APS Redistricting: Candler Park's Official Response To Davis' Proposals

Sixth grade academy is good idea but consider alternate locations or expansion at Inman Middle School instead of Coan Middle School.

by Kate Sandhaus

Candler Park would like to thank Superintendent Davis, the Atlanta Board of Education and Atlanta Public Schools for their continued efforts during the redistricting process.

The superintendent’s is a balanced approach that takes into account the district’s many competing needs. It is a fair, fiscally responsible and pedagogically appropriate way to solve the over-crowding problem. Candler Park supports the plan and looks forward to working with APS and all the other communities to make its implementation successful.

The defined cluster model is a sensible one. It both strengthens community support and involvement, and encourages long-term, cross-cluster collaboration that will build on the Inman-Grady cluster’s strong record of success.

The 6th grade academy is a shared and equitable solution to middle school over-crowding, and is developmentally appropriate. While the location is not ideal — the Coan communities prefer that it remain open as a middle school, and the Inman communities have concerns around transportation and logistics — we welcome consideration of alternate locations, including an Inman expansion or annex, or another facility within the cluster boundaries. 

As a temporary solution, we suggest keeping students on the Inman campus, even if it is over-capacity for 1-2 years, until a permanent location for the 6th grade academy is available. This will minimize disruption as the changes are implemented, and it will encourage community buy-in and suport. 

We are grateful to see the realization of the long-planned expansion & renovation. This gets our kids out of trailers, provides the much-needed seats for our community’s growth and brings the facility up to APS and DOE code. We look forward to working with APS to make this project a success. 

The last several months have been extremely difficult for all involved. With only four months before the next school year, it’s time that we all get on a positive path and shift our focus to what really matters – working together to make sure our kids succeed, providing high quality programs, and empowering all teachers and administrators by giving them the resources they need. 

Candler Park is committed to APS. We have been part of the Inman-Grady cluster for decades, and look forward to building on our schools’ successes together for decades to come. We stand ready to work with other communities district-wide to build and maintain high-performing, diverse schools that we can all be proud of. 

Thank you for your consideration and support. 

Mrs. Sandhaus is chairwoman of the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization's Education Committee.

