Archive for the ‘Atlanta Public Schools’ Category

Former North Atlanta principal wants hearing to clear his name. Still think this could have been handled better.

Former North Atlanta High principal Mark MyGrant wants to clear his name against what he considers innuendo and character assassination by APS leadership And he has hired education attorney Glenn Delk to represent him.

According to the AJC:

MyGrant sent a letter Wednesday to Atlanta Public Schools asking the board of education to hold a hearing to clear MyGrant’s name following allegations of “institutional racism” at the school while he was in charge. Attorney Glenn Delk said “what we’re asking is simple: We think he should be given an opportunity to face his accusers and clear his name. If they don’t have evidence, they should issue an apology.” MyGrant was one of six administrators removed from the school Oct. 5

MyGrant is a 27-year APS veteran enticed out of retirement this summer to serve as interim at his former school, North Atlanta High School, while a search for a replacement was conducted. He was scheduled to end his interim stint this week.

He …

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Should a teacher lose job for urging kids to check answers?

As demonstrated with North Atlanta High School, APS chief Erroll Davis is fond of the emphatic gesture. That was also evident when he suspended all the educators implicated in the cheating investigation by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

But some of those educators are fighting to return to their jobs as a tribunal sorts through the evidence against them in a series of hearings.

One of them is M. A. Jones Elementary School teacher Precious Moon. Her case seems among the murkiest, given the lack of clear evidence against her. Take a look at the AJC story on this week’s hearing and let us know what you think.

According to the AJC:

Atlanta Public Schools pressed its case Monday to terminate M. A. Jones Elementary School 5th-grade teacher Precious Moon for her alleged involvement in the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test cheating scandal that has implicated about 180 educators.

APS Superintendent Erroll Davis testified before a three-person tribunal that he had lost confidence in …

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Does APS board delay in extending Davis’ contract signal a lasting estrangement?

I am unsure about Erroll Davis’ future as leader of APS after tonight’s decision by the Atlanta school board to hold off on extending his contract. The board met behind closed doors for three hours to discuss Davis and his contract.

Davis is still dealing with the fallout from his decision to remove six administrators from North Atlanta High, including principal Mark MyGrant. I continue to hear from North Atlanta parents who insist that Davis misled the public on why he removed the school administrators.

Those parents contend that Davis was both callous and careless in failing to consider the impact of his actions on the school community. They also feel he denigrated the school to justify his leadership purge.

School board member Nancy Meister, who represents North Atlanta, made a public appeal to delay action on the contract, sharing  a letter to the board chair with her constituents.

In her letter to APS board Chairman Reuben McDaniel, she wrote:

We owe it to the …

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Student produced video questions push for charter schools amendment

Now students are getting into the charter amendment debate. Here is a video by two Grady High School students. I am not allowing comments on this post because I am on deadline today and can’t monitor comments. I recognize that many of you will disagree with the students, but I applaud student involvement in public policy debates.

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Atlanta explains how it calculates value-added scores. Using scores for “improvement, not accountability.”

I ran a letter a few days ago from the principal of an Atlanta charter school expressing concerns about the value-added scores assigned to his school.

Atlanta is looking at both teacher and school-level value-added as part of its Effective Teacher in Every Classroom initiative. Using test scores, researchers are calculating how much “learning” Atlanta students gain in the standard school year. This sort of calculation is being made for school districts and teachers nationwide and will ultimately be done for every school system in Georgia  as we move to accountability models that measure student progress over time.

There is great debate over whether any value-added system — and Atlanta has hired some of the nation’s top experts to help it develop accurate value-added metrics — can be trusted.

Under Atlanta’s analysis, students at Atlanta Neighborhood Charter were found to only gain gain 5.2 months of learning in a year, one of the lowest scores in the district.

In a …

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Did Atlanta superintendent overhaul North Atlanta High and upset community without reason or true data?

In his explanation for the administrative purge at North Atlanta High School 12 days ago, APS Superintendent Erroll B. Davis cited poor academic performance.  A forensic accountant from Midtown decided to research that statement and found a much different picture than what Davis presented.

