Friday, March 26, 2010

Another charter school to open doors in Lithonia this year

Reprint from The Champion I thought folks might enjoy...

Academy designed to help students become leaders
by Jonathan Cribbs
jonathan@dekalbchamp.com

DeKalb County’s third charter school in two years will open in the fall in Lithonia: The Leadership Preparatory Academy, an elementary and middle school designed to instill leadership skills in students.

The school, which received its charter earlier this month, will be led by Frankie Callaway, a former DeKalb County School System deputy superintendent for administration, who retired in July after a 36-year career as an educator.

The school, which has been in the works since 2008, will open in the fall to grades kindergarten through fifth, expanding by another grade each year until the eighth grade, Callaway said. The school expects to enroll about 300 students in its first year, adding between 50 and 60 each year after, said Lonnie
Hall, a parent who helped organize the school.

It would be open to anyone living within the county’s borders, Callaway said. The school would meet all state educational and curriculum requirements, leadership teaching would be infused into the instruction, she said. Students will be taught from learned texts such as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a widely known book by business professor and author Stephen Covey. His book tells readers to, among other things, be proactive, visualize the end result of goals and learn the principles of integrity.

“It’s something we have always worked on in DeKalb but not to this level,” Callaway said. Prior to a similar charter school opening in North Carolina recently, Hall said the closest school with a similar goal and curriculum was in Virginia. “It doesn’t exist anywhere (in Georgia),” he said. “There was an opportunity that (organizers knew) we could be missing in terms of preparing children at the grade school level for the challenges they will be facing in the early part of the 21st century.

… Every child, we believe, can be a leader. But there’s not much opportunity left to develop those other skills that a child will need once they complete their secondary school education. Being educated and being prepared are two different
things.”

The school is hiring personnel, including teachers, and will open off Evans Mill Road in eastern DeKalb County near Interstate 20, inside a vacated academy, Hall said. Two fellow charter schools will also open their doors to students this fall: The Museum School of Avondale Estates and Peachtree Hope Charter
School.

Both were denied charters through the DeKalb County Board of Education but reapplied through the state’s charter school office – an appeal of sorts – and received their charters. These sorts of disagreements over home rule and state control over local money have sparked a lawsuit between several metro Atlanta school systems, including DeKalb, and the state Department of Education that has yet to be resolved.

The Leadership Preparatory Academy’s charter was initially denied in 2008, Hall said, because board members did not doubted the school was original enough. When the organization reapplied the next year, the board approved it, he said. If the school proves successful, Callaway said, it could expand through 12th grade.

“We want every child to believe that they can accomplish,” she said.

155 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here we go again!!!! Callaway was forced to retire.... why is she allowed to have any affiliation/connection to Dekalb again???

Anonymous said...

This is a start-up charter, not a conversion charter, it has nothing to do with DCSS.

Anonymous said...

ohhhhhhhh- it will just pull DCSS teachers and students????

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated with this Charter. I sit on the BOD of a local children's arts organization and we've been working on defining a leadership program for a year or so. Leadership in kids is hard to qualify and quantify. How, exactly, do they plan to measure "leadership" in an entire school? Seems like a vague concept for an entire school! I can't believe they got it passed.

Anonymous said...

I was dismayed to see that Callaway is running the school. Will she still be receiving full retirement benefits from DCSS? The new school is located in "East DeKalb". "East DeKalb" - is about 2 exits from being in Rockdale county. This school is open to students from all of DeKalb county? Yeah, right. If it is located near the I20 exit, on a good, traffic free morning it is at best 30 minutes from 285 & LaVista. We all know how many traffic free mornings there are on 285. This will be another great concept school to be filled by South DeKalb, Rockdale & Henry county residents.

Anonymous said...

I guess all the students will have good grades. LOL

Anonymous said...

Is Anon 9:05 suggesting that any retiree that starts a new career should not get retirement benefits they are entitled to? If anything, it guarantees this school will have someone with a genuine interest in the community. This blog has gone to a new level of being ridiculous.

It is also interesting to read that most posters are focused on who the leadership is rather that will this provide another option of learning and improving academic success for the children.

As with most start-up charters, they would only receive a portion of the average student amount since they are responsible for their building and maintenance. The impact to the DCSS general budget is minimal. This could impact schools that are overcrowded in that area and perhaps provide employment opportunities for displaced teachers.

Nonni said...

@ Anonymous 8:13 AM

All charter schools -- start-up and conversion -- are public schools. As such they are funded by the school system in which they are located. DCSS has a history of watering down real charters and being non-cooperative with real charters. If Frankie Callaway is associated with and running this school, you can bet it is a sham charter and is going to be more of DCSS "business as usual": taking in out-of-county students and having huge numbers of undocumented free-and-reduced-price meals applications. It will be interesting and revealing to see what services, equipment and support Callaway's school gets from DCSS that they denied to their other start-up charters. Another lawsuit in the making?

Anonymous said...

Wonder why this independent charter got approved at the local level and others didn't? Friends and Family... business as usual in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Good question as to why it got approved and others didn't, though I believe the Museum Charter school people really wanted to be a Commission school rather than a DCSS chartered school.

I suspect they are moving into the old Academy of Lithonia building? Can anyone confirm this?

Cerebration said...

Interesting. We seem to be increasing in charter schools - except for the Academy of Lithonia, which was shut down by the state in June, 2009 for poor performance.

So far I find these -

Start-Up Charter Schools
New schools created by private individuals, private organizations or state or public entities.

DeKalb PATH Academy (bi-lingual) (Chamblee)
International Community School (Decatur & St Mt)
DeKalb Academy of Technology and the Environment (Stone Mt)
The Leadership Preparatory Academy (new) (Lithonia)
The Museum School (New) (Avondale Estates)
Peachtree Hope (New)
The Dakalb Adacemy of Technology & Environment Charter School (Lithonia)

Conversion Charter Schools
Existing public schools that have converted to charter status.

Chesnut Charter Elementary School (152)
Kingsley Charter Elementary School (236)
Peachtree Charter Middle School (565)
Chamblee Charter High School (522)
Smoke Rise Elementary School (398)

For info on charters and to learn about the difference between a conversion and a start-up, visit this link at the DCSS website:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/schoolchoice/charter.html

Cerebration said...

Anon 9:27, people are concerned about the leadership of Frankie Callaway due to this story about her questionable grading tactics -

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/did-frankie-callaway-encourage-cheating.html

Anonymous said...

The reason I commented on Callaway receiving full retirement benefits is that DCSS has a history of retirees double dipping into the DCSS coffers. I thought the BoE said no retirees are to be rehired to work as full time employees. If she isn't being paid by DCSS I have no problem with her running this school and sharing her leadership knowledge. Other than the location not being condusive to for West/North Dekalb families.

Anonymous said...

So retired Frankie will be running one DeKalb charter while her husband, retired Clarence runs another.....Wonder when son and daughter (who also work in Dekalb) will open their schools?

Anonymous said...

Nonni....it's obvious you have no clue as to how a startup charter works. They have no connection with DCSS. They get no funds from DCSS - in fact start-up charters take money away from DCSS - thus the current lawsuit against the GA Charter Commission.

Ella Smith said...

However, this is not the case here, as I have said several times before about Ms. Callaway. She is a jewel. I wish she was our school super. She got frustrated with all the corruption in my opinion like many others and had a fight with the super and left or someone had hold of her hand nicely as she walked out the door.

Please do not bad mouth Dr. Callaway when you do not know the facts about Dr. Callaway and why she left our fair school system. I am thankful someone smart working on this charter hired her to be their prinicipal and run their school. This is the smart board member or starter of a charter school.

Recently, I have meet many smart, intellectual women who were principals in Dekalb who left the system as soon as possible after Johnny Brown left. They are professors at my school. I have learned so much from them. They are brillant ladies. I would love to have them still working for our school system. One of them did work at the central office and left when Johnny left.

It is a small world these days you know.

This looks like a great Charter. As parents we are going to have to go in this directions if we do not make changes on the school board.

When my son no longer wants to attend Lakeside High School and he is as a sophomore a super soccer player on the team I have to begin to worry. He has such school pride. He will run through several boys to score due to his pride and score with 24 seconds to go and win a game and then turn around and leave the same school he loves so much. Something is wrong. Now I think it is the moral of the teachers spilling over into my son's emotions about the school. However, this in itself is a real problem.

Next year, I might want to apply to work at a Charter. I have worked about thirty years and could buy in five more and draw 70% of my salary at retirement and go out and get another job. However, these are benifits I have paid in as years as a teacher. We pay into teachers' retirement. The school system does not pay for this. It comes out of my check monthly and it is 300-400 dollars I believe a month. As teachers we pay this money into our retirement. There is nothing wrong with Dr. Callaway, another teacher, or myself getting back after thirty years money we have paid in that has been investing and drawing money all these years.

In fact, the Teacher's retirement system has enough money that they could actually pay us a much higher percentage upon retirement. It all depends upon how you take your retirement money. You could take it and die within a week and the state would get all your money paid in if you did not take a lower amount and then have your spouse continue to get paid.

Again, these are benifits teacher's pay for monthly and not benifits that the county is payng for per say. This is not like social security or the money put in verses social security. This is different. I have a nice little nest egg of this money setting in an account somewhere also I put in and Dekalb put in when I was in Dekalb verse social security. Of course I choice to put in much more than Dekalb.

Many times we talk about teachers' retirement here like the school system themself are paying for this. This would be social security which we all know teachers in Dekalb will not get. Now it looks like teachers in Dekalb will also not be getting the social security benifits put into another account to draw money for them possible which is wrong.

The teachers of Dekalb were promise there money taken out of this account would be returned. The school board now are proposing it will not. This is a lie to the teachers of Dekalb. We cannot trust our board if this passed. The teachers cannot trust our board. Watch real careful who votes for this.

