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  • Grady Cluster

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


     

    Principal Search:

    What is the status of the principal search at Grady High? At Inman Middle?

    We are deep into the process with Grady High. A Community Interview Panel will meet on Thursday, Feb. 9. The Superintendent Interviews will be held Wednesday, Feb. 15. A recommendation is expected to be offered for a March 6 Board approval.

    The Inman Middle principal search is on hold until the board approves a permanent Grady High School principal. Dr. Betsy Bockman, currently serving as interim principal at Grady High School, would return to Inman should she not be named the permanent principal for Grady.

    The APS Human Resources Department screened 48 candidates for the Grady High School principal posting. Six will be interviewed by the Grady GO Team.

    A principal search in Atlanta Public Schools is basically a four-tiered process:

    Tier 1 - Position posted – Applications reviewed and candidates meeting the qualifications are sent a link to perform a digital interview…within a few days after the position is posted, the Associate Superintendent and HR Strategic Director meet with stakeholders at the school (staff, parents/community and if it is a high school – students are included)…from these meetings, a School Leadership Profile is developed, a document that is used in the screening process and also emailed to GO Team members to help them kick-start some thinking about interview questions they may wish to include.

    Tier 2 – a panel comprised of the Associate Superintendent of Schools, the Strategic HR Director, and cluster team principals/curriculum administrators meet to review candidate resume’s and digital interviews to determine which six candidates move forward to the next step in the process.

    Tier 3 - Community panel interview – The panel includes the school’s GO Team, Associate Superintendent, and Strategic HR Directors, who meet to develop interview questions, interview the six candidates, and provide input as to each candidate’s strengths and areas to probe. They will determine the 3 finalists who will go to the next step.

    Tier 4 – Final interviews. The Top Three finalists will interview with the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Chief Schools Academic Officer, and the Associate Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent will make the final decision and make a recommendation to the Board for approval.

     

     

    Construction Projects:

    Grady High School

    What is the status of the Grady High School renovation project?

    • The $33 million project includes $22 million to go toward an addition of 18 classrooms and three labs and a new administrative suite and an estimated $11 million for Facility Conditions Assessment recommendations.
    • The new capacity: 1,725 FTE @ 25 students per teacher
    • Timeline:
      • Establishment of Design Committee: April 2018
      • Selection of Architect: April 2018
      • Design Start: May 2018
      • Design Completed: Dec. 2019
      • Construction Start: Jan. 2020
      • Construction Completed: July 2021

     

    With Grady’s renovation/addition not slated for completion until 2023 or beyond, will APS consider providing more trailers for our teachers and students, as our school continues to grow beyond its original projected enrollment numbers?

    Renovations for Grady are slated for completion by July 2021. And as part of the renovations, current modular classrooms will be relocated to land near the front of the school building. There is limited space available for any additional trailers, but the district will continue to consider other options.

    The district is also aware of floating teachers and continues to work with the principal to find ways to provide them support.

     

    What can be done to upgrade sound and lighting systems at Grady before renovations?

    Responding to community requests, the district is working with a consultant on a plan to consider a way to accelerate improvements to sound and lighting systems in Grady’s theater. If it’s possible, the goal would be to implement such plans over summer 2017.

     

    Middle School at Dwight T. Howard Building

    What is the status of the new middle school at Howard Building?

    • Estimated $52 million project includes renovation and 25 classroom addition for a capacity of 1,450 FTE at a 25 students-per-teacher ratio.
    • Initiated pre-design activities in the Howard building to prepare for the design phase.
    • Initiated a site survey and environmental assessment of the site, known as a Phase I environmental study. That study revealed the historical presence of multiple dry cleaners in and around the area. This caused us to initiate a Phase II environmental study. The Phase II report should be complete by the end of February.
    • Started selective abatement of hazardous materials from the interior of the building. This included the removal of lead paint, asbestos, and all materials that were stored in the building, including surplus furniture and equipment. Abatement activities that would have compromised the integrity of the structure, including roofing and window sealant, were not completed. This abatement began on or about December 21, 2016. Most of the work is complete. There are some materials still in the gymnasium building to be removed. There is some follow-up work in the main historical building that will mitigate any further lead paint degradation until construction begins.
    • Began process for the selection of an architectural firm to design the project.

    1) The Request for Qualifications was released to the architect vendor pool on September 20, 2016.

    2) The submittals were received on October 20, 2016, and evaluated for determination of inclusion in the “short-list” for interviews.

    3) Seven (7) firms, of 10 submitting proposals, were invited to prepare a presentation for final evaluation of architect selection.

