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APS Redistricting: Summerhill And Peoplestown Need To Work Together

Communities should have the same goal: creating an educational foundation for success in all children.

by Micah A. Rowland

Greetings to all our neighbors:

As we approach the final hour and come closer to finalization for our Atlanta Public Schools redistricting maps, I would hope that we could come to solidarity as a unified community in reaching our victory. We will all find that living together in a community builds strong relationships and friendships that I hope will last and live with us for an entire lifetime. Now that the time is upon us, it is time to lay down our different viewpoints and work together to bring our dreams to fruition. Let this be our time, our opportunity to find common ground and take the first step in building a lasting relationship across community boundaries.

It’s important as we move forward through APS for a more vibrant and prosperous Neighborhood Planning Unit-V. As we define our victory, may we also define who we are and what we stand for and I hope that Summerhill's and Peoplestown's residents can find common ground. A task is set before us in rebuilding our educational institution of D.H Stanton Elementary.

"We must show them that through diversity we will find common ground..."

We must now rely and trust one another and understand that this is one of many obstacles that we will all face. We now must join hands and move forward and remember that in the heart of our struggles are our children. We all hope to have a brighter future for our youth and now is that time to mold that future. We must remember that as adults we set an example for our youth. We must show them that through diversity we will find common ground and that we lay down our differences and work with our neighbors through collaboration, not fighting.

This is the time to show that we are made of sterner stuff than that what those who look upon us perceive. What example will continued infighting set for our children if we do not show them that we can compromise and move forward hand in hand? It’s now up to you all to show the youth that we all desire a brighter future for them — every one of them, not just our own children. It's now up to you to show the youth that no entity shall ever separate us. Not only with D.H. Stanton ES but also with Parks Middle School. We must find a path for the future of our youth as their voices sound loudly to us that they want a future.

Thank you all for your motivation and desires as we move forward and seek our Victory!

Mr. Rowland is president of NPU-V, the neighborhood planning unit that represents the interests of the Summerhill, Capitol Gateway, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh and Adair Park communities.

Josh Murtha April 28, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I do believe that we all stand unified in the fight for a better education for our children. And both Peoplestown and Summerhill have been put to the test in the 11th hour of this redistricting process. We stand together, although we differ in our plans and ideas we respect each others decisions on what is best for the other neighborhood. Peoplestown desires their neighborhhod school and the opportunity to improve it. We in Summerhill desire the opportunity to provide our children with the best education that is available to them now and we believe that Parkside offers that opportunity. We have been and will continue to work with our neighboring communities even those outside of NPU-V. We hope that NPU-V will stand with us in fighting for our children as they stood behind the other neighborhoods facing challenges with the APS redistricting.
William Teasley April 28, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Thanks Mica for your comments. However, compromise first requires a willingness to come together to learn more about each other and each others position to determine the best path forward. Each has to be willing to look for the win-win. Peoplestown has consistently reached out and had its doors open to engage, while others have chosen not to engage or participate. Our doors continue to be open to positive ad productive dialogue. Peoplestown came to its position of its own accord, not one person, or ten, but many examined the situation before us and choose to work to transform our school. Summerhill chose to abandon their school for a promise of greener pastures, as is their choice. We had the opportunity to make that same decision but we did not. This is the defining line between us. In time we will cross those lines and engage in true and honest dialogue to compromise.
Micah Rowland April 29, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Thank you Mr. Teasley, for those who are unaware. Mr. Teasley is the Education Chair of NPU-V and has offered great leadership and information in regards to education throughout our communities. It appears that Summerhill has taken the option of isolation and felt that allowing the closing of Cook ES was best for the NPU-V communities. Jon: it appears you don't understand that others seek access to these educational institutions other than Summerhill. Please remember that we are 6 communities not one and the desires of Summerhill do not outweigh that of the entire communities of NPU-V. As the NPU chair I support keeping DH Stantion open. If people who live in Summerhill choose not to attend DH Stanton, transfers are available for those small groups of people. To my understanding ONS does not speak for all of Summerhill as there are 2 associations the other being SNDC which did not make the redress to move Summerhill to Parkside. I think that members who speak on behalf of Summerhill should understand that they do not have the only voice and the testimony of the majority speaks to keep DH Stanton open. We live in a time where hardwork and determination is necessary as we all live in this harsh economic times. This is the burden of the human spirit to always fight to always endure. Parkside in not in NPU-V but in NPU-W which is outside of my purview. You are welcome to have a dialouge in open forum. However, I will stand for the closing of any school in NPU-V.
Andrea K-s April 29, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Micah: Respectfully, I know that your role is to advocate for NPU-V, but communities ties are built in many ways other than through NPU. For example, both of these communities have been extremely vocal in their desire to attend both middle and high school in NPU-W, rather than being zoned to other closer schools. From a community development perspective, DHS & Parks differ. DHS was never at risk for vacancy the way Parks Middle might have been. But looking to the central issue of the children, I've spoken to many many parents in Summerhill who believe social justice demands access to a high quality education, not a school that is a mile vs. 1.5 miles walk. APS has built a tremendous school at Parkside with room for at least one of these communities (& I believe it could have been both). I'm willing to work to support all of our schools including DHS, but I personally think better options were available. But regardless of the absolute best answer, Summerhill isn't the enemy of Peoplestown and they were not at fault for APS's neglect of McGill, Cook or DHS. DHS has already benefited from the attention generated by ONS. APS found a new principal who doesn't block Peoplestown community from the school (as prior administration had) and APS has begun to fix the shameful state of the exterior.

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