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

Should Atlanta Public Schools give priority to children whom live in the community where a pre-k program?

Asked by Ramiro Garcia, Grants Park, Atlanta, GA Thu May 1, 2008

exist? Yes, this is brought on by the high demand for quality education and pre-k in our intown neighborhoods

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I would have to answer "no" to this question Ramiro. I fundamentally agree with the georgia lottery funded pre-k program; however, unlike districted schools where the facility your children attends is based on where you live, many schools within the APS system do not host pre-k programs. Thus, to give preference based on district or community would unfairly favor those who live near homes with schools in thier area that offer pre-k, while those living outside a given area would be at a distinct disadvantage.

I personally witnessed the three-ring-circus at Lin Elementary this morning when dropping my second grader off (Yes, I camped out for several days to get him into Lin in first grade!). From a PR and admistrative standpoint at APS, this morning.s activities could have been handled much better- The story made CNN for crying out loud!!! Check out the link below to the AJC story covering it:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
Glad to hear about all the local support and the possible expansion of the pre-k program at Toomer.
It's quite interesting, as many of the same Intown families are familiar withh Coan and Toomer based on soccer games that many of their kids play with AYSA soccer. Of course, there is the new soccer complex off Arizona and right down the street from the schools. You might be on to something, but careful if you ever want to list property in Lake Claire ;-)

Why does APS have the Inman zoning to include the Howell Station area of Atlanta off Marietta when Kennedy Middle School is so much closer? If Inman is re-zoned closer to it's actual geography, maybe Kirkwood could be zoned into Inman and Coan can be some type of comprehensive middle school? or you can get LC to be zoned into Coan? while you're at it with Mary Lin? - Hey, you brought this up Sean ;-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008
We had parents line up early (4 AM) on the morning of enrollment and the 1st class filled up from the folks in line. We had some folks come over from the Lin line, but because Toomer has open class space, we were able to make tenative agreements with the Pre-K admin to open a second class at Toomer if we could get 15 people on the waiting list, which also happened. So it appears we will likely have 2 pre-k classes at Toomer this year and I am guessing from the mayhem at Lin, that they will probably not have one in the near future...it also buys them an extra class room for thier core grades.

Dude...I think the parents in LC would spontaneously combust if APS were to even breach the subject of re-districting into Toomer! I know of more than a handful of parents that moved to LC specifically for Lin enrollment. They justified the increased mortgage bill as offsetting private school tuition. While THIS IS ONLY SPECULATION, I am a bit of an antogonist at heart and it would at least give me some satisfaction to see thier reactions.

In truth, a light version of this discussion happened 6-7 years ago when LC was re-districted to District 5 for the Atlanta City council. They were afraid that thier vote would be diluted by "diverging opinions" in the lower income district to thier south. It is actually neat how it turned out, because there were actually more registered voters in Lake Claire at that time than in the rest of district 5 combined...thankfully they were able to drive the entire election and get that demagogue Sherry Dorsey out of office.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 5, 2008
Surprised it's been so quiet regarding your last sentence ;-) It's pretty complex. The Morningside parents are dealing with this new Kindergarten School on Ponce de Leon ( right down the street from Mary Lin) in the old Howard School building. I don't believe they are totally happy with that current 'solution' to their capacity issues. It's going to be interesting to see if the new Midtown Charter Schook (K-*) gets approved by APS. How do you think the Lake Clair parents would feel is APS did this re-zoning and sent them to Toomer? It's similar to what was proposed many years ago to Inman Park - rezoning them to John Hope, instead of Mary Lin. Much of this is cyclical... but there are more and more active parents with young children demanding quality education.

