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.

StudentsFirst and GeorgiaCAN Establish Opportunity School Districts

StudentsFirst pic
StudentsFirst
Image: civicatlanta.org

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.

StudentsFirst

StudentsFirst pic
StudentsFirst
Image: studentsfirst.org

Laurie Kimbrel serves as the superintendent of Tamalpais Union High School District in Larkspur, California. In this capacity, she oversees 435 staff members and 4,200 students, helps manage the district’s $63 million budget, and works closely with principals, teachers, and other administrators to achieve district goals. Outside of work, Laurie Kimbrel volunteers for StudentsFirst, a nonprofit organization that seeks to give all children access to great education.

StudentsFirst currently operates in 10 states. Motivated by the belief that all students can succeed if they are placed in the right environment, StudentsFirst works with parents, teachers, and community members to ensure that children have the opportunity to excel in school. The organization has garnered enough support to pass 130 laws and policies that serve and protect the interests of young learners. By its own estimate, Students First has helped more than 23 million students nationwide.

To learn more about the organization’s mission and future plans, head to http://www.studentsfirst.org. If you are interested in supporting the goals of Students First, visit the donation portal on the same site.