Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2008-09 Georgia School Report Cards Now Available

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement has released the public school report cards for the 2008-09 school year. These online report cards are designed to give parents and the community insight into a variety of public school characteristics, such as test scores, graduation rates and school demographics.

To see how DeKalb and your school performed visit this link at the Georgia DOE.


Cerebration said...

Here is some info I gleaned from the report -

District Facts

Number of Students in 2009: 96907
Economically Disadvantaged: 66.00%
Students with Disabilities: 9.00%
English Language Learners: 8.00%
Did this District make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2009? No

Enrollment in Compensatory Programs

Program/Program Enrollment/% of Student Population

Special Education
(Grades K-12)

English to Speakers of
Other Languages (ESOL)
(Grades K-12)

Early Intervention Program (EIP)
(Grades K-5)

Remedial Education
(Grades 9-12)

Anonymous said...

The Special Education scores look bad. Special Educations scores should be much higher than this.

Anonymous said...

There has been some criticism of the America's Choice program in DCSS. From Education week “Major Study Gives Edge to Scripted Reform Models-Capstone to Massive Study Finds Test Gains for More-Prescriptive Models”
When a program fails to increase students’ learning was it because teachers simply didn’t implement it? Or were the instructional practices off base? A team of researchers from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) set out 13 years ago to answer such questions with a massive study that involved 115 elementary schools, 300 teachers, 800 school leaders, 7,500 students, and three brand-name models of comprehensive school reform. The Study of Instructional Improvement project cost more than $20 million in federal and foundation money. The project’s capstone report came out just last month. At the time the study got under way, “comprehensive school reform”—schoolwide improvement programs created by outside developer was the intervention du jour in schools. But study director Brian Rowan said the study’s lessons apply to any kind of “design based” intervention for schools.
The Study of Instructional Improvement attempts to track the implementation process, from 2000 to 2004, of three well-known models that vary in both instruction and implementation: Accelerated Schools, America’s Choice, and Success for All. At one end of the spectrum, the Accelerated Schools model, developed at Stanford University 23 years ago, uses staff development to build a school culture organized around its vision of learning, which calls for students to “construct” their own knowledge through interactive, real-world activities. It offers teachers no prescriptions on how to go about doing that, instead that teachers must devise their own strategies.
The Success for All program, developed in the 1990s by Johns Hopkins University researchers uses a highly specified plan for instructional improvement and highly specified routines for teaching reading. It organizes students into cooperative-learning groups and provides teachers with a weekly lesson sequence and scripts to guide them through the 90-minute reading lessons. America’s Choice falls somewhere in the middle. Grounded in the movement for standards-based education and focusing mostly on writing, the program gives teachers curriculum guides and instructs them in routines for teaching writing. But it also requires schools to appoint coaches and facilitators, with whom its staff works to develop core writing assignments and scales for grading them. The coaches and facilitators also work with principals and teachers in their schools to carry out the program.
What the researchers found was that in the 28 schools using the Accelerated Schools model teaching practices were not significantly different from those used in the 26 comparison schools and that students, likewise, did not learn any more than their control-group counterparts did. In comparison, classes in the 31 America’s Choice schools and the 29 Success for All schools developed their own distinctive looks over time leading to more successful, student-achievement patterns.
The Success for All students excelled from kindergarten to the end of 2nd grade moving average students from the 40th percentile to the 50th percentile. The America’s Choice students outperformed all the other groups from 3rd grade to 5th grade. “I think we know in general how to get kids to read really simple, decontextualized passages well, and that is the strong point of Success for All,” Mr. Rowan said. “This isn’t sustained as you go out. It doesn’t inoculate you or teach you to read more-complex material.” For both programs, the study also found, the gains were greatest when teachers adhered closely to the prescribed teaching practices. “The general principles,” Mr. Rowan said, “are a high degree of specificity for what you want to do and high degrees of support for teachers to do it with fidelity.”

Anonymous said...

“The rate for students with disabilities is too low.” Yes it is, but we are making progress. Graduation rates for students with disabilities is 30.6% and below the state average but has increased significantly since 2004-2005. Likewise the graduation rate for students with limited English proficiency has over doubled since 2004-2005. The overall graduation rate is a little higher than the state average.

