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The 10-Year Grady Cluster Overcrowding Solution: Maximum results, minimum upheaval.

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Davis and members of the Atlanta Board of Education consider the following 10-year plan that presents a cost-effective, viable and long-term solution to the overcrowding at Inman Middle School and Grady High School.

This new proposal seeks to minimize the financial implications, the strain on resources and the number of children/families negatively impacted by redistricting — while promoting neighborhood schools, educational consistency and preservation of the proven successful k-5, 6-8, 9-12 learning model.

APS has already explored the idea of removing several elementary feeder schools (Morningside, Hope Hill, Centennial Place, Toomer, and East Lake) from the Grady Cluster. Only two schools have not been considered: Springdale Park (Inman and Grady both sit within SPARK’s boundaries) and Mary Lin. Many have been advocating strongly for alternative grade configurations – 5/6 academy or 6th academy – and we the undersigned are concerned that dissenting views on these issues have not been heard or considered. We ask that before APS implements a 6th grade annex (or a 5/6 annex) for the Grady Cluster — which does nothing to alleviate the overcapacity issues at Grady, and takes our cluster down an unproven path from which it would be difficult to return - they thoughtfully consider the 10-year plan outlined below.

Instead of asking 13 neighborhoods (Old Fourth Ward, Virginia Highland, Poncey-Highland, Midtown, Druid Hills, Morningside, Lenox Park, Piedmont Heights, Ansley Park, Sherwood Forrest, Candler Park, Lake Claire, and Inman Park) to send their 6th graders to a separate annex, creating obstacles for APS administration/staff, financial and logistical hardships for families, and an additional, unnecessary transition for students who are at a critical point in adolescent development; APS should consider the option of shifting only the three neighborhoods that comprise Mary Lin (Inman Park, Candler Park and Lake Claire) to Coan Middle School. It is a logical, simple solution that is driven by geographical proximity and the need to reduce capacity within the Grady cluster and boost utilization at Coan. This one move would provide immediate relief for the Grady cluster, could be implemented in August, would require no additional money or construction and would cause the least amount of upheaval within the majority of the Grady cluster neighborhoods. Conversely, this would cause less upheaval in the Jackson Cluster, allowing Coan to remain open as a 6-8 middle school, continuing to serve its surrounding communities.


10-year plan to address overcapacity at Inman and Grady:

• Centennial Elementary becomes K-8 and continues to feed into Grady

• Morningside, Springdale Park and Hope Hill feed into Inman, then into Grady

• Mary Lin feeds into Coan and Jackson


The benefits of this plan:

Requires no money — no construction or additional facilities of any kind would be required

Could be implemented as a sustainable, 10-year solution beginning in August ‘12

Keeps enrollment within, or close to both Inman and Grady’s school capacities, for the entire 10-year window

Allows Inman to remain intact on its existing campus as a 6-8 middle school for 10 years with the ability to accommodate future in-zone growth during that time

Allows Inman to function exactly as it does now with three teams of four teachers per grade level

Maintains three lunch periods, one per grade level

All connections and extracurricular activities operate the same as they do now

Maintains Inman as a walkable neighborhood school for many of its students

Maintains diversity and Title 1 funding at both Inman and Grady

Uses only existing facilities that are already operational

Allows Coan Middle School to remain open and continue to serve its community*

Reduces transportation costs and impact on city traffic and the environment

*Coan could be fed by Mary Lin, Toomer, Whitefoord, and possibly Burgess Peterson – there is no reason why this could not be a dynamic, successful, high-performing school.


We reject an Inman 6th grade annex, or a 5/6 configuration, for the following reasons:

• Annexes/split campuses are costly, requiring duplication of resources including principal, staff and administrative personnel

• Creates an additional transition for students

• Large grade level sizes (from 350-500 students over the next 10 years)

• Decreased parental involvement (lower parental investment in a one/two-year school, plus time constraints due to a removed campus)

• Creates an extended school day for students who have to be bused farther distances

• Creates difficulty in getting students to morning tutorials

• Negatively impacts after school activities, clubs, intramurals and extracurricular activities (band, orchestra, and chorus), many of which are multi-grade level

• Transportation issues – necessitates extra buses, increases costs, creates scheduling difficulties, negatively impacts traffic and the environment

• Connections: Art, Drama, Foreign Language and other electives use teachers for more than one grade level

• Difficulties and additional cost of administration split between two campuses


If you agree that APS should consider a 10-year plan that best supports
the majority of students, please add your name to the petition.


All signatures (name, zip code and date signed) will be presented in alphabetical order with the petition to the school board before the feedback period closes.  

Because of the sensitivity of this issue, you may request that your name not be displayed publicly in the on-line version of the petition. 

*All signatures will be confirmed by email address confirmation and all duplicates will be removed.

We have reached our goal!

Thank you for your interest in APS redistricting.  

Please continue to send in your feedback to APS.

Letter to
Atlanta Board of Education
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