Archive for December 3, 2012

LIVE BLOG: Board of Education Meeting – December 3, 2012

Thank you for following our live blog of the December Board of Education meeting for Atlanta Public Schools.

View today’s agenda here: http://www.boarddocs.com/ga/aps/Board.nsf/Public

REFRESH your browser often for updates.

PRESENTATION: Larry Hoskins, COO, APS “Finch Elementary Evacuation”
Earlier today, emergency and safety personnel from the City of Atlanta along with Atlanta Public Schools evacuated Finch Elementary School due to a carbon monoxide leak.  COO Larry Hoskins presented to the Board a timeline of the events from earlier today and afterwards took questions from BOE members.

Approximately 500 students were transported today from Finch Elementary to Brown Middle School.  40 students were transported to Hughes Spaulding Children’s Hospital with another 4 taken to the hospital by their parents.  Several staff members were also transported to the emergency room.  As of 1pm today, all students and staff were reported in good health and preparing for dismissal from the hospital.

Students will be dismissed from school at their regular 2:30 time, with bus riders taking the bus from Brown MS home.  Car riders should be picked up from Brown and walkers will be transported back to Finch and allowed to walk their regular route home.  The district has launched an investigation into the the leak and according to Hoskins, a new occupancy certificate is expected to be issued by the fire marshal later today.  If by some chance the building is not certified safe, students will receive instruction in one of APS’ other contingency facilities.  Parents will be notified via phone calls, robo-calls, social media and  email with updates regarding Finch and the safety of the school

PRESENTATION:  David Walbert, Esq. “Atlanta Board of Education Redistricting”

Summary of presentation will be provided by the Board of Education office.

PRESENTATION:  Chuck Burbridge, CFO “Financial Forecast”

Summary of this presentation will be provided by the office of finance.

Q&A with Burbridge:

Meister:  I thought we had 273 unaccounted employees on payroll last month, now it’s 213?

Burbridge: 190

Davis:  We’ve been working overtime on this one.  Until we can get the Lawson system speaking with the Kronos system we can’t give definitive answers.  We are working on that with payroll/IT/Finance.  Right now we are comfortable that most, if not all, of the overages are in the field.  Number of employees constantly changing.

Meister:  What is the plan for getting these 2 systems to speak to one another.

Davis:  We hope to get this done this month.  Every issue will have to be addressed manually.  This is a short month, so again its a process to get 2 systems to speak with each other that have never spoken with one another.  What we know with certainty is what we’re paying people.  Right now our projections are based on trending payroll data.  The number is however coming down.  273, 213, 190.

Meister: Are these 2 systems meant to be compatible?

Burbridge: Kronos used to capture time.  That information then feeds into payroll system.  Interface was created for that purpose, to feed hours into the system.  What we are doing now is trying to use it to inform the HR portion of the Lawson system as opposed to the payroll portion of the Lawson system.  Everyone has an account code with a location field.  Instead of simply capturing time, we are trying to use that clock system to validate account code data.  It wasn’t made for that, but we think we can make it work.  In October, it took weeks to go out and manually verify employees.  While we are out in the field doing this manually, things are changing (new employees coming in, employees leaving).  Has that data changed? Absolutely.  It’s December and this is a fluid situation.

Kinnane:  Yes, I may have missed something.  I appreciate that its complicated, but in your answer the things mentioned are not new things.  I’m not hearing why we are having the discrepancy more this year.

Burbridge:  Fiscal environment.  Certainly four years ago we were running surpluses, now we’re running deficits.  That makes it more apparent.  We said we were going to monitor this more closely in the past.  This year, we’ve called this out much earlier in the fiscal year.  Between the fiscal constraints and closer monitoring…

Davis:  This is also surfacing some real structural flaws in the control system.  For instance when we do leveling there is very little reduction at the school level due to the sensitivity of removing teachers.  What you have are more increases and the increases are automatically filled and we apply for a mid-year QBE adjustment.  There has been no real trigger in the budget and hiring systems to say “We don’t have the money for that.”  We had some schools that increased beyond the original budget with earned teachers but we haven’t earned 100% of the cost for them.  That has led to cost overruns.

YJohnson asks question about how this plays into budgeting for special needs teachers/staffing.

Burbridge:  We always level down, never up.  When it comes to special ed, if it is in an IEP, we will go out and figure out how to do it – even if it is not in the budget.  That can be a source of upwards pressure.  When you do spend above federal money in special needs – once you raise the maintenance of effort, you have to meet that effort.  As the year unfolds it makes it difficult to keep the staffing budget in the constraints required.

