Atlanta board votes tonight on plans to revamp district lines and close schools

Today ends all the speculation and lobbying about which schools to close in Atlanta.

The school board votes on the recommendations of school chief Erroll Davis this evening. The AJC’s Jaime Sarrio will be tweeting live from the meeting. You can follow her here. https://twitter.com/#!/ajcschoolsK12

The AJC has posted the final report here.

Here is our discussion last week of the school closing list, which did not include Coan Middle, the beneficiary of a strong community lobbying effort to save it. The final recommendations resurrects Coan and calls for new investments in it.

The report begins with the problem: APS serves 47,000 students, but has seats for 60,000. Too many schools are under capacity and costing millions more to operate as a result. The solution is clear: Close and consolidate.

But, of course, the challenge is where to send the students from the closed schools and how to redraw lines to ensure that schools are not overcrowded as a result of the consolidations. The overlay is that many parents do not want their children sent to new schools, especially if those schools have historically lower performance than where they are now assigned. There are wide disparities in performance in Atlanta, a problem that DeKalb also faced when it considered closing schools.

The report still recommends closing 10 schools.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

64 comments Add your comment

A Conservative Voice

April 10th, 2012
9:01 am

And this from our “GREAT” DeKalb County School System…….

In the past, if a project came in under budget, the project was expanded until the money was spent.

Folks, this is mis-management of our school taxes at it’s worst……why didn’t the school board catch this and “Nip it in the bud”? It’s time to clean house folks……remember this the next time an election to fill a school board slot comes up.

C Jae of EAV

April 10th, 2012
9:22 am

I noticed the following statement within the report: “In order to minimize distruption and split feeder patterns, we will seek to decrease the extensive use of out-of-zone transfers”.

When you consider that NCLB compells the district to allow out-of-zone transfers, it will be interesting to see how APS legislates its way around this directive. It would appear that the majority of out-of-zone transfers are NCLB driven.

Tonight’s meeting will be full of fireworks for sure….

jeanine

April 10th, 2012
9:23 am

which schools are being recommended for closure

Hunger Games

April 10th, 2012
9:25 am

Maureen Downey

April 10th, 2012
9:26 am

@jeanine:
Parks Middle

Capitol View Elementary

F.L. Stanton Elementary

White Elementary

Towns Elementary

Cook Elementary

East Lake Elementary

D.H. Stanton Elementary

Kennedy Middle

Herndon Elementary

Stephen K

April 10th, 2012
9:27 am

This is just a shame, or is it sham? How many school board members aren’t even seeking reelection? Why should any of those votes count? Mr. Davis has been on many boards from BP Oil to General Motors. Seems like theyed like something in the news that doesn’t have to do with cheating. Problem is they are cheating communities all over Atlanta. Glad to see lobbying and chanting won’t sway your decicion Mr. Davis.

So glad to get this over with

April 10th, 2012
9:31 am

I will be so glad to get this over with so we can start rebuilding before the Summer starts.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
9:32 am

@C Jae of EAV stated, “Tonight’s meeting will be full of fireworks for sure….”

I’m thinking it will be a relatively easy meeting. It won’t have the contentiousness that of the 72+ closure meetings. Most parties have been given some concessions. Inman is getting portables instead of the Cook option. Most other objections have been answered. The two schools that were wrongly put on the closure list at the last minute will not have the ability to stop the vote.

Most parties, at this point, probably fear any revisiting will only make the situation for them worse. It’s likely that the majority will look at this as the best possible in a bad situation and wearily stop, or at least significantly taper down, the arguments.

Beverly Fraud

April 10th, 2012
9:42 am

Here is our discussion last week of the school closing list, which did not include Coan Middle, the beneficiary of a strong community lobbying effort to save it.

Strong “community” effort or BIG BUCKS AND INFLUENCE from Emory?

