Recap of Atlanta Public School Board Education meeting on August 12th

The Atlanta Public School Board of Education held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting yesterday and the live blog at Talk Up APS can be found here with the live stream video of the proceedings is here. For more detail on the agenda see yesterday’s post here.

There were three presentations during the Work Session as follows:

Board Meeting Processes & Structure – Board Chair English reviewed the changes to the structure and conduct of the meeting. As noted previously, the Consent Agenda will presented as one item for a vote and Board members are expected to have asked all their questions in advance of publishing the Consent Agenda by 5 p.m. on the business day before the Board meeting.

Board members can still pull an item of the Consent Agenda for further discussion and can ask questions on any item during the meeting, but the plan is to keep these to a minimum. In addition, while each item on the Consent Agenda will not be read separately, a listing of all items will be posted on-screen prior to the vote.

The practical implication of the change is that, once the Consent Agenda is published on the prior Friday, it has essentially been approved by all Board members and it will pass unless new information comes to light prior to the Board meeting.  I think it is also important to note that going forward we must presume that all questions or concerns that the Board may have raised prior to publishing the Consent Agenda have been adequately addressed by the Administration. This presumption also includes that Board members are fully familiar with the purpose of the contracts they are approving and the contract financial implications both for the current and for future years.

Flexibility Options Update – Angela Smith, Special Assistant to the Superintendent presented an update on the plan to select an operational structure for the district – see presentation here. Since the last meeting, the Task Force/Advisory Committee has been selected and meetings have been scheduled. The following are the Task Force/Advisory Committee members by category:

  • Principals – Maureen Wheeler (Hope-Hill ES); Stephanie Johnson (Jackson HS); Tony Burks (Douglass HS); Betsy Bockman (Inman Middle); Peter Settlemeyer (Westside Charter); Jermaine Dawson (Harper Archer MS); and Cheryl Twyman (Fickett ES)
  • Teachers of the Year – Rita Simmons (Cleveland ES); Nathaniel Snyder (KIPP Ways Academy); and Danielle Gilley Costarides (North Atlanta HS)
  • Central Office Members – Chuck Burbridge (Finance); Elwood Duckworth (Operations); Pam Hall (Human Resources); Linda Anderson (Curriculum); Tammy Workman (Student Support); Greg Middleton (Assoc. Supt of Schools); Rebecca Kaye (Policy); Allen Mueller (Charter Schools); Raynise Smith (Learning); and Rubye Sullivan (Accountability)
  • Board Appointed Community Members – Josh Noblitt (District 1); Maria E. Armstrong (District 2); Clare Richie (District3); Rocky Rief (District 4); Peggy Ross (District5); Erica Morris Long (District 6); and Caterina DeCosta McAfee (At-Large)
  • Neighborhood Group Selected Community Members – Janet Kinard (Neighborhood Group) and David Payne (Neighborhood Group)
  • Parent Teacher Association President – Melissa Hodge Penn (PTA)

The Task Force will hold its first meeting on August 14th from 6-8:30 p.m. and will consider group norms and expectation development; discussion of group goals and outcomes; overview of Operating Models; APS Data Overview and pre-reading and small group discussion. Subsequent meetings will be held on August 21st, August 28th, September 4th, September 11th and September 18th. The agenda items for each meeting can be found in the presentation materials on page 7 (see here).

The plan is to hold seven public meetings at the end of August and early September, to then reach a preliminary conclusion by October 6 and then to have the Board finalize the decision on November 3rd.

Day One APS – Superintendent Carstarphen reviewed the activities leading up to and including Day One – see the presentation here.  In addition to others shown in the presentation, some of the key accomplishments are:

  • 1,647 or a 4% increase in students attending school on Day One over last year – Carstarphen noted that there was no solid prior year data and it had to be reconstructed. As such, the FY15 increase is an estimate.
  • Only 10 open teacher positions out of 3,200.
  • All students who were registered prior to Day One had schedules.
  • Much improved bus route performance, but still much work to do to improve the transportation system.

Carstarphen noted that the first day went very smoothly, but as the week progressed the district encountered some problems including issues with the availability of textbooks, transportation problems,  non-functioning HVAC systems and several crisis management issues. She indicated that each of these areas would require a longer term strategy to fully correct and that the administration was already considering ways to do so. Additionally, Carstarphen noted that her visits to classrooms during the week indicated that, as the week progressed, it was clear that many teachers were not holding to the established APS instructional framework and that by day 5, some teachers were already behind schedule.

