Thursday, August 5, 2010

Choice for whom?


We've received reports that families have received their "school choice" brochures as recently as yesterday August 4 - although the deadline for applying for a choice was August 3 at 4:00 pm.

Is this just simply yet another management snafu? Did "someone" wait too long to get these documents to the post office?  Anyone with knowledge of direct mail knows that bulk mail delivery is unpredictable and you need to give the post office plenty of delivery time. Who did not plan properly? Were they planning to blame this on the post office?

Or - could it be that someone just forgot that they were supposed to communicate to all students about school choice?  Not all students have access to the internet. Apparently, all of the students the system wanted to communicate their choice options to have been notified and have registered. However, there are thousands who had no idea they had a choice - and now, the deadline has passed.

Is someone trying to slide this in at the 11th hour as a CYA move?  Or is the everyday management of this system at a standstill due to the fact that too many regular staff were cut in order to save the administration?

97 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

They had to wait until the AYP scores were in before they knew which schools had to offer school choice. The reports were not issued until 7/27 - so the brochures culd not go to the printers before then.

I received 2 brochures last Friday.

Anonymous said...

We have not received ours, however is the deadline going to be different now? There was a discussion about this at my kids registration today. Some folks showed up at the school hoping to register and the administration was not quite ready. However, they were taken care of and in the end everyone left with smiles.

Nothing like getting something in the mail after the deadline. More angst for a public already stressed out enough.

Cerebration said...

Yeah, I guess it's a sad commentary on the breakdown of trust when you get something in the mail and actually wonder if it's being done to you on purpose.

Anonymous said...

frankly - the very word
" choice " used in relation to DCSS makes me sick

Cerebration said...

I see from the new org chart that Harold Lewis (who used to work for Pat Pope and filed a sexual harassment complaint against her) is now Director of School Choice.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/files/organizational-chart.pdf

Anonymous said...

who in the world is advising DCSS in their decisions to place unqualified personnel in high paying, key positions? This chart is crazy I say again....take a laxative and have a colonoscopy....and get some real qualified workers because the professionalism within this system is #@%&@!.....you get where I'm going with this....

Anonymous said...

How about this? DCSS sent my school our bus routes which we gave to parents at registration today. 30 minutes after registration was over, DCSS sent us updated information - most previous routes were changed. Our parents for e most part do not read English or have the Internet, so who knows how they will fInd outnbefore Monday. With only one interpreter in our building, this will be a miracle if it gets corrected!

Anonymous said...

THE MOST CLUELESS SCHOOL SYSTEM IN AMERICA! BLAZING A TRAIL RIGHT OFF A CLIFF!

Thanks BOE and Central Office bums. Just to let you guys know, school starts Monday. Are the doors to the schools going to be unlocked? Will the HVAC systems going to be on? In case you haven't checked the forecast the temps will be in the 90's again next week!

Good grief! What have these idiots been doing the last three months? I know Zepora didn't have time to read the SACS letter, she was on vacation, but what about Tyson and Moseley?

We need to start picketing at the palace before every meeting, the news orgs will love the fresh video!

Anonymous said...

Approximately 26 elementary schools did not make AYP. In fact, they have a higher percentage of not making AYP than Gwinnett, Fulton, Henry, Cobb and even Clayton. What are we doing? Whos leading these schools? Who's leading this district? Can you name some schools that have a history of making AYP? This is terrible. What are they doing?

Anonymous said...

One school that made AYP 5 years in a row was Nancy Creek. Oops, sorry DCSS closed that school so they could sell the former Kittredge property to Sembler, a deal that never materialized thanks to the economy.

Another fun fact, Nancy Creek was the most diverse school in the county, 30% white, 30% black, 30% Hispanic and 10% other. Clew couldn't have that in a racist county like DeKalb. Plus, since closing Nancy Creek, Huntley Hills have added 4 trailers and the other school that received Creek kids, Montgomery, now has 645 enrolled and growing. That number was confirmed to me today at registration.

Let's hear it for Diversity in DeKalb county schools!

Be True to Your School said...

Has anyone else noticed that there is something very, very familiar about the artwork in the new DCSS logo? I have seen it someplace else; I just can't remember where.

Anonymous said...

Please help! Teachers have ten times more BS to wade through this year than last. As one small example, had to sit through a two hour power point on Ed 101 given to us by Dr. B. I wish I could forward all of the extra power points and directives we have been given so the public could see how bad things are. Yes, I went to work a week early to make up for our furlough days. Yes, I am a dedicated teacher and I love my students. No, I am not usually a complainer, but WE ARE HERE TO TEACH, NOT MAKE SOMEONE ELSE LOOK/FEEL IMPORTANT. GIVE US A BREAK!