Joe Landon March 16, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Finally, some common sense. Great job Kate Sandhaus and CP and Mary Lin!
Sydney Barker March 17, 2012 at 03:07 AM
The proposal presently on the table won't be the one that ultimately flies. The ONLY solution that makes sense is to redistrict ML students to the middle school closest to ML. That solves everything. It keeps kids in schools close to their homes, it utilizes existing space without needlessly spending money on building new space and it will avoid the costly and unwinnable litigation that would be brought by the KW EL and EW neighborhoods if the their children are kicked out of the neighborhood school to make room for Inman kids. This is the proposal that has been gaining traction. This is the proposal that ME, SPARK, Toomer, Whitefoord and EL parents can all agree upon. While the bullies at ML might threaten and whine, it's the only proposal that makes sense.
Lin Parent March 17, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Coan is one of the worst performing schools in GA, and sending Lin there won't solve that issue. Only 70 kids at most/year will go there if Lin is sent there, and only then with 100% compliance. It's a pipe dream. There are no bullies at ML. ML is great because the community made it great. It's time for the Coan community to make Coan great and kindly stop suggesting what is best for anyone else's kids other than their own. You all don't seem to get that yet. Somebody else said it best - you buy near the airport, then petition the airlines to fly elsewhere. It's absurd and there are no shortcuts.
Lin Parent March 17, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Sydney Barker March 17, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Yes, Lin Parent, thank you for understanding the frustration. You quoted my point exactly, about the airport. You bought near Coan. You didn't buy in one of the neighborhoods near Inman. You bought near Coan. You don't live in one of the neighborhoods near Inman, like Morningside, Va-Hi or Poncy-Highland. You live much closer to Coan. Having your kids attend the school close to your home makes more sense than overcrowding a more distant school. This is JUST like moving close to the airport and then complaining about the noise. Again, thank you for pointing out that my point about you buying near Coan and then complaining about it being the closest school is as silly as complaining about the airport after buying an airport-adjacent property. While I know you were trying to make one of those tortuous points about why people in your neighborhood should still go to the farther school, even you agreed that it doesn't make sense! Absolutely hysterical that you agreed that MY point (check back and you'll see I was the one who wrote that!) about why ML should attend Coan makes sense!!!! That kinda takes the wind out of your sails, don't it?
Lin Parent March 17, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Bob Barker, this Lin parent lives closer to Inman than Coan. Your sweeping and arrogant comments, to kick out the highly successful Lin district because that will somewhoe leave all you people better off, are best served to other trolls under Krog St. Or do you even drive that far south?
Chris Murphy March 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I don't respect people that won't post under their real names: allows for unverifiable claims and insults that would not be repeated face-to-face. That said- ME is Morningside elementary? It is correct that sending Lin's kids to Coan would not fill the school enough to keep Coan open. What we are hoping for in the newly formed Jackson cluster is that we can fashion our schools to the degree that they would be attractive, as much or more than Grady. ( That'd end this sniping, at the least.) Our focus here is on providing a model of parent and citizen involvement that forces APS to improve its strategies and personnel so that our schools are successful at graduating kids, at giving them the solid foundation needed to live a productive life in the 21st century. We hope to export our model and experiences across the City, and never let APS get down to the levels where it is now, again. Come join us. All the documents needed to look at the numbers are available on the APS site; click the Demographic Study link.
Kirkwood Resident March 17, 2012 at 03:33 PM
What I don't understand is why not rename Coan something else, and Inman as the new 9th grade annex, Inman goes to new Coan along with all of the other kids in the area. The school gets closer to capicity and nobody spends a ton more money. This was proposed by I think it was Abbey earlier in a post. I misunderstood it at first because I thought it excluded area kids, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Essentially you are closing Coan as it is now. Remaking it into a completely different school with parents from North and South. It would not be the same school people say has low test scores and other performance issues because it would have additional teachers, funding, and involved parent base. So people who said why send our kids to an underperforming school would not be correct. It would be sending your kids to a new school with the ability to be high performing. It would be what we all make of it together. Seems like a great solution to so many issues and bringing more communities together to solve a key issue. Education.
Chris Murphy March 17, 2012 at 03:48 PM
It isn't a solution because it does not address overcrowding at Grady, and in fact would increase that. It would also continue Coan (call it what you will) as a 'split-feeder': some would go to Grady, and some to Jackson. And, that's what KW is after- keeping Grady.
Earl Williamson, RN March 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Your solution to Inman overcrowding is in your face and already in cluster boundaries. Coan Middle School. Rather than objectively see that opportunity for working together the Candler Park proposal now offers the exorbitant and wasteful new construction of "an Inman expansion or annex, or another facility". While a time honored approach by APS it is no longer viable to build solutions rather than use existing ones. I challenge you to cross the tracks, tour the school, meet it's students, faculty, and program leaders, and to see what is happening there. I believe you might well see something of value to you. Coan Middle School brings this to the table in response to your growing overcrowding (itself a detriment to learning): - Geographically central - Fiscally responsible solution - Immediately available capacity - Public-private partnerships that save substantial tax dollars It has these among many others to offer kids: - Graduation Generation Program of Emory University - Confucious Mandarin Chinese Institute - Coan Edible Learning Garden (1/2 acre) of Southeastern Horticultural Society - Full Service Health Clinic partnership of Emory & Whitefoord Community Programs - Afterschool All-stars (Georgia State University and Georgia Tech)
Chris Murphy March 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Coan is not in Grady's boundaries: it's in Edgewood. Only some of Coan's students are presently in Grady's boundaries.
Earl Williamson, RN March 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM
2/3 of Coan Middle School's current zone is in Grady Cluster.
Chris Murphy March 17, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Might be half: Coan includes East Atlanta and Edgewood, both of which are at Jackson.