Not saying THAT is right or wrong, but let’s just call it what it is…

frustrated APS mom

April 10th, 2012
9:42 am

I hope you are right about tonight’s meeting but I suspect that it will be heated. I think Davis has done a very good job and I hope the vote will pass with flying colors. I can’t wait for all the neighborhood signs to go away and for things to start to return to normal. I am looking forward to having a conversation with my neighbors that does not involve redistricting!

Beverly Fraud

April 10th, 2012
10:04 am

This has been very draining and contentious on all concerned. I think the BOE would be well served to offer up a symbol of unity, going forward. What better INSPIRING symbol than to honor Dr. Beverly Hall by naming a school after her for her SELFLESS dedication in bringing a decade’s worth of “data driven reform” to APS?

I call on two of Atlanta’s MOST esteemed citizens, Shirley Franklin and Andy Young, to work in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce to spearhead this most worthy effort, and bring UNITY back to the community.

Atlanta Mom

April 10th, 2012
10:09 am

C Jae of EAV
The transfers to which Mr. Davis refers are administrative transfers, not NCLB transfers.

Still a Head Scratcher

April 10th, 2012
10:26 am

With Inman already overcrowded, it concerns me that O4Wd was ADDED to Inman Middle School.
Now that COan is open, why not send O4WD to Coan and Jackson. Why cram even MORE kids into an already overcrowded Inman? O4WD was not part of the Inman Grady Cluster. Why were they added to the cluster when Inman AND Grady were both overcrowded? It makes no sense.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
10:49 am

@Still a Head Scratcher – I understand the reasons O4W is being added to the Grady cluster. While I am not advocating this, it would probably make more sense for O4W to go to King, rather than Coan. King is a mile and a half from Hope-Hill, while Coan is three miles away and Inman is two miles away.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
10:54 am

Be careful about advocating on distance, or you might upset the group that has been fighting tooth and nail, hurling personal insults at anyone who points out that their kids are being bused to a middle school in another neighborhood when the middle school closest to them has ample room. That group cannot object to HH being bused to a farther school when they are advocating the same thing for their kids. That would be hypocritcal, wouldn’t it?

MARTA Rida

April 10th, 2012
11:11 am

O4W is being added to keep Inman’s Title 1 status. To me and most others living in the Coan community, in the future Mary-Lin will be moved to the Jackson Cluster and attend Coan. Davis invested in Coan so Edgewood, Kirkwood, and East Lake could improve the school so shifting Mary-Lin to Coan would be an easier transition than now. Davis wants those neighborhoods, plus Grant Park, Cabbagetown, and Reyonldstown to do the hardwork of improving Jackson before moving Mary-Lin is moved.

Intowner

April 10th, 2012
11:34 am

Mary Lin will not be moved, the cluster boundaries have thankfully been defined for the long term. The foundation of the Davis plan is to define clean clusters to encourage parental engagement from K to 12. It doesn’t work if you bounce schools from cluster to cluster.

Hunger Games

April 10th, 2012
11:37 am

O4W was already in Grady, they’re not being added. They were not at Inman. O4W had been going to King since Walden closed. APS has known since closing Walden that the Grady zone doesn’t have enough middle school seats. They’ve been ignoring it.

04W Parent

April 10th, 2012
11:38 am

@still and wondering:
O4W has attended Grady for years. Historically O4W has been “zoned” out of Inman for reasons we all already know. Zoning O4W into Inman remedies a situation that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

Shar

April 10th, 2012
11:59 am

Inman and, to a lesser extent, Grady are the only sticking spots in this plan, and Davis wrote that this is a temporary fix. The situation is clearly going to get worse instead of better as the demographic study shows population gains that exacerbate the current overcrowding, and that’s without the addition of O4W. It makes no sense to keep Coan open at a 30% and falling utilization rate, to say nothing of pouring extra investment there, unless the school is expected to reach something closer to capacity in the foreseeable future. The most obvious way to do that is to move Mary Lin out of the Grady cluster and into Jackson, but that is not feasible so long as Coan and Jackson post such inferior test scores to Mary Lin. Superintendent Davis has bought two years in which to beef up the facilities, curriculum and faculty at Coan/Jackson to get them into shape as a defensible destination for Inman Park, Lake Claire and Candler Park.

