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Home Schools LIVE BLOG: Board of Education Meeting – June 2, 2014

LIVE BLOG: Board of Education Meeting – June 2, 2014

by talkupaps


Thank you for following our live blog of the June 2, 2014 Board of Education  Meeting for Atlanta Public Schools.

View today’s agenda here:

The public can now follow the Committee of the Whole and Legislative meetings via the LIVESTREAM link above.

REFRESH your browser often for updates.

The meeting will begin soon.  Tonight we will update the live blog with highlights from the Committee of the Whole and Legislative Meetings.  We will blog from the community meeting if time permits.

2:10pm:  Meeting should begin shortly

2:12pm:  Meeting called to order

Superintendent gives opening remarks.

English:  Mr. Davis, will you please bring the work session items.


Before we get to the work session presentations, I’d like to extend congratulations to the class of 2014!  About a week ago, board members and I had the pleasure of joining parents, family members and employees for graduation ceremonies at the Civic Center. APS graduations are truly moving and memorable events.  I attended all 11 graduation ceremonies.  In total, nearly 2,000 APS graduates crossed the stage. I shook hands with each and wished them the best of luck.To date, APS graduates’ scholarship offers total nearly $100M.
Atlanta’s seniors earned …

A full range of lucrative scholarships from universities across the nation

Posse Scholarship

Four-year, full-tuition scholarship worth approximately $100K

23 2014 Posse Scholars in APS

Largest group of APS Posse Scholars since Atlanta’s participation began in 2007-08

Gates Millennium Scholarship

Scholarship that pays for students’ entire education from bachelor’s degree to doctorate

Called the Cadillac of the scholarship programs

Still evaluating scholarship results

We believe APS continues to be among the top producers of Gates Millennium scholars in the state and nation.

Scholarship earnings are a testament to students’ hard work, education and support from everyone (incl. parents, teachers, counselors and scholarship sponsors).

I wish every APS graduate all the very best.

As our children celebrate, we have a responsibility as adults – that is, not only to celebrate with them, but also to be honest with ourselves about the work still to be done.

APS four-year graduation rate:

Increased an impressive 8 percentage points

Still far too low

59% of our students are graduating on time in four years

Reduced our dropout rate

Still not good enough

8.5% of our HS students are dropping out altogether

I have no doubt that APS has the wherewithal to change this dynamic.

This time marks an exciting new era for public education in Atlanta:

Dr. Meria Carstarphen as new superintendent

New and reinvigorated school board members

High internal and external engagement/interest in the future of APS

This system is absolutely poised for greatness – BUT only if the children, not the adults, are kept at center stage.


  • AETC Upgrade – This presentation will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
  • Career Academy Update by Dr. Alexis Kirijan:  CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
  • Good Afternoon Mr. Chairman English, Board Members, Mr. DavisToday I will present to you an overview of the Career Academy project. Before I get into the presentation, I would like to introduce the Executive Sponsor Mr. Errol Davis, the Business Owner from Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Linda Anderson and the Project Manager from my division, Ms. Dionne Stewart.For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, APS identified and prioritized strategic initiatives based upon benefits, costs, impact, alignment, prioritization, and feasibility. Opening a Career Academy was defined as a strategic imitative and in September of 2012, the district started exploring in depth the possibility of opening a Career Academy and what the process entailed. A project manager from Organizational Advancement was assigned to work with the various divisions and began building the planning model.The Career Academy Planning Model defines streams of work and the high level timeline to develop the APS Career Academy-In late 2012 the team focused on Market Analysis such as researching workforce trends, visiting existing career academies in the Atlanta Metro Area and learning more about the success of Career Academies in other states. At this time the team also engaged internal divisions to socialize the idea of a career academy and understand the academic and operational influence on student achievement.-In 2013, the team shifted focus to Strategic Planning which involved developing the value and benefits APS expected to receive from the Career Academy and aligning curriculum elements.-During 2014, the project team continued the district alignment discussions with C&I as well as other divisions. Moving forward the team is planning on engaging the community and possible partners, beginning the grassroots effort to develop a governance board and commencement of the funding strategy..Note: The Governance Board would consists of representation from the community, higher education and business partners.2015 will be dedicated to detailed program design with the Governance Board and the individual Career Pathway Advisory committees. The Career Academy Leadership will also begin establishing the academic performance goals and measures to ensure the program is successful for students.-The selected career pathways will drive the development and construction phase in 2016. During this time the career academy application will be submitted per the DOE timeline.
  • -The Career Academy is scheduled to open fall 2017 for a projected cohort of 500 students. (50 students from each of the 10 high schools)As part of the Market Analysis phase, the team researched Metro Atlanta and state of Georgia industry growth trends, employment forecasting and workforce education needs based on data from city, state and federal agencies. What you see on the screen is a sample of thecareer pathway and partner options to give stakeholders a visual of the Career Academy’s limitless possibilities for our students.
    • With over 200 companies in Georgia in the Bioscience and Healthcare IT industry, the sector boasts a growth rate of 40% annually. Atlanta is also the nation’s health IT capital and is at the forefront of consumer digital health.
    • Business Logistics & Services continues to be a key industry as Metro Atlanta has the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the country, leads as a hub for global logistics and supply chain management, and remains a key gateway for global business services.
    • As one of the fastest growing high-tech urban centers and prominent seat for clean energy and green activity, the Clean Energy and Technology industry is projected to create over 6,000 jobs and invest over $1 million in Georgia’s economy over the next 3-5 years.
    • The Media and Entertainment industry continues to expand and substantiate Atlanta’s dominant role in the TV, film, gaming and music arena. Each year, Georgia attracts a record number of productions to the area and has established long term entertainment businesses to continue the growth.

