Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen presents her district transformation plan at a 2016 Carver High School meeting. KENT D. JOHNSON/

Foundation gives Atlanta’s school district $2.1 million for its turnaround plan

One of the nation’s largest philanthropic foundations has given Atlanta’s school district $2.1 million for its turnaround plan.

The Walton Family Foundation and the school district made the announcement Thursday. The money will be used for three main areas, according to a news release. They are:

  • to evaluate how the school district works to improve low-performing schools.
  • to create APS Insights, a program that aims to give parents and students updates on the student’s grades, attendance and behavior.
  • to provide two start-up grants of $325,000 each to support turnaround efforts at Gideons Elementary School and Thomasville Heights Elementary School.

“These funds will allow us to provide real-time student achievement and behavior data to parents, evaluate the effectiveness of the district’s Turnaround Strategy, and ensure successful implementation of the district’s first turnaround partner schools,” Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said in a statement.

The foundation, described by some as pro-charter schools and pro-voucher, is run by the family of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. The foundation said it awarded grants totaling $375 million in 2015. 

Atlanta’s school board approved a contentious plan in March that allowed several charter school groups to manage five of the district’s schools and closing three schools. Atlanta Public Schools the first in Georgia to hire charter school groups to run local public schools, charter advocates say.

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