The following is an excerpt from an Aug. 9 letter to parents, employees and friends of Atlanta Public Schools from Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall. The letter is posted on the APS website.

While we continue to look forward to the coming year, it’s important that I share with you the latest information on the controversy surrounding the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) erasure findings. On Aug. 2, we received the Blue Ribbon Commission’s investigative report. You can access the full report and the actions we are taking on the APS/CRCT website at www.atlantapublicschools.us/crctupdate. We have already implemented two initiatives of the three-step program developed in response to the preliminary results of the investigation.

The first step took place in the spring with substantive procedural and test security changes in the administration of the 2010 CRCT spring and summer retest. The next step will commence on Aug. 10 with a 12-week accelerated academic recovery program developed specifically for students who did not meet standards on this year’s CRCT exams, and are enrolled in schools listed in the severe and moderate categories on the state’s report. The last step involves our follow-up on the findings of the independent investigation.

The Blue Ribbon Commission Report makes it clear: “The investigative team did not find any data or other evidence, nor were there qualified allegations made, that there was any district-wide or centrally coordinated effort to manipulate the 2009 CRCT scores and outcomes of students at 58 APS schools.”

We will continue to insist that our testing standards are strictly adhered to at every grade level. I believe that even one infraction that negatively impacts a child’s education is unacceptable. APS will vigorously pursue all cases of infractions including those referred by the Blue Ribbon Commission.

Our APS journey has produced significant improvements to student performance and the work must continue. Educating Atlanta’s future leaders is a privilege that we take very seriously, and we look forward to welcoming each new student on Aug. 9. Thanks in advance for your support throughout the 2010-11 school year.

Dr. Beverly L. Hall