Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 AYP Data posted on State DOE Website!

It is the time of the year when school officials and community members see the ‘report card’ from this past academic school year. Take a look at the following website for that information:


I would suggest looking at the School Detail Report. In the first iteration, the filters were placed on the incorrect row (row 1 instead of row 2) which results in you not seeing column headings when filtering data. I would suggest saving it to your machine and changing it, which should take about 10-15 seconds. Ask if you have questions on how this is done.

If you look at the AYP status column, you will notice several schools listed that you might not expect to see in the ‘not met’ category for DCSS. Nonetheless, this should make for some interesting discussions with respect to the AYP performance for all of our schools.


Cerebration said...

Thanks for sharing this, psc. Here are DCSS's scores at a glance --

DeKalb County (644)
Number of Schools : 135(?) (last year we had 140!)
Schools Meeting AYP : 93 (68.9%)
Schools Not Meeting AYP : 42 (31.1%)
Schools Meeting Test Participation : 134 (100.0%)
Schools Meeting Academic Performance : 94 (69.6%)
Schools Meeting Second Indicator : 129 (95.6%)

Schools Not Meeting AYP

Avondale HS
Avondale MS
Cedar Grove HS
Chapel Hill MS
Columbia ES
Columbia HS
Columbia MS
Cross Keys HS
DeKalb/Rockdale PsychoEducation Center*
Dunaire ES
Dunwoody HS
Fairington ES
Flat Rock ES
Freedom MS
Heritage Educational Center*
Indian Creek ES
International Student Center
Knollwood ES
Lithonia HS
Lithonia MS
McNair HS
McNair MS
Midway ES
Miller Grove MS
Open Campus HS
Panola Way ES
Peachtree MS
Redan HS
Redan MS
McNair Learning Academy
Salem MS
Shamrock MS
Sky Haven ES
SW DeKalb HS
Stephenson HS
Stone Mill ES
Stone MT HS
Toney ES
Towers HS
Tucker HS
UHS of Laurel Heights(?) Never heard of it.

* Special Education Facilities

Cerebration said...

When you look at the CRCT indicators, it appears as though the consistent struggling groups are students with disabilities (SWD) and English language learners (ELL).

On the GHSGT (Graduation Test) there is failure across all categories, except Asian, White and Multi-Racial. And it's pretty bad, as 35.6% of blacks, 32.9% of Hispanics, 43.2% of ELL, 69.7% of SWD and 37.7% of Economically Disadvantaged did not meet standards in math.

In addition, 12.4% of blacks, 21% of Hispanics, 47.9% of SWD, 36.7% of ELL and 15% of Economically Disadvantaged did not meet standards in English/LA.

Anonymous said...

Failed AYP in Dekalb 2009:
71% of high schools
55% of middle schools
14% of elementary schools

Is this surprising? No, as students get older, schools look and feel more like prisons and cattle calls. I know that AYP can't be our only performance indicator, but it surely affects what outsiders think of us.

Anonymous said...

Cere said:
"When you look at the CRCT indicators, it appears as though the consistent struggling groups are . . .SWD and English language learners (ELL)."
But for ELL, not across the board--the International Community School, which has A LOT of ELL, did make AYP, whereas Indian Creek ES, which also has a lot of ELL refugee kids, did not. Food for thought.

Cerebration said...

Good catch, anon. I was just looking at the State's overall chart and under ELL it says NO. But there are always exceptions - and this is a perfect one to point out!

Cerebration said...

You may wish to visit the school system's website to read their interpretation of the data (more positive, of course!)

DCSS Shows AYP Improvement, Anticipates Increases with Summer Re-Tests

Mirroring state-wide results on the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), DeKalb County School System as a district has shown improvement on the state-mandated assessment. With challenges still present, however, school leaders are on a focused mission to raise the bar of student achievement.

Overall, 68.9% of all DeKalb school locations (K - 12 Schools, Start-Up Charters, and Centers) have made AYP at the July 2009 Report. This is up from 53.6% in the July 2008 AYP Report.

With the July release from the state Department of Education, passing rates among DeKalb elementary schools have increased as 85% or 70 of 82 elementary schools made AYP. This is a 24 percent increase, up from 61% in July of 2008.


Cerebration said...

Continuing --

In 2008, 39% of the district's high schools made AYP. In July 2009, 30% of the district's high schools are making AYP - with the possibility of that figure increasing with the addition of Georgia High School Graduation Test re-test scores in the state's second release in September 2009.

oops! Did we lose ground in our high schools?

“Because we are a dedicated educational community, I know that we are very much willing and able to do whatever it takes to ensure our students have tremendous success on standardized tests. There is a sense of urgency to build upon our improvement and strengthen our weak areas because in many ways we are so close, but in so many ways we have a long way to go to truly transform each of our schools and classrooms into those of excellence and high performance,” said DeKalb Schools Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis.

Anon South Side said...

The percentages for passing will continue to go up and our numbers or status will continue to look...well not too good.

Again, I don't know what the answers are, but something really needs to be done.....

I know we are a large school system but we're failing.

Thanks for the post....even though I'm not excited about what I see.

Anonymous said...

Holy Mackeral!

These numbers are OUTRAGEOUS!

31.1% did not meet AYP!

Forty Two (42) Schools!


Can't Make This Stuff Up said...

...we have a long way to go to truly transform each of our schools and classrooms into those of excellence and high performance,” said DeKalb Schools Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis.

Wow. Just WOW.

Dear Sir said...

How far do you figure that distance is, Dr. Lewis?

As a 32 year employee of DCSS, please explain how this came to be.