Ella Smith said...

I am sorry. I went off. However the comment about benifits and about Dr. Calloway disturbed me.

I will one day draw teacher's retirement and it is not because of the Dekalb County School System, the Fulton County School System or the Gwinnett County School System. It is because of the State Teacher Retirement System which has a great deal of money because I pay them for my retirement benifits every month like every other teacher in the state. This is the best benifit about being a teacher. (Retirement Benifits)

Cerebration said...

So good to have you back, Ella!

I think teachers will be better off in the long run to have an annuity in addition to State Teacher's Retirement (although, an outright 401k type account is best, but I digress). At least the state keeps these funds in a managed account. Social Security is flat out broke - the feds have squandered all of the money in that "lock box" and now, it's pay as you go - as in, the current people paying in are paying for the current people taking out. Predictions are that this formula will be upside-down by 2017 - and benefits will be greatly reduced. If I was a teacher, I would certainly add a Regular or Roth IRA account to my retirement portfolio.

All of that aside - I find it interesting that charters have begun to proliferate in DeKalb lately. I think this is good. Give the local communities more control over their schools. This giant system is not working for a vast majority -- and is only serving to line the pockets of certain friends and family of the administration. We could literally reduce non-teaching staff by 50% and our schools would most likely improve. Instead, our board and their budget committee are choosing to reduce TEACHING staff and cram more children into classrooms like sardines.

Let the charters roll!

Cerebration said...

Academy of Lithonia Charter Schools
3235 Evans Mill Rd
Lithonia, GA 30038
678-526-9655

The article doesn't give an address, but describes The Leadership Preparatory Academy as "off Evans Mill Road in eastern DeKalb County near Interstate 20, inside a vacated academy" - so it appears that this is the same school building. I'm curious - Is this a new version of "DeKalb Prepatory Academy"? I don't think that one was approved - it was supposed to go in Tucker. These school names are all so similar, it's hard to keep them straight.

I can't find their charter application on DCSS website though. Applications made to the state are posted online and can be viewed at this link:

http://www.gadoe.org/pea_charter.aspx?PageReq=PEACSPetitionApplications

Open + Transparent said...

Frankie Callaway resigned very quickly in disgrace hours after the WSB TV story on her. Despite Ella's opinion of her, Callaway is one more of the upper level DCSS administrator clique who land top high paying jobs not because of what they know, but who they know.

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22250810/index.html

And if the Callaway family practiced professional ethics, four of them wouldn't be working in the same system. There are plenty of systems large and small in the metro area. A wife, husband and two children all working for the same system fails the small test. If you're good, there are plenty of jobs out there in the metro area.

And why in the heck do we need another charter in this county when enrollment is flat and we are closing schools?

Anonymous said...

With regard to double-dipping Ron Ramsey ... here is what the Georgia State Constitution says:

Disqualifications
According to the Georgia Constitution Article III Section II Paragraph IV:
(1)No person on active duty with any branch of the armed forces of the United States shall have a seat in either house unless otherwise provided by law.
(2)No person holding any civil appointment or office having any emolument annexed thereto under the United States, this state, or any other state shall have a seat in either house.
(3)No Senator or Representative shall be elected by the General Assembly or appointed by the Governor to any office or appointment having any emolument annexed thereto during the time for which such person shall have been elected unless the Senator or Representative shall first resign the seat to which elected; provided, however, that, during the term for which elected, no Senator or Representative shall be appointed to any civil office which has been created during such term.

This explains why Ron Ramsey leaves his current full-time employment with DCSS out of his official bio for the Georgia General Assembly. Lying by omission. Ignoring the law. And he is in charge of DCSS Internal Affairs.

It does NOT explain why Fran Millar, Mike Jacobs, Dan Weber, Jill Chambers and others turn a blind eye to the law and give Ron Ramsey a pass -- to lie, to double-dip and to steal by being paid for 40 days a year that he is not actually on the job for DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:37 pm

If you're a citizen of DeKalb County and you feel that strongly about DCSS's employment of Ron Ramsey during his Senate service days, why have you not written Governor Perdue or State Attorney General Thurbert Baker to lodge a complaint? That would seem logical.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:33 AM

Nonni is right. You might want to do a little fact-checking before criticizing and making a statement that you purport to be fact. Go to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated:
TITLE 20. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
ARTICLE 31. CHARTER SCHOOLS ACT OF 1998
O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.2 (2009)

and

TITLE 20. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
ARTICLE 31. CHARTER SCHOOLS ACT OF 1998
O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.1 (2009)

Anonymous said...

@ Ella I found your comments regarding your son wanting out of Lakeside very interesting. I too have a child that absolutely hates that school. The teachers are mean and talk down to the kids, the principal is not willing to speak with the students much less back them when there is a problem. The kids are expected to walk the fine line of rules but the teachers rules change with the wind so the students never know what to expect.
Sorry...this has nothing to do w/ Callaway & charters, I had to vent.

Anonymous said...

A startup charter school, as the Lithonia school is, and a conversion charter school are 2 entirely different animals. The conversion charters are still under the DCSS umbrella, the startup charters are not. Please educate yourself on the difference.

Anonymous said...

Ella & anon,

If your kids already hate Lakeside right now, many more will next year when the Lakeside teachers will be only 50 minutes of planning 300 minutes of face time with your poor 150 kids....Right now the have 100 minutes of planning and 250 minutes of face time with 180 kids!!

Maybe we can get volunteer coaches and sponsors of academic clubs...

UGA likes kids to have extracurrilar activities but with DCSS balncing the budget on the back of Lakeside and Chamblee teachers--no more!

Parents should either make DCSS leave things as they are or plan to pay $15 000 at Saint Pius if they have room....

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can get volunteer coaches and sponsors of academic clubs from the talented moms and dads...

because the teachers are going to sponsor as usual....If they are forced, the will invent illness or family responsibility.

Goodbye after school activities....

Anonymous said...

"Maybe we can get volunteer coaches and sponsors of academic clubs from the talented moms and dads..."

Several parents are already doing this at Lakeside. The drama coach is an outstanding example. Another parent is heavily involved in running one of the AP classes.

Anonymous said...

Educate yourself, Anonymous 4:57 PM!

You might want to do a little fact-checking before criticizing and making a statement that you purport to be fact.

This was posted earlier on this blog and is correct:
Go to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated:
TITLE 20. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
ARTICLE 31. CHARTER SCHOOLS ACT OF 1998
O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.2 (2009)

and

TITLE 20. EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
ARTICLE 31. CHARTER SCHOOLS ACT OF 1998
O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2068.1 (2009)

Anonymous said...

For those teachers complaining about having to teach extra hours - pleave leave DCSS, please. I don't you and your sucky attitude anywhere near my children.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:17: The teachers' "sucky attitude" doesn't stem from not wanting to do more for your children. It stems from the desire to protect the quality of education your children receive.

Would you take your child to a doctor who saw no problem with shoving 20% more patients into her already full day? Sure, that doctor would see more patients, but there wouldn't be enough hours in the day to do pesky things like run tests or make notes in patients' files. Certainly the amount of time she spent with each patient would have to be cut.

But hey, she'd save her practice a ton of money!

If you're okay with that kind of doctor, then you're probably okay with that kind of teacher.

And we'll all get what we deserve for that kind of complacency.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:17 pm

I'm a parent. Not a teacher. I'm extremely respectful of any teacher my child has. I want the best possible teacher for my child because I know that only a teacher can make the real difference for my child. I want academic success for my child.

No administrator or support person works with my child every day, only her teacher.

Teachers who are appreciated, feel like they are fairly compensated, and are given good service by support personnel will be more effective with my child. I want a well rested, alert teacher who enjoys teaching my child, not a stressed out person who is forced into practicing crowd control.

I guess a lot of it depends on what you want for your children in life that determines his/her success.

Ella Smith said...

I also agree. I want my son's teachers to have adequate planning time. I would love to see all teachers in Dekalb have at least 2 planning periods and I would love to see this throughout the state also.

I agree this would be important in improving moral and give teachers extra time to plan. This is a fact. However currently the state's budget is lean, the school system's budget is lean and this is not an option this year. Tough decisions have to be made in tough times.

I support teachers. I am a teachers. However when a school system does not have money cuts have to be made.

I am supportive of new Charter Schools. I think this may be a step in the right direction.

As far as Lakeside goes I know a great deal about Lakeside as I used to teach there for many years and I choice to leave and look for greener pastures.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much Frankie Callaway's new gig pays her. I'd have some respect for her if she volunteered her time seeing she has a nice 6 year pension from DCSS. But it's hard to have too much respect knowing her husband and two children are also on the DCSS teat.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella 10:08 pm

I totally disagree.

Deep, deep cuts need to be made in the 8,800 admin and support personnel to bring our admin and support to teacher ratio back into reality.

Dr. Lewis grew personnel by over 1,500 in the first 4 years he headed DCSS as we lost students. Since we lost teachers between 2005 and 2009, that means that Dr. Lewis added over 1,500 in admin and support personnel.

I know my figures are correct because I have the 2004 state Salary and Travel audit (I emailed a copy of it to Cerebration) which I downloaded from the Internet several years ago. I compared it to the 2009 state Salary and Travel audit you can currently find online. There are over 1,500 more DCSS employees in 2009 than there were in 2004, and considerably less of them are teachers. Dr. Lewis cut 275 teacher positions in 2009 (see DCSS website 2009 budget page).

If we just went back to the level of admin and support we had when Dr. Lewis started (and we had more students back then), we would have close to enough money to cover the budget gap.

Over 1,500 highly paid additional personnel is an enormous sum. Let's assume an extremely modest $50,000 a year annual salary and benefits per admin and support employee added.

$50,000 X 1,500 admin and support personnel = $75,000,000 a year.

