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Atlanta Public Schools Begin to “Move Forward”

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ATLANTA (WAOK)-Two tumultuous days after the governor’s office released the results of a year long investigation into test cheating in Atlanta Public Schools, the Atlanta Board of Education and interim superintendent put plans in motion to “move forward.”

In an emergency school board session, Interim APS Superintendent Erroll Davis was given a one year contract to deal with the cleanup of the school systems image. The Atlanta Board of Education released the first phase of a plan to turn the school system around one month before classes start in August. According to a release from Atlanta Public Schools,  the initial plan will include a wide range of actions intended to prevent recurrences of testing improprieties.

The plan includes:

·  Moving the district’s Office of Internal Resolution (OIR) from Human Resources to Internal Audits, which reports directly to the Atlanta Board of Education

·  Setting ‘trigger points’ that will result in automatic investigations of schools whose test scores increase by a larger than normal percentage

·  Initiating climate surveys to periodically assess the culture at district schools and offices.

·  Adding customer service and student support key measures to the district’s ‘Balanced Scorecard’, which is used to evaluate the performance of departments and employees on an annual basis.

Interim Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. previously said that he will initiate appropriate action against each and every APS employee who was involved in testing irregularities and tampering.  Prior to the release of the state CRCT investigation report, APS submitted the names of more than one hundred employees to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) for further investigation of testing improprieties and temporarily reassigned 12 principals whose schools had apparent testing issues.

“I plan to issue a more detailed action plan in response to the state CRCT investigation report that will be based on an extensive and thorough review of the findings,” said Davis.  “I plan to take the time required to painstakingly go over the state report so that we address each and every issue it identifies,” said Davis.

The release also said APS has already enhanced the testing environment in all schools with tighter security for testing materials and state-of-the-art safeguards designed to prevent improprieties and tampering.  These enhancements were implemented starting with the 2010 CRCT administration, with additional enhancements added for the 2011 CRCT administration.  The district also enhanced its annual training for all employees involved in testing and established a 24-hour hotline, where people are encouraged to report testing improprieties.

“Most APS parents and guardians already know that the vast majority of our principals, teachers and staff are dedicated, honest and hard-working people who always have the best interests of children in mind in everything they do in thousands of classrooms throughout the district,” Davis said.

Davis vowed to correct any remaining deficiencies in the testing area, while moving forward with the district’s existing urban education reform programs and implementing others as required to continue escalating student academic achievement throughout the district.

Davis says the first personnel changes will be announced on Monday at the next scheduled school board meeting.

Here are comments from Atlanta School Board Chair Brenda Muhammad in an appearance on “Powertalk with Lorraine Jacques White.” Muhammad answered calls about the CRCT results and asked listeners not to give up on the  future of the Atlanta Public School system.

aps board chair brenda muhammad 1 Atlanta Public Schools Begin to Move Forward

Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin and Dr. Joseph E. Lowery will hold a community meeting to discuss the Atlanta Public School System on Saturday, July 9th at 10:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Cascade United Methodist Church 3144 Cascade Rd SW.  Councilman Martin says they want to show support for the teachers and students who have worked hard and honest that are being over looked by the recent negative attention surrounding the Atlanta Public School System.

In another related story: The lawyer for former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall released a statement to counteract allegations contained in the CRCT cheating report that she knew teachers and administrators were changing test scores. Attorney Richard Deane said, Hall most definitely did not know of any widespread cheating on the CRCT in 2009 or any other year under her leadership.  The New York Times reports Dr. Hall left for Hawaii the day the CRCT test results were delivered to Governor Nathan Deal.

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