Atlanta Public Schools will continue implementing its academic recovery plan as the new school year begins on Aug. 1 in the wake of results showing further decreases in the Georgia Milestones student assessments.

The latest Milestones scores indicate that only 31.2% of APS students in grades 3-8 scored proficient or above in English Language Arts (ELA) and only 26% scored proficient or above in math.  

That’s actually down from the 2020-21 assessment where 36% scored at proficient or above in ELA and 28% in math. It should be noted that many students did not take the Milestones assessments while learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said the full impact of lost learning time during the pandemic can now be seen.

“While our teachers and students worked extremely hard last year under challenging circumstances, we expected these outcomes,” APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said in a statement. “We know we have work to do but we have strategies in place to support our students from a whole-child perspective, and we will be using this year’s data as a baseline and a way to guide our progress towards future success.” 

At the beginning of last school year, APS began implementing a three-year academic recovery plan through the 2023-2024 school year to address lost learning opportunities due to the pandemic. It features: 

  • School-Based Intervention Class/Block/Course  
    • August 2021 – May 2024 
    • Elementary School: 30 extra minutes in class 
    • Middle School: 45 extra minutes, four days each week (a block, ELA or Math class) 
    • High School: 90 extra minutes, four days each week (a class or course only for students identified for intervention) 
  • Summer Academic Recover Academy (ARA) 
    • June 2021 – June 2023 
    • Full day sessions for elementary and middle school students 
    • Focus on literacy and math, with enrichment activities in the afternoon 
    • Credit recovery for high school students 
  • Comprehensive Assessment System 
    • On going  
    • K-12 universal screener for academics and behavioral health 
    • Student progress monitoring tools 
    • Formative assessments 

APS is focusing on five measurable methods to guide its academic strategy, based on the district’s five-year strategic plan:  data, curriculum and instruction, whole-child Intervention, personalized learning, and signature programming.  

“We are aware of the obstacles our students faced, even prior to the pandemic, that have an impact on academic performance,” Dr. Herring said. “But we will take this data and use it to move forward. We are positioned to fully embrace this challenge and will continue to hold ourselves accountable and maintain high expectations for our students, as we prepare them for college and career.”   

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.