Anonymous said...

Just like Lewis used to blame the principals for poor performance to deflect from his (and his "upper management" - well, that is how they refer to themselves) poor management and the financial drain from the classroom to an inflated bureaucracy, so the present administration is busy trying to put the blame for poor student performance on DCSS teachers. Don't buy this parents/taxpayers. The present administration (all of Lewis's administration is essentially intact) are up to it again. Trying to blame someone else for their horrible management of the money that was/is supposed to go for kids.

Anonymous said...

Let's pack 35 kids to a substandard classroom, give them little to no science equipment or technology, make them take most of their planning time to fill out paperwork and/or attend meetings, teach from a script, force them to change grades, and don't support any discipline efforts. If this doesn't work, let's blame teachers for the students poor performance. Sounds like a plan.

Anonymous said...

Dr. B's on something I truly believe. How can we lose 70% of our planning days and implement all this unnecessary paperwork and still have time to plan quality instruction? All our time is going to be dedicated to justifying Dr. B's new position. I am just so bothered that although he holds a leadership certificate, he is not certified to teach in this state. Does he have any clue about what he's doing?

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of saying it! Until, Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Thompson, Mitchell, Guilroy's, Edward's family member, Ramsay, Beasley, Berry etc... etc... are GONE! Hey BOE I said, GONE! Nothing is going to change. We're losing good teachers, will be left with the bad ones and the principals and teachers will get the blame while the Family and Friends of DCSS leadership laugh all the way to the bank and while Bishop Eddie Long gets 10%.

No wonder he loves DCSS, what is 10% of the total salaries of the DCSS employees that attend Bishop Eddie's and Beasley's church? It could be a large number. I hate to say this, but with all that has come out over the past 6 months and seeing the mindless BOE members THEY elect, it makes sense to me.

WE MUST HELP THE TEACHERS! It's time we protest the meetings at the palace. The News Media is hungry for a story, well let's give it to them! Folks, even though we only get 3 minute snippets in the meetings, you know the media will allow us time. We must remain respectful. However, it's time we expose these frauds in OUR Central Office, sitting in OUR $2000 chairs with facts and let the public decide.

I can't believe we would hire a Beasley at a time when the focus is on us. This only proves that this administration thinks it's business as usual. Can we please see some change! PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

How did the schools who used America's Choice do with AYP?

Anonymous said...

I actually checked the actual scores, not AYP status, at the elementary schools that were using AC.

It was a mixed bag. (At least one AC school was caught in the cheating scandal and the scores there plummeted.) The vast majority showed slight to significant improvements in reading and ELA, some saw improvement in math. Several of the schools saw no improvement at all.

Sorry I didn't look at middle and high.

Be True to Your School said...

@ Please Help!

Teachers: Beasley is a charlatan. No question. I am a parent who wants to help you. But, parents can't help you without getting a look at and publicizing his ridiculous e-mailed demands and threats.

I have come up with a plan that I think will protect you, individually, while still getting the word out about Beasley.

Do the following from your HOME computer:
1. Access your DCSS e-mail from HOME.
2. Print a copy of each e-mail you receive from Beasley. Keep those copies in a safe place.
3. Then do a copy and paste. That is, copy the text of the e-mail (include the header for proof) and paste the entire copy into a Word document. (To copy, select the text of the e-mail,including the header and do a CTRL-C. To paste,put your cursor on a blank Word document and do a CTRL-X.)
4. Save the Word document. If possible save to a flash drive, but saving to the hard drive of your HOME computer will do, too.
5. Now, copy ONLY the text of the e-mail from your Word document. Do NOT copy any identifying information such as the header. (To copy, select the text and do a CTRL-C.)
5. Paste the copied text into the Comments Box of this blog. (To paste, put your cursor in the Comments Box and do a CTRL-V.)
6. Choose "Anonymous" for your identity, do the word verification and hit "Publish Your Comment."

Cerebration, administrator of this blog, has assured us that "Anonymous" is indeed anonymous and that no identifying information is kept. That is not to say that the GBI or FBI, armed with a court order, could not trace a posted comment. But, no court is going to provide such an order without overwhelming evidence of need -- and that does not include Beasley's getting his nose out of joint.

Please, Teachers -- do this! Try to select only the most egregious of Beasley's e-mails. But, you could, separately, send in a count of the number of e-mails you receive from him in a day, every day. We cannot act on your behalf without the solid evidence provided by copies of Beasley's e-mails.

Help us help you!

Anonymous said...

LOL - you're telling teachers how to cut and paste? You really think a lot about their skills now don't you?

Be True to Your School said...

