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Ramiro Garcia,  in Grants Park, Atlanta,...

How Supportive is the greater Kirkwood Community of the local public schools?

Asked by Ramiro Garcia, Grants Park, Atlanta, GA Tue Mar 11, 2008

Are new families moving into Kirkwood embracing the local public schools? Grant Park has been innovative with grass-root efforts in creating charter schools and even getting APS to raise the bar for the 'traditional' elementary school. (which is a high achieving 21st Century Technology school) ... How engaged is the greater Kirkwood community in supporting the local schools? Grady High is now the zoned High School - Does that include all of Kirkwood? Thanks

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Yes, Yes, and Yes! When my Wife and I moved to Kirkwood 10 years ago we used to joke when we saw a friend's home go on the market "Oh, they must be pregnant". Then, in typical urban pioneer fashion, when folks were done renovating the homes they lived in they started to fill them up with children...and stayed. Now, because of the family freindly atmosphere that Kirkwood has become, I am now seeing more and more family's with children seeking out Kirkwood as a place to call home.

With pajama storytime, the bessie brahnam park and playground, numerous playgroups and opportunities for community interaction, the schools are experiencing a wonderful resurgence. As gentrfification and revitalization have continued, the schools are now increasingly diverse and Toomer Elementary School in Kirkwood had among the best test scores in the city for the 2006 school year. With the inlusion of the first Mandarin Chinese program in a georgia public school and inclusion in the Grady Highschool cluster, I feel that the future is indeed very bright for Toomer. My youngest son Ethan began Pre-K there this year and I could not have asked for a better expreince.

Toomer has an active PTA, a school coalition and incredible support from the Kirkwood Neighbors Organization.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 28, 2008
Sean Casey - thou rocketh.

You are the Ramiro Garcia of Kirkwood, although, and I gotta meet this guy, Ramiro is like the professor of Intown schools.

Ramiro - make sure that you invite us to your first open house on the new construction property in Kirkwood!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 29, 2008
I really hope this is an isolated incident. Also, being in a public park there's no telling all un-supervised kids are in the neighborhood schools. I tend to be an optimist, especially when it comes to children, but always having a safe learning environment - of course.

That's why I asked the question. I'm aware of famiies from Edewood and Kirkwood whom are at the Grant Park Charter Schools (and they're very involved), but at some point each neighborhood has to demand better public services - be schools, education, parks, etc. Even if money is an issue, there is no guarantee of getting into the top private schools. Should be interesting how this develops from a greater community standpoint.

Having real grass-roots input and support are paramount, in my opinion. Look a how the Midtown Neighborhood has not been completely satisfied with the current APS schools, Morninside and Inman ... (not these are not good schools, just that dealing with the APS beauracracy can be stiffling!), so they are serious in their efforts to open a K-8 Charter School in Midtown... The current proposal is an affiliated Imagine School like the Imagine Wesley on Custer South of Grant Park.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 13, 2008
I will definately invite you all... Lee, you should have been at the KNO meeting... half the room near us were agents, right Sean? ;-) That's great to hear about local support of the school. Having had my son at another Pre-K program years ago, I know the Pre-K is totally separate and insulated from the actual elementary school. Are families enrolling their kids in Toomer Elementary? Coan? and Grady outside of the Communications Magnet Program? Not to take away from progress our intown schools are making, but Test Scores are not always indicative of the actual educational experience ... Especially, when teachers' bonuses can be tied to Test Scores and that's all that is emphasized in many traditional APS schools. For those parents with younger children, I'd recommend working with the community and board rep to make Toomer a "21st Century School" similar to our local APS (non-charter) Parkside Elementary School!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2008

My 27 day old daughter is compelling me to think about scholastic endeavours and matriculation, so, I shall let you know more as I develop a better sense of things.

I do know that my great friends who have a child at Paidea and I walked to the Bessie Branham Park on Sunday. They brought their 7 year old boy and their 4 year old daughter, and their dogs.

The children went to play on the playground and we kept to our adult selves with the dogs - a teacher from Paidea was at the playground with his children, so they knew that their mature children were OK.

A young boy, younger than 10, walked up to the 7 year old at the playground - he was wearing a halloween-type mask, sealed up tight inside his hooded sweatshirt. He told the 7 year old that he was going to kill him.

The Paidea teacher saw that the 7 year old was frightened and he asked the other boy if his parents knew that he scared younger children on the playground. The older boy talked back, acted as if he knew that he did no wrong and told the 7 year old that he knew where he lived.

This story reinforces why lots of parents keep their children out of government schools, especially in Kirkwood.

I shall keep an open mind and maintain a circumspect composure in approaching Toomer Elementary.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 13, 2008
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