’re not going to have four principals on campus, we’ll have one in the schools. Obviously, we can re-direct some of those resources to the classrooms and that’s what we want to do.”
The small schools concept was initiated under former superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall.
APS and state officials originally thought a faulty boiler caused the carbon monoxide leak at Finch elementary school. But Atlanta superintendent Errol Davis said that changed after they reviewed school surveillance tapes.
“This now has led us down a new path of investigation, and that is the path of human error,” he said.
The tapes show two workers entered the school last week to perform maintenance on the boiler. Associate superintendent Steve Smith says that’s when the mistake was made.