APS issues FY15 Budget Book – first look at school budgets & revised organizational structure

October 10, 2014

The Atlanta Public School’s finance division has just issued the comprehensive FY15 Budget Book – all 306 pages of it (see here). The Book has some new and very interesting items and some items that have been eliminated from prior presentations.

The most interesting new item is the presentation of school budgets for FY15 (see pages 255-305). The presentation shows the budget for each traditional school in the district and the related enrollment. While there is a huge amount of information here, the following is a brief summary of spending per student by each cluster.

Spending by Cluster 101014

The black dividing line in the chart separates the clusters with those above the $7,191 average per student spending and those below (the two single gender clusters and non-traditional education sites are shown separately as they encompass city-wide student bodies).

Surprised by the dollar allocation? As was the case with the Equity Audit issued this past year, some of the results are surprising and counter-intuitive. For the time being, let the information above sink-in, but don’t reach too many conclusions yet. There is a lot to find in all the detailed information presented and, often a summary like the above does not tell the whole story – more to come on this in future posts.

In addition, the Budget Book presents the first look at the revised top-level organization chart for the district. Much of this has been telegraphed in the past, but there are a few surprises. The senior staff members are shown below (click to enlarge):

APS Org Chart 101014 v2


The most significant changes since the prior administration are the addition of the Chief Accountability Officer – with the Chief Information Officer as a direct report – and the elimination of the Organizational Advancement (or Strategy) group.

And while no announcements have been made yet, I would expect to see additional reorganizations of internal departments as resources are reallocated to conform with the organizational structure above.

I also think it is important to note that while reorganizations may be taking place, since the beginning of the fiscal year, almost no administrative positions have been eliminated and, in fact, there have been a number of additions.

This is disappointing at best and a far cry from what I would have expected from our new Board and Superintendent.

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APS Human Resources reorganized during September

October 8, 2014

During the month of September, under the leadership of Chief Human Resources Officer Pamela Hall, who came to APS from AISD, the Atlanta Public School’s Human Resources function has been reorganized.

In summary – per a PowerPoint presentation on the APS website, the following changes have been made:

  • The divisions of Centers of Expertise, Strategic Services, and HR Operations are being renamed to Talent Management and HR Services. All positions in Human Resources will be combined into one program budget, 8004 – “Human Resources.”
  • The Talent Management team will be accountable for providing direct support to supervisors in their staffing needs, including the first line of recruiting, onboarding, substitutes, hiring, certification, applicant screening, HR technology, and staffing allocations.
  • The HR Services group will provide data entry and accuracy for all employment records, as well as subject-matter-expertise in certification, position control, HR technology, compensation, new teacher induction, and absence management.
  • Goals include improved customer service experience for internal and external customers, greater communication and transparency, accuracy of data management systems, record keeping systems, and talent identification, development, and retention.

Seven staff members from the Office of Internal Control and Legal Departments will transfer to HR to handle employee relations functions. In addition, the Employee Benefits, Risk Management, Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation function (Dept. 8006) – with 11 positions – is being transferred to Finance.

As a result of these transfers, HR will have approximately 60 staff members versus the 63 contained in the FY15 Budget. However, since the moves noted above are all transfers, the total APS FY15 Budget appears to remain unchanged as a result of the HR reorganization.

Per the APS website, Hall stated,

I … expect our district to become recognized as a world-class organization that supports the recruitment and retention of outstanding employees that will enhance the district’s vision for student achievement. What can you expect from our reorganized department?

  • A change in culture that is student-focused, customer service driven, and supportive of the organization and each other.
  • Organized people and processes that provide maximum efficiency and opportunities to excel.
  • Utilization of technology to reduce manual processes and errors.
  • Involvement by key stakeholders in decision-making and transparency through communication.

The new top-level organization chart is as follows (click to enlarge):

HR Org Chart 100814

You can access additional levels of the organization chart here.

As part of restructuring, employees are now directed to contact individuals within HR with questions or concerns versus a call center that is being closed at the end of October. To facilitate interaction between HR staff and employees, HR has published a complete list of all personnel, their functions, phone numbers and email addresses (see here).

Last May when Pamela Hall’s name was announced, I wrote a post (see here) that presented a very significant difference in the efficiency of the AISD HR function versus the APS function. Based on my research, AISD had 43 HR staff to handle over 11 thousand district employees – or one HR staff per 260 employees. At that time, the APS HR function had one person for 141 employees.

I had hoped that under Hall’s leadership, the APS HR function would become more efficient and begin to move towards the efficiency levels in Austin. However, none of the changes noted in the above reorganization indicate that this will be the case.

