APS students are ENGAGED with Georgia Tech!

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Incredible project presentations by incredible students. Check out the full list of projects at the end of this blog.

Geniuses surrounded me this morning! Our students are seriously smart and today, 22 brilliant APS high school students had their scientific research work celebrated by our friends over at Georgia Tech!

All of these students participated this school year in the Project ENGAGES Research Scholars program, a new high school science education program developed at Georgia Tech in partnership with Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, B.E.S.T Academy, Mays High School and KIPP Atlanta Collegiate. The program provides an opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to mentor high school students in research while gaining valuable mentoring and project management experiences.

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Scholars were chosen from Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, B.E.S.T Academy, Mays High School and KIPP Atlanta Collegiate.

Our partners are awesome, so it was great to be there with our students and G.P. “Bud” Peterson; Dr. Gary Mays, dean of the College of Engineering; and Dr. Bob Nerem, professor emeritus for the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. I am a big fan of Project ENGAGES and a big fan of Georgia Tech because of the work and opportunities they offer for our students.

Partnerships like Project ENGAGES folds neatly and perfectly into our ongoing needs for STEM education, sponsorships and programs. In addition to strong STEM curriculum, we need to get our kids directly engaged in the work with real-world projects with real-world implications and impacts.

~1438205823~GtechPRES2015-028We can’t ask for better partnerships in academia than the ones found here in Atlanta, especially as we attempt to do more for students in the STEM environment. This time last year we announced the APS Scholars @ Georgia Tech program, a groundbreaking scholarship opportunity for exceptional APS students. Then, this spring, we announced an incredible new partnership with Achieve Atlanta, an organization spearheaded by the Whitehead Foundation and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta that will give tremendous support to high school students as they apply for college.

I was in awe of the work that came from these students … these high school students…as they spoke about experiments involving computers, polymers, bioscience, stem cells, robotics and a few things I cannot even begin to pronounce.

Seriously, this is some high-level research, experiments and work, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Georgia Tech for making Project ENGAGES happen. And as the work clearly demonstrated, our students time and time again rise up to our expectations and not only meet them … but often exceed them.

So a big congratulations and thanks to all of the students today, their mentors and to everyone at Georgia Tech!  Check out an impressive list of student projects below.

Watch Qwantayvious Stiggers from B.E.S.T. Academy present — Regenerating Articular Cartilage with Heparan Sulfate Hydrogels using Human Adipose Derived Stem Cells

Project ENGAGES Research Scholars

Taren Carter-CSK– The Fluid Mechanics of Taste
Alexus Clark-CSK– Mobilizing Brain Cancers with Stimulation from Electric Fields
Kendreze Holland-BEST– Analysis of Cathepsins K, L, S Intracellular Localization In Transfected HEK-293T Cells
Qwantayvious Stiggers-BEST– Regenerating Articular Cartilage with Heparan Sulfate Hydrogels using Human Adipose Derived Stem Cells
Jahizreal Aquart-BEST–Using immunostaining and image analysis to evaluate islet transplantation sites
Makala Faniel-KIPP– Use of a Laser Beaming Apparatus to Improve the Energy Efficiency of UAVs
Taylor Garlington-MAYS– Underwater Sensing Networks
Jalyn Gordon-KIPP– Building Dynamic Information Systems to Support Army Families with Exceptional Needs
Nicole Gullatt-MAYS– Modeling the Effects of Bruch’s Membrane Opening Shape on the Biomechanics of the Rat Model of Glaucoma
Cydney Jones-CSK–Fluid and Structural Biomechanics of Lepidoptera Antennae
Kristen Kelley-MAYS– Immuno-modulatory Hydrogels for Stem Cell Therapy after Traumatic Brain Injury
Adam Keys-BEST– Applications of Piezoelectric Harvesting Technology
Chrisangela Martin-CSK– The Role of Heme Degradation in Enzyme-Mediated Polyaniline Polymerization
Dezmanique Martin-KIPP– Optimizing the User Experience for Army Families using Java Frameworks
Jada Maxwell-MAYS– Analysis of cathepsin activity in cathepsin knockout mice
Kavaunte Perry-BEST– Development of a Heat Polymer Generator for Energy Production
Ayan Robinson-KIPP– Development of a Rocker Bogie Suspension System for a Robotic Vehicle
Asha Scott-KIPP– Exploring the Pro-Regenerative Actions of Resolvins
Quiara Sharp-CSK– The Impact of Microenvironment Stiffness on Lymphatic Muscle Cell Function
Omari Weems-MAYS–The Effect of Surface Stiffness on Mesenchymal Stem Cell Function
Dionte West-BEST– Piezoelectrics: Production, Harvesting, and Storage
Darius Worthem-BEST– Gap junction inhibition effect on stem cell pluripotency and induced differentiation
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APS ‘Gears Up’ for 2015-2106 School Year