Graduation rates DCSS

Graduation rates for students with disabilities in DCSS
2009 2008 2007 2006 2005

30.6% 27.8% 25.8% 21.8% 22%

overall graduation rate DCSS
79.2 75.3 72.5 64.6 62.8

graduation rate limited English Proficiency DCSS
54.5 38.7 35.4 23.5 21.7

State overall rate 2009 78.90%

Cerebration said...

Progress is being made and that's excellent. We all know that essentially, students learn when they spend their day in a safe and healthy classroom, with a highly qualified teacher, in a well-controlled and behaved room full of students, with plenty of time for fresh air, breaks and a decent, healthy lunch.

Let's always keep that in mind - meaning that Job #1 is to attract and maintain quality teachers and then fully support them with the proper materials, programs and technology as well as good pay and clean, healthy environments.

Anonymous said...

Rumors going around school are that teachers are going to take 10 percent pay cut. Many teachers eligible or just about eligible to retire are looking to get out this year. Not just because of the salary decrease, but because of the mess with Esis (we have yet another set of instructions to post grades for the report card), little discipline of students (principals don't want their schools to look bad), dirty and unhealthy school buildings, having to change grades and pass children who are not going passing work or meeting the state standards, the district not contributing to the retirement (like social security, so we are loosing out on money here as well-just doesn't seem legal), and the list goes on. I would say that this is so for quality teachers as well. I know that I am no where near retiring, but have had enough of not feeling proud of the job that I am able to do, so I am done with DeKalb.

Education is not the priority amongst the administration. Good teachers don't care about a wellness program being offered to them. Good teachers want computer programs that work effectively. We want to be able to teach children in depth and not gloss over topics. We don't want to teach to the CRCT tests, but provide our students with a quality well rounded education that they can truly build upon. We want our students to do their homework when it's given and not give them 3 chances and not be able to give them a zero when the homework still isn't done. We want to teach!

Parents wise up. DCSS cannot afford to loose quality teachers. Teachers are the backbone of a school district. When I make my household budget, I look at my expenses and decide what my family needs virus what we want. DCSS needs the same thing. What positions do we really need? What can we do without and cut? Where can other cuts be made without affecting the quality of education for our students? How can we get families to stay and put their kids in DCSS (we are loosing kids and this isn't just because of foreclosures in South DeKalb and elsewhere in the county)? Do job descriptions, people holding those jobs, and actual quality of work match with the salary offered?

These are decisions that need to be made without regard to who holds certain positions and before new contracts are offered for next school year. Are the people in charge able to make these decisions? From my experience the answer is no.

Anonymous said...

I heard that DCSS is planning 5 to 6 more furlough days before the school year is over. This came from a building A Instructional Lead Teacher (what there real position is I have no idea but, my teacher has no clue on how to relate to students)

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 10:40,s post got to me - in my experience in DCSS the teachers who amazed me were the ones who lit up when they saw a kid light up, not the ones who were warmed by nice CRCT scores. When I talk to dedicated teachers, it's always the love of the students I see shining.

Anon's post makes me afraid that we are going to gradually lose the dedicated teachers and end up with teachers nearing retirement and burned out or teachers just out of school (losing them 2 or 3 or 4 years later).

Cerebration said...

Think about this comparison of numbers -- we have almost as many special education students (8283 or 9%) as white students (10%). Why do we focus on "race" issues, when we have just as many students in special education who need the attention?

In fact, 8% of our students are English Language Learners. Again, nearly as many "ELLs" as "white" students.

Why does the board not address the needs of these two demographics in board meetings?

Also, check out this Demographics chart where you will see the major fall off from 9th to 10th grade. In fact, every year, we lose students between the fall and spring of 9th grade, ghen thousands after 9th grade. I'm not sure how the graduation rate is calculated, but I don't think it accurately reflects the students we lose before they make it to their senior year. I think we're just counting the percentage of seniors who graduate, not the percentage who give up along the way. If calculated across 4 years, I think we may see a drop in the graduation (success) rate to somewhere closer to 65-70%.

We first have to be honest about the numbers before we can address any problems.

Square Peg said...

We're not really losing thousands of 9th graders; if you look at the number of 8th graders, you can see that the "normal" class size is only around 7K. There is a big bulge at 9th grade; presumably the class size is swollen with repeaters. (Also note that an extra year in 9th grade would lower the 4-year graduation rate.) Things actually seem to be getting better over the 3 years shown - more students are making it through 10th grade. The 9th grade bulge says, though, that many of our middle schoolers are not prepared to succeed in high school.