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APS news release on hiring of Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins as Chief Academic Officer

October 7, 2014

APS Hires Chief Academic Officer

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Board of Education voted to accept Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen’s recommendation to hire Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins as chief academic officer (CAO) for Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

The APS chief academic officer is responsible for driving the district’s core academic function — curriculum and instruction delivery to more than 50,000 students.

Jenkins is credited with transforming schools and developing current and future leaders in K-12 public education as superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools District in Saginaw, MI.  During his tenure, Jenkins increased the graduation rate by 14.1 percentage points and reduced the dropout rate by 4.9 percentage points over four years for all students. With more than 25 years of experience in education, Jenkins has served in leadership positions such as an associate administrator, principal of a middle school and three high schools, executive director of Project-GRAD leadership K-12 and executive director of secondary leadership.

A native of Phenix City, Ala., Jenkins received his undergraduate degree from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s degree in educational administration and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“As we implement a new strategic direction for Atlanta Public Schools, Jenkins will have a crucial role in fulfilling our mission of preparing students for college and career success,” Superintendent Carstarphen said.

“I look forward to being a part of Atlanta, APS, and a strong team that is dedicated to supporting students and leading our teachers and staff to academic success for all our students,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins will join APS on October 20, 2014.

 About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 106 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit http://www.atlantapublicschools.us.

More on new Chief Academic Officer from Saginaw Michigan – Dr. Carlton Jenkins

October 6, 2014

Carlton JenkinsAs announced last Friday, the Atlanta Public School Board of Education will appoint Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins as the Chief Academic Officer. He will replace retiring Karen Waldon who has led the Curriculum & Instruction Division for the last several years. Jenkins is now serving as the Superintendent for the Saginaw Public School system in Saginaw, Michigan and became the Superintendent there in April 2010.

Per the Saginaw Public School website,

 Each school day, the district welcomes over 7,623 students through the doors of its 20 schools, including 11 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 3 high schools. Saginaw Public Schools has a record of steady, marked improvement and a continual quest for excellence. Saginaw Public Schools is home to one nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Schools selected and honored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Per various new reports, Jenkins has been a candidate for other top district positions over the last year, including the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minneapolis and overseeing 15 Detroit failing schools.

A report on his candidacy for the Detroit position – in which he was one of two finalists – provides additional information,

Carlton D. Jenkins, superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools, is a longtime educator who has been a teacher, principal and superintendent. However, with the exception of eight years as a high school principal in Columbus, Ohio, Jenkins’ experience has been in small cities and school districts.

Jenkins’ resume touts accomplishments in Saginaw that included boosting the district’s graduation rate 15.8 percent over three years and building new partnerships with Fortune 50 and 500 companies.

“He came to Saginaw earlier to take on his duties as the new superintendent, and delved into his new role with passion, energy, commitment, vision and advocacy to our district,” said Beverly Yanca, president of the district’s school board. “His ability to work with children, parents, teachers, staff, community partners, business leaders, etc. … is exceptional.”

Before going to Saginaw, Jenkins worked in Beloit, Wisconsin, where he was executive director of secondary and charter schools and a high school principal.

Superintendent Steve McNeal described Jenkins as a “good guy who definitely has a heart for kids.” “He is a gentleman who is level-headed and collaborative by nature,” said McNeal, whose district serves about 7,300 students. “He has a way of interacting with people that makes them feel engaged and part of the process.”

The following link is to a video of the interview with Jenkins for the Detroit position (see here).

This past March (see here),

The Saginaw School District Board of Education rated Superintendent Carlton Jenkins effective and extended his contract by one year. …the board voted 4-2 to extend Jenkins’ contract one more year, meaning he’ll remain in the district through the 2016-2017 school year.

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BREAKING – APS to appoint new Chief Academic Officer – Carlton Jenkins

October 3, 2014

The Atlanta Public School Board of Education will appoint Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins as the Chief Academic Officer during the upcoming BOE meeting on Monday. He will replace Karen Waldon who retired in June, but remained in place subject to finding her replacement.

Dr. Jenkins (see bio here) currently serves as the Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools in Michigan and,

Now in his eighteenth year of education, Dr. Jenkins has served in many roles as a professional educator. He has served as an associate administrator, principal of a middle school and three high schools, Executive Director of Project-Grad Leadership K-12, CEO of the JENKINS’ Consultant Group, formerly the Executive Director of Secondary Leadership in the School District of Beloit in Beloit, Wisconsin and currently Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools.

Dr. Jenkins is a native of Phoenix City, Alabama. He received his undergraduate degree from Mississippi Valley State University, his Masters’ degree in Educational Administration and his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is the caring father of a beautiful and intelligent thirteen-year-old daughter Jasmine. He has been married to his lovely wife Lisa for twenty years. Dr. Jenkins and his family currently live in Saginaw, Michigan.