    Selected firms included: BRPH Architects; Collins Cooper Carusi Architects; Cooper Carry Architects; Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc; Perkins+Will Architects; Smallwood Reynolds Stewart Stewart & Associates; Stevens & Wilkson/Lord Aeck Sargent.

    Firms not interviewing included: CDH Partners; DeLoach Architects: Stanley, Love-Stanley, PC.

    4) Presentations were held on December 15 & 16, 2016. The Inman Middle School Principal and the Associate Superintendent for the Inman Middle School participated in the interview process.

    5) On January 3, 2017, Stevens & Wilkinson/Lord Aeck Sargent were notified that they were the highest rated firm from the presentations. We are currently working on the execution of the design contract.

     

    When will a task force be formed for community/parent input on the design of the new building?

    We are currently planning on utilizing the standard design committee process as has been used on all SPLOST IV Projects. The only membership exception is the inclusion of Mr. Godfrey Finch, a member of the Howard Athletic Alumni Association. I have spoken with Mr. Finch and he was very pleased to be asked to participate.

     

    What steps is APS taking to expedite the construction of the new middle school?

    While we are initiating the previously mentioned pre-design activities, we are not planning to commit to expediting the construction process. At best we might save six months but that would result in a mid-year move-in for the school. This is not preferable for a school of this size.

    • Timeframe: Under current plans, construction is scheduled to start in August of 2018 and be completed in July of 2020. These dates have not changed from multiple public presentation on SPLOST 2017.
    • Pre-Design Activities (Partial Abatement: Lead/Asbestos, furniture removal, Phase 1&2 Environmental Studies)
    • Establishment of Design Committee: Feb. 2017
    • Design Start: mid-March 2017
    • Architects: Stevens & Williams/Lord Aeck Sargent
    • Design Completed: June 2018
    • Construction Start: Aug. 2018
    • Construction Completed: July 2020

     

    Morningside Elementary School

    What is the status of work at Morningside Elementary?

    • Renovations at Morningside are expected to cost $20 million.
    • Timeline:
      • Selection of Architect: May 2019
      • Establishment of Design Committee: Aug. 2019
      • Design Start: Sept. 2019
      • Design Completed: Jan. 2021
      • Relocation: Aug. 2020 – July 2022
      • Construction Start: Feb. 2021
      • Construction Completed: July 2022
    • Annex: District is exploring a possible interim solution of creating an annex site for some Morningside students (such as kindergartners) until students are relocated to Inman. Such a solution had been used from 2007 to 2009.

     

    Inman Middle School

    What is the status and future of Inman Middle?

    • Inman facility can provide cluster with additional elementary school capacity
      • 875 FTE @ 25/1
      • 1,425 FTE @ 25/1 (W/ Portables)
    • Relocation of Morningside Elementary from Aug. 2020 to July 2022
    • Future cluster elementary capacity

     

    How much money has been spent on trailers at Inman to-date?

    Inman Trailer Expenditure

     

    What is the projected cost for trailers at Inman for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 school year?

    About $7,000 per year for rental fees. We own three of them. There are 14 buildings – 22 classroom, 3 bathroom buildings.

     

    Walden Athletic Complex

    What steps are currently being taken related to the Walden Athletic Complex (RFP for architecture, engineering and site analysis, design drawings, etc.)?

    • We initiated pre-design activities on the Walden site and building to prepare for the design phase.
    • We initiated a site survey and environmental assessment of the site, known as a Phase I environmental study. That study revealed the historical presence of dry cleaners, printers, and garages in and around the area. This caused us to initiate a Phase II environmental study. The Phase II report should be complete by the end of February.
    • We initiated an abatement of hazardous materials from the interior of the building. This included the removal of lead paint, asbestos, and all materials that were stored in the building, including surplus furniture and equipment. This abatement began on or about December 21, 2016. Most of the work is complete. There is some final air testing in progress.
    • We initiated the process for the selection of a civil engineering firm to design the project.

    1) The Request for Qualifications was released to the civil engineering vendor pool on October 18, 2016.

    2) The submittals were received on November 17, 2016. They were evaluated by facilities staff.

    3) Six firms submitted proposals for the design of the Walden Athletic Complex. They included: Breedlove Land Planning, Inc.; Eberly & Asociates, Inc.; KHAFRA Engineering Consultants; Paragon Consulting Group; Southern A&E, LLC; Travis Pruitt & Associates.

    4) On January 6, 2017, Eberly & Associates were notified that they were the highest rated firm from the proposals. We are currently working on the execution of the design contract.

