APS Gets New Superintendent After Atlanta School Cheating Scandal

APS Gets New Superintendent After Atlanta School Cheating Scandal

Meria Carstarphen is officially the new Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent and she started work as the district’s new leader on Monday.

Carstarphen will be facing a list of challenges which include: raising graduation rates that hover at 59 percent, repairing the image of a school system still tainted by the stigma of a standardized test-cheating scandal and getting the district’s often inefficient bureaucracy to work better for schools.

School starts in only one month and Atlanta parents, residents and staff want to see evidence of change under this new administration.

Carstarphen says she’s already begun making changes to how the district operates.

  • An emphasis on attendance: The district will be pushing out the message that attendance for students and staff from Day 1 is essential, she said.

  • New principals: Atlanta has about 20 this year, many of them selected with Carstarphen’s input. Carstarphen says she’s already changed the principal selection process to include more staff input and plans to further tweak it with the goal of recruiting top principals as early as the fall.

  • High school structure: She has started to examine where the district should move further away from a redesign that split Atlanta high schools into individual academies. This year, the three theme-based academies at Therrell will be united under a single principal.

  • Central office: Carstarphen has begun reorganizing APS’ central office to make the district’s expensive bureaucracy do a better job of supporting schools. She says she plans to create a “sea change” in the district’s culture to put children first.

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Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution