Are Letter Grades Becoming Obsolete?

Letter Grades pic
Letter Grades

Laurie Kimbrel, head of school at Brookhaven Innovation Academy, has more than 25 years of experience in the education sector. As part of her current responsibilities, Laurie Kimbrel follows the latest discussions in education to help inform her day-to-day work.

The American educational system has undergone significant changes in recent years. Today, one prominently discussed idea is a proposed push away from letter grades toward other achievement metrics.

Over the past decade, the number of schools that have done away with traditional exams has increased. Recognizing the limitations of the current grading system, teachers and administrators are now beginning to use alternative indicators to measure a student’s progress. These new approaches focus more on evaluating the student’s strengths and weaknesses relative to the subject material rather than his or her proficiency in taking a given exam. Increasingly popular, such standards-based systems are sparking serious discussions about replacing the traditional A-F grading rubric.


Brookhaven Innovation Academy – Technology-Focused Charter School


Brookhaven Innovation Academy pic
Brookhaven Innovation Academy

An experienced education administrator, Laurie Kimbrel formerly served as superintendent of Tamalpais Union High School District in Larkspur, California. Laurie Kimbrel now leads as head of school for Georgia’s Brookhaven Innovation Academy.

Located in Norcross, Georgia, the Brookhaven Innovation Academy opened its doors in August 2016. The academy is a charter school that serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade, with authorization from the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia to expand through eighth grade.

Brookhaven Innovation Academy strives to help students reach their full potential while preparing them for the technology-focused 21st century workforce. With an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the academy has developed a methodology called Deeper Learning by Design. Through this methodology, every student completes an evidence-based blended learning curriculum that incorporates computer coding into lesson plans.

Students take on increasing responsibility for their own learning under the guidance of the academy’s teachers, who have the freedom to tailor students’ learning to meet their goals.

To learn more about the Brookhaven Innovation Academy, visit

Georgia Nonprofit Supports School Finance Reporting Bill


Laurie Kimbrel
Laurie Kimbrel

An educational administrator for more than a decade, Dr. Laurie Kimbrel serves as head of school for Brookhaven Innovation Academy, located in Norcross, Georgia. Dedicated to helping others, Laurie Kimbrel volunteers her time with several organizations, including StudentsFirst and its chapter in Georgia.

A nonprofit organization, StudentsFirst strives to ensure that every child has access to excellent schools and teachers. It believes that teachers make the difference in a child’s life, and that each staff member works to raise awareness about shortcomings in the education system. Thanks to its volunteers, StudentsFirst has helped get more than 130 laws passed and change policies related to education. In March 2016, some of StudentsFirst’s state chapters, including Georgia’s, merged with 50Can, another nonprofit education advocacy group.

One effort made by the Georgia chapter during 2016 was supporting House Bill 659, which requires all schools and districts to give the public detailed financial information. Although the legislation did not get signed into law that year, the Georgia governor has pledged his support, and the organization believes its goal to change policy will be achieved in 2017.

American Association of School Administrators/ iPD


Laurie Kimbrel
Laurie Kimbrel

Prior to becoming the head of the Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Laurie Kimbrel attended Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, where she received an ED.D degree in curriculum and instruction in 2002. In her professional career as an educator, Laurie Kimbrel is also a member of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

Founded in 1866, the American Association of School Administrators was organized at the meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, of the National Teachers Association. The AASA has served since that time as the voice for national public education to those on Capitol Hill, along with providing coaching and technical assistance to school districts. The Association also supports and promotes several different children’s programs, including the Innovative Professional Development Assessment and Redesign (iPD).

The iPD program was created to help school districts look at their current practices and analyze them to find areas of improvement. The iPD also redesigns and enhances teacher professional development and implements policy for more effective systems.