Interim Superintendent Mamie J. Perkins Wednesday announced that she will restructure and realign the school system’s Office of Equity and Human Relations and the Development Office as part of a system-wide reorganization to be presented to the Board of Education before her term ends next month.
“It is time for a fresh, new approach to the ways in which our school system addresses issues relative to both of these critical offices,” Perkins said. “I have said often that to move forward, we must be brave enough to look inward first and to make changes, even though they may be difficult, in areas where we deem them to be appropriate.”
Since its inception, the Office of Equity and Human Relations has been the liaison between the school system and the community, and has facilitated partnerships, collaboration, and support for AACPS’ efforts to address achievement and discipline gaps between student groups.
The new Office of Equity and Accelerated Student Achievement will be closely aligned to student support, school performance, and professional development, Perkins said. As part of the reorganization, the office will report to the Deputy Superintendent of Schools, who also oversees the Office of School Performance and works closely with the Department of Student Support Services.
“While we have worked very hard to make progress, albeit uneven, with regard to closing gaps over the last decade or so, I believe we have gotten about as much mileage as we can out of the model and structures now in place,” Perkins said. “If we are going to accelerate the closing of achievement and discipline gaps, we simply must chart a new course.”
The restructuring of the Development Office, which works in conjunction with the 21st Century Education Foundation and other external entities to help build business partnerships that benefit students, employees, and schools, includes a realignment that will now see the office report to the Assistant Superintendent for Advanced Studies and Programs instead of the Chief Operating Officer. The office also engages in fund-raising activities and provides support and technical assistance on the management of grant-funded projects.
“Especially in an era of constrained fiscal resources, the Development Office plays a critical role in the cultivating of partnerships that will move the school system forward,” Perkins said. “We must do everything possible to ensure that our efforts are clearly aligned with our other programs and initiatives so that we can maximize every opportunity available to us.”
The goals and expectations set by the board for Perkins call for her to submit any changes to the organizational structure of the school system before her contract expires on June 30. She said she has consulted with Chief of Staff George Arlotto, who will be become Superintendent of Schools on July 1, about the new structures. Arlotto will continue to build on the revised framework as he takes over the helm of the school system.
Current staff members of both the Office of Equity and Human Relations and the Development Office have been invited to apply for any vacant positions across the school system for which they are qualified.