“He seemed to imply that North Atlanta High School should be held to a higher standard than other APS schools because of the neighborhood’s wealth,” said Jarod Apperson, who writes the Grading Atlanta blog.

“While the neighborhood includes wealthy residents who attend private schools, NAHS itself actually serves a fairly high-needs population. It is the only high school in Atlanta serving a sizable number of Hispanics.  Also, those coming into NAHS through the admin transfer process are grossly under-prepared,” says Apperson.

Here is Apperson’s analysis and conclusions: (Please note that this entire piece is from Jarod Apperson. None of the comments, including those at the end, are …

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School board rep: Until we know truth about North Atlanta High, delay extension of Erroll Davis’ contract

School board member Nancy Meister, who represents the North Atlanta High School community, clashed with board chair Reuben McDaniel over allegations of institutional racism at North Atlanta High, as revealed in emails obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

APS school chief Erroll Davis replaced the leadership team of the Buckhead high school 12 days ago, angering hundreds of parents who packed a meeting last week to demand an explanation.

At the meeting, Davis was in the unusual role of attempting to convince 900 parents and students that their beloved school was not nearly as good as they thought. Many parents remain dissatisfied with Davis’ explanation of why he purged the school leaders and believe there is a political subtext at work.

Their suspicions have been fueled in part by a series of emails.

In the emails, board chair McDaniel asked APS Associate Superintendent Steve Smith to collect data from North Atlanta that breaks down the school’s graduation rates, …

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North Atlanta drama continues. Parents now alarmed over teacher resignation.

I am getting copied on emails between parents at North Atlanta High School and APS, and it doesn’t sound like detente has been reached over the purge of the school’s leadership team a week ago.

I am also getting calls now on the resignation of an English/journalism teacher whose hiring created tensions between principal Mark MyGrant and APS, although it remains unclear why.

The resignation of Amy Durham, coupled with the reassignment of Laura Brazil, academy leader for North Atlanta High’s Global Broadcasting and Journalism, has alarmed many parents with children in the program. One parent said her child is a finalist for a $200,000 scholarship but needs recommendations that he now can’t get.

You can read Durham’s resignation letter here. (She actually does not resign in the letter, but retracts her pledge of employment since she was never approved by the board.)

Durham and school board member Nancy Meister were middle school PTA co-presidents together and remain friends.  …

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Does AYP tell the whole story of any school, whether North Atlanta or Lilburn Middle?

In his explanation to nearly 900 parents and students at North Atlanta High on why he gutted the school’s leadership team in a blitzkrieg eight days ago, APS school chief Erroll Davis cited the school’s underperformance.

“This should be our premier school in this city,” he told the crowd. “It’s not a sin to be in the middle of the pack. But I don’t want that to be the standard for North Atlanta High School. With the kind of commitment, with the resources that are available in this community, this school should be at the head of the pack.”

Unflappable and polite, Davis faced tough questions from a community angry that the interim principal was dismissed and the beloved leaders of the school’s small learning communities reassigned. That startling action — carried out without any discussion with school board members or the North Atlanta High community — has provoked hundreds of angry emails, a student walkout and the heated meeting where Davis met his …

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AJC uses Open Records to see value-added scores for APS. Some surprises. Heads up, this is future for all schools.

The AJC has a great story up this morning on Atlanta’s measurement of how much value its schools are giving their students, with a list of the scores for all APS schools.

The value-added scores quantify how much learning students gain from attending the school, presented in terms of months.

On average, students learn nine months worth of material.

In Atlanta, the highest value-added was found at Early College High School at Carver where students gain 17 months of learning in a single school year. The lowest was posted by Therrell School of Health and Science where students only gain 4 months of learning in a full school year.

The next lowest score was found at Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Middle School where students gain 5.2 months of learning in a year. Here is an essay by the principal of Atlanta Neighborhood Charter on his concerns over value-added scores and what they don’t tell you about his school.

According to reporter Jaime Sarrio: Atlanta is one of the first …

Continue reading AJC uses Open Records to see value-added scores for APS. Some surprises. Heads up, this is future for all schools. »