Students return to Long Middle School

Media Advisory August 8, 2014

Bomb Threat at Crawford W. Long Middle School

As of 11 a.m., the Crawford Long Middle School was cleared by the Atlanta Police Department and students began re-boarding buses to return to campus. Students are expected to arrive at 11:30 a.m., and classes will resume as normal.

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August 8, 2014 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Bomb Threat at Crawford W. Long Middle School

Media Advisory August 8, 2014

Bomb Threat at Crawford W. Long Middle School

This morning we received a bomb threat at Long Middle School.

The school has been evacuated and students have been taken to South Atlanta educational complex.

Atlanta Public Schools security staff and Atlanta Police Department are managing the situation.

A bomb sweep of the entire school is underway. After it is completed and cleared, students will be transported back to the campus.

Atlanta Public Schools has notified the families of students of Crawford Long Middle School.

As we gather more information, we will keep you updated on the situation.

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August 8, 2014 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Superintendent Carstarphen gives APS community an update on back to school readiness

A message from superintendent Meria Carstarphen

Dear Students and Families of Atlanta Public Schools,

We’re only a few days away from the first day of the 2014-15 academic year! We want to make sure you know that Monday, August 4 is not only the first day of school; it’s the first day of instruction. We’re relying on you to join the Atlanta Public Schools Day One: Be There campaign by attending school on the first day and every school day afterward. As we count down to August 4, please be aware of two important matters:

  1. Our back-to-school districtwide open houses
  2. Our around-the-clock effort to get schools and classrooms ready for Day One

Upcoming districtwide open houses and other back-to-school events

You’re invited to attend an open house at your local school on Friday, August 1. At the open house, you will be able to meet your principal and some of your child’s teachers, as well as learn about your school’s unique features and programs for students. Open house times are as follows:

  • High schools: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Middle schools: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Elementary schools: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

In addition, on August 1 and August 2, school employees, members of the Atlanta Board of Education and community partners will host several back-to-school events throughout the city. For a complete list of events, please visit atlantapublicschools.us/dayone.

Status of our efforts to be Day One ready

To make sure our schools are Day One ready, we’ve identified close to 10,000 back-to-school tasks.

So far, we’ve completed nearly 70 percent—more than 7,700 tasks—compared to the 65 percent of tasks completed by this time last year. We’ve made progress, but we still have much more ground to cover. Professionals in our schools and offices have been working together every day, including weekends, to track and troubleshoot challenges as they arise. Listed below is the status of our work in the seven key areas that many parents and employees have brought to our attention:

