Wednesday, April 29, 2009

$760m in Federal Stimulus Funds Approved by State School Board

The Georgia school board has approved $760 million in federal stimulus funds for special education programs and Title I schools - institutions in low-income rural and inner city areas. In a specially called meeting Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to begin distributing the money immediately. The funding is part of the multibillion dollar stimulus set aside by the federal government to jolt the country out of an economic slump. Additionally, Georgia schools will receive millions in general funds from the stimulus package. The school board is expected to approve that later this spring.

From Georgia Public Broadcasting via CR

Where do I sign up Cross Keys HS and its feeders? We're very much Title I and arguably urban, if not "inner city." Anyone know the details about how this tsunami of cash will be allocated?

41 comments:

pscexb said...

Kim:

This appeared in the 2/28 AJC in the Metro section, page 1.

Schools have plan for first stimulus check

Within several weeks, the DeKalb County school system should get the first of two installments on tens of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money.

The school system is expecting a total of $51 million. Officials outlined their spending plan at a school board meeting Monday.

The system wants to rehire a private contractor employed by the district several years ago. America’s Choice would focus on training staff at 14 under-performing elementary schools and all traditional middle and high schools, said Audria Berry, executive director of DeKalb’s Office of School Improvement.

pscexb said...

That should be 4/28 AJC not 2/28...

Cerebration said...

Since CK is a Title 1 school, I would think some money should be coming your way. That said, when money is involved, it doesn't just flow where it's supposed to without people to steer the rudder. I would be following up with your board rep and area superintendent weekly on this issue. Even though Don McChesney is the main rep, your district is shared by district 1 (Redovian) 4 (Womack) and super district 9 (Walker) - get them ALL on board. Part of the problem may be that no one person is directly responsible - we have this problem at Lakeside. They need to all feel that the CK community is expecting their reps to advocate for them.

These are your area reps
Ms. Beth Heckman, 678-676-2802
Darla Gilstrap, 678-676-2843

Since you share these area reps with Chamblee and Dunwoody (who are both much more vocal about their needs and may be casting a shadow over CK's needs) - perhaps you should ask the PTA presidents at those schools to help advocate for CK as well. After all - you are all in the same region - and in theory - CK will become the Vo-Tech choice and it will serve as a needed option for students at DW and Chamblee. Teamwork!

Remember, even though CK made AYP last year, the history of the school is that it has struggled - all the more reason to ask for the money.

From the State DOE website -
School is in Needs Improvement Year Four (NI-4) as of the July 2008 AYP release
which impacts the 2008-2009 school year.

This school must offer both Public School Choice and Supplemental Education
Services (Tutoring).

This school is in Corrective Action.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Cross Keys was just added to this council a year or so ago - if I remember correctly. Cross Keys "restarted" their PTSA in January of last year, I believe, so there was no one to represent them on any Parent Council.

Parents at Cross Keys need to become empowered and active - not an easy task.

Cerebration said...

You are so right, DunwoodyMom. That's why I thought it would be great if Chamblee and Dunwoody HS's would advocate for CK. The vo-tech component is important to everyone - and we all need to help out those who need it (IMO) - it's difficult to organize and ask for your needs to be met, when you don't know the culture and may not have mastered the language.

We all benefit when we help out those who need it the most.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Let me see if I can contact one of the Peachtree rep to see if there is any representation from CK or any of their feeder schools at these meetings.

There has got to be a way to get this school involved in their own destiny.

Cerebration said...

Wonderful!!!

Kim Gokce said...

Thanks, pscexb, for the background article.

DunwoodyMom/Cerebration/all:

Page Olson at the Dunwoody-Chamblee-CK Parents Council has been the de facto voice for CK in the absence of school parental voices. I was pleasantly surprised to find someone willing to speak for those without a voice. Rare to find this kind of selflessness! I do not think that, other than yours truly, anyone else has taken up the CK cause with DCSS.

The PTSA actually languished last year but just a couple of weeks ago restarted due to the leadership of a faculty member. They are undertaking steps to reach out to the parents and gain involvement so we'll have to see. Recent history does not encourage, though ...

The lack of internal advocacy at CK is a symptom of the goofy district boundaries. There is no natural community center in the district to offer gravity/synergy and the predominantly latino demo poses language and other barriers to parental voices to DCSS.

As I have said elsewhere on this blog, I don't believe there is any sinister, racist plot to isolate latinos into one HS district. I do believe that the district and its related burdens are the "shadow" of decisions made on behalf of other districts that actually do effectively advocate for their school communities.

As a volunteer in my civic association and an advocate for public education's future in Brookhaven, I continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of Cross Keys HS. However, the more I learn the more I question whether the currently defined cluster is sustainable in the long run due to re-development plans on the Buford Hwy corridor.

Over time 1 of 2 things is likely for Cross Keys future: 1) It is closed by DCSS as commercial redevelopment of Buford Hwy displaces the majority of the current enrollment. This means Lakeside, Chamblee, etc. will have to absorb the remaining enrollment - are we ready for that? or 2) The cluster is radically redrawn to create a natural constituency centered around the growing community of families in Brookhaven.

I suppose a 3rd possibility is a variant of #1 above - the expansion of the Chamblee cluster in a "Uber HS" to absorb all of the current CK feeders. Lord knows, Chamblee HS isn't a gem building now either and would be a great candidate for becoming an "Arabia north."

I started blogging here because I see an opportunity for our community leaders, DCSS leaders, BOE leaders, Board of Commissioners, and CEO to engage in a frank discussion about the future of Cross Keys and how it fits into the north/central DeKalb equation.

We are all saying we want to make decisions in a collaborative way and in the interests of all of DeKalb's children and our communities. I believe the decisions we make about Cross Keys' future provide the perfect opportunity to follow through on the promise. The status quo for CK is not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Even though there is no sinister, racist plot to isolate latinos into one HS district, once all is said and done, DCSS still isolates them.

Cerebration said...

Well, it may not be sinister, and it may not be a plot - but it does seem a bit racially discriminatory. After all, isn't this what the Federal Lawsuit was about for all those years?

Look at the deal with Cross Keys -

Mainly Hispanic (which are only 5.8% of the whole DCSS High School population, but 70% Hispanic at this school.) At 578 Hispanics, Cross Keys is host to more than 30% of the total 1630 Hispanic students in DCSS.

Title 1, in Needs Improvement Year Four (NI-4)

Crumbling, dangerous, unhealthy, unsafe building

Is there a pattern here of neglect and isolation? I think yes. It's no different from when the lawsuit was files for the black population back in the 80's.

Dunwoody Mom said...

No, there's no plot with regards to Cross Keys. With the exception of the redistricting of Ashford Park into the Chamblee attendance area, the attendance zone of Cross Keys has not changed in decades, when that area was mostly Caucasian. The neighborhoods around Cross Keys changed, not Cross Keys itself.

Cerebration said...

Yes, but like the lawsuit claimed, you can't segregate the schools just because the neighborhoods are self-segregated.

I'm being a pain in the rear here, I know. I'm just trying to point out that when it comes to DCSS, they only consider discrimination able to be against African-Americans. When they do the same things to Hispanics that they once called discrimination against African-Americans, they insist it just isn't so.

I'm saying - it is.


Here are a few sections of the Supreme Court decision of 1992 - on the case that began in 1969 - when the black population was only 5.57% of the total. (As a comparison, the Hispanic population in the entire system is 9.44% of the total.) I find the similarities interesting and I'm concerned that our leaders don't see it.

DCSS has been subject to the supervision and jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia since 1969, when it was ordered to dismantle its dual school system. In 1986, petitioners filed a motion for final dismissal. The District Court ruled that DCSS had not achieved unitary status in all respects, but had done so in student attendance and three other categories. In its order, the District Court relinquished remedial control as to those aspects of the system in which unitary status had been achieved, and retained supervisory authority only for those aspects of the school system in which the district was not in full compliance. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed, 887 F.2d 1438 (1989), holding that a district court should retain full remedial authority over a school system until it achieves unitary status in six categories at the same time for several years. We now reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand, holding that a district court is permitted to withdraw judicial supervision with respect to discrete categories in
which the school district has achieved compliance with a court-ordered desegregation plan. A district court need not retain active control over every aspect of school administration until a school district has demonstrated unitary status in all facets of its system.

.....For decades before our decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (Brown I), and our mandate in Brown [503 U.S. 467, 472] v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294, 301 (1955) (Brown II), which ordered school districts to desegregate with "all deliberate speed," DCSS was segregated by law. DCSS initial response to the mandate of Brown II
was an all-too-familiar one. Interpreting "all deliberate speed" as giving latitude to delay steps to desegregate, DCSS took no positive action toward desegregation until the 1966-1967 school year, when it did nothing more than adopt a freedom of choice transfer plan. Some black students chose to attend former de jure white schools, but the plan had no significant effect on the former de jure black schools. In 1968, we decided Green v. School Bd. of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430 . We held that adoption of a freedom of choice plan does not, by itself, satisfy a school district's mandatory responsibility to eliminate all vestiges of a dual system. Green was a turning point in our law in a further respect. Concerned by more than a decade of inaction, we stated that
"`[t]he time for mere "deliberate speed" has run out.'" Id., at 438, quoting Griffin v. Prince Edward County School Bd., 377 U.S. 218, 234 (1964). We said that the obligation of school districts once segregated by law was to come forward with a
plan that "promises realistically to work, and promises realistically to work now." 391 U.S., at 439 (emphasis in original). The case before us requires an understanding and assessment of how DCSS responded to the directives set forth in Green.
Within two months of our ruling in Green, respondents, who are black schoolchildren and their parents, instituted this class action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. After the suit was filed, DCSS voluntarily began working with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to devise a comprehensive and final plan of desegregation. The District Court, in June, 1969, entered a consent order approving the proposed plan, which was to be implemented in the 1969-1970 school year. The order abolished the freedom of choice plan and adopted [503 U.S. 467, 473] a neighborhood school attendance plan that had been proposed by DCSS and accepted by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare subject to a minor modification. Under the plan, all of the former de jure black schools were closed, and their students were reassigned among the remaining neighborhood schools. The District Court retained jurisdiction.

....Proper resolution of any desegregation case turns on a careful assessment of its facts. Green, supra, at 439. Here, as in most cases where the issue is the degree of compliance with a school desegregation decree, a critical beginning point is the degree of racial imbalance in the school district, that is to say, a comparison of the proportion of majority to minority students in individual schools with the proportions of the races in the district as a whole. This inquiry is fundamental, for under the former de jure regimes, racial exclusion was both the means and the end of a policy motivated by disparagement, of or hostility towards, the disfavored race.

Cerebration said...

Here's a little more -- keep in mind - in 1975, the school system was 17% black and 81% white. Today, it's 74% black, 10.49% white and 9.44% Hispanic. Right now, 35% of HIspanics attend a high school that is majority Hispanic, even though they only comprise 0.05% of the total number of high school students. Could it be we have the same issue - but with different mixes of "race"?

"A review of the record suggests that, from 1969 until 1975, DCSS failed to desegregate its schools. During that period, the number of students attending racially identifiable schools actually increased, and increased more quickly than the increase in black students. By 1975, 73% of black elementary students and 56% of black high school students were attending in black students. By 1975, 73% of black elementary students and 56% of black high school students were attending majority black schools, although the percentages of black [503 U.S. 467, 517] students in the district population were just 20% and 13%, respectively. Id., at 269-380."

Anonymous said...

PSCEXB, were you the one who posted a copy of the proposed changes to the construction plan? Are these the changes that will be put before the Board May 4th? I believe it might have been the document handed out to those on the Citizen Advisory Group? I have scrolled all over this blog looking for the link and cannot find it.

Whovever posted this, could you please re post?

Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

RE Cross Keys.

The demographics are a result of its attendance zone which has basically been static (except for the change of Ashford Park a while ago) forever. Keep in mind, that until this past year, no significant redistricting of attendance zones has taken place in DeKalb in decades and even then it was almost all strictly related to school closings.

Immigrants in the US have almost always settled with their own people when they initially arrive in this country. You see "Cross Keys" type high schools across the country -- this is not unique to DeKalb.