What are you personally going to do to "transform" (your word) DCSS?

What results from your "transformation" (your word) can we expect to see?

How long is your "transformation" going to take?

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

Super Crawfort has started a book club for his County employees, well, those who CAN read, at least. The second book is the one the PWF on here will really like.

Semester 1
25 Ways to Win with People
by John Maxwell
You've read John Maxwell's best-selling Winning with People, and now you're ready for some specific action steps to build on the knowledge you gained. 25 Ways to Win with People has just what you need! This complementary companion to the full-sized book is ideal for a quick refresher course on interpersonal relationships. A small sampling of the twenty-five specific actions readers can take to build positive, healthy relationships includes: Complimenting People in Front of Others Creating a Memory and Visiting It Often Encouraging the Dreams of Others

Semester 2
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Anyone who's been to a high school or college has noted how students of the same race seem to stick together. Beverly Daniel Tatum has noticed it too, and she doesn't think it's so bad. As she explains in this provocative, though not-altogether-convincing book, these students are in the process of establishing and affirming their racial identity. As Tatum sees it, blacks must secure a racial identity free of negative stereotypes. The challenge to whites, on which she expounds, is to give up the privilege that their skin color affords and to work actively to combat injustice in society.

Call the Department of Leadership Development at 678-676-0221 to schedule your region or departmental workshop.

Dr. Frankie B. Callaway
Deputy Superintendent
3770 North Decatur Road
Decatur, Georgia 30032
FAX: 678-676-0759

"Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead, and no man yet to be born can do it any better."
-Benjamin E. Mays

Peace. OUT.

Anonymous said...

What the??????????????????

"The challenge to whites, on which she expounds, is to give up the privilege that their skin color affords and to work actively to combat injustice in society."

Cerebration said...

Well, we here at the blog can rest easy in that challenge! We have been really working as a team here at the blog to expose the horrible wretched conditions the Latino students at Cross Keys HS have endured for years. Tonight, WSB Channel 2 aired an expose complete with many revealing photos of the inequity these students continue to suffer at the hands of DCSS.

Maybe we should write a book about the "Myth of PWF Who Don't Help Out Anybody"... So nice of Dr. Lewis to perpetuate that myth...

mykidsmom said...

The video is up on WSBTV's website. Good job Kim!!

mykidsmom said...

How does a school run out of copy paper? Is this not supplied by DCSS?

Dekalbparent said...

@mykidsmom - they can run out of copy paper and other things because they get an allotment, school by school (don't know if it's funds or amount of supplies), and if they use it up, that's it.

DHHS ran out of copy paper about three-four weeks before end of school. Parents were asked to contribute, and teachers sometimes bought their own.

My kid took several tests by reading each question off the board and writing answers on POST-IT NOTES! I guess the supply of stickies had not run out when the copy paper did.

Anon South Side said...

Ditto Dekalb Parent....for years many parents on the South end have purchased and supplied schools with paper, pencils, wipes and the list goes on....what did we receive for our supplies of paper.....busy work, multiple no countless sheets of printouts to be taken home and completed. Some even came back with checks.....not grades but checks........for 4th and 5th graders.........

So when you arrive to middle school and you no longer receive checks but grades and red ink marks for grammar mistakes that were over looked or not considered in elementary.....what do you expect???? Everyone to make an "A"...........

Anonymous said...

From another blog

Why aren’t more schools improving?
1. SWD. This sub group keeps most schools and districts from making AYP. Having their scores count makes no sense. All of these students have IEP’s, most of which state they are performing below grade level in certain areas, (I had one student in 7th grade who was reading at a 1st grade level) yet these students are expected to pass grade level tests. As the little instruction guide says “If one sub group does not meet the goals then the entire school does not make AYP.”
2. The sub groups. You have 2 students. One is a white child (or black or latino) in a nice middle class environment. That child fails, you get hit once. One is a half black, half latino child, who’se first language is not English, living on welfare, with an IEP, then you count in 7 sub groups. So if that child fails, that school gets hit 7 times on its AYP. Now, honestly who is more likely to fail? Why should one student hurt a school once, and another child hurt a school 7 times? Remember if one sub group fails, the entire school fails.
3. Schools have no control over the kids and where they go. My school failed to make AYP last year because 5 of our students were kicked out of school and ordered to attend a reform type school within our district. My school had no control over the education of these 5 students, yet when it came time for their CRCT tests (which they took at their reform school) their scores counted for my school. So we are counting scores, attendance, etc. in the state of GA for students who DONT ATTEND THE SCHOOL LISTED IN THE DATA. If you look in the data for Chatham county you won’t find the Scott Alternative School yet hundreds of kids go there. Hmmmm….
4. Poorly designed tests. The state threw out tests last year, threw them out this year and again next year. Curriculum has changed drastically, etc. Is it possible that the test is flawed and does not actually measure the standards being taught?
5. When tests are given. In my district, the test is given with 6 weeks of school left to go. So in fact the test does not measure progress for the school year, only for about 75% of it. Why do other states, like VA, give their state tests with 1 or 2 weeks left in the school year. According to the curriculum website, the new standards go into “greater depth” then the previous standards. So if you go into greater depth, logically one would assume you would need MORE time not LESS time to assess. The 8th grade writing test is given in January! Thats only 50% of the school year done to measure the progress of a student’s writing.

Why should you care about the results?

You SHOULDN’T. AYP is determined in this state mainly on the standardized test and really that’s it. The test itself has proven to be flawed, proven not to align with the curriculum (6th and 7th grade social studies), proven to be graded unfairly to students, proven to be graded unfairly for schools, not given at the end of a course when assessments should be given but rather 75% through the course, proven to be nothing but a joke in the state of GA. Parents, students and teachers are being lied to over and over and over again, but education isn’t important in the south.

Anonymous said...

Cere.....those are the types of things that keep us all from the truth......lies and myths.....they are being displayed or misrepresented on all sides..........

All black people aren't lazy, non involved parents that are socio-economically disadvantaged.... Nor all all white people determined not to help others, don't want non whites at their schools.....

And let's face it....we do have some of both on each side of the coin..........


Cerebration said...

Right anon. We all need to learn to just take people at face value - as they are - individually. Sweeping generalizations and perceived "hurts" are only going to hinder progress on all fronts. In this county, the race issue is the one, over-riding, pervasive, dominant issue that infiltrates every conversation, every initiative, every event, every dollar - slowing progress. Fear, defensive selfishness and imagined insults rule. Consequently, due to this attention-absorbing infighting the real work - the work of educating each and every child in our care and providing a safe, clean learning environment, gets lost in the cacophony. Children lose. And what they lose, they can never get back.

We need young, fresh, new leadership - in our administration and on our school board. Several of the people currently 'leading' this system are far too invested in their entwined personal histories and personal motivations to ever be able to create a respectable vision for the future of DeKalb's children.

Anon South Side said...

Amen Cere and Anon...

fedupindcss said...

So, the day before the AYP list comes out, DCSS sends out a press release crowing about the fact that five of its high schools (Chamblee, Lakeside, DSA, Dunwoody and Tucker) made the Newsweek Top 1500 High Schools list. Noteworthy of course is the fact that, by Georgia standards, Tucker and Dunwoody are "failing" schools.

So, you are a parent who does not blog here, and is less well educated on the faultiness of both these rubrics. How do you make sense of this? How can a high school be one of the best in the country, but a failure in our state? What does this tell us about the inanity of all these rankings?

Anonymous said...

As always, just pushing the thought that perhaps the block isn't working. Students need math all year.

If research shows that students lose ground over the summer, imagine 9 months with no math. What a train wreck -- and I am supposing that the results of AYP show it.

Only 1/3 of the system's high schools made AYP. This is horrifying.

Anonymous said...

What does this tell us about the inanity of all these rankings?

Personally, for my children anyway, I do not take much stock in the CRCT scores. It is my belief that NCLB has been a "crime" perpetuated on our schools.

As far as high schools - AYP is decided based on High School Graduation Tests. Huh? What about the other students.

Let's take a look at Dunwoody's numbers: 408 students

74.9 score needed

94.1 – Asian (26 students)
65.5 – Black (154 students)
67.6 – Hispanic (50 students)
97.0 – White (172 students)
64.4 – Econ Dis (125 students)

87.7 score needed

91.6 – Asian
88.2 – Black
88.1 – Hispanic
97.6 – White
77.5– Econ Dis

At the risk of sounding “Politically Incorrect” – heck I’ll do it anyway, there is a big disparity here, especially in Math. While the Hispanic population is a resident population for Dunwoody and it is obvious there is work needed here, the majority of black students are AYP transfers. I think these scores indicate one of the biggest fallacies of NCLB - that just moving children around from one school to the other, in most cases, does not work – especially in high school. These children should have already gotten the basics in ES and MS. If they have not, they will not all of a sudden “get it” in HS.

The good news for Dunwoody is that they no longer can be a receiving school – for at least 2 years anyway. This should help with the overcrowding situation. Hopefully by then NCLB as we know it now will no longer exist.

mykidsmom said...

Thanks for the info Dekalbparent - and good for Buckhead Rotary for stepping in and helping out Cross Keys. Kim, if you ever hear of anything that Cross Keys or their students need, along these lines, please could you let us know? I do believe "it takes a village" to educate and raise our children.
I'm sure there are those on this board and in our communities that would be glad to help out these children that have been so neglected.

Cerebration said...

Great info, people! Yes - when you disaggregate the data - you may very well find that the group of students your child belongs to is doing just fine - even if the school itself didn't make AYP. That's the problem with NCLB - it labels the whole school, instead of focusing intensely on the groups that show they need help.

And man - that darn block is a waste. It's hard on the staff - one counselor at a school on the block told me it is a huge challenge to come up with so many class offerings. It's ineffective - and outrageously expensive. As we've discussed here before - offering students 32 credits over 4 years costs much more than offering 28. Four extra credits per student - per graduating class can equal 1200 extra credits - or around 40 actual extra classes if you have 30 kids per class (and teachers!) over the course of 4 years - per graduating class!

The 7-period day is more effective - both in results and in cost.

Cerebration said...

ps - a teacher at Cross Keys mentioned that they really need classroom editions of the novels they read. All of their books are literally falling apart.

Any sponsors?

mykidsmom said...

ps - a teacher at Cross Keys mentioned that they really need classroom editions of the novels they read. All of their books are literally falling apart.

Could we get a list cere? I would be glad to donate some books.

mykidsmom said...

I've heard "rumors" that there is a strong push to do away with the block schedule at Dunwoody. I'd like to see that happen. I've talked with several teachers and, with the exception of the Science teachers (the block gives them time for their experiments), they would love to go back to the traditional 7 period schedule.

Cerebration said...

I'll track down a list for you guys.

regarding CRCT - there's a chart in the AJC article today (pg A8) showing the overall district results. I see that although DeKalb has improved 15.3% this year, our overall score over the last 5 years is that we are down 17.5%. (-17.5% - even when you include this year. They say that in years past, fewer students needed to pass to make AYP, but rules were more strict.)

Dr. Lewis has been leading our system for 6 years. I'm not sure I'm impressed with his results.

Square Peg said...

Back to Beverly Tatum's book and the question of racial identities: the Amazon reviews say the section dealing with nonblack/nonwhite identities is weak. And certainly the Cross Keys boosters would say that nonblack and nonwhite gets short shrift in Dekalb. I can't see you fellow posters, but you appear to be white people, black people, and "PWFs" trying to advocate for Hispanics. Any Asians on the list? (OK, one half-Turk, if I recall correctly.)

In broad-brush terms, as is inevitable when talking about ethnicity, my Asian friends tend to be very interested in public education and in encouraging their children to the highest possible achievement. It's a perspective which comes from a keen awareness of global competition, so all Americans ought to hear it. But with the many difficult problems and grievous needs DCSS has to deal with, is there a place in Dekalb and on this list for advocating for opportunities for high achieving students without being considered whiny and elitist? Or must ambitious families try to escape to Cobb, North Fulton, or Gwinnett if they don't get into the magnet program?

P.S. Count me in too for books for Cross Keys.

mykidsmom said...

Okay, I'm so totally confused. Someone please tell me how Clarkston HS made AYP?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the lack of paper at CK was an internal bookkeeping, funds-distribution problem. There seems to be problems with the way FTE money (based on enrollment) and Title I money is spent at CK. Perhaps a professional bookkeeper could keep up with all this.

Anonymous said...

There is a "professional" bookkeeper at Cross Keys. But the way money is handled there is extremely sketchy. Teachers were given money to order supplies for their classrooms. They placed their orders with the bookkeeper and NEVER received them. This was in January. Teachers were still wondering if they were going to get their orders in April. They never received a straight answer until the end of the semester when they were simply told there was no more money. Something very fishy is happening with the money at Cross Keys....Or perhaps it just seems fishy. There's no transparency, and teachers and staff are left to speculate.

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

Answer this one for me, PWF. If a school system does not care if a female math teacher has sex with a male student from 9th grade to 11th grade and gets caught because she has a telephone argument with the kid's STUDENT girlfriend cause she was sleeping with him the night before spring break started, why should anyone be surprised when that school system wants to excuse the cheating of a couple of administrators at Atherton?

Here's an url: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/newsroom/press/pdf/2009-07-14.2009-07-21.Teachers_Participate_in_Environmental_Ed_Institute.pdf

The Watkins woman is the same one who had sex with the teenager. She made the AJC and all the local TV stations. She went to court. The wildest: even though a Math teacher at Redan HS, in the 11th grade she was made Yearbook Advisor. She placed a picture of herself hugging the young man on the cover of the yearbook! Well, what did good old Premier DeKalb do with her? They shipped her to DUNWOODY HS, made her Department Chair, selected her for summer school positions (with extra pay), and now have chosen her for Arabia Mtn. Is she Department Chair there too?

Ah, so, do the dirty with a kid in DeKalb (or cheat on standardized tests) and be praised to high heaven by Super Crawfort and his ilk.

Peace. OUT.

Molly said...

And man - that darn block is a waste. It's hard on the staff - one counselor at a school on the block told me it is a huge challenge to come up with so many class offerings. It's ineffective - and outrageously expensive. As we've discussed here before - offering students 32 credits over 4 years costs much more than offering 28. Four extra credits per student - per graduating class can equal 1200 extra credits - or around 40 actual extra classes if you have 30 kids per class (and teachers!) over the course of 4 years - per graduating class!

The 7-period day is more effective - both in results and in cost.

I couldn't agree more, Cerebration.

Tucker HS is applying for charter status, and one of the changes planned if they get it is to return to the 7 period schedule.

You can read their petition and vote (as a concerned community member, student, parent/guardian or faculty/staff) as to whether or not you support their petition at http://thscharter.wordpress.com/

I am happy to support their petition if it means doing away with block scheduling.

Cerebration said...

oh my! you are all so full of interesting tidbits. anon12.08 - wow - your story is a blockbuster! How can that be? And as far as sketchy bookkeeping goes - Cross Keys is not alone - there have been problems at Chamblee and Lakeside (and certainly others) but they are swept under the rug.

In a county where we have a multi-million dollar ticket fixing scheme in the courts - I have to wonder if we just don't have some similar funny money issues in our school system.

Sadly, we have to rely on Ron Ramsey to investigate. And historically, he hasn't exactly shown himself to be a "watchdog"...

One Fed Up Insider said...


Get me a list. I would love to donate a set of books to CK.

Cerebration said...

Workin' on it - I'll let you all know asap!

As far as the AYP data goes, I think one aspect that is positive about NCLB is that SOME administrators have taken to heart, the task of educating ALL students. Too many educators in the past have just had some kind of "tough love" attitude that kids "need to fail" or "change their behavior" or "work harder". But it has now been proven that with help, support and a small, family-like environment, pretty much all kids can learn.

I am especially impressed with the dedication of the leadership at Sequoyah MS. Again, this is a school with a large Hispanic population, many of whom English is not the language spoken in their home. Yet, they continue to make AYP year after year. Below is a clue why --

Read what was written in today's hard copy of the AJC regarding the AYP success of Sequoyah MS:

"We're not turf guards. We don't teach in fear. We ask questions and find solutions together." (Jim Harris, principal at UCA)

Sequoyah's Trenton Arnold agreed, saying that approach engenders honesty and reveals weaknesses early on from the administrative level on down to the student. "We're like family," Arnold said.

Piper Cunninghams, teacher and after-school tutorial coordinator at Sequoyah, said teachers hold "test talks" with each student about specific strengths and weaknesses to develop a plan for improvement.

The school als has "extended learning time" so that the first 20 minutes of each day is devoted to silent reading. And it offers a 90-minute after-school tutorial three days a week.

"We give them a snack and provide transportation home."

"It's been said a lot, but any child can learn. It's our job to find out how they learn." (Jim Harris, principal at UCA)

Sadly for Sequoyah, Trenton Arnold has done such a good job at Sequoyah, that he has been transferred to Stone Mt Middle to see if he can work his magic there. (How about a 'train the principal' program?

Square Peg said...

How long was Trenton Arnold principal at Sequoyah?

Does anybody see any way to replicate Sequoyah's culture of honesty and support and problem-solving?

How did Sequoyah find the funds to offer their effective after-school programs? Funds or no funds, it is appalling that instead of using every resource available, our schools turn away parents like Anon South Side who want to pitch in to provide what the school doesn't.

Cerebration said...

Here's what one customer review at Amazon has to say about the "black kids sitting together in the cafeteria" book,

"The fourth section, dealing with multiracial and other racial identities, is by far the weakest area of the book. After the in-depth, personal exploration of black and white identity, it feels as if Tatum is merely giving lip service to Latinos, American Indians, and Asian Pacific Americans. The text is dry and reads awkwardly, as if the author herself is not quite comfortable with her role in describing the ideas discussed. The chapter on multiracial identity is better, as Tatum gets back into her comfort zone of dealing with black and white, however, it is stunted and serves more as a catalyst for further investigation than as an actual source of information."

I rest my case. This review exemplifies why Dr. Lewis and his staff cannot bring themselves to demand equality for Cross Keys Hispanic students. Open your eyes please - you are being just as discriminatory as you feel you endure.

Like the book says to whites - Uncomfortable, eh?

Anon South Side said...

Principal's training program......hhhhmmmmm that would be interesting to see someone who's in authority sit under someone who has been successful in their authority.

I like that. Maybe if Principal's get help they will allow parents to help out.....

One Fed Up Insider said...

Don't forget... Sequoyah got bonus money a few years ago. $3500 signing bonus for teachers to go and teach there and they may get more for keeping the grades up.

They may have done the same thing at McNair. When they had to fire everyone because they did not AYP for so many years... But they wound up hiring the same people back.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration, mykidsmom, Fed Up Insider and others: "classroom editions of the novels they read"

I have a message into the teachers and hope to have titles tomorrow. Very, very kind to offer. I'll make sure the teachers and kids benefit from your generosity!

I'm compiling an email distribution list for this and other purposes of supporting CKHS. If you would like me to add your email, send me a note: kim at community radar dot com

You email address/info will be kept confidential.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "... to expose the horrible wretched conditions the Latino students at Cross Keys HS have endured for years."

The school is 68%+ Latino. But there are a significant number of African-Americans and Asians at Cross Keys HS. They are all affected equally.

While I can't deny there may be issues of private bigotry in leaders' hearts (how would I know?), I have to say that I firmly believe the issue with Cross Keys loosing out so often is due to the lack of advocacy. There have been no voices outside of the faculty that I am aware of for many years.

I will lay the blame for this at the feet of the current and past DCSS and BOE leaders. The most significant contributor to enrollment dropping at CKHS is redistricting and attendance lines moves by DCSS.

Have you all seen this overlay map I've developed?

Does Cross Keys Have a Community?

A picture is worth a thousand words ...

Anonymous said...

DCSS has updated their AYP charts as of 7/15/09. I always find these much easier to read. The data could change again based on summer school re-tests, but I presume these charts are what will be used for NCLB transfers.

It looks like we have more schools that did not make AYP, but at the middle school level it is largely based on Students with Disabilities (SWD) and English Language learners (ELL) subgroups. I think we need to remember that these students need support and special attention, but these scores should not tarnish the entire school or its teachers.

However, on the high school level, it looks like many of our students have a very serious problem passing the Math and English portions of the HSGT. What the heck is the DCSS remediation plan? Arnie Duncan in D.C. can talk all he wants about school choice but just transferring the students around is not the solution. To me, this only aggravates the situation because it is harder to keep track of them and have any consistency in instruction.

pscexb said...

I believe below is the link Anon was referring to:


mykidsmom said...

I may be dreaming this, but I thought I read somewhere that the Kathy Cox's plan is for the EOCT's to take the place of the HGST at some point as a determination of High School AYP.

mykidsmom said...

I am also trying to determine how Clarkston High School made AYP with Math scores (for All Students) of 69.7% (Math) and 81.1 (LA).

pscexb said...

I'm surprised no one called me out for this statement:

If you look at the AYP status column, you will notice several schools listed that you might not expect to see in the ‘not met’ category for DCSS.

I was referring to SW DeKalb HS and Chapel Hill MS, the schools that house the Magnet for High Achievers program in the southern part of the county. For several years, the magnet populations were able to help 'carry' those schools with respect to AYP status (the Magnet program moved to Chapel Hill from Miller Grove in 2006).

SW DeKalb did not make it primarily due to the SWD and Econ. Disadv. categories, which ultimately rolled into the entire school. Chapel Hill did not make it in the SWD category.

I agree with comments that have been made that parents should drill down and analyze the results to understand why a school did not make AYP. I believe targeted assistance should be provided for the impacted subgroups and monies should be provided to enable this.

The current administration has been talking about reauthorizing NCLB. I hope they review the remedies that have possibly caused more harm and look to correct them.

Kim Gokce said...

@pscexb: "I hope they review the remedies that have possibly caused more harm and look to correct them."

I don't have the experience or knowledge to have much to say on the topic of AYP/NCLB but I have to ask: Are the remedies you mention the "choice" programs?

These seem to be universally pointed to as making matters worse for "those left behind." But if we don't offer choices to parents with the motivation and the resources to leverage those choices, have we helped anyone? I don't know.

It almost seems as if we have burned up a ton of energy, good will, and $$$ getting oriented towards "choice" programs only to begin looking at a 180 degree turn back to keeping kids in their zones???

In CKHS zone, many parents will tell you they fear the school making AYP because they will loose their ticket out of zone. Admittedly, this is not a dynamic that could possible help "fix" Cross Keys (if it is indeed "broken" academically - not convinced of that).

I interpret the "choice" programs as an admission that the system can't "fix" the home school. Not a pretty situation but what are the remedies that have worked around the country? Surely someone "did NCLB right" in a large, urban system. Please tell me they have - please!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:29 noted "It looks like we have more schools that did not make AYP, but at the middle school level it is largely based on SWD and English Language learners (ELL) subgroups."

And yet in their infinite wisdom the BOE and DCSS chose not to allow the creation of an international community middle school charter that would address the needs of ELL in the same way the primary charter international school has done for the past half decade.

Sorry, not "wisdom." Given that DCSS would have to partially fund any new charter I think there's another word I'm looking for.


pscexb said...

Kim, I was actually referring to allowing anyone from a Title 1 school to take advantage of AYP transfers, even if they were not in the impacted subgroup (Now that is a mouthful :) ) This is partially what caused some of the overcrowding issues at some schools along with some frustrations. You could not use lack of space as a obstacle to allowing students to leverage this.

I see the choice programs as an 'overlay', hoping that families will leverage them because it provides a program of interest. Theme schools, for example have been successful, especially in South DeKalb. Many have asked about replicating this model but in reality it takes the community to say that is what they want.

mykidsmom said...

Molly, it's my understand that schools have the choice whether they follow the Block Schedule or the traditional 7 period schedule. You don't need charter status to have that changed.

Anonymous said...

Kim, this will not answer your question, but here are some observations. My child attends a school that for years has received many NCLB transfer students. Some of the students are great kids who want to learn and do succeed. But others are there because their parents moved them because "everyone else was doing it" or they profit from the transportation reimbursement.

Then when school starts, it turns out that the transfer students have overcrowded an already full school and there are never enough teachers at the beginning of the year. So the county has to add more students to each classroom and transfer the teachers from the failing schools to the overcrowded school. End result, students from the failing schools are being taught in larger classes by some of the same teachers they had before. These students still have the same socioeconomic hurdles they had before, but now miss a lot of school due to transportation problems, have no after school tutoring programs because the new school is not a Title I school and their parents are rarely active in any school programs because the distance is so great.

Frankly, I fail to see the positives in this situation. The federal NCLB statute created the problem but for some reason DCSS has a much, much higher percentage of families who seek AYP transfers than other counties. You almost never hear of transfer issues in Gwinnett, Cobb, Fulton or Atlanta yet they have schools who under federal law should be offering the transfers.

I think the "perception" of change is what entices parents to move their students. I know that Duncan is advocating lots of "choice" but the most recent reports have found that most charter schools have not demonstrated any significant academic gains.

I have heard from teachers that many of the transfer students are significantly behind in basics like reading and math. I mean 8th graders performing on a 3rd grade level! Is the problem social promotion?

Cerebration said...

Lakeside is on the 7 period day - it is not a Charter, a theme, a magnet or a choice - it's a plain old everyday high school.

yes - Lakeside has been a receiving school for years for NCLB (AYP) transfers. Title 1 or not. Hundreds. Administrative transfers too. Heck- Johnny Brown's kid went to Lakeside. So do Elaine Boyer's girls. On and on. But never - does anyone say, "enough!" No one should be expected to save the world like that! We're not allowed to say no - we just have to keep adding trailers and shuffling teachers. Then the Administration just turns and walks away and take notice of "Smoothly" school started and how much room there is now at the failing schools - and add on to them.

Sorry - ranting is my thing these days.

mykidsmom said...

The Instruction Committee apparently had quite the discussion with regards to Block Schedule. Click on the Meeting Minutes


Cerebration said...

Great catch, mykidsmom. Their discussion seemed all over the board - and never mentioned the COST of the block schedule.

But I enjoyed it -- couldn't help giggling that they refer to it in the notes as BS.

mykidsmom said...

I got the feeling, at least from the minutes, Dr. Lewis does not really care for the BS (LOL), but it seems Gloria Talley does. I wonder if the Block was Gloria's idea.

Cerebration said...

It's funny. Lewis said it was done under Brown. But then someone said it was 5 years ago - which would be Lewis (he's been Super since Oct 03, right?) And wasn't it Lewis who hired Gloria? Brown had Abbe Boring... I don't think Gloria was here yet - seems she came about the same time as Pat Pope. Anyone know?

I found it very interesting that the only person who seemed to care what the teachers thought about it was Don McChesney.

Anonymous said...

Johnny Brown brought the block to DCSS. Remember, graduate credits increased at the same time to something like 28 and the block allowed kids to fail and not repeat a grade. Lakeside and Chamblee fought tooth and nail, and with the BOE's support, got to keep a 6 period day - the 7th period was added a year or so later. They have kept the 7 period day because you can't argue with success.

Each year, faculty, parents and students are asked how they feel about the block --- it doesn't matter what the surveys say, the administration manipulates the results in the presentation to the BOE to keep the block. Tucker's survey has indicated a majority wanted the 7 period day - the administration didn't want to change (too expensive to go back) and so the entire community - teachers, parents, students and greater community - are voting on a charter to allow a 7 period day.

Sorry for the very long post. Can you tell I'm not a fan of the block?

Cerebration said...

I think it's even more than that - I think, jobs will be lost - as we will no longer need to offer about 40 extra classes per graduating class. No one has the guts to cut personnel. Plus - we could reduce our graduation requirement to 23 credits to match the new state requirements to ensure graduation. People who want to take the extra SS class are welcome to if they don't have to re-take something else.

I'm no fan of the block, strictly due to the costs. Costs for teachers, counselors, books, supplies, classroom space, etc... It would be cheaper to offer extra electives after school on a voluntary basis to kids who really want to learn certain things - not because we have to due to having to offer 32 credits to each kid rather than 28.

I mean, if you buy a box of Cheerios, it costs General Mills more money to put 32 ounces in the box rather than 28, right?

Anonymous said...

From Anon 10:03
I agree with but it would take some real forward thinking to "undo" the block to prevent damage to kids in the 11th and 12th
grades. DCSS has always had a challenge when a student transferred into the system from out of district (legitimately) to figure out how to fit his/her credits into a block without loosing time toward graduation. Some of the transfers into LHS and CHS were because of this problem.

The out of district transfers are one problem but the real challenge is how to convert those students' credits from a block into a 7 period day without delaying graduation. This is one challenge that cannot be corrected as simply as it seems.

Anonymous said...

The Block schedule needs to go- I've have had kids with block and no block. PEOPLE- just look at our high school math scores. These kids need to be taking math every day just to catch up so they can barely pass a simple test.

Changing the block is a no brainer. Just start with the 9th and 10th grades and phase it out. Grandfather in the 11th and 12th grades.

The survey is worthless and I agree manipulated. Also, ONLY students and parents of students who are on a block schedule can participate. Parents and students at Lakeside and CCHS are excluded. How's that for manipulation?

There are also ways (albeit more complex) to have a modified block where morning courses are year long and afternoon courses are block (like they do with college labs).

Cerebration said...

Forsyth County just reverted back to a 7 period day - we could ask them how they did it - but from what I hear, it wasn't too terribly painful. Probably easier than going the other way.

Oh - what will we cut -- one of our 12 PE electives or one of our many basket-weaving courses?

Anonymous said...

just read the committee notes on block scheduling. thanks for the link!

I agree that it is baffling why Gloria Talley would support this... unless she advocated for it. There is plenty of literature that demostrates the problems with block. Parents will admit it really hurts the AP classes because they have to take the AP test before the teacher is through the material.

My son is not on the block and his friends who are tease him because they never have any homework! The teachers who try to teach the entire 90 minutes get push back fro both students and parents if they do not allow the students to use a portion of the class to read or do homework. Pitiful.

Anon South Side said...

Maybe we should all sign up to speak on changing to a 7 period at the next board meeting.... What do you think?

fedupindcss said...

A lot of schools in DCSS on the 4x4 block still have year-long math, by using a "zero" period first thing.

That said, notwithstanding the problems with block, a 7-period day is pretty crappy, too. It is incredibly long, tiring, and requires students to juggle a lot. I have talked to parents who had older kids on the 6-period day and younger ones now, and they said the difference is stark. The teachers see it, too. But you can't get in those 24 graduation credits and have enough for electives on a 6-period day (oddly, most colleges outside GA don't require this much to matriculate).

There are some other great modified blocks out there (Westminster uses a rolling-style block, where you have 7 classes but only 6 on any given day, with a lab every other week). But DCSS can't do any of these because of the overlay of Driver's Ed, Joint Enrollment, STT, etc. We are stuck with two choices, and neither is necessarily the best.

Cerebration said...

The agenda only lists 10 or 11 speakers (3 of them, the Jackson family) - so there is room!

If you would like to speak, send an email to

and ask her to put your name on the speaker list!

Good idea!

Kim Gokce said...

@Cerebration: "ps - a teacher at Cross Keys mentioned that they really need classroom editions of the novels they read."

For your generous readers that have inquired about how to help in this regard, I have setup an Amazon wishlist here:

CKHS English Dept Wishlist

I've also setup a time on 8/6 for supporters to drop off books and share camaraderie at a local Brookhaven coffee spot - The Library Coffee Co.

If you want to drop off your donated books in person and enjoy a refreshment, let me know by registering via eVite below and I'll make sure we have space for you!

If you don't want to attend in person, drop me an email (kim at community radar dot com) and I'll make arrangements with you for your donation.

Register at eVite/View invitation

Hope to see you there!

Anonymous said...

I went to a high school with the seven class but 6 on one day schedule, and it was fantastic. Really, really worked well.

Cerebration said...

Revisiting the minutes from the instructional committee meeting - I think this is my favorite quote (attributed to Ms Stepney - the person in charge of high schools. Of course, she is referring to the Block Schedule, but the abbreviation of the note taker provides the humor.)

The teacher is what makes BS work

msbssy said...

according to a meeting held b4 school was out, MLK will revert back to a 7-period schedule--which I applaud for 9th & 10th gr, you really can't do justice to Math & Science on a block schedule not to mention SAT, if you are scheduling your child to take SAT in Oct--it sucks if they haven't had a math class in a year. The only problem I see is for seniors who have been on block now must go to 7 periods--what if you wanted to graduate in December--now they can't because all their core classes will be year long. IMHO, most English classes can be handled in a semester, but not math & science.