Wondering Allowed, you have made several references to the aggressive defense and intemperate words used by Mary Lin parents when confronted with the possibility of moving into the Coan/Jackson cluster as they currently exist. They advocated very hard for their kids, and I can’t blame them. Coan was highly implicated in the cheating scandal and even with doctored scores has performed abysmally. It is not to be expected that Lin parents would support that move. Moreover, you have posted some intemperate words yourself. It is in everyone’s interest, and particularly the kids’, to back off the finger-pointing and use the coming two years to coalesce and work toward making the district changes work, particularly at Coan.

Marta Rida is Wishful Thinking

April 10th, 2012
12:43 pm

Marta Rida, you and Wondering Aloud keep hoping Mary Lin will move to Coan and Jackson. I don’t blame you. Mary Lin has involved, educated parents and raise their children to be the same. So I understand you wanting Mary Lin to come in and make Coan and jackson better schools…but…
You are speakng for Mr. Errol Davis and nowhere and at any time did Mr. Davis ever put Mary Lin at Coan and Jackson. If you think it is his long term plan, that’s just you thinking and hoping, it’s not what Davis has indicated ever. I think you just want to make it so. You can’t put words in Davis’ mouth and that is exactly what you want to do. Wishful thinking on your part won’t make it happen.
Mary Lin parents won’t send their kids to Coan and Jackson because they are so low-performing. Two years makes no difference. You can’t turn around a failing school in that amount of time because APS is unwilling and unable to fire the entire staff and start over and you can’t get low-performing kids up to speed in two years.
If you think this redistricing was uncomfortable, just suggest Mary Lin get moved to Jackson and Coan.
That will be bigger fireworks than the Fourth of July.
Instead of all this wishful thinking on your part, you’d be better served and your children would be better off if you focused on educating your kids and volunteering at their school rather than insisting Mary Lin parents come and do it for you.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
12:56 pm

@O4W Parent – I understand the O4W issue and agree with HH moving officially to the Grady cluster. I was trying to make the point that @Still a Head Scratcher was advocating something that was nonsensical on its face. Obviously, the poster had no thought about what would be best for the students involved, but was looking for a reason to rezone HH away from Inman.

@Intowner – You and everyone else knows the plan makes it very clear that options, including redistricing, will be considered for Inman/Grady in a couple years. There is no basis to claim the districts have been set for the long term, and we all know there is no available land or money to build at Inman, so either Morningside will be moving north or ML moving south in a couple years, unless the parents can find private money to fund building a new school or annex.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
1:05 pm

@Shar – I have had ML parents threaten to “find my address and publish it” because I signed a petition advocating ML be redistricted. I’ve had ML parents tell me that despite being a taxpayer, I have no say in how my tax dollars are spent. LC Mum, who has since disappeared from the board in shame, accused me of posting under several names. Despite proving her point foolish, I never accused her of being decietful, even when she falsely accused me.

I have been an advocate for a point of view, and have provided detailed explanations, but I have NEVER threatened anyone. I have never demeaned a person when blasting a point that was made. Go back and read my posts, and you’ll see whenever I pointed out something like ML being closer to Coan I was personally attacked. I don’t see the personal attack in the factual statement, do you?

Notice that nobody every provided numbers indicating when a group of children are moved to a lower performing school, that group performs worse than they performed previously. The Century Foundation has data suggesting that doesn’t happen. What it boils down to isn’t the school, it boils down to the parents in some neighborhoods thinking they are part of a neighborhood that is miles away. It’s about self-deception. It’s about entitlement.

apsmom

April 10th, 2012
1:12 pm

o4W/Hope Hill is not now zoned for Inman and never has been. How does it make sense to add them to a school that is already very over crowded when they are closing other schools that are under enrollment. Gotta love APS logic. This won’t work.

