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Davis: APS vision to be student-centered, high-performing

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. discusses the district's strategic plan

Editor's Note: Earlier this month, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. sent the following letter to APS students, parents, employees, and supporters with regards to the 2012-2017 strategic plan. It reads:

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) proudly serves approximately 50,000 students. As a result of our 2012-2017 strategic plan, we enter the 2012-13 school year and beyond with a renewed commitment to academic excellence, educational equity, ethics and engagement.  

This is an important period for our organization. The decisions that we make and the plans that we implement will impact students, parents, employees and community members for years to come. It’s important that we do the correct things, and equally important, that we do them with a sense of urgency.

Last year we experienced an escalated level of stakeholder involvement at numerous community and school board meetings and hearings. Input from these forums and the input of our teachers and leaders were invaluable in developing our new direction for the future.

Our five-year strategic plan will set the path for APS going forward, focusing on a consistent, aggressive and strategic structure of excellence for all schools and divisions within APS. Strategic objectives, paired with initiatives and action plans, will be measured for effectiveness and ultimately lead to improved student achievement. The framework outlined in the plan is vital as we move forward with excellence, equity, ethics and engagement.

The vision of Atlanta Public Schools is to be a student-centered, high-performing urban school district, where all students become successful, life-long learners and leaders. We have laid the foundation for this vision with the development of the strategic plan. The plan is the result of the collaborative effort between the Atlanta Board of Education, superintendent, administrators, faculty, staff, partners and the community. The thoughtful and honest input of stakeholders on the strategic direction makes the final plan a much stronger document that provides a roadmap to address the work necessary to achieve the mission and vision for APS. The plan recognizes the critical roles of all stakeholders to implement the plan with fidelity and to ensure that all achievements are sustainable.

Our strategic plan provides a consistent, aggressive and strategic structure of excellence for all schools and divisions within APS. It calls for the highest level of accountability, ethics, transparency and engagement and recognizes that students come first. All decisions will be made with the best interest of our students as the priority, which is the basis for the three perspectives: (1) Students, Stakeholders and the Learning Environment; (2) Leadership and Talent Development; and (3) Financial and Operational Systems and Support. The perspectives provide guidance for APS leadership in the development of policies and regulations, objectives, strategies and initiatives to achieve the mission and vision.

The three perspectives and 11 strategic objectives described in our plan will drive the thinking, actions, and investments over the next five years. These perspectives and strategic objectives are outlined in a strategy map illustrating how APS will unify and balance the components of the plan. The strategy map is then translated into action using a balanced scorecard. This scorecard describes the perspectives, strategic objectives, corresponding performance measures and the strategic initiatives pursued to achieve the objectives outlined in the plan. These initiatives range from implementing the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in order to ensure educational equity and rigor in the classroom to developing a district-wide coordinated effort to improve the culture, climate and safety in all APS schools and facilities.

These initiatives are cross-functional in nature and ensure that the strategic objectives, and ultimately the APS mission and vision, are achieved.  

Full achievement of all strategic objectives will be possible with the continued commitment and support of the Board of Education, superintendent, administrators, faculty, staff, partners and the community. Working together, APS can achieve the vision of being a student-centered, high-performing urban school district, where all students become successful, life-long learners and leaders.

Success does not happen by accident. Schools and districts do not become high performing by chance. Achieving “Excellence in Everything We Do,” requires commitment, dedication, discipline and focus on doing the right things and doing them well. The success of the strategic plan rests on everyone. When every person carries out his and her role with fidelity, Atlanta Public Schools will steadily make progress toward the ultimate goal of ensuring success for every student.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr.

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