Our facilities team has been hard at work this summer installing HVAC systems, setting up portables, performing construction and renovations and installing new playgrounds.

Our facilities team has been hard at work this summer installing HVAC systems, setting up portables, performing construction and renovations and installing new playgrounds.

This week APS teachers are back in school and preparing their classrooms, we have all principals hired at the helm of every school, our school buses are tuned up and running practice routes and the district is launching its first Sixth Grade Academy. We are getting ready for the first day of school!

I had an opportunity to walk thru schools this week and check in on our staff and our buildings. Last year, my first year, we learned a lot of lessons about reconciling what people think they’ve done and a high quality job, therefore, I’m laser focused when it comes to details in our buildings. I was happy to see that many of our school grounds have fresh pine straw and mulch and that air conditioning is humming against the summer heat. With just seven days to go, crews and teams are putting the final touches on the buildings and classrooms to prepare for our students, including new construction and cleaning projects. This year, all of our elementary schools will have access to playgrounds, for example I was at Adamsville where I was able to see the beautiful new playground with my own eyes. Check out my photo below.

IMG-20150729-002661 (2)And I am geared up and ready for another great school year, especially after our inaugural Back to School Bash, attended by over 6,000 APS families. It was an amazing kick-off event for our students, families and communities, complete with backpack giveaways, bike giveaways, food demonstrations and plenty of fun activities for everyone. You can read more about here. I remain excited and ready for all of our students to be back in school. I have missed all of them!

SylvanVST2015-058We are ramping up to the greatest Day One for Atlanta Public Schools ever. We still have work to do, but our teachers, principals, administrators, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians and others will all be out in force on Wednesday, Aug. 5, and ready for a fantastic and exciting new year of learning and growth. Will you?

HVAC work began this summer at 13 APS elementary schools. A huge thank you to our facilities department!

HVAC work began this summer at 13 APS elementary schools. A huge thank you to our facilities department!

Class schedules for high school students were sent out July 10 – July 21 and the portal for high school students went live on July 27.  Middle school course requests were mailed home with end of year report cards.  We also sent out robo-calls announcing access to middle school student schedules via the portal or available for pick-up in person at your assigned school. Please contact your child’s school if you did not receive a schedule.

Bus schedules will be available using this link Friday, July 31. Students must be registered to receive an assigned bus stop.

SylvanVST2015-049We are dedicated to a mission of creating a caring culture of trust and collaboration so that every student graduates ready for college and career. Are you?

Can you already feel the energy and excitement? You will!

Sylvan Middle School is on track to be ready for Day One. We still have work to do, but their renovation is fabulous!

Sylvan Middle School is on track to be ready for Day One. We still have work to do, but their renovation is fabulous!

Are You Day One Ready?

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Students and families packed into the Easley Conference Center to get everything they needed to be Day One Ready!

When you throw a Back-to-School bash for the first time, you worry about many things. Do you have enough activities? Do you have the right supplies and information? Are all of your volunteers prepared and ready for the Bash in our effort to make every APS student Day One ready?

But most of all, you fear that no one will show up. That and all of those other fears were present throughout Atlanta Public Schools in the months of preparation for the inaugural APS Back-to-School bash today at Atlanta Metropolitan State College.

We had nothing to fear. Thousands upon thousands attended, had a great time and got Day One ready. It was simply incredible and awesome!

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The line into the APS Back-to-School Bash weaved across the Atlanta Metropolitan College and along Metropolitan Drive!

A line from the glass doors of the Easley Pavilion & Conference Center began to form at 7 a.m. and, by the time those doors opened at 10 a.m., that line had stretched across a brick walkway past the college gates and along Metropolitan Parkway to the main entrance of the college, almost a quarter mile away.

