APS Unveils Plan To Turn Around Struggling Schools

Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

Next fall, Georgia voters will be asked whether the state should be authorized to take over schools it deems “chronically failing.”

If the measure passes, 26 Atlanta public schools, or 60 percent, could qualify for a takeover. APS’s plan to save those schools looks outside the district.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says APS asked organizations with proven track records of turning schools around to apply to run some of Atlanta’s neediest schools. Officials narrowed down about 30 applicants to three finalists: Kindezi Schools, Purpose Built Schools, and a nonprofit called School Turnaround.

“We opened it up and have been open-minded about recruiting support for schools and clusters that have been struggling,” Carstarphen said.

Kindezi and Purpose Built usually operate charter schools, but, Carstarphen said, if the plan is approved, they will run traditional, neighborhood schools with normal attendance boundaries.

The district says the three school clusters with immediate needs are Douglass, Carver and Washington. The two charter school networks, Kindezi and Purpose Built, will manage some of those schools.

“They propose to operate Thomasville Heights and Slater elementary schools, Price Middle and Carver High School in the Carver cluster,” Carstarphen said. “So it’s basically half of the cluster for the Carver community.”

  The plan also includes merging some schools; renovating others; adding a K-8 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lab at one school; and putting an early learning center at another.

Carstarphen will present the plan to the school board Monday, Feb. 1. The board will vote at its March meeting, after a 30-day public comment period.

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

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