Cerebration said...

Ah - gotcha.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that it may be very difficult to outright fail 8th grade. Think about it -- would you really want 16 y.o. frustrated students in the same school with 11 y.o. kids? Middle school is tough enough. Eighth grade social promotion would account for the high number of students who have to repeat ninth grade. Just a hypothesis.

Anonymous said...

If teachers were able to hold the kids back in kindergarten and first grade because they weren't meeting the standards, our kids would be better off. Most of my 4th grade students are missing skills from kindergarten and first grade which just makes a snowball effect, as they don't have these skills and then they have more deficits as they progress through school. If the children are able to master the skill set for each grade level before moving on, students would be ready for middle and high school.

Schools need to stop worrying about report card grades and worry more about what the children are actually learning. DCSS is no different from the parents who come to me complaining that their child has always received As and that is what they expect on their report card, but when I look at what their child's skill level is, I wonder how.

Anonymous said...

If you could see the check list to fail a student in DCSS you would see it would easier to pass a National Health Care Plan in Washington DC. DCSS makes it almost impossible to fail a kid. Also we have AP's out there that tell us if we want to fail a student that we are going to have that same student again next year.

Anonymous said...

I've had AP's tell me that the assistant super has told them that they aren't aloud to fail kids or to give them an F.

Everyone is afraid that their school will look bad. This is the same reason students are not disciplined. We care more about the data than the kids.

Anonymous said...

I've had AP's tell me that the assistant super has told them that they aren't aloud to fail kids or to give them an F.

Please tell me you are not a teacher....

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher!

It is criminal the way that DCSS fails it's students.

Teachers are made to change grades because the AP doesn't like the grade that the child has earned, even when teachers have made modifications to the grade level work, the child does not do any homework or pass any classwork or tests, and parents have been asked to come in and do not show up to discuss a teacher's concerns.

Yes, this happens at my school. I have been told that I am not a team player, because I refuse to go along with this behavior. I have integrity and yes, I will fight for what I believe is the right thing.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher!

But, yet you did not know the word is spelled "allowed", not "aloud"?

Cerebration said...

Maybe Anon is a science teacher -- whatever -- please refer to Rule #1 listed on the home page.

Anonymous said...

(I thought we weren't supposed to correct each other's mistakes.) Anyway, if we brought back mandatory summer school for failing students at parents' expense, the kids may have to take ownership of their education more seriously. Right now there really is no consequence for failing and they know it. It's very hard to fail a child and it is discouraged at the county level. Plus, a parent screaming loudly enough can have it overturned despite the objections of the teacher. I teach middle school and too many of my students do not have the basic knowledge necessary to be successful, nor are they self-motivated. It's a situation that worsens every year yet county heads remain in the sand.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 7:23, I hear ya. While it makes no sense to me that a parent would demand their child get a passing grade when the child has not shown mastery of the work, I know they do it...

Mandatory summer school for failing students is the right idea - it has always seemed stupid for summer school to be OPTIONAL for a kid who failed the grade.

Cerebration said...

You're right Anon 7:23 - that's what I meant by checking Rule #1 -

RULE #1: This is a conversation, not a writing contest, so we don't correct grammar, spelling or any other typo - we all know what we meant to say!

That's just how we do it here people. We all know what you meant to say, Anon.

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

Thought y'all would like to see an email sent from an assistant principal at a south Dekalb high school to the staff. Please note the illegal give-a-grade-for-tissue-and-sanitizer admonitions:

Greetings all,
There have been several complaints from students, teachers and parents alike regarding the limited amount of tissue in restrooms. In an investigation with the custodial staff and a number of individuals, not only have some faculty members been commandeering the tissue and hiding it in their rooms, often, students dump the entire roll of toilet tissue in the toilet and throw the paper towel on the floor. As a result, Mr. ****** and Mr. **** have been forced to secure these items in an undisclosed location so as to get us through the year. Due to budgeting concerns, the county have been forced to ration the number of supplies that is sent to each school. So as to meet your classroom needs, here are a few suggestions:

1. Offer students extra points for bringing in tissue products, paper towels, hand sanitizers, etc. as a way to stock your classes. As a teacher, I did this twice a year, at the start of each semester, and it was very effective. You may want to consider offering free bonus points on a test or exam in return for these products.