Anonymous said...

msbssy, I think that is good news for MLK. My son is on a 7 period schedule and I see the positives from this. Ideally the 6 period schedule was probably the best model, but the state DOE changed the graduation requirements and made that almost obsolete.

Isn't DSA on some sort of modified block? That seems to work for their students.

Anonymous said...

I think it is time to ger rid of the area coordinators and all the superintendents, There must be a new breed of leadership. These new leaders should not come from within the current administration but from other states. But first do a proper vetting of the personnel...how many times can DeKalb tax payers get burned for improper vetting of candidates for high post positions.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know about the changes with Parent Portal. It is my understanding that it was suppose to go off line Friday and replaced with another system in August. Now we are being told that they are having some problems with the "new" system and that it will be October before parents will have access to grades.

I think this is a problem because this has been a vital accountability tool for students, parents and teachers.

Has anyone heard any information on this????

One Fed Up Insider said...

I am glad that they are telling you more than the teachers. We will not get trained until after school starts.

Let the fun being.

Anonymous said...

One Fed....This is only going to create havoc where their does not have to be any.

But then this is typical Dekalb County.

pscexb said...

Anon @ 11:10, I also heard that parent componet for eSIS (Electronic Student Information System) will not be available until the fall. I understand teachers are being trained now in a 'Train the Trainer' manner since they plan to use this during registration. You 'may' be able to check with MIS for a status.

Anonymous said...

I heard a rumor that there is a Recall Petition asking for Crawford Lewis to be removed. I would like to confirm this. If this rumor is in fact true how can I get my name on the dotted line in support of this petition. Also, Iheard that after a very heated argument, Frankie Calloway, Deputy Superintendant resigned. Any news from the inside on that?

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that Frankie retired suddenly. Why I don't know.

Anonymous said...

My son's school, Miller Grove High in Lithonia made AYP. GREAT JOB CLASS OF 2010!
I was happy for that, but Im now upset to find out that he is being taught, and has been being taught by a paraprofessinal working independantly in the classroom without a certified teacher. he is taking US History which is a course that has a EOCT. I want to how this para is grading my child? How is she going to sign his progress report that comes out next week? It has been a month since school started. Why has Dr. Thedford not hired a teacher or place a substitue in the class who is certified? Does she save money using a para who makes less thatn 20,000 a year instead of a teacher at 35,000. I wnat some answers. This is illegal. A para can not teach in a class independantly without a certified teacher. I guess we know how she made AYP!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, no one knows. But what about this rumored recall on Crawford Lewis. How can I find out about that. I am in support of that. My child is a 9th grader. I got 4 more years in Dekalb. I just purchase my home and receive my 8,000 stimulus. I can move for at least 3 years.

Cerebration said...

I haven't heard anything about a Lewis recall.

Cerebration said...

I'm sorry guys, but we just can't name teachers and parapros here. It's just not fair to them. The first post is fine - you make your point without calling out the para -- Please be sensitive to how this discussion could make her feel.

Unless a teacher or para has been accused of a crime (like the Stone Mt MS teacher caught having sex with a student in his truck at 2 am) - then we'll just leave names out of it.

Principals - you don't need to name them, but since there's only one per school, then it's not the biggest secret, is it?

Just make sure that you are telling the truth as you know it.

Thanks -- and please continue your very interesting conversation - just leave out the names...

Cerebration said...

Reposting your earlier comments without names:

Anonymous said...
First, allow me to educate you on the basis of AYP. AYP is based on the performance of the Juniors taking the GHSGT. The dedicated teachers and supportive parents of the hard working students at Miller Grove High School earned AYP, inspite of any underhanded deeds of (the principal). Lets not take that away from the student. Now as far as (the para) she is just doing what her boss tells her to do. Seeing that she is not getting paid like a teacher, I doubt she herself is happy with the situation. I heard she is actually teaching three classes independantly. (The para) cares about the kids at Miller Grove. If she is toerating this, she is doing it for the kids. And you can rest assure, that although the she is not certified, she is teaching your son to the best of her ability.

Anonymous said...
First,I am very much aware of how AYP is determined. Thank you very much.I know (the para) well. She is a hard working good individual, which is why I did not mention her name. Thanks for putting her out there. (The principal) is the culprate. She should have hired a teacher by now or brought in a sub. Now I was not aware that (the para) was teaching 3 classes. This is a bit more than just putting a warm body in and empty space. This is a bunch of crap. I am so mad at Simpson for leaving us. Miller Grove was such a better school when he was there.

Cerebration said...

To add to your conversation - I don't doubt your statement. This nonsense goes on everywhere. My child at Lakeside had a long-term sub in Spanish who didn't speak Spanish -- and a coach who was assigned to teach "Entrepreneurship" but never would actually speak to the class! (He wrote daily assignments on the board for them to do quietly on their own while he worked out football plays on his computer -- which obviously didn't help the team anyway -- meow!)

Dekalbparent said...

It is my understanding that a para CANNOT teach a class on a formal basis - she is not certified. That said, when I was a para, I was called upon to sub for teachers frequently, usually at the last minute. This did indeed save the school time and money - no need to call for a sub, no extra money out (after all, they were already paying my salary...

However, I did not teach for weeks on end. The situation you describe at Miller Grove would bother the heck out of me if it were my child. No matter who is teachong, para or long-term sub, where are the lesson plans coming from - are they being developed by a teacher at Miller Grove who is teaching the same course and acting as a mentor? I hope so.

Anon, perhaps you want to bring this to the attention of your School Board rep.