Tag Archives: atlanta public schools

Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2013 Education Guide Hits Newstands Today

Each year I look forward to the latest Education Guide from the Atlanta Business Chronicle to see how each school’s test scores changed from the previous year.  The scores on my blog will be updated to reflect the latest scores for all the school districts featured here, but here’s a preview of Fulton County’s High Schools ranked by SAT scores.  To receive the new edition of the Education Guide, email me at dede@atlantafinehomes.com and provide a mailing address and I’ll be glad to get one in the mail to you.

Jan 23, 2013, 11:39am EST

Fulton County public high schools ranked by SAT score

Senior Online Editor- Atlanta Business Chronicle

Who tests the best in the metro?

Atlanta Business Chronicle’s annual Education Guide hits newsstands on Friday, Jan. 25, and it will certainly shed a lot of light on metro schools. But we also have some data that you will only get online. We will publish high school SAT scores by region so you can see the best and worst performers.

Today, we take a look at Fulton County public high schools:

  1. Northview High School — 1,769
  2. Johns Creek High School — 1,729
  3. Milton High School — 1,681
  4. Roswell High School – 1,677
  5. Chattahoochee High School — 1,674
  6. Alpharetta High School — 1,660
  7. Riverwood International Charter School — 1,631
  8. Centennial High School — 1,582
  9. North Springs High School — 1,459
  10. Independence High School –1,377
  11. Westlake High School — 1,316
  12. Tri-Cities High School — 1,299
  13. Creekside High School — 1,250
  14. Langston Hughes High School — 1,231
  15. Frank McClarin High School — 1,198
  16. Banneker High School — 1,160

For high schools, we show the mean scores for the SAT of the 2012 senior class. This score is calculated by using the student’s most recent test administration. The highest possible score is 2,400.

Source: Governor’s Office of Student Achievement

Click here for Atlanta’s public high schools ranked by SAT score.


New Student Housing For Georgia State

A little publicity for my husband for the sale of this downtown Atlanta property that will soon be new student housing for Georgia State.

Ambling affiliate buys downtown site for student housing

Atlanta Business Chronicle   by Douglas Sams, Commercial Real Estate Editor

Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 1:42pm EST

An Ambling University Development Group affiliate will redevelop an abandoned downtown hotel into a new student housing project.

Ambling is planning the project in two phases, the first opening next summer after a renovation of the old 200-room Ramada Hotel into about 138 units and 291 beds. A new tower featuring about 108 student-housing units and 424 beds will open in summer 2014. A new parking garage will also open then.

In August, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Ambling University Development Group was planning an 18-story student housing project in downtown. The Valdosta Ga.-based company had submitted plans to the city of Atlanta to redevelop the abandoned hotel and service station at Courtland Street and John Wesley Dobbs Avenue.

The development would serve nearby Georgia State University, whose freshman enrollment this fall is expected to reach record levels and total enrollment should top 32,000 students.

Ambling’s affiliate recently closed on the $7.9 million purchase of the almost 1.5-acre site, just 100 yards from the future location of Georgia State University’s new business and law schools. John DeYonker, vice president of land and developer services at Bull Realty, represented the seller, Legacy Palms LLC, in the transaction.

An early rendering of the new Ambling student housing project in downtown Atlanta.

Enlarge Image

An early rendering of the new Ambling student housing project in downtown Atlanta.

High School Football begins in Atlanta

Football season is upon us.  As the mother of ball loving sons, I often feel like my life can be categorized by what ball was being played with at that particular time.  We sold our house during baseball season, my grandmother passed away during football season, etc.  I confess I prefer the beautiful spring days of baseball season and the fast paced roar in the gym of basketball season to the late and often cold Friday nights of high school football season. My long lean sons don’t possess the stature required for an injury free football season so the sound of crashing helmets can cause me great stress.  I’ve learned to watch the game by just scanning the field so as not to focus on the intricacies of each play or see which player ends up on the bottom of the heap.

Growing up in small town Georgia I do get the enthusiasm and pride that goes along with supporting the local team.   The star players in those small towns often go on to run for mayor, own the local sporting goods store, or coach a team of their own and continue to relive their championship season and the play by play of each game well into their senior years.  The marching band, twirling majorettes, and pom- pom shaking cheerleaders set the tone each Friday night as the town fills the stadium.  My enthusiasm for high school football waned when I attended my children’s Buckhead private school games.  High school football without a marching band is like the Dallas Cowboys without the cheerleaders.  With the private schools priority being placed on academics and other extra-curricular activities like chess club or debate team, the marching band slowly became extinct.   I’m sorry, but a few beatnik type musicians playing their instruments in the stands does not compare to the stadium rocking sensation of the marching band.

