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Atlanta superintendent receives top honor.

BEVERLY HALL, SUPERINTENDENT OF ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS Atlanta Public Schools is a school district based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. APS is run by the Atlanta Board of Education with superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall. Currently, the system has an active enrollment of 57,000 students, attending a total of 85 schools: 59 elementary  since 1999, was named the National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators The American Association of School Administrators (AASA), founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States.  (AASA AASA American Association of School Administrators
AASA Asian American Student Association
AASA Association of Academies of Sciences in Asia
AASA Aging and Adult Services Administration
AASA Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army
) during its annual conference in February. After accepting the award, Hall sat down with us to talk about Atlanta's public schools and their inspiring successes.

Q: Tell us a little about the make-up of your district.

BH: Atlanta Public Schools has approximately 50,000 children, 76 percent of which qualify for free or reduced lunch. Over 80 percent of students are black, 9 percent are Latino, and the rest are white and other ethnicities. The district has been on a path of improvement over the last nine years, and we've been gaining a lot of attention because it's been such steady, incremental Additional or increased growth, bulk, quantity, number, or value; enlarged.

Incremental cost is additional or increased cost of an item or service apart from its actual cost.
 progress. The other interesting point is that this is my tenth year, which is a little bit of an anomaly for a superintendent.

When you say nine years of improvement. what type of improvement is that exactly?. State test scores? Graduation rates?

Both. When I arrived, only 46 percent of fourth-graders were meeting or exceeding state standards. But the state has raised the bar, and now we have 86 percent of our fourth-graders meeting state standards. Our graduation rate rose from 30 percent to over 70 percent.

Let's talk about the stimulus package. Do you have a sense of how Atlanta might benefit from the new federal monies?

We don't have the fine print yet. What I do know is that without the stimulus package, we would have to consider laying off teachers. And dearly we can use the money that will come for the school modernization modernization

Transformation of a society from a rural and agrarian condition to a secular, urban, and industrial one. It is closely linked with industrialization. As societies modernize, the individual becomes increasingly important, gradually replacing the family,
 program and for technology. It really is a shot in the arm for public schools all across America.

Can you offer any advice to other administrators who may be struggling to raise student achievement?

I think we all have to prioritize pri·or·i·tize  
v. pri·or·i·tized, pri·or·i·tiz·ing, pri·or·i·tiz·es Usage Problem

v.tr.
To arrange or deal with in order of importance.

v.intr.
. For example, when I got to Atlanta we took on the teaching of literacy with a great deal of intentionality intentionality

Property of being directed toward an object. Intentionality is exhibited in various mental phenomena. Thus, if a person experiences an emotion toward an object, he has an intentional attitude toward it.
, because teachers said their college's school of education did not prepare them to teach reading. So we invested heavily in professional development around the teaching of literacy. We also looked at the issue of principal leadership. If you don't have a competent leader, no matter what the central office is mandating or providing, you don't get the return on the investment for the resources you're using. And I also am quite entrepreneurial. I go out to the philanthropic phil·an·throp·ic   also phil·an·throp·i·cal
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or marked by philanthropy; humanitarian.

2. Organized to provide humanitarian or charitable assistance:
 community, to the corporate community, and I ask them for support--particularly for start-up costs for initiatives that I know the budget will not be able to provide.

What are some examples of those one-shot initiatives?

My signature initiative with elementary school elementary school: see school.  is something called Project GRAD--Graduation Really Achieves Dreams--which has been supported by the Ford Foundation. One of its components is that you provide to schools two or three social workers who go above and beyond what the regular school social worker would do to link families and children to outside agencies for health support, mental health support, and other services that impact the child. I raised $20 million in three years to support Project GRAD, which also provides tutors for children who are falling behind in first and second grade to provide a family support team within the school. Those are things that our budget would never have been able to provide.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

So it's not just standard teaching but a more holistic approach holistic approach A term used in alternative health for a philosophical approach to health care, in which the entire Pt is evaluated and treated. See Alternative medicine, Holistic medicine.  that brings multiple services together.

Right. You'll hear from the teachers, "Oh, I can't do it, because they don't come. ... They're here today, they're not here." Those are real issues in urban centers, and yet we hold teachers accountable ultimately for student achievement. Yes, teachers do have a job, but they can't say that they don't have support in getting the job done.

www.DISTRICTADMINISTRATION.COM (1) (Computer Output Microfilm) Creating microfilm or microfiche from the computer. A COM machine receives print-image output from the computer either online or via tape or disk and creates a film image of each page.  Read more of our conversation with Beverly Hall.
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Title Annotation:Conversations: Beverly Hall
Author:Miners, Zach
Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Interview
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:653
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