Meria Carstarphen shares APS consolidation strategy: Streamline schools. Strengthen programs.


With Atlanta Public Schools proposing school closings, I sat down with Superintendent Meria Carstarphen for a long video interview. AJC multimedia journalist Erica Hernandez broke the interview into nine short segments. (Two to three minutes.) This is the first segment.

Here is a link to the second segment.

Here is a link to the third segment.

Here is a link to the fourth segment.

In this segment, Carstarphen addresses resources. Does APS have enough and are they being used correctly?

The school chief says the controversial proposal to close elementary schools in southeast Atlanta will allow her to focus resources. Yes, the consolidations will create larger schools, but she says they’ll be better schools. Note her comments on the role of choice.

Reader Comments 4


To Superintendent Carstarphen:

Below, I asked you how you might ensure parental choice within your streamlined school model.  I have given my own question some thought, if it might be of help to the students, teachers, and parents of the APS.

Why not allow those parents of students who must attend a certain school's district area in the APS to transfer to another school of their own choice within the APS, as long as those parents can provide their own transportation for getting the child to the other school?  I know that schools have enrollment cut-off points.  However, the parents who would want to enroll their children in a charter school instead of their assigned district school in the APS would have to provide their children with transportation to a charter school.  That plan would give some parents the option of "choice" within the traditional public school setting without tearing apart the whole system for vouchers and charter schools.  Moreover, not that many parents have the option or luxury of providing their own transportation for their children so that enrollment in the best schools would probably not be unrealistic to design.


How does choice fit into this streamlined school plan? I don't believe she addressed that although she did state that choice should remain some degree of parental option. But how so?

Nor did she address the internal pupil-teacher ratio within that larger school, but more qualified staff, model. Will the overall instructional design remain traditional or will the school's internal instructional design be more innovative in utilizing large/small group variations based on instructional needs of individual students? Who will track individual student progress based on pacing variations throughout the entire school?

Finally, how does this streamlined school model address the community school concept as outlined by state Senator Vincent Fort?