Wednesday, July 1, 2009

HB 251 Receiving Schools listed on DCSS website

In keeping with the rules set forth by HB 251, DCSS has provided information regarding the schools that will be available to accept transfers. In short, HB 251 allows parents to transfer their child to any DCSS school that has space as long as the parent provides transportation.

Perhaps to the dismay of some in the community, many of the schools deemed ‘desirable’ are not on the list as a receiving school. I would speculate this is due to how the Instructional Capacity is determined for each school. Through compliance with NCLB, administrative transfers, existing construction, and having a choice program, many schools that some would hope would appear on the list are over capacity at this time. While there are many good schools on the list, it remains to be seen how many in families in DeKalb will leverage this option.

To read more about how DCSS is complying with this law, visit the HB 251 Information link on the DCSS website.


Cerebration said...

Thanks for the post, psc. I will add some of the pertinent info here for parents -

1 - Applications must be submitted in person or by U.S. mail (no faxes) to the DCSS Office of Student Assignment.
2 - Applications will be accepted from July 14-31, 2009 and must be received by 5 PM on July 31.
3 - If there are more applicants than seats, a lottery will be held on August 4 for middle and high school and elementary schools with names beginning in A-G -- August 5 for elementary schools H-Z. A waiting list will be created from those not selected.
4. Students will receive written confirmation of placement.
5. Parents must provide transportation at their own cost.
6. Students may remain in the transfer school until they complete the highest grade in that school. They may not continue on to the feeder school.
7. If your child has an IEP, the receiving school is not required to create a new program if they don't already offer the services required in that IEP.
8. No sibling priority except for multiple birth students.

themommy said...

DeKalb has posted its plan...

It will be interesting to see if anyone takes those spaces at Atherton or McNair Middle. But I bet there will be a big waiting list for those spaces at Oak Grove in kindergarten. Molly, Livsey even has a few spaces!

They are not going to add teachers to accommodate new transfer students. There are four different documents.


No Duh said...

Scratching my head as usual...

They simply had to pull these numbers out of their... mid-air.

How do they know how many Kindergarten seats are available? Did they go door to door in the neighborhood can count? I can see with the letter of intent they might be able to better predict upper grades, but Kindergarten?

I remember the summer before my daughter started K at Evansdale. And based on the huge surge in the neighborhood of new families, a lot of us new parents were predicting a very large class of Ks. Some of us even called our Board member (as the principal was retiring that summer) to let her know that they should be prepared (of course, we were naive, we had no idea how FTE counts, or point system etc. worked). Low and behold, we were right. My daughter had 30 students in her K class for almost two months because they had to wait for all the FTE counts, etc. And then, when the new teacher was finally hired, some of those poor Kindergarten students had to switch to a new teacher (very traumatic for a 5 year old who has already bonded with their teacher).

So Oak Grove parents, how do you feel about this?

themommy said...

Principals were asked to estimate how many spaces they might have, I believe.

It is very possible that Oak Grove was just over the mark for qualifying for an additional teacher and therefore could have spaces.

For argument's sake, say 20 students are allowed in each K class, your project is 105, therefore you must have 6 teachers but you will have fairly small classes.

For the system's sake, I hope their guesses are right.

Cerebration said...

Question -- where and how do you get the application? I don't see it in the docs at the link -

Also, they say that you have to prove residency - do you need to include copies of a lease or utility bill with your application?

No Duh said...


By adding the sixth teacher, in your example, and creating smaller classes, doesn't that also create "available space"? Since each class can have up to 20 (or higher in other grades)?

I really want to see very definitive rules and definitions to the law's wording. True deadlines for applications and an absolute last day for allowing transfers in.

Anon South Side said...

You don't have to worry about a waiting list for Atherton. Most parents aren't thinking about schools like that for elementary unless they have older children and have truly experienced a failing school.

The saga continues with no real solution to a deepening problem.

Ella Smith said...

Anon South Side, thanks for your input. What do you think the solution is? We sincerely do want to know what you think.

I have thought about so many things trying to think about what could make a difference and these are things I have thought about:

1. Longer school days, and longer school school years. Will more time make a difference?

2. Highly qualified teachers and principals in every classroom and at every school which will mean improving our colleges that prepare our educators.

3. Up to-date learning tools in every classroom, (Plasma Displays, Interactive Boards, Smart Boards, Protheon Boards)and appropriate training so that each teacher in the county is able to use this equipment without any difficulty.
Currently Dekalb does not have these current teaching tools in place in many places in the school system.

4. Intensive support and effective interventions must be provided to school which are low-performing schools so that there is improvement in achievement. Supervisors at the county office need to be providing the intensive support needed for these low-performing schools. This is there job. This is why they get paid the big bucks down at the county office. They need to spend some time out of the county office making a difference and giving support to our children in the classroom.

5. There must be a system to track student achievement throughout the school system to ensure student learning. We also must track teachers' performance and college and career-readiness though enhanced data systems that track individual progress, teacher progress, school progress, and teacher readiness to teach progress. Today we must make data bases decisions that are right for our children and community.

This is my opinion. What do you think?

Anon South Side said...

Longer days will certainly allow more time to teach and I’m wondering will it foster more busy work. Even if a teacher is highly qualified that does not mean that they can teach. That just means that they understand the information and can pass the criteria to be a teacher. I agree that up to date learning tools should be in each school with the proper IT support. Instead of giving principals bonuses only….. give teachers who provide tutoring with improved test results bonuses. Identify the teachers that can reach those who are having trouble and have consistent tutoring hours. I really think we have to catch it at the elementary level. We have to teach organizational skills. Teaching that skill will assist middle schoolers and minimize lost work and turning in papers late that result in lower scores because points are taken off for late work. Which sometimes is a zero after so many days. Having the same grading practices across the district will even the playing field. Not all teachers or schools do the same thing. I was on the phone once with a friend and she said wait hold on…when she returned she said that her child’s teacher just informed her that her child had failed to turn in an assignment. My remark was…don’t you just hate that…loosing 20 points the first day and 10 points the next two days and getting a zero after that makes you want to really tightened up your child because that’s loosing points unnecessarily and it has nothing to do with the content of work ...her response no that’s not what happens that was a courtesy call and they want the work completed so full credit will be given….. If it’s being done at one school or one class it should be the rule for all classes and all schools.

If Dekalb County as a whole was failing that would be one thing but its not….so my question is what is the North Side doing that makes it work?

Cerebration said...

um - at Lakeside - you get a zero for late work - period.

Ella Smith said...

Cerebration, you are correct. Lakeside is very rigid and matter of fact. You do it or you suffer the consequences. When you get to high school you should have organizational skills. Anon South Side is correct. Students come to high school without organizational skills, without study skills, many times thinking that if they did not turn in their work or study then some way or some how mom or dad or the teacher or someone somewhere is going to make it ok and the child will pass. Even the parents will come in and ask for extra credit after the child has done nothing for 1/2 semester.

I do think the rigid has got to start at an early age.

Starting in the third grade the curriculum gets alot more difficult and this is why many students start to struggle and start failing behind. In fact it is difficult to indentify many special needs students until at least the 3rd or 4th grade because they will not begin to have a deficit which they need to have to be considered disabled in many and most cases.

I think our middle schools need to definitely be more rigorous. I had one child go to Shamrock and one to Henderson and I do not think either one of them were overworked or challenged.

We do need to spend time in the
3rd-8th grade teaching study skills, organization skills, critical thinking skills, writing skills, reading skills, and math skills along with the other basic subjects. Let's not forget about writing. We do not teach our children how to write very well many times in cursive anymore. I have been shocked. I do not think we spend enough time on learning basic math facts.

I do think we need to spend as much time as possible getting parents involved. We need to involve parents in teaching or telling them how we expect them to help their children.

These are recommendations I make to my study skills parents when I teach study skills:

1. Study and do homework at a dining room table or some where you can observe your child and not in their room where they can listen to music and watch TV or talk on the phone and not complete homework or study.

2. Have them complete their agenda daily and check it. If it is not complete then there are consequences. If it is complete then the child get rewards. It is important that the child learns to get an agenda.

3. Study for 10-15 minutes at a time. Get up and stretch and then study again. Reason; REsearch shows that if you study for an hour you remember what you studied the first10- 15 minutes and the last 10-15 minutes. I have not researched this in awhile. I probable should do it again. I have not taught Study Skills in a few years either.

4. Each child has to find their own method of studying, whether it be Cognitive Behavioral Management, writing things, reading things over and over, little sayings, or studying with a friend or parent, etc. This is an individual thing and it takes time to find out what works. When a student indicates they study but still cannot pass tests then apparently the way the child is studying is not being effective and another method needs to be tried. It is a scientific experiment until you find what works. You can not give up and just say, "I do not take tests well." You must try another method of studying. Students must be coached to find their own method and must not give up. Learning is their job.

I so believe in public schools. I want them to work.

Anonymous said...