Intowner

April 10th, 2012
1:15 pm

Yes, isn’t it interesting that Mary Lin feels they are a part of the Inman community. Perhaps it has something to do with attending Inman Middle School (approx two miles away) and making contributions of time and effort for decades?

Wondering Aloud

April 10th, 2012
1:44 pm

Wondering Aloud is on a rampage again calling Mary Lin parents entitled. Wondering, your obsessoin with Mary Lin is very creepy. You are not a Mary Lin parent. You don’t live in the Mary Lin zone. Yet, you are constantly telling Mary Lin what to do, where to go to school, offering judgements about the people who live in that zone (like entitled, which is a slam.)
I feel sorry for you, Wondering Aloud. You have class envy. You envy other people for what they have and where they go to school and you are just plain pizzed off that Mary Lin parents don’t want their kids in the same school as yours.
It’s not you, Wondering Aloud. It’s not your color. It’s not your race. It’s not the amount of money you have or do not have.
It’s simply about trying to give children the very best chance at a good education.
The very best chance at a good education resides at Inman Middle School. Why would any sane parent want to risk the education of their children? We all know education is the THE most important factor in determining a successful future. No SANE parent would willingly move their kid from Inman to Coan or from Grady to Jackson.
If you don’t understand those simple facts and that simple mantra, you are doomed to be a Mary Lin stalker and waste valuable time you could be spending on makng your children and yourself happy and educated.

C Jae of EAV

April 10th, 2012
1:44 pm

@Wondering Aloud – I expect the D.H. Stanton stakeholders to be in force. I agree that most of the major questions/objections have some sort of solution negociated to temporarly soothe concerned stakeholders. But as is often the case with major APS board decisions such as this, it rarely goes without fanfare when this much public attention has been placed on it.

@Beverly Fraud – I have to concur with your assesment of the Coan situation on some level. Especially when you consider the recommendation as worded essentially says the building is being intially used for Jackson while its new building is under-contruction thus buying to time to really figure out what the heck “New Coan” really means. It’s clear unless the projections are way off, Coan will continue to be a highly under utilized school in terms of student population. This story will be one to watch.

@Atlanta Mom – Its my understanding that procedurally they are essentially one in the same. NCLB transfer = A type of Admin transfer. Given what @Hunger Games introduced it will be interesting to see how the NCLB wavier is leverage in this instance and across the board.

C Jae of EAV

April 10th, 2012
1:46 pm

I also wonder to myself who will end up formulating the Repurposing Committee that Dr. Davis says will be looking how vacated buildings will be used? APS has done a HORRIBLE job with that in the past. Matter of fact, I wonder if I could throw my hat in the ring to particpate. Going to have to watch this one very closely in the months to come.

To aps mom

April 10th, 2012
1:48 pm

I hear ya. I don’t understand it either. Why not move Hope Hill to Coan? They were already going to jackson High school. Why not move them to Coan and jackson cluster instead of overcrowding the already overcrowded Inman and Grady. Makes no sense to me except that perhaps someone would call someone else a racist by suggesting to send black children to a black high school.

LCMum

April 10th, 2012
1:48 pm

@Wondering Allowed I have hardly “disappeared in shame.” I don’t find questioning authenticity or motivation shameful in any way (I asked, you said no, so what?). Unlike you, I have better things to do than spend all day, every day on blogs. Sometimes it’s better just to let things go.

Shar

April 10th, 2012
1:58 pm

@Wondering, you posted repeatedly that the Mary Lin community’s aversion to moving to Coan was about race, and that Davis’ backing away from that plan was also racially motivated. That kind baseless accusation is degenerative and stunts discussion rather than encouraging or enhancing it, just as personal attacks and threats do. They are all expressions of personal affront and frustration instead of contributions to the discussion, and all of them should be thought better of before they are uttered.