    Market Analysis Source Data

    • Bureau of Labor Statistics Industry Projections (Metro Atlanta 2010 – 2020)
    • Bureau of Labor Statistics Industry Projections (Georgia 2010 – 2020)
    • Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Website and resources
    • Atlanta Metropolitan and Non-metropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates May 2011
    • Atlanta Workforce Development Agency Consultation
    • Technology Association of Georgia Informational Presentation Nov 2012

Using the student data gathered from the state’s college planning website Georgia 411, the Boy Scouts of America career interest survey and the market analysis data, APS developed a general recommendation for what career pathways could be offered at the Career Academy with work still ahead to breakdown the pathways to more specific offerings.

  • Architecture & Construction opportunities are projected to grow as the economy and housing market continues to rebound. A possibility for our students could be civil engineering or line technician.
  • Currently the Early College program is only available at Washington HS, Jackson HS and Carver HS. Housing the early college program centrally at the Career Academy will allow students across the district access to the successful program.
  • Graphic Communications and Design would allow students to tap into the continued demand for graphic arts, design and communication and could incorporate a student-centered print shop to support school needs across the district.
  • Personal Care Services such as barbering, cosmetology and esthetics is increasing in demand to support the film, music and television industry. The Career Academy would put APS students at an advantage to become entrepreneurs in this realm and focus on business development and marketing.
  • Audio, Video and Film Technology also support the film industry growth and established recording industry. Atlanta has a growing number of production and recording facilities which require skilled labor. Through the Career Academy, our students could be a sound engineering technician or film & video editors.
  • Information Technology is at the root of the top growing areas in Metro Atlanta including corporate offices, consulting firms, biotechnology, clean energy technology and the entertainment industry. Through the Career Academy, our students could be cyber security experts or data mining analyst.
  • Education is a growing area as the need for well trained and good teachers increase. Creating a potential education pipeline for students interested in becoming teachers in APS provides full circle benefits for students and raises the talent of the APS teaching pool.
  • Entertainment business and entertainment law demands are growing in support of the increasing entertainment industry presence.

Through a Career Academy, students could become industry certified or even graduate with an associate’s degree. You will hear more later in the presentation.

Student Data Sources

  • Georgia 411 – The states website utilized by middle school and high school students through the school’s counseling services to help plan, apply and pay for college. The website allows students to complete surveys indicating their career interests.
  • Boy Scouts of America Career Interest Survey – The survey was administered to APS students both male and female to ascertain interest during the 2012-2013 school year.

Teacher Feedback

  • Conducted informal teacher focus groups for feedback on student interest

Understanding career academy best practices and the different models implemented in various districts, the team then started working toward developing how the career academy would benefit the APS student. Aligning with the guiding principles of excellence, equity, ethics and engagement, there were four major student benefits identified.

  • Increased Graduation Rates & Academic Achievement – Research indicates that students learn and retain more when they are engaging in hands on learning in an area of interest. The thought is providing a variety of approaches to instruction through a career academy increase attendance, motivation to work through difficult experiences and ultimately graduation rates. The Career Academy would provide the opportunity for students to experience a direct correlation between learning and real world application.
  • Access to Industry certifications, college credit and associate degrees – Currently students have the option to gain college credit while in high school through dual enrollment or the Early College program in every high school. The Career Academy will streamline the process for students to benefit from an early post-secondary experience by providing district-wide access to earn industry certifications and take college courses for credit.
  • Flexible work-based learning opportunities – the career academy will provide the benefit of in-depth work based opportunities such as internships, apprenticeships, mentorships and job shadowing on a large scale to APS students. The work-based learning opportunities would include careers that may only require a high school diploma and technical skills as well as careers requiring a college degree.
  • Dedicated Business, Higher Education & Community Partnerships – Interactions and personal attention with adults in industry and higher education could provide a highly motivational experience for the students that aligns with industry needs. Engaging higher education and the business community in curriculum design and providing services to the community through the partnerships increase the benefits not only to our students but to the community as a whole.