DeKalb employees just received this memo from the county office. There will be a policy change regarding the children of DeKalb employees attending school outside their home school attendance zone. Starting in 2010, a child may attend the school where his/her parent works only, not any of the feeder schools. For example, I work in a high school. My child could attend my high school, but not the feeder elementary or middle schools. If a parent works in an elementary school, his/her child may attend that school. After that, the parent may apply for an "administrative transfer" if he/she wants the child to attend the middle or high school in that feeder pattern.

As a teacher and resident in DeKalb, I think this really stinks. There is no way I would send my child to my zoned elementary, middle, or high school. We live in the Avondale HS district. And I think it's ridiculous to allow students to attend school in one feeder pattern and then ask them to leave their friends when they have to transfer.

Here is the memo:

The Board and Superintendent have identified ten priorities for the DeKalb County School System (DCSS). In Priority Three: Develop and Implement School Climate Project, the school system has been directed to address administrative transfers.

Over the course of the years, the Board of Education has generously allowed employees to transfer their children to schools closer to their job assignment. Although, Board policy does not guarantee that privilege, significant numbers of employees have enrolled their children in DCSS schools that are outside the home attendance area. However, regarding that practice, Board Policy AD Descriptor Code states the following:

"Any student may be allowed to attend and be enrolled in the school in which a parent or guardian of such student is a full-time teacher, paraprofessional, or other employee. A student who resides outside of the DeKalb County School District and who attends a school in the DeKalb County School District under this provision shall not be required to pay non-resident tuition as defined in Board Policy Code JBCBA."

In order to be in compliance with the Board policy, please be aware that beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, employees will not be able to automatically continue matriculation in a feeder pattern school. Once children of employees attending a school outside their home attendance area complete the highest grade level of the school where currently enrolled, the students will be expected to enroll in the home attendance area school. All employees who desire to continue having their children in a particular feeder pattern may apply for an administrative transfer. Approvals will be based on space available.

Please convey this information to all employees in your school or department so that they will have time to explore and apply for school choice options that may be available to them in 2010-2011 and beyond. Please contact Ms. Deborah Wilson at 678-676-0755 if you have questions. Thank you for your assistance.

Robert G. Moseley
Deputy Chief Superintendent for School Operations
DeKalb School System
3770 North Decatur Road
Building A
Decatur, Georgia 30032

Ella Smith said...

This is big. I expected this and it is about time. I do approve. For years, for instance teachers, parapros, administrators, who taught at Lakeside but lived in Gwinnett because of taxes and the cost of homes have sent their children to Oak Grove, Henderson, and then Lakeside area school when by law they have the right to take their children to Lakeside only. This is one of the reason teachers want to teach at the best schools in the county. This is one of there big perks. The school administration have twisted the meaning of the law and the taxpayers of DeKalb have been paying to educate children of teachers who pay property taxes in Gwinnett. It really is not right.

I always thought this was an abuse of the law and stretching the law by local principals. Local principals allowed this to occur. Again, I have seen local principal do lots of questionable things like this.

I do support this move. Teachers should be allowed to take their children to the school they teach but the law does not provide for the other.

On the other hand it does help teachers by allowing them in some situations not to have to pay for daycare which is a big thing in today's society and again a perk.

I did see this coming as there is no way that you can tighten down on administrative transfers if you do not make the teachers and administrators abide right by the law which allows them only to take their children to the school that they teach.

Ella Smith said...

Anonymous, I posted your information provided on the front page as this is the beginning of the crack down of administrative transfers and the beginning of new policies due to the new choice program.

The law is very clear and employees have had great opportunities in the past but now it is becoming impossible to continue this opportunity to employees. The school system will end up in court and will not be able to defend themselves. They must abide by the law.

I am sorry if you are a teacher caught in the middle. I hope your children and not involved and do not get hurt in all of this.

The problem is that administrative transfers apparently have been out of control.

I recently had a friend who had a sincere need for an administrative transfer and I helped guide her through the procedure. We went through the procedure and can only hope our request does get approved for the child's sake but my friend will not do anything illegal, or questionable, nor will I. So many individuals do this and it is wrong.

So many students have special permission to be at schools and have good reasons. Some parents do on the other hand file homeless papers and things like this and will do anything to get their children in certain schools. It is really sad. Some parents give away their guardianship which is fine also as long as it is done legally and everything is upfront in the situation and the situation is really as it appears and not lies to have a child attend a school.

Again, I am sorry if your children are involved. This has been an unwritten policy for along time and the county office had to put an end to it I am sure because of the new laws.

Anon South Side said...


Thank you so much for your input. I do the same with my children. We don't do t.v Sunday thru Thursday and they have to complete their hmk before anything else. We try to be home so that the study time can occur at the same time of day...very difficult to do this past year.....

When I commented on points taken off for late assignments, I was referring to 4th - 6th grade.High School students have to be responsible even though many enter 9th grade with no study skills or habits of turning in assignments on time. While I understand the need to allow students to be totally responsible, I think 4th - 6th grade should be the time when these skills are being developed and not penalized so harshly. I'm not saying that they should always receive grace but I think receiving a zero in the 4th grade for late, misplaced or lost work is harsh and discouraging.

I've had discussion with counselors in the middle schools about organization skills. Having lockers for the first time, multiple teachers with multiple folders(I think this is too much for organization...children often leave assignments in the locker while grabbing the wrong folder), having two lockers, not to mention the hormones really develop during this hat goes off to middle school teachers because its a lot to deal with....not to mention the socialization.........while the counselor agreed with me each teacher still requested their own notebooks......

I too had to tell my children although you think you don't test well, we must find a way for you to do better. So we worked until we found out how each one learned. It was difficult but as long as each one utilizes their own style, they have had success. It was an amazing moment when the test results came back and they succeeded each with their own style. Our biggest hurdle was reasoning....we changed our conversation at home to included deductive reasoning and that has been huge.......They were so use to being told exactly what to do at home and school that their brains were in coastal mode and when we unlocked their ability to think..we saw positive results.

Ella Smith said...

Very interesting. I agree. Even as teachers we tell students exactly what to do sometimes and do not allow them to be creative. This is sad.

Many students have issues with forgetting things and it is such a painful situation for them. These skills must be taught in middle school. I agree. I do not know if we are doing the best job of this in Dekalb County.

May I ask where your children attend school?

I am curious, and would be curious as to what you think the difference is in your home school and the school your children now attend?

Anon South Side said...

I was just thinking that I would love to meet with you and have dialogue. Is it possible for us to speak on the phone or some place we can meet?

Anonymous said...

You can predict k seats. Look at last 3 years of enrollment and average (look at other factors such as changes in attendance, etc), then if you have 4 teachers slated to teach 79 kdg students and classes can now have 21 students, you will have 5 seats available. What is hard for principals to deal with is that if parents take those 5 choice seats and then 5 more neighborhood kids show up, you are now over and will have to hire a 4th Kdg teacher. This is not unusual to hire another in Sept or move someone due to enrollment.

Anonymous said...

I know of a ES school secretary who got an administrative transfer so her daughter could attend the feeded high school by compiling her case which included police reports and stats on crime in her Redan HS neighborhood and it worked. She also had a police report on when a son of hers was a victim of crime in her neighborhood. Her daughter is going to Dunwoody HS. If it worked for her, then try it. She "feared for her daughter's safety". Also, she bombarded everyone she possibly could with her case and they gave her the transfer.

mykidsmom said...

I believe I know the school secretary that you refer to, and I do believe she was that tenacious in her efforts.

I also am "watching" another situation with regards to the administrative transfer issue. The family has one child at Dunwoody on a AYP transfer. Their youngest child attended Peachtree MS on a Charter admission. This family was told that there was no possibility the younger child would be allowed to move on to Dunwoody. We'll see.

I believe all of this "tough" talk on Administrative Transfers is just that talk. My surprise will be if DCSS really does take a tough stand on this, but I doubt it.

Open+Transparent said...

Great point by mykidsmom:
I believe all of this "tough" talk on Administrative Transfers is just that talk. My surprise will be if DCSS really does take a tough stand on this, but I doubt it.

The only way the out of control administrative transfer situation will change is if the Board of Education members, the elected officials that they are, demand that it be changes.

And I don't think they have the guts to change it.

mykidsmom said...

O&T, it is my view that the Board of Education members are among the worst contributors to this administrative mess.

Anonymous said...


I have a question about your post -- sorry if this is a dumb question. But how is it that kids can AYP transfer to Dunwoody HS if that school is not meeting AYP? I am new to DCSS but was under the impression that you could only transfer from a school NOT meeting AYP to a school that IS meeting AYP?

Thanks for your help!

Anon South Side said...

A school has to fail for 2 years in a row to be a sending school. Likewise a school would have to pass 2 years in a row to be a receiving school. So if the school flip flops in between I think it remains the status that it was before the flip flop.

Someone please correct me if this is incorrect.

Some school failed during the academic year but then when the summer scores are attached sometimes they pass.

It gets confusing.