2. You may also want to offer a floating "A" or homework/free tardy passes in exchange for these items.

3. Let students know that as a way to cut down on traffic to and from the restroom, there will always be supplies in the class for them. Afterall, it is cold/flu season and we all will need some tissue sooner or later.

I do apologize for the inconvenience that the limited supplies in the restrooms might have caused, however, we have to get through the year and once we get a delivery from the county, there is no telling when we will see another. Thank you for your patience.


And Crawfort wants $300K!

Anonymous said...

from anon12.08

and, of course, here's the other great money-saving tactic (other than furloughs and 10% paycut and no step increase and no pension payments and no raise) from those wild and crazy administrators on North Decatur RD:

To: All DeKalb School Principals and CTSSs
From: Joseph Swing, Assistant Director, Technical and Support Services
Through: Tony Hunter, Executive Director, Management Information Systems
Subject: New Workstation Power Down Procedures
Date: 18 December 2009

In a effort to reduce our overall power consumption and electrical costs, Management Information Systems will begin shutting down all teacher and student workstations starting at 9:00 p.m. each evening. Please notify your teachers that they will need to power on both teacher and student workstations at the beginning of each school day.

If you experience any problems with this new power down procedure, please contact my office at x61174.


Why bother turning them on? Most of the computers don't work, especially to run the Promethean boards and eShit.

HoHoHo. Merry Crawfort!

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 12:08


Anonymous said...

RULE #1: This is a conversation, not a writing contest, so we don't correct grammar, spelling or any other typo - we all know what we meant to say

Normally, I would agree, but I think the point is valid in this case. This individual claims to be a teacher. This was not just mispelling of word, or a grammatical error. This was the use of an incorrect word - aloud vs allowed. I think pointing out that a teacher cannot use the proper word is a valid point.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is a parent of a high schooler. While I usually do not condone profanity, I just love your new name for Esis- Esh_t.

My child is getting close to college so grades are very crucial. For the past week we could log into Esh_t and get the overall grade point average, but when we clicked on "details" nothing came up and often froze my computer. What a mess.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for my spelling mistake. If you read as many poorly written, misspelled words and papers as I do each week, your spelling might not be perfect either.

Sorry, but no one is perfect!

Anonymous said...

Your mistake was not a spelling mistake. Your mistake was using an entirely incorrect word.

Dekalbparent said...

Anonymii - it's time to stop.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

High School Teachers and IT Department: Why are final exam grades not showing up on Esis? The students are anxious about college but are not sure what their grade is for the semester. In some cases, the grade point average has changed indicating that grades were entered, but when "Details" is clicked the last grades shown are in October! This is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

I understand from administration and teachers that Esis was up to its old tricks during the last week of school. So teachers are reporting on January 4 and required to input and post all final grades. That'll be interesting, won't it? Since Esis has been known to crash under pressure.

themommy said...

I must be dense but I can't see where the GPA is posted on ESIS. Can someone guide me?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, Anonymous 7:35, January 4th is a designated Teacher's Workday.

I've never seen a GPA either, themommy. I'd be curious as well.

Anonymous said...

"Your mistake was not a spelling mistake. Your mistake was using an entirely incorrect word."

Speaking of mistakes-my newest version of Microsoft Word fills in words for me as I type. Sometimes it(the computer) guesses wrong. An example would be the Goldilocks and the Three Bears who got to be tGoldilocks and the Three Beers. The wrong word survives spell check because it is spelled correctly. Of course, in this new world of texting and emails hurried typing doesn't make for great composition (do u c?). And who has time to proof read? As if I could see my own mistakes-I only see the mistakes of others! Maybe I really did want three beers.

In the spirit of the posted rules of discourse on this blog, albeit contrary to some of the postings, best wishes to all (even the admininstration of DCSS) for a better new year.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom . . . context is everything, n'est ce pas? I know January 4 is a teacher work day. I suppose I could have been MUCH more specific. It's also one single work day where teachers have to wrestle eSis to the ground, input grades, and launch them permanently into the DCSS-o-sphere. Seems a meltdown just waiting to happen.

Hugs, Anon 735

Anonymous said...

This is the parent with the Esis question. Sorry, I did not mean GPA, I meant the semester final grade.

My son is still showing a zero for one of his final exams which he definitely took.

