Education

APS Superintendent: School Turnaround Will Be A Lot Of Work

Drew Charter School, in APS, is a model for some schools targeted  in the district's turnaround plan.
Drew Charter School, in APS, is a model for some schools targeted in the district's turnaround plan.
Credit / Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

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The Atlanta Public Schools began this year with a new turnaround plan for some of its low-performing schools. But at a school board meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen admitted APS has to overcome some big hurdles for the plan to succeed.

The initiative involves merging some schools, closing others, putting health clinics on a few campuses, creating science and technology academies, and hiring extra tutors. Despite the additional resources, Carstarphen said it will take a tremendous amount of effort to see improvement in student performance.

“I just believe the children of Atlanta, particularly our black children, particularly families living in intergenerational poverty, simply are not ready to learn,” she said. “We don’t have a strong enough early childhood structure in this city to ensure that kids who need these lessons to eliminate the achievement gap before it starts … and the skill sets … they just don’t have them.”

Research shows high dosage tutoring, which is included in the plan, can be an effective strategy.

APS developed the turnaround plan in response to Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal to let the state take over poor-performing schools.

A note of disclosure: WABE’s broadcast license is held by the Atlanta Board of Education.

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