Davis’ goals for this redistricting included avoiding wherever possible shifting students to lower-performing schools. Unfortunately, there is no comparison between current academic performance at Inman and Coan, and Mary Lin is far closer to the standards of Inman than those at Coan. It is unfair to deride Mary Lin parents for not wanting their children to be sent to a school that is unable to meet their needs, and quoting The Century Foundation’s finding “suggesting” that the more advanced learners are not harmed is simply not strong enough to entice parents to entrust their children to that poorer school.

When the two schools in question are as far apart on a performance basis as are Inman and Coan, it IS the school, not “self-deception”, not “entitlement”. If those parents were entitled racists, they wouldn’t be living in the mixed neighborhoods they are and they wouldn’t already be sending their kids to majority black middle and high schools. Davis knows that he cannot force any parents to send their kids to a bad school – look at what happened to Margaret Mitchell. Mary Lin is physically a little closer to Coan, but right now their kids are a lot closer to Inman in terms of performance. Davis has two years to lift Coan’s facility, performance and faculty to a point where parents in Candler Park, Lake Claire and Inman Park will feel comfortable sending their children there. If he fails to improve Coan despite the extra money and attention, Coan will have to merge with King and Morningside will have to be sent to the North Atlanta campus, both of which would be monumentally more expensive and less desirable than bringing Coan up to Inman’s level.

Angela

April 10th, 2012
2:02 pm

If APS knows what we in DCSS know they would not combine these schools. Combining these schools is only going to make for an extremely hard year for teachers and students. We at FSE have had the worst year ever. The behaviors are off of the chain, lack of academic skills are out of the roof, worlds worst parents, and toooooooooooo much to even put into this blog.

Just food for thought for all DCSS, APS and other school districts where they are only closing those schools in the Black areas. Spend more time assisting your child with assignments, make it an effort to make regular contact with your child’s teacher to see what you can do to better your child’s learning experience, stop attacking the teachers and staff, stop only coming to the school to see your child on stage dancing or acting like a fool, or only when free food is being served, ask for both sides of the story your child told to get to the truth and not your version or your child’s version, if you cannot assist your child academically find someone who can, stop sending your child to school with green stuff coming from all parts of their body, stop going to your child’s school in your slipper and pajamas, look like you have some sense even if you don’t, stop coming to the school to curse out the teacher he/she is really laughing (on the inside) at how ignorant you look and sound and for the most part this is why your child is acting like YOU in school, and there is sooooooooooooooo much more to say.

Then perhaps your schools will not get closed. That is why they don’t get closed on the other sides of town. There is positive parental involvement.

Marta Rida is Still Wishing

April 10th, 2012
2:12 pm

marta Rids is Still Wishing when she says “Davis invested in Coan so Edgewood, Kirkwood, and East Lake could improve the school so shifting Mary-Lin to Coan would be an easier transition than now. Davis wants those neighborhoods, plus Grant Park, Cabbagetown, and Reyonldstown to do the hardwork of improving Jackson before moving Mary-Lin is moved.”

Marta Rida, maybe you better get out of the trains station and off the bus because it is effecting teh way you think. If all the neighborhoods you just listed COULD improve jackson and Coan — don’t you think they would have done it already?
Don’t you think the educated parents have already tried and failed to do that? Don’t you think the uneducated parents have already tried and failed to do it too?
Parents by themselves cannot turn a school around, especially in two years. It also takes the dedication and hard work of the EMPLOYEES of the school and until Davis and APS makes a BIG HUGE EFFORT to clean house at Coan and Jackson and rid the schools of all the employees who cheated, Coan and Jackson will continue to wallow in the mud that is what makes a low-performing school.

MARTA Rida

April 10th, 2012
2:34 pm

@Marta Rida is Wishful Thinking
I was just making an opinion and in now way want kids from a school that wants nothing to do with those SOD in a community that we fought so hard to keep open and will continue to work hard to improve. King had worse test scores than Coan so we are in the same boat as Mary-Lin about sending our kids to a lower performing school. We will work hard and improve Coan so our kids will know what hard work gets you, instead of those Inman kids that are handed everything!