    • Timeline:
      • Pre-Design Activities (Abatement/Demo Docs, Phase 1&2 Environmental Studies)
      • Design Start: Jan. 2017
      • Civil Engineer: Eberly & Associates
      • Design Completed: June 2017
      • Construction Start: Oct. 2017
      • Construction Completed: June 2018

     

    If the fields will be closed to the Grady sports teams that typically use them, where will they be relocated?

    The district’s Athletic Department will determine where Grady sports teams can practice, including fields at Crim High School. That location has been used by Grady teams in the past.

     

    Will task forces be formed for community/parent input on the design of new buildings?

    We are currently planning on utilizing the standard design committee process as has been used on all SPLOST IV Projects. The only membership exception is the inclusion of Mr. Godfrey Finch, a member of the Howard Athletic Alumni Association, on the new middle school.

    Project Committees for Construction Projects

    Each Project Committee ensures communication and participation of the school community throughout the design and construction process. A committee includes:

    • School Principal
    • Architect
    • Associate Superintendent (instruction)
    • PTA Representative (2 max)
    • Facilities representative
    • Go Team Representative (2 max)
    • School Board Representative
    • School Faculty Representative
    • Project Manager
    • Community Member (NPU rep., etc.)

     

    The Project Committee will meet during the course of the project as outlined below:

    1. Meeting #1 - Validate school needs and define architect’s scope of work.
    2. Meeting #2 - Review schematic design options proposed by architect.
    3. Meeting #3 - Review construction documents at 50% completion and discuss the phased construction or relocation and construction process.
    4. Meeting #4 - Construction briefing to be held prior to the start of construction to inform Project Committee of what to expect during construction phase.

     

    Annexations:

    The City of Atlanta has completed four recent annexations that have added more neighborhoods to the Grady Cluster. Students from Edmund Park were zoned to the Morningside attendance zone starting in December 2015; Homestead Avenue to Morningside in July 2016; Woodbridge Crossing to SPARK in January 2017; and University Drive to SPARK in July 2017. Based on information from Dekalb Country Schools, these annexations affected only about six students.

    While APS isn’t getting a high number of new students, it will get more from commercial and residential property taxes.

     

    Currently the city does not have any codified communications process for informing APS of proposed annexations, and there is no codified process where APS is at the table during discussions or voting. How can we change that? Or do you like the way it is?

    Certainly it would be helpful from a planning standpoint if APS was made aware of any annexations which could impact a significant number of children. We certainly can ask the city to include us in any planning efforts, but that is entirely within the city’s discretion.

     

    Dekalb County School System is suing the City of Atlanta over Spring Valley and University Dr. annexations. How does the lawsuit affect the timeline for students enrolling in the Grady Cluster. If Dekalb wins the lawsuit, how does that affect the students and tax money flowing into APS? When does the actual money flow change from Dekalb to City of Atlanta / APS? Why did APS take on Woodbridge Crossing students as early as Jan. 2017, and University Dr. on July 1st? What is APS’s obligation on timing?

    The district does not have the power to annex; that's a City issue, which is likely why APS is not named in the lawsuit. Additionally, the city, as written into the ordinance, determines the timing of annexations and when students from annexed areas are required to attend their new school district.

    The lawsuit does not affect students enrolling in the Grady Cluster; the money flow changed as of Jan. 1, 2017. Nothing will be altered unless the Dekalb school district succeeds in its lawsuit and all subsequent appeals.

    The bottom line is: We welcome all students to APS and then will follow our policy on guidance for cluster attendance areas.

     

    Other Issues:

    Hope-Hill Parking:

    As a landlocked school, Hope-Hill has limited options to add parking to its campus. We continue to search for parking opportunities, including with the nearby King Center.

     

    GO Teams

    GO Team Budget Process - 67 GO Teams have developed strategic plans and approved budgets

    • GO Teams developed strategic plans (priorities, strategies and key performance measures) – June - December 2016
    • Principals received budget training – January 2017
    • Principals received school-based allocations, inclusive of flex, signature and cluster funds – January 2017
    • GO Team members received budget training - January 2017
    • GO Teams held budget feedback sessions – week of Jan. 16 - 20, 2017
    • Associate Superintendents reviewed budgets – week of Jan. 23 - 27, 2017
    • GO Teams held budget approval meeting – week of Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2017

     

    Status of GO Teams in Grady Cluster:

    Glows:

    • Schools given additional flexibility within their budget to align staff and non-personnel allocations to their strategic plan
    • Continue funding to support signature program and cluster plans
    • Decentralization and access to signature, flex and cluster funds within general fund budget
    • Greater level of transparency and understanding regarding budget and school allocation process
    • Needs of schools have been incorporated into the budget process at the local school site

     

    Grows:

    • Improve communication around the budget timeline
    • Clarity on Standards of Service for academics, cluster and signature programs
    • Increase understanding around the available flexibility and autonomy to schools
    • Continue building capacity with principals and GO Teams around key charter system processes (strategic planning, budget, flexibility and evaluations)

     


     

    Road Safety at SPARK:

    Why is there no school zone speed limit applied to Briarcliff Road?

