North Atlanta High is featured in the headlines of local news outlets every week if not more often, because of the sudden recent firing and reassignment of its principal and other school officials and due to allegations of racism and grade-changing.
Now, the Buckhead Reporter has uncovered emails from Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel informing other board members that he intended to look into the allegations from parents about institutional racism at the school.
Former NAH Principal Mark MyGrant said he believed his sudden removal had to do with accusations of racism, but Superintendent Errol Davis said the reassignment of school officials was due to the struggling academics of the school.
However, some parents and community leaders point are concerned about the current condition of the school, with its poor academic performance and allegations of grade-changing. However, others point out that there are good things happening at North Atlanta.
What do you think? Is North Atlanta High failing or is it on the right track? What's wrong with the school? What's right with the school? Tell us in the comments below.
APS Board of Education member Nancy Meister, who represents North Atlanta High, sent a letter on Oct. 25 outlining the school's academic performance, which she said is positive. She pointed out that the school had an 88.5 percent graduation rate in 2011, explained why the school did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress and noted that the state did not recommend interventional support for the school.
Excerpts from the letter include:
"This community has been misled. Great gains have been made though the hard work of our cluster principals, administrators, teachers, business partners, parents and most of all students. These have gone unrecognized and have been buried beneath allegations and innuendo...I believe as your BOE representative and as a parent, the leadership team that was at NAHS for the past 5 years has done an exceptional job at achieving student success and taking the school to a higher level."
A letter from NAH parent, Chris Adelman, shows that Meister's data may have been incorrect and unintentionally misleading. His research found that NAH's graduation rates have ranged from 72 percent to the mid-50 percent range over the last three years.
Excerpts from his letter include:
"My experience with NAHS’ leadership team has been fairly poor...The simple fact that a small, and vocal group of parents at NAHS has emotional ties to the outgoing principal is NOT evidence that he or any of his immediate staff were doing their jobs well...
NAHS gets a 5 out of 10 from parents, students and teachers http://www.greatschools.org/georgia/atlanta/124-North-Atlanta-High-School/ Have a look at the earlier reviews while Mygrant was principal. There are some pretty bad ones – with some unpleasant facts.
So, although the school has been making progress to become a full-fledged IB school, it is still in DIRE need of fundamental improvements in administration, and teaching."
A recent blog post from Local Voices Blogger Jarod Apperson asks the question: Is North Atlanta High Failing? In his analysis, he said, "Black, White, and Hispanic students at North Atlanta all exceed APS averages on SAT tests" and that NAH serves a "high needs population."
An email from one Buckhead Patch reader and mother, Laura, said:
"It sounds more like a case of reverse discrimination. If you looked inside our school, you would find just how colorful it is. Economically, socially and racially. We all find it absurd someone is calling the 'race card.' Third, there are great things happening at NAHS."
What do you think? Are there great things happening at NAH as well as things that urgently need to change? Is NAH failing? Tell us below in the comments.