YJohnson:  Whatever the requirements are, I want to make sure we have an assessment of schools to maintain this.  I want to put that out there. (Johnson refers to a list of staffing in the BOE members packet today).

Muhammad helps BOE members understand acronyms used for special needs programs in the district.  Shows concern for low number of career technology instructors.

–Presentations concluded–

McDaniel asks to add superintendent search process to agenda item 6.01.  Meister asks for addition around SACS work to the same agenda item.  Motion carries.

11 speakers have signed up to speak during the committee of the whole meeting.  Speakers will begin now with a break beginning at 4pm.

Molly Woo – Item 6.01:  Expresses concern for the students at Finch and is thankful for their well being today.  Gives accolades to Chief Sands for her work not only today but in the past to maintain the safety of the children of Atlanta Public Schools.  All board members have received a petition from me asking you to hold off from voting for the extension of Erroll Davis’ contract.  “I know we can do better.”  We need better communication.  It’s obscene that Davis did not let Nancy Meister know what he was about to do at North Atlanta High School.  I would also like to address Reuben McDaniel.  You confirmed that you put up a parent to file an ethics complaint…if you’ve got a complaint, file it yourself, own up to your own actions.  Put your politics aside.  We’ve gotta find a good superintendent to lead this district over the next decade.

Gene Eidleman, President of Mosaic corporation – Item 2.03:  Speaks against the non-renewal of Atlanta Preparatory Academy (APA) Charter School.  Says that the school has only had 3 years to prove itself when it should have been given 5.  Speaker says that he didn’t receive enough information from the district prior to the non-renewal.  Asks that the BOE defers action on this item.

APA Board Chair – Item 2.03:  We recognize and acknowledge our performance but we think there are issues with the report given to you.  We’ve tried to work at developing the whole child and not simply focus on testing.  Asks that the vote is deferred until the regularly scheduled January meeting.  We’re changing lives here.

Suzanne Mitchell – 6.01 – Asking BOE to extend Davis’ contract for several reasons.  District is in the middle of transition and needs time to implement strategic plan.  ABOE is in transition with members stepping down, running for re-election with campaigns consuming time. We can’t have re-election politics at play.  Asking that we put our communities first.  Allow the next school board to recruit and pick the next superintendent.

Brenda Johnson gives her time to Mr. Carey – 2.06 – Says that 3 people were led out of a building recently in the name of reduction of force.  {BOE chair explains to Mr. Carey that he cannot mention personnel names during public comment}

4:00pm  15 minute recess

5:03- meeting reconvenes

5 additional speakers for the Committee of the Whole. Howard Grant encourages all speakers to stay on topic and not mention personnel issues during public comment.

2 speakers are not present.

Angela B.- 6.01- I am here today representing NAPPS. Thank you Mr. Davis for your leadership in APS. The past 18 months have been difficult and chaotic. It is critical that the board takes the necessary steps for a permanent superintendent rather than extend the contract for an interim superintendent. The board needs to implement a transparent process for the superintendent selection. This can only be accomplished by voting today not to extend the interim superintendent’s contract.

Cynthia Briscoe-Brown- 6.01- I am here today to ask each of you to vote against extending interim Superintendent Davis’ contract. He lacks the leadership essential to this position. Every one of his stated reasons for “Bloody Friday” have been proven false. This superintendent has lost the confidence of a significant number of the community–he should not be allowed to continue. There are highly qualified individuals who would welcome the challenge of leading APS into the future. As you vote, I urge you to require a super majority for approval.

Speaker #3 – 2.03- I am the President of the Parent/Teacher organization at Atlanta Prep. Academy. I want to speak to the issues around the assessment and accountability. Consider that the charter APA created a foundation for a school community of living, breathing children, parents, and teachers. We would like additional time to continue to grow and develop.

Bringing in board member Emmett D. Johnson, At-Large Seat 9, through a conference call. According to Reuben McDaniel, the Attorney General stated each board member could have up to 2 telephonic meetings.

Pitts: As long as a quorum is present in person, an individual board member may participate via teleconference up to 2 times per year if they have a serious illness or they are absent from the jurisdiction as part of the new Open Meetings Act.

Muhammad: Is this only in situations of emergency?

Pitts: In emergency situations the entire board can conduct a meeting via teleconference. That’s not the situation today. We have a quorum present, so Mr. Johnson is calling in via teleconference since he is absent from the jurisdiction.

Muhammed: I have a serious problem that we end up changing things every month amongst the board and things we have agreed on.