If Ms. Tyson and the BOE want simple mathematics, they need try those numbers on for size.

Anonymous said...

nice 36 year pension from DCSS for Callaway

Cerebration said...

Everything Anon 10:48 PM said is true. For some uncanny reason, our board reps refuse to see this truth.

Since 2004, Dr. Lewis grew staff by over 1,500 - while student enrollment dropped by well over 2,000.

Unbelievably, our board reps won't even believe these enrollment numbers. They keep repeating the mantra - "we have 101,000 students" -- We do not. The number reported to the state on the October 2009 Official FTE count for DeKalb was 97,958, however, the State website currently shows DeKalb with 96,907 students.

Check out these numbers yourselves -

http://www.gadoe.org/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=111&PID=62&PTID=68&CountyId=644&T=0&FY=2009

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_ethnicsex.entry_form

Anonymous said...

The DCSS Human Resources Department gave these personnel numbers to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts in 2004 and in 2009.
the names and salaries of all personnel are listed in the Georgia Department of Audits for 2004 and 2009.

If the BOE reps say they don't believe these numbers, then they are refusing to look at them. It's simple subtraction. Just take the number of DCSS personnel listed in 2009 and subtract the number of DCSS personnel listed in 2004. The difference is 1,534.

Anonymous said...

"For those teachers complaining about having to teach extra hours - pleave leave DCSS, please. I don't you and your sucky attitude anywhere near my children."

A fair thing to teach your children, sir or madam, people should work for free! And if you do not want to work for free get another job!

In national K-12 education, we are not #47 out 50 because of students---we are #47 because of adults like you!!

I don't teachers to teach my child to work for free, to accept unfairness, to take punches with a smile!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:17
My poor attitude does not stem from having more kids in my class, having less preps, and getting paid less money.

My poor attitude stems from the administration at all levels not taking a stand for the children of DeKalb. There has to be one principal, on highly paid area assistant superintendent, one other person walking around central office with a PhD and making way more money than myself that knows the kids of DeKalb are getting the short end of the stick. Maybe not the kids in the magnet programs, but every other child in the county is being short changed.

Why aren't they fighting for the kids? Why do people sit back and allow our children to fall further behind?

I do speak up at my school, and I was told that I was a trouble maker. This trouble maker resigned, because I can no longer turn a blind eye to the poor quality of education our children receive. I know how to use data to improve student achievement and know how powerful a tool it can be. The benchmarks that we are to give are a joke and do not tell me know my students are progressing. Plus I have not seen any results since they have been scanned this semester.

My poor attitude stems from me wanting desperately to be a better teacher, the teacher that I know I can be, but am unable to be. I feel that part of the problem stems from the lack of professional development given by the state of Georgia for it's teachers. I also have seen very few national speakers coming to Georgia, as these are opportunities that I have had in other states. It also stems from the poor professional development that I receive from the central office. If I were to model the Elluminate sessions and reading of power point slides and talking at my students (the only examples of professional development that I have received this year), than my students would not learn a thing. They would not be engaged, as the teachers that I have seen are not engaged and could care less about the information being given to us during these professional development opportunities. If I were the superintendent, I would be ashamed and embarrassed that this was the way our teachers are being taught. What a fine role model and example for teachers to follow.

My frustration does not stem from a salary decrease, the moldy ceiling tiles and leaking roof in my school (and many others), the dirty school that I teach in worrying if the classroom is going to be too hot or too cold because our new ac/heating units haven't worked correctly since they were installed, or having more students. I am frustrated because, I am unable to be the teacher I have been in the past and know that I should be, as I feel that is what our children, all children in DeKalb deserve.

Anonymous said...

"I would love to see all teachers in Dekalb have at least 2 planning periods...."

1 planning period in the block equals 90 minutes!!! The teacher teacher teaches 3 "90 minutes" classes of 30-35 students.


2 planning periods in the block equals 100 minutes!!! The Lakeside/Chamblee teacher ALREADY teaches 5 "50 minutes" classes of 30-35 students.

Now comes that the Lakeside/Chamblee teacher WILL teach an ADDITIONAL class (6 "50 minutes" classes of 30-35 students) and BE REWARDED by having JUST ONE "50 minutes" planning period!!!!!!

Parents, you will have to coach and sponsor after school activities---Lakeside/Chamblee teachers are going to be OVERWHELMED!!

Anonymous said...

The great parent director of the Lakeside plays dabbles as a substitute teacher...You've just CUT her pay by $10 and added another class...

Let's hope she is like Mother Theresa!!

Her youngest child, a fine actress/singer, like her previous children at Lakeside, is graduating in May...

Let's hope the coach/director is like Mother Theresa!!

Our BOE has so much foresight...

Kim Gokce said...

Cerebration: "... the current people paying in are paying for the current people taking out. Predictions are that this formula will be upside-down by 2017"

Just a quick update on the Social Security reference ... this past week the CBO reported that we've reached this point 6 years ahead of projections ...ugh!

Can we charter SS?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Cere notes the recent uptick in charters in the county, and that another poster asks why this is happening.

It's happening precisely because of what we most discuss on these boards: the borderline (?) criminal malfeasance and incompetence of the BOE and DCSS administration. Simply put, when parents realize they care about their children's education while the powers that be care solely about keeping nepotism and power intact, parents take the avenues open to them--one of which is setting up a charter school, or enrolling their kids in one being set up.

Cerebration said...

Anon, 8:46 AM, I'm sorry. We have obviously lost a wonderful teacher in you. I wish you all the best.

Lakeside, and the 7PD schools - since the deadline has passed to request a change in scheduling, I would recommend that you go ahead and "suck it up" and get started ASAP designing a new schedule - some kind of modified block that will not fall under this rule. Additionally, you may want to actually band together and work toward building a charter status. Get yourselves as far removed from the control of the central office as possible during the next school year. Look to big change in 2011/12. That's all you can do.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:48: Where do you get the idea that block teachers get 2 planning periods?

Anonymous said...

Charter schools are today's newest educational "fad". If you read Diane Ravitch's book, she points out that all in all, student performance has not risen within the charter school movement at all.

In a few years when all the hullabaloo has died down, I think you'll see that the Charter School movement will not bring about the change some of think it will.

Cerebration said...

I think that was just a typo. What Anon meant was that on the block, teachers teach 3-90 minute classes of say 30 students (90 students in total) and get a 90 minute planning period. The teachers on the 7 period day, currently teach 5 classes of say, 30 students each (150 students) and get a total of 100 minutes of planning. That's out of balance - obviously, the block teachers can spend more time assigning writing assignments (which take more time to grade), etc.

However, to make matters worse, the board now wants to increase that discrepancy even more - demanding that teachers on the 7PD teach 6 classes of say, 30 - a total of 180 students - with only one planning period - 50 minutes per day!

This is really unfair. Either make all schools go on the same 6/7 schedule or forget this. If the board continues with this policy, we can all watch as our teachers at 7PD schools scramble to work elsewhere.

Of course, this could be part of the plan - to encourage our best teachers to apply at the block schools...??? Lakeside has already become a horrible school environment, as DCSS has allowed seemingly unlimited "Administrative Transfers" along with other special transfers - exploding the building with a capacity for 1350 to over 1700 students. You cannot move in the narrow halls during class breaks, and you certainly don't want to use the restrooms.

This move will take Lakeside to it's knees. Maybe that is the goal.

Anonymous said...

Cere,
There is a ticker on the right side that states the number of teachers and employees, could you add the number of students, too? I think this would make this information even more meaningful. Thanks for all that you do for all kids of DeKalb!

Anonymous said...

Life is not fair. We have teachers whining because they have to spend 30 extra minutes teaching? Please... What happened to the teachers who taught because they had "calling"? Why do we have so many teachers whining about one teacher making more than another? Why do we have teachers whining about having to teach longer? Sounds like it's not only the Central Office that needs some clearning up.......

Cerebration said...

Great idea, Anon 10:06 AM - I'll work on that.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:26

If teachers were able to teach, then people wouldn't complain. However we have discipline problems that perpetuate because administrators don't want too many kids suspended for poor behavior, as they fear for their job. Having larger classes and not be able to reach all of the children in your class, is something to complain about, especially when many classrooms are not large enough to have the number of children in them that the district is talking about. When this happens you're on crowd control and are not able to teach.

Education isn't about the kids in DeKalb or even education, and until parents and tax payer realize this, the poor practices by central office will continue and the good teachers will leave to follow their "calling."

Cerebration said...

Anon 10:26 AM, it's not about "teaching an extra 30 minutes" - it's about the additional total number of students each teacher will have to teach with less planning time to do it.

Think about it - one teacher here pointed out that if she assigns and essay and tries to give quality feedback on grading those essays and spends even 15 minutes grading each one - at 180 essays, that will take 45 hours! So - how many essays do you think your little Junior's teacher is going to assign? Do you think Junior will learn good writing skills? And then guess what - you will go in - demanding a conference with that teacher to complain that Junior is not learning good writing skills - and you won't be able to get an appointment for 3 weeks because the teacher's planning time is booked - with planning, meetings and being assessed by "Instructional Coaches"...

So - yes - this issue is about the student - not the teacher. At least that is my concern.

Anonymous said...

And...it's not just the essay classes. Consider a quality mathematics class...those papers should be assessed by looking at student work in its entirety. Multiple Choice questions do not communicate anything in a math class. If I can't see Suzy trying to solve a quadratic equation, or working out a trig identity, or solving a word problem (rather than just picking from 1 of 4 possible answers) then it becomes incredibly difficult to address where the learning problems may lie.

Add additional students to the 180 you are already trying to grade...and 30 minutes doesn't matter. I don't think ANY teacher begrudges extra contact time with students, but at the expense of creating a work load where you are grading 200 students' work...can you honestly say that this is in the best interest of students???

