Sunday, April 18, 2010

Teachers! Your Opinions Please!

Our blog has seen a big spike in participation by teachers and we are so happy about this! Teachers are the front line, the backbone of our system and it is the teachers who really know what works and what doesn't with the children. Teachers know which programs are helpful and which are not. Teachers know that the availability of good technology—with good tech support—can make a difference in how lessons are learned and how data is recorded. And teachers know how a sick school building environment can put a damper on student's and teacher's health, effecting their abilities to teach and learn.

Teachers, we want your opinions. We believe in a bottom-up business model. In the past, programs have been purchased and enforced on teachers, without even asking for evaluation. Some of these programs have been helpful, however, some have only caused more busy-work and stress for teachers. Please let us know what you think is helpful, what you'd like to see dismantled and perhaps suggest new programs, ideas and tools you would find helpful to you in your mission of providing the best education possible to the children in your charge.

We will compile a list and forward it to the board.  Thank you for all you do!

156 comments:

Anonymous said...

From my experience in one school and a school that does well, is that success happens in spite of policies imposed by the central office. Having a effective principal is key to schools succeeding in this climate. The real progress is made by selecting good teachers, recognizing what they are good at and assigning them to the proper jobs. Success comes when good teachers good a good job of working directly with students. The DCSS administration does not understand the curriculum on an holistic level, they insist on teaching to the test ( which does not even include the entire curriculum) .
The lockstep following of these degrees has turned classrooms into crazed places where the walls are covered in posters of the the state standards and children stare at this mind numbing decor in a state of confusion. Teachers are afraid to speak of anything outside the standards and don't seem to understand how this all should meld into something that provides a higher level education.
In addition DCSS does a dreadful job at maintaining school sites. The service department in many ways is a joke. The HVAC where I work has never functioned properly in eight years. There is no follow thru to really get things properly repaired. This also lowers morale.

Anonymous said...

My classroom floors are so dirty. They have not been waxed since school started and they are seldom mopped. The floors are not swept daily and the classroom carpet is not swept daily either. It doesn't help to complain to administrators. The janitor has been there for a long time and has never been accountable. Different administrators have tried to make all the janitors do their jobs to no avail. The board members need to make random visits to their schools and need to spot check the cleanliness of classrooms and the bathrooms. Citizens of Dekalb County would be shocked if they saw the filth in some of the classrooms. I am sure there are some schools where there are not problems in this area. I am just speaking for my school. There needs to be a system in place so administrators can terminate these people in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

Random teachers from each school need to be able to give input to the board and let them know which positions at their schools are not needed.

Anonymous said...

Other counties do not have Pre-K in any of their schools. Gwinnett County for one does not. This program can be easily dismantled and the Pre-K program can be taught in daycare and church centers. That is already being done in Dekalb County so the model is already in place. The county does not have extra money for this program.

Anonymous said...

1) A few teachers should be on the search comm. for the new supt.

2) Anon 10:07 AM is exactly right!!! There are so many longtime DCSS custodians who are nice people but are extremely ineffective custodians. They do not clean classrooms well or even somewhat often. I would love to see a few schools having contracted out janitorial service on a trial basis.

I'm not sure if custodians fall under Sam Moss or another dept., but ask teachers across DCSS, and most will tell you their classrooms are filthy and the rest of the their school building aren't much better.

So mahy teachers like myself would be so much happy with working heating and air conditioning, clean calssrooms, a decent teacher/staff rest room, etc. We don't want a lot. Just give us the basics!!

Anonymous said...

Here is a list, and it could be much longer. I wish I could come up with better suggestions but I feel that the answer lies in first recognizing the problems.

I am fairly new to Dekalb as a teacher, but not new as a parent. It seems that the problems are universally known but totally ignored. This has led to low morale, safety issues, and a feeling that there is no respect or value given to our work, opinions, concerns, etc. I personally would leave Dekalb but the entire metro market for teachers is frozen (even for high need areas like mine). This creates an atmosphere of a "buyers market" where the attitude is "they can't leave so we don't have to listen to them."

I chose employment at my school because my child could attend where I work and then continue through the feeder pattern. Last spring that was taken away. They did postpone implementation till next year, which will not help my almost middle schooler. The reason given was because of crowding, yet admin transfers for the selected ones continue, and how much crowding does a couple of teachers kids really create???? Why take away this free perk, the BOE needs to write it in, most every other county offers this. Then they took away planning days, then they took away 6.5% of my salary. Then they didn't let me actually do any planning on the days I did get, I attended ridiculous county trainings where the teachers know more than the "instructors" of the classes.

All the while, teachers in my building are sick with respiratory problems due to our really weird fairly new and expensive HVAC that smells like mold and either cooks us or freezes us. They have come out to change the filter once this year.

Para's and other support staff in the building are totally exhausted from trying to function without knowing what will happen to them next year, as are the teachers and librarian who will lose their support. This has gone on ridiculously long and a decision should have been made in time for these people to find other jobs.

The paras and library aids need to stay. They work their tails off, make less than just about everybody, have years of experience and are the glue of the school.

Start with the top, and don't cut off your feet.

Anonymous said...

Random teachers at each school need to be asked about the cleanliness of thier schools and the function of the air/heating systems. This is a MAJOR problem in our schools!!! This sad state of affairs would not be tolerated in the business world.

Anonymous said...

The HVAC is not just a problem for teachers. It's a problem for students as well. Many of my students have allergies and asthma, a very serious condition. My classroom is covered in dust every day from the inadequate, brand new heating and air system. This is not healthy for students. When we complain to our administrators, nothing is ever done.

BOE members should be able to talk to teachers about these problems without teachers being scared of reprisals. Instead, we are told to never say anything negative to anyone outside the school building about the environmental problems we and our students live in every day.

Anonymous said...

Great idea that some teachers should be on the search committee for a superintendent. Who better to articulate the needs of the students in DeKalb County than the people who teach them every day? We want the BOE to get it right for our students.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that cleanliness isn't an issue at all, but does the phrase "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" hold meaning for anyone?

The real issue is the waste of teacher time and energy and the waste of taxpayer money on ineffective programs and consultants.

I am forever called out of my classroom - away from educating your sons and daughters - to attend some workshop led by a corporate wonk who has never been in a public school classroom. He will be representing some group (think America's Choice, High Schools that Work, etc.) that has nothing to offer me that isn't something a) I already know as a 20-year veteran teacher or b) I can find on the Georgia DOE website georgiastandards.org for free.

These corporate money-making schemes are unproven and needless, but their astronomically high cost will mean students are packed into classrooms like sardines and don't get the services they need.

Anonymous said...

Cleanliness of school and working condition of HVAC units and leaking ceilings should be made into a Survey for all teachers posted. If only certain teachers are asked, the principals will pick and at least at my school the people that will be picked won't have the guts to say anything or what is really happening.

Our buildings are filthy. The dust, dirt, and mold levels is not acceptable. This is not good for anyone in the buildings. If this issue were to be addressed, you'd have fewer sick children and workers.

Anonymous said...

Buying text books that really aren't needed are a concern with teachers in my school. To find out that the BOE has signed a contract that we need to purchase X amount of dollars of books whether we need them or not is ridiculous. First, it means that we are locked into a company and that means that we may not be purchasing the best books available. Second, it means that someone's friend or relative is making out big time on such a contract.

Large school districts like ours, should be able to negotiate good deals when text books are being purchased because of the sheer quantities of books being bought.

Buying new text books this year with the budget deficit that we are facing does not make sense. We're getting rid of key people like that library paras, who are the backbone of the school's library and help to make it run.

I love the idea of getting rid of Pre-k (free babysitting), as it is costing tax payer dollars in non-title 1 schools and this is money that could be used to keep paras, and library paras, and allow for teachers to keep more of their salary or at least get the money that should be going into their annuity.

Anonymous said...

Better than a survey, I would like to see a formal evaluation of our services groups - custodial, technology, HVAC, etc. This formal evaluation would be written with teacher input, not written up by the services themselves - I answered one evaluation written up by the service evaluated - they wrote it so the answers could only be positive. The evaluations would be given to the BOE.

We could also evlauate programs like America's Choice, HSTW, Instructional Coaches, etc.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of getting rid of Pre-k (free babysitting),

Clueless and also not a comment a real teacher would make.

Anonymous said...

The board and the new superintendent need to form a better relationship with AJC and the news channels. One of the reasons Dekalb County has been given such a bad rap is because for some reason the news media in Atlanta does not have a good relationship with Dekalb County. I do not know what has happened in the past but evidently something has. A couple of years ago whaen Crawford Lewis made one of his beginning of the year speeches he critized the news stations. What was that all about? Other school districts have their own set of problems but the news media stays focused on Dekalb. Right now the school system needs that to move up toward reform. Does anyone have more background information on this topic?

Anonymous said...

In the high schools significant power over such things as appointments, training, and evaluations should be placed in the hands of proven, senior teachers, who should receive a teaching-load reduction but remain based in the schools. Principals should function more as part of a collective when it comes to academic issues. Above all, the role and power of the central office should be reduced and gutted as much as possible. The central administration is, simply put, an embarrassment. There are plenty of successful models out there. Dekalb county is way too isloated and way too parochial -- for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:31

I had to read your post twice. Yes, all school systems have problems. But frankly, the Atlanta media has been far to slow to pick up on all that has been going wrong in DCSS. Atlanta schools are frequently criticized and Clayton, when it was going through all the problems there, couldn't stay out of the news.