McDaniel: In compliance with the new laws we are accommodating Mr. Johnson as he is out of the jurisdiction this evening.

2.02 Report No. 12/13-1716 Authorization to approve KIPP WAYS, Inc. Renewal Petition for a Five-year Term and add Grades K-4

Harsch-Kinnane: This is really adding a school- a new elementary school.

Allen Mueller, Exec. Director of Innovation: Since this is a renewal it is does open the door to change the structure of the school.It is not unusual, but in my memory we haven’t had it happen here yet. The school is currently 5-8. Now they will start with kindergarten and eventually add grades 1-4.

Meister: They are actually opening a new facility, correct?

Allen Mueller, Exec. Director of Innovation:There is another agenda item for the Herndon facility. They can’t currently accommodate the addition of these grades in the current facility.

Meister: From a legal perspective are we setting a precedent?

Pitts: Does this fall within your charter school policy?

Allen Mueller, Exec. Director of Innovation: Since we have K-8 schools in the city, I guess we are questioning whether we want schools to add grades at the time of renewal. It seems to be a successful model that eliminates transition between elementary and middle school. There is nothing in our policy that says we can’t do this.

Amos: From day one, the expansion was a concern to me and how it affects Bethune. I began to ask the leadership and non-charter school parents in surrounding communities, and the most compelling thing for me was the agreement for KIPP to partner with nearby traditional schools in APS.

Muhammad: I want to bring to the attention of the administration that we will continue to lose our kids to charter schools because we are not getting some of the things we need in our traditional schools. I thought we agreed that for every high school feeder area, that we would limit the number of charter. I’m asking, didn’t we have that discussion at one point?

Pitts: The board did have a discussion about it, but there was never a vote.

Allen Mueller, Exec. Director of Innovation: That discussion was more about approving start-up charter schools, this however, is a renewal–not a new school.

Muhammad: I wonder about the schools that are in that district, do they have a level playing field? You have schools that I know can’t, or are not, competing with KIPP. Will the traditional schools always be competing and losing their kids?

English: We have had conversations about the transference of knowledge between our charter schools and traditional schools. That was something we were going to add to the Superintendent’s Balanced Scorecard.

Superintendent Davis: KIPP and B.E.S.T. Academy are going in that direction. We are starting to do that.

English: I think it is phenomenal that we are having those conversations.

2.03 Report No. 12/13-1717 Authorization to Deny Atlanta Preparatory Academy, Inc. Renewal Petition

Superintendent Davis lists reasons why APA’s renewal is in question. Some of the reasons include, but are not limited to, the fact that APA failed to make AYP last year and in terms of the school’s financial performance– the school owes over 8,000 to the company that manages it.

Amos: I would like to pull this from the agenda and place this on the agenda for the January meeting.

Allen Mueller, Exec. Director of Innovation: The fact that they were unaware of their performance is a reflection of their poor management. Schools are about more than test scores, but there is a point at which we have to look at test scores. If we defer this to January, the data won’t change and parents will be waiting 6 or 7 months to find out the fate of their school from the state.

McDaniel: So if we delay it 30 days we will probably miss the timeline with the state for parents to find out the fate of their school before May or June?

Muhammad: What if I were to amend your motion to instead, give them a one year charter?

Allen Mueller, Exec. Director of Innovation: It is my opinion that the state board would not approve a one year extension for the school, based on my experience and their performance. It’s never easy to close a school. When we make this decision, we look at some of things like the performance of this school versus other schools in the area.

BOE member English questions whether or not this is a bad precedent to set.  “What precedent are we now setting.  If we are willing to set such a precedent as a board, how do we do that strategically in the future.  Are we just going to give everyone one year to fix what is wrong….very slippery slope.”

End of discussion on charter renewal.

Agenda item 2.04
Report No. 12/13-1718 Adoption of the 2013 Legislative Priorities (FINAL READ)

Excerpt from the report:  The Atlanta Board of Education supports meaningful state-local partnerships, statutory initiatives that would result in or have the effect of limiting the constitutional authority and autonomy of local school systems cannot be supported.  State initiatives should not be approved that would limit the ability of local school boards in their constitutionally authorized roles to make decision that are in the best interest of their communities.  School boards should be afforded this authority while maintaining accountability to student academic achievement and school management.

Agenda item 2.06
Retiring principals will be acknowledged during the Legislative Meeting.

