“We don’t make these decisions in a bubble. We have a lot of context with a lot of people in the school understanding what’s happening there,” said deputy superintendent David Jernigan. “They’re not where we need them to be for kids.”
He views the staffing shakeup as a way to “reimagine what the new Perkerson could look like.”
Test scores shouldn’t be used as “an excuse” to overhaul a school, said Verdaillia Turner, president of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, whose membership includes a handful of Perkerson employees.
“This is not about kids and teachers. This is about who is going to control the money for that school,” she said. “They’ve got the power. They can do what they want to do.”
Teachers have been frustrated other times APS has required employees to reapply for their jobs, Turner said.
Jernigan said the district took that step in several recent instances, including when Adamsville Primary School was closed and merged with Miles Intermediate Elementary School. Employees also had to reapply for jobs when the district launched Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy, which replaced Bethune Elementary School, he said.
If the board approves the Perkerson plan, Tony Ford, who became principal this fall, will interview candidates and select the staff.
Those who apply to Perkerson but aren’t offered a job get priority interview status for other jobs in the district. Current staff who don’t want to work at Perkerson will be able to apply for other vacant positions in the district.
The district has tried different strategies to improve its worst schools, including hiring charter school operators to manage some of them.
Over the past two years, Perkerson, which is run by APS and enrolled 455 students as of last fall, has received additional reading and math specialists, tutors, “wrap-around” services for students, and targeted professional learning for teachers.
“Despite the significant turnaround investments in the school, Perkerson has not been making academic progress,” wrote associate superintendent Yolonda Brown, in a letter to parents posted on the school’s website. “Reconstitution is a strategy that has been shown to create improvement in performance by implementing various systemic changes within a school.”
Perkerson Elementary School meetings
Two meetings are scheduled to discuss the school’s academic future.
Time: 6 p.m. Feb. 8 and Feb. 15
Location: 2040 Brewer Blvd.
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In other APS news:
Bottoms said they are making sure there are no issues before transferring over the remaining deeds.