DeKalb educates twice as many children as City of Atlanta does, but until recently, there was very little scrutiny of what was happening within our system. While sometimes it may seem overdone, like the coverage of the school closings, I, for one, am grateful for the attention. It is overdue.

Anonymous said...

PARA'S AND MEDIA CLERKS NEED TO STAY. DeKalb County consistently states that they support students and teachers, yet they are getting ready to cut two of the most influential staff members that assist teachers and media specialists with student achivement in the schools.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:23

I am a real teacher and the pre-k program that I see is not worth the money that the tax payers are paying for it. If DCSS, can't do the program for the money the state gives it, it should not be in our schools. Other metro counties do not have in in their schools, because it was too costly.

I have watched what takes place in 3 different pre-K classrooms, and it is what is done in the day care centers. Children and adults rarely interact. As a DeKalb tax payer and teacher, I cannot justify its expense when we are dealing with class sizes over 30 in our classrooms, the loss of paras, and other important programs.

If you can honestly, justify the costs compared to what we are loosing in the current proposed budget, I could be swayed. It is my opinion that pre-K should have been a cut in our budget before other programs and people.

Anonymous said...

Pre-K teachers did get their contracts but after the other teachers did.

Anonymous said...

There are numerous needs, changes , and improvements in DCSS. However, from my personal perspective, some of the immediate changes that need to occur are as follows:

1.) Many of the school administrators have become micro-managers as a result of CLewis managerial skills. Therefore, administrators need training on how to run their immediate buildings efficiently, and effectively. Some examples are; building morale among staff, improving discipline, increasing and improving parental involvement, etc.
2.) America's Choice needs to be eliminated from the curriculum. It requires too much paper work and many of the students do not have the needed foundational skills the program requires. In addition, there are so many gaps in the curriculum, which does not aid in improving, or providing students with life skills.
3.) Parents need to be held more accountable for their children, especially those that come to school on a daily basis to disrupt.
4.) There are too many students leaving elementary schools without basic foundations such as writing an effective paragraph, reading and spelling effectively. Being able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, etc.
5.) The curriculum in all core subject areas need revamping. The textbooks are too large with too much unnecessary informtion in them. We nee d to go back to the basics.
6.) Technology desparately needs upgrading and improving. All classrooms should be equipped with promethean boards. It would save and abundance of paper, ink, tranparencies, etc.
7.) WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE FIVE BOARD MEMBERS THAT ARE UP FOR ELECTION IN NOVEMBER!!!

Anonymous said...

The Central office is too close to the news media. Dale Davis, the spokesperson for DCSS, used to work at a TV station here in town.

The only station willing to tell a story is WSB. The parents of a school that was closed several years ago gave a huge amount of documents to an AJC writer, in just two days CLew and his cronies knew everything they had gathered in those documents. This AJC writer even called those parents "vociferous" and wrote them off as racist and uninformed. These parents also went to Fox 5, the producer was extremely excited about the documented truth they had uncovered. A couple of months later the producer was told that the story was too difficult to tell and that other stories had to take precedent. It's odd that the former station where Dale Davis worked all of a sudden stopped the investigation.

CLew and the several media organizations have been too close. I do think since the DA's investigation started news outlets started to investigate more. A couple of parents have been contacted by Fox 5 in the past few months and asked if they were willing to go on camera. But these parents didn't trust them any longer.

What we need is a whistle blower inside the Central Office to uncover the nepotism, cronyism, affairs(Talking about relationship and adultery) as well as the malfeasance that has taken place inside the Central Office for too long.

These parents have been asking for years, where is the Atlanta Media?

Anonymous said...

Many of the older schools that were built in the '60s and the heating and air conditioning systems need to be replaced. According to the men at the service center, the units are old completely rusted out. That is why they are in constant repair. At some point, money needs to be set aside to purchase new units for the older schools. The board needs to be aware of this problem. We have had teachers who have been sick constantly and some have left the system because of it.
Money needs to be set aside for this purpose.

Anonymous said...

Janitorial services were contracted out about ten years ago and it did not work. After one year they went back to the present system. One local school district mainly hires Bosnian workers as custodians and this works quite well. The schools are very clean.

Anonymous said...

1) We need to get rid of ISS (in school suspension). Your student just does not want to behave that's fine. Take a day off of work and handle the discipline problem at home. When parents have to keep taking time off one of two thins will happen - 1) Parent loses their job or 2) the student comes to school ready to learn.

2) I really do not want to hear about how dirty schools are. Teach the students to take responisiblity their room. You see Johnny drop a wrapper on the floor make him pick it up. Do a quick check of the classroom before you dismiss your students.. I set my timer on my watch to beep 30 seconds before class is dimissed. My students know to do a quick check around the room to make sure that desks are aligned and there is not trash on the floor or left in the desk.

3) The county is out of money so they can not strip and wax the floor this year. They will just need to be dingy for one more year.

4) Have the area superintendents listen to their principals when the county cuts the number of teachers in the classroom to something that we all know will not work. Making those teachers go on the displaced list knowing that they will just have to hire them right back. Why should a school have to give up some of it's best teachers and let another school pick them up. Then the principal has to retrain someone at the start of the school year.

Anonymous said...

I am a real teacher and the pre-k program that I see is not worth the money that the tax payers are paying for it

The majority of Pre-K costs are paid for by the Lottery. Also, I am a parent of a 2nd grader and a pre-k student and you are wrong about the Pre-K program. In fact, every teacher that I talk with raves about the Pre-K and says it fully prepares the children for Kindergarten, which those teachers will tell you is not the Kindergarten you or I attended - it's more like the 1st grade we attended.

Anonymous said...

Please! How are students or teachers suppose to pick up dust or dirt? Why don't the janitors dust mop the floors daily? I know for a fact that they do not. We're lucky if they do it once a week.

Picking up trash is one thing, but dust and dirt should be the responsibility of the janitorial staff. What about the restrooms? Our PTA contracts a a separate team to com e in and clean them so our DCSS staff an spend more time cleaning the rooms and hallways.

The schools are dirty and the kids and staff should be responsible for trash. Dust and dirt should be the counties responsibility.

How bout getting some Central office staffers out to the schools and clean themselves. Heck, maybe they need to get out and check the schools for cleanliness.

Anonymous said...

Pre-K is a good program and prepares the student for kindergarten. It does not have to be housed in the local schools.

Anonymous said...

Pre-K is a good program, but it should not be housed in local schools.

Pre-K should be moved to private day care centers. Private day care centers will get the Lottery money for certified Pre-K (early childhood degrees) teachers to teach the Pre-K program in the center, however DCSS will not have to bear any of the expense. I know quite a few certified and experienced early childhood certified teachers who teach Pre-K in private day care centers. This seems like a no-brainer.

I can't imagine how Pre-K students would have a better educational experience in a DCSS school than a day care center since in either venue they are taught with a certified early childhood teacher. The educational experiences will be the same, maybe even better in day care centers. Special Ed Pre-K may not be able to be moved though.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO THE BOARD!

HOW WE CAN BALANCE THE BUDGET:

Have teachers drive the school buses. When they get to school in the morning, the teachers could fix the kids their breakfast, they could use their planning time to fix the kids their lunch, then after they drop the kids off, they could go back to the schools for evening duty. Some teachers will clean the floors by mopping and then buffing. Some teachers will have bathroom duty. It wouldn't hurt for some of them to clean the windows too! (For that matter, we'll call it the new Faculty Wellness Program for weight loss and have them do a little extra manual labor! We all win!) We could probably train some of them on how to fix the copying machines (but do the training during the summer on their break) and we could train some of them on air conditioning repair! Oh yeah, some of them are "InTech" certified, so we really don't need all those in-house CTSS people.

See, we don't need the bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors, or air conditioning repair men. I'm sure this would work. Just put some more computers in each classroom - technology is the key!

One other issue to address, counseloosers, ass principals, and principles need extended contracts to get their jobs done! Too much is being asked of them. We could take just one percent (extra) of teacher's pay and divide that amongst the leaders in the school.

Teacher said...

First, I so appreciate the opportunity to have this forum for teachers! It took parents to establish this, and DCSS Central Office, take note. You have left us out of the equation for so long now, it never occurred to Admin or the BOE--or,worse, most teachers--to demand that we be included in planning and implementation.

Clearly, the physical surroundings of the schools need major attention. No one should be forced to work or attend class in unheated/uncooled rooms for more than the few days it takes to get a repair done. I taught for 3.5 months in an unheated room this year, with plenty of space heaters, cords to trip on, and sweaters. But of course, we couldn't tell anyone on the "outside."

Some ideas:

-Let the GPS be just the basis for a curriculum, and let us teach what we think kids need to know. Although we are supposed to use the GPS as "the minimum" now, in reality, time pressure forces us to give them too much weight. What adult doesn't think that kids should learn how to calculate a mean in elementary school? Yet it's not part of the GPS.

-Parents, work with us to help us help your kids with behavioral or learning disabilities. In a class of 30 ES students, having 6 or 7 students with IEPs presents an almost-impossible challenge, especially if DCSS takes away the paras. Please, if your child needs medication, encourage him or her to take it, and tell us about how we can best make the day a good learning experience for all! If your child has been recommended for further evaluation, please make that appointment.

-BOE,involve teachers AND parents in important decisions that impact the county. Both groups feel left out of your byzantine decision-making processes. Parents get heard only when they yell loudly enough, and we get heard not at all!