Agenda item 3.01
Report No. 12/13-1114 Authorization to Amend Report No. 11/12-1126 to Provide a Computer Adaptive Assessment System for Grades K-2

The board authorized the superintendent to execute a contract with Global Scholar in December 2011 to provide a computer adaptive assessment system for grades 3-8. The original action item authorized expenditures of $227,000.

The Performance Series program is currently utilized in APS grades 3-8. This is specialized software that utilizes computer adaptive technology and a unique set of reports. We request to amend the previous action item to include grades K-2.

This software will assist in mandated Student Learning Objectives (SLO) assessments, assess students for the gifted program and monitor the implementation of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. It is critical to have the same technology requirements from a single product in our schools. Teachers, principals, students and parents have become familiar with the current assessment and reporting system and this product would create a seamless implementation for the remaining grades in our district. Utilizing Global Scholar as the single source for this service will ensure the continuity of service and compatibility with existing systems.

Recommendation is that the Atlanta Board of Education amend Report No.11/12-1126 to increase the authorized amount from $227,000 to $ 272,000. This represents an increase of $45,000 from the current authorized expenditure amount.

Kinnane:  How are we currently using this program?

Davis:  This is an assessment tool we are already using in grades 3-8 and we would like to use it in earlier grades.

Agenda item 3.02

Recommendation is that the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute a contract with ProSys Information Systems to provide servers, data center infrastructure components, data center software, installation services and other related services. This contract shall be for one (1) base term (of one year or less) with four (4) one-year options to renew at the sole discretion of the superintendent. This contract is conditional upon the firm’s ability to comply with requirements set forth in the solicitation document.

Agenda item 3.03

Recommendation is that the superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute contracts with Floor Care Specialists and Fuller Floor Services to provide gym floor maintenance, repair and re-finishing services. These contracts shall be for one (1) year with four (4) one-year available options to be exercised at the discretion of the superintendent. These contracts are conditional upon the firm’s ability to comply with requirements set forth in the solicitation document.

Muhammad:  Which schools are these gym schools for?

Larry Hoskins, COO of APS:  Our buildings are on a cycle and each year we take care of the buildings that are up for repair.

Muhammad:  You are seeking a provider for wherever the need is, right?

Larry Hoskins:  Yes

Muhammad:  I want to make sure that we take care of issues such as drapes and curtains at these schools.  Floors are nice, but some schools have drapes and curtains taped up to be held together.

Agenda item 4.01
Report No. 12/13-4304 – Authorization to Enter into a Lease Agreement with KIPP Metro Collaborative, Inc. at the Former Alonzo F. Herndon Elementary School Property

KIPP Metro Atlanta Collaborative, Inc. (KIPP MAC) is requesting to enter into a lease agreement for the former Alonzo F. Herndon Elementary School located at 350 Temple Street, NW, 30314 for the operation of KIPP WAYS Academy.  The initial term of the lease will be for five (5) years beginning July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2018 with one (1) five year renewal option.  The lease will have a 180 day termination clause.  Pursuant to the state law, no lease payments may be charged to charter schools.  The lessee will be responsible for all utilities, maintenance, capital improvements, operating expenses, and insurance requirements for the facility.  KIPP WAYS has been in operation as a charter school since the 2002-2003 school year.  The district will have the right to utilize portions of the building during the contract term.  The facility will retain the Herndon name and will be called KIPP WAYS Academy at Herndon.

The recommendation is that the Superintendent be authorized to enter into and execute a lease agreement with KIPP MAC for the former Alonzo F. Herndon Elementary School.

2.03 – Atlanta Preparatory Academy denial has been moved off of the consent agenda.

Muhammad:  I would like to move that we defer action on APA for a year.

McDaniel:  I don’t think we can do that.  The action is to deny the renewal.  What we would be doing is taking action to have a one year…

Muhammad:  I would like to….

Davis:  If I get the sense you would like to grant them a one year renewal….

Muhammad:  I would like to an offer of renewal for one year to Atlanta Preparatory Academy (motion made)

Butler Burks:  Even with this recommendation of one year, are we asking for something in particular for something to be done during that one year?  This still has to go to the state board…..I’m trying to figure out what it is you think we are doing to give them one year vs. five years.

Muhammad:  I am willing to give them 5 years.

Mueller steps in -

Muhammad:  So tell me about the academic piece.

Mueller:  Right now we have 3.5 years of data for them.  They opened a year late.  they are asking for another year so we can have another year of data.  As to how we proceed, that is a good question. They did not write a one year application.  We would have to confer with the state board with 1 year vs 5 years.

