APS Frequently Asked Questions:
How is Atlanta Public Schools addressing the needs of its highest-needs students amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
Although Atlanta Public Schools strives to provide quality teaching and learning to every student amid the pandemic, we recognize that many of our students, especially our highest-needs learners and students with special needs, have lost invaluable learning time since March, placing them at a greater risk of not being prepared for college, career, and life. Many have experienced the loss of loved ones; others have grappled with racial injustices and police brutality; and others still face food and income insecurity.
It is clear that there is much work to do to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of our students amid this pandemic.
You will recall that when APS announced that we would remain virtual through at least January 2021, we also shared that we’re continuing to explore ways to support our highest-needs learners, particularly our low-incidence special needs population and our youngest students, including their potential return to some in-person services prior to January 2021.
In follow up to that commitment, the District is developing guidelines that will allow our schools to launch face-to-face intervention for our highest-need students beginning in November 2020. Our intervention plan is aligned to and in support of APS’ whole-child framework. Through face-to-face interventions, we aspire to address students’ needs in the areas of wellness, social-emotional learning, and positive behavior supports.
Each of our schools and clusters will develop their own plans to meet the unique needs of their students, but all of our schools must offer up to two days of face-to-face intervention from Tuesday through Friday for their highest-need students in order to ensure equitable outcomes for students.
What will face-to-face intervention include?
APS’ face-to-face intervention plans will be based on the following guiding principles:
- All schools must offer up to two days of face-to-face intervention for their highest-need students in order to ensure equitable outcomes for students.
- All schools will offer face-to-face interventions within the parameters of APS’ health and safety protocols with no intervention effort exceeding eight students at any time.
- School-based leadership knows their students best and as such will have the autonomy to determine what interventions are offered, how interventions are staffed and delivered, and when (before school, during school, after school) interventions are offered.
- Schools will regularly meet to identify the highest needs students for face-to-face intervention based on their academic needs, wellness needs, and engagement to ensure the highest-need students are identified for intervention.
- Targeted intervention should not replace core instruction and should be scheduled around the identified students’ schedules.
When will face-to-face interventions begin?
Face-to-face intervention programs will start rolling out in APS schools in November 2020.
How will APS identify high-need students for face-to-face intervention?
Face-to-face interventions will target the highest-need students in each school using the guidelines in the chart below. Schools will work with their leadership teams and teachers in order to identify students who meet one or more of the criteria below. Schools will contact the families of those students who qualify for intervention.
What health and safety guidelines need to be followed?
Does this effort signal an early start to Phase II of Return+Learn?
To be clear, this initiative does not mean that Atlanta Public Schools is moving forward into the next phase of the Return+Learn plan. Because of unfavorable trends in the COVID-19 health data, the district has postponed all reopening plans for in-person learning until January 2021.
These interventions stand as its own initiative developed by the District’s Schools and Academics and Student Support teams working in collaborative fashion with school-based leadership to create additional opportunities and supports to address specific needs for our students.