With the benefits a career academy provides to our students, our vision for student success is broadened and the student desire to achieve is increased.

Through its work,the project team drafted a mission and vision for the APS Career Academy.

A mission for the Career Academy is to provide all high school students access to career and technology focused learning opportunities in partnership with the various partners.

A vision for the Career Academy is to:

  • Integrate an engaging and rigorous curriculum which aligns to projected national, state and local workforce demands and pathways.
  • Build partnerships with local businesses, educational institutions and other community stakeholders.
  • Prepare students for college and career readiness options.
  • Allow students to maintain enrollment in their zoned high schools with broader access to participate in Career Pathways currently not offered on campus.
  • Increase opportunities for students to participate in dual enrollment for exposure to college-level coursework.
  • Offer students expanded opportunities to complete certification programs in Georgia’s 17 Career Pathways and earn industry-recognized credentials.

Throughout the presentation, we have mentioned partnerships and how they are critical to student success. On this screen you will see the partnership strategy which illustrates the relationships between APS High Schools, the Career Academy, partners and students.

  1. Partners provide various levels of support to students through focus groups, dual enrollment, college planning, mentoring, industry expertise, internships, job shadowing sponsorship of programs and investment into the Career Academy.
  2. Through these additional learnings and resources, students become a talent pool prepared to participate in the workforce and college.
  3. Through their experiences in APS, college and the workforce, students are developed into lifelong learners and leaders.
  4. APS Alumni are then poised to contribute to society including the community and jobs as highly productive and globally competitive individuals.

Community Members are also a key partner within the career academy providing time and resources to the overall goal of preparing students for the workforce.

So how does a Career Academy differ from a traditional high school structure?

The box on the top of the screen illustrates our regular high school structure which offers these five things. In the Career Academy framework, students continue to attend their zoned APS high school for core courses and off-site dual enrollment opportunities. Students would be provided student support services and participate in extra-curricular activities at their zoned high school as well. The school-specific career pathway courses also called Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) courses offered in the schools are generalized courses to expose a student to various fields in the given industry such as health sciences, finance/banking and communications.

Once the high school CTAE courses are complete, the student will gain exposure to a career cluster and become a pathway completer. The student then has the option to complete an industry recognized credential by taking the end of pathway assessment. Additionally, students who participate in dual enrollment will gain exposure to a college/university academic setting and will be considered an Advanced Academic Pathway completer at the completion of three post-secondary courses.

The bottom box illustrates the options a student electing to attend the Career Academy may have. The student attending the Career Academy is choosing to engage in more in-depth study in a specific field within a career pathway for half a day. The Career Academy would provide a flexible career pathway and integrated work-based study program, onsite dual enrollment so students who may not have transportation can participate and a district wide early college program to build upon the success seen in individual schools. Partner offered services would include seminars, mentoring, job shadowing and other professional development opportunities. A typical day for such a student might begin with the student attending core classes at their zoned high school in the morning, attending career academy classes in the afternoon and returning to their zoned school for an after school extra-curricular activity. The project team is exploring the transportation options for students who wish to attend.

The Career Academy would provide flexibility and agility by focusing on a curriculum that is more in-depth and industry focus taught by a mix of industry and educational professionals.

To conclude, I would like to point out the project team continues to work as they anticipate key decisions on the district operating model and strategic intent moving forward and leave you with two of the many positive student comments regarding their experience attending a career academy.

Thank you. Are there any questions?

Amos:  Until construction begins, how will the building be secured and/or how will the building (Kennedy Middle School) be used?

Davis:  We have uses taking place in the school today.  We have personnel there that use that building as a base for operations.  I don’t envision the building shutting down.

Amos:  What would be the structure?  A start-up charter or…

Kirijan:  Depending on our operating model, we would have the choice of doing a conversion charter by  re-opening that school or we would do a start up charter.

Davis:  This is all happening at the same time, you will have to pick an operating model. We have to also consider whether this will be a school or a program.  Many of the career academies that exist now are programs.  If you go to your base school in the morning and then here in the afternoon ,that would be a program.  Clearly, however, if we are going to get robust support from partners they are going to want some say in the structure.  There are a lot of options that we have that are linked with choices this board will make.

Amos:  I think it will be hard to do a conversion charter since the law requires a parental vote, but last question is about existing pathways.  If we are talking about doing a “school” right down the street from a school that has a health program and early college we need to figure out how to not hurt the existing school.