-Decentralize decision-making. DCSS is too big for principals to have to ask permission for every important change they make in their schools. Appoint experienced principals who care about their communities--and then, trust them! The schools that work best right now are the ones with strong principals whom staff respect. Weak principals are recipes for disaster.

-BOE, I strongly support the suggestion that you surprise-visit schools. Would you want your child in school there? If not,why? Spend some time in a classroom, more than 20 minutes--see what that overcrowding and mess does to YOUR nervous systems.

-Improve technology so that it helps teachers and families, not distracts us. Get SmartBoards to work, update computers, provide software help when requested, improve online learning and access. Training should be on-site, not part of workshops that require travel somewhere else and learning in an artificial environment. The eSIS fiasco is an example of how wrong technology can go.

-Reinstitute recess. Please. Please.

Cerebration said...

Good input, teachers. I agree about pre-K, FWIW. I always wondered why and how the over-crowded Oak Grove managed to squeeze in a Pre-K class. Not only do they need space, they move about the building, take up library time, PE time and cafeteria time. It can't be easy to work their schedule in when there are about 600 other students in the building.

Also - the board DID pass a recess initiative - we talked about it in this report of the Nov 2, 09 board meeting...

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/11/meanwhile-back-at-board-of-education.html

This was what they decided -- according to my report of the meeting.

Kudos to the playground ladies!!! The board actually finally (after I swear, a couple of years) approved recess!!! What an innovative, novel idea! The new rule is - students in K-5 must have 15 minutes of unstructured play time every day. AND - the time cannot be taken away as a discipline tactic.

If your school is not providing recess time - you need to refer your principal to the board ruling.

Cerebration said...

In fact, here is the exact verbiage from the meeting minutes --

Board Policy Descriptor Code: IEDA
Unstructured Break Time

The DeKalb County Board of Education supports supervised, unstructured break times as an integral component of a child’s physical, social, and academic development. Schools shall schedule time for all students in kindergarten and grades one through five to have at least 15 minutes of supervised, unstructured break time each school day. The school principal shall determine the timing and location of breaks at each school.

The school principal shall consult with school-level and system-level instructional staff as appropriate to ensure that students in kindergarten and grades one through five receive maximum instructional time to promote increased academic achievement and that breaks are scheduled to support the learning process. The principal also shall issue directions assigning responsibility for supervision of students so that break time will be a safe and positive experience for students.

Breaks shall not be withheld from students in kindergarten or grades one through five for disciplinary or academic reasons.

Supervised, unstructured breaks may be provided for students in grades six through eight at the discretion of the school principal. The DeKalb County Board of Education does not support an extension of the school day to provide for supervised, unstructured break time for students in grades K-8.

In accordance with state law, a copy of this policy shall be provided to the State Board of Education.


Mr. Redovian stated that this policy will afford\mandate 15 minute breaks for grades K-5, and afford, but not make mandatory for grades 6-8. Mr. Moseley agreed. Mr. Redovian asked when this policy will go into effect. Mr. Moseley replied immediately.

On a motion by Mr. Womack, seconded by Dr. Walker, and with a unanimous vote, the motion passed.

Teacher said...

Thanks, Cerebration, for the information about recess and BOE rulings on same. It's a great plan, but the "at the discretion of the principal" part is a sticking point. I'd love a survey of how many actually allow it--far too few, from what I hear from desperate colleagues.

It's that old problem of balancing between giving principals more autonomy, but having some common-sense changes that should be required, like this one. In my school,for example, we don't have recess as a given--it's withheld if students as a class "misbehave", or for individual students who misbehave. One intrepid teacher insists on taking her kids out almost every day, but the other teachers complain about the noise outside the classroom and the disruption, as their students longingly call out to their lucky classmates outside. This should not be left up to the "discretion" of a principal who is often out of the office, but should be a DCSS-wide policy. It makes for healthier kids and healthier teachers.

Cerebration said...

The discretion is only for middle school. K-5 - recess is mandatory. The principal can decide where and when, but not "if"...

Anonymous said...

Board members....please visit your local schools. You will see the teachers hard at work. This is a good time to visit since the floors have not been waxed since school started in many schools. More parents need to visit also to see the state of the restrooms and classrooms. Maybe at some of the schools with more parent involvement the schools are cleaner. We have little parent involvement and parents don't complain about our dirty school. Whenever the parents complain about the HVAC systems, the complaint is addressed immediately. When teachers and secretries complain, the service center takes their time to address these complaints. Last week we had no air conditioning during the CRCT. It was very uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the other teachers -- DCSS has nasty schools! There are "dust bunnies" all around and the floors are rarely if ever mopped! I know this seems like just another gripe, but students and teachers deserve CLEAN work environments. Also, most schools in the Buford Highway corridor are in desperate need of repair due to years of neglect. All new construction and remodeling (except Dunwoody ES) have taken place in SOUTH DeKalb. Quite frankly, I'm tired of all resources being directed to that area. It's time to be EQUITABLE DeKalb! I believe strongly in accountability, but most workers from Sam Moss Center are wasting time. I see them out in the schools doing more socializing with the custodians and slowly walking down the halls to “kill time.” If teachers did this, we’d be written up for this type of behavior!

Ella Smith said...

The Cross Keys area is definely lacking on attention and so has the Lakeside and the Chamblee High School area. The School System finally are renovating Druid Hills High School.

However, for many years their was an inequity according to the court papers even mentioned the last time we went to the Supreme Court. I do feel now there has been an honest effort to level the problem to the point of possible over kill. However, there was a problem at one time. It just so happens that Lakeside, Cross Keys, and Chamblee got left out on the North side of the county and we see we have not got our fair share.

These schools do shine academically so the building and overcrowding, poor facilities and poor equipment in some situations is not an excuse for poor test scores. The key is highly qualified teachers.

Anonymous said...

The discussion about removing Pre-K is ridiculous. Move on to something more important.

Anonymous said...

Pre-K classes are limited to 20 students. I doubt they are taking any resources from K-5 students.

Cerebration said...

Maybe not everywhere, but in order to insert a Pre-K classroom at Oak Grove, the rest of the students had to give up what used to be an art/resource room that they all used. Had to go the "art on the cart" route...

Anonymous said...

Gwinnett County Schools are immaculate. Maybe someone needs to be hired from there to run our program and see if changes can be made. There needs to be an accountablilty program in place for the janitors. Obviously, what they have in place now is not working. Board members and citizens, this is a major problem. We have some competent janitors and they are overworked because someone else in not carrying their weight.

Anonymous said...

If Pre-K can be provided for 4-year olds at no cost to DCSS and still have certified teachers for the children, that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention the renovation at Druid Hills, Ella. Renovation is scheduled to be taking place on the third floor, but this past week, teachers who had been working up there were told not to go up any more - there is asbestos. All construction work has been halted.

The sound and lighting controls for the stage are there, but because it is now off limits, there can be no stage lighting done, either. There is a Drama Club play coming up shortly.

Anonymous said...

There are some changes that I think need to be made:
1)The building I work in is filthy, you would think the floors could at least be mopped. The roof leaks so there are stains in the ceiling tiles, I would think mold is growing up there. No wonder so many teachers have respiratory problems. Our air/heat doesn't work correctly so we suffer but we are still expected to maintain instruction.
2)Programs purchased are unnecessary. Teachers know what they are expected to teach, GPS, allow them to do that in their own way.
3)Things we are expected to do with these programs just give teachers more stress and take time away from preparation for students. Most of the things we are required to do are for SHOW.
4)Give teachers more imput without fear of getting our hands slapped. We are told not to tell anyone anything, therefore nothing gets done.
5) I don't know who picks the textbooks - must be someone who gets a kick back. They sure aren't student or teacher friendly.

Anonymous said...

The grounds of the schools are not kept up either. Drive around your local neighborhood schools and see for yourself.
I went past Briarlake Elementary the other day. Their grounds were pitiful.

themommy said...

I think that the leadership in Gwinnett sets the tone for lots of things. Alvin Wilbanks doesn't mess around, don't do your job -- you are out of there. While there certainly is some patronage, there is much transparency on what it takes to be a principal, for example.

Because of this, I think that principals make sure their schools are kept clean. If someone isn't doing their job, they are out of there.

Ella Smith said...

First, Gwinnett has newer schools to keep up which helps and then they spend money keeping them up like Fulton County does. When the schools where built they where built well also. The older schools have wide halls vs. narrow halls. The older schools have adequate bathrooms.

In Fulton, we do a great deal of the care of our school at our school base. We do individuals come in from the county but we do a great deal inhouse.

We have a day a year that the students go out and work on the school grounds and plant and clearn up as a community project.

Fulton and Gwinnett are not paying all the big salaries at the county office so they can pay extra to keep up the schools.

The boards are not fighting over if they can get $100.00 for an engagement and get $50-100 in a meal cost for entertainment from a ventor or someone else. You can see I had a real problem with this. Our school board members need to be more focused on the learning of the students and less focus on what each of them can get as school board members. I would be fine if they could not get any dinner paid for and could get no money for expenses to go to speak or anything else as they do get expense money monthly.

Ella Smith said...

I would hate to see Pre-K done away with as the data is there is show the benifit for our children.

Anonymous said...

Don't do away with Pre-K. Just move Pre-K out of the schools and into day care centers with certified early childhood teachers. This would accomplish the same services for the children without any cost to DeKalb Schools.

Anonymous said...