Reality check

April 10th, 2012
3:07 pm

I’m an involved, educated parent living in the zone for Coan Middle School. I advocated, attended meetings, wrote letters, and sent emails lobbying to have Coan removed from the closure list. I did this because I believed it was fundamentally immoral to remove the Coan students from their facility in order for Inman 6th graders to use the building without any local “color”, pun intended.

That having been said, my children do not and will not attend Coan. The majority of children that attend Coan come from lower-income households. The children, through no fault of their own, arrive at school facing all of the socio-economic problems that are stereotypical to low-income households – hungry, malnourished, ill-prepared, lack of nuturing, lack of parental guidance, overexposed to adult situations, etc. The teachers and administrators that work at Coan are tremendously talented in working with the children that arrive at the school, regardless of condition and circumstance, and helping to stabilize and prepare them to absorb as much education as a child with surrounded by instability can absorb – which is hard to do on a Monday morning when your last meal was bologna and cheetos on Sunday afternoon, your clothes are dirty, your mother spent the weekend arguing with boyfriend #11, and your father missed visitation this weekend…again.

The teachers perform triage everyday and take critical class time and resources to get the children stabilized. Meanwhile, my children, who are far from perfect but face significantly fewer obstacles arriving to school ready to learn, don’t get the attention they need to succeed, thrive, and be challenged to greater heights. So, am I going to let my children’s educational opportunity suffer based on principles alone? NO.

I will take my children, and my wallet, moving either to another zone, district, or private school to provide my children a resonable opportunity for educational success. In our case, we are choosing private school. I wish the students and teachers at Coan much success – they need people to wish them success and help them succeed (and before you slam me, YES, I am an active volunteer in the community and will remain so). But I’m not betting my children on Coan, not today. Maybe went all of those “good, liberal white folks” or “progressive middle-class black folks” show up to make it better (SARCASM) but not today.

Shar

April 10th, 2012
3:24 pm

@Reality check – you are sacrificing to do what is best for your children, and that is good parenting. Good luck.

Just as a matter of interest, did you advocate for Coan because you thought the students there would have a better chance at an education there or because you were offended that Inman (who, although majority black, you seem to believe are all white) students would use the building in their absence?

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
3:42 pm

@LC Mum – you didn’t ask, you accused. You said, “Wondering Allowed or *** or whatever you are calling yourself now.” Maureen called you out for it. Typical that you are now trying to change history, rather than deal with the actual facts. A simple, “Please excuse my mistake.” would be better than trying to deny you said what anyone can go back a few threads and actually see.

@Wondering Aloud – Thank you for proving my point. Bullies, lacking the intellectual capacity to stay focused on the facts, resort to personal attacks. Your personal attacks let us all know who you are, at the core. I could’t have proven the point any better than you do by your actions.

For those who think moving ML in two years will lead to fireworks, you are correct. Given the choice between MES or ML moving, though, we all know who will aim the lowest in their barbs and will ultimately be moving to King or Coan. If there was going to be construction, it would have been in the plan and APS would be making those plans.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
3:45 pm

BTW, I am in favor of Coan remaining a small, boutique middle school. We don’t need students bused in. There is enough population growth in presently zoned neighborhoods to support the school over the next ten years. Nonetheless, I would be disappointed to see APS waste our tax money on building an unnecessary school when there is capacity closer to people that are presently being bused to Inman.

Intowner

April 10th, 2012
3:47 pm

You present a false choice. New construction may not be required, although it would be justified if it is. A simple 6th grade academy is also workable solution for the long-term Grady cluster. Whatever the ultimate solution, it will be developed by parents and stakeholders inside the long-term Grady cluster, working together with APS.

