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 Atlanta Schools Are Models Of Reform 
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Post Atlanta Schools Are Models Of Reform
by: Patricia Hawke

Everyday educators, whether they are teachers, administrators, or board members, are striving to improve the services they offer. Teachers attend in-service training; principals meet with other administrators in their district, state, or even the nation; and board members travel to see what other districts are doing right All with the intention of gleaning the best methods and practices for their own schools. Atlanta Schools are no exception. As of the 2006-07 school year, Atlanta Schools were made up of the following:

* Traditional schools (89)* Elementary schools (59)* Middle schools (16)
* High schools (14)* Nontraditional programs (2)* Charter schools (7)
* Adult learning centers (1)* APS Learning Institutes (99)*Title I Schools (89)
* Year-Round Schools (3)* Schools of Excellence (2) * Magnet Schools (7)

Atlanta Schools serve a large number of students. The enrollment for the past school year (2006-2007) was 49,392. The students of Atlanta Schools represent many diverse, ethnic groups:

* African-American 85.98%* American Indian/Alaskan .03%
* Asian .59%* Caucasian 8.37%
* Hispanic 4.10%* Multiracial .93%

The operating budget in the past school year was $582,839,767. Atlanta Schools employ a total of 6,536 employees. 3,465 of these are full-time teachers, 226 are members of the Student Support Staff. 1,900 of Atlanta Schools teachers hold advanced degrees, and another 42 have achieved National Board Certification. The beginning teacher salary for the ’05-’06 school year was $40,157.

Atlanta Schools have embraced many models of school reform, and have implemented them throughout the district, to serve individual areas as needed. Samples of these models are:

America’s Choice: This model enables all students to reach internationally benchmarked standards. Learning is focused on getting all students to standards, varying only the time and resources needed. Atlanta Schools teachers use prevention, early intervention and acceleration techniques, as needed.

Core Knowledge: This reform model provides Atlanta Schools students with a curriculum based on what every educated citizen should know and understand to function in an educated society.

Direct Instruction: Direct Instruction (DI) is a model for teaching reading in several Atlanta Schools that emphasizes well-developed and carefully planned lessons designed around small learning groups. Teaching tasks are clearly defined and prescribed. The philosophy is based on the theory that clear phonics instruction – eliminating misinterpretations – can greatly improve and accelerate learning.

International Baccalaureate: This Atlanta Schools program is in place to develop students who are critical and compassionate thinkers and who are informed participants in local and world affairs.

Making Middle Grades Work: This program is designed to give Atlanta Schools middle school students intensive attention to raise achievement through alignment of content and standards, high expectations, extra help and time, and engaging classroom practices.

Project GRAD: Targeted to Atlanta Schools high school students, this program helps raise achievement through family support, school discipline, college scholarship and emphasis on reading and math.

Talent Development: Atlanta Schools that are implementing this model are ones that have established a strong culture for learning, curricular innovations, advanced work, parent involvement and professional development.

About The Author
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit

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Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:03 am
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