Anonymous said...

Correction: "2 planning periods in the 7pd equal 100 minutes!!! The Lakeside/Chamblee teacher ALREADY teaches 5 "50 minutes" classes of 30-35 students."

1 planning period in the block equals 90 minutes for 3 PD

Anonymous said...

SUCK IT UP? It's the kids at Chamblee and Lakeside who are going suck it up by degrading their educational experience!

The deadline for schedule changes HAS ALREADY PASSED!! Why is the Board of Education voting to CHANGE Chammblee's and Lakeside's right now?

Cerebration said...

Really, think about it. This idea will punish the teachers on the 7PD and leave the block teachers alone. If they were serious about this being a budget issue - they would insist that ALL high school go to teaching 6/7 periods.

So why aren't they doing that? What's the real motivation behind this initiative proposed by Dr. Lewis?

Anonymous said...

Nutshell: The Board of Education is making up +2 000 000 by giving Lakeside High School and Chamblee High School a SEPARATE but UNEQUAL education.....

It's not on the BACK of the teachers but on the BACK of YOUR CHILD.....

Good luck getting into UGA and Tech

Anonymous said...

As I understand it this impacts MLK and Arabia Mountain as well. Did something change?

Cerebration said...

No - that's correct. MLK and Arabia will have to adhere to these rules. This will be horrible for MLK - not so much for Arabia - as they are still quite under-enrolled, I doubt their classes will be as large.

I'd really like to hear from MLK and Arabia parents -- if you know any, please encourage them to participate in this blog.

M G said...

Jay Cunningham did mention during the Budget Committee meeting that they should look at putting all HS on the 7 period schedule and all teachers teaching 6 periods.

Cerebration said...

Fair's fair if that's the way you want to go.

Anonymous said...

Our best, dedicated, phenominal teachers do not whine about the numbers of hours they teach. They don't whine that another teacher gets paid more than them. They don't whine because they teach in a school that is made up of mostly ESOL students. A good, dedicated, teacher that leaves an imprint on our children's lives. They teach because they want to make a difference in a child's life. They don't teach for a paycheck. They teach because they feel they have been called to make a difference in a child's life.

For the few on this blog that feel they speak for the DCSS teachers with regards to this amount of time they teach, their planning periods, etc., you don't speak for the majority of our teachers at all. You speak for yourselves and then try to insinuate all teachers feel the way you do.

I don't and the teachers I work with do not feel as you do. Please quit trying to portray yourselves as speaking for all teachers. You don't.

Anonymous said...

Also, insulting your fellow teachers who are in schools with block scheduling, by insinuating they do less work, is rather tacky, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Teachers on the block are now holding AP review sessions in the morning and afternoons for students who took AP classes first semester, while the students who take AP this semester are getting their review in during class.

Anonymous said...

Teachers on the block have to make sure they can get an entire year's lesson into one semester of instruction. Do you know how hard that is?

Cerebration said...

So, I'm curious. Are you a teacher at a 7 period day school? And you are pleased to be told that you will have to educate and additional 35-45 students with less planning time? And you sincerely believe that voicing an opinion against this is "whining" and not simply considering what is best for the student?

Really, can you successfully teach a minimum of 180 students every day? I'm impressed.

So, Anon, you could be correct - maybe this is not about us representing teachers - maybe it's a parental perspective. I want my child to have a teacher who has the time to deliver a quality education. This simply cannot occur, for example, when a high school English teacher who gives a writing assignment has 180 to grade. I refuse to believe that this can be done well. I would be concerned if you were my child's teacher and thought that you were capable of this.

Anonymous said...

Don't turn this around and make it about my comments.

You have allowed via this blog and you yourself continue to perpetuate the nonsense that teachers on a regular schedule work harder than teachers on a block schedule. That is simply untrue. You have stated that you are a champion of teachers, but this continuing argument of block vs regular belies your statement.

Teachers EVERYWHERE and in EVERY school system are going to have to buckle down and do more - that's reality, unless the choice is to leave the teaching profession. And I have no doubt things will be worse in the next couple of years until the economy starts a renewal. Most teachers are grateful to have jobs. If teaching is all about a paycheck, teaching hours, planning hours, or, whatever, then perhaps those people complaining are in the wrong profession.

Anonymous said...

"They don't teach for a paycheck. They teach because they feel they have been called to make a difference in a child's life."

I agree with you. I am a heart surgeon----when I feel like working for free (because of guilt or if Australia becomes boring) I go to a Third World country and save a few lives for free....

Teachers should be like me when I am not getting my handsome surgeon's fees at Saint-Joseph Hospital...

Cerebration said...

So, you're ok if the board makes your school into a 7 period day school where you will have 6 full classes of 30-35 students and one 50 minute planning period? It's the same amount of work as you currently do on the block - I guess since on the block you have to double the pace.

Well, anyway, that's good news - because in all likeliness, you will end up with the 7PD schedule.

Cerebration said...

Hopefully, Anon, you realize that this discussion is about the CHANGE proposed to the 7 period schedule - adding 35-45 students to teachers' rosters and reducing their planning time. It's not about the way it is now. No one has an issue with the way it is now. Teachers on the 7PD now teach 5 full classes of 30-35 students and have 2-50 minute planning periods.

Anonymous said...

You know my son at Lakeside had to go in for AP Art
History review Saturday from 9AM to 12PM....I am glad I have no more children because I bet the AP Art teacher is not going that no more-no more-no more...

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait. No one thinks that teachers on the block schedule don't work hard. Of course they do. Fitting a whole year into one semester is no easy feat, and that's why block teachers only have around 90 students to grade. They also have only 90 class meetings to plan.

When some schools opted NOT to go to the block, the 5/7 vs. 3/4 model was deemed equitable. 7PD teachers had 10 minutes more planning time, but they also had 60+ more students and 180 meeting times, so that seemed fair to everyone for the past decade.

Now, all of a sudden, someone thought it would be reasonable to ask the 7PD teachers to take on 32 more students and do so with 50% less planning time.

7PD teachers are angry and have every right to be. No one gets into the profession to get rich (well, unless they're on the Friends & Family track), and no one gets into the profession because it's easy.

However, teachers aren't martyrs. They all got into education because they once had a great teacher who changed their lives, and they want to return the favor to the next generation. However, they didn't sign up to be a nun or a monk. They have a right to expect a competitive paycheck and they have a right to see daylight. They have their own families and their own mortgages and their own commitments, and they should be respected as professionals.

EVERY teacher should be angry-- block and 7PD alike-- because the assumption from the board is that all teachers do is work in a factory line. They think that just speeding up the belt is all it will take to save some money. There is NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT of how desperately the best teachers are already working to keep standards high. Block teachers, if you aren't mad about this too, then you shouldn't be surprised if something equally catastrophic falls into your laps next year.

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait, wait. No one thinks that teachers on the block schedule don't work hard. Of course they do. Fitting a whole year into one semester is no easy feat, and that's why block teachers only have around 90 students to grade. They also have only 90 class meetings to plan.

When some schools opted NOT to go to the block, the 5/7 vs. 3/4 model was deemed equitable. 7PD teachers had 10 minutes more planning time, but they also had 60+ more students and 180 meeting times, so that seemed fair to everyone for the past decade.

Now, all of a sudden, someone thought it would be reasonable to ask the 7PD teachers to take on 32 more students and do so with 50% less planning time.

7PD teachers are angry and have every right to be. No one gets into the profession to get rich (well, unless they're on the Friends & Family track), and no one gets into the profession because it's easy.

However, teachers aren't martyrs. They all got into education because they once had a great teacher who changed their lives, and they want to return the favor to the next generation. However, they didn't sign up to be a nun or a monk. They have a right to expect a competitive paycheck and they have a right to see daylight. They have their own families and their own mortgages and their own commitments, and they should be respected as professionals.

EVERY teacher should be angry-- block and 7PD alike-- because the assumption from the board is that all teachers do is work in a factory line. They think that just speeding up the belt is all it will take to save some money. There is NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT of how desperately the best teachers are already working to keep standards high. Block teachers, if you aren't mad about this too, then you shouldn't be surprised if something equally catastrophic falls into your laps next year.

Anonymous said...

Pitting teachers against teachers, now are we?

Anonymous said...

Well I was a teacher for 30 years and I liked teaching kids all that time. But any teacher knows you are more effective with lower class sizes. I taught classes of 23 to 33 ( we were allowed 33 in the 4th grade years ago). Of course I could spend more time with students who needed extra attention. Anyone knows that.
My daughter was in a Kindergarten class and 1st grade with 31 and a para. She did fine because I worked with her at home all the time and she read fluently by 1st grade so she could learn on her own. But there were quite a of her friends who paid the price for those large class sizes. If you couldn't keep up you were left behind. Not because the teacher didn't care. There are only so many hours in the day.

It's really a question of mathematics. More students - less time. As a teacher you can only do the best you can. I tried as hard with 33 as 23, but of course the 33 were at a disadvantage.

The point is not about teachers. It's about students. No teacher I've ever met can do as well with 33 as 23. To say these boys and girls are not going to be negatively pacted is just not true. I don't feel sorry for teachers. Teachers are grown ups with their educations behind them and choices - to leave the profession or not. Most children have no choices. Once they miss educational opportunities, they rarely get second chances.

Anonymous said...

Don't get sucked into the block vs. 7 period day to the point where you forget that the reason we are all in this mess is because of administration malfeasance, and the Board of Education allowing the malfeasance and enabling a massive buildup of administrators, managers, admin assistants, support departments like MIS and school police that have grown exponentially, etc.

Remember that we need the BOE to let the entire current upper level administration of DCSS go!

Anonymous said...

