Fulton County Superintendent finalist Robert Avossa visited Lake Forest Elementary and Ridgeview Charter School on Wednesday. They were among eight schools he visited over the last two days.
At the conclusion of Avossa’s tour of Ridgeview, he said, “What I’ve seen today is that we’ve got an incredibly talented pool of teachers and administrator, who have shown dedication.”
Below are additional comments from Avossa following the tour.
While visiting a class, Avossa saw a student broadcast of morning announcements performed to a fun hip-hop tune.
“What we just saw in that little song is so much more than a song to me. It’s really about building a sense of connection with the school. And if kids aren’t connected then they become disenfranchised and they don’t stick around. A school has got to have a sense of community.”
Avossa said a common theme among parents leads to the north Fulton/south Fulton debate. On Tuesday night he met with parents during a community meeting in South Fulton. On Wednesday night, he met with North Fulton parents at Centennial High School.
“Any large urban/suburban area is gong to have issues around performance and concerns about equity. We’ve been dealing with those in Charlotte and the biggest improvements came around communication, transparency.
What I heard [Tuesday] night was some concerns about equity…with resources, that I’ll need to spend some time looking at.
And there’s a disparity between north and south, and how dollars are spent. Whether it’s perception or fact, I don’t know that. But usually what happens is people’s perception becomes their reality. And so if things are transparent and you provide systems that people can see, they have a greater sense of faith and trust that you’re putting information out about how much money [is spent].”
Avossa discussed the current testing controversy in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“Part of our board direction was to build objective measures to see how our teachers and students are doing in non-tested areas. We piloted those, and those pilots have caused a bit of a stir, especially in those areas that were not used to being tested.
For example, we may not have ever tested a child in fourth grade, in science. He had to wait until seventh grade to be tested, but the board had some concerns about waiting six years to check whether or not the child was at grade level.”
Avossa's current position is Chief Strategy and Accountability Officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. As a finalist for the Fulton County Schools Superintendent position, he is in the midst of a 14-day public comment period.