Atlanta’s school system leader asks for more mentors, business support

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring on Thursday urged business and civic leaders to invest their time and money to support its students and educators in her State of the District address.

She asked for more mentors in schools and corporate partnerships to help prepare students for college or careers. Herring also discussed an initial $15 million fundraising effort in her hourlong address. District officials said the money would be used directly to support schools and programs.

“Our work is mission critical to their success,” Herring said of the district’s 50,325 students. “They make it personal for me. It should be critical for you.”

The superintendent said she wants to build a “culture for innovation” in the district, noting the rise of tech firms in the city. She wants those companies, and others, to partner with the district to provide apprenticeships and internships as APS works to offer more experiential learning in its schools. Herring cited a partnership with Google, where some students are taking classes where they can get certificates in areas such as data analytics and project management.

On the mentorship front, Herring noted a three-year pilot program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta to work with some middle schools to provide individual and small group mentoring.

Herring delivered the address at Illuminarium, an immersive entertainment venue in Midtown Atlanta. The event was paid for through parking lot fees, fundraising, snack machines, and other funds, district officials said.