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Seven more star principals move to failing CMS schools

This is the second round in the district's principal shuffle to boost student achievement in failing schools. Six schools getting a new principal are FOCUS schools, meaning they have smaller student-teacher ratios and extra resources. Superintendent Peter Gorman says he selected the schools based on their track records in achievement. "Looking at that body of work over several years, also seeing what we felt were actions that would lead to us having improvement in the long term, and the faith and confidence was not there for me to say this is the person I want leading that school," says Gorman. The principals will receive a 10 percent bonus provided they commit at least three years to their assignments. They also have autonomy to handpick an assistant principal, academic facilitator and five teachers. Members of the teams will receive similar incentives, but they won't start until next school year. Druid Hills Elementary teacher Thaia Wheatt told the school board last night she and her colleagues were stunned to learn Principal Pricilla Graham would be replaced by one of the seven. "She definitely focused an immeasurable amount of her time to ensure that her staff as well as her students were getting the best education possible," she says. Today, Wheatt says teachers are ready to embrace the change but they're still upset that it's coming mid-year. She says it's an unwelcome disruption for some of the district's neediest students. Last year, Gorman waited until the end of the year to transfer principals to low performing schools. This year, he didn't want to wait based on feedback from that first group. They said they could have used the extra time to prepare their staffs. The seven schools getting new principals are Ashley Park, Allenbrook, Druid Hills, Paw Creek, Thomasboro - elementaries. Albemarle Road Middle and Bishop Spaugh Middle.