It’s hard to fathom, but Semester Break and the New Year is already upon us! The season certainly gives us all a chance to take a much-deserved break, relax and connect with family and friends. I also encourage everyone to also take a few moments of reflection to consider the differences our public schools make in the lives of Atlanta’s children. It’s never perfect but is so very important!
A personal joy for me of being a part of APS is that I have opportunities to work with our students and observe and interact with them as they learn and grow. They give us hope for the future and have amazing talents and gifts of their own as shown by the winners of my annual Winter Card Contest (please watch the beautiful video montage of their collective work!) Thanks to all of the students and teachers who made this happen!
I also have much pleasure in working work with some of the hardest-working educators, administrators and professional support staff in public education. Our district benefits from a community of educators and staff blessed with many gifts along with the hearts to share them with our students and their families and with each other.
As we go into our break, we have some great news to share …
First, 52 of our schools appear on the Beating the Odds list released yesterday by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. Beating the Odds shows how a school’s performance compares to similar schools across the state, using a statistical analysis of each school’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) based on student characteristics outside the school’s control.
Next, I am pleased to share that according to the Georgia Department of Education, APS has successfully exited disproportionality status for the over-suspension of African-American students with disabilities, based on final SY17 discipline data verified by the state. APS has been disproportionate since 2009, resulting in significant financial impact to our special education funding.
Finally, some cash flow news that will offer my colleagues more peace over the break!
Thanks to Atlanta taxpayers and the hard work in the district to monitor cash flow issues involving Fulton County property taxes, we are set to repay our $100 million TAN next week and will have no issue with making the December 29 payroll! (Whew!)
Also, we are in great shape to start the new year without financial drama. In the first payroll of January, employees will receive the $500 one-time supplement for those who are eligible plus two days’ worth of salary for those impacted by the November furloughs. We will also be lifting the spending freezes for travel, new hires and large expenditures.
For the new year, we are also looking forward to working with a new Atlanta Board of Education, including our incumbents – Byron Amos, Cynthia Briscoe Brown, Eshe’ Collins, Jason Esteves, Leslie Grant and Nancy Meister – as well as our newly elected members – Michelle Olympiadis, Kandis Wood Jackson and Erika Mitchell. Thank you to our families and voters for continuing to support public education!
Now is a time for sharing, but it is also a time of reflection and relaxation. So please take time for yourselves over the next two weeks to really enjoy the time off. Then come back in 2018 with a renewed spirit and energy!
In the meantime, I wish you all the best of the season and a safe and Happy New Year with friends and family!
Reflections of 2017
As 2017 comes to a close and we reach the halfway point of another amazing school year in Atlanta Public Schools, I wanted to share some of my favorite images of the school year so far. I will certainly miss all of our wonderful teachers, staff and students over the Winter Break, but I’ll be back tweeting and blogging again in the New Year on Monday, January 8, 2018!
Back to School Bash/Day One
State of the District
Battle at Mercedes-Benz
Teachers of the Year