Quick comments from and old teacher:
-More teacher autonomy. Abandon mandatory portfolios,benchmarks,and other paperwork nightmares that interfere with actual teaching.
-Dump the 4x4 block in HS, which does little to improve rigor. Maybe experiment with some modified schedule to help out science labs.
-Save the world languages, arts and music
-Protect class size. Going to 32 for most classes and 25 for gifted
(MS and HS) is a giant step in the wrong direction. Bring the numbers back down to civilized levels.
-Eliminate unnecessary county office supervisors and "support" staff and put the emphasis where it should be- in the classroom.
-Make sure any Magnets saved are worthy. Use Magnet staff to study program efficacy.
-More faculty input and less of a top down management style. We're all on the same team.
-Bring back the county supported TSA.

That's enough for now.

Cerebration said...

Good input, Everyone -- anyone want to comment on the helpfulness/effectiveness of programs such as Americas Choice and others? Who in your day helps you the most? Parapros? Media Specialists and Clerks? Curriculum Specialists? Discipline or other principals? Security staff?

Anonymous said...

FYI, not every day care center has the lottery Pre-K. Is that what it has come to? Advocating the removal of Pre-K? Again, move along to something that makes sense. This does not.

Teacher said...

Add to your survey of what/who helps/is effective most, the following. Maybe you could even design an informal questionnaire for teachers: after all, DCSS LOVES data--here are some other suggestions. We certainly would not be allowed to gather data from each other--too reminiscent of organized action, when in reality, you need such info to make good decisions.

For future planning, it would be good to find out HOW these positions help--i.e., maybe some functions could be improved upon or shifted elsewhere.

Principal (you already had that person)
AP--how many and how many are needed?
Administrators' secretary (Admin assistant)
School nurse
Counselors
People in front office
Coordinators--of what?
Schedulers
Department Chairs--what do they do and should they get some kind of compensation for this?
Custodians
Tech staff who aren't CTSS or media people
Security
Science Coordinators
Human Resources--ARE they a resource for teachers?
On-site Benefits coordinator--usually has another job but is tasked with knowing about benefits--ours knows almost nothing and just tells us to call Central Office.
And most important--all those positions under "Instructional Services"--which ones are helpful and which ones can be eliminated?

If we're going to rethink DCSS, we must all start to rethink what's needed, what's not.

Cerebration said...

Teachers, please click on the photo of the capitol on the side panel of the home page. We have been publishing the updates on the legislative session as we receive them from the GA PTA. There are several new (almost) laws that will have a big impact on schools and teachers.

Here's an example:

HB 1307: Waives for 5 years the Professional Standards Commission requirement for 10 Professional Learning Units, PLUs, for teacher recertification. PASSED House PASSED in S.Education & Youth

And Pre-K is in this discussion, because it is being talked about by the board as an area to make big cuts. This now shows as a cut to Pre-K parapros, but an earlier version mentioned cutting back on Pre-K in certain schools. We didn't just bring this topic to the floor from nowhere.

To have a look at the budget cuts the board is currently discussing, click here

And then click on the little picture of the budget to link to the large, readable and printable one.

There are many cuts in this budget that will directly effect teachers - but this budget is in no way final. There has to be two public hearings and a final budget must be passed by June 30 - functioning by July 1.

Anonymous said...

It is not a bill yet, but the state is considering changing our benefit pension to a plan that we put in our own money similar to a 401K. Then we would not have a pension. It has been already started for regular state employees outside of TRS. Any new employees do not receive a pension.

Anonymous said...

I would like for principals to be able to discipline the children and follow the code of conduct without worrying about their job. I have worked in several schools and I see principals in fear of their job, so they dismiss discipline issues. I am not talking gum chewers, I mean bullying, disruptive students who did not come to school to learn. Teachers cannot teach and children cannot learn when so much of their time consumes disruptive students. A crack down on discipline and following the code of conduct would mean that I could do the job that I get paid to do and teach the lessons that I have planned.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:34, you read my mind. I could not have said it better myself. Discipline needs to be returned to the schoolhouse,and the principals must be tough if learning is to take place. Parents, no offense, but if your children misbehave at school, make them serve whatever consequence is given. You do not help them at all when you raise a fuss to get them out of the trouble. Believe me, you would be humiliated if you witnessed some of the things they do and say when you're not around. Life is about cause and effect; let it be the same at school.

Ella Smith said...

I totally agree that discipline is important and should be a key element in the schoolhouse. However, it is important to remember that times have changed, education has changed and children have changed. Today we handled students totally diffferently than we did 10 years ago. There is more of a collaborative learning atmosphere. Students are not expected to sit in their desk and be like little robots. We have gone to interactive learning and also try to meet the needs of the changing students.

We spend a great deal of time discussing this change in my graduate class this week-end. The change has got to be dealt with and teachers have got to deal with the change. Students are different, so teachers will have to modify how they deal with them.

Anonymous said...

Ella, I agree that times have changed, but there are no excuses for children who purposely turn on all of the sinks and watch the water flow. There are no excuses for children who choke other children. There are no excuses for children to walk with their teacher in a gang like fashion talking and disturbing every classroom that they walk past. There are no excuses for children to talk back to their teacher. There are no excuses when children hit a teacher. There are no excuses when children threaten other children.

Our children are learning that there are no rules that they have to follow. They get to turn their homework in whenever they darn well please, if they please, because I cannot give them a zero. I have to give children many chances to do work, so that they can get an acceptable grade.

A big deal is made about the code of conduct books and giving children tests on them and getting the test scores to the AP. Then when a child makes an infraction, we are told: Oh, that's Mary being Mary. Or do you know who his grandmother is?

I am sorry, but when a child's actions disrupt the education that should be taking place in the classroom, the child needs to go. I went to school and am paying for my degrees to teach children. I did not go to school for criminal justice. I see children able to act any way they darn well please, with little to no consequences. This is not acceptable.

I do not send children to the AP or principal for every minor infraction. I make phone calls to parents and work with them and the child. However, when a major infraction takes place, I expect for the code of conduct to be followed. Instead, I see children earning umpteen chances with repeat offenses or the offenses get progressively worse and nothing is done. No one wants to inconvenience the parents. No one cares about the child that sits in the classroom wanting to learn and make something of themselves.

I am tired of asking my principal and AP to discipline the kids and getting excuses. I am tired of disrespectful children who do not allow me to do my job to the best of my ability and who do not allow the children who want to learn the opportunity to get the best education that they can.

I am not saying that we need to run a boot camp, but expecting civility, basic behaviors (keeping ones' hands to themselves, no bullying, no destructive behavior) should not be a problem.

We are raising children who have high expectations for others, but with NO expectations of themselves. This is unacceptable to me.

Anonymous said...

Ella, if by different you mean rude and disrespectful, then I must disagree with you. Even though times have changed, the simple idea of manners has not. The fact that today's kids feel comfortable talking back to a teacher should be disturbing to everyone in education. I have been at this for twenty-one years and have had quite enough of smart mouths and cocky attitudes. My own child is a product of DCSS and she knew that if a teacher had called me about disrespect, all bets were off. I'm sick and tires of touchy-feely. Let's be real. Bad behavior is bad behavior and under no circumstances should it be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if I could be like MARTA tomorrow.

The buses and trains they plan to elimaniate they (MARTA) are going to put a big RED X on them.

How about every teacher that is getting displaced put a big red X on them, and see how teachers (which by the way is a whole heck of a lot) are getting displaced per school.

Then lets go to the palace at Mountian Industrial and see how few X's are there yet.

PS - Mountian Industrial... Can you send me a copier.... I have spent almost $200 in copies since January because of broken machines at our school. I heard Building A and B still has their copiers in there. WE NEED THEM DESPERATLY..

Please fix the copiers.... PLEASE, PLEASE....

Anonymous said...

I worked in DCSS -- in an excellent school -- and was shocked by some of the student behavior -- and the parent behavior. They were enablers.

My parents always said that if I was ever in trouble at school, I would be in more trouble when I got home. I repeated the same mantra with my children. I stood arm-in-arm with the teachers and the schools and presented a unified front to my children.

On the occasional time that I might question a teacher's decision, I spoke with the teacher privately to resolve the issue and my children never knew. I made it clear to their teachers that my children did not know that I questioned the teacher's decision.

It's such a simple policy and ultimately it works to the child's advantage.

Cerebration said...

Many Thanks to the DeKalb Parent blog for the copious notes taken at the budget meeting available here.

There are interesting discussions about the reductions in magnet "points" as well as school closings, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nudge to call the FBI! I actually have some proof of fraudulent activities in DCSS.

Here's the URL for the FBI's webpage on Public Corruption: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/pubcorrupt/pubcorrupt.htm

I believe that if enough of us who are aware of pieces of specific fraudulent activities at DCSS went to the FBI, the information we could provide to them would be like pieces of a puzzle coming together.

Individually, what we know about suspected DCSS corruption may not seem like much. But, collectively, we know enough to stop and convict the people who have been getting away with this for years and years.

What color are the jumpsuits in federal prison?

Anonymous said...

I wonder when it finally dawned on Interim Superintendent Ramona "I don't have an interest in the position" Tyson that her buddy Crawford Lewis set her up? He suggested her for interim because he knew he could manipulate her and he thought he would be back once he shook off that pesky criminal investigation.

Apparently we are still taking direction from CLew-less -- leaving Tyson in as the interim superintendent. And Tyson will end up taking the fall for CLew-less. Actually, that could not happen to a more deserving person.