Where the problem is in DeKalb and other places is how you connect with a community that is, for the most part, wanting to be in the shadows. Additionally, in many parts of the world, it is only common to visit your child's school if they are in trouble. These are huge barriers to overcome and how you do it has yet to be clearly defined. In addition, renters as a whole, and especially those who aren't citizens, often feel less ownership of a school. I would guess that Cross Keys has fewer than 10 percent homeowners.

In order to close Cross Keys, Chamblee High and Lakeside, etc, would have to have significant space to absorb students. What I would prefer is that some program be offered at CK that would make every parent and high school student salivate to have a chance to enroll in it. There is significant research that shows that inserting middle and higher income families into a low income school improves the outcomes for all students at the school.

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance, please walk through Cross Keys, and I mean the whole building, rest rooms, locker rooms, etc.

It is terrible, terrible facility for learning. DCSS cannot build high schools like the new Arabia Mt. High while ignore its worst facilities, i.e. Cross Keys, just because the parents there are mainly Latino and not politically engaged.

Jay Cunningham and Tom Bowen keep saying all the right things about the BOE looking out for the whole school system, not just each member's own district.

There is simply no way any BOE member can walk through Cross Keyes and not be disgusted that the DCSS Central Office has allowed a learning facility to fall in such disrepair. No one person from Central Office is to blame, the entire bureuacracy is to blame.

pscexb said...

Anon @ 10:15,

Look on the right hand pane for Blog Archive. Search for the title "Updates to CIP???". Is that what you are looking for?

Cerebration said...

I don't have trouble so much with the demographics - it could even be a good thing that so many immigrants are in school together - in terms of their needs and allocating resources.

I'm just saying that they have been ignored and forgotten by the system for years and years. The place is horrible. They have been at the top of the SPLOST priority list for years - and still - nothing is done. I know, they apparently had an architect who quit - what's up with that?

And - this is a Title 1 school with students who need special programs in language as well as parenting classes for parents. They need heavy graduation and career coaching. They could use $100,000 for a 9th grade academy like Redan - or even better - and entire separate building for the academy like Stephenson - but what to they get? News that the school of technology will be merging in with them in their horrible, terrible building. And is anyone from admin over there working on this merger day and night - planning for it - figuring out how in the h*ll they are going to pull it off ? NO - they are all too busy polishing everything at Arabia.

Excuse me, but I do get disgusted when I get talking about Cross Keys --

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon: "It is terrible, terrible facility for learning."

Precisely why I am a huge fan of the Indians at Cross Keys. In spite of socio-economic challenges, in spite of language barriers, and in spite of infrastructure neglect, these kids are really doing surprising things.

Whenever the larger community comes into contact with the kids from Woodward ES (across the street) or Cross Keys, they are impressed by these young people. The more I talk about the future of public education in Brookhaven, the more I bump into people who rave about these kids. The more I learn about the faculty, the more I recognize that they are truly a dedicated bunch who are terribly loyal to their school and students.

I think our leadership does have an opportunity to revolutionize the future of Cross Keys if they consider the "big picture." By this I mean realize that there is a latent demand for a "premier" public HS in Brookhaven and Cross Keys is perfectly suited to fulfill this need.

We've batted around the idea of a re-built and re-branded Cross Keys on this blog before. I honestly believe this would be the best course to chart for Cross Keys and the best choice for DCSS capacity needs in Central DeKalb - and, very likely, a better use of tax payer money.

Imagine a The Brookhaven Arts & Technology School (BATS - mascot ideas? lol) near the heart of growing Brookhaven. Sponsored by the Goizeuta Foundation, an Americas Studies program competes for the limelight with the co-located DeKalb Technology School whose partnership with Georgia Tech creates regional appeal for industrial and hi-tech prep students.

Yo tengo un sueno ...

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: "Excuse me, but I do get disgusted when I get talking about Cross Keys"

I was there, too. I may sound delusional but I see the current state as an opportunity. If (and I know that's a big 'if') DCSS will simply step back and take a breath to consider what they are doing at Cross Keys, and instead of looking at it as a overdue fix or as a convenient place to plop Tech North but rather see at it as the diamond in the rough that it is, I think there's a realistic path to a new "Brookhaven" HS that will be worthy of the current students/faculty and will also attract the families of Brookhaven.

Can we believe this is possible just for a moment? The window of opportunity is about to close with final decisions about the SPLOST III project and the Tech North move. It will be another 10-20 before any big changes are contemplated for Cross Keys - now is the time!

Si se puede! :)

Dunwoody Mom said...

Cere, Cross Keys does house a Parent Center in their facility. Is it utilized to its full extent? This is a wonderful resource offered by DCSS and hopefully, the Cross Keys community is taking full advantage of it.

Anonymous said...

pscexb, from Anon. I looked at the posting on CIP changes, but I thought someone had written a post where they had linked to a copy of the actual recommendations that will be before the Board in May.

I went on the DCSS CIP page but could not find anything. Nor could I find anything on the Board agendas. Maybe I am not looking in the right place.

Cerebration said...

Very nice idea Kim -- "Imagine a The Brookhaven Arts & Technology School (BATS - mascot ideas? lol) near the heart of growing Brookhaven. Sponsored by the Goizeuta Foundation, an Americas Studies program competes for the limelight with the co-located DeKalb Technology School whose partnership with Georgia Tech creates regional appeal for industrial and hi-tech prep students."

I like that a lot.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Wonderful idea Kim!!!

With the amount of stimulus money coming in, there really should be no excuse for DCSS to ignore Cross Keys' needs any longer.

Cerebration said...

Anon - I found these docs that you might be interested in regarding Cross Keys -

first - the GA Power easement

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=174490

And then the construction reports - lots to look at here - I noticed RFPs were due April 22

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/operations/bids/bids1/crosskeyshsrelocation.html

Cerebration said...

This link in particular contains some plans - preliminary drawings from Jan 28, 2009

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/administration/operations/bids/files2/CrossKeysHS/relocation/Preliminary%20Design%20CM%20RFP%202.16.09.pdf

Cerebration said...

Seems we need to get the "roadmap" back out --
Here's the original plan - of promises made for SPLOST 3 spending - we need to make sure the board refocuses on these promises.

"The focus on high schools in the Capital Improvements Plan encompasses renovations and additions to existing facilities and the construction of replacement facilities. The projects total over $225 million and include the replacement of Tucker High School, major renovations to Cross Keys and Druid Hills High Schools, Technology/Classroom/Fine Arts additions to Chamblee, Clarkston, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Lakeside, and Redan High Schools, and additions to create large school models at Lithonia, Miller Grove, Dunwoody, and Martin Luther King, Jr. High Schools."

I think Arabia has usurped a lot of attention away from attaining these goals. Hopefully, now that it's finished we can get on with things. Additionally, the massive "moves" of DSA, Open Campus, central offices, etc has taken quite a bit of unexpected attention - along with construction of the gorgeous new Sam Moss center. All projects that were not mentioned in the initial promises - the promises that brought the votes.

Tucker is well under way - Druid Hills has had considerable work done. We have determined that an addition is not needed at Lithonia. (IMO an addition is not needed at Miller Grove either.) Lakeside has some preliminary drawings and I think Cross Keys -- even though this project was supposed to be first on the list of priorities, having been carried over from SPLOST 2, it's finally starting to ramp up a bit. I also noticed that a contractor was hired for the Redan addition.

pscexb said...

Anon @ 7:32, I don't think that information is 'fully' available yet. I reviewed the post I referred to earlier at:

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/04/ol-pscexb-is-still-around-just-busy.html

It is darn near close to what will be presented at the next meeting with respect to recommendations. You might also look at the Summary of 4/17 meeting post as it was discussed again in that one.

FWIW, you may want to check this out:

5/1/2009 - 8:30 AM - Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting

You can see the agenda by going to the DCSS website. They may discuss these items again during that meeting.

Kim Gokce said...

There are many, many interdependent issues that come into play when trying to make sense of Cross Keys future. But in my simple mind I am boiling it down to the incremental value of renovating Cross Keys as-is versus investing in a new HS for this area of DeKalb. What's the difference? Five million? Ten million? For the "lack" of these kinds of figures, are we seriously going to walk away from the opportunity to "change the game" for Cross Keys and in part for Chamblee, Dunwoody, and perhaps even Lakeside???