Reality check

April 10th, 2012
3:55 pm

@Shar – I advocated for Coan because I believe the displacement of existing Coan children and relocation to King would create additional obstacles to parental involvement and disrupt the community participation/investment present at Coan – all for the sake of relieving overcrowding at Inman when the best way to address overcrowding at Inman, in my opinion, would be to re-draw attendance lines to fill Coan with some of our neighbors to the North. Several community partners made it clear that moving the Coan students to King would disrupt their place-based initiatives and so it was imperative that the Coan students remain in order to access those services and programs. I don’t think creating a larger, more concentrated population of lower-income students at King is beneficial to King students or Coan students, nor APS when it is looking to improve student achievement.

I’m also fully aware of the demographics of Inman, actually having visted the school and researching my school options, and only intended to acknowledge the race/class undertones that have characterized much of the debate.

In fact, I believe one solution that was totally disregarded was allowing the Coan students to remain at Coan and using the excess space for the Inman 6th Grade academy as Coan can serve +/- 900 students and even APS projections never estimate the 6th Grade academy exceeding +/- 400 students. Capacity would never exceed +/- 700.

Let me also make this point perfectly clear: I don’t believe in the “Inman Miracle”, that somehow just attending Inman turns low-performing students into great students and there is some magic that takes place inside the building. Are they teaching a different math, science, or other subject content that is substantially different from other middle schools? Probably not. What I do believe is that if you have a group of active, committed parents who are interested in the education of their children coupled with adequate resources, those children will achieve some level of educational success wherever they attend school. Remember, it is not the ivy on the walls that make a great place of learning, it is the quality of the educational content delivered inside. If APS would commit itself to high quality, if parents would demand high quality, I believe student performance systemwide would follow.

Wondering Allowed

April 10th, 2012
3:58 pm

@Intowner – If it can be done without expensive construction, and Coan stays open, that’s fine by me. Absolutely.

But, if you read BigTent, there is zero appetite among the parents to have an offsite 6th Grade Academy as a longterm solution. Zero. There has been no petition pushing this, as there has for moving ML to Coan or MES to North Atlanta.

What other option is there?

April 10th, 2012
4:38 pm

When Crim turned into an Alternative highschool the people of Kirkwood fought to remain part of the Grady Cluster just as the people at Mary Lin are doing now. They were able to stay in the Grady Cluster but it was obvious at the time that there was still a long term overcrowding problem. Eventually the Grady Cluster got too overcrowded and when there was no money to expand the schools so Kirkwood had no choice but to leave the Grady Cluster and be rezoned to Jackson.

It seems pretty obvious the same will happen with Mary Lin eventually. Even if the Inman areas accepted a 6th grade Annex in order to keep Mary Lin in the fold (which is highly doubtful) then Inman is still growing to the point where it won’t even be able to have 2 levels there. Whats next? Separate schools for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades? Far more likely is that Mary Lin would be rezoned to a school that is closer. What timeframe this would take place is obviously up in the air but it does seem absolutely inevitable that it does eventually occur.

Shar

April 10th, 2012
4:42 pm

@Reality Check: I can understand your concern about putting a large number of high-need students in King, although both King and Coan have capacity for far more students than they serve and aggregating them might allow even more additional services to be delivered.

I also completely agree with your contention that Inman does not sprinkle fairy dust on every student that walks in. Two of my three kids have gone there, and every time I drive by I am consciously glad that they are not there now. It is overcrowded, has very little outdoor space (and will have less once they put more trailers on site) and few ‘amenities’ such as computer labs, performance space or studio space. The huge range of abilities among the kids makes it very difficult for teachers to conduct consistent classes, and the higher-performing students are routinely used as tutors and group leaders to try to raise the level of the slower students, to the detriment of both.

I also second your point about parental involvement, though, and that Inman has in abundance. I believe that APS’ curriculum, faculty training and incentives, administration and facility inventory have been tweaked and re-tweaked with little effect. The State constitution guarantees a free education for students but not a free ride for their parents, and as the third leg of the stool that supports student success the parents’ role has been utterly neglected.

