Sunday, March 20, 2011

APS Ketchup

If we're not careful, the CRCT investigation is going to get misplaced.

Atlanta school board sets path to fix accreditation
Atlanta school board members voted Monday night to accept an accreditation report that put the school system on probation.

APS Put on Probation; Hall Vows to 'Secure' Status

SACS says the Atlanta school system must take six actions to avoid losing accreditation:
  • Develop and implement a long-term plan to communication with and engage stakeholders in the work of the district and to regain the trust of parents and students.
  • Secure and actively use the services of a trained, impartial mediator who will work with board members to resolve communication, operational and personal issues that are impeding the effectiveness of the governing body.
  • Ensure that the actions and behavior of all board members are aligned with board policies, especially those related to ethics and chain of command.
  • Review and refine policies to achieve the mission to educate students.
  • Develop and implement a process for selecting a new superintendent that is transparent and engages public participation. The final choice of superintendent should be determined by more than a simple majority of the board.
  • Work with the state of Georgia to address inconsistencies between the state charter for the school board and system policies.

Schools spent millions on now-optional new math
Some school systems invested millions of dollars in the new and soon-to-be-optional integrated math curriculum for high schools, a survey of metro districts by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed.

APS board members may pursue independent counsel
The motivation for board members Nancy Meister, Yolanda Johnson and Brenda Muhammad is unclear.

Hall's contract may face outside review
City school board Chairman Khaatim Sherrer El brought up the review in the waning minutes of a three-hour "emergency special" meeting, most of which was spent by members behind closed doors. He backtracked immediately afterward, however, as other members crowded around him to protest that the board neither publicly discussed nor reached any sort of consensus on the issue.

APS official believes she’s a scapegoat
The high-level Atlanta Public Schools official accused of telling principals to send "go to hell" memos to state investigators thinks she has become a scapegoat in a systemwide cheating scandal. ...[SRT-3 supervisor Tamara] Cotman was referring to an anonymous letter, sent to the school district in December, that alleged she discouraged a group of principals from cooperating with a criminal investigation of cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. ...She said she did pass out blank "go to hell" sheets — but did not speak disparagingly of state investigators. She said she was right to encourage principals to vent their frustrations — but did not single out the investigators for condemnation.

Atlanta school board hires professional mediator

Mistake costs Atlanta schools $48 million, delays projects
An unintentional paperwork error by the Fulton County school system will cost Atlanta Public Schools $48 million and force the city to delay several school construction projects, in some cases indefinitely. Fulton officials didn't file a form that accurately reflected the enrollments of the city and county school systems, resulting in an overpayment to Atlanta from a 1-percent sales tax used for school capital needs.

ATL school board appoints community panel
The Atlanta school board has formed a community engagement committee to help gather ideas and offer feedback about how it communicates and engages the public. The move aims to help the board meet a mandate from the system's accrediting agency.

APS faces more than $30 million in 2012 cutbacks
Atlanta Public Schools expect budget cutbacks of more than $30 million next school year, resulting in cost-cutting moves that likely include another increase in class sizes (mainly in middle schools), a continued employee pay freeze and two days of involuntarily furloughs. However, officials said they did not anticipate layoffs or a property tax increase.

Group calls for APS board chairman to relinquish leadership role
An Atlanta parents group organized in the wake of the city system being put on probation said Friday that school board member Khaatim Sherrer El should step down in his role as board chairman and that new officers should be elected. The group, Step Up or Step Down, was reacting to e-mails published Thursday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Get Schooled" blog in which a member accused El of making an offensive gesture at her, among other issues. El declined comment on the announcement. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools put Atlanta on probation in January for reasons related entirely to the board's governance.

See also Step Up Or Step Down's Facebook page.

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