@ Anonymous 8:52 AM

Glad I could give you a good laugh on a Friday.

Actually, I think quite a lot of our teachers and their skills. But, I have worked for DCSS and have been a parent volunteer and I know -- first-hand -- how dangerous it is to speak up. I watched as a close friend was framed, victimized and libeled by Lewis, Calloway, Steele and Ramsey because this friend -- they thought -- stumbled upon evidence of per-pupil fraud.

When dealing with the evil so prevalent in DCSS, one can't be too careful.

Also, I wanted to be sure I gave step-by-step directions so that a paper trail was maintained, but teachers' identities were completely invisible and solidly protected.

When you are taking a risk that may cause your livelihood to be threatened -- even though the risk is necessary -- it is not always possible to think clearly.

Besides, it's not like DCSS teachers are exposed to current technology, unless they have it at home. I don't know what they might know or not know.

Still laughing?

Anonymous said...

My middle school made AYP 2009; Under America's Choice (2010), we didn't!

Anonymous said...

Besides, it's not like DCSS teachers are exposed to current technology

Again....clueless.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymour 10:09 pm

If you typed the schools and scores somewhere, could you post them online here at this blog.

It's good information for the candidates seeking to unseat our current BOE to have this information when they talk to parents about the tens of millions spent on this program ($8,000,000 for America's Choice, $8,000,000 a year for the America's Choice Instructional Coaches, $1,4000,000 for Springboard) and the Return on Investment (some of it negative) that we have received in terms of student achievement.

BOE candidates that are challenging current members need solid facts and statistics to show to parents/taxpayers (unfortunately, there is no lack of facts showing how mismanagement of this BOE has caused so much pain and lost opportunity for our children).

This is exactly the kind of hard data we need when convincing voters to turnout and vote this BOE out.

Anonymous said...

LOL,

Sounds like someone wants to turn this blog into the next wikileaks. That might not happen here but somebody could set it up. Lord knows when I was teaching I got plenty of "are you serious"? emails...like asking AP teachers how they would react if only ten percent of a student's grade could be based on exams. That didn't go over well.

One time I put out a scathing email, to someone in my building who had some pull, but no power. It got around. I went into a meeting about the exact program I was talking about was being discussed. My email was one of the handouts, and my principal and AP were in the meeting. "UM, am I fired yet?" They reassured me that everything was fine, the issues in the email did need to be addressed, and most of my issues were with the way county was making us do things, the principal actually supported me. But he didn't have the support from the district, and that's always the issue. Less levels, not more. Hold the principals, teachers accountable, ok, sure - but give them the resources and realize that if the students coming in have issues (like reading below grade level) then they aren't going to be successful unless those issues are addressed.

OH, and back to the original post - I have not to my knowledge received school choice info, but I had a talk with someone in the know and managed to hit the deadlines this year and get my paperwork in and get my child into where I hope will be the best fit for him.

Anonymous said...

See below for an excerpt copy and pasted from one of Dr. Beasley's e-mail attachments. His e-mails are usually short and sweet. They direct you to open multiple attachments. When does he find the time??? I think he should read his own directives. He seems to be violating his own policy. The following is but one paragraph from a three page attachment. This was one of multiple e-mails received that day:

"1. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Email should be used to get the work done and not as a substitute for face-to-face collaboration and communication. While email is a necessary tool of the modern workplace, it does not take the place of the need for human interaction and face-to-face communication that is expected and needed of all. All are expected to use the appropriate balance as it pertains to the use of email."

If he considers the number of e-mails he sends in any given day "balance", then we are all in for a long year!

Anonymous said...

Somebody could start by posting that ridiculous flow chart that Beasley had distributed on Wednesday. There was an accompanying hand out with "instructions" from his office.

Cerebration said...

This is from the agenda for Monday's meeting -


6. Purchase of America’s Choice Rigor and Readiness Design Program for the 2010-2011 School Year for McNair HS

7. Purchase of America’s Choice Rigor and Readiness Design Program for the 2010-2011 School Year for Clarkston HS
Presented by: Dr. Morcease Beasley, Interim Deputy Superintendent, Teaching & Learning

8. The Purchase of America’s Choice Design Program for the 2010-2011 School Year
Presented by: Dr. Morcease Beasley, Interim Deputy Superintendent, Teaching & Learning

Anonymous said...

Please don't tell me they are going to throw more money down the expensive, mind numbing tube called America's Choice? This BOE is actually going to vote for a program that has shown not one shred of Return on Investment in terms of student achievement and that teachers do not support.

Anonymous said...