It’s humbling that so many people heard our Day One message and came out.

And the energy and excitement never faltered as Atlanta’s families came together to get everything they needed to be ready for the first day of school. Our counts show that 5,458 people attended the Bash, and we registered almost 400 students for school who had not already done so. We also gave away 5,000 backpacks stuffed to the zippers with school supplies and crates of free books. I feel like I personally handed out half of the backpacks as well as dozens of water bottles to people waiting to get into the Bash!

We raffled off bicycles and car seats and other great prizes.

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A great big Thank You! to all of the great Bash sponsors!

We had amazing sponsors who made this happen: Georgia Power, UPS, Google, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Equifax, Amerigroup, Gas South, Georgia Natural Gas and Georgia-Pacific.

We had great outdoor activities provided by Braves Around Town and the Fox5 StormChaser unit and food offered by Sodexo, including new items our students will see on school menus this fall. I might have served you myself!

We had many dignitaries including all of the members of the Atlanta Board of Education, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell, local broadcaster and author Rashan Ali and entertainers Ronnie and Shamiri DeVoe.

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Board Chair Courtney English and I pose with the cheerleaders of Douglass High School.

We had dynamic emcees including APS Teacher of the Year Barry Blackmon and great Fox5 talent including anchors Karen Graham and Lisa Rayam and meteorologist Adam Klotz. We had the Douglass High School drumline and cheerleaders ramping up the energy across the bash!

And we had the great APS family out in force from teachers, administrators, staff, students and their families. I absolutely enjoyed meeting so many of our students and their families today and to see their eager, happy faces ready for school!

If you were there, you experienced it yourself and know what I’m talking about. If not, please enjoy these photos taken throughout the day. But most of all … Be There on Day 1 – Wednesday, August 5!

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It was a great … and tiring … day for both of us!

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Clifford the Big Red Dog came out to spend time with the Bash kids.

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I enjoyed handing out some of the 5,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

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Modeling a backpack and showing off some of the great school supplies from the APS Back-to-School Bash!

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Still passing out backpacks!

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Enjoying time with one of our beautiful APS students!

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It was hot out in the line to get into the Bash, so we got out and passed out some water to keep things cool.

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Students and their families visiting one of the more than 70 exhibitors taking part in the APS Back-to-School Bash.

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Fox5, one of the Bash’s media sponsors, sent the StormChaser unit.

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Joining the Sodexo food truck and passing out some of the food featuring in the fall menu of our school cafeterias.

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More of our students and families visiting booths and gathering information to be ready for Day One.

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Another one of our beautiful and eager students getting her school supplies for Day One and beyond!

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Our great sponsors and volunteers provided enough school supplies and backpacks to ensure that 5,000 students had what they needed to start the new school year.

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APS also gave away crates and crates of free books during the Bash!

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WABE 90.1FM visited as the Bash and provided assistance to our students and families!

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More of our students and families taking full advantage of the Bash!

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More of our students and families learning how to be Day One Ready for the new school year!

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Who has the biggest smiles here? Hard to tell!

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No excuses to not have what you need for the first day of school!

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And all good things must come to an end. See you at Day One!

APS Kicks off 2015-16 School Year with Inaugural Back-to-School Bash

We at Atlanta Public Schools are doing everything we can to get our students prepared for the new school year, so this is a reminder about our first district-wide APS Back-to-School Bash from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, at the Atlanta Metropolitan State College Easley Conference Center.

This free event for APS students and families includes features education and afterschool resources, activities for children, door prizes and more! Our staff and volunteers have spent the past week setting up booths and packing backpacks with school supplies to make this a huge success! We are also holding drawings to give away bicycles, car seats and other great prizes!Group Volunteers

We’ve truly designed the Bash to be a one-stop shop to get all of our students and families ready for school and eliminate the traditional hiccups associated with the first day of school. We plan to offer on-site school registration and enrollment, information about immunizations, class schedules and supply lists, afterschool enrichment programs, and just about everything our students need to arrive at school on Day One, ready for instruction.Volunter7.24

It’s not all school business! Outside the Bash, families will see Braves Around Town, which will have fun activities for the students; a Sodexo Food Truck, which will feature sample menu items for this school-year; and the Fox5 StormChaser featuring meteorologist Adam Klotz.