Somebody please fill in the blanks:
When Clarence Callaway retired, wasn't there some type of controversy involving his implementation of a PE/health curriculum that was not approved? Does anyone remember this? And have the correct facts? Now he is principal at the DCSS charter called the Dekalb Academy of Destiny. Is this right?

Dekalbparent said...

Please, don't get caught up in discussing whether 6/7 vs 3/4 period day is unfair - the issue is the same thing we have been discussing all along:

The Superintendent's office and the BOE took the "quick and dirty" approach at cutting the budget - just hit the things that don't take long to look at (cut paras and other assisting positions, push up the number of classes a teacher teaches). They chose not to do the heavy lifting required by looking into Central Office and Sam Moss and weighing what is essential to the functioning of the schools and what DCSS could survive without.

We need to keep hitting the main points, not get stuck arguing with each other again.

Dekalbparent said...

Regarding Clarence Callaway: His name was associated with an abstinance-based sex education program that was being taught in DeKalb without being approved by the BOE.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/19681.php

It is not clear from the article whether the program was obtained by Callaway.

The program was successfully challenged by parents and medical professionals, and is not used anymore.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this has already been suggested....I haven't read all of the posts. Would any of the schools in question consider an A/B block? 8 are taken in 90 minute blocks over 2 days. This is what DSA does. The teachers don't have planning time every day, but every other day in one 90 minute block.
This is very hectic for kids who are taking a lot of AP classes, but it has the advantage of being able to have lecture/lab time in science, etc.

Cerebration said...

I'm certain they would have, had they known of this change to the 7PD. However, the deadline has passed for requesting a schedule change, and this new budget cut was suggested after the deadline. So, sadly these schools appear to be stuck, even though they were unaware of the impending change in the rules.

SongCue said...

re: DeKalb Parent 6:19 I'm one of the parents who worked to remove the Abstinence-only program--Choosing the Best--- from Dekalb County Schools and, while I remember Clarence Calloway being involved I don't recall if he made the decision to adopt the program unilaterally. I think that the Health/PE advisory committee, which he would have chaired in his position as Health/PE coordinator, approved adopting Choosing the Best.

But their mistake was not taking the process to its proper next step of getting the school board to approve it. The program would have been free because Choosing the Best obtained their funding through the federal abstinence-only funds. I think that Choosing the Best targeted DeKalb County because of its high (and still high today) teen pregnancy rate.

My post didn't clear up anything, did it?

Cerebration said...

Funny, SongCue!

I remember once we had a discussion here about a teen sexual health program that Emory was implementing -- in ATLANTA public schools. Why not DeKalb? (They could have walked to Druid Hills.) Because DeKalb is too difficult to work with.

Very sad.

SongCue said...

Last post off the subject. Re: Teen Sexual Health

Cere, DeKalb County Schools are only hard to work with if you go through proper channels. I have been disturbed lately to learn of speakers, workshops, etc. being allowed at some high schools without first going through the proper channels of being approved at the county level. Sex is NOT something you want every Tom, Dick, and Harry with their own agendas to be teaching our kids. But some principals just let independent groups/speakers into their schools.

And Emory's correct. I'll bet that they wanted to be a little more graphic with the kids than some administrators are comfortable with. DeKalb County SChools are NOT abstinent-only schools. However, they do not allow the open demonstration of birth control/condoms.

Anonymous said...

"I'll bet that they wanted to be a little more graphic with the kids than some administrators are comfortable with."

That is oure conjecture on your part.

Emory has wanted to work with DeKalb on other projects and sending student teachers, but the DCSS administration just isn't as professional as the Decatur and Atlanta school systems, so that's where Emory goes.

Pretty darn sad that one of the top 20 universities in America, with the top public health school, works with two cities, Decatur and Atlanta, even though it's not located in either. It's located in unincorporated DeKalb. Luckily Emory does offer 21 MLK full scholarships to area students including Dekalb students.

SongCue said...

Anon. 5:24. Sorry, I'm often not adept at writing exactly what I mean.
I think it's atrocious that DeKalb County Schools can't get it together to work with Emory. I live in the world of sex education advocacy and wish that the kids of DeKalb County could be taught consistently good sex education at all schools. I know that Emory offers great opportunities and you're right--It's ridiculous that our school system can't work well enough to take advantage of all that Emory has to offer.

Anonymous said...

How was Frankie allowed back in the system to make a nice salary while receiving a pension after this unacceptable behavior:
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22250810/index.html

It's nice to be a DCSS insider.

Anonymous said...

And apparently it IS still under the DCSS umbrella because the teaching and administrative jobs for the school are posted on PATS!Same M.O - different day.

Anonymous said...

AGAIN - The Charter School Frankie Callaway is at is not part of DCSS - it is an independent charter school.

Anonymous said...

When did Frankie get a doctorate degree? According to PSC, Frankie does not have a doctorate, and wonder if she has been getting paid for it. If she has, that means she and the county has embezzled monies from the tax payers. The board needs to be recalled. They are to dumb to have a check and balances with our money!

Anonymous said...

In Georgia, charter schools are connected to and considered part of the school system in whose attendance area they are located. They receive per-pupil funds from the school system based on their official student count. They may use, rent-free, any school facility that is not being used by the school system. This is true for all charter schools except the few that were chartered through the state.

So, yes, the charter school that Callaway is running is definitely connected to DCSS. And, I'll bet there was noooo problem in getting it approved by DCSS.

That said, I think she is not abiding by the rules of the Teachers Retirement System by going back to a full-time job. But, Callaway and the other thugs who took over DCSS don't believe that rules apply to them.

Anonymous said...

I am challenging any educator who lives in DeKalb and work for another system, to help recall the board and put some new blood in position. The only board members that are speaking up for the tax payers are Walker and Woods. I heard that the Chairman of the board has borrowed money from DCSS. I did not realize this was a lending institution.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:02 PM

You CANNOT be serious about Tom Bowen borrowing money from DCSS!

How can we confirm that?

Anonymous said...

Frankie Callaway has a Georgia teaching certificate valid until 2013. Her certificate reflects a Doctorate.

Go to this Ga. DOE website and follow the directions:

Website:
http://www.gapsc.com/Certification/index.asp

Directions:
You can check your application and certificate status on-line by clicking HERE and then entering Certification ID Number.

You can enter her name first and last Frankie Callaway and check her certificate. You don't need the Certification ID number if you have the first and last name.

Cerebration said...

It is Gene Walker who wants to raise property taxes and Sarah Copeland Woods who want taxpayers to subsidize the small schools in her district that have too few students to recover the state funding that schools with over 450 students get (DeKalb Taxpayers pay the full cost - an extra $5000 per student or more).

Not sure how you figure these two are protecting the tax payers Anon 12:02 PM -- can you clarify?

Anonymous said...

A couple of caveats to the 11:53 post:
"They receive per-pupil funds from the school system based on their official student count."--but not at the same rate as the mainstream schools. I don't know the exact figure, but county-chartered schools get somethng like 80 cents on the dollar. This may be different for start-ups.
"They may use, rent-free, any school facility that is not being used by the school system." The key part of this is apparently "used by the school system." "Used by the school system to occupy space and attract vandals" seems to be the DCSS definition applied to Forest Hills.

Cerebration said...

That is certainly not true about Tom Bowen. Please don't post unsubstantiated rumors.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 12:15...For Clarification.. The PSC shows a Level 6 certificate.. this is Specialist level.... the Doctorate evel is 7.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:28 pm
".For Clarification.. The PSC shows a Level 6 certificate.. this is Specialist level.... the Doctorate evel is 7."


Well, when I looked up the code FLD704, it said Educational Doctorate. Here is her certificate information I copied and pasted from the Ga DOE certification website:
EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP (P-12) [FLD704]

I'm not a Frankie Callaway fan. I was most upset about the grade changing story. From the news reports, it seemed like she may have been involved in pressuring a teacher to change grades. But we need to make sure information has been thoroughly researched on this blog.

Anonymous said...

This is what I found GAPSC Website:

Mrs. Frankie Burton Callaway
Certification ID: 348195

Exceptional Child Course: Yes


The educator's certification level is 6 effective 07/01/1993.
Fields in strikeout font with a dark grey background have expired. If all fields have expired, the certificate has expired.

Type Field First Issued Current Issued Begin Validity End Validity
S DATA COLLECTION [FLD811] 07/21/1993 11/07/2007 07/01/2008 06/30/2013

T EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (P-5) [FLD808] 03/17/2003 11/07/2007 07/01/2008 06/30/2013

L EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP (P-12) [FLD704] 08/01/1989 11/07/2007 07/01/2008 06/30/2013

L INSTRUCTIONAL SUPERVISION [FLD901] 07/21/1993 11/07/2007 07/01/2008 06/30/2013

T MIDDLE GRADES (4-8) [FLD809] 11/21/2003 11/07/2007 07/01/2008 06/30/2013

T MIDDLE GRADES (4-8) - LANGUAGE ARTS [FLD853] 11/21/2003 11/07/2007 07/01/2008 06/30/2013

Anonymous said...

Looking at Callaway's information, seems like she only has a specialist. Wouldn't the site show that she has a level 7 instead of a level 6? Are you saying that GAPSC hasn't updated their website in three or four years? Now, that site doesn't lie.

Anonymous said...

The odd one is Bob (Robert) Moseley. He is only listed as Level 4 (Bachelors) in Agriculture (Science has a strike through) and no Leadership degree or Exceptional Children's course. But that's impossible. I knew him when he was a principal. He could not have been a principal without a Leadership degree.

Anonymous said...

As for Bowen, he can be investigated just like the fallen Sup.

We need more of Cassandra A. LittleJohns on the board. Someone to tell the truth regardless of the ridicules.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:22 PM

You are correct. Callaway has only a Level 6 (Educational Specialist) Certification. Not a doctorate.