We have one more year before college. Glad he is not a senior trying to get an accurate transcript out of this screwed up program....

Anonymous said...

I say we make an allowance for one profane word--until they get it fixed anyway.

I vote for "eShit".

In fact--"eShit the exception" goes into the "rules" section under "it's not a writing contest..we don't correct people's spelling errors".

Cerebration said...

Great idea, but I simply can't live by more than three rules. Let's call this one an allowance - per your suggestion, Anon!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, my guess is that the teacher has not put the grades in the system yet. The teachers are not required to have them in the system until EOD of 1/4/10.

themommy said...

Let me also comment about the Jan 4th date -- as the parent of a child on the 4 by 4 block, I would much rather see the teacher preparing for next semester (since they are almost all starting over, many teaching totally different classes, at least at my children's high school) than spending all day trying to get a computer system to cooperate.

Thanks for the clarification about the GPA. I thought I was losing my mind. I have to say that their teacher's haven't even entered a space for the final yet.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher who stayed at school until 7:30 last Friday, eSHIT stinks. That is what we have called eSIS for several months now.

I had my grades up to date and stayed to finish grading my final and put those grades in and post before I left because I knew I would not get a "Parking Space" (as the county calls it on 1.4.2010).

Well I thought I had everything in correctly. Only to find out that eSHIT lost 2 previous classes grades so I will have to go back and reenter 18 weeks worth of grades. I teach 33 kids for those 2 classes and I had 40 grades in for those 33 kids. Can you even beginning to imagine the nightmare I am facing.

Only to find out yesterday when I went on First Class that how I thought I had posted my final grade was correct was wrong. Why did they send out the instructions after Finals?

Why does the county send everything out piece by piece? Why is there no manual for this?

So instead of spending time with my family I spent the last 2 days reinputing grades.

So please when I read things and parents are so quick to judge teachers please don't. Yes, I know that there are many teachers out there that are not good. But you are talking about a very small percentage. The ones that are reading this blog and writting on this blog are playing by the rules and are getting screwed.

Anonymous said...

I affectionately like to call it eSUCKS.

I am a teacher, and I hope I catch all my spelling errors on this posting!

I decided to fill out the eSIS support form on First Class every time it froze on me last week. The techs were very responsive. One even called me in my classroom to give me this advice: eSIS is going to be difficult, especially since grades are due, so she advised me to work at home or during non-peak hours.

Unfortunately, that's not possible because all my classes are EOCT classes, and the scores aren't back yet. So, on January 4th, instead of getting ready for all new classes (I'm on 4x4 block), I'll be dealing with grades and eSUCKS. And two of my classes are brand new, so I can't just replicate what I planned in August. So instead of relaxing during the break, I'll be creating two new syllabi and reviewing the content I'll be teaching because I won't have time to do it on Jan 4.

You know, I really wouldn't mind eSIS all that much if it didn't take so mind-numbingly long to move from one screen to the next. For example, if I want to check a student's absences for his other classes, I click on the command and then go do something else because it takes at least 2 or 3 minutes before the screen pops up. I have grown to fiercely hate that stupid hourglass icon that replaces the cursor arrow whenever I ask eSIS to do something.

Unless someone has heard otherwise, I would imagine that any classes with EOCTs wouldn't have final grades posted in eSIS yet.

Anonymous said...

DCSS likes to blame teachers for "not understanding the system" or "forgetting their training" in responses to parents. This is a top-down travesty. (I'm a parent, not a teacher.) In any other profession, a failure of this magnitude to implement a critical new system would lead to the immediate firing of the person/team in charge. Not in DCSS. Instead, DCSS plans business as usual - to let us get used to yet another mind-numbingly inefficient system and accept it as normal.


Anonymous said...

Note to parents: DCSS and administrators like to tell parents that grades are absolutely final after they're posted in the system - that "the system" won't allow changes. I learned that this is not true, and never has been. My high school student had a 0 posted for a major test that I asked time and again during the last month of school to be corrected last year - the teacher agreed it was supposed to be a 100, but never fixed it. So he lost a GRADE LEVEL for the semester in that course. I accepted what the head office told me, to my deep regret.

With all the inherent flaws in eSis/eSucks/es*it, we'll need to scrutinize those grades very carefully and demand corrections where warranted. I appreciate the fact that eSis is giving teachers fits and that they're having to reinvent the wheel in very little time.

