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Inman Middle Task Force Members Issue Crowding Report

On Oct. 2, the Task Force continued its discussion on the 6th grade vs. 8th grade academy options to ease crowding at Inman. This report is was done by the two task force members who represent Mary Lin Elementary.

 

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 inmantaskforce4lin@hotmail.com.  We will take your comments to the taskforce for consideration.

vh3 October 11, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Ken- this annex/academy will never be a "shared solution" in any sense other than everyone currently zoned to Inman will be forced to endure it. You see it as a"win" because it keeps your kids zoned to Inman. We see it as a loss because it destroys most of the best parts of Inman - reasonable size, close knit community, safe neighborhood, and teachers who knew our kids as individuals. What you are seeing in these recent comments is only the very tip of the iceberg in terms of how disgusted many NOP families are with results of the rezoning mess and how angry they are. (This isnt the Big Tent where everyone always agrees with you.) Intownmomma and others are right- people are very unhappy with Inman already and many are making plans to leave, especially those with younger kids moving up towards middle school. You may have won the battle with your "shared solution" but time will tell if you've lost the war. And Davis won't always be around to protect you.
Ken Edelstein October 11, 2012 at 04:04 AM
@Great Schools The range is 339 (actual this year) to 476 (projected for 2021-22, and that was projected when the 2012-13 baseline was assumed to be 373). Continually referring to 6 straight years in the 300s as "450-500" is plainly incorrect. How old will your child(ren) be in 2021, by the way? My son, God willing, will just be entering 6th grade. I do agree with you, that @Chris Murphy makes a hard-to-avoid point: The numbers actually point to adding about one grade's capacity to the cluster's MS. I like K-8 and K-6 as well, but there also are legitimate logistical reasons for a school system to be wary of quickly proliferating and experimenting with multiple models at multiple schools requiring multiple facility changes all at once. With that reality in mind, why does APS' decision to add capacity in the form of a demonstrably successful model — while explicitly preparing for additional changes should they be needed in the out years — evoke such apocalyptic indignation?
Ken Edelstein October 11, 2012 at 04:33 AM
@intownmomma I'm not sure how 339 kids per grade can be a "megaschool" while 250 can be "downright cozy." My ciphering says 339 is much closer to 250 than to 600 ... and yet the school with 600 is doing quite well. I appreciate your wariness of overusing testing as a barometer of success. But I only use it as a reality check on the out-of-hand dismissal of a 6th grade model or of what I would term <i>moderately</i> large grade sizes. My point about Marietta 6th isn't that it's necessarily a superior model — it's that it's not automatically an inferior model that deserves to be rejected as viscerally as it has been in some quarters. When you get down to it, demographics aside, aren't parental involvement and great teaching more influential in a school's success than configuration and size? I'd also argue that, when it does come to scale, school size matters in some ways and grade size matters in other ways. Is Marietta 6th's magnet program partly responsible for its success? Great! You're making my point that Inman cluster parents will be doing their kids — all kids, really — a favor by working together NOW to ensure that APS and parents develop a school with the best opportunities for success.
Alex October 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Enough already. The Mary Lin community since the beginning of the redistricting process has been manipulative and self serving. They have no consideration for the greater good of neighbors in the local community. The very vocal leadership in Candler Park guises their position with long diatribes on the message boards but have consistently pushed thier self serving agenda behind closed doors. Some of those closed door meetings are with high level APS personel. At the end of the day its dishonest, selfish and is just plain wrong.
Great Schools October 11, 2012 at 06:28 PM
@Ken: ?? You are creating disagreement with me where it doesn't exist. I never suggested that Inman 6th grade would jump from 340 to 475 in one year. I said that it is projected to grow to 450-500; I think we agree on that, and it's a 10 year projection. Where did you find me "continually referring to 6 straight years...as 450-500"? I'm lost there--never suggested that. And "apocalyptic indignation" "fueled by so much anger"?? Where's that? You seem to be trying to pick a fight--hope I've misunderstood you. My whole point is to help you see another perspective--that giant GRADE and SCHOOL sizes have some real down sides for ALL students. Talk to parents of school age children and I think you will find few people who prefer very large grade and school sizes. Perhaps what you are really trying to say is that you would prefer to sacrifice with large GRADE sizes if that means you can avoid going to Coan or leaving Inman--a lesser evil of sorts. That's fair--I can understand that. And I hope your child has both a high performing middle school and one without mega grades. But please understand that mega grades/schools are not "wildly popular" for very good reasons. And APS's shift to megaschools is very new--up until recently they were only advocating for small schools (Build Smart Plan). Go figure. But all that aside, we have what we have--giant middle school. It's certainly not the ideal solution, but it's not the end of world either. Agree?

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