To see the different levels go to http://www.gapsc.com/Certification/Documents/cert_lvls_degrees.asp

How can we determine at what level Callaway was being paid?

Anonymous said...

We can check her salary via audit, or through the state. See, this is why Johnny Brown was getting rid of and demoting people, when he was in DeKalb.

Now, let's look at Zepora Roberts family. She has quite a few family members in DeKalb. I wonder why?

We need to get rid of the board and replace them with teachers.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what your certification is when you are up as high as a Deputy Superintendent. $165,000 is the pay for Ramona Tyson, Bob Moseley, Gloria Talley, Marcus Turk, and Jamie Wilson (was the pay for Frankie Callaway). None of these employees have the same certification levels or experience level. This must be the pay set by Jamie Wilson and Dr. Lewis. I'm assuming it was approved by the BOE. By the way, Ramona Tyson does have a Masters degree in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Lewis should have gone by the recommendations of the Ernst and Young Compensation and Classification audit. Human Resources should have established a reasonable number of pay grades (maybe 10 to 15) with marketplace compensation for EVERY employee in DCSS and then set the years of experience for them (similar to what teachers have).

Mechanics with a high school diploma (or GED) and 3 years experience should not start at a higher salary ($43,000 plus benefits) than a teacher with a Bachelor's degree and 5 years experience (Job vacancies for HVAC and Kitchen Maintenance were posted on PATS a couple of months ago with $43,000 to $58,000 plus benefits).

Instead Dr. Lewis chose to ignore this $341,000 audit even after he was told DCSS was overpaying non-teaching employees by $1,4000,000 a year (newspaper reported $14,000,000 a year). We need superintendent who will bring non-teaching pay in line with other school systems and the private marketplace. He/she needs to standardize pay scales for non-teaching employees to a manageable number and make this common knowledge for taxpayers who pay their taxes for this salary.

DCSS should post Ernst and Young's $341,000 Compensation and Classification Study recommendations so that taxpayers can look at what we are spending our money on and how we compare with other entities who have the same job functions.

Anonymous said...

Correction to my previous post (Anonymous 3:49 pm)
In the BOE meeting minutes of 12/05/2005 Dr. Lewis stated DCSS was overpaying non-teaching personnel by $1,800,000 a year (news report said $14,000,000 a year)

Anonymous said...

Well Frankie's retired husband gets a nice salary as a charter school principal....why shouldn't she? Son and daughter both have Dekalb jobs....

Anonymous said...

GPSC does not show Frankie as having doctoral level certication.
I would next question which college issued the doctorate. Her daughter who has no current certification on the GPSC website is a in the Prevention Intervention Department

Cerebration said...

Clarence Callaway, retired from DCSS, (as an AP, I believe) is principal of Destiny Academy - a charter high school for at-risk kids - with only about 100 students.

Destiny Academy of Excellence
3595 Line Crest Road
Ellenwood, GA 30294
404-328-0898 (Office)
404-328-1294 (Fax)
Principal: Clarence Callaway
Grades: 9th - 12th
Enrollment: 100
Board Members: Mr. Jay Cunningham
Dr. Eugene Walker

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/destinyacademy/

Anonymous said...

Dr.Callaway has her doctorate. The website you refer to only shows the certificates that are applied for and granted. There is no pay difference for a doctorate in DCSS, so why apply for another credential that makes no difference in your status?
Dr. Callaway was a fabulous principal! She will do a great job at the charter school.

Anonymous said...

Now that seems a bit silly...you have to renew your certificate every 5 yrs. Why wouldn'y you want an upgrade???? What school is the degree from?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:09 pm

Of course there is a difference in your pay for your doctorate - if you are a teacher. And in most positions outside the classroom there is a difference in pay based on your degrees. For example, look at the Office of School Improvement. Using the state Salary and Travel audit as a reference, contrast the pay of the "doctorates" with the personnel who do not have the title of Dr. in front of their name:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/contacts.html

Another expamle is Dr. Mindy DiSalvo in MIS is paid as much for her degree as her function.

Only when you reach a certain level of "upper management" does that change. Then it the pay is tied more to the function or what the superintendent thinks he/she needs to pay the employee.

In my opinion, Lewis should have used the Compensation and Classification study and standardized all non-teaching personnel to pay them for functionality.

Content competence is fine for teachers - i.e. a Masters in Math generally means that you have more content knowledge, and that's a necessity for teaching student content at a deeper level.

However, there are over 400 titles in the non-teaching side. This is just not efficient and cost effective.

Anonymous said...

An educator may retire and return to work full time in certain positions. This is cleared by the TRSG. Many educators do that. There are educators that get advanced degrees and do not add them to their certificate. Their reasons are their own. Charter Schools often hire retired educators. There are schools in the state that have retired educators as principals, teachers, counselors etc. That is not double dipping. Many people that retire from jobs draw a pension and work other jobs. As has already been stated, Dr. Callaway has an earned doctorate. Our focus needs to be on the many problems that are within our system. Making unkind comments and false claims does not help anyone. The principal at Lakeside is a retired former DeKalb County Principal.

Cerebration said...

Very true, Anon 8:30 PM, however, think about it. How did it come to be that DeKalb has these two charter schools and the principals at each happen to be retired DCSS administrators - and married ones at that. Did anyone else get to apply for the jobs?

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, regarding Dr. Frankie Callway, she will be the principal of an INDEPENDENT START UP charter school. Their charter board can select whomever they want as principal. DCSS has NOTHING to do with that.

You do have a legitimate question worth asking about her husband at Destiny Academy

Cerebration said...

I understand that. However, the board of education (not the state) approved this charter. I just wonder who exactly did the hiring and if they interviewed anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Havinga certificate or not has everything to do with our tax money. Just because Frankie was a good principal, doesn't mean she is immune to no wrong doing. Every wrong doing in DCSS should be exposed to the public, regardless of "the sweet persons" they are.

Anonymous said...

I agree...how do two married, retired DCSS employees become charter school principals at the same time? They may be independent but they hire thru PATS.

Anonymous said...

Legislative Summary
Law: Charter School Act of 1998 as amended

Amendment(s): Amended July 1, 2002

Authorizers: After a charter petition has been approved by a local board of education, the petition may be submitted for approval by the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education grants the charter. The local board of education sponsors the charter. If a local board of education denies a charter petition, the State Board of Education may grant a charter for a state chartered special school.

Length of charter: 5 years

Caps on number of schools: None

Funding: The Georgia Charter Schools Act of 1998 states that a charter school shall be included in the allotment of funds to the local school system in which the charter school is located.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Board will reward CL with his own school.....

Anonymous said...

I just learned that the Leadership Prep Academy will be located in the West Wing @ New Birth Cathedral, which is weird because New Birth already has a private school serving the same grades in the East Wing of the church. Evedintly they've rented this space from the church.

Cerebration said...

What? The proposal to the board stated that it would be housed in a recently closed charter (Lithonia...) Why on earth would we rent space from a church and close some of our other schools???

Why did they even approve this charter when student enrollment is so low in this area of DeKalb? This is causing enrollment to drop even further and causing other schools to close.

Bizarre...

Anonymous said...

Charter schools are effective in increasing student performance when the interest of the children are put first. On May 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm there will be a informational meeting for the Dekalb community at the Scott Candler Public Library on 2466 Mcafee rd. Decatur, GA 30032. Please encourage any parents, educators, and other community members that are interested in a true change in Dekalb education. They will be introduced to true innovation for the success of our 21st century learners as well as provided the opportunity to share concerns, suggestions, and ideas. Again

May 4, 2010 6:00 pm
Proposed Dekalb Charter School
Scott Candler Public Library
2466 Mcafee rd
Decatur, Ga 30032

Email: GMIECharterSchool@ymail.com

Anonymous said...

Cerebration said,

*Why did they even approve this charter when student enrollment is so low in this area of DeKalb?*

You must not be familiar with this area. The schools near New Birth are Murphey Candler, Flat Rock, Stoneview, and Fairington. Take a look at the great chart provided by Dan Drake for the Task Force at:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/public/cptf/files/Enrollment_ES_20100209.pdf

If you add the red value (students in zone that attend elsewhere) with the orange value (students attending home school) and compare that to the school capacities at:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/public/files/D12D396B8168477F950937EB3A9307CC.pdf

you'll see this is an area that has more students than seats. Before the recession hit, several large plots were cleared for single family housing and they are sitting there waiting for development. If and when the economy recovers, this area could take off and easily create the need for another elementary school. They may also have to consider converting Arabia Mountain to a neighborhood school if that happens.

It should be also pointed out that independent charters are responsible for facility costs, just like the Avondale Museum School and International Charter School. Perhaps New Birth is giving them a good deal on the space?

Cerebration said...

Ok - thanks. I stand corrected. I just can't figure how we can go ahead and start up a charter that requires space, and not utilize some of the space we're considering closing. I guess you're saying the demand is not there in that area - and it is in the New Birth area...

You're right, I'm not familiar - it's about 27 miles from my house to Arabia - this is an enormous county.

Cerebration said...

Anon 5:52 PM - is this a totally new charter that hasn't been approved yet?

Anonymous said...

I do not think the State can approve a Charter School that will use public moneys to pay rent to a religious entity. Especially an entity that already has a K-12 school. The potential for spill over and co-mingling of money and resources is too great.

The Board and Administration could not have any connection whatsoever to the church. The State has in the past questioned church/charter school connections.

BTW, someone earlier commented that Ms. Callaway's husband is also the principal of a charter School. However, I do not think Destiny Academy is a charter school, but is a DeKalb county school for at risk teens. The state does not list Destiny as a Charter school. I think there are only 100 students and the costs must be enormous to operate an entirely separate school for 100 students. Please tell me that Destiny is one of the schools being consolidated.

Anonymous said...

The only way that a public charter school can be leasing space from New Birth is if the rent being charged to it is what they would charge any other organization.