 Dr. Jenkins start date has yet to be determined.

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Curtis Douglas – principal at North Atlanta High School

August 3, 2014

Picture credit APSTalk Up APS is running a series of new principal profiles and published a profile on Curtis Douglass, the new principal at North Atlanta High School. The following is the article in full (republished with permission).

New NAHS principal Curtis Douglass excited about providing students with meaningful academic and social opportunities

 Principal Douglass wants NAHS to serve as a model for other urban schools throughout the United States.

 Curtis Douglass is a New York native, raised by two loving parents who instilled in him the importance of education. After high school Douglass attended Morehouse College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.  During his matriculation at Morehouse, he fell in love with the city of Atlanta and decided to remain and pursue his career in education. He began his career as a classroom teacher in Fulton and DeKalb public school systems.

While teaching, Douglass earned a master’s degree in Education from Georgia State University and an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. Douglass has worked in school administration for nine years, serving as the assistant principal at Shiloh High School and Gwinnett High School in Gwinnett County before joining Atlanta Public Schools as assistant principal at North Atlanta High School.

During his time as the assistant principal at North Atlanta High School (NAHS), the administration team had great successes. The number of advanced placement courses offered at NAHS increased, the administration successfully overcame challenges associated with moving into a new facility, the rate of student tardiness decreased and the academy model of the school was restructured to meet the needs of students based on specific grade levels.

As the new principal of North Atlanta High School, Douglass looks to make it a school that serves as a model for other urban schools throughout the United States. His immediate goals include raising standardized test scores for all students, particularly for the subgroups that have historically performed below expectations; to continue increasing the number of students receiving an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma; to highlight options and utilize resources for students who are not pursuing an IB Diploma, and to increase school spirit.

Douglass expressed his excitement as the new leader of North Atlanta High School stating, “As the new principal of North Atlanta, I look forward to building relationships with the student body and providing them with meaningful opportunities, both academically and socially.” He continued, “I also look forward to witnessing a renewed sense of school spirit that will be felt throughout the school by North Atlanta students, faculty and staff.”

North Atlanta High School will begin its second year in a new state-of-the-art facility.  The first day of instruction for the upcoming school year is Monday, August 4, 2014.  For more information about North Atlanta High School click here.

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Timothy Guiney – new principal at Grady High School

July 31, 2014

Timothy Guiney Grady

Picture credit – APS

Talk Up APS is running a series of new principal profiles and published a profile on Timothy Guiney, the new principal at Grady High School. The following is the article in full (republished with permission).

New Grady High School principal takes school slogan to heart

Principal Timothy Guiney admits there is some pressure in taking over a post that was held by the last principal for 23 years. Principal Guiney’s approach is simple and speaks directly to the school’s cherished slogan, “Individually we are different… together we are Grady.” He plans to embody this creed stating, “I understand I need to be myself and take the appropriate action to try and uphold that standard.”

The standards already established at Grady High School include challenging advanced placement classes in addition to established drama, debate and arts programs, along with an award winning journalism program.

Principal Guiney is looking forward to advancing Grady from a premiere high school in APS, and metro Atlanta, to a premiere high school in the Southeast. And he believes the school is well on its way. A big part of making that happen involves community. Principal Guiney is grateful to have an active parent base and diverse student group. With their collaboration, he plans to establish a shared mission and goal.

In his introductory letter to the Grady community, Principal Guiney also reinforced the importance of both instruction and extra-curricular activities. He wrote, “From a philosophical standpoint, I believe that a safe and secure learning environment is necessary for children to effectively learn. Further, I believe that rigorous instruction and active engagement are the foundation of a quality 21st century education. This is especially important as we continue implementation of the Common Core Curriculum, with a more challenging assessment system beginning in 2014-2015.”

His letter continued, “By setting high expectations, and challenging our students to meet them, I am confident that Grady High School will continue to grow as a learning community. In order to foster your child’s social and emotional growth, please encourage him or her to get involved in extra-curricular activities. Students who play sports, participate in Fine Arts, and join Clubs tend to enjoy their high school experience, while achieving a higher level of success.”

The 2014-15 school year will be Principal Guiney’s thirteenth year as an educator.

Principal Guiney is the father of two elementary-aged school children and began his coursework this year to earn his doctorate in Educational Leadership and School Improvement at the University of West Georgia. He also holds a specialist and master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Georgia. Principal Guiney earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

In addition to the information above, Guiney served as principal at Adamson Middle School for the past four years in the Clayton County Public Schools. Previously he served as the Assistant Principal at Adamson for three+ years and as a Language Arts Teacher for nearly five years and in 2013, Mr. Guiney was selected as the Clayton County Public School Principal of the Year.

Welcome aboard!

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