M E M O R A N D U M TO: Expanded Cabinet and Principals RE: Petition to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation At this time, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate our progress, and your voice, individually and collectively, can secure a massive investment in the future of the children in Atlanta. We are very fortunate to be one of 10 districts nationwide to compete for a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant to improve teacher effectiveness. This is an unparalleled opportunity for APS to move to the next stage of our school reform, enabling us to move from creating effective schools to ensuring there is an effective teacher in every classroom. Your input, through feedback during working sessions (e.g., breakouts at the principals’ meeting and leadership retreat) has been a key factor in the development of our teacher effectiveness strategy. We are in the process of finalizing our strategy that was recently presented to you at the APS Leadership Retreat. To recap, the strategy will focus on four priority areas: ** Transforming the classroom experience to enable high quality, differentiated instruction by providing teachers with the supports needed to effectively diagnose and address individual student needs ** Ensuring individual and collective responsibility for student success by improving the evaluation process and ensuring that effective teachers receive appropriate rewards and recognition ** Strategically balancing teacher teams to ensure that students receive quality instruction in any grade in a school and in any school in the district ** Building a stronger pool of teachers by ensuring that teachers entering the system are of the highest quality, they receive the necessary support to be effective (e.g., more tailored professional development) and consistently low performing teachers are fairly exited We will be sharing more details of the strategy with you in the upcoming school year and look forward to your continued engagement as more details are defined. Each of the 10 competing districts will submit their proposals to the Gates Foundation on July 31, 2009. The support of the school system’s leaders behind the strategy will be a key criteria used in the selection of the winning districts. In that regard, as an APS leader, we are asking you to demonstrate your support for Atlanta Public Schools and the proposed teacher effectiveness strategy by signing our online petition below by July 28, 2009. We are confident that by implementing a teacher effectiveness strategy, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of the children of Atlanta. P E T I T I O N As an Atlanta Public Schools (APS) leader, I am in support of the Atlanta Public Schools and the proposed teacher effectiveness strategy.