DCSS has serious problems that are stealing time and education from our children. Yet, we are sailing along in our leaky, sinking, filthy boat, oblivious to the fact that the hand on the tiller belongs to a person who has "no interest" in what she is presently doing and the deckhands (BOE) are vastly unprepared for their jobs.

Cerebration said...

Or - maybe Ramona got in the hot seat and got a clear view of the mess you describe and thought "Not for all the tea in China!"

Anonymous said...

I heard Building A and B still has their copiers in there. WE NEED THEM DESPERATLY..

The copiers in building b are gone-but they were also broke much of the time.

Anonymous said...

Teachers..I just talked to a retired Dekalb County teacher. She said that it was Paul Womack back in the late 1970's who was the one of the board that got the idea to have the teachers vote on doing away with Social Security. Now he is on the board again.

Anonymous said...

We get class sets of World Language books to replace 12 year old text books, but will spend millions on corporate programs (America's Choice). This is just wrong! High School 101, a course with no curriculum and no true purpose, is forced on ninth grade students, but we don't require them to take reading even when they fail the CRCT in reading. This is just wrong! Teachers who don't teach and instructional coaches who are never in the building and are paid more than the teachers. This is just wrong! I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Cerebration said...

No - go on... this is what we need to communicate to the board.

Anonymous said...

Is Lakeside getting its renovation or not? When are they starting?

Maybe It's Better in Gwinnett said...

Okay, so I went to an America's Choice workshop yesterday - it was mandatory. (I should have been in my classroom helping my students prepare for the EOCT.)
We spent a large portion of time working on a problem, analyzing our work, looking at student work samples of the problem, analyzing their work , and then analyzing the analysis of their work in comparison to the analysis of our own work.
Title I funds were used to pay for substitute teachers for the approximately 75 teachers who were mandated to be out of their classrooms. We were supposedly learning how to be more effective teachers using procedures and materials promoted by America's Choice.
Personally, I think this was a waste of our time and taxpayer money.

This year - considering what has gone on in Dekalb County central offices; county policies,programs,and politics; the lack of effective leadership and adequate facilities at my particular school; and even my own personal issues - I really have to re-evaluate my purpose for being in a Dekalb County classroom. I am considering a new venue of employment after next year. This year, I don't think I have served my kids well with my attitude or my professionalism. They didn't want to learn and after a while, I didn't want to teach. I am glad this year has almost come to an end. I can only anticipate that next year will be better in all ways.

Anonymous said...

How about doing away with the no zero policy? Sometimes the ego needs some bruising?

and...since when do students get
2nd..3rd...4th...5th...6th...7th chances to make up work and recieve full credit?

I think thats ridiculous.

DCSS is scared of its parents (should be for obvious reasons, but it gets old when I have to give multiple chances to disruptive students who dont do the work the first time)

Cerebration said...

The board minutes indicate that both Lakeside and Dunwoody will be starting construction soon (May was mentioned).

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46: I keep hearing about not giving zeros. I remember in middle school there was an official "no zero" policy (it was on each teacher's syllabus, but is that the same case in high school? My son's language arts teacher will only accept missed assignments one day late and gives an automatic zero after that. There were a couple of assignments that my son said that the teacher said she would not accept late work at all - automatic zero. He has a C in the class because of this. One assignment wasn't typed (he'd hand written it) and he said the teacher would not accept it late and he got a zero. Where are all the chances they are supposedly giving?

Anonymous said...

My son teaches in one of the highest scoring high schools in DCSS. He has been complaining all year that he must accept late work. Students are given chance after chance to make up work. Since they know they can turn it in late, they procrastinate and procrastinate. They get the same grade on the work if it's a day late or 5 days late. This seems to be a new policy. I guess this was instituted to make sure no one fails and therefore boost the graduation rate. Pretty slick way to achieve a boost in the graduation rate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:16. I am proud of the teacher that you speak of, as he/she has the guts to not follow this policy and so far haven't been told to change their grades. Or your principal doesn't care about the policy and believes in giving children what they have truly earned.

In my elementary school, we are not able to give zeros and have to give children way too many chances of getting work in. Some teachers have even had to change grades, because they are poor, even though reflect the quality of work a child has done.

I am sorry, but we are not preparing our children for the work force. These policies are not helping our children to make good choices or be responsible citizens.

Techie Math Teacher said...

Big-picture, I think the county needs to consider Total Cost of Ownership when evaluating purchases.

For example, did you know the Promethean bulbs cost $250 to $550? That these bulbs need to be replaced every 18 months to 2 years? That Promethean bulbs are more expensive than standard LCD projector bulbs?

Considering TCO means you ask, "how much is this going to cost me to maintain?" And you look for a vendor with the lowest TCO -- there's no way Promethean offers the best interactive whiteboard value when you factor $550 every 2 years for every projector in the district.

I love my Promethean and am definitely in the upper 5% in the county for innovative uses of this technology. But if it's gonna cost us $550 per projector, I'd rather dismount mine when the bulb goes and recover the chalkboard space behind it.

Anonymous said...

No Zero Policy...eSIS, the computerized grading program, has been set not to accept zeroes. That way when a student gets a 70 it is counted. When another student does not even try and does not turn in an assignment, they have a blank by the assignment because zeroes are not accepted. Some teachers try to get by with it by putting in a low specific number so some low score will be accepted by the computer. It seems umfair for the students doing the work to have other peers not getting penalized for not doing the work. We were told at preplanning that a group of parents, teachers, and parents came up with this plan. Also, decided on was the portfolio assessment. We were told that teachers are required to save or make copies of all graded student work. Many teachers have been copying every paper they grade if they are going to send it home. I think that this needs to be evaluated again for next year.

Techie Math Teacher said...

Anon 7:06: You're incorrect about eSIS being configured to reject a "0" for a grade. I have plenty in my gradebook (ie, a student takes a quiz, earns 0 points on it. Until they re-do, that 0 sticks).

You are correct that there's a "no zeros" policy district-wide and some teachers are posting really low specific numbers to represent "0". In my building, we agreed to post a "1" to indicate the student didn't turn in the assignment. I've yet to see the district's "no zeros" or incomplete policy in writing.

Anonymous said...

The no zero policy has been ridiculous since its inception. It's just another stupid idea by someone outside of the classroom to make sure students aren't held accountable and parents are appeased. If you have a job that pays by the hour and you don't show up, does your employer give you a zero in your paycheck? Darn right! What life lesson are we teaching these kids anyway?

Anonymous said...

The no zero policy is part of the the DCSS administration's plan for raising the graduation rate in DeKalb. Graduation rate is only Title 1 and AYP measure that the administration can control by merely sitting at a desk and changing policy - no learning by students required.

The DCSS administration has touted the rising graduation rate as proof that increases in expenditures of DCSS taxpayer dollars is working in DeKalb.

It is interesting that the rising graduation rate is the only NCLB and AYP measure that DCSS has increased.

How logical is it that DCSS graduation rates are rising dramatically while DCSS SAT percentages fall?

DCSS SAT Scores –

2004 – Verbal 464 Math 459 No data
2005 – Verbal 465 Math 457 No data
2006 – Verbal 462 Math 451 Writing 452
2007 - Verbal 457 Math 443 Writing 446
2008 - Verbal 452 Math 443 Writing 444
2009 - Verbal 451 Math 441 Writing 442

DCSS lost 13 points in Verbal, 18 points in Math, and 10 points in Writing on the SAT between 2004 and 2009.

SAT scores are nationally normed tests that all students sit for and are proctored by teachers not in our school system. If we believe SAT scores are valid measures of a school system's effectiveness, we can conclude that DCSS's rising graduation rates are a function of policy changes by DCSS such as the no zero policy, pressure to change grades, and pressure to inflate grades.

Anonymous said...

Promethean Board Bulbs cost $275. DeKalb should contact the company and try to negotiate a better price for the bulbs. We will be purchasing a lot of them. That being said, I love these boards. They are wonderful teaching tools.

The zero policy is a problem. It is amazing that many students won't do the assignment no matter how may chances they get to turn it in. It is a lot harder to grade a late assignment than one that is turned in on time. There needs to be a better way to do this. Sadly, zeros don't motivate students either.

I am not impressed with America's Choice. It is an expensive, labor intensive program that doesn't really do anything. DCSS got sold on that one. I wouldn't miss our Instructional Coach either. What we really need is for this "master teacher" to take responsibility for working with a group of at risk students. She could post her lessons and teachers could be invited to observe her classes.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe that any "coach" would not spend most of his/her day modeling lessons for teachers. All coaches should teach classes while teachers observe the best practices they use. I used to do a similar job for DCSS, and I spent 90% my time modeling lessons for teachers with their students. Modeling lessons is the most effective way to show teachers the teaching ideas you are advocating are effective. All Instructional Coaches should spend most of their time in classrooms modeling lessons. Everything else is "just talk".

awesome24k said...

