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Published on August 2nd, 2016 |

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50,000-plus APS students return to classes Aug. 3; system underwent overhaul

More than 50,000 Atlanta Public Schools students head back to classes tomorrow, Aug. 3, as the summer vacation period comes to end for them and Atlanta drivers as well.

Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen undertook a major overhaul to improve the system’s failing schools during the summer, called the Turnaround Strategy plan.

The plan is designed to improve student achievement by directing more services to students; increasing professional development of top turnaround leaders and teachers; implementing school operating model changes, and adding experienced education partners.

The program targets schools the Georgia Department of Education identified as eligible for the state’s proposed takeover Opportunity School District. APS’ strategy targets 26 schools, starting in the Carver, Douglass and Washington clusters, where some of the district’s lowest-performing schools are in need of immediate help for students.

The district also eliminated 300 jobs from its workforce. The school board eliminated almost 500 jobs but creates 200 new ones. Dozens of jobs were eliminated at the district’s downtown central office, while other cuts are the result of schools being closed or projected enrollment drops.

At the same time, the district also created its own police force, hiring a chief of police and more than 60 law enforcement personnel.

Meanwhile, the Buckhead Coalition offered Monday to share the cost of providing 50,000 16.9-ounce bottles of Dansi water to the system for use as drinking water to students at Sarah Smith Elementary and Sutton Middle schools in Buckhead, which earlier were reported to have had issues with lead in the water at some points in the two schools.

School Board member Nancy Meister informed Coalition President Sam Massell later that day, “Please know that repairs have been made to the Smith campus and the Sutton 6th grade academy and I am pleased to report there are no issues with the water. There is one drinking fountain at the Sutton main campus that was in question, and that fountain has been turned off,” she added.

“With school opening in two days, the proactive action of the superintendent has resulted in all schools having safe drinking water for the 50,000 students we serve,” Meister stated.

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