Sydney Barker March 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I resent being called "Bob." I resent being called "you people." I resent your assumption about driving south of Krog, given I live in SE Atlanta. It will leave EVERYONE in the City better off if the ML parents would calm down and realize sending their kids to Coan would solve everything. Leaving them in Inman solves NOTHING. Success will follow those kids to Coan.
Kirkwood Resident March 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM
You would be creating a new 9th grade by converting Inman Middle which would open more room at Grady based on that plan. Thereby alleviating the overcrowding at Grady and allowing increased attendance.
Greg Wilkinson March 17, 2012 at 08:29 PM
The correct solution is to not waste more tax dollars building more schools when you have perfectly good facilities currently in SRT3 that can resolve the overcrowding at both Mary Lin and Inman. Inman Park needs to be rezoned for Hope and then to feed into the Grady cluster. Overcrowding problem solved at Mary Lin without expanding and wasting money. Mary Lin then needs to be rezoned for Coan and then to feed into Grady. Problem solved at Inman without expanding ad wasting money. Both solutions make fiscal sense, use existing underutilized facilities in SRT3 and allow the current Grady cluster to be stay intact. Everyone wins in this. Why can't APS and Mary Lin parents see this? It's so easy a Coan 6th grader could figure it out.
Chris Murphy March 17, 2012 at 08:33 PM
How does that make it a "win" for the Coan kids not zoned for Grady?
Greg Wilkinson March 17, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Chris, Not sure if you are aware but the Coan kids are already in SRT3 and going to Grady. By using Coan to service the current communities it does and to include Mary Lin it would relieve the overcrowding at Inman. And, all can still go to Grady. No money needs to be spent. There simply isn't a need to expand any school when one is close by and available to use. The Coan family would welcome Mary Lin with open arms and walk hand in hand with them to Grady like they do now.
Chris Murphy March 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Greg, not sure you are aware, but Jackson is in SRT-3 also- and will host the rezoning meeting with Davis next week. Not all Coan kids can go to Grady, because not all are zoned for it- currently. Coan's zone includes Edgewood and E. ATL, and neither are zoned for Grady. But all Coan kids will be zoned for Jackson, in the latest plan for rezoning.
Greg Wilkinson March 18, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Chris, I appreciate the response and am aware that Jackson is in SRT3 and we will b e out in forces at the rezoning meeting with Davis on Wednesday. I also understand that the Edgewood kids are in Jackson now but also understand that they have been asking to be in Grady for the past 10 years but have been denied. East Atlanta kids are not at Coan but at Burgess so that part is incorrect.
Greg Wilkinson March 18, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Ramiro, I totally understand Chris's point. My point is bring them along. They don't bring such a large population that it would hurt Grady but would allow that neighborhood to grow and thrive like all the others. There's no need to leave them behind. Once APS stops allowing the out of district transfers at Grady and it is uses by the neighborhoods it services then all will be fine. But for some reason SRT3 North doesn't want any of this and it boggles the mind from an intown persons perspective.
Lin Parent March 18, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Coan may have all of these great things going for it, but that doesn't hide the total downward linear trend of their academic performance, now worse than nearly 90% of all other Georgia middle schools. Reading scores dropped nearly 25% from 2010 to 2011. It is a shame but keeping this school open as-is makes zero financial and academic sense to all parties involved. http://www.schooldigger.com/go/GA/schools/0012000082/school.aspx
Greg Wilkinson March 18, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Lin Parent, You raise a very good point and one we have been trying to address for years if not generations. It is a shame to keep a school open as-is. We have been asking for APS's support and the only thing we have received is lack there of forcing charter schools to pop up all over the place. So come on down and be a good neighbor and fight to improve the school with us. Coan is not the problem, it's the solution to the problem.
Greg Wilkinson March 18, 2012 at 05:33 PM
You do raise a good point and that is not forgotten about on my end at all. It very well might come down to all of us and Mary Lin going to Jackson. By bringing in Mary Lin it could make swallowing the Jackson pill just a little bit better and help tranform that school much faster.
Lin Parent March 18, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Greg, it's a real shame but Coan's neighbors bolted to Drew (enabled by APS), and Lin - based on what's going down there, can't realistically make up the void population-wise or performance-wise. Merging high-performing and low-performing student populations doesn't work, based on the open queries I've placed with teachers and administrators in Atlanta, Miami, and other school districts where I know people. Coan kids deserve much better than what they have now. Just as Lin parents did for the last 20 years to make Lin great, it may take 5-10 years for the next middle school for the Coan district. I hope it happens for you all.
Lin Parent March 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Greg, again - Jackson is one of the 78 worst schools in the state. 70 kids/year from Lin won't help that. Lin isn't in the Jackson cluster now and moving to it makes zero academic sense with zero economic gain. It's isn't going to happen.
Greg Wilkinson March 18, 2012 at 06:46 PM
They did bolt when APS didn't step up to the plate like they are supposed to do. Back when Lin was terrible the charter route was not an option. So here we are at a crossroad. Do we fix the problem or pass the buck like they have done for years? We are suggesting fixing the problem and stop building or forcing parents to go the charter route. Merging high-performing and low-performing student populations does work and Mary Lin is a prime example of that. It hasn't been all rainbow and sunshine up there. It took hard work. Come support the movement to demand better of APS and put an end to the waste. Together we can accomplish great things for future generations.
Greg Wilkinson March 18, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Lin Parent, So what you are saying is you don't believe in the superintendents plan to make the Jackson cluster strong and viable? If that's the case, why on earth would you want to toss your fellow communities, and one that belongs in Historic Kirkwood, under that bus and drive away? And if you do believe in it, why don't you come join the fight to make it happen? Coan is not the problem it is the solution to the problem.
inman parent March 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
In case anyone is just taking someone's word for it. Please visit Google maps and realize that Coan and Inman are virtually equidistant from Lin.


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