Published on September 29th, 2015 |


APS charter system approved by state; NAPPS meeting Sept. 30

The State Board of Education has unanimously approved the Atlanta Public Schools district’s charter system application during its meeting Sept. 25, allowing APS to become the 33rd school system in Georgia to achieve charter system status.

A charter system is a school district that operates under a performance-based contract between the local board and the state board of education.

APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstaphen

APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstaphen

Under the charter system model, the Atlanta district would gain freedom and flexibility from many state education laws and regulations in exchange for increased accountability for student achievement.

Additionally, charter systems must distribute meaningful decision-making authority to individual schools by maximizing school-level governance through local school governance teams.

“We are extremely grateful for the state’s vote of confidence enabling APS to transform into a charter system district,” Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen said in a news release. “This will allow more decisions to be made at the school level by principals, staff, parents and community, all of whom are closer to students and know the specific needs of their schools best.”

As a charter system district, the Atlanta district will implement the following approved educational enhancements for its students during their initial charter term:

  • Engage the school community to make decisions at the school level through local school governance teams;
  • Create a college and career academy in partnership with Atlanta Technical College to increase access to career pathways;
  • Use waivers granted under the charter system to innovate, increase student achievement and improve operational performance across all schools; and
  • Create cluster signature programs allowing each cluster to develop a signature program plan that responds to the needs and vision of the communities by utilizing flexibility to adopt the curriculum and instructional structures that best serve the cluster and community schools.

Georgia law required every school system in the state to adopt an operating model by June 2015. After considerable research and public input, the Atlanta school board opted for a charter system model as a best fit for the district, and June 1 approved a 50-page application to submit to the state.

NAPPS meeting focus: “Special Needs Education”

The Sept. 30 meeting of NAPPS (North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools) will focus on the state of “special needs education” in Atlanta’s public schools as APS moves toward a cluster charter NAPPSmodel.

The program will run from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at E. Rivers Elementary School and will feature a panel discussion by Tammie Workman, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services; Vickie Cleveland, Executive Director of Special Education, and Troy Keller, Special Education Coordinator (North Atlanta Cluster).

The topics to be discussed include:

  • How do students qualify for Special Ed services? What should you do if your child is experiencing difficulty in the classroom?
  • How many students in APS and in the North Atlanta Cluster are receiving services?
  • The challenges APS has faced through the years, improvements to date, and challenges that remain.

The panel discussion will be followed by an open question and answer period.

E. Rivers Elementary is located at 8 Peachtree Battle Ave., ate the intersection with Peachtree Road.  The entire community is welcome to attend and invited to bring their lunch. Drinks and desserts will be provided.

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