Atlanta Public Schools

Day One Update – As of July 31, 2014

  1. Hiring New Teachers
  • We’ve hired 310 teachers who are new to the system.
  • As of today, out of our 3,200 teaching positions, 23 positions—under 1 percent—remain vacant. Principals want the best talent, so they continue to interview candidates for the open positions.
  • Our human resources department has updated its process for attracting qualified substitute teachers. Therefore, for positions that may remain unfilled, we will make sure a qualified substitute serves the classroom on a temporary basis.
  1. Hired New Principals
  • We’ve hired 22 school principals.
  • We’re pleased to report that we’ve filled all of our principal positions. In all, 81 principals serve in our schools.
  1. Inspected Buses, Practiced Bus Routes and Updating Bus Schedules
  • We believe in safety first and have completed more than 1,100 maintenance and repair orders, and passed more than 600 state-mandated safety inspections on our buses.
  • In an effort to reduce our environmental impact, we’ve added 13 new green diesel buses to our fleet, bringing our total number of green technology buses to 30 and the grand total number of buses in our fleet to more than 400.
  • We’re updating our bus route schedules. Earlier this week, all of our bus drivers practiced their updated routes and made any necessary adjustments. Students and parents will be able to view the schedules online or pick up a hard copy at the open house that will be held at every school on Friday, August 1.
  • We’re exploring enhancements to our parent notification system to allow families to be alerted when their child’s bus is late. This messaging feature will be activated later this school year.
  1. Creating Master Schedules for Students
  • This year, every registered elementary, middle and high school student will begin Day One with a schedule and homeroom assignment.
  • Students who register late may experience a slight delay in getting their final class assignments, yet all students will begin learning on the first day of school.
  1. Delivered School Building Supplies
  • We’ve supplied all schools with toiletries (bath tissue, paper towels and hand soap).
  1. Delivering Textbooks and Other Instructional Resources
  • Some classrooms will experience a delay in receiving textbooks, which are scheduled to arrive during the first quarter of the 2014-15 school year.
  • We want parents to know that across Atlanta Public Schools, our teachers are moving away from relying on textbooks, which become outdated quickly and may not align with the new Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Instead, teachers are moving toward hard copies of state-approved educational materials and curriculum units that are newer, higher quality, more detailed and easier for students to take back and forth to school. Our teachers will use textbooks as supplemental—but not the main—resources.
  • To ensure that students have the information they need to complete homework and learning activities outside the classroom, teachers will provide worksheets, class notes, sample problems, websites and other instructional resources for students.
  1. Equipping Our School Campuses
  • We are working diligently to ensure that all of our schools have air conditioning on Day One.  As of today, we are aware that some schools have air conditioning units that have malfunctioned. In a few cases, the units can be repaired quickly; however, in other cases, repair delays may occur because we need to order and await the delivery of specialized mechanical parts. So that our schools are at a comfortable temperature for students and staff, teams have already been alerted to service the units or deploy spot coolers and dehumidifiers as soon as possible.
  • We’ve equipped all schools with the desks, chairs and other furniture our students and teachers need for instruction.
  • Landscaping for all schools will continue to occur over the next two weeks.

In the next few days, I will share another update with you. You have my commitment to be open and honest about where we stand in getting our schools ready for teaching and learning. We are working to make sure our schools are safe, supportive environments that nurture the greatness that exists in every child.

Day One: Be There. See you August 4!

Sincerely,

Meria J. Carstarphen

APS-firstday_Post_side1

 

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August 1, 2014 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

APS schools to host open house events Friday, August 1; excellent opportunity for parents to learn ‘what’s new’ in the district

Canvas-003Atlanta Public Schools parents and students are invited to visit their school, meet teachers and principals and receive class schedules during the district’s open house events this Friday afternoon, August 1.

 

District-wide Open Houses – Friday, August 1, 2014

(All APS traditional schools)

High Schools                  1-3 p.m.

Middle Schools               3-5 p.m.

Elementary Schools     5-7 p.m.

APS projects an enrollment of 50,000 students this school year at its 107 learning sites.  22 schools will have new principals during the upcoming academic year.  All high school students will receive their schedules in hand during the open house events and middle school schedules will also be available.

WHAT’S NEW

Several schools are experiencing changes beyond new leadership.  Booker T. Washington High School will transition from three small schools to one comprehensive high school with one principal. The school is also celebrating its 90th anniversary educating high school students in the city of Atlanta.  D. M. Therrell High School will operate with one principal to supervise all three schools.

Coan Middle School closed at the end of the recent school year and has merged with M.L. King, Jr. Middle School. The merged King Middle School will be temporarily housed at the original Coan facility until modifications to the existing M.L. King, Jr. campus are completed in the summer of 2016. On August 4, 2014, students and staff of the merged M.L. King, Jr. Middle School will report to 1550 Hosea Williams Dr. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30317.

North Atlanta High students will experience a new bell start time at 8:45 a.m. – all other high schools start at 8:30 a.m.

Forrest Hill Academy students will continue to receive MARTA cards to ride to the East Point MARTA rail station.  APS will now provide roundtrip shuttle service from the station to the school.

Bus schedules were posted online Thursday morning and can be found at http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/transportation.  APS has added 13 new buses that operate on green diesel technology to its fleet. The 72-passenger, Bluebird buses are also air conditioned and will be added in all quadrants of the school zone.  Students receiving special transportation have been contacted by the Office of Student Services.  If you are new to the district and have not secured transportation for your special needs student, please call 404 802-1699.

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Continuing last year’s trend of embracing online learning, the Atlanta Virtual Academy (AVA) is increasing the number of courses available online from 12 to 44 courses this fall. For the first time, APS middle and high school students can take Advanced Placement (AP) classes, gifted honors and world languages courses through AVA.  Registration is currently taking place at http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/AVA.