Would that type of social re-engineering work, as some have called it?
You telling me they wern't lining up overnight for Toomer's Pre-K program? ;-)
.... Should we all be getting 30030 zip codes when middle school rools around? ;-)
Web Reference: http://www.DweLLintown.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
I am sending my child to Toomer....and my other child to Mary Lin. Quite honestly, when my oldest son was ready for grade school I was probably one of the biggest nae sayers of Toomer ever turning around. The previous administration was text book passive-agressive, had a staff of dead-wood and was about as resistant to change as one could get. In other words, there was no way I was going to send my child there.

The new principle and administration, now in it's 4th school year, has made incredible strides in recent years. Not only has the school made AYP every year, but was a school of excellence last year (one of just three in the system), test scores actualy outstrip nearly every other APS elementary school, and the incorporation of the Chinese program will help drive growth into the future.

When it came time for my younger son to enroll in Toomer, my wife and I were satisfied with the progress the school had made and along with several freinds, took the plunge! As I have said before, I could not have asked for a better experience. In Addition, my older son has actually expressed and interest in leaving Lin and comming to Toomer with its much smaller class sizes.

Hear is something to blow your mind: With Lin literally bursting at the seams and with Toomer only at 45% of their enrollment capacity but performing at par with Lin several years running, how long do you think it will be before APS re-districts Lake Claire into Toomer to releave pressure from Lin? (Sean pulls the pin and runs for cover)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
I find it quite interesting, I have to admit. I too am a big advocate of public school education. I truly believe everyone school should be a school of excellence with all the best resources and best teachers. As an active (and family) in our intown neighborhoods, the value of community is SO very important. Our local schools are a reflection of the communities in whichg they exist and need to be valued and supported by all. We all want what's best for our children and will go out of our way to provide for them. Of course, the pre-k lottery is 'free', but there is no guarantee a child in the pre-k at Mary Lin will be able to enroll in the actual elementary school, as they are totally separate programs. You realized this is the same pre-k program that used to be housed at Morningside, until they ran out of room and had to use their space for the actual school. Parkside elementary also has a pre-k program that many Grant Park residents are choosing to utilize because it's a good program and within walking distance to many families.

I don't buy Dr. Hall's reasoning that camping out is not allowed because it's not fair to those families that are unable to spend the time to reserve their spots. That's an insult to those in Candler Park, Inman Park and Lake Claire that have worked so hard to support their local schools despite all the bureaucracy at APS. I'm not knocking anyone for sending their kid to a better school outside of their neighborhood ( ... hmm ;-) Yes Sean - by reading your other posts it sounded like you were sending your child to Toomer in Kirkwood), but since pre-k is open to all, then put the programs where they are most needed. If that means it not a Mary Lin and placed at another under-served area, I'm all for it. Besides, I'm sure at some point Mary Lin is going to actually need that classroom for elementary use... just my .02 cents over here from a group of hard-headed parents thah refused to be manipulated by APS and decided to start our own Neighborhood Charter School ;-)

P.S. outside a societal and fundemental point of view, can you imagine the effect on Kirkwood real estate if the school was a top notch school that had a waiting list to get into?

Ramiro Garcia | REALTOR
Founding Parent The Neighborhood Charter School, Founding Parent of the Grant Park Park Cooperative Preschool, Current parent of Atlanta Charter Middle School
(not trying to impress anyone with our involvement in local schools, just that I truly believe an element of neighborhood community is critical in the success of our schools!... )
I'm just getting really frustrating seeing all the Clayton County plates coming to our local schools and taking spots from local families...
Web Reference: http://www.DweLLintown.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
I believe that there needs to be a mandated Pre-K program in our public schools. We are failing to progress as quickly as other nations, and a head start for children is essential in improving our school systems locally and nationally.
Aside from my personal belief - I don't know what the regulations on that is. I do know that here in my school district I have neighbors spending the night in line for days now trying to get one of the coveted 25 spots at Mary Lin. Obviously the program is in demand, and needs to be expanded.



Sarah Turner
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Sanctuary Real Estate, Inc.
300 North Highland Avenue Suite B | Atlanta, GA 30307
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 1, 2008
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