Monday, August 3, 2009
Back to School "Need to Knows"
Oh boy! Summer is almost over and the "Back to School" sales are in full swing. We have decided to list items we see as "Need to Knows" for students and parents in DeKalb County Schools as they head back to school on Monday, August 10.
First, the biggest deal is the new dress code. The important, new changes include: No low-cut shirts, blouses or tops. No cleavage at all. No see-throught clothing. No short shorts. No short skirts. No low-hanging pants with underwear showing. No clothing with vulgar or offensive language. No bedroom shoes. No flip-flops. No between the toe shoes without heels at all. Of course, included in this initiative there will be basically zero tolerance for cell phones and texting. Students can expect to have their cell phones confiscated if they are caught using them in school.
The first offense includes a verbal reprimand, contacting parents AND In-School Suspension.
Second offense: Parent conference and two days ISS.
Third offense: Three days ISS, a local hearing that could result in 10 days ISS, local probation and/or - (my favorite) a parent can attend classes with the student in lieu of ISS.
Chronic violators may be referred to an alternative setting.
Dr. Lewis has introduced a very important parental involvement initiative. He plans to improve parental involvement across the entire school system and has set this as a top priority. A task force made up of parents, community leaders, teachers and principals was organized to study parental involvement throughout the U.S. and as a result, the group created the Parental Involvement Framework, a tool to map out strategies to improve involvement. A major component of the program ins the newly created Parent Resource Guide, which describes the initiatives and will be distributed countywide, as well as available online.
From DCSS Press Releases: Another component within the parental involvement framework is the E-Parent Communications system that is currently being piloted at nine schools throughout the district. The pilot program aims to bridge the communication gap between schools and homes by providing instant information to the parents via telephone, cellular phones and text messaging communication. The program will operate on the local school level as well as the system-wide level.
Principals, for example will be able to keep parents updated on PTA meetings, testing schedules and other school related activities. At the county-wide level, parents will be able to stay further informed about educational initiatives via message posts. The system will also provide instant communication with parents in the event of an emergency.
“Right now, we are dependent upon notes that go home to parents in backpacks and we all know sometimes those notes don’t make it home,” Tyson said. “[E-Parent Communications] will allow the district to connect directly with the parents electronically, so that there is an instant delivery of information.”
The pilot program began in May. The nine schools participating this summer are located within the Cross Keys, Redan, and Martin Luther King High School attendance areas. When the pilot period concludes in August, DeKalb will then evaluate the efficiency of the pilot program, make any corrections or adjustments that may be needed, and make preparations to launch E-Parent Communications system-wide in 2010.
This system will greatly improve the power of the Parent Portal.
Another new program is called, "America's Choice" and is being implemented in 40 schools in DCSS. You can read more about this on the DCSS homepage or by reading the press release.
To read about how DCSS is handling the new state law called HB 251, which allows for transfers within a district, visit this link. The deadline to apply for a transfer has already passed, but look for this program to increase offerings in the future, as many at the state level are pushing for more and more flexibility and school choice.
Of course, one very big continuation of a new program is the new math, which has it's own thread for discussion.
Please add any relevant "Need to Know" back to school info in the comments section.