Increasing Diversity – Still a Ways to Go

As you know, we continue to work on ways to maintain and increase all types of diversity in our student body. One clearly stated goal in our charter is socio-economic diversity, and our leadership has worked with the governing board to take clear and deliberate action to move us in that direction. Our lottery results for the upcoming school year show that we have made substantial progress, but also prove how frustratingly far we still have to go.

We expanded our efforts this year to reach a wider audience of potential applicants. We offered tours much earlier in the year and gave dozens of prospective parents a look at what sets us apart from other schools. We ran paid advertisements on multiple digital platforms to introduce the school to new constituencies in our primary attendance zone. We went out into the neighborhoods and met with parents in their home and in early education centers. And we joined several other charter schools in the Atlanta Public School system on a centralized school finder and application platform that made it easier to reach hundreds of new families.

We were hopeful as the application window closed – almost a quarter of the applications we received were from economically disadvantaged families. The number of those applicants that were offered seats via the lottery, however, was disappointingly low, primarily attributable to two factors: 1) most of the applicants in this category live outside of our tier 1 attendance zone, and 2) we only had seats in kindergarten and 6th grade available. As a result, there are almost 200 students from economically disadvantaged families presently on our waiting list.

We will work even harder to expand and strengthen our outreach, and as we work with Atlanta Public Schools to renew our charter we will look to adopt additional tools to help us in our pursuit of a more diverse student body.