Davis:  One of the things we should talk about is how many early college programs should this system have and whether there should be a centralized early college program with more synergy with universities in the area.  We are also wrestling with whether this will be a 2 year, 4 year or even 5 year entity.

Amos asks that the district does not re-create what already exists.  Asks that the district push itself to do something different if it is going to make this happen.

Summary of Beltline TAD Contract between APS – presented by Chuck Burbridge, CFO


Tune into the livestream to hear the questions and answers surrounding this presentation.

3:55pm The Board has entered into executive session.

–End of Presentations–

No report out from executive session.

Committee of the Whole:

View the agenda here:

Report No. 13/14-1728 Authorization to Revise Policy KM Visitors to School (Final Approval)


In response to the amendment of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1 (HB 60) in the 2014 General Assembly session, policy KM has been revised to clarify that visitors are not permitted to possess weapons in schools and other APS facilities in accordance with state law and to reference policy GAMA which contains more detailed information about the possession of weapons. The superintendent recommends that the board waive first reading and adopt the revised policies in order to have the new policies in place when the law changes become effective July 1, 2014.


The board should waive first reading and approve the revision of policy KM.


To reflect changes to state law that will become effective on July 1, 2014.


Report No. 13/14-4326 Authorization to Merge Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sammye E. Coan Middle Schools and Modify the School Attendance Zone Boundaries (Final Approval)
Recommended Action:
As a result, staff is recommending that Sammye E. Coan Middle School close and merge with Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Students in the newly formed middle school will be located at the original Sammye E. Coan Middle School facility for two years while the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School campus is renovated. The current boundaries for Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School will change to incorporate the boundaries for Sammye E. Coan Middle School. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School has sufficient capacity to accommodate a merged school. The proposed merger and the attached associated proposed school attendance zone was discussed at public hearings held on May 8, 2014 and May 12, 2014 at the former site of Coan Middle School and at an informational meeting at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School on May 19, 2014.


While improving all middle grades education remains a priority for Atlanta Public Schools, declines in enrollment and community buy-in have prompted a more immediate need for a resolution in the Maynard H. Jackson High School Cluster.The Maynard H. Jackson cluster has two feeder middle schools. Both schools are underutilized in a school system where staff and other critical resources are tied to student enrollment. When a school campus has a larger enrollment, the school is allotted additional staffing. As a result, the school can offer students a variety of opportunities that cannot be provided in the current structure, such as a multitude of sports, clubs, band, chorus and orchestra.


As a result, staff is recommending that Sammye E. Coan Middle School close and merge with Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Students in the newly formed middle school will be located at the original Sammye E. Coan Middle School facility for two years while the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School campus is renovated. The current boundaries for Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School will change to incorporate the boundaries for Sammye E. Coan Middle School. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School has sufficient capacity to accommodate a merged school.  The proposed merger and the attached associated proposed school attendance zone was discussed at public hearings held on May 8, 2014 and May 12, 2014 at the former site of Coan Middle School and at an informational meeting at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School on May 19, 2014.


To improve middle grades opportunities in the Maynard H. Jackson High School cluster and to provide enhanced educational opportunities that cannot be provided in the current structure, such as a multitude of sports, clubs, band, chorus and orchestra.

Consent agenda approved

English:  We removed one item for discussion and action, that is our gains and losses report. (This discussion will take place in executive session).

Board entered into executive session.

Legislative Meeting will now begin

7:25pm  Reminder: APS is moving to a Summer 4-Day Workweek beginning this week.  Most district offices, including the CLL (main building) will be closed on Fridays this summer.  There will be no interruption to summer programming.

Main switchboard will be available 6:30am until 6:00pm daily.  404-802-3500.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the children of this city.”  Erroll B. Davis


APS News:

Atlanta’s class of 2014 earns nearly $100 million in college scholarships

Congratulations to the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) class of 2014! Nearly 2,000 graduates crossed the stage with diplomas in hand, dreams within reach and college scholarship offers of nearly $100 million. Our graduating seniors earned competitive scholarships, including a full range of university-specific financial awards, the Posse Foundation Scholarship and Gates Millennium Scholarship. In fact, APS continues to be one of the top school systems in the state and nation to produce high numbers of Gates Millennium Scholars. Additionally, APS’ class of 2014 includes 23 Posse Scholars, the largest number of scholars since the program’s inception in Atlanta in 2007-2008. Another distinguishing characteristic about APS’ class of 2014 is that it includes the legacy class or first group of seniors to graduate from the single-gender academies, both of which opened in 2007-2008 with sixth-grade classes only.

For more information about APS’ class of 2014, watch a video of each school’s graduation, view the graduation photo gallery and read the Talk Up APS blog for feature stories about some of our graduates.

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