After walking through exhibitor areas with a “Bash Passport,” students in grades Pre-K-12 will receive a backpack filled with school supplies (as long as supplies last)!

And at noon, we will rally together so I can thank all of our great sponsors for making the APS Back-to-School Bash a reality: Georgia Power, UPS, Google, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Equifax, Amerigroup, and Gas South, Georgia Natural Gas and Georgia-Pacific.

A speBackpackthousandscial shout-out to Fabiola Charles from Google, which gave generously and donated 1,000 backpacks. Fabiola personally rented a truck, drove it over herself and unloaded all the boxes. A truly fabulous partner!Volunter Truck Bags

After that, we will start the drawing for the bikes, car seats and more!

To make sure our students can get to the Bash, free shuttle bus transportation will be provided to and from the Bash from the Oakland City MARTA Station and the following APS schools at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.: Carver High School, Douglass High School, Grady High School, Jackson High School, Mays High School, South Atlanta High School, Sutton Middle School, Therrell High School and Washington High School.

If you have a registered APS student who requires special needs transportation to and from the APS Back-To-School Bash, please call 404-802-5513 to schedule a pick-up time Kid Volunteerand location.

For more information about the Bash, visit www.apsbacktoschool.com.

Congratulations, Summer Graduates!

Every graduation is a wonderful and special occasion, but I hold a particular pride and sense of respect for the more than 60 young men and women who walked the stage at the Georgia World Congress Center last night to get their high school diplomas.SUMMERgrad2015BLOG-009

These newly inducted graduates had many and varied reasons for why they were not able to walk with their classmates during the regular commencement ceremonies last May. Personal or family issues. Health complications. Lack of qualifying graduation credits. In truth, many could have simply given up on a high school diploma; in fact, many students did.

But these students persevered.

They stayed in school. They earned credits through our online West End Academy program. They attended summer school. All that work to earn those final, vital credits for graduation and the privilege to become members of the Class of 2015 for Atlanta Public Schools.

I am proud of every single one of them, and I am inspired by their touching stories of triumphs and accomplishments.

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From the Eagles of B.E.S.T. Academy, we have a class where nearly every young man will continue their education at colleges and universities across the nation. From the Panthers of Carver and Eagles of Crim, we have students who took advantages of second chances to graduate and now have bright futures ahead in college, military service or the workforce.

The Astros of Douglass, the Jaguars of Jackson and the Raiders of Mays would make all of their namesakes proud with their determination and commitment to service.

The Hornets of South Atlanta, the Panthers of Therrell and the Bulldogs of Washington have graduates who can make claims as the first in their families to attend college.

And the Grey SUMMERgrad2015BLOG-007Knights of Grady and the Warriors of North Atlanta can relate tales of overcoming the odds and health issues so they could walk the stage last night.

All of these graduates will embark soon on new beginnings armed with the lessons, experiences and friendships developed at APS along with the support of family, teachers and the community.

We wish them all the best of luck. We are definitely proud of them, and we will miss them.

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Grade Changing Review – Midpoint Status Check

A few weeks ago, I updated the community about eight investigations we completed this past school year involving inappropriate grade changes (four from the 2013-2014 school year and four from the 2014-2015 school year).  As we strive to uncover those remnants of unethical behavior that may still exist within our district, I committed to completing a comprehensive review of grade changes across the district with a focus on identifying process improvements and procedural safeguards before the start of the new school year.

I also committed to complete transparency in this process, and as we are at the midpoint of our analysis, I wanted to share a status update with the community.

Our Chief Accountability Officer, Bill Caritj, and his team started by running several reports from our student information management system, Infinite Campus.  These reports tell us precisely how many grade changes took place after teachers posted their grades for the grading period.

Given my experience as a superintendent in other districts, I knew that grade changes were a typical part of a school’s operation, especially at the high school level. From our investigations, I also knew that we had some people pushing the envelope and even crossing the line in terms of acceptable grade changing practices, so I wasn’t sure how to contextualize the 2,134 grade changes that our Accountability Office told me took place in our high schools during the 2014-2015 school year.

