APS superintendent excited for new school year, shares new policies

ATLANTA — Starting Wednesday, close to 52,000 students will start their first day of class for Atlanta Public Schools.

Channel 2's Fred Blankenship spoke with Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen to learn what's new and why she's excited for the start of the school year.

“I’m really excited because I’ll be starting my fifth year as superintendent at Atlanta Public Schools,” Carstarphen said.

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Carstarphen has seen a lot in her five years.  She wants the community to know about a new social media policy holding staff and adults accountable for what they post on behalf of the district.

“We’ve tripped up on a couple of things. I’ve seen employees do some inappropriate things on social media, and it’s mostly the kids who turn them in,” Carstarphen said.

Also, for Day 1, the buses are ready to roll, but Carstarphen said she still needs some dependable drivers.

"It's a national trend, and it's also a metro trend and it is bus driver vacancies," Carstarphen said.

Security and safety are top of mind. Students will be trained on what to do in the event of the unthinkable. It's called A.D.D. or Avoid, Deny, Defending.


"The last piece is about defending themselves like what do you do if you are face-to-face with that threat and how you can protect your life," Carstarphen said.

Carstraphen is optimistic because of rising test scores and a new virtual academy with 75 courses, and last but not least, some pretty amazing students.

"Atlanta has some really good kids and our kids are so sweet," Carstarphen said.

Carstarphen said middle school students will get specific security training while elementary grades will focus on following teachers' instructions.

Students in several other districts head back to school Wednesday as well.