Readers, the following is a meeting summary released by the Mary Lin Elementary representatives to the Grady Cluster Middle School Task Force. An earlier posting gave the impression that it was released by the full task force.:
The Inman Task Force met Tuesday, October 2, 2012. The facilitator, Mr. James Wilson reminded the task force of Superintendent Davis’s 2 questions: 1) whether a 6th or 8th grade academy was preferred, and 2) where should it be located.
After a few questions, the taskforce started to identify benefits of each configuration.
Some benefits of a 6th Academy are: grade levels in middle school are already separate, 6th graders do not play APS sports, studies show that 6th grade is a pivotal year in identifying students at risk of not graduating, it provides an opportunity to look at 7th and 8th grade differently (such as virtual learning, higher level classes), it gives the 6th graders an opportunity to get to know each other, studies show that the earlier a cohort is together, the easier later transitions will be, the North Atlanta Cluster has a 6th Academy and we can work together and learn from their mistakes. Some cons listed were that extracurricular clubs could be limited because of a smaller staff and that the middle school music program would need to be changed.
In the midst of this discussion, it was also mentioned that it will be essential to articulate concerns to APS, regardless of which grade level would become the Academy. These concerns include transportation, staffing, support, administration, sports, and extracurricular activities.
After significant discussion, Facilitator Wilson noted that the group seemed to be leaning in favor of a 6th grade academy over an 8th grade academy.
Mr. Wilson distributed a document that identified all the households with students currently at Inman Middle School.
Toward the end of the meting, it was decided to discuss location, as some task force members stated that depending on the location, their preference for which grade level was at the Academy would alter.
A list was made of possible locations.
This list includes: building or expanding on the current Inman campus; 10th and Monroe; Bass Fields on Moreland; Howard; Walden; Piedmont and Rock Springs; Beazer Homes (behind Johnny’s Pizza near Habersham; Callanwolde; Amsterdam Walk; and a northern expansion of Piedmont Park.
At the next meeting, the task force will discuss the possible locations in greater detail, including acreage and buildability. When asked, Mr. Alva Hardy stated that a 4-5 acre site could work for 450 – 500 students, but that field space and parking would be limited. If we also want the school to have a gymnasium, more acreage is required. He also stated that existing APS properties automatically receive a waiver from complying with many state requirements, such as site size.
The full minutes of all task force meetings and handouts are posted on the APS website at http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/Page/29002.
Again, we are asking for your comments and thoughts regarding the Superintendent’s charge. What configuration would give us the most flexibility for the future? And where should it be located? To the extent possible, our goal is that whatever solution the Lin Community supports, this solution will put an end to conversation about redistricting Lin out of the Grady Cluster and 2 middle school option for at least the next 7 to 10 years.
You can email both Jeff Shaw and Lori van Rossem a firstname.lastname@example.org. We will take your comments to the taskforce for consideration.