Since my younger son has decided to retire his cleats and shoulder pads this year, I will no longer be regularly attending Friday night games.  My husband on the other hand will still be in the stands so I will look forward to a season of girl’s nights with Georgia, our chocolate lab.  Someone was looking out for me when we happened upon a lab that cares nothing about a ball.

Go Team!

Price Reduced on Stunning East Cobb Home

[idx-listing mlsnumber=”5005246″ showall=”true”]

A New School Year Begins

The beginning of a new school year always brings mixed emotions. When my children were younger the summer seemed to go on for an eternity, but now that they are older and much more self-sufficient I wish the lazy days of summer could stretch out just a little longer. Since my younger son recently passed the driving milestone of life I will no longer be driving a child to school. As excited as he is to be driving his own wheels onto campus feeling quite full of his upper classman status, me and the family dog will be missing our morning drive onto campus feeling the excitement as another day unfolds. While I’ll miss the occasional conversation and small insight into my son’s day, Georgia, our chocolate lab, will miss the breeze in her face, the other SUV’s with happy dogs passing by, the quirky crossing guard/wrestling coach that would bark as we passed, jumping in the front seat as my son got out, and happily returning home for her morning nap.

My older son is still somewhat scarred from his first day of Kindergarten when I showed up to ride home with him on the school bus. You would have thought I was insisting on accompanying him on his first date. While he’s always eager for a new experience and leaps in head first with no hesitation, I’ve spent his entire life attempting to direct his enthusiasm toward safe and law abiding endeavors.

My younger son is much more content to go with the flow and was in no hurry to go to school or experience anything outside of a very small radius of his mother. After crying every morning for his first 2 weeks of first grade and begging me to get a job at the school, he eventually settled in.

As I recently shopped with my college aged son at Target for his back to school essentials, my heart was warmed by a younger boy proudly bragging to his mother about all of the hidden pockets, clips, and zippers on his Mario Brothers book bag. Instead we were buying shampoo, deodorant, and a toilet scrubbing brush with a lesson on toilet cleaning and the importance of keeping clean surroundings for a clean mind and sense of well-being. Where are the Mario Brothers or Power Rangers toilet scrubbers? Surely that would elicit some excitement for college aged boys facing toilet cleaning for the first time.

This week my high school junior son left his bed before noon for the first time all summer to rush off to get his books and my college junior son headed off to college this morning comparing his excitement level to that of Christmas day, so I will try to muster my excitement to trade in the less structured days of summer for the daily grind and find the joy in all that a new school year brings. Maybe Georgia and I will just take a morning ride the first couple of weeks for old times’ sake.

Atlanta Back to School Tax Holiday August 10-11

It’s back! For the first time since 2009, Georgia shoppers will be able to take advantage of the state’s tax free holiday on back-to-school items.  Friday, August 10th and Saturday, August 11th, Georgia will suspend all sales tax on general school supplies, clothing, computers and computer accessories.

Retail analysts predict an increase in back-to-school spending this year.  According the National Retail Federation, the back-to-school shopping period is bigger than the traditional Black Friday Christmas shopping period.  Georgia businesses say they are ready for the customers, and many Metro Atlanta parents are waiting until the tax holiday to pick up needed back-to-school items.

Sabrina Hambrick of DeKalb County is among many Metro Atlanta parents waiting to take advantage of the tax holiday. Hambrick says, “It will definitely be beneficial for me to wait until the tax holiday to purchase needed clothing items for my son in elementary school.”

Metro Atlanta Mall manager Karl Woodard of Discover Mills in Duluth told the  Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he expects more people to take advantage of sales. Woodard said, “It usually has a pretty big impact.”

The National Retail Federation predicts while parents with school-aged children will not only spend more this year than last, but they will also spend smarter.   According to NRF’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend nearly $690.00 on their children, up from more than $600.00 spent last year.  But the survey also reveals that as parents look to replenish and restock, they are also looking for real bargains and sales. Many retailers say they will be more aggressive with both their in-store and online promotions.  Early predictions include clothing and some electronics as high purchase items.

The tax free holiday of back-to-school purchases starts at 12:01 a.m. on August 10, 2012 and ends at midnight on August 11, 2012.  According to the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Tax Sale Holiday site, tax exempt items include: clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item, general school supplies that cost $20 or less per item, and a single purchase of a computer or computer-related accessories that cost $1,000 or less.

Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes started Georgia’s tax holiday in 2002.  But state leaders ended the tax holiday during the last recession. This year Governor Nathan Deal reinstated the tax holiday because lawmakers said Georgia businesses were losing back-to-school sales to neighboring states with tax holidays.

Georgia Students Show Improvements in CRCT Scores

More Georgia students than ever are exceeding standards on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

The 2012 CRCT results show the performances of students in grades 3-8. The biggest overall gains were in Grade 5 Social Studies (six percentage points) and Grade 8 Science (seven percentage points).

