APS hopes new school year means fresh start - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

APS hopes new school year means fresh start

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Summer is over for kids in many local districts, including the city of Atlanta.  It's the first day of school for the district, and there's a push to restore faith in a system that has seen its share of recent high-profile troubles.

District officials say they're very encouraged going into the new school year.  They've made significant physical renovations to some schools, and they say they've also made improvements to the system.

"I believe that if they look very hard at the changes that we are making for this year, they will see that they are all focused on increasing the quality of education," said Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis.  

Students will start the new school year in a renovated facility at Benjamin E. Mays High School in southwest Atlanta, and they'll see lots of changes. They'll leave the old Archer Building, and return to the old Mays campus, which has undergone a $40 million makeover.  The school now boasts a two-story library and an overhaul to the auditorium and the library.

All of those changes come after a rough year for Atlanta Public Schools.  Protests followed a controversial redistricting fight, but the biggest challenge school officials faces is recovering from the CRCT cheating scandal.  

"My first message for the teachers, of course, is thanks, because they've done an incredible job under some trying circumstances, and very few of our teachers did transgress and the large majority did not," said Davis.

Davis says that in order to put the past behind them, the schools continue to reassure parents that they are dedicated to improving overall student performance.  He says state standards for academic performance have gone up, and he expects Atlanta Public Schools to meet those standards.

In all, 12 school districts head back to the classroom on Monday, including Atlanta Public Schools, Butts County, Commerce City Schools, Coweta County, Douglas County, Gwinnett County, Heard County, Henry County, Jackson County, Lamar County, Lumpkin County and Pike County.

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