Editor's note: The Local School Council at Whitefoord Elementary School voted Feb. 10 on a position statement in support of its school. The statement is not the official position of the Edgewood community. The Organized Neighbors of Edgewood, the association that represents the community, is expected to vote on it at its Feb. 20 meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Antioch East Baptist Church, 1233 Hardee St. Garry W. Long, ONE's president, told East Atlanta Patch the seven-member local school council, of which he also is a member, voted unanimously for the statement. If ONE approves, then it would be presented to the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent.
To Superintendent Davis and the School Board of Atlanta Public Schools,
The Local School Council of would like to take this opportunity to submit our opinion regarding the APS redistricting process as it relates specifically to Whitefoord Elementary School.
We overwhelmingly support keeping Whitefoord Elementary School open! In our opinion there is only one option and that is for Whitefoord Elementary School to remain open. There are many great things about Whitefoord Elementary School, including:
- A student population where 100% of students have the option of walking to school.
- A full service health center staffed by Emory University health professionals providing primary health, dental and behavioral care services to the community – adults and children – serving approximately 1,300 people every year.
- A wonderful new and experienced principal with a proven record of elementary school leadership, and who is committed to student achievement.
- Retained a higher percentage of zoned students and consistently had higher student enrollment than some nearby schools.
- 140 units of new multi-family housing within walking distance to WES
- Edgewood is a community that is experiencing positive transition
- Two NAECY certified pre-K classrooms with room for 44 students.
- An afterschool program focused on academic achievement and cultural enrichment.
- Partnerships that include the Whitefoord Community Program, Emory University, IMAGE, Graduation Generation, Marriott Hotels and the Edgewood Community Learning Garden.
The Whitefoord Community Program, for example, has invested 17 years of resources and hard work in supporting neighborhood families and is intertwined with Whitefoord Elementary School in numerous ways including managing a full service pediatric health center located inside the school. The Whitefoord Community Program also has an early learning and a Pre-K program which provides care and instruction for children aged six weeks through five years who will be feeding into Whitefoord Elementary. These programs are operating at full capacity with consumers from communities other than Edgewood.
In order to remain open, WES would be happy to fill our empty seats by welcoming students from other communities and school. However, we will leave it up to you, the Board, to decide which parents and students should become part of the WES School family. You, the Board, are also expected to exercise fiscal responsibility when considering solutions to the capacity issues that we face system wide.
We also don’t believe that Dekalb Avenue is a boundary that cannot be crossed. However, we do feel very strongly that I-20 creates a natural southern border between elementary school zones. Because we are committed to maintaining walkability, especially at the elementary school level, we are staunchly opposed to forcing our youngest students to cross I-20 to the South.
We are excited to feed into and and we are committed to collaborating with other schools in the Maynard Jackson High School cluster to continue to improve our respective neighborhood schools.
We demand that APS provide the resources that our cluster needs to succeed. Specifically we demand that every school in the Maynard Jackson HS cluster offer students a rigorous curriculum taught by certified teacher in every classroom.
We are proud of Edgewood and its diversity. We are proud of the history of our community and the success of our neighborhood school. Whitefoord Elementary School is indispensable to the historic community of Edgewood.
Please consider our position and please keep Whitefoord Elementary school open.