Davis:  We have no ability to say what has happened in a year, we can only look at what has happened.  If you were to extend for year we would have to write the contract with some type of performance parameters.  We could extend the current performance parameters but they have not been able to meet that.  We could come up with new parameters, but we would have to put something in the contract to address that.

Kinnane:  It is our responsibility to hold charters responsible when we can, which is the renewal process.  The only thing about the 1 year and the 3.5 years, is if they were supposed to make a certain amount of progress within 3.5 years, even if they have 5 years, if they haven’t made that progress….

Mueller:  We have been looking at growth as well, using CRCT data.  They are either in the middle or far below in every category.  Their goal is 2 pts growth per year which  is not aggressive.  Drew and KIPP have 3 points set as a goal.  No reason to believe that their growth will change in a year, however it is possible.  We have to look at what we have in front of us.  We have to look at where this charter is at 3 years.  We expect things to be rocky, but if you look at comparative data from year 1 and year 3, grades 3-8 in all subjects, they had 15 opportunities to go up…they went down in 10.  It would be wonderful if they would increase, but that is the data we have.

Davis:  In the document in front of us they have requested a 5 year charter.  What they asked for at the microphone was a one month delay in action.  Which is not the motion on the floor.

Mueller:  We are also concerned that the school owes over $800,000 to the company with which it contracts for it’s charter, Mosaica.  When you hire a management company the question for the board is how do you oversee that company so that it delivers.  Mosaica has not delivered what it has promised it would do.  The school does have an independent board that is very capable, but there is some conflict with the company.

Muhammad:  I think I read somewhere that the company is working out an arrangement with the school.

Mueller:  For the school to be the debtor to the contractor that provides front office, back office and financial services is highly unusual.

McDaniel:  We have a motion on the floor for a one year renewal.

Vote taken.  Fails.

Amos makes a motion to pull this item and place on January agenda to give them their 30 days as requested.  Butler Burks amends and asks for information in January on what it means to do a one year renewal vs a five year renewal.

Mueller:  State Board allows for 5 year and 10 year renewals, but they have made exceptions as has the board.

Davis:  Would you also add that within that 30 days that we would receive additional information from APA as to whether a special exception could be made?

Butler Burks:  Yes

Vote taken on Butler Burks amendment to the motion (more information given to BOE that might open doors to reconsider the 5 year as well as finding out if a one year can be considered by the state).

Motion carries.

–brief recess–

6:51pm  Community Meeting

NAPPS Representative:  We have become aware recently of anonymous allegations regarding grade changing and racism at North Atlanta High School.  NAPPS is requesting a full investigation of these behaviors with a full report to the organization.  If no wrong doing is found, we ask that the school and those implicated at North Atlanta High School be exonerated.

Community Stakeholder: You say school choice, but is it really school choice or just muscle?  You choose to close schools in neighborhoods you have singled out, that you think you can gentrify.  Where is the commitment to all children, all communities?  The truth of the matter is that we are seeing millions of dollars being spent in rich communities, but when it comes to poor communities we are quick to come up with new schools.

Abby Martin:  I was at a planning meeting yesterday at Grady and a parent announced that not all students who meet AP requirements will be able to take the courses due to capacity issues.  I would hope you would find a way to find space.  I know all the high schools do not have the same opportunities that we do at Grady, and I wish that they did…I think it’s a rich way of learning.  I would like for you all to take a look at all of your high schools and look at what AP courses are offered at the high schools that you represent.

SEACS President:  We, SEACS, support the 2 year renewal of Erroll Davis as superintendent of APS.  His efforts bring parity to a system full of inequity.  Change of leadership at this time would cause further disruption.

Shawna Hayes Tavares:  We have to make sure we have power and authority but it is not to the point where it is leaning towards our own personal agenda.  Everybody has something to say.  We have so many issues.  We need to make sure that we have a forgiving heart and that we are looking for the benefit of children.  We are not here to like one another or join each others book club.  We do know we have institutional racism in Atlanta Public Schools that existed long before any of us were here. {Tavares asks for a 2 year extension of Davis’ contract}

Molly Woo:  {gives her support to the board}

District 2 Representative:  I expressed concerns at a previous meeting with Mr. Amos and Mr. English.  For the record we now have 6 elementary schools and 5 charters, 2 high schools.  There are over 20,000 voters in district 2.  Many parents and voters have informed me that they are not happy with the renewal of KIPP.

Mary Jackson:  Having sat through board meetings for years, I would like to say Mr. Davis I applaud you for all of the decisions you have had to make in such a short amount of time.  Correcting problems that have taken years to evolve will not be fixed overnight.  Please extend his contract so that he can complete some of the work he has started.  I am looking at a lot of our schools that are closed and notice that many are only being repurposed for charters.