Please explain how RIGOR is instituted when teachers are not allowed to give zeroes even if a student doesn't turn in an assignment, teachers are put under pressure to change grades, and exams and test grades count as a small fraction of the student's final average? No wonder our teachers are upset and so many of our schools can't make AYP. DCSS has the lowest percent of schools making AYP in the metro area.

Since we have 1 Central Office employee for every 5 teachers (Ms. Tyson's numbers of 1239 Central Office employees per 6500 teachers), it looks like a few could roll up their sleeves, get into the schools and help teach our kids.

Cerebration said...

Here's the description from America's Choice website:

ACT and America’s Choice have partnered to create the College and Career Readiness Instructional System. This initiative offers a fully aligned, coherent approach that a district can adopt or adapt as its own. It is modeled on the systems of the highest performing countries, to prepare all students for rigorous high school work that will ready them for
college and careers—a first for the United States.

This comprehensive instructional system is intended for all high school students and includes rigorous core syllabi and model units in 12 high school courses, end-of-course examinations, formative assessment tools, intervention and acceleration programs, and professional development, all designed to help states and districts ensure that their students are ready for college and careers without a need for remediation.

To learn more how to participate, call toll free at 866.715.0247 or visit
www.rigorandreadiness.org

Dunwoody Mom said...

Schools can choose to opt out of America's Choice, I believe that Cross Keys and Miller Grove have chosen to do so.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

If schools are allowed opt out of America's Choice, who makes the decision for the school to opt out of this program? Do the teachers who teach the program make the decision or the principal of the school?

Cross Keys teachers and Miller Grove teachers, can you tell us if you school had the choice to opt out of America's Choice - if so - who made the decision?

If my school opts out of America's Choice, can I use the Title 1 money that would have been spent for America's Choice in my school and hire additional Title 1 teachers who would work with small groups of struggling students?

Teachers at any schools that have opted out of America's Choice:
...Did you have a say in how those Title 1 dollars that were going to be spent in their school since they were no longer going to America's Choice?

Anonymous said...

This past Tuesday, August 3, Pearson, one of the world's largest educational companies, acquired America's Choice. http://www.americaschoice.org/news

America's Choice has proved so lucrative it was spun off from ACT (American College Testing - the other SAT folks) as a for profit company.

Now it is being acquired by Pearson. Make no mistake that this is a lucrative business involving huge amounts of money. to quote the America's Choice website:
"The Obama Administration has identified more than 5,000 schools in need of such improvement, and allocated nearly $17 billion dollars to fund the efforts by states and districts."

It really has little to do with students and a lot to do with profit.

I'm really not concerned with the profit motive. If business can do it better, I'm all for it. But in this case, America's Choice has not proved efficacious for DCSS students - not in the early 2000's when it was paid for by the state of Georgia and not in recent years when DeKalb taxpayers paid for it.

My understanding is that a number of DCSS Central office personnel are now working for America's Choice, and this has proved a good connection for this company. At some point, we have to make the DCSS Central Office responsible for the expenditure of taxpayers money in the form of increased student achievement.

I'm sorry, but America's Choice sounds like more of the same friends and family coupled with the desire to have a quick fix to me.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom and Anon 6:39
Principals made the decision on America's Choice for this school year. It is my understanding that the contract going before the board Monday is nearly the same about as what was spent last year. How can this be so if we are getting a fraction of the services?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom @6:55

Good comment.

I'm not surprised the principal decided to use America's Choice and not the teachers.

Last year the price was $8,000,000 for America's Choice.

Where is the data that supports the use of America's Choice in terms of student achievement?

The student achievement in DCSS has gone down - not up - therefore spending tens of millions (remember that the $8,000,000 Instructional Coaches come with the $8,000,000 America's Choice program) for a program that has produced negative results seems to be an incredibly poor business decision.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The 2010-2011 school year will be the second year of implementation. This year, principals and their staff have been provided the opportunity to customize the services offered by America’s Choice to meet the needs of their school. The implementation of the design will vary by school.

Just go the agenda for Monday night's meeting and go to #8 under Consent Agenda Items. There are 4 attachments for your review.

Anonymous said...

Any Cross Keys teachers who want to comment on their enthusiasm for America's Choice - please chime in.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that America's Choice isn't consistent with the CRCT curriculum and/or End of Course Test curriculum and that's why the test scores are so out of line and why there's really no excuse to spend the money on it. Teachers need to be trusted to teach in smaller class room settings. It's not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who writes his/her BOE member regarding America's Choice, please post their reply here so we can see their rationale for approving the millions of dollars for this program in a budgetary and educational crisis.

Anonymous said...

