Equity-Centered School Governance Initiative

The Southern Education Foundation is working alongside Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to provide strategic support to local governance boards known as GO Teams. These teams comprised of school staff, parents, community representatives and students provide valuable input in the development of budgets and improvement plans for both individual schools and school clusters (i.e. feeder schools within communities).

SEF is actively working in two clusters: Jackson and Washington. The equity imperative that drives our engagement with these clusters lies in the fact that between them, they serve nearly 10,000 students, 90% of whom are children of color (Black, Latino, or multi-racial), and are primarily from low-income families.

With the knowledge that resources and experience will vary, promoting ways to build capacity are core to the engagement with these teams.  After the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and APS’s shift to a performance-based charter system as a result of a contract between the local and state boards of education, SEF is working directly with these teams to help them engage with the possibilities and challenges presented under a shifting educational landscape.

In pursuit of this objective, SEF is working with these teams to design a series of learning opportunities focused on key ESSA requirements (ex. needs assessments, strategies for working with the lowest performing schools, accountability plans).

Project objectives will include:

  • Providing GO teams with access to coaches and customized assistance tailored to challenges faced in their communities,
  • Assisting in making connections with regional/national expertise relevant to addressing local problems
  • Investing in GO Teams with the broader objective of conceiving and implementing innovative programs in their schools, and
  • Supporting the implementation of innovative curricula (International Baccalaureate in Jackson, STEM Curriculum in Washington) across all schools in both clusters. 

Impact Statement: SEF will provide strategic support and capacity building among community governance teams in the Jackson and Washington clusters. This will be accomplished by providing valuable learning opportunities, investing key funds for the piloting of promising solutions, and translating key data and strategies into useful tactics toward shaping budget and school improvement planning with an equity-centered approach.

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