Gary Jackson, NAHS parent:  I come to you in opposition of the superintendent’s contract.  It is not a good idea to continue to use a leader on an interim basis.  This particular office holder has created more chaos in 5 weeks than in the 5 years that I attended Northside High School.  There is a lack of trust, a lack of confidence and certainly changes that were made based on no factual information.  To simply postpone a decision with interim after interim does not breed stability.

Yvette Bolwaire, former NAHS parent:  I come as I did last month in support of superintendent Davis.  He has proven time and time again that he is not only willing but capable of tackling, SACS, redistricting and most recently North Atlanta High.  It is his responsibility to do what is in the best interest of all students.  I am in total support of his decision to restructure NAHS and how it was carried out.  What has been characterized as bloody Friday by some was seen as a long awaited glimmer of hope by those who have waited for years.

–short blogging break–

Sharon Banks:  I’m here to give my support to Mr. Davis and the things he’s trying to implement.  I’m speaking in regards to NAHS.  It would do us a great service to have you on for the next few years.

–End of public comment–

Superintendent Davis acknowledges our retiring principals.

Dr. Shirlene Carter, Principal of Kennedy Middle and formerly Jackson High School – retiring after 35 years.

Mrs. Carolyn Hall, Principal of Kimberly Elementary – retiring after 35 years.

Dr. Alfonso L. Jessie, Jr., Principal of Cascade Elementary – retiring after 46 years.

“Each of you has made your mark on the lives of children and I want to thank you and all of our retiring educators, about 50, retiring this month.  All will be recognized at a district wide retirement event later this month.”

–End of Community Meeting–

7:20 – Short break for executive session.

9:53pm – Executive session continues

10:37 Reconvened

Meister:  I would like to see us follow the SACS guideline of a 7 to 2 vote on the issue of the superintendent’s contract extension.

English would like to hear more.

Meister:  I think it is a good practice and should be followed.

McDaniel:  Now that we are not on accreditation, I think that we’ve already achieved our SACS requirement around this, right Ms. Pitts?

Pitts: Yes

McDaniel:  The question is do we want to make this more important….

Kinnane:  I agree that technically we may have met it, but when SACS made that recommendation to us they did it….we are still the same board.  It was done…moving forward and choosing a superintendent….doing this twice is not the usual situation.  We ended up hiring an interim and we are having another vote….

McDaniel:  Basically, there are different board members on the board now and our record is much different. I do not believe we are the same board.  We should not be deciding issue by issue which is more important than the other.  This has nothing to do with our SACS work it is around a contract extension. {McDaniel asks to continue to use the 5/4 vote}

Kinnane:  I think they were saying (SACS) “that is what you want to get to because of the message that sends to the public and to the superintendent.”  It is a good practice.

YJohnson:  “I move we call the question.”

Motion carries

McDaniel:  Question on the table is should we have a 7/2 vote  for the superintendent’s contract extension.

Yes:  Muhammad, Kinnane, Meister, YJohnson, English

No:  EJohnson, Amos, Butler Burks, McDaniel

Motion carries

BOE now discussing search firm, committee members on search firm, timeline, etc.

English:  What does the committee do once appointed?

Butler-Burks: I think that’s a conversation we all need to have.

English:  My concerns around search committees…I think ultimately the hiring of a superintendent is the sole responsibility of the 9 elected members.  I think we can build public input into that.  I have concern about giving that authority over to a non-elected body.

McDaniel:  What authority?

English:  I think that process should be managed by the 9 elected members of the ABOE.  Ultimately when it comes to the hiring of the search firm, developing of the timeline, I think are very important decision that should rest with elected members.

Butler-Burks:  I’m definitely not recommending that we as a board not make that selection.  The most they can do is make recommendations.  The final vote still rests with the board.

McDaniel suggests that search committee plan is voted on at January meeting.

8-1 vote (no by English) on using a search firm for superintendent search.

Discussion now on whether certain votes require a super majority or only 5/4 vote.

McDaniel:  Let’s move on to the superintendent’s contract discussion

YJohnson:  I recommend it be pulled.

Amos:  I amend that to say that a special called meeting be held in December to discuss this item.

YJohnson:  Do my colleagues anticipate anything will change between now &  the rest of December?

Muhammad:  I’m prepared to make a motion this evening.

McDaniel:  We have a motion on the table.