I could not agree more with the mixed and contradictory messages our students receive daily in terms of their personal accountablity and individual work ethic. In the middle schools, the DCSS administration did an abrupt about face on the ZAPP (Zeroes Are Not Permitted Policy) this year after allegations of grade changing and inflation were leveled by two former high school teachers at South End schools. I believe this may have had some small role to play in Frankie Callaway's hasty retirement/exit from the DCSS (did anyone notice that she has been rehired by the board as the principal of one of our newest charter schools?--check the PATS website)
When the ZAPP policy was unveiled to teachers, I remember the outrage that it caused, specifically because teachers were never included in the dialogue. DeKalb County Schools has been charged to educate, not babysit. It seems to me that if we are accepting the responsibility and accountability to educate every child in this age of No Child Left Behind, there need to be certain "non-negotiables" in our schoolhouses. Many districts have outright bans on student cell phones and electronic devices. One district has empowered its administrators to search student cell phones if they are suspected of sending inappropriate messages or "sexting." Some have system-wide uniforms which I believe, especially at the elementary and middle school levels do much to impact the school climate. We need to stand for something!
Instead DCSS has chosen to mollycoddle and genuflect at the feet of parents. A student's parent can "write in" or appeal an individual decision of the local school to the detriment of other students. Teachers have to daily entertain the shenanigans of children who demonstrate, through their behavior, that they are more concerned with disrupting rather than learning. If I had my way, summer school students who are attending because their behavior issues interfered with their academic work should be required to pay. Students who are moving ahead or are taking summer school to jump start the coming year should be the ones we focus our preciously limited educational dollars on. If we, as taxpayers, have already paid to educate August through May, those who chose not to make the most of it should be the ones to pay. Tbey should not be picked up and dropped off by half full buses during the summer. Yet in the world of DCSS, disruptive cildren are usually given every consideration while none seems to be paid to the hardworking student who comes prepared daily and does what is required of them.
While I understand that parents are our stakeholders and am not trying to offend, I believe that most sensible people can easily see and support the school's interest in maintaining a safe and orderly environment. Why institute a district-wide acceptable dress policy at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year which specifically spells out the escalating consequences for breaking dress code policies when students receive no consequence other than ISS. What's worse, failure to admonish a student about his/her dress is now tied to a teacher's annual evaluation instrument (GTDRI--Georgia Teacher Duties and Responsibilites Instrument). One more thing that has been placed on the backs of teachers. I have personally told male students to pull up their pants and not fifteen minutes later, they are down again. I see a lawsuit or appeal to the State BOE if a teacher is given a negative annual evaluation based on this new teacher "responsibility" which has been shifted from parents.
Instead of trying to appease every single whim of parents the DCSS Board and Central Ad

Cerebration said...

Fascinating - I must say though, this is definitely not the case at Lakeside. In fact, Lakeside posts quite the opposite - as students enter their freshman year, many are flaming out. The principal recently reported that many of the 581 freshmen failed a class last semester. By subject, at 18 weeks into the first semester, 10.3% were failing English, 17.4% were failing math, 14.5% were failing science and 10.9% were failing social studies. Somebody must be giving some zeros at Lakeside.

Is this policy of "no zeros" spoken or unspoken?

Anonymous said...

It is spoken and we have had power points on it at the beginning of the year.

Cerebration said...

Wow. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Chamblee High School definitely gives zeros and they stay- they don't get wiped out by Esis.

Anonymous said...

What schools have the no zero policies that are enforced and what schools do not have the no zero policies? I know the no zero policy is in my son's school. Why is there a difference from school to school? Lakeside and Chamblee don't seem to have this policy. Why would other high schools have this policy?

Anonymous said...

Please encourage all of your readers to check out how many points their neighborhood schools will receive based on the 2011 budget versus the 2010 budget (info is on the DCSS website). Remember, a point is a teacher! As an example, Briarlake is going from 28 points to 23.75 points. Goodbye library, music, art, and PE as we know it! So much for keeping cuts out of the schoolhouse!

Anonymous said...

Proposed budget item #26: Reduce Small Schools Points; Reduce Specials; Now we know what they mean. DON'T LET IT HAPPEN!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:18, how do you find out how many points your school will have next year vs. this year?

Square Peg said...

"How do you find out how many points your school will have next year vs. this year?"

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/budget/

Compare "FY2011 Proposed Budget" with "FY2010 Proposed Budget." It is sobering.

Square Peg said...

Compare the staffing formula chart on page 21 of last year's budget or 20 of this year's budget. They have figured 2 more students per regular ed or gifted classroom teacher. For example, if they used to figure 1 kindergarten teacher point per 17 students, it is now 1 kindergarten teacher per 19 students. Regular high school teachers went from 1 per 23.5 to 1 per 25.5. That alone accounts for a loss of 5 teachers at a high school with an enrollment of 1600. So every school is hurting. All schools are sharing the pain in the classroom.

Additionally, the "Points Advanced for Programs" (including the small school points) have been eliminated, and 2 magnet points have been cut from each of the high achievers magnet schools. And projected enrollment numbers have changed, reducing some schools' points further.

Square Peg said...

I can't find a page for DeKalb Online Academy in the new budget. It got 6.25 points in last year's budget.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see Fernbank Science Center or DeKalb Online Academy in there. Perhaps Fernbank Science Center is too politically protected to be touched. It's easier to cut science teachers in the schools.

Square Peg said...

Fernbank Science Center didn't have its own page in last year's budget, either. It is not a "school," so you can't see its funding separated out in the budget books. DOLA, however, was School #599 with its own page in last year's budget; no mention of it in this year's.

After looking at these budgets, I think the 7-period day proposal isn't what I'd feared. I had worried that it meant that 7-period schools would lose extra points because their teachers would be expected to teach more students. Instead, it looks like all high schools had their points reduced according to a similar formula regardless of whether they are block or 7-period day. That implies that making teachers teach 6 of 7 periods means that they have (on average) 6 smaller classes instead of 5 larger ones. Same overall ratio of students to teachers either way.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody High School gives zeros and they stay.

Anonymous said...

Merit Pay - Go to this GAE address and express your viewpoint on Georgia's SB 521 Merit Pay issue:
http://www.gaedalliance.org/meritaction

Anonymous said...

Squarepeg---you are DEAD wrong.

1 point = 1 teacher

number of students divided class load (35)=number of sections or classes.

number of sections or classes divided by 5= 1 point

Or

number of sections or classes divided by 6= 1 point

The classes don't get smaller. The point equals more classes.

Dekalb is stupid but they are not that stupid.

If you were correct, why would they want 6 periods from the hides of the teachers!!?

Dekalbparent said...

OK, y'all, slam me if I'm wrong, but I swear I heard the BOE say the 6/7 idea was "off the table". There are few enough schools on the 7-period day that it wouldn"t be any sort of significant savings. I thought I remembered Ramona Tyson saying the same thing at the ELPC meeting.

Cerebration said...

She did say that - she suggested it would be strongly 'reconsidered'...

One Fed Up Insider said...

Now that we can see the FTEs that were proposed last spring for this school year and we can see the FTEs proposed for next year, go ask your principal what his/her actual FTE count is for the current year. In most cases, the schools have a significantly higher actual FTE count than what was proposed. Now compare this year’s actual FTE count in your school with what is proposed for next year. Ask yourself how your school can

function with that many less FTEs. Does your school have that many “extra” positions this year? What would you cut? Those are the shoes our principals and teachers are in! Remember: 1 FTE represents 1 full time staff person.

Anonymous said...

Are they going to start work on Lakeside this summer or not? There are 21 + trailers in that school...

Are they or they not?

Anonymous said...

It appears that many schools are loosing teacher points. My neighborhood school is loosing 2 and the school that I work in is loosing 3.

If only our elementary schools weren't getting new text books for ela that really are not a priority and maybe other expenditures that we have to do because of poor planning and the signing of contracts with little thinking ahead.

teachercreature said...

I have found a way around the ZAP policy. When my students don't turn in work on time, I NEVER, EVER give them that forbidden zero that they earned. I simply give them a "1" and it's never been questioned. Hey, it's not a zero! I'm all about helping my students become contributing members of society - - not doing their work, being late, etc., just won't fly in a few years. I refuse to cripple them by following along with unrealistic, counter-productive policies. So there!

Anonymous said...

awesome24K, you've been inside my head! You put into words (in a fabulous way) everything that's been bothering me recently. Thank you for your insight. Parents and other members of the community: please pay close attention to those words.

Anonymous said...

teachercreature I tried your tactic, but parents complained and I was force to change my grade book. I am glad that you're able to do what you do. I too want contributing members of society from this generation of children.

Cerebration said...

There is a meeting scheduled at Lakeside on Tuesday, May 4 at 7 pm to discuss the plans for construction. You can attend if interested - we'll know more then.

Square Peg said...

@Anon 4:27 - Guess I didn't express myself well. My point was that the proposed budget doesn't reduce 7-period schools more than block schools. Example: Druid Hills (block) goes from 1 regular education point per 18.9 students this year to 1 per 21.1 next year. Lakeside (7-period) goes from 1 regular education point per 18.7 students to 1 point per 20.7.

At the time I posted, I thought the 7-period plan was still on the table. This budget, however, shows that the 7-period day wasn't factored into points calculations.

Anonymous said...

Unless something has changed recently, the seven period day with six periods of teacher instruction is still on the table. Please refer to the DCSS website. Click on the approved recommended budget option. I checked on it today. If there is another proposed budget being discussed, would someone please post it? This budget is balanced on the back of the staff members. There must be some relief for the schools. A great deal is being demanded from them. This has the potential of impacting the schools.

Square Peg said...

A detailed budget PDF created on April 22 is posted at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/budget/files/FY2011%20Proposed%20Budget%20Book.pdf

It is linked at the bottom of the FY2011 Budget Process and Information page, http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/fy2011-budget.html

Compare it with the FY 2010 budget.