“The best news in the 2012 CRCT report is that more of our students are exceeding the standards,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said in a statement. “Teachers are doing a great job teaching the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards and they are to be applauded for raising expectations for all students.”

However, there were a few decreases in 2012, including Grade 3 Science (two percentage points), Grade 4 Mathematics (one percentage point), Grade 5 Mathematics (three percentage points) and Grade 8 Mathematics (one percentage point).

Percentages did not change on six of the content-area tests.

“While I am pleased to see an increase in the majority of the exams, I am concerned about those where we saw decreases or no change at all,” Dr. Barge said. “As we begin teaching the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards next school year, we know the curriculum and the tests will be more difficult, so we must continue to focus on successfully implementing the new standards.”

State law requires third, fifth and eighth grade students to meet or exceed expectations on the Reading portion of the test in order to move to the next grade. Fifth and eighth grade students must also meet or exceed expectations on the Mathematics portion.

Results for Atlanta Public Schools include:

Grade 3 Reading * 4,072 students tested * 16.2 percent did not meet the standard * 44.6 percent met the standard * 39.2 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 3 English/Language Arts * 4,080 students tested * 16.5 percent did not meet the standard * 50.6 percent met the standard * 33 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 3 Mathematics * 4,088 students tested * 32.3 percent did not meet the standard * 35.3 percent met the standard * 32.4 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 3 Science * 4,190 students tested * 35.1 percent did not meet the standard * 35.1 percent met the standard * 29.6 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 3 Social Studies * 4,179 students tested * 28.9 percent did not meet the standard * 43.9 percent met the standard * 27.2 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 4 Reading * 4,055 students tested * 16.7 percent did not meet the standard * 48.3 percent met the standard * 35 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 4 English/Language Arts * 4,047 students tested * 14.9 percent did not meet the standard * 55.5 percent met the standard * 29.6 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 4 Mathematics * 4,019 students tested * 33.3 percent did not meet the standard * 41.5 percent met the standard * 25.2 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 4 Science * 4,153 students tested * 30.2 percent did not meet the standard * 37.8 percent met the standard * 32 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 4 Social Studies * 4,150 students tested * 32.9 percent did not meet the standard * 46.4 percent met the standard * 20.7 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 5 Reading * 3,977 students tested * 14.9 percent did not meet the standard * 58.5 percent met the standard * 26.6 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 5 English/Language Arts * 3,980 students tested * 10.2 percent did not meet the standard * 56.5 percent met the standard * 31.4 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 5 Mathematics * 3,953 students tested * 28.7 percent did not meet the standard * 45.3 percent met the standard * 26.1 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 5 Science * 4,135 students tested * 33.2 percent did not meet the standard * 34.3 percent met the standard * 32.4 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 5 Social Studies * 4,132 students tested * 36.4 percent did not meet the standard * 42.6 percent met the standard * 20.9 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 6 Reading * 3,423 students tested * 7.8 percent did not meet the standard * 59.9 percent met the standard * 32.2 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 6 English/Language Arts * 3,417 students tested * 11.7 percent did not meet the standard * 64.9 percent met the standard * 23.4 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 6 Mathematics * 3,398 students tested * 34.8 percent did not meet the standard * 50.2 percent met the standard * 15 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 6 Science * 3,524 students tested * 44.7 percent did not meet the standard * 41.7 percent met the standard * 13.6 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 6 Social Studies * 3,515 students tested * 43.9 percent did not meet the standard * 29.3 percent met the standard * 26.8 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 7 Reading * 3,320 students tested * 9.8 percent did not meet the standard * 71 percent met the standard * 19.2 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 7 English/Language Arts * 3,309 students tested * 9 percent did not meet the standard * 54.4 percent met the standard * 36.6 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 7 Mathematics * 3,279 students tested * 17.9 percent did not meet the standard * 54.8 percent met the standard * 27.3 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 7 Science * 3,395 students tested * 24.8 percent did not meet the standard * 44.5 percent met the standard * 30.7 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 7 Social Studies * 3,386 students tested * 39 percent did not meet the standard * 30.6 percent met the standard * 30.4 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 8 Reading * 3,283 students tested * 7.9 percent did not meet the standard * 61.6 percent met the standard * 30.5 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 8 English/Language Arts * 3,287 students tested * 7.1 percent did not meet the standard * 62.1 percent met the standard * 30.9 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 8 Mathematics * 3,271 students tested * 40.7 percent did not meet the standard * 44 percent met the standard * 15.3 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 8 Science * 3,386 students tested * 46.2 percent did not meet the standard * 42.7 percent met the standard * 11.1 percent exceeded the standard

Grade 8 Social Studies * 3,380 students tested * 41.3 percent did not meet the standard * 39.8 percent met the standard * 18.9 percent exceeded the standard