I think this is very bad. I wonder if their private school will now close.

The relationship between the powers at New Birth and DCSS has always been questionable. Now this?

Something smells bad here.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that International Community School is housed at a church and has been for several years. Any problems with that?

Why is the relationship between New Birth and DCSS questionable? Several schools have used their sanctuary for baccalaureates and graduations because they have a large facility. It is probably one of the largest indoor facilities in DeKalb. If we had a Civic Center like Cobb or Gwinnett, schools probably would not use this or other churches for events like this.

Cerebration said...

Destiny is strange. It does look to be connected to the school system, however it's not listed in the FTE list of schools sent to the state. Also, the staff salaries are not listed with the state. And yes, it's expensive, as I once read somewhere around $13,000 per student. I would hope that there would be funding from other county or state/federal resources for the program. It's really not accessible to all though, as it's way down at the south county line, housed in a former elementary school.

Anonymous said...

Housing a Charter school in a church that already has a K-12 private Christian school has the appearance of impropriety which DeKalb desperately needs to avoid at all costs.

Also, there have long been rumors about New Birth and connections to DCSS management. I don't know if any are true, but I agree that DCSS does not need another scandal.

Cerebration said...

Well, maybe New Birth just wants to participate in this "leadership" development. I have noticed this is a big focus in their church programs as well. If they actually teach the kids manners, respect, good behavior, quality thinking and leadership - then go for it, IMO...

But remember - Sarah CW - when you keep opening charter schools in the area that take students out of their home schools - they are leaving the schools at risk of being under-populated and possibly having to close. I hope Sarah and the leaders of the Leadership Academy and New Birth can find a way to deal with the wreckage they leave behind for the students who do not get the privilege of attending the charter.

Everything you do - good or bad - has consequences - usually to others. You cannot simply act and then walk away. You have to pay careful attention to what happens in the wake left by your actions.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things. Years ago, I inquired about ICS being in a church. It is permitted as long as it passes the smell test, which has something to do with what the rent is and that there is no indication that the church is getting anything (like access to the students for religious reasons) inappropriate and a violation of the Separation clause. On its face, there is nothing wrong with this school leasing space at New Birth. If concerns are raised, the state department of education will investigate. As should our own Board of Education.

The state of GA rules about charter school forbid a private school from closing and then reopening as a private school. We will have to watch carefully what happens at New Birth...

In Fulton County, we have the Amana Charter School which was started primarily by Muslim parents. They actually instruct Arabic as their language. But they can't instruct religion during the day. Initially, their after school program was going to offer religious instruction (operated by an outside group) but I am not sure what happened there.

In Florida and New York, different religious organizations have started charter schools. Again, they can't instruct religion during the day, but their school can certainly have a certain culture and after school programs have far more flexibility if funded by the parents and independent of the school.

Cerebration said...

That's interesting, Anon. Thus the danger of charters - they could advance segregation - based on just about anything - race, religion, income...


I'm still curious as to how the location changed. This is a quote from the article

The school is hiring personnel, including teachers, and will open off Evans Mill Road in eastern DeKalb County near Interstate 20, inside a vacated academy, Hall said. Two fellow charter schools will also open their doors to students this fall: The Museum School of Avondale Estates and Peachtree Hope Charter
School.


Was the former charter (I'm assuming this means Lithonia Charter that was shut down by the state) also housed in New Birth? If this school has changed locations, then are we closing another school building? What was that building before Lithonia Charter? Also, there is a $2 million savings noted on the budget cuts for a payment to Lithonia Charter that is no longer necessary. Does that $2 million now have to be reinstated and given to the Leadership Academy? Are we counting this budget cut, when in actuality, it is zero savings? This is the same amount we will save by consolidating 4 other elementary schools. See why those neighbors are upset? (At least that would be my reason - close my kid's school but spend the savings on a charter?)

Lots of unanswered questions here. I see that the address is the same as New Birth. They also have a very nice website -

http://www.dekalblpa.com/

Cerebration said...

BTW - applications to the Leadership Academy are due this Friday.

Also, I can't find anything on Peachtree Hope - another charter that was approved as mentioned in this article. Anyone know how that one is coming along?

Here's the charter info from the DCSS website -

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/schoolchoice/charter.html

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration (and all others commenting on charter schools)...

It would be good if everyone commenting on charter schools would stop spreading rumor and read the portions of the Official Code of Georgia that apply to charter schools. Regarding facilities, for example, a charter school may use an unused school system facility without charge. [http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/fulltext/hb555.htm]

Charter schools and the laws that pertain are covered in the Official Code of Georgia, Title 20. For information on admission, go to:
TITLE 20.EDUCATION
CHAPTER 2.ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
ARTICLE 31.CHARTER SCHOOLS ACT OF 1998
§ 20-2-2066.Admission, enrollment, and withdrawal of students

It clearly states that admission is basically on a first-come,first-served basis. If there are more applications for admission than space in the school, then a random selection process (usually a lottery) must occur.

To suggest that charter schools could re-institute segregation is just wrong. You are engaging in race-baiting. I thought you were better than that.

Cerebration said...

So, just curious - since charters can use unused school buildings at no charge, why is this one renting space from a church instead? It is very clear that we have unused buildings available. And what happens when a charter pulls 4-500 kids from an area - and causes the local schools to lose enrollment? And what happens when these charters use their schools to hold religious instruction as after school programs funded privately? There are plenty more ways to segregate people via a charter school than there are with regular, good old public schools - which DO NOT require application, uniforms, essays, GPAs, or parent provided transportation to attend.

Let's turn the table. Imagine if you will, Dunwoody parents starting up a Leadership Academy Charter and housing it at Dunwoody Baptist Church - claiming - oh, but anyone can apply - they just need their own transportation.

Really, would that fly?

Anonymous said...

When my nephew attended Peachtree Middle- a charter school, his parents had to provide transportation, so what is the difference with this startup charter having the same policy? No, the Lithonia Charter was not housed in New Birth, but in a separate bldg on Evans Mill & Woodrow, in very close proximity to New Birth.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration asks,

*Also, there is a $2 million savings noted on the budget cuts for a payment to Lithonia Charter that is no longer necessary. Does that $2 million now have to be reinstated and given to the Leadership Academy? *

I wondered the same thing. My guess is that this is the payment that was due to Academy of Lithonia based on the enrollment and was built into the budget. Since the school closed, this line item could be removed.

DCSS would need to make a payment to the Leadership Academy based on their enrollment. It is probably fair to say it will be less than the payment scheduled for Academy of Lithonia as they probably won't have as many students to start. This does raise the question about the payment amounts for the other new independent charters like Avondale Museum and Peachtree Hope.

As to why this school isn't using unused DCSS space, the only one available at this time is Forrest Hills. Since the Board has not voted on other closings, there probably was not enough time to negotiate a deal with the school system. A few of the other available schools are scheduled for decommissioning (Hooper Alexander, Heritage, & Open Campus).

Molly said...

...since charters can use unused school buildings at no charge, why is this one renting space from a church instead? It is very clear that we have unused buildings available. Because the Board has to approve the Charter school's use of a district owned facility and the Board hasn't seen fit to do so.

And what happens when a charter pulls 4-500 kids from an area - and causes the local schools to lose enrollment? In theory, the local school works hard to improve so that it can compete with the charter school for students. If it can't successfully attract students, then perhaps there is a good reason it should be closed.

And what happens when these charters use their schools to hold religious instruction as after school programs funded privately? Do you have any evidence of charter schools in Dekalb or in Georgia that have religious instruction as an after school program? What happens when traditional public schools allow their facilities to be used for after school programs that discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation? (Many of our elementary schools host Boy Scout meetings, yet the Boy Scouts have made it very clear that atheists and gays are not welcome.)

There are plenty more ways to segregate people via a charter school than there are with regular, good old public schools - which DO NOT require application, uniforms, essays, GPAs, or parent provided transportation to attend. Let's look at some of DeKalb high schools. Columbia, MLK, Lithonia, McNair, Miller Grove, Southwest Dekalb and Towers are all over 95% Black. Many of our traditional schools aren't terribly well integrated - either racially or economically, and that isn't the fault of charter schools. (And while Magnet schools can require essays and GPAs, charters cannot. If a charter has more applicants than seats, selection is lottery based, as required by law.)

Cerebration said...

True enough. I guess since this is DeKalb, any reference to segregation is always interpreted as racial. In the case of New Birth (which BTW, the school and the church services have the exact same address) - and the Fulton school organized by Muslim parents are actually more religious in segregation if anything. There's also an income discrimination, as transportation must be provided by parents as well as uniforms and other expenses - an impossibility for many.

I'm just very concerned that we are breaking our schools apart - driven in some ways by elitism. Arabia was the first big eye-opener for me on that subject. They will do anything to avoid serving regular neighborhood students.

And - as we continue to pull off the best, brightest and most active participants - what are we "leaving behind" for the students who are not able to partake of special programs for one reason or another?

Just sayin...

Cerebration said...

On the subject of charter schools - the state may be poised to elevate that option to a whole new level -

SB 457: Empowers a high school cluster to petition the local board of education to become a conversion charter. Requires a referendum in the attendance zone of such high school cluster. House: Instead of the referendum, requires a 60% favorable vote by parents and faculty in all the schools in the cluster and approval by the local school councils.

PASSED Senate PASSED House

Cerebration said...

On the subject of the location - the Champion's report is incorrect. The new "Leadership Academy" is not going to be located in a vacated former academy (assumed to be the Academy of Lithonia).

Here are the addresses from the websites for each entity -

Academy Of Lithonia Charter Schools‎
3235 Evans Mill Road,
Lithonia, GA 30038-3012

DeKalb Leadership Preparatory School
Leadership Preparatory Academy .
6400 Woodrow Rd.
Lithonia, GA. 30038

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
All services are held at:
6400 Woodrow Road
Lithonia, GA 30038
770.696.9600

Cerebration said...