Dear Board of Education Members and Ms. Tyson,

I do not think that another dime should be spent on America's Choice. As a former educator, parent, and tax payer, I have looked into America's Choice. All research that I can find on the programs
America's Choice sells have been done by the authors of America's Choice. There sample size is small and therefore the outcomes are unreliable.

Having had America's Choice already in our schools, I am not seeing the positive outcomes that we would hope to see. I do not here positive experiences being talked about by either the children or teachers who have to teach this program. I do not see the data in our school district after spending millions of dollars on America's Choice within the school implementing the program.

As a tax payer, I do not see how another single dollar can be sent on America's Choice or such programs related to America's Choice. If more money is spent on America's Choice, a failing program in my eyes and the eyes of many other tax payers, I and others will be led to believe that these programs are being purchased not because they actually benefit our children, but because these programs benefit a friend or family member and will be another expensive, unworthy purchase that we will chalk up to the Friends and Family Program.

Ms. Tyson, I sat through your after school teacher meeting in the spring where you promised transparency. I and many others continue to wait patiently.

I also hear horror stories of Mr. Beasley and question his knowledge of instruction and curriculum, as he only has 3 years teaching experience. Yes, he holds a doctoral degree, but so do many others who have much more practical classroom experience. He is bogging down our already over burdened teachers with mindless emails. With the larger class sizes, loss of teacher work days, and other duties piled on to teachers this year, I would think that his focus would be on educating the children and working with the failing schools (of which we have many) to improve the quality of instruction, so that DeKalb can rise above the many scandals that are plaguing the system over the past few years.

Anonymous said...

cont:
I would also hope that you would utilize the expensive teacher coaches to help improve quality instruction. Having been a reading coach in Pennsylvania, I filled my days working with teachers helping them improve the quality of instruction that they delivered. I teamed with the teachers and we raised the quality of instruction that took place within the walls of the classrooms in which I worked. I gained respect from reluctant teachers, because I did not look down or degrade and I really wanted what was best for the children.

DCSS has too many unnecessary expenditures. The teaching coaches should have the same salary scale as a teacher, as they really are equal to a teacher. I have friends who are coaches in other school districts and they are on the same pay scale as the teachers.

We waste gross amounts of money in our system and it is time that you treat the tax payer dollars as it was your own money. I personally cannot afford to throw money away on programs or materials that do not work effectively. I cannot afford to pay people who come and do work for me more than the going market rate.

Our children deserve better than what they are being given and offered. It is time board of education members and Ms. Tyson that you put the children above your friends and family working with and in the district. Do the right thing. Downsize our administrative levels. Stop spending money on programs that are not workings. Stop requiring teachers to do mindless paper work, that takes away from the time that they could be preparing meaningful lessons, grading papers, working with students, and planning with colleagues.

Put our children first and have transparency so that the public can begin to gain faith in our school system once again.

Anonymous said...

I sent the above to our school board and Tyson and will let you know if I hear anything. I never have received a response to any previous email, but maybe this time is the charm.

Anonymous said...

Two questions maybe someone can answer for me....
1) If DCSS wants us to differentiate education to meet the needs of the individual students in the class, why won't they let the teachers teach through their own styles rather than make everyone use the same cookie-cutter method?
2) If Dr. Beasley can't legally do my job in the state of Georgia, what makes him think he knows how to do my job?

Anonymous said...

My favorite and scary thing to see a degree from

www.printmydoctorateout.com

Sat through the "elluminate" session, and she is wanting to "clean up," and I understand, but how are you going to do that?

This Multiple Intelligence scheme is kinda arduous. I teach an AP course. When am I going to have time to analyze and score all my kids on this scale while keeping pace with AP rigor and prepping these kids for the exam? I dont have time to use the bathroom much less do this MI approach. I heard its pretty old (from the 80s)

Looks like this is a good year to keep my head down and control what goes on in my classroom and just deal with my kids success and worry about the lack of incompetence of others later on.

Viola Davis said...

To Parents Who Care:


My family was told that our child was accepted to change schools under the ESEA Public School Choice Program. We thought that our child would attend Tucker Middle School. However, we received a phone call stating that our child was accepted into Tucker Annex. When we called to find out where Tucker Annex was located, we learned that address was the same as Tucker Middle School.

We were informed that Tucker Middle School was over crowded and the school system moved an “annex” to Avondale Middle School. When we asked if Avondale Middle School passed AYP, we were told that Avondale did not pass AYP. The “annex” is an extension of Tucker Middle School with special teachers from Tucker Middle placed at Avondale Middle totally separate from the regular staff and children located at the school.

When we asked if this was simply a backdoor way to say that DeKalb County school system was offering “choice” while actually having parents send their children from one school that did not pass AYP to another school that did not pass AYP, we were told that they are offering a school that passed AYP by having teacher from the school that passed AYP. Does this rational make sense to you?