Constance vigilance!

Cerebration said...

Wow. These are incredibly frustrating stories. To the parent whose child got a 0 instead of a 100, I had actually heard before that the system won't allow teachers to enter 100 - they can only enter up to 99. If this ever happens to anyone again - at least ask the teacher to try to input a 99 instead of fighting to get in the 100. (Not sure if this is all really true, but in the above case, it could have been an option, maybe.)

Also, without going into detail, I have become involved with the Forsyth County schools (as an educational guardian) and have been learning how things are done there. Let me just say - there's a night and day difference on many levels. But for now, I'll share that they use a program called "Infinite Campus" which - with a click of a button, tells me information about my student from absences (by class), fees, immunizations, scores of each new test/quiz/project/entry, totals per category, average score per each 6 week session, final score for the semester, etc, etc. I never have to spend more than 5 minutes checking all the information. This software will even instantaneously create an unofficial transcript - including the students GPA - currently and by semester along the way!

I'm not trying to make anyone upset - I just want you all to know that there are products out there that work just fine. I"m uncertain as to why eSIS isn't one of them for DCSS. It could be that nothing would work well for our system, because our server/bandwidth/hardware is insufficient. It's possible that it's not the software's fault - but there's just no way to know. Blaming teachers is absolutely no solution though.

Anonymous said...

For Pete's sake.

I meant "constant vigilance," not "constance." Mea culpa.

I wish we'd chosen Forsyth County instead of Dunwoody when we moved here 10 years ago. But the commute seemed overwhelming (and that hasn't changed) and Dunwoody is so friendly and family-friendly. Except for the schools.

Cerebration said...

Oh - believe me - there are other issues in Forsyth that make it not the mecca you may think. Dunwoody is a great community. I just wanted to share that the software issue with DCSS needn't have been such a headache. I swear - if they would have asked - some of the kids in our high schools could have set up a free Open Source program that would run much better. Something is really wrong with our system and instead of simply denying it, and blaming teachers, DCSS administrators need to dig down and figure out what's wrong -- and fix it. It certainly can be done.

Dekalbparent said...

I know we have a number of people on this blog who are VERY knowledgeable in software, business systems and business management. I have seen innumerable comments on how to select software, how to examine contracts and how to phase in new systems, and they have all made a great deal of sense. It appears that there is abundant knowledge in the community in general, and even that some of the axioms are pretty universally accepted.

And yet, our school system has eSIS, a system that was selected poorly, inadequately vetted, re-written after it was selected, implemented horribly and not supported at all.

What does this say about the capabilities of the decision-makers in the DCSS IT department...?

Anonymous said...

Like most decisions in DCSS, I am sure that it was a political decision.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if eSIS was a political decision, but I'd bet my next paycheck that is was a financial one. Whenever any new program comes into DCSS (Springboard, America's Choice, etc.), follow the money. Therein will lie the answer.

No Duh said...

Anon 12/22 8:41's comment below sums up my biggest fears about esis: "Well I thought I had everything in correctly. Only to find out that eSHIT lost 2 previous classes grades so I will have to go back and reenter 18 weeks worth of grades. I teach 33 kids for those 2 classes and I had 40 grades in for those 33 kids. Can you even beginning to imagine the nightmare I am facing.

Our teachers are HUMAN. After this many hours on the system, redoing things they thought they had already done. Massive data entry (when having to start all over), fatigue, etc. How can we ever be sure our children's grades are truly accurate? I really feel for our teachers. They are bound to make a mistake in this atmosphere. Not because they are stupid or no good at their jobs, but because they are HUMAN!

But, let's say my "Janie" makes a 98 on her final, but the grade accidentally gets recorded as an 88. Big difference for Janie's final grade, but how are we to know if we should challenge it? Now, if it were clearly abhorent -- such as a 48, I may think to question it -- because of course my "Janie" would never score that low :) -- but, an 88 could easily go unchallenged.

P.S. I've seen 100s on my children's records, so it can be done.

Cerebration said...

Wanted you all to read about Hall County schools changing from a block to a modified hybrid - and saving big buck$.

The Hall County Board of Education is on track to adopt a hybrid schedule next school year that would allow the system's high schools to operate with 35 fewer teachers. Hall Superintendent Will Schofield estimates the move will annually save the system between $2.5 million and $3 million.

