Statement from Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr., Atlanta Public Schools (1/30/14)

January 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm 3 comments

“We have come through a difficult time, and we have all had to face some monumental challenges.  I do not want to underestimate or underappreciate both the shock and trauma of students, parents and employees who had to endure the storm while riding on buses, driving or sheltering in place. As a district, we did not deliver students in the timeframe that we wanted, but we applaud our bus drivers for delivering our children home safely at a time when people died, people were injured and thousands of accidents took place. I certainly want to apologize to the students, and their families, who were stranded overnight on buses. I also want to apologize for the challenges and difficulties that our students, families and employees have faced over the past few days. Ultimately, we are accountable for the decisions that we as leaders make. If we had to repeat this scenario, we would do things differently. During the last 48-hours, our operations, curriculum and communications teams have remained at the central office and worked in tandem throughout this crisis. As we review our crisis management protocols and procedures, we will involve the feedback of students, parents and our employees to improve our emergency preparedness.

I have profound gratitude for our school-based employees who stayed overnight to provide care and a safe haven for our students during the storm. I also have the utmost respect and appreciation for our bus drivers who braved the adverse road conditions, and the entire transportation department, for working through the night to reunite our students with their families. My sense is that they as well as employees who had difficulty getting home after dismissal will need a bit more time to recover. We also need to replenish and to restore our facilities prior to resuming normal operations. For these reasons, we have decided to close our schools and administrative offices on Friday, January 31, 2014.”

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Emergency Update: APS will ‘shelter in place’ for the remainder of evening 1/28/14 FEBRUARY 3, 2014 BOARD MEETING NOTICE

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. H.A. Hurley  |  January 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Glad to hear that dismissing kids during the day is the worst idea. I hope that is what you have learned. Parents rushing to pick up their children all over the Metro area TRIGGERED the gridlock. Parents have only one mission, at any cost, to pick up their children.
    Years ago ATL had a similar situation where schools dismissed at mid-day which resulted in deadly consequences for children.
    Not coordinating and communicating with all administrators was foolish and reckless.
    You left off one department which ‘kept the lights on’ for APS and parents: your APS Twitter person(s). Tirelessly, efficiently and professionally represented APS, Dr. Davis, better than you did.
    Major shoutout and thank you!

    Reply
  • 2. Shawnna  |  January 30, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Although, we are grateful for the safety of students and staff, we cannot allow apologies to make up for proper emergency preparedness and the delayed response from APS and Board Leadership. As a parent, I am thankful for the forethought and the ability to start the process of picking my children up prior to the hardest part of the storm hitting, however others were not as fortunate. Let us be mindful that full disclosure and transparency are necessary if we are to be a strong system. When and how will APS include parents in the decision making for the next emergency? We are thankful for those brave bus drivers and APS staff and we are hopeful that we have learned lessons. However, when we are not open and accountable, it delays progress. i.e. CRCT Cheating Scandal, it was prolonged due to lack of responsibility. Let us be better, learn more and continue to grow! Our children deserve the best we can offer.

    Reply
  • 3. Ayanna  |  January 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Over the two days, EVERYONE waited for a word from the Superintendent and nothing came. There was a telephone interview given by the Vice Super, but that certainly did not suffice. I think this letter was the most cowardly approach to one of the most serious challenges APS has faced since…well, we all know what those were. But Mr. Davis proved no better than the immediate past Super with his ducking and dodging the media. I am just so very appreciative that there were so many in the trenches who really cared about the children and stepped in to show it. As far as the leadership is concerned, well they can just–oh never mind.

    Reply

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