So many nagging issues could be addressed with an integrated vision for Cross Keys - no instant fix, mind you, but setting the right course.

Cerebration said...

I hear you Kim. I've often said it would be nice to create a wonderful tech school - like you have described - and we could do it at the Druid Hills property - the stadium is already there and it's great to have the track & field. If CK could stay put and HSTN could stay put for one more year - maybe we could tear down the DH campus and build something wonderful there - something as you say - different.

Anonymous said...

I was recently at Cross Keys and seeing the condition it is in broke my heart. It's criminal that we pay so much in school property taxes for layer after layer of administrators at DCSS headquarters, while there are schools in as pitiful condition as Cross Keys and Sequoyah.

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

Cereb, Darla Gilstrap is not a "rep." She is an administrative assistant AKA secretary.

Cerebration said...

Ok thanks. I just copied and pasted what was at the DCSS website on the subject.

Cerebration said...

An opportunity to ask Dr. Lewis about plans for the first $51 million -- This is from the Region 1 meeting - note that Cross Keys is in Region 1 - however they only refer to it as the Dunwoody/Chamblee cluster in the email announcement from the council. It has been fixed below.

Sigh.

Dr. Crawford Lewis to speak at Peachtree Charter Middle School on May 6th @ 9 am
Dr. Crawford Lewis – School Year Wrap-Up
Dunwoody, Chamblee, Cross Keys Parents Council

Wed May 6th at 9 a.m.
Peachtree Charter Middle School
4664 North Peachtree Road
Atlanta. Georgia 30338
678-676-7702

Cerebration said...

In addition, there is a Board Business Meeting scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 6:00 pm at the district office (you can catch it live on Channel 24 if you can't get there.)

Interesting agenda items to note --

ACTION ITEMS


2. Resolution for Proposed Tax Levy
Presented by: Mr. Marcus Turk, Chief Financial Officer

CONSENT ITEMS

17. Cross Keys High School CM/GC @ Risk Contract Award
Presented by: Ms. Patricia A. Pope, Chief Operations Officer


22. Acceptance of Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) Mid-Program Assessment
Presented by: Ms. Patricia A. Pope, Chief Operations Officer


24. Resolution to Enable Removal From Inventory of Closed Schools
Presented by: Ms. Patricia A. Pope, Chief Operations Officer


27. DeKalb Academy of Technology and the Environment (D.A.T.E.) Relocation
Amendment
(What's that? I'm not familiar with this program)

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. Parent Resource Centers Re-Grand Opening, 10:00am, Saturday, May 16, 2009,
(Atherton ES, Avondale MS, Cedar Grove MS, Chapel Hill MS, Columbia MS, Cross Keys HS,
EL Miller ES, Fairington ES, Jolly ES, McNair MS, Sequoyah MS)

Chamblee Parent said...

Cere

The Dunwoody/Chamblee Parents Council has a long history that predates the very recent invention of "regions" in DeKalb. DCPC is a parent-led organization that got invaded by DCSS staff when Dr. Brown was the superintendent.

The Cross Keys cluster schools often send administrators to the meetings -- occasionally a parent or two. Most recently the school system is trying to take ownership of DCPC and this is not a good thing.

The meeting on May 6th is a DCPC meeting where Dr. Lewis will be speaking. All are welcome, but it is not a DCSS sponsored event.

Cerebration said...

Thanks for that clarification Chamblee parent. Over here we have the Emory Lavista Parent Council - same kind of thing, but different. I haven't heard anything about DCSS invading their space - but I haven't been to a meeting in a while. Often, I have seen parents from the Dunwoody/Chamblee group at our meetings though - and I think there have even been a couple of joint events... I think these two councils are the only ones who have thrived since the invention of councils by (the legislature, the gov? who was it...)

Anyway - I hope all you Cross Key folks who are trying to find a voice will attend this meeting. Parent councils have been very informative in the past and very helpful.

Kim Gokce said...

"Anyway - I hope all you Cross Key folks who are trying to find a voice will attend this meeting."