Naturally, my team put that into context for me.  The 2,134 is out of a possible 185,000 grades for high school students in one school year (11,556 students x 16 grades per year = approximately 185,000).  They also informed me that of the 2,134 grade changes, less than half (741) of these changes were either from failing to passing grades or from letter grades (such as “incompletes”) to passing grades. In many cases (889), while there was a grade change, it was correcting or changing a passing grade to another higher or lower passing grade. The third big category of changes was grade changes that resulted in failing final grades (481). The last small group (23) were grade changes that resulted in letter grades such as “incompletes.”

But, still…2,134?  Why do we have so many grade changes?  That’s what the team has been spending a lot of time trying to answer.

The team has done a good job documenting all of the different reasons for these grade changes, and not surprisingly, they have surfaced many legitimate reasons for why a grade is changed between the time it is closed in a teacher’s gradebook and then posted on the student’s transcript.  While the analysis is not complete, some of the most common reasons that have surfaced so far include:

  • Students enrolled in dual enrollment programs had their official APS transcripts updated when their transcripts were received from GSU or Atlanta Metropolitan College.
  • Student grades were changed from an Incomplete (I) to a failing grade after the school notified the parents (APS policy requires that parents are notified of failing grades, and in some cases these notifications happened after the gradebook window was closed, so the grade changes were done directly on the transcript).
  • Due to the strict window for closing gradebooks, many of the grade changes appear to be situations where the teachers offered make-up assignments or extra credit assignments after the gradebook window had closed, thereby requiring the change to be made directly on the transcript.
  • Credit recovery is another common reason for grade changes. In these cases, students are retaking a course that was failed previously, and they do not complete the work before grades were posted. They are later corrected when the program is completed.
  • Similarly, some students who are participating in unit recovery programs because they have struggled with some course content, complete the units after grades are posted and their transcripts are updated.

As you can imagine, these are just a few of the most common reasons, but many more are surfacing through this analysis.  Where the data is incomplete or the reasons for grade changes are unclear, our Chief Accountability Officer is physically looking at the paper documentation and visiting with principals and registrars to better understand their school level procedures.  I have directed the team to leave no stone unturned, and they are working diligently to ensure that we have a thorough understanding of the issue.

As the analysis has unfolded, the team has already identified some process improvements that they will be recommending.

  • First, better training with the grade book tool will likely reduce some of the changes that are necessitated by mistakes on the front end.
  • It’s also clear to me that our grading practices across the district are not consistent, which can be tightened up through our training. For example, why do some schools apply the extra weight for AP courses after the grade book has been posted to transcript (thereby triggering a “grade change”) while others do it before?
  • The team is also working with our vendor, Infinite Campus, to explore technology solutions that would embed a tighter authorization process for changing grades on the transcript. In this way, someone at the central office would be responsible for validating the rationale for the change before it is authorized.
  • Once we implement some of these process improvements, it will be critical that we also step up our game in terms of monitoring. I’m learning that we have the technology to monitor this much more closely than the district has in the past. The team will be recommending a regular cycle of auditing grade changes to ensure that an early warning system is integrated into our practice.

While there are still some open questions and some additional work to be done around our process improvements, I am encouraged by the progress our team has made in understanding grade changing practices across the district.

I’m also reminded, however, that grade-changing practices represent just one aspect of a very complex system – a system that is far from operating at the level of excellence our kids deserve.  Although we want to fix it all at once, I know that we have to tackle these individual issues head-on, while at the same time dealing with the root causes around culture that too frequently get in the way of achieving our vision.  We’re making progress, and I’m committed to keeping my foot on the accelerator because our kids are counting on us!

 

One Year Strong with APS

What an awesome year!

What an awesome year!

It wasn’t until late last Monday evening that it was brought to my attention that today is my official one year anniversary. I was totally unprepared. I feel like I’m still closing out the last school year – this milestone anniversary, it snuck up on me!

So of course I hardly got any sleep last night replaying the entire school year, (seriously, frame by frame), in my mind.  I wanted to jump up in the middle of the night and begin working, fixing things I felt were unfinished in the spring…but I forced myself to stay still and reflect on things that were strong.

We graduated more than 2,250 students this school year. That’s compared to 1,775 last year, and we will see increases in the years to come. 2015, which includes 17 Gates Scholars and 14 Posse Scholars, earned more than $106 million in scholarships and that number continues to grow. That’s pretty strong.

In Special Education we addressed all 29 original audit recommendations and continue to build upon those recommendations. For the first time in a long time data for students with disabilities is trending upward in APS! That’s really strong.

