Group wants accountability, parent input on APS strategic plan

Stock photo of a classroom.
Stock photo of a classroom.

Credit: Wokandapix / Pixabay.com

Credit: Wokandapix / Pixabay.com

An education group will hold a parent summit to gather feedback about Atlanta Public Schools’ next five-year strategic plan.

Atlanta Thrive, which advocated earlier this year for a district-wide improvement plan known as the "Excellent Schools Project," will hold the summit from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center, 110 Hilliard St.

The group has previously called for the school board to adopt measurements that would hold schools more accountable for their academic performance.

Drafts of the district's "Excellent Schools" plan included a color-coded or starred system to rate schools based on a variety of measurements. The idea was to provide interventions to those that performed poorly and replicate or expand successful schools. Under a draft of the plan, struggling schools could be closed or merged, or the district could hire a charter-school group to run them.

But the school board in March ended up approving only an initial phase of the plan. Ideas for a scorecard or rating system were put on hold. The board is now developing its next five-year strategic plan and is rolling some elements of the "Excellent Schools" work into that plan.

At a school board meeting this week, members of Atlanta Thrive called on the board to complete a strategic plan “with clear measurements.”

The group organized the upcoming summit to give another chance to provide input on that plan, which will begin next year. The district has already held its own series of community meetings regarding the development of the strategic plan.

The Denver-based consultant who helped the district develop its "Excellent Schools" plan was paid for by the nonprofit organization RedefinED Atlanta. The organization agreed to pay $235,000 for the consulting services and other costs. RedefinED, according to its website, also provides support to Atlanta Thrive.