Atlanta schools issue national call for help

The Atlanta school district is putting out a national call for help, seeking your best idea on how to transform local schools from one of the lowest performing districts in the state.

“It’s a call for ideas to help us finish big components of this transformation,” Superintendent Meria Carstarphen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week.

>> Your voice: How would you fix Atlanta Public Schools?

Carstarphen and the Atlanta school board have already shown they’re willing to look outside the district for solutions.

Earlier this year, they already hired two private, non-profit charter school organizations to turn around five of the district’s lowest performing schools. Purpose Built Schools, which is affiliated with Drew Charter School, is already running Thomasville Heights Elementary School this year.

Now Atlanta is looking for ideas from foundations, education companies and organizations and other groups, as well as current Atlanta teachers and staff, about how to fix any or all of the major challenges facing the district.

Those could be ideas for how to offer more or better early childhood education, or ways to education students who aren’t succeeding in traditional schools. Other areas of focus include summer programs and ways to mitigate the affects of poverty or to address the district’s multi-million dollar pension liability.

“These are really big challenging issues where we need better ideas on how we can address them,” Carstarphen said.

But potential applicants should bring more than ideas to the table. They should be prepared to pay for their programs or to find someone else to do so, beyond just reallocating the district’s existing budget, according to the district’s formal request for ideas.

>> Your voice: How would you fix Atlanta Public Schools?

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.