Last Friday, Oct. 5, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) conducted its annual State of the District address.

Parents, students and administrators joined APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen, Ed.D., who shared a number of the school district’s successes over the last year.

The event also celebrated the opening of the $8 million Walden Athletic Complex at Grady High School.

The new sports facility will be used by Grady High athletes for competition in football, lacrosse, soccer and baseball.

According to Carstarphen, APS had plenty to celebrate. The school district accomplished a graduation rate of 79.9 percent, the highest rate ever in the district’s history, she said.   

“Our graduation rate is 79.93 percent to be exact!” Carstarphen said. “This means the district’s graduation rate has increased by 20.8 percentage points from 59.1 percent in 2014 to 79.9 percent in 2018. This year’s rate represents a 2.9 percentage point gain over last year.”

APS is currently on pace to graduate over 80 percent of its students in 2018.

This year’s theme was “APS Rocks!” Students and teachers performed songs and dance numbers, as they used music to highlight some of the academic and financial achievements the district has achieved over the last 12 months.

APS Rocks also celebrated its students’ musical talents, as well as their academic achievements.

Though Carstarphen had plenty to celebrate, she acknowledged that as a district, APS still has work to do.

“Our achievement gap is very connected to the opportunity gap our kids and families experience in Atlanta every day!” Carstarphen said. “That’s why we need all of our community to stand behind our families if we are ever going to break the cycle of poverty for them and ultimately ensure that all kids – regardless of their race or socioeconomic status – achieve at the high levels we know they are capable of achieving.”

APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (Photo: Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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