During the Work Session Meister noted that in her experience with APS both as a parent and a Board member, this year’s Day One was by far the most organized and effective she had seen and extended her thanks and congratulations to the APS administration for their efforts. The community members present at the meeting seemed to agree and applauded the remarks made by Meister.

Carstarphen then introduced the 22 new principals in the district. The introductions start at 16:10 on the live stream video (see here).

The Superintendent also recognized John D. Moore who recently, at the age of 82, became the oldest recipient of a GED in the APS adult education program.

When the Consent Agenda was brought to the floor during the Work Session, Board member Amos requested that the Personnel Gains & Losses Report be pulled and that further discussion be held on an item in Executive Session. During the Work Session and the Legislative Session there were no other questions or comments on the items listed on the Consent Agenda and it passed 9-0. For a full list of the Consent Agenda items passed and a brief explanation of each item, see here.

The following items are on the agenda for discussion and action:

  • Authorization to Revise Policy BC Board MeetingsThe only substantive change from the prior policy is to state the period of time that Board members must receive the Agenda and supporting information in advance of the Board meeting. Board member Westmoreland asked if the Agenda and supporting items could be published earlier. Carstarphen indicated that the administration was working on improving the quality control process to ensure that the published Agenda was complete and accurate and would not require any changes subsequent to it being published. As such, until the control process improved, the administration needed the time until the close of business on Friday to publish the Agenda. The policy change passed 9-0.
  • Authorization to Revise Policy BBBA Board Statement of Values (First Reading)this is pretty straight forward and Chair English indicated it would be further discussed at the upcoming Board retreat. The policy was adopted on 9-0 vote.
  • Personnel Gains, Losses, Promotions, Appointments, Creations, Reclassifications and Abolishments – The following are the interesting items in the Report:
    • New Assistant Principals and Academy Leaders:
      • Stephen Black – North Atlanta High School – Asst. Principal
      • Freddie Lawrence, IV – Bethune Elementary – Asst. Principal
      • Danny Smith – Brown Middle School – Asst. Principal
      • Michael Taylor – Bunche Middle School – Asst. Principal
      • Felicial Lester – Douglas High School – Academy Leader
      • Lori Paulk-Revere – Best Academy Middle School – Dean of Academics
      • Yamilsa Roebuck – Best Academy High – Academy Leader
      • Byron White – Best Academy High – Academy Leader
    • Promotions – Nicole Spillar to Director of Student Support Services

As noted above, the Personnel Report was pulled from the Consent Agenda for discussion during the Executive Session. The Board voted on this item separately and it passed on a 9-0 vote.

  • In the matter of Douglas Rozier – One legal item came out of the Executive Meeting and the Board voted 9-0 to accept the Hearing Tribunal’s recommendation.

There was one additional legal item on the agenda – the Authorization to Settle Student v. AISS/ OSAH. Per the recommendation statement, “in June 2014, Student filed a due process complaint with the Office of State Administrative Hearings alleging that APS failed to provide Student with a free and appropriate public education.” The recommendation was to, “without conceding any of the claims raised by the Plaintiffs, the parties have agreed to settle the complaint and resolve the issues present in the requested administrative proceeding, as doing so is in the best interest of the parties.” However, the item was never mentioned during the meeting or taken under consideration by the Board in open session.

The Board then adjourned at 7:48 p.m.

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One Response to Recap of Atlanta Public School Board Education meeting on August 12th

  1. Beverly Fraud says:

    Why has there NEVER been any talk of compensating educators who were unjustly fired for opposing cheating?

    Why has there NEVER been talk from this board about polices with REAL TEETH that would protect educators in APS from administrative RETALIATION when the next ethical challenge comes?

    And yes there WILL be new ethical challenges in APS because the corrupt corporate culture STILL has not been addressed.

    ONLY three teachers (out of 27 members) on the committee that will determine the ‘operational model’? Or is it more accurate to say 3 teachers on a PSEUDO committee that will rubber stamp what has already been predetermined?

    Of course these types of questions will be ignored and of course APS will continue to be a substandard school system long after the ‘rock star’ is gone.

    Don’t say you weren’t told.

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