Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is committed to open, transparent communication with our students, staff, and the community. It’s important to us that our stakeholders have a full understanding and the full context of education issues impacting our District. You should know that there is often “more to the story” on APS topics and issues that you see covered in the news media or discussed in the community.
From time to time, we will use this page to provide more context, set the record straight, or distribute the facts about issues that have been misconstrued, leading to misinformation or concerns among our stakeholders. We appreciate your continued engagement with APS, and, together, we can ensure that the information distributed about our school district remains accurate.
Feb. 26, 2020. Issue: Misinformation Regarding the Alleged Renaming of Douglass High School and the Co-Location of KIPP in Douglass or Washington High Schools
While at recent community meetings and at our recent Board meeting we addressed the misinformation that was circulating about the alleged renaming of Douglass High School and the alleged co-location plans of KIPP in Douglass or Washington high schools. However, misinformation continues to be shared on these topics. Most recently, the Douglass Alumni Association circulated a letter about KIPP’s alleged lack of transparency in its request for a charter amendment and its intent to co-locate at Douglass. The information below clarifies APS’ position on these two issues and reiterates our commitment to ensuring stable leadership at Douglass.
1. Changing the name of Frederick Douglass High School
Atlanta Public Schools has no interest in changing the name of Frederick Douglass High School or Booker T. Washington High School, nor are we considering an operational or programmatic change at either school involving KIPP or any other charter school. This administration understands, respects, and cherishes the deep history and rich legacy of Douglass and Washington and the role both schools played in educating our distinguished alumni who attended those schools. APS remains committed to building strong, successful futures for both schools and their students.
2. KIPP’s Co-location Plans with Douglass High School or Washington High School
In December 2019, KIPP prepared a document for discussion at its December Board meeting regarding its proposed plan to amend its charter and request additional seats. That document included options that KIPP believed could be available to them, including the idea of co-locating within an existing APS school of facility. This KIPP document was posted on social media recently, leading to misinformation and concern in the community.
On Friday, January 31, 2020, APS received a formal request from KIPP to amend its charter contract to increase its number of high school seats. However, much of the content from the KIPP December Board meeting document, including the idea of co-locating within an existing APS high school, was not presented in KIPPs formal request to APS to increase its number of seats.
However, as is typical with any request to amend charter contracts, this request will go through our rigorous process of review, and, as part of that process, the applicant must show:
- Strong academic performance over the past three years;
- A demand for increased enrollment;
- Evidence of strong and broad community support; and
- Financial and operational plans to support increased enrollment
Feb. 12, 2020. Issue: Misinformation Regarding the Redistricting of the Grady Cluster
There is misinformation circulating in the community about an alleged redistricting plan for the Grady Cluster. Some of the misstatements being communicated allege that “documents have been sent to some principals as early as December, which show part of the Grady Cluster moving.” The misinformation also alleges that a facilities plan will “drop” in March that involves several specific redistricting components and the reopening of Coan Middle School and Crim high School. All of this information is false. The administration is not nearly at the point in our facilities master planning process where we would be discussing these kinds of specific ideas. We are not aware of any plan to redistrict the Grady Cluster and we have not communicated or provided any information or documents to school principals about such a plan.
APS is committed to continuing our transparent communication around facilities master planning and generating ideas from the community. The next such opportunity will be the Grady Cluster Community Conversation on February 25, where we will discuss ideas around the use of the Inman building following the Morningside renovation project.
As background, periodically APS performs a comprehensive Facilities Master Plan to guide decisions about schools, other buildings and sites owned by APS. The District is currently in an 18-month Facilities Master Plan process. The process is informed by the APS strategic plan as well as APS policies and goals related to the Facilities Master Plan and seeks to engage the community in various ways. The Facilities Master Plan process includes examining APS school facility capacity as well as a demographic study to help forecast trends and determine where the school-age populations are increasing or declining.
The completed Facilities Master Plan will make recommendations to address capacity and enrollment in APS facilities over the next five (2025-2026 school year) and ten years (2030-2031 school year). It will include recommendations for the best and highest uses for district properties and a property disposal plan.
The entire community is encouraged to participate, ask questions and share ideas and concerns throughout the process. Three rounds of regional community conversations and one round of cluster-specific conversations are scheduled across the district. Additionally, the community is encouraged to provide feedback and share ideas through the APS Let’s Talk portal, available 24 hours a day. Click here for a list of upcoming conversations and presentations from past community conversations.
The current Facilities Master Plan timeline includes presenting school options to the APS Board of Education in late March. Following review by the APS Board of Education, the options will be shared with the public during community conversations in all nine APS clusters in April. The final recommendations will be presented to the Superintendent at the end of April, followed by an anticipated first reading of the final recommendations by the APS Board of Education in early May. A second reading is anticipated at the beginning of June.