We were told that we were the only parents to complain about this “annex” system of school choice. We were told that our school system has used the “annex” system of school choice for several years. We want you to understand that this is the first year that we qualified to actually move our child to another school under the school choice program.

We understand that it is a crime to use an address simply to have access to a particular school and not live at that location. However, the school system can use the address of a school that passed AYP under the “annex system”; yet, house the class location at a school that failed AYP and claim that they are offering parents “choice”.

Are we the only Parents Who Care to question this form of school choice? Have you complained about this “annex system” of school choice? Please send me an email if you have complained about the ESEA school choice program.

Sincerely,

Viola Davis at voterwhocares@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I couldn't understand a word of what Tyson said during that session today so I don't really know what I signed off on.....

As far as the MI and what not -- at what point do we start preparing students for the post-secondary world? They're in for a rude awakening in college.

Anonymous said...

Viola, what happened to your child is a legal remedy according to ESEA (NCLB). The annexes are considered that, and extension of that school that has been relocated to another facility that has available space. You child's grades will become a part of Tucker Middle, not Avondale. Your child's teachers are considered staff members of Tucker Middle.

It would not be fair to overburden Tucker Middle and possible add more trailers to an already tight space. Space exists in brick and mortar schools throughout the district.

Cerebration said...

The October 2009 FTE count at Tucker MS was 1,158. Does anyone know the capacity of this new building?

The FTE count at that time for Henderson MS was 1,324. Henderson must also accept AYP transfers - in their building - no annex. Does anyone know the capacity of HMS?

Capacities have changed somehow recently. The capacity figures I have are 1,170 for Tucker MS and 1,062 for Henderson MS. Are these still correct? If so, it surely looks like Henderson is waaaaay more crowded than Tucker. But Henderson will take on transfers in the building in 6th and 8th grades. Why so protective of Tucker? Too new? Too nice?

Trailers are also a "legal remedy" for AYP transfers. Why is it ok to place trailers at Henderson and Lakeside but not at Tucker?

Cerebration said...

BTW, Viola, yes, we've had quite a bit of discussion about this "annex" system for AYP transfers. It's a wacky, short-sighted solution. It's even worse than adding trailers to the "receiving" schools and severely over-crowding them.

The problem is, there are so many failing middle and high schools and so few that can accept the transfers. Why can we not do everything it takes to just make the home schools better?!! What about offering intense tutoring or Saturday school? There are ways to make things better for everyone in the building - not just the people who are tuned in and know how to get a transfer.

Anonymous said...

Viola, you may have already seen this but take a look at the Choice brochure that explains the sending and receiving schools this year along with the remedies. You can read it at:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/esea/choice/files/6BB33B7F81D04F33A849CAE1F8617E36.PDF

Anonymous said...

The annex situation seems to be an expedient way to satisfy the NCLB transfers. I was wondering when a parent was going to ask this question.

Anonymous said...

On the high school level the ONLY school that made AYP with space to accept students is Arabia Mountain. This is a beautiful new school, chock full of technology and new equipment, great test scores, etc. Q: What is the ONLY high school that is NOT taking NCLB transfer students on its campus? A: Arabia Mountain.

I'd like to see the feds and the news media look into this DCSS decision.

Molly said...

Trailers are also a "legal remedy" for AYP transfers. Why is it ok to place trailers at Henderson and Lakeside but not at Tucker?

Tucker is still under construction. I don't think there is anywhere that you could safely put trailers at Tucker at the moment. I drive past this site everyday, and there really doesn't seem to be any space that isn't part of the construction zone right now. You just can't put student trailers in a hardhat zone.

Anonymous said...

"On the high school level the ONLY school that made AYP with space to accept students is Arabia Mountain. This is a beautiful new school, chock full of technology and new equipment, great test scores, etc. Q: What is the ONLY high school that is NOT taking NCLB transfer students on its campus? A: Arabia Mountain.

I'd like to see the feds and the news media look into this DCSS decision."

What room? They have 33-35 kids in all their classes, and all the classrooms are used, and they got the annex @ Lithonia?

So what room are you referring to?

Cerebration said...

Sorry, Molly, I should have clarified - we had been discussing Tucker Middle School - where they have established an "annex" at Avondale for transfers instead of sending students to Tucker (MS).

Cerebration said...

Interesting chart here -
DeKalb County School System Historical Perspective Public School Choice 2009-2010

You can see from this chart that elementary schools have improved quite a bit, middle schools have improved somewhat, but high schools are crashing and burning. We only had 2 high schools in "Needs Improvement" status in 2002 and now we have 15. The chart also informs us that of the 27,448 eligible students in "failing" schools, just over 4% take advantage of a transfer option. What are we doing for the other 96%?

