- Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is scheduled to hold the second of two public meetings Wednesday to give community members a chance to provide input on the district’s plan to define what makes a school excellent and measure how close schools are to the mark, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The district’s “vision of school excellence” will also include determining how officials should respond when neighborhood, charter and partner schools — those managed by an outside school turnaround organization — don’t meet expectations, according to the district’s website.
- Community members will also give feedback on the work of the district’s equity task force, formed last January.
As states and districts learn more about different strategies for improving low-performing schools — and with the Every Student Succeeds Act giving states flexibility in how to intervene — a wider range of models are beginning to emerge.
In Tennessee, for example, Sharon Griffin, the newest superintendent of the state-run Achievement School District and past leader of the separate Innovation Zone schools in Memphis, recently advised Hamilton County Schools (Chattanooga) to learn from those other turnaround efforts. She noted that extending the school day and having staff members reapply for their jobs were among the strategies that led to school achievement, according to the Times Free Press.
In Hamilton County School, a seven-member advisory board is working with the State Partnership Network to oversee improvement efforts at five district schools. Such arrangements are viewed as alternatives to state takeovers, which research shows have mixed results. In Georgia, the state’s turnaround expert has also suggested he would rather provide additional support to failing schools instead of taking them over. Under APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s leadership, the district has recently seen increases in test scores, which could be a result of tutoring and additional counselors being provided to struggling schools, according to WABE.