Students in grades 3-12 will now have access to a secure Microsoft Outlook email account through the APS student portal –My Back Pack. Students will use their APS email to share digital notebooks and collaborate with teachers and other APS students.  The Division of Information Technology is excited to bring 21st century tools to students in Atlanta Public Schools.  Parents will be given the opportunity to opt-out of student email if needed – open house provides an excellent opportunity for parents to speak with classroom teachers about student email.

Did you know that lunch prices have increased for the upcoming school year?  Meal Prices for the new school year have increased by the following:  Elementary, middle and high school students – $.25  Adults – $1.00.  New this year, APS cafeteria health scores are now posted on the district’s main website in the quick links section.

For the 2014-15 school year, the state of Georgia will no longer use the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) to test students’ knowledge in reading, English/language arts, math, science, and social studies. The Georgia Milestones Assessment System, known as Georgia Milestones, will replace the CRCT, as well as the CRCT-M, the End of Course Test (EOCT) and the writing assessment administered to third, fifth, and eighth graders at APS.

The Gifted and Talented program will now assess students only during the month of October.  Parent, teacher, and student data referrals are due October 3, 2014.  Students determined eligible will participate during the 2014-2015 school year. APS will launch the Gifted High School Redesign Program. The newly designed gifted delivery models for high school students will include mentorship, internship, resource seminars, and directed studies.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Centennial Elementary School has become the first K-8 conversion charter school in the district. Centennial Academy will serve students in grades K-6 during the 2014-15 school year, and add a grade each year until grade 8. The academy’s revamped curriculum will include more project-based learning and extensive professional development, with an instructional focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Drew Charter High School students will move from their temporary location at Kennedy Middle School to their permanent, newly constructed facility at 301 East Lake Blvd., SE 30317.

KIPP WAYS will open a primary school, serving kindergarteners in 2014, and add a grade each year thereafter.

The Atlanta Classical Academy will open as a new APS charter school, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grades.

LEADERSHIP

The district will be led by new superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen.  Carstarphen brings with her nearly 20 years of education and experience in diverse, urban public school districts including Austin, Texas, Saint Paul, Minn. and the District of Columbia.  Dr. Carstarphen is excited to be in Atlanta. She is eager to join the Board of Education and the Atlanta community in working collaboratively to make Atlanta Public Schools the best in the nation.

Learn more about back-to-school activities and changes at http://www.atlantapublicschools.us/dayone.

Day One Graphic with Open House Only

 

 

 

 

August 1, 2014 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Atlanta Public Schools Employees To Receive Pay Increase

System has fully implemented first system-wide adjustments since 2009

Atlanta Public Schools employees will see their first pay increase in over five years.  The school system has fully implemented a district-wide pay increase plan that was announced by the Atlanta Board of Education in late June.  The plan represents a $12 million increase in the system’s overall salary budget.  All full-time employees who were hired by the district prior to July 2014 will receive an adjustment that will be paid in equal amounts throughout the rest of the 2014-2015 school year or in a one-time payment. This is dependent on the employee’s date of hire.

“I am really happy to be able to reiterate the Board’s appreciation for the support that district employees have continued to provide to the students and families of Atlanta Public Schools,” said Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen, superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools.  “We have some very committed employees, and this is a direct, positive impact on their lives.”

Wages for Atlanta Public Schools employees were frozen in 2009, as a result of major cuts to education across the state.  Based on tenure and work schedule, some employees will see increases in their July 31 pay.  Others will see the increase start in August.  The amount of an increase will also vary, with those who were hired before June 2009 receiving the largest increase – a 5 percent raise. The average pay increase for employees will be     4 percent.

“Having a great school district starts with having talented and dedicated employees, and we a committed to Atlanta Public Schools becoming one of the nation’s leading districts” said Dr. Carstarphen “I believe the children of Atlanta deserve this type of commitment.”