Anonymous said...

Viola

Even though this is legal it does not fix the problem. Your child will be an avondale middle student. They will not come over to Tucker for pep rallies, they will not play on the Tucker football team or participate in the academic bowl as a Tucker student.

The exact thing is happening with Arabia Mountain annex at Lithonia. Those students won't have to wear uniforms or be under the guidance of Dr. Pringle. While Arabia has room in its building their student population will not be affected. Chamblee however will be in direct violation of fire code since they were already overcrowded before the decision to place them as a receiving school. Parents who can read probably elected to choose Chamblee anyway since they know what the word "annex" means. As any parent that was subjected to Tucker Middle School annex three years ago and they'll tell you the truth!

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mtn. also has abundant space for trailers on the Arabia campus.

Chamblee is in a landlocked urban neighborhood and has been very overcrowded for the last 3 years. Chamblee has no room for additional trailers, no space in the cafeteria to feed students, no lockers for students, etc.

Why is Arabia Mtn getting special treatment?

Dekalbparent said...

Regarding annexes - logic would dictate that if there is not enough room at the AYP school (e.g. Tucker MS), then there are probably not enough teachers to teach all the transfers either. Therefore, more teachers will have to be assigned to cover the annex...

These teachers would probably come from other DCSS schools(?), and be designated Tucker MS teachers, but they have not actually taught at Tucker before now, and they have not/will not have daily contact with the other Tucker MS teachers. Thus, SOMEBODY would not be getting actual Tucker teachers, unless the annex had all Tucker teachers assigned to it, and all the transferred teachers go to the actual Tucker MS.

This does not strike me as following the spirit of the law, and it smacks of a technicality that allows the school system to "comply" with ESEA. It also seems disingenuous to give Tucker MS's address for an annex actually physically located at Avondale MS.

Ms. Davis, you have legitimate concerns.

Dunwoody Mom said...

These "annex" locations are legal under ESEA - they are used across the country.

Anonymous said...

have to agree w/ Dunwoody mom on this one. Its legit, and have seen it throughout the state.

regarding Arabia, where would you put the trailers? its in the woods and backs up to another school.

cant develop the land for the trailers on a federally protected area.

Location probably deems trailers out of the question rather than the school.

Cerebration said...

Lakeside's trailers were on the tennis courts and have been moved to the softball fields.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Davis

The annex is legal and in some systems (New York City comes to mind) have been used to reinvent troubled schools.

Unfortunately, not so much in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

While annexes may be legal and legit, in reality they are separate schools that have little contact with the school whose name they carry. It seems like compliance to the law is what DCSS is striving for rather than improving the learning environment for students.

Anonymous said...

Lakeside High School now has no tennis courts, no baseball field, no practice fields, and basically no outside PE fields until the completion of the new construction.
How can you saw there is no room for trailers at Arabian when they are put everywhere all over this county. If you do not want AYP students at that school you do not want trailers.

Anonymous said...

Let's annex some kids into Dunwoody High School, as soon as their renovations are done!

Dunwoody Mom said...

Sorry, Dunwoody is still in a "Needs Improvements" status - can't accept transfers. But, then again, you knew that.

Anonymous said...

DCSS has long had another option to transfering students to a school that makes AYP. I have reapeatedly raised this with DCSS management and the BOE yet they do nothing. They know that each year the number of receiving schools is decreasing and the constant influx of the transfer students is now causing the receiving schools to fail AYP.

NCLB guidance (January 14, 2009) provides that if the system does not have the physical capacity to offer transfers to eligible students that the system may consider:

"Creating new, distinct schools with separate faculty within the physical sites of schools identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring."

Instead of setting up an Arabia Mtn. annex at Lithonia, DCSS should immediately take steps to create a new school at Lithonia or another under-populated high school building. DCSS is already hiring/moving many, many high school teachers just to satisfy the hundreds of high school transfer requests. All they need is a principal and a couple APs and they have a new school that meets the requirements of school choice under NCLB.

Heck, with a little planning they could probably open an Arabia Mtn "clone" by next year.

Cerebration said...

In fact, the trailers at Lakeside were moved months ago in 'anticipation' of construction -- which has now been bumped to start in November. The principal has already sent around a letter asking neighbors to allow parking on the street in front of their homes. There's only going to be 40 spaces at Heritage (walkable to LHS) or a few more negotiated from the church up the street along with just a few actually at LHS during construction. At first there would be no parking passes issued, but apparently, they gave some out at registration (first come first served - not as needed by those who have dual enrollment or other commitments). It's going to be very difficult to manage this LHS construction site. I would suggest creating a satellite for parking at Northlake mall and offering school bus shuttles to and fro. Then only give parking spaces to those with a specific need to come and go during the day.