See all the results here

Summer Reading Important for Children

I must admit as a parent I’m not a big fun of summer reading.  Homework in the summer just doesn’t seem fair. Is it not okay to lose a little bit of knowledge over the summer?  Does every possible moment have to be spent gaining knowledge so we can get ahead in life?  There must be something to be gained from sleeping late, jumping on the trampoline, riding your bike, and catching lightening bugs. Well that’s my opinion, but here’s what the experts say regarding the importance of summer reading:

Research shows:

  • Students who read over the summer do better in school in the fall.
  • Students who do not read over the summer demonstrate academic loss in fall.
  • 8 out of 10 studies indicate students who read for fun out-performed those who did not.
  • Students read more when they can choose their own books.
  • Summer reading loss is cumulative.  By the end of 6th grade, children who do not read over the summer are two years behind other children.

What Parents Can Do:

  • Stress the importance of summer reading with your child.
  • Make reading exciting; don’t think of it as a chore.
  • Create a reading list.
  • Create a no TV or electronic game time during part of each day.
  • Join a summer reading program at your local library.
  • Let your child choose his/her own books.
  • Keep a supply of reading materials around the house.
  • Go to the library regularly.
  • Ask your child questions about the books he/she is reading.
  • Read a book to your child.
  • Listen to your child read to you.
  • Pick a favorite author or series and read all the books.
  • Listen to books on tape while traveling.
  • Model reading.

Most of the schools have the summer reading lists on their websites, so go ahead and kick back and enjoy the lazy days of summer with a good read.

Atlanta, DeKalb, and Fulton School Boards facing tough budget choices this year

Reported by Dan Whisenhunt at Reporter Newspapers

Local boards of education will be cutting costs and making do during the next budget year in an effort to deal with stagnant property values and increased expenses.

All three systems in the Reporter Newspapers area – Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County Public Schools and Fulton County Schools – will begin the Fiscal Year 2013 on July 1. Only one, Fulton County Schools, doesn’t plan significant cuts and can balance its $810 million budget with $20 million from its reserves with no tax increases.

Officials with each school system said lower property tax collections and increased health care costs for employees are making it hard for local school boards to balance budgets.

“It’s the economy for the most part,” Atlanta schools spokesman Keith Bromery said. “The economy has not recovered to the point where the state can fully fund education … you find school districts have to cut back in relation to what they’re getting in terms of funding from the state.”

DeKalb County Schools is considering a $760 million budget but faces a $73 million budget shortfall. The school system has nothing in its reserves and the board is being asked to consider a 2-mill increase in property taxes, meaning a $200,000 home would see taxes increase by $160 a year.

Atlanta plans a $605.2 million budget but will need to fix a $47 million budget gap. The school board is considering cutting between 285 and 475 jobs across all departments.

So how did Fulton County start the year in a better position than its neighbors? Several reasons, Fulton School officials say. District 3 Board of Education member Gail Dean said in 2010 the school board voted to cut 1,000 jobs. Also, the board recently opted not to renew the charter of Fulton Science Academy after school board members and school officials could not reach an agreement. That saved the school system $3.8 million, Dean said.

Marvin Dereef, executive director of budget services for Fulton County Schools, said the school board’s earlier actions made this year’s budget process less painful. The school plans to keep 18 percent of its operating expenses in reserves, he said.

“We made the big choices early,” Dereef said. “We saw the writing on the wall and took action significantly enough where we could weather the storm for awhile.”

DeKalb County Schools BOE members are looking for alternatives to the proposal to raise taxes, spokesman Walter Woods said. DeKalb County schools during the last few months leaped from one crisis to another. Prior to the $73 million shortfall, it faced an unanticipated $36.5 shortfall in its sales-tax funded school construction account.

The BOE found a way to move sales tax money around to cover it.

Woods said the BOE is weighing its options to deal with the latest dilemma, saying “everything is on the table.”

Woods said it’s too early to discuss whether the system will be able to replenish its reserve account.

“We have to balance the budget first and then we’ll talk about a reserve,” Woods said.

Like DeKalb, Atlanta Public Schools faced daunting challenges within the last year. The system continues to deal with the fallout from a cheating scandal that found some teachers manipulated test results to boost scores system-wide. Recently, the BOE angered many in the community with plans to close and rezone schools.

The school system in April voted to close seven schools. Bromery said “there may be some savings” as a result, but said it will mostly be a non-factor.

“It wasn’t to save money,” Bromery said of the school closures. “It was to focus more of our enrollment into a fewer number of schools. To a degree, this will be offset by the additional resources that will be placed in these schools that will see increases in enrollment.”

Bromery said there is also a planned 10 percent cut across all departments in the Atlanta Schools system, except for curriculum and instruction, which will see a 7 percent cut.

“The revenues have not kept up with spending we need to reduce that or eliminate it,” Bromery said.