This past Monday, Northside Neighbor published an interview with Atlanta Public School Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen. The following are some excerpts and the entire article can be found here.
A campaign encouraging attendance on the first day of school…has been among her initial focuses. Carstarphen said data shows about 5,000 of the district’s more than 47,000 students miss the first day. The basic formula for success and graduating on time starts with good attendance, she said.
“The work starting in early July has been overwhelmingly focused on the start of the school year and making sure we have some of the basic systems in place that were problematic last school year or in recent years,” Carstarphen said. “So we did a lot of work around our bus routes, scheduling, a lot of the things that most districts take for granted, but for APS, it has been somewhat troublesome for a few years.” …the new superintendent said she is driven by a passion for seeing students achieve.
“[Many urban education] environments are very typically adult-centric, focused on adult issues [and] tied into deep politics that distract us from our core purpose,” Carstarphen said. “My leadership is very straightforward. It’s led by instruction and education for children. That is a foreign concept in environments like this.”
She said the three biggest challenges facing the district, of which she would like to focus improvement, are student success, human resources and operational and internal systems. “
We really want to be able to continue to build on the starting momentum on increasing the graduation rates and reducing our dropout rates,” Carstarphen said, referring to the district’s 59 percent graduation rate.
“I think a big part of our work is really going to be about human resources really getting the right people — high-quality people — to stay and continue with APS [and recruiting] others to take on the jobs and the needs of the district moving forward,” Carstarphen said.
Hopefully we will get an update on the impact of the Day One: Be There campaign at the upcoming Board meeting and then also learn what the objective will be for the student attendance campaign Carstarphen has rolled out. As noted in a prior post, in Austin student attendance was 90% or better for at least two years and possible this past year as well.