    According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT): There is an existing 35 mph school zone for Springdale Park Elementary on SR 42 that has been in place since November 9 of 2009. While 35 mph may not seem like a reduction because it is the same as the current posted speed, it does enable law enforcement to issue citations at 36 mph rather than 46 mph.

     

    Why are there no flashing lights on Briarcliff Road?

    According to GDOT officials: Installation of school zone flashers is a local responsibility, and the department has confirmed with the City of Atlanta’s public works department have the flashers on hand and will handle installation following approval.

     

    Why are there no School Zone painted on roadways on Ponce de Leon or Briarcliff Road?

    According to GOT: Similar to school zone flashers, GDOT does not typically add pavement markings for school zones. GDOT officials said they are not opposed to the markings as long as the City will commit to maintaining them. They will coordinate with the City to determine if, when, and where markings will be added.

     

    There is no police presence to enforce the HAWK signal lights or regularly assigned personnel to serve as crossing guards for the cross walks to SPARK on Briarcliff Rd.

    Beginning January 4, 2017, APS Officer Bynum has been assigned to the crosswalk to ensure the safety of the SPARK students and families during arrival and dismissal.  Officer Bynum is also authorized to write tickets to any drivers who run the red light.

     

    No establishment of a barrier on the Ponce de Leon side of SPARK campus to address open access concerns.

    APS Facilities has visited the SPARK site and identified potential locations for fencing and gates.  Some of the locations relate to the playground/play area and could best be supported by the Druid Hills Homeowners Association. Presently, APS Facilities is collecting cost data and will follow-up with the SPARK Principal regarding next steps to address the barrier concerns.

     

     

    PUMA Partnership:

     

    • The Clyde, named and worn by Hall of Fame basketball star and David T. Howard High graduate Walt “Clyde” Frazier, was one of the first signature shoes for PUMA, the athletic shoe and apparel company. Shoe debuted in 1973.

     

    • PUMA is launching a rebrand of the shoe as part of its Legacy Collection, which will include similarly branded apparel.

     

    • Because of an exciting new partnership with PUMA, APS and the David T. Howard Alumni Association will benefit. We officially announced the partnership at the former Howard High School, where we also launched the APS Turnaround Strategy on the very court Clyde began his career.

     

    • As a result of the partnership, APS will receive $30,000 in direct support of the Atlanta Public Schools/Atlanta Partners for Education Whole Child Fund, which provides experiences for students to support their academic and social/emotional development and well-being. Some examples of what this fund provides include field trips, cultural experiences and enrichment activities, and critical emergency support such as uniforms and MARTA cards.

     

    • The partnership will be developed to benefit students across the district.

     

    • Additionally, as part of the terms of the partnership agreement, PUMA will pay 8 percent royalties on net wholesale sales of all co-branded PUMA products worldwide to PUMA wholesale accounts, and 4 percent royalty on net retail sales of all co-branded PUMA products sold via PUMA-owned retail stores and PUMA’s online store. Each royalty payment made by PUMA will be split equally, with 50 percent paid to APS/Atlanta Partners for Education and 50 percent paid to the David T. Howard Alumni Association.

     

    • The David T. Howard Alumni Association will receive a $50,000 fixed-compensation payment as well as the 50 percent royalty mentioned above.

     

     

     


     

    General Budget Questions:

    State law requires that spending on instruction is 65 percent of a district's total. What percentage is APS spending on instruction overall? What percentage is being spent in the classroom in the Grady cluster? How does this compare to other clusters, and to Gwinnett, Cobb and nationally?

    We are waived from the state 65% rule per our charter system status.

    APS spent 63.42% of its budget on direct instruction for FY2016. However, APS spent 11.36% on pupil services (wrap-around support) and staff development whereas the other districts spent an average of 8%.  This is in alignment with our strategy to get our students ready to learn through the turnaround investments, SEL, and other leadership and teacher development efforts.  These investments lay the foundation so that the investment in direct instruction goes further for our student population.  Spending for general and school administration was on par with other districts.  We invest more than average in maintenance and operations because of the number and age of school sites.  We are addressing this through our school merger and school consolidation initiatives.

     

     

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