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 106 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us

July 31, 2014 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Award-winning virtual world planned for students this fall

By: Leslie Rivera, Communications Officer

larivera@atlanta.k12.ga.us

Students heading back to class for the 2014-15 school year are sure to notice their new virtual desktops.

The approval of a $15 million infrastructure upgrade, a digital resource known as MyBackPack, officially launches at the start of this school year but has already been recognized as an innovative use of technology. APS was among the honorees at the Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Awards (DCCAA) for K-12 at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2014 conference in Atlanta on June 30.

“This year’s winners are leveraging the power of digital content and curriculum in creative ways that enhance and personalize learning. They offer innovative examples for other schools to emulate.” said Alan Cox, Senior Vice President for the Center for Digital Education.

The portal houses digital resources where students and teachers can write, create presentations and access a secure internet search engine. All APS students can expect to receive a login and password for MyBackPack sometime at the beginning of the school year.

Students will experience MyBackPack firsthand but there will be other technological advancements to improve their digital learning. APS Chief Information Officer Tony Hunter highlighted several planned projects and explained that upgrades to all teacher laptops will be completed this summer and the district is also beefing up school-based technical support.

“The focus is on making sure every school has access to a technical support person,” Hunter said. “Technical support personnel will be assigned to certain schools so that they are familiar with a schools’ individual needs.”

The focused tech support is critical as APS adds 24,000 “in points” or nodes for its virtual desktop platform. That accessibility means an additional four to six computers in classrooms dedicated for student use. The virtual desktop platform allows students to login from home or on vacation. “This is a major step forward,” said Hunter. Virtual desktop offers students ‘same user’ experience so that students can log in to a familiar environment and have access to the same look and feel of their classroom desktop and applications.

Outside of the physical classrooms, middle and high school students will now have access to an increased number of virtual online courses. That number jumps from 12 courses to 44 this fall, including Gifted and Advanced Placement courses being offered for the first time through APS’ Atlanta Virtual Academy.

All of this is possible because of a major infrastructure upgrade recently approved by the board of education.

The $15 million investment includes network switches, bandwidth and cabling to support digital learning across the district. The process of the upgrade will begin at the start of the school year and work on the project will continue into 2015.

Schools re-open August 4, 2014 for the 2014-2015 school year.

July 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

New NAHS principal Curtis Douglass excited about providing students with meaningful academic and social opportunities

Principal Douglass wants NAHS to serve as a model for other urban schools throughout the United States.

Curtis Douglass is a New York native, raised by two loving parents who instilled in him the importance of education. After high school Douglass attended Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.  During his matriculation at Morehouse, he fell in love with the city of Atlanta and decided to remain and pursue his career in education. He began his career as a classroom teacher in Fulton and DeKalb public school systems.

While teaching, Douglass earned a master’s degree in Education from Georgia State University and an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. Douglass has worked in school administration for nine years, serving as the assistant principal at Shiloh High School and Gwinnett High School in Gwinnett County before joining Atlanta Public Schools as assistant principal at North Atlanta High School.

During his time as the assistant principal at North Atlanta High School (NAHS), the administration team had great successes. The number of advanced placement courses offered at NAHS increased, the administration successfully overcame challenges associated with moving into a new facility, the rate of student tardiness decreased and the academy model of the school was restructured to meet the needs of students based on specific grade levels.

As the new principal of North Atlanta High School, Douglass looks to make it a school that serves as a model for other urban schools throughout the United States. His immediate goals include raising standardized test scores for all students, particularly for the subgroups that have historically performed below expectations; to continue increasing the number of students receiving an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma; to highlight options and utilize resources for students who are not pursuing an IB Diploma, and to increase school spirit.

Douglass expressed his excitement as the new leader of North Atlanta High School stating, “As the new principal of North Atlanta, I look forward to building relationships with the student body and providing them with meaningful opportunities, both academically and socially.” He continued, “I also look forward to witnessing a renewed sense of school spirit that will be felt throughout the school by North Atlanta students, faculty and staff.”

North Atlanta High School will begin its second year in a new state- of-the-art facility.  The first day of instruction for the upcoming school year is Monday, August 4, 2014.  For more information about North Atlanta High School click here.

 

 

July 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

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