Kinnane:  The reason behind having it pulled….would be….we need more time to work towards a productive agreement?  I don’t disagree with that, my only concern is that we said we would deal with it tonight.  I don’t know how or what the answer is, but demonstrate that we are handling this responsibly. We’ve had a lot of discussion and we are far off in our discussion…I’m not sure what it would be…I’m just concerned for what we are saying to the public by delaying it to a further date.  I want to make it clear that we are not just not dealing with it tonight.

McDaniel:  Mr. Amos has put in a December timeframe.  I think it would be responsible at this late hour to put it to a special called meeting.

YJohnson:  How do you anticipate anything changing?  What do you….are you willing to commit to some work outside of that so that when we come back we can vote?  We seem to have had a fair amount of discussion and are clear on everyone’s position.

Muhammad:  I disagree, we haven’t heard anyone’s anything on anything.

Amos:  I think we can all agree we are not quite there.  Yes, I do commit to it, and well before Christmas to get it done.

YJohnson:  Do you commit to make some calls?

Amos:  Yes , whatever it takes.

Kinnane:  We need to have this discussion in public.  And we can and we’re supposed to.  To your point about what’s going to change….

Muhammad: I think we need to bring some closure to this.  We keep dancing around this.

McDaniel:  I think the responsible thing is for us to do this at a reasonable hour.

Meister:  Since we said we were doing this tonight, can we say we will talk about this for 30 minutes?

McDaniel:  We have to make this decision about this amendment now.

English:  Is it possible to schedule the special called meeting now?

YJohnson:  We haven’t voted to have one.

McDaniel:  Yes that is possible.

McDaniel:  All in favor of pulling this item for a special called meeting in December…..

Vote taken, passes 5/4.

Special called meeting will take place on Monday, December 10th at 3:00pm.

11:16pm  Committee of the Whole Meeting – adjourned

Please watch the full LEGISLATIVE Board of Education meeting on Comcast channel 22 beginning tomorrow.

December 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm 6 comments

Fulton County D.A. Encourages Therrell Students to T.H.I.N.K

On Tuesday, November 27, 2012 Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard spoke with students at Therrell High School as a part of the T.H.I.N.K (To Have Information and Knowledge) Initiative program, sponsored by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

photo 1

Fulton County D.A., Paul Howard, speaks about the justice system and encourages students at Therrell to T.H.I.N.K.

“As District Attorney, Mr. Howard feels very passionate about informing and equipping our youth with the knowledge of the law,” explains Sharifah Lee, a teacher at Therrell High School. “I also share his sentiment and passion as it relates to our students and community. All of us need to work together to ensure that our students understand, and can apply the law, to enhance their life.”

The T.H.I.N.K. Initiative is an in-school program designed to educate youth on common activities that lead to criminal consequences. Through presentations given by local judges, district attorneys, and solicitor generals, teens are educated on the pros and cons of decisions they may be faced with in life through the use of common scenarios. The goal of the initiative is to equip students with the appropriate information so they can make sound life decisions between doing right and wrong.

“We ultimately want to convey to our students that the justice system is on their side and not against them,” said Sharifah Lee. “The ultimate goal is simply to encourage them to think.”

December 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Science Week at Burgess-Peterson Academy

Burgess-Peterson Academy hosted a science week for the first time during the last week of November.  Students were engaged in various experiments, active explorations, science projects and presentations on each day of the week. Zoo Atlanta, Big Thinkers, and Young Audiences were key partnerships for the success of this program.

magician 8

Science week started on Monday with a presentation by a magician/scientist to the entire student body. He fascinated the students by presenting a number of science concepts with a magical twist. On Tuesday, they held their annual one academic fair, where students presented their science projects to a panel of judges. There were several first-place winners and exciting projects that were related to solar energy and island creation.Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 1.41.23 PM

On Wednesday, families joined the students for a special science night with presentations by Zoo Atlanta and Big Thinkers. Students and parents enjoyed a night filled with exciting experiments, animals, dinner, and laughter. Zoo Atlanta brought a tortoise, rats, and a python, and explained where the animals live and what they eat. All the students were allowed to pet the snake after the presentation.Image 1

Big Thinkers conducted experiments related to matter, and aroused the students’ interest with interactive presentation using dry ice. “The Big Thinkers were really talented because they can do all kinds of experiments, and it really helps me learn a lot,” says Robert Adams, a 5th grader at Burgess-Peterson. The PTA also contributed by creating stations for the students to explore and interact with various science experiments.

