Group Mobilizing Westside Parents Thursday to Respond to APS Challenges (Updated)
Southwest and Northwest Atlanta Parents and Partners for Schools (SNAPPS) meeting Feb. 17 at Cascade United Methodist to discuss "action plan" for probation, new superintendent search.
An organization of southwest and near northwest Atlanta parents is set to present plans tonight for responding to a range of issues facing the Atlanta Public School board.
According to SNAPPS president Shawnna Hayes-Tavares the purpose of the meeting is "to collaborate with the community on behalf of our schools."
"Our advocacy is necessary to ensure that schools on the northwest and southwest are being represented with a collective voice," said Hayes-Tavares, a southwest Atlanta resident and mother of students at Peyton Forest, Inman Middle and Benjamin E. Mays High schools.
At the meeting, Hayes-Tavares said SNAPPS will seek community feedback on a SNAPPS action plan to respond to three main APS challenges: 1) the search for a new superintendent, 2) allegations of cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) and 3) the board's Sept. 30 probation deadline to meet six directives and avoid loss of accreditation. SNAPPS is still holding small group meetings to brainstorm and fine-tune the action plan.
In addition, SNAPPS leaders plan to discuss allegations that SRT 4 director Tamara Cotman hampered a state investigation into cheated allegations at several dozen APS schools.
Hayes-Taveres said, SNAPPS has plans that stretch beyond the meet. SNAPPS, she said, plans to serve as a weekly information resource for busy parents and residents in the greater Cascade area by providing them with weekly reports on the outcome of the board's Monday night meetings.
Although at least one other parents' group, Atlanta School Board: Step Up or Step Down, has formed recently around APS concerns, SNAPPS second vice president Jennifer Freeman said her group wants to make sure the voices of southwest and near northwest parents are heard.
Freeman, a Cascade resident and mother of a May High School junior, said SNAPPS, which formed in 2008, has a "very close relationship" with Step Up or Step Down but SNAPPS feels they need a tailor-made response to the troubles facing the system.
Said Freeman, " We want to talk about what, on this side of town, are we going to?”
After going on probation, the board voted unanimously to meet every Monday night to continue to work on the six directives from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The board set a May 1 deadline to have made significant progress on the six goals; the final SACS deadline to complete the recommendations is Sept. 30.
The six recommendations direct the board to:
- Hire outside mediator to help the board communicate and work together;
- Hire an outside party to aid with the search for a new superintendent;
- Analyze and revise board policies;
- Work on communicating with the community and stake holders;
- Ensure that the actions and behavior of all board members are aligned with board policies;
- Align board policies with the state charter.
The school board SACS meetings are every Monday night at 7 p.m. in the APS CLL building, 130 Trinity Ave. until further notice.
For information about SNAPPS meetings or to join the organization go to: http://snappsatl.org