At minimum, parents should agree to send their children to school rested, healthy, with their homework done and prepared to behave in such a way that teachers can teach and other students can learn. Parents should further be required to attend a minimum of two teacher conferences per year and volunteer for a minimum of 20 in-school hours. Atlanta’s most successful schools have large parent majorities that do all that and more, and I truly believe that even poorly-performing schools could get a huge boost if this policy were put in place.

What Other option is there?

April 10th, 2012
4:53 pm

What other option is either a South of Dekalb avenue resident or a North of Ponce resident. You don’t see other options because you don’t want to see other options:
Other options:
Put Old Fourth Ward back in the Jackson cluster.
Enforce the zoning and not allow illegal people from out of the zone.
Build a bigger school.
What other option has an agenda just like Wondering Aloud. They think if they beat the mantra of Mary Lin to Coan it will make a difference.
What other option — do you really think the board of education reads the Get Schooled blog and discusses what your wishes are and comes up with a plan to appease you?
but just keep blogging here. I’m sure Coan will become a much better school because you post on a blog all day.
Yeah.
Right.

Shar

April 10th, 2012
4:55 pm

@Other option: You are correct. The overcrowding at Inman is unsupportable, there is no land available for additional construction even if the budget was there, which it isn’t, and just trying to rely on re-zoning transfer students will not free up enough seats to accomodate demand.

It seems apparent that either Morningside will be re-zoned to the North Atlanta cluster or Mary Lin will be moved to the Jackson cluster. Sending kids who can walk to Inman and Grady to rather distant campuses seems ridiculous and will be opposed by the neighborhood; however, it is likely that will happen if Coan remains a low-performing school. A second middle school could be opened, perhaps in the Howard building, but renovation would be difficult to justify when Coan will have just received a big dose of investment and, if the demographic projections are correct, will not reach 30% of capacity.

There is already a double trailer at Inman, and the new ones for the sixth grade will take away a third of the already-insufficient open space (the other two thirds of which are owned by the City of Atlanta and Georgia Power, so are not really even Inman’s). Separate academies will not be tolerated by the community. It is a pity that this question will not be decided tonight at the Board meeting, but it will definitely be re-visited within the next 12 to 24 months.

Intowner is Right

April 10th, 2012
4:56 pm

Intowner is right. He or she says “Whatever the ultimate solution, it will be developed by parents and stakeholders inside the long-term Grady cluster, working together with APS.”
The solution will be supplied by hard-working Grady-cluster residents, not the sour-puss faced outsiders like Wondering Aloud.

bu2

April 10th, 2012
4:57 pm

@What other option
The issue, as someone further up pointed out, is that there is a middle school with a capacity of 700-800 and a HS with a capacity of 1300-1400. There has to be additional middle school capacity or they have to abandon the cluster system (which they have no intent of doing). Moving Mary Lin would be the first step in shutting down Grady which I don’t think they have any intent to do either. MES and SPARK parents advocating moving Mary Lin are being very short-sighted and could be slitting their own throats as far as HS goes.

It would be interesting to know what % of Inman come from each of the elementary schools. Given the housing in the area, it wouldn’t be surprising if a higher % of Mary Lin students move on to Inman than Morningside or Sprindale Park kids.

LCMum

April 10th, 2012
5:03 pm

@Wondering Allowed – I apologize. Please excuse my mistake. I wholeheartedly agree with Shar in that I have no interest in a disussion that does not enhance productive and meaningful dialog about education – not your personal conflicts. I am moving on now. Can you do the same?

What other option is there?

April 10th, 2012
6:03 pm

If they intended to fund the opening of a new middle school to help with Inman Overcrowding then wouldn’t that make sense to put in place now? If they intended to rezone areas to Coan/Jackson at some point then wouldn’t it make sense to instead use the available money to help out those schools?

Shar

April 10th, 2012
6:04 pm

Actually, Intowner is wrong. The decision on what to do about Inman/Grady overcrowding will be made by APS. Since Davis has done a good job of listening to and incorporating community input, I would guess that the cluster residents will have his ear, but the final decision will be made by APS in the best interest of the school system in its entirety.