In response to grim state revenue figures and in anticipation of further state cuts to education, the Hall County school board proposed last month to move Hall’s seven high schools from a four-period day to a hybrid schedule where three days have seven periods and two days have four periods.

To read the article in it's entirety, go here -

Cerebration said...

Conversation about the block has been going on with Lewis and the board. They will vote on it at the Jan 11 meeting. Lewis wrote this letter in the minutes -

Block Schedule Survey
In April, 2003, the Board of Education adopted an Alternative Scheduling Policy. Presently, block scheduling is utilized in all DeKalb high schools except for Elizabeth Andrews High, Arabia Mountain High, Chamblee Charter High, DeKalb School of the Arts, and Lakeside High.

There are variations to the block scheduling. Most schools employ the 4x4 model of block scheduling with students taking four semester-long courses in 90 minute class periods.

To determine the opinions of block scheduling from students, staff, and parents, a survey was administered from November 16 to December 4, 2009. Elizabeth Andrews High, Arabia Mountain High, Chamblee Charter High, DeKalb School ofthe Arts, and Lakeside High did not participate in the survey. The notebooks you will receive in courier following agenda setting will comprise the survey results.

This year, 18,766 students completed the survey, which is approximately 84% of the students enrolled in high schools that employ the 4x4 block schedule model. This return rate is compared to 71% rate for 2008 and 23% return rate in 2007.

The surveys were all returned either electronically to Research and Evaluation or (parent paper survey) returned to the schools then to Research and Evaluation. The survey results are attached (page 2) and they have all been signed off by the individuals listed below:

Teacher Forum Representative
School Council- Chair or Vice Chair
PTSA President or Vice President
Student Government President or Student Advisory Representative

In summary, some schools have requested to modify their current scheduling models as they continue to review their respective school’s data. (Schedule definitions are also included in your folder.)

Cerebration said...

It appears as though the survey shows that Dr Kevin Harris, principal of Dunwoody HS and Mr. James Jones, principal of Tucker HS are the only two principals to request a change to the current block schedule.

Dunwoody is asking for a modified A/B schedule - and Tucker is requesting a modified 7 period day.

Cerebration said...

And then, Lewis provided a document defining the various types of schedules --


In its simplest definition, block scheduling is any schedule format with fewer but longer classes than traditional schedules permit (Jones, 1995). Because a school can build a block schedule that suits its unique needs, there are almost as many different ways to arrange a block schedule as there are schools. Some of the more popular methods that schools base their schedules on are as follows:

• Traditional Schedule: Students see every one of their teachers each day. Classes are approximately 50 minutes long, using the traditional six period day. Students earn six units per year.

• Alternative Schedule: (per DCSS Policy [IE]) The high school schedule deviates from the traditional six-period day, including but not limited to, block or modified block scheduling. (A seven period day is an example.)

• 4x4 block: This format enables students to attend four classes per day for an entire semester. Each class lasts anywhere from 85 -100 minutes. Students complete in one semester what would have taken them a full year in traditional schedules Students earn eight units per year.

• Alternating plan (also known as the A/B plan): Using this format, students attend eight different classes over two days. (For example, students attend odd classes on A day, even classes on B
day, and the cycle repeats continuously throughout the entire school year.) Students earn eight units per year.

• Modified block: This is sort of a "build your own block schedule" format. For example, schools may have students attend school based on a 4x4 block on Monday through Thursday, and a regular eight-period schedule on Friday. Or, they might have
two blocked classes in a day, combined with three regular periods. Students earn eight units per year.

• Hybrid: This is a combination of any two schedule types. It can also be used as another term for “modified block.”

(Taken from - Verbatim Sources: NWREL- Northwest Regional Education Laboratory --
http://nwrel.org/request/feb97/article3.html and DeKalb County School Board Policy)

Anonymous said...

Here is another fact about Dekalb County funding mess.

the county reported 3465 O - Other Non-funded segment in October 2009 FTE (Full-time equivalent) reporting cycle. At $1360 per segment on average(which is a much conservative astimate), it comes out to be more than $4.7 millions.

By contrast, Fulton County reported 501 "O" segments, Cobb - 1858 and Forsyth 882.

For those of you, who don't know what FTE is, it's the mandatory data reporting for public school systems in Georgia, based on which the State portion of Funding is distributed. For more information checkout the following websites.