There are classroom cuts at every school.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I have been comparing the 2010 and 2011 budget for a couple of hours trying to document the changes for the Dunwoody schools. I am trying to understand why some schools had some few points taken away, i.e. Kingsley and some, such as Dunwoody HS had so many. Anyone have any ideas?

Square Peg said...

Kingsley's projected enrollment went up from 407 to 450. (Total FTE in upper left corner) That softened the blow. Dunwoody High School's went down from 1615 to 1545.

Then page 20 in the 2011 budget or page 21 in the 2010 budget shows you how the number of points per various categories of students are calculated.

In addition, all the "Points Advanced for Programs" are eliminated. (Kingsley had 2, Dunwoody High had 4.)

Dunwoody Mom said...

Thanks!! Another question: What is the "Points Advanced for Programs".

Square Peg said...

I surmise that some of them are the small schools points, considering which elementary schools got Points Advanced for Programs last year - Ashford Park (enrollment 371), Atherton (422), Avondale (431), Briarlake (398), Briar Vista (361), etc.

I don't know what they mean at the high school level; all the regular high schools except Arabia got Points Advanced for Programs last year.

I added them up earlier today and if I recall correctly, there were around 196 Points Advanced for Programs in last year's budget. That's a lot of $$ cut.

Cerebration said...

Maybe this new legislation will come just in time for Dunwoody schools to become chartered as a group - allowing them to determine exactly how and where to spend their FTE dollars...

I can see the Tucker cluster going for this too. Lakeside - not so much.

M G said...

The budget document posted on the website is not the complete budget for the year. Anything outside the school is contained in the other three or four budget books. They are generally available at the county office for review.

That's where the page for all the other "departments" can be found.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: "Maybe this new legislation will come just in time for Dunwoody schools to become chartered as a group..."

Seriously? The bill was sponsored by Weber FOR Dunwoody to charter. It will happen. Next, secession.

Anonymous said...

If you attend the budget committee meetings, it is clear that the votes are there to take off the 6/7 period day issue. However, I believe by next year block will be a thing of the past for all schools, because of finances.

Anyone else notice that Montessori still gets 8.5 points -- 5.5 of them at Huntley Hills. I thought this program was to operate at far less funding (that is only .5 less than last year at HH.) What is up with that?

Dunwoody Mom said...

3 of Dunwoody's schools are currently Charter schools, so the expertise to author a charter application is there. Dunwoody HS has not shown much interest in Charter status in the past. Would all schools be able to get a 60% agreement?

Also, I read that Fulton County is also looking into Charter status - early, early preliminary.

Cerebration said...

Charters will certainly become the wave of the future. Obama and Duncan are all about charters - they love them - and providing opportunities for charter schools is a big consideration for "Race to the Top" funding. (So is merit pay for teachers.)

Personally, I think we're going to see the public school systems completely breaking apart in the future. Corporate interests have figured out that there is an opportunity to make a whole lot of money from education - in things like charter program design & implementation, textbook publishing, testing, etc... Add to this that we will certainly see a day when vouchers will support decisions to use private schools and public schools as we have always known them will be no more.

Good or bad?

Anonymous said...

@Kim goke @ 12:12am

from your lips to God's ears!

Cerebration said...

Well, Crawford Lewis and the board of education have only themselves to blame for groups like Dunwoody's desire to break away as much as possible. The petty fighting, the racial undertones in every conversation, the bloat and misspending, the micro-managing and the politics of the system are causing too much damage to ordinary schools and getting in the way - actually hampering - their ability to get their jobs done. It's nice that our legislature has seen that it's only fair to provide an escape hatch for those with a compass.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I am going to post a review on my blog, but it appears as if Dunwoody HS will be losing 12 teacher positions.

Cerebration said...

Wow! And then, what happens when enrollment is much higher than projected? (This always happens at Lakeside) Then - you have to scramble the first few weeks of school to find (hire) teachers!

Lakeside's enrollment is projected to increase! From 1708 (which already requires 21 trailers) to 1737 - in a school built for 1386! And - construction is supposed to start in May...

Anyway - Lakeside's regular 'points' decreased from 91 to 83.75 ( a loss of 7.25 teachers - with a projected increase of 29 students in total.) They did gain a bit in special education points, from 17.75 to 19.5.

For comparison, Arabia - also on the 7PD, has a projected enrollment increase from 950 to 1030 or 80 students (51 more than Lakeside with a facility that is massively larger) - but will enjoy an increase in FTE points (teachers) of 2.5 in regular and 4.0 in special education.

Square Peg said...

DM, something else that occurred to me. I wondered about the FTE projections in the FY 2011 budget, so I compared the FY 2010 budget FTE projections with the October 6, 2009 FTE count. The FY 2010 budget projected Dunwoody High's enrollment for 2009-2010 as 1615, but the October FTE count was only 1511. Chamblee Middle got hit hard by the same problem. Probably other schools, too.

People complain about administrative transfers, NCLB transfers, students using questionable addresses, etc., but I'm giving thanks for each and every student at my child's school.

FTE count (repeated from the blog's enrollment data link): http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/files/3C2693EF19394406A9FD5B7BC04CE6B3.pdf

Dunwoody Mom said...

Yes, Square Peg, I saw that in my analysis. I think the projected FY2010 FTE may have included what DCSS thought would be NCLB transfers, which Dunwoody did not have last year.

Square Peg said...

Cere, Arabia's point calculation in the 2009-2010 budget included no gifted students and no Voc. Lab. This year's budget shows them with 28 gifted - that's about an extra point right there. The 186 Voc. Lab FTE's give another extra point. And the 80-student enrollment increase is another 3 points. That compensates for the points they would have lost because of the change in formula (1 point per 25.5 regular 9-12 students instead of 1 point per 23.5). You could argue that the 2009-2010 budget had Arabia receiving fewer points than they were due.

Lakeside also lost its two Points Advanced for Programs, which Arabia never had.

Square Peg said...

I counted the teachers listed on Arabia's website, thinking that they would have hired more than last year's budget indicated.

53 regular ed teachers + 1 para.

4 media/technology/CSS

6 exceptional ed + 1 para.

So they might have to cut also.

Square Peg said...

Should have typed "CTSS", not "CSS," and I also said "last year" when I mean 2009-2010 and "this year" when I mean 2010-2011. Sorry.

Cerebration said...

At any rate - it sure does appear that they are cutting teachers pretty much everywhere (although, a bit unevenly) - wonder how it will work out. The stated premise is through attrition. Let's hope it works out that way.

Dunwoody Mom said...

You're probably right, Cere. I know one of my child's teachers left mid-year and a current teacher just took over her class - no new teacher brought in.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 2:37 pm

For third grade students it doesn't matter if one of the 4th grade teachers will be let go next year or if a 4th grade teacher retires and his position will not be filled. It works out the same for them. They'll be in larger classes with less space, less hands-on and interesting activities, and less attention from the teacher if they have a problem learning a concept.

The emphasis has been on teachers losing their jobs, and that is a lamentable and short sighted situation. But the emphasis needs to be on students. Teachers are an educated group. They will move on to other jobs or they will eventually be called back as aging teachers retire in droves, a prospect which is looming on the educational front. On the other hand, children rarely get second chances with respect to their educational opportunities.

So teacher cuts and teacher positions not being filled due to attrition are exactly the same from the standpoint of student achievement. We can't lose our focus. Students need teachers - that's the only group students can't do without.

Anonymous said...

I am ANGRY. As a parent, I would like to know why teachers being trained for/getting a new ELA series. They have had the old series for a mere five years. Grammar is grammar, and phonics is phonics. We do not need to "get current". I believe most teachers would agree. Maureen Downey, please help us find out who is sleeping with (or getting a HUGE kickback) from the publisher. I am SICKENED. BTW- Don't tell me IT'S DIFFERENT MONEY. It's a HUGE waste that we taxpayers have had to cough up one way or another. WWCD? (What would Clark do?)

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46,

It is my understanding that a was signed by the board of ed obligating us to purchase 7 million dollars of books to a particular company. I do not know what company, but it is something I recall learning about and thinking What?????

What you should also be upset about is the training of teachers now, so that they forget what they "learned" during the eluminate sessions. Which at my school was playing but no one was watching. I am tired of money being spent on non-necessary items which aren't going to be kept up with in the long run. The promethian boards come to mind with their $550 dollar bulbs. I do not see these being replaced quickly with tax revenue being down.

Teachers feel the same way that you do about the ELA books. They are not necessary in the economic climate that we are currently in. I do hope that Maureen brings this purchase to light, so that parents see how money is misspent time and time again in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Very sad that no money is given to the schools to replace Promethean bulbs so now a piece of equipment that taxpayers spent thousands of dollars for is just sitting there. Tony Hunter strikes again. Just like eSis - no planning or looking at the future.

Anonymous said...

More on eSIS and zeroes. When school started we had a meeting and were told how to set up our eSIS. We were told to set it up for not accepting zeroes. Teachers..on the first eSIS software there was a setup screen where you either checked or didn't check for accepting zeroes. That may be why some schools do not accept zeroes and others do. The person that went to training at our school told us to format for not accepting zeroes. Maybe this is where the disconnect is between schools?? I haven't checked the new softward program to see if there is still that option. I have noticed when people go to county meetings some of the information if filtered back to some schools but not others. I guess there is a link in communication somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:26 you are correct.

We had to send our assistant principal the screen shots to show that we had done this.

The way training is done in DCSS is very poor. It is as if the county does this so that intelligent teachers receive info second and third hand and aren't able to ask the thought provoking questions that may challenge the status quo.

