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School Proposal is 'Detrimental' to Centennial Place Elementary

Local school council argues against Atlanta Public Schools' proposal to change its boundaries.

From the Centennial Place Elementary Local School Council:

was founded on the radical idea that an urban school could perform at high levels educating any student that came through the door.  The City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Housing Authority, Georgia Tech, and Coca Cola came together with the school board to build a state-of-the-art school focusing on science, math, and technology.  The goal was to have a student matriculate through Centennial, Inman, and Grady to Georgia Tech.  That goal has been reached. The school has become a diverse school serving diverse neighborhoods with a very high academic standard.

This concept is now in jeopardy with the proposed options for redistricting.  None of the proposed options keep Centennial Place Elementary in its current feeder pattern.  It is Centennial Place Elementary’s position that:

  • The options presented are premature because they take into account a very narrow set of criteria of enrollment and capacity only.  Additionally, the options do not fit the initial criteria as put forth by the demographers including keeping feeder patterns intact, safety, proximity, and ease of access.
  • The expedited timeline for this process creates an atmosphere of fear and distrust in the process as well as concerns regarding the validity of data.
  • These options are detrimental for the children of Centennial Place Elementary because they either dramatically increase our school zone area and/or change our historic feeder pattern.  The proposed middle school is dramatically different in terms of academics, extracurriculars, and facilities.  

Centennial Place Elementary serves a diverse community of homeowners and renters including single-family homes, condos, apartments, and shelters.  All these elements create our community served by our school.  We feel it is important to educate all our community to the highest levels possible and we support middle and high school options that continue these high academic expectations.  We urge our elected School Board members, APS officials, and community members to continue working together to find a solution that is in the best interest of all of our Atlanta students.  We ask the following:

  • That our current boundaries remain intact and absorb as few new areas as possible to decrease any likelihood of overcrowding.
  • That Centennial Place Elementary remain in the current feeder pattern of Inman Middle and Grady High School until the completion of a K-8 center to serve our current zone.  This maintains our current expected feeder pattern and a commitment to our students’ education.
  • That school officials work with the Centennial Place Elementary community and SRT-3 to convert our school to a K-8 center within two years to serve our current zone area.  This plan would allow our school to continue creating innovative programs to educate our students and build on the foundation laid in the early grades.  Centennial Place Elementary has a proven track record of educational excellence.  Creating a K-8 center would provide a unique model and opportunity to serve the diverse population of the CPE community within Atlanta Public Schools.

The Centennial Place Elementary and its greater community have a history of working together to support our students and their families.  Coming together, we created a unique elementary school.  We now ask for the opportunity to further that goal through the incorporation of middle grades.  We hope that we can continue working together to ensure that educational integrity is maintained for all of our Centennial students.

Centennial Place Elementary Local School Council
Tonya Jonesmith, President and Chair – Parent
Janet Kinard, Vice Chairperson – Parent
Alison Shelton – Principal, Centennial Place Elementary
Sherri Dickerson – Parent
LaChina Parks – Parent
Angel Parks – Parent
Eric Singleton – Parent
Alfreda Stinson – Teacher
Elizabeth Stuart – Teacher
Kirk Glaze – Coca Cola
Chris Burke – Georgia Institute of Technology

Cw December 16, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Thank u for addressing this issue and posting this letter. My daughter went to both Centennial and Inman and is currently at Grady. All of these are awesome schools and rezoning the Centennial Park/Marrietta St area would send her to another high school. We have plans for college, AP classes, clubs and things that are only offered at Grady.
Midtown father December 17, 2011 at 12:10 PM
If Grady and Inman have gotten too crowded, why didn't the APS demographers at least propose North Atlanta High School as an alternative for Centennial Place? NAHS and the new Middle School (near Northside and West Wesley) will be good schools, easy to get to from Centennial Place and should have plenty of capacity. I just don't get why the only alternative to Grady proposed by the demographers was Douglass HS.
A Midtown Resident December 17, 2011 at 05:47 PM
If the people who write the above letter actually want people who are not intimately intertwined with the issue to understand the issue maybe they could choose not to use jargon terms like "feeder pattern" or at least define the terms before using them, nor make reference to "K-8 center" without explaining the current status or if the word "center" in "K-8 center" has special meaning. And when they say things like "take into account a very narrow set of criteria of enrollment and capacity only" maybe they could explain what the issues are? If you want people to care about your concerns you shouldn't make them work to understand them. FWIW. - A midtown resident who is not a parent and thus not immersed in all things related to schools.
DAP December 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Word up, Midtown Resident. Advocates for specific schools need to make the rest of the population care. The editorial just seems selfish and fails to offer an alternative proposal for why the kids outside the current elementary school district would benefit by any alternative. Maybe it is there but this issue is too thick to understand from the outside.

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