Sorry to harp on this issue, I just have questions --

Why did the Leadership Academy not simply move in to the Evans Rd facility vacated by the Academy of Lithonia? Apparently, the property was in good shape. What will happen to that property? What will happen to the 538 students who attended the Academy of Lithonia? Will they all apply to the Leadership Academy? Will they flood area public schools (filling many of the vacant seats?) What exactly was the conflict of interest mentioned by the state in their decision to shut it down? (in addition to very high fail rates on tests).

For the report on the state's decision to close the Academy of Lithonia - read this article from the Sept 10, 2009 Champion -

http://www.championnewspaper.com/academy_lithonia.html

Some quotes:


To keep its charter, the state required the school’s students test above state averages. Averages were below the state in every grade save for one CRCT testing category last year, according to state documents: sixth grade English.

Failure rates on sections of the mandatory exam in each grade at the charter school were far greater than state and local averages. Some examples from the 2007-08 year:

About 60 percent of third-graders failed on the math section compared to about 29 percent statewide and 39 percent districtwide.

About 63 percent of fourth-graders failed on the math section compared with about 30 percent statewide and 40 percent districtwide.

About 51 percent of seventh-graders failed on the science section compared with about 25 percent statewide and 51 percent districtwide.

About 47 percent of third-graders failed on the science section compared with about 25 percent statewide and 36 percent districtwide. . . .

The state department also criticized the academy’s goals to improve student performance, claiming they were unrealistic and lacked rigor. Additionally, the department questioned the business relationships between the academy, Charter School Administrative Services and Academy of America, concerned about potential conflicts of interest, though the report did not go into detail.

Charter schools are expected to perform better than their state or county counterparts because they are given wider latitude to design their own educational programs, said Andrew Broy, a state associate superintendent for policy and charter schools.

Dekalbparent said...

Depending on memory here - Academy of Lithonia was run by a private Michigan-based entity, Charter School Administration Services.

According to Corporationwiki (http://www.corporationwiki.com/Michigan/Southfield/charter-school-administration-services-inc-2605591.aspx) Charter School Administration Services, Inc.
Incorporated by David K McDonnell, Lecester L Allen, Mattie L Allen, Charter School Administration Services, Inc. is located at 20755 Greenfield Rd Ste 300 Southfield, MI 48075. Charter School Administration Services, Inc. was incorporated on Monday, October 19, 1998 in the State of FL and is currently not active. Lecester L Allen represents Charter School Administration Services, Inc. as their registered agent.


The school was housed in a building that later had a "mansion" constructed adjacent to it. There were different stories as to whether the "mansion" was part of the school or whether it was for the use of the corporation. In any case, the building(s) may not actually be DCSS property, and the new charter may not be able to use them even if DCSS were willing.

Perhaps this is what some of the state was questioning. The independence of the school was questioned, as well as whether it was being run by parents/teachers or the Michigan corporation.

Anonymous said...

"Charter schools are expected to perform better than their state or county counterparts because they are given wider latitude to design their own educational programs"

Well, that doesn't make any sense unless they are getting more per pupil money. Unless they are conversion charter schools, I thought they cost taxpayers less because they only get the state allotment, not the county allotment for per pupil funding. The mentality of "one size fits all" is so typical.

Anonymous said...

"About 60 percent of third-graders failed on the math section compared to about 29 percent statewide and 39 percent districtwide."

This is a relatively meaningless statement because we don't know where these students were before they entered the charter school as contrasted with where they were after a year in the charter school. If they were far behind grade level in math, maybe a 40% pass rate was progress. Perhaps many parents enrolled their children specifically because they were so far behind their peers, and this seemed like an option that was worth trying. Parents with children who are succeeding tend to leave their children in the same educational setting.

Comparing these students (or any students to state averages, county averages or school averages) does not provide the meaningful data the public thinks it does. For example, if I have students entering 6th grade 2 years behind in Reading (3rd grade level - remember they should have mastered 5 grade levels in reading skills in the 5th grade, but they only mastered 3), then their average reading level gain per year was .6 grade levels per year. If I increase their reading level by 1 year during the 6th grade, this is a 1.0 grade level increase. I have begun to break the downward curve on their reading achievement.

While the comparisons district and state education administrators use (CRCT, EOCT, GHSGT) may provide some useful data at a macro level, the assessments they use are neither valid or reliable when increasing student achievement on a micro level.

Do laypeople understand how the CRCT, EOCT and GHSGT works on a school accountability level?

For example, I had a group of 4th graders last year and they took the CRCT. I have another group of 4th graders this year, and they take the CRCT. My 4th graders this year are supposed to score higher than last year's 4th graders. This may be interesting information for the district and state administrators (macro level), but it is not helpful information for teachers (micro level) if they are seeking to improve the achievement of specific students. Improving the achievement of individual students is the only thing that improves the aggregate data of the larger group or various subgroups (NCLB and AYP disaggregated data is still based on subgroups).

Classroom teachers find that pretesting on key concepts at the beginning of the school year and then posttesting on key concepts at the end of the school year for the actual students they have is a more useful and fairer way of testing what they have taught. Seems simple, and this used to happen in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. We administered the ITBS, a nationally normed test, in the fall (Oct.) and then in the spring (March) "to the same group of students). What could have improved on this method is more timely information. It would be ideal to test on key concepts in Sept. - receive the information within the week, test on key concepts in May - receive the information within the week. This could be accomplished with a test delivery system of students being able to take their pre and post tests online and then the data being delivered back to the teacher within the week.

DCSS benchmark testing is supposed to do this (although every 6 weeks of testing is just too much time taken away from instruction). However, we don't have enough working technology to administer the tests, so teachers have to manually "scan" in the test scores, and only a few teachers have access to view the the results for their students. I believe we heard from Title 1 school teachers that this information is often filtered through the Instructional Coaches weeks later.

The utter failure of testing to improve achievement rests on the shoulders of the state and district administrators who are responsible for the current system. They are not using sound educational testing and measurement practices. Charter schools are but one casualty. Every student in our schools suffers from this flawed system.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I have heard "rumblings" that the Dunwoody cluster is looking at the Charter process, though 3 of the feeder schools are already Charter Schools. How serious? I don't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

After reading some of these comments by people who say they are educators, I can safely say I will continue to sacrifice and pay for private school, unless my son gets a spot at the Leadership Academy. First of all I learned about the academy from this blog. Secondly because of its close proximity to my home I immediately began to research the school, charter apllication, lease, location, and people involved. All this information is readily available on the internet, including the amount of rent being paid for the space. If you all bothered to do your homework you would realize that the difference in rent between both locations is significant. You would also find that the Academy of Lithonia is at the corner of the entrance to Newbirth,so the description in the article is accurate. You also have found that the property for the Academy of Lithonia is privately owned. If you bothered to spend time doing research you would have also seen that the lease was negotiated before the closing of Academy of Lithonia... Is this the way you teach kids to do research if so then no wonder the public school system is in such a mess. I don't know anyone involved with this charter sschool ,nor do I attend Newbirth, but I am concerned about the quality of my son's education and am just amazed at some of these comments.

Kim Gokce said...

@DunwoodyMom: " ... how serious ..."

Oh, there is a core of folks in Dunwoody who are deadly serious about chartering. There has been a clear evolution of an "anything but DeKalb" pathology above I-285 for a decade. This is another example, I believe.

The more I study the question of charters the more skeptical I become. This, coming from someone whose natural tendencies are for school choice concepts.

The evidence just seems to be piling up that chartering offers no particular formula for success. Today, a fellow board member at the Cross Keys Foundation shared an interesting article from the NYT on the subject.

NYT: Challenges in Replicating Charter School Success

The article references the Stanford study I brought up elsewhere on this blog that reports that 4 out of 5 charters perform at or below the level of their traditional public school peers.

Here is the nugget that jumped off the page of the NYT item to me:

"What most experts can agree on is that charter school quality varies widely, and that it is often associated with the rigor of authorities that grant charters. New York, where oversight is strong, is known for higher performing schools. Ohio, Arizona and Texas, where accountability is minimal, showed up in Ms. Raymond's study with many poorly performing schools.

Perhaps the sharpest knock on charters - one that even some proponents acknowledge - is that mediocrity is widely tolerated. Authorities are reluctant to close poor schools. Some advocates concede that the intellectual premise behind school choice - that in a free market for education, parents will remove students from bad schools in favor of good ones - has not proved true."

Also, in reading the entire article, in became clear that once again the key distinction between performing schools and under performing schools is teacher quality. How do you institutionalize that?

Cerebration said...

All good points, Kim, but I'm afraid this is a losing battle. Obama and Duncan are all about charters - they love them - and reward systems that offer them - literally reward - as in Race to the Top $$$.

Also, there are enormous corporate interests such as the Eli Broad Foundation, Gates and Walton Family Foundation who are enormously interested in making education the next big corporate interest ($$$).

Follow this blog to get an interesting perspective on the subject-

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/

Kim Gokce said...

I hear ya, Cere. I read the opinion item. Did you read the NYT item? My take on the private $$$ folks is that they are spending on the few charters that are succeeding in "closing the gap" in minority populations in hopes of expanding these schools' capacity.

It is a big "if" and a big bet they are making but I have to believe they will discover the successes are not going to be proportional to the expense in individual schools and that one charter school's success is not necessarily transferable to another.

Ultimately, I think we will be right back where we started and have a whole lot of public schools that will still need a whole lot of love. I'm a long term investor and I see chartering as a speculative investment of public money.

Will a few charter companies make a boat load of money before the sheen wheres off chartering? Yes.

Anonymous said...

Dekalb is crazy.