Cerebration said...

So, what score exactly are you told to enter instead of a zero? Is that covered? Is there a minimum score you can enter? How is this not considered "cheating"? Is it not because it's sanctioned by administrators and parents? I think this is some kind of under-stated arm-twisting of teachers and I would warn teachers to be very careful in posting unearned points. What do you professional standards say to this issue? Has the ODE addressed this pressure to inflate grades in defense of teachers?

On a similar news front -- the is from GPB online:

High School Tests To Come Under State Scrutiny Next
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 2 months ago

ATLANTA — Standardized testing at public high schools will soon come under the state’s scrutiny.

This comes as nearly 200 elementary and middle schools across the state must investigate suspicious erasures on tests students took last year.

The Governors Office of Student Achievement conducted the audit resulting in the current investigations. Executive Director Kathleen Mathers told lawmakers at a budget hearing Thursday, they’ll look at high schools next.

“We’ve done a comprehensive analysis of our tests for grades 1-8. Of course our high schools take tests too. They take end of course tests and high school graduation tests, so we hope to begin work on the high school level some time this spring.”

Mathers says budget cuts to her agency won't affect those plans.

Meanwhile the agency responsible for reprimanding teachers for any wrong doing says despite limited resources, it has the people it needs to investigate educators. Kelly Henson is with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

"I would tell you we have two investigators in our agency that are incredibly trained and confident to work on these cases," says Henson.

The commission can revoke the teaching license of educators guilty of tampering with standardized tests.

Cerebration said...

BTW - here's the link to the GPB article -

http://www.gpb.org/news/2010/02/25/high-school-tests-to-come-under-state-scrutiny-next

Personally, I'm worried about the apparent disconnect between the publicly spoken aversion to "cheating" coming from the school system - in contrast to the unspoken endorsement of "cheating light" by pressuring teachers to give points where they obviously were not earned. In addition, this is apparently not done across all high schools, putting a competitive advantage to students who are given "free points" essentially.

Looks like a very slippery slope to me. Most likely driven by the need to keep graduation levels high (as shown by WSB's report on Frankie Callaway's pressure to admin at Redan to change a student's grades in order for her to graduate) as well as nab more of those HOPE scholarship dollars..... It's pretty much all about money, as usual. And it's putting teacher's ethics in the middle.

Cerebration said...

In fact, I will take this whole concept a step further and even state that teachers assign a whole lot more "busywork" and homework and projects that are graded so that those -- more or less easy points -- can serve to bring up any low test scores allowing students to actually pass classes with low test scores.

Back in the old days - homework didn't count toward your grade - it was just done so that you could understand the concepts better. The teachers went over homework in class to explain concepts that students obviously weren't understanding. The only things that counted in your grade were things like essays, theme papers, tests and quizzes. I doubt if we had more that 20 graded items per term.

The new system in high school ends up with 40 to 100 graded items. Of that, only a few are tests and those scores in total may only account for 50% of your grade or less. This does not serve students well. When students get to college, they are shocked to find out that their test scores are what drive their grades.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I think the homework "counting" as a grade,as the "zero" issue is a school/teacher-based idea that differs from school to school.

My middle school child has a teacher that ONLY gives tests, quizzes - very, very little homework, maybe 1 project this year. Basically, it's "pay attention in class, take good notes, study" and that is where it leads you.

I am not one of those parents who is impressed with teachers that give a lot of homework. I know parents who "rate" a teacher based on the amount of homework they give, as if the child should be up all hours of the night doing homework. (Of course, if your child is taking AP classes, that's what they do, but different topic).

Anonymous said...

This whole discussion begs the question: What IS evaluation? What do parents expect their children to be evaluated on, and what are teachers actually expected to evaluate? And consider the mechanism of evaluation...is a one-on-one discussion with a student good enough to be considered evaluative? Or does it all have to come down to paper/pencil work?

I had a teacher who never graded homework (though it was assigned every day), nor did he give effort/attitude grades...he knew that students would work on homework together--actually, he encouraged it. But he gave quizzes almost every day on material from the homework, and tests happened about every other week. He said it was clear very quickly which students were working and which were not. His class grades were comprised of quizzes, tests, and the final exam.

So, parents, do you think that your students (high school in particular) should be "graded" on effort or on their ability to demonstrate content understanding and knowledge? And, even more importantly, do you TRUST your teachers' ability to fairly evaluate your child? I think it is worth a discussion...

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:41 am

Absolutely principals and Central Office administrators are pressuring teachers to change grades to pass students as well as requiring a greater percentage of the grade come from homework, classwork, projects. etc. This is to ensure the Graduation rate is increased. It is entirely possible in many DCSS classes to fail every test and still pass the course.

Since the DCSS administration has utterly failed to advance students' achievement as measured by standardized test scores (e.g. CRCT, EOCT, SAT, ITBS, etc.), this is the only measurable objective they can control.

The other practice DCSS has instituted is issuance of the 504 plan. 504 plans do not require special education services such as an IEP would. Rather, the regular ed teacher is required to make accommodations for the student. 504 plans are pushed by DCSS because:
1. They do not require any money be spent on special ed services for the students
2. They require teachers to provide special accommodations for students such as accepting late work, extra time on tests, etc. Students who consistently turn their work in late can often do so without penalty with a 504 plan.

Before you think I'm against 504 plans, I'll let you know that my son had a life threatening illness in school so he required a 504 plan. If the situation warrants it, 504 plans are critical for students. However, the volume of 504 plans has gotten to the point that teachers are being overwhelmed. Some of these children do not need accommodations and some of them are in real need of an EIP with special ed services. 504s have gotten to be the "cheap and dirty" way to serve students and get them through the system.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:35

Well, the two teachers in DCSS that publicly resisted all efforts to "cheat" and change test scores are now out of jobs in DCSS and the administrators who pressured them are making over $100,000 a year. DCSS teachers are pressured all the time to change grades or not have their contracts renewed or be given a bad evaluation.

Will Kathleen Mathers and the Professional Standards Commission be looking at administrators who pressure the teachers to change grades by threatening them with their jobs or evaluations or will they only look at teachers? What they have done so far speaks volumes. They have not been supportive of teachers.

Who is hurt the most by the grade changing and grade inflation - students. Students get hurt when some students who have not earned the grades get the same as they do. The student getting the grade is also cheated in that she gets a grade that she has not earned. This is a life lesson in entitlement that will prove disastrous for her in college or a job.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:20

You are dead on about 504 plans. We hand them out like water at a race.

Cerebration said...

Well, obviously the administrators are certain they can get away with this, because even though the GPB article says the state has TWO "incredibly trained and confident" investigators, clearly, this is not enough. In fact, it's nearly a license to cheat, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't all that energy spent "gaming the system" be better spent actually working in the system?

Anonymous said...

In my discipline at the high school level, the way teachers weight the students' grades is dictated by county office. The weights vary by course, but usually it's something like: Homework 10%, Participation 10%, Tests 20%, Reading/Writing 10%, Classwork/Daily Grades 20%, Projects 20%, Final Exam 10%. Teachers are not allowed to make the decision about whether or not homework should be graded or if tests should make up the lion's share of a student's final average.

Anonymous said...

It's after 8 on a Friday night and I'm still in my classroom. I was looking for a quote to use for an activity next week and found this one. I'm going to post it and then head home. This says it all and more:
Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid. ~Tracy Kidder
Amen, Tracy, Amen

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration: In April 2010, you said "K-5 - recess is mandatory. The principal can decide where and when, but not "if"... "

...and yet my young child has no recess in his Dekalb school (and often P.E. only 2x week). As test-stress continues, principals phase out Unstructured Break Time, as Dekalb euphemistically called it.

As parents, how can we lobby schools or DCSS to allow real recess? Outside or in a gym? Or even yoga in the classroom? Please comment Cere and all.

Cerebration said...

Wow. That's shocking. It's only 15 minutes, but it's mandatory in K-5. If your child is not given daily recess, then the principal is breaking policy. A large group of parents worked very hard to get that policy in place. Write the board and report your school. Let them know that this policy is not being followed at all schools. Also, share the policy with your principal:

Board Policy Descriptor Code: IEDA
Unstructured Break Time


The DeKalb County Board of Education supports supervised, unstructured break times as an integral component of a child’s physical, social, and academic development. Schools shall schedule time for all students in kindergarten and grades one through five to have at least 15 minutes of supervised, unstructured break time each school day. The school principal shall determine the timing and location of breaks at each school.

The school principal shall consult with school-level and system-level instructional staff as appropriate to ensure that students in kindergarten and grades one through five receive maximum instructional time to promote increased academic achievement and that breaks are scheduled to support the learning process. The principal also shall issue directions assigning responsibility for supervision of students so that break time will be a safe and positive experience for students.

Breaks shall not be withheld from students in kindergarten or grades one through five for disciplinary or academic reasons.

Supervised, unstructured breaks may be provided for students in grades six through eight at the discretion of the school principal. The DeKalb County Board of Education does not support an extension of the school day to provide for supervised, unstructured break time for students in grades K-8.

In accordance with state law, a copy of this policy shall be provided to the State Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:40

"As parents, how can we lobby schools or DCSS to allow real recess? Outside or in a gym? Or even yoga in the classroom? Please comment Cere and all."

Fernbank PTA provides yoga to the Fenbank students. Why don't you call the PTA president and ask if it's during the school day and what they did to get it. Yoga is wonderful for kids.