The Atlanta Public Schools Center for Equity and Social Justice is committed to ensuring EVERY APS student thrives — not by accident, but by design. In order for APS to achieve our mission that every student graduates ready for college, career, and life, our schools must be joyful places that are equitable and inclusive, and places that create excellence for all, especially for our students of color. Our children must experience both meaningful rigor and culturally responsive supports from teachers, support providers and leaders. We envision school communities where students, families and staff work together to build vibrant school cultures designed to ensure that everyone in our school community thrives. With Equity at the Forefront, we can ensure equity and excellence for everyone.
We are committed to equity because leading for equity is the ethical thing to do. Equity requires that our schools are places where every student is affirmed for who they are, while being challenged to excel. We must lean into the hard work of eliminating barriers, providing the right resources and ensuring that all students, particularly African American and Latinx students, have the supports that they need to reach their full potential. We must break the historical patterns of inequity that have resulted in far too few black, brown and low-income children succeeding at high levels. We can do this if we focus our resources, energy and talent on leveling the playing field for our most vulnerable students.
All of our students deserve the highest quality instruction each and every day. To achieve this level of excellence, we must work to ensure that each member of our community is an equity champion. Meaning that they champion the individual cultures, identities, talents, abilities, languages, and interests of every student by ensuring they receive the necessary opportunities and resources to meet their unique needs and aspirations. This requires that we deliver the highest quality supports to our teachers and leaders so that our classrooms are vibrant, inclusive and culturally responsive centers of learning.
Our district equity policy defines equity as the "quality or ideal of being just and fair, regardless of economic, social, cultural, and human differences among and between persons." To reach this ideal, we must invite our stakeholders (internal and external) into authentic conversations about how to achieve equity. Achieving equity across the district requires attention from every member of our staff, schools, and communities. The APS Center for Equity and Social Justice will work hand-in-hand with every district office, as well as community stakeholders, to ensure that each undertaking is pursued with equity as a goal.
The APS Center for Equity and Social Justice (APS CES) will be established in 2021 as the district’s first office devoted solely to advancing equity in education.
- The APS CES will examine current policies and practices, work to interrupt and eliminate inequitable practices, and create inclusive and just conditions for all students, in particular ensuring that our most vulnerable and marginalized students receive a quality education, including the necessary social-emotional supports, and enroll in supportive postsecondary institutions.
- It will be developed with the strong support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kindeda Fund, and redefinEd atlanta.