Big Thinkers returned on Thursday with their science exploration on air pressure.  “My favorite experiment was the fog rings, because it blew out far to all the students and it was so cool,” says Matthew Clay, a 4th grader.  On Friday, Young Audiences wrapped up science week with several science concepts catering to the younger students from Pre-K to 2nd grade.

 “Science week at burgess has been an important opportunity for students to be exposed to a variety of science concepts that can be applicable in their everyday lives,” says science teacher, Lorraine McFadden.

Image 2

Image 3

December 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm 1 comment

NPU-Y, Atlanta Council of PTA’s and other groups host district leaders in December

Leaders in the Community

APS is increasing its community outreach efforts through participation at local NPU and other community meetings.

The City of Atlanta is divided into twenty-five Neighborhood Planning Units or NPUs, which are citizen advisory councils that make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on zoning, land use, and other community issues, such as education.  The district’s leadership will be visiting various NPUs throughout the city during the school year to give updates on what is happening in the school system.

In addition, district leaders will continue to attend community meetings hosted throughout the city.  Join district leaders during one of four meetings scheduled for the month of December.

Date Community Group APS Leader Location Time
Dec. 10 SNAPPS Dr. Alexis Kirijan Dean Rusk Building 9 a.m.
Dec. 12 CINS Dr. Linda Anderson Mr. Michael Gray Springdale Park ES 12 p.m.
Dec. 13 Atlanta Council of PTAs Mr. Erroll Davis Center for Learning & Leadership 6 p.m.
Dec. 17 NPU-Y Dr. Danielle Battle John Birdine Facility 7 p.m.
 

 

Contact the Office of External Affairs at 404-802-2826 for more information.

December 3, 2012 at 5:29 am Leave a comment

Centennial’s PTA Hosts a Technology & Engineering Night

Centennial Place Elementary School’s PTA hosted a Technology & Engineering night with students, parents, and representatives from Stevens & Wilkinson, Atlanta Institute of Architects, Atlanta Streetcar, and Atlanta Beltline. The focus of this event is to celebrate students’ work, and provide an opportunity for students and families to be aware of projects in their local community.

The program began as participants of the Architecture club presented models of their buildings. Representatives from Stevens & Wilkinson, an award-winning architectural firm, committed the past several months in assisting students with their projects. They shared their love and joy of architecture as they created models of the students’ dream houses.

“It’s been a pleasure and really really fun,” says William Clark, Principal at Stevens & Wilkinson. “The energy level has been incredible during the last few months together as we discovered architecture.”

The “No Place for Hate” ambassadors presented an impressive 10-minute anti-bullying video that was created with the students.  The Atlanta Beltline and Atlanta Streetcar representatives explained the benefits and significance of their organization and how it impacts the community. These informational presentations allowed the students and families to be more aware and supportive as community members.

Centennial’s PTA offers family nights with different themes to provide an opportunity for students to share their work with their families. It’s also a great opportunity for parents to be informed of what their child is learning and how they are involved with the community. A food truck also catered the event to promote the engineering and technology theme.

“Our wonderful PTA has embraced our work around common core, science and technology by allowing our students to be authentically engaged in architecture and engineering,” says Alison Shelton, Principal at Centennial Place Elementary. “This is a memorable experience for the students and opens a horizon of career opportunities as well.”

December 3, 2012 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

Join APS for the December Board of Education Meeting – Monday, December 3, 2012

BOARD MEETING NOTICE

Monday, December 3, 2012

2:30 PM ~ COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

Stakeholders may call the board office at 404.802.2200, at least one hour prior to the start of the Committee of the Whole to sign up to speak on any item on the agenda.

(Click here to view Full Agenda)

Work Session Presentations:

  • David Walbert, Esq.

◦                      “Atlanta Board of Education Redistricting”

  • Chuck Burbridge, Chief Financial Officer

◦                      Financial Forecast

_________________________________ 

6:00 PM ~ COMMUNITY MEETING

  7:00PM ~ LEGISLATIVE MEETING  

We value and welcome your participation and invite you to attend our

next community meeting following the Committee of the Whole meet at 6:00 PM.

Individuals may address the Board for 2 minutes each during the Community meeting

by signing-in to speak from 5:00PM to 5:50PM.

_________________________________

In an effort to ensure quality opportunities for the public to provide comments and input  the public comment process has been revised*.

As always, the Board appreciates input from students, parents and other APS stakeholders.

 

December 3, 2012 at 4:32 am Leave a comment


APS on Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to subscribe to Talk Up APS and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12,691 other followers

APS PhotoStream

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,691 other followers