I digress - but the point is - these intown schools are very landlocked and make for difficult job sites as is - much less adding thousands of students and teachers and their cars in the mix. Arabia has none of these issues. I think I'll take a tour of Arabia one day during school to see if it's true that all of the classrooms are full - packed with 35 to a class and that there's no room for trailers anywhere on campus.

Anonymous said...

Why not just address the real issues at our failing schools?

1. Low expectations for students.
2. Passing students along without the necessary skills.
3. Allowing students to disrupt the classes/school in a variety of ways.
4. Having principals with little teaching experience themselves to know what quality teaching looks like.
5. Not giving teachers the professional development needed.
6. Relying on programs like America's Choice to correct the issues and not engaging teachers to come up with solutions to the problems.

Th list could go on.

Until the real issues at our failing schools are taken on, we will continue to have more added to our list yearly, until all of our schools are not making AYP.

Raising student expectations and getting teachers involved in the solutions would greatly help these failing schools.

We desperately need a leader who wants to make our schools better and offer a quality education to all of our students.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

Until we meet the needs of all our children we are going to be in the same situation.

The funds are stretched so thin due to all the magnets, theme schools and choices that somewhere along the way administrators forgot that their purpose is to educate all the students in Dekalb. More magnets and options are given and neighborhood school continue to get lower and lower test scores. What do you expect? The magnet and theme schools pull the cream of the crop of students many times.

Anonymous said...

There is no student parking at all at Druid Hills, and I don't know if there ever will be. Half the faculty parking was destroyed to build the addition, which sits on top of them now.

Last year, DHHS was loaned some faculty parking by Emory, but those spaces are now gone, due to Emory demolition and construction.

This year ALL of the student parking is being given to faculty - keep in mind the student lot only has always had limited parking (only juniors and seniors with reason to leave campus ever got spaces).

The neighborhoods all have police-enforced NO PARKING EVER.

Looks like DeKalb police will be able to make up some revenue, maybe some of the neighborhood will make money renting driveways, and Haywood and North Decatur Roads will be clogged up to Clairmont with people dropping kids off...

Anonymous said...

We have plenty of funds. We are just not spending the money in the wisest of ways.

America's Choice, ESIS, new lighting for the school board meetings, lawyer fees, and so many other expenditures are a waste of money. Giving the board and administrators more money will never be the solution, it is demanding that they use the money wisely and in a fashion that truly benefits all of our children.

Anonymous said...

Druid Hills didn't make AYP, why are we worried about student parking?

I believe that there are more important matters about DHHS that should be addressed.

Cerebration said...

We're not too far from no high schools making AYP, IMO.

Very interesting quote Anon 10:01 -

"Creating new, distinct schools with separate faculty within the physical sites of schools identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring."

That again just sounds like - "Fix it for the people who complain." I mean, how sillly - create a totally separate school ON THE SAME CAMPUS AS THE FAILING SCHOOL???! That's absurd. But then again, it's an honest way to address the aggressive education-seekers and those who don't know they have to demand an alternative.

As far as parking goes - students do need transportation if they are dual-enrolled at GPC. Other than that - not sure why they can't ride the bus.

Neighbors around Lakeside were very alarmed at the prospect of spending the next year or two with cars lining their streets. This is simply not safe. A very bad idea.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 3:23 pm
"That again just sounds like - "Fix it for the people who complain." I mean, how sillly - create a totally separate school ON THE SAME CAMPUS AS THE FAILING SCHOOL???"

I thought that's what the IB program at DHHS is in effect already, and the parents of these students seem pretty happy with that alternative education within an existing school building that is not making Adequate Yearly Progress.

Cerebration said...

Well, I guess that's where we are. Take under-performing schools and create little oasis' of alternatives so that at least some students will get a good education. Hail Mary!

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 3:53

"Well, I guess that's where we are. Take under-performing schools and create little oasis' of alternatives so that at least some students will get a good education. Hail Mary! "

Of course that's where we are. It's been that way for years. This poor economy brought to light the mismanagement of the school system administration which turned the media spotlight on DCSS. The schools are in such dire straits that ordinary parents/taxpayers have been asking questions. There are many great parents in DCSS that weren't vocal and have always supported their local schools, but now they are asking the kind of questions you are posing. That's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting how Dunwoody parents are always calling for Chamblee schools to be closed while Dunwoody get new schools, while still over filling others, get their renovations done at their High School and their BOE Member, Jim