Meet the Superintendent
May 1, 2012
Dear APS students, parents, employees, and supporters,
There is an old Chinese proverb that states a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Regarding the district’s redistricting initiative, that first step was taken nearly two years ago with focus groups from across the district that provided input into the process from the start at the grassroots level.
From there, a demographic survey was posted on the district Web site and advertised throughout the district, inviting parents and community members to offer their opinions about redistricting. Later, independent demographer scenarios were posted and two sets of public meetings were convened in each district region, where parent and community input was received and incorporated into subsequent scenarios. More than 100 community meetings were held over the past year, where input was collected and incorporated into the evolving redistricting proposals.
It should be obvious to anyone who has even casually followed this process that the input received over the past two years was proactively used to continuously revise the redistricting proposals. It is certainly apparent that the initial redistricting proposals hardly mirror the final proposal that was approved by the Atlanta Board of Education in early April. Over the course of time, the number of proposed school closures was reduced by half; proposed preliminary clusters of schools were revised; and communities zoned into specific schools changed from what was originally proposed.
Our intention all along was to reduce the number of under-enrolled schools and consolidate students into a fewer number of schools to increase their capacities and make them eligible for additional resources to escalate student achievement. Severely under-enrolled schools are a drag on the system, wastes resources and negatively impacts student performance.
The final approved redistricting proposal effectively closes seven under-enrolled schools and creates ten clusters of schools, where students from the same neighborhoods stay together throughout their K12 educational careers. This makes for a more equitable distribution of available resources and provides the groundwork for achieving the goal of every school providing a similar quality education for every student, regardless of where they are located in the district.
Now comes the hard part. We have just a few short months to implement the approved redistricting plan prior to the start of the new school year in early August. This is no small feat, as we have to increase instructional and support staffing at schools that will be receiving additional students; allocate additional educational materials; and repurpose schools slated for closure under the redistricting plan. Our goal is to make this process as seamless as possible for students and parents. Our students are entitled to an uninterrupted continuity of their educations from year to year, regardless of changes and evolutions. Rest assured that this will happen, and we will launch the 2012-13 school year revitalized and in a much better position to take our student achievement to the next level.
Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr.