The head of school for Georgia’s Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Laurie Kimbrel is an established school administrator with an EdD from Loyola University in Chicago. In addition to her position at the Academy, Laurie Kimbrel dedicates time to volunteer on behalf of StudentsFirst, an education reform organization.
StudentsFirst carries out their mission in four southern states: California, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. In Georgia, the organization developed GeorgiaCAN, which advocates for the instigation of beneficial education system policies.
Currently, GeorigaCAN is working to improve the student achievement ratings of schools around the state, which are based on graduation rates and standardized testing results. On the most recent survey, almost 6 percent of schools received a poor rating in this area.
To address this issue, GeorgiaCAN established Opportunity School Districts (OSDs). The program pairs low-ranking schools with a specialized model designed to create lasting improvement. Depending on the institutions’ circumstances, the OSD superintendent may enact some small changes within the facility, or work directly alongside the principal. Schools in need of more help could become state-authorized charter schools or, if all else fails, children at low-performing schools may be reassigned to schools with higher achievement rankings.
If a school is successfully rehabilitated, it will graduate from the OSD program and may return to its original status as long as it continues to foster academic success.