AnniversaryCollageAnd our Board of Education approved a strategic, forward-thinking General Fund budget that puts APS on a more efficient, quality-focused course especially as we move to a charter system operating model. The budget features more flexible spending and more decision-making closer to our schools, which is a hallmark of the new operating model and cluster planning.  That’s extremely strong.

We had a strong year.  Like any journey it had twists and turns, but we ended strong. And while my recent Peachtree Road Race blog spoke to the symbolism between the exhaustive work it took to prepare for the race and the hard work our teachers and leaders put in over last school year, as I write this blog, I realize that I’m not tired – in fact it’s the exact opposite.

I was out there in the rain this weekend with my colleagues, soaked to the bone and cold, but by the time I got home I was rejuvenated.  I met my goal of running the entire race, of doing it in less than 1.5 hours (my time was 1:20:47), of running up Cardiac Hill and learning healthier habits, and at the end I wasn’t sore, I wasn’t tired…I was ready for the next school year!

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Team APS!

What an incredible fireworks display. Thank you Centennial Park!

What an incredible fireworks display. Thank you Centennial Park!

And it’s not just me, our entire team is re-energized and ready for a fantastic 2015-2016 school year and we have some big lifting ahead of us. Here is a sneak peek at our work this summer:

  • We are stepping up back-to-school preparations with the first annual APS Back to School Bash! This free event includes health screenings, a free backpack stuffed with school supplies (while supplies last) and more! Join us Saturday, July 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. Visit apsbacktoschool.com to learn more.
  • Team members are finalizing the work around our signature programming and cluster planning needed for our new operating model. We are meeting with school leaders and exploring shared accountability for teaching and learning around coherence, flexibility and autonomy, especially in budgeting. Click here to learn more about what becoming a charter district means for APS.
  • New for 2015-2016 is our partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to implement a district-wide, evidenced-based social and emotional learning initiative that will enhance instructional models.
  • The heart of our academic focus this school year is the K-2 literacy, K-5 math, secondary-level balanced literacy, (the balance between whole language and phonics), and math and the shift of high schools to Discrete Mathematics.
  • We’ve identified students impacted by CRCT cheating who remain in the system and are beginning implementation for support that includes developing Individual Learning Plans to meet individual needs.
  • Last month I blogged about our new partnership with Achieve Atlanta. Achieve will provide additional college counseling support to our students, dramatically increasing the number of students entering and successfully graduating from colleges.
  • The facilities department is kicking into high gear to make ensure schools are spotless this fall. A sixth grade academy has been created for Sutton Middle School and schools such as Sylvan Hills Middle School and Bunche Middle School return to their home sites. Click here to see a full facilities update.
  • Some schools will notice new playgrounds this fall and several will notice a cool(er) breeze! We are honoring our promise of playgrounds for all APS elementary schools and moving forward with HVAC system upgrades on multiple campuses.
  • Day One APS, our first day of school, is Wednesday, August 5 and we encourage everyone to take advantage of all of our registration and enrollment opportunities. So far 44,000 students are registered and we anticipate another 6,000 by August.
  • To help you ‘Be There’ on ‘Day One,’ I encourage you to take advantage of our brand new online new student enrollment tool which launched this week.
  • We have several new principals joining us this year and a few seasoned principals moving to new schools. All of our principals and teachers are preparing for the districtwide Open House, Monday, Aug. 3. Check out the schedule HERE.
  • Bus arm cameras will help keep students safe traveling to and from school, parents will be able to follow the journey with our brand new bus tracker app and a new electronic field trip service request form will allow more children to participate in field trips.
  • And of course senior leaders are focused on corrections that must be made to schools before the Georgia Opportunity District (OSD) attempts to assume control of under-performing schools. I’m not in support of this state plan for several reasons, including the fact that we are amid an operating model change that may take years to implement. APS needs time to make corrections.

It’s our anniversary, (yes, you and I), and I’m telling you now, I’m fired up for the new school year!  Being surrounded by colleagues who are also committed to building a district of strong students, strong staff and strong schools is an awesome feeling and I can’t wait for August 5. Ready, set, go!

...but not too fast, or you may drop your phone like I did during the Peachtree Road Race!

…but not too fast, or you may drop your phone like I did during the Peachtree Road Race!