I may have a difficult time making the scheduled meeting due to work conflicts (*sigh*) but I'll make sure to notify the members of the new PTSA at Cross Keys (all four of them).

As I have lamented before, I am afraid that the potential vocal, constituency is very small and will likely remain so until DCSS does something to help reconnect the school with Brookhaven neighborhoods. Sadly, I don't think that is a high priority and is strongly opposed in many quarters of Brookhaven (mostly, out of ignorance of what is really happening in Cross Keys).

We definitely have a classic Catch 22 - most neighborhoods in Brookhaven don't want to be in Cross Keys district (and are not) and DCSS isn't taking steps to make Cross Keys more attractive to them (besides the long overdue renovation). With all but a tiny corner of Brookhaven now out-of-district, no natural advocacy is going to thrive (thus, we are here). I suppose the last option is to somehow convince the Latino community that they can have an impact on future decision-making at DCSS.

I do not understand why everyone openly recognizes the handicap Cross Keys has due to its isolation and yet takes no concrete action to address the core problem. The actions of leadership have been a self-fulfilling prophecy - families move out of Cross Keys district and the potential, vocal constituency gets smaller every year. With commercial re-development inevitable along Buford Hwy, enrollment will continue to fall. A long, slow death spiral for Cross Keys has been started and no one sees any reason to be ready for the long-term realities. Fear and loathing in Brookhaven and DCSS ...

My biggest, long-term concern is that the between Chamblee, Lakeside, and Cross Keys we may end up with 3 only moderately performing High Schools in this part of DeKalb ... then what happens to our neighborhoods?

I think I'll take the weekend off from fretting about this - it is getting rather depressing to contemplate further.

Anonymous said...

son of awcomeonnow here posting after the fact.
I find it interesting that there were more majority black schools in Dekalb county six years after the deseg. suit was filed.
It's not included in the stats, ( and NEVER mentioned in the AJC), but zoning, housing patterns, and federal HUD funding laws had tons to do with the sudden upsurge in predominantly black schools during that time.
Soon after the deseg suit was filed, attendance boundaries were frozen. This means that if there were to be a sudden upsurge in say, low income apartment construction, that these areas would see a measurable shift in income, and / or other demographics.
Soooo..... they built low income complexes on Candler (Columbia), Glenwood (Towers), inside Belvedere Park subdivision
(Avondale), and on the other side of Candler (then Gordon HS, now McNair).
The schools didn't become
majority black on their own, the Dekalb County Housing Authority in
conjunction with HUD had tons to do with it. ( The same pattern prevailed with Stone Mountain's white flight within the last two decades).
The areas that have changed in
Dekalb did so because someone threw the HUD switch. Isn't it way
past time no one questions it?

Cerebration said...

I found a couple of interesting links relating to the spending of the stimulus money -

First a Powerpoint -
http://www.learningpt.org/whatsnew/LeveragingStimulusFundsforLastingChange.pdf.

Then, a letter from Arne Duncan -
http://www.ed.gov/programs/statestabilization/2009-394-cover.pdf

Anonymous said...

Here's some more insight into the system's callous neglect of CK. Approximately 2 years ago, CK's principal, who had taught math there for years, retired around Thanksgiving. Disregarding the recommendations of a hiring committee, DCSS hired a rookie AP from Norcross with a MSW who had absolutely no classroom experience.

You would think that a truly concerned system would hire a proven professional with experience turning around struggling schools.

There are no Latino administrators at CK, despite a 70+% Latino population. I read recently that a Latino principal in Gwinnett was fired, and replaced by another Latino admin. Giving DCSS the benefit of the doubt, I thought that there might not be a large pool of Latino candidates for a school admin position.

And since the new principal's hire, all of those administrative staff persons with institutional knowledge--you know, those secretaries who know all about those routine, mundane details of running schools' day-to-day functions--are all gone.

The school lurches about rudderless with daily crises fueled by inexperienced, incompetent staff.

The teachers and a very small number of dedicated staff keep the school going. It is infuriating and frustrating -- since the students (many of them having been speaking English for no more than 3 or 4 years) and teachers are the best in Dekalb. Once you step up the ladder though, you end up in the twilight zone.