School Turnaround Plan | WABE 90.1 FM

School Turnaround Plan

Martha Dalton / WABE

Schools in impoverished areas face enormous challenges. Kids often come to school hungry, tired or troubled. Now, Georgia lawmakers are trying to address some of those issues through a new plan to turn those schools around.

A new bill would target schools on a list published yearly by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. One of the lowest-performing schools on this year’s list is DeKalb County’s Flat Shoal’s Elementary School, which is trying to meet the needs of its impoverished student population.

‘They Come With Baggage’

A dangerous dog is defined as a dog that has inflicted a wound. A vicious dog is defined as having infliced a serious wound.
Joe Gratz / flickr.com/joegratz

A statewide teachers’ group is taking Atlanta Public Schools to court. The Georgia Association of Educators says the school district illegally dismissed some teachers.

APS launched a “school turnaround” plan this year. It involved turning over management of some schools to nonprofit organizations. Teachers at those schools had to re-apply for their jobs. Some were rehired, and others found different jobs in APS. But several lost their jobs.

Drew Senior Academy students in front of the Charles R. Drew Charter School Junior & Senior Academy
Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

The Atlanta Public Schools began this year with a new turnaround plan for some of its low-performing schools. But at a school board meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen admitted APS has to overcome some big hurdles for the plan to succeed.

The initiative involves merging some schools, closing others, putting health clinics on a few campuses, creating science and technology academies, and hiring extra tutors. Despite the additional resources, Carstarphen said it will take a tremendous amount of effort to see improvement in student performance.

APS headquarters
Nick Nesmith / WABE

Next fall, Georgia voters will be asked whether the state should be authorized to take over schools it deems "chronically failing."

If the measure passes, 26 Atlanta public schools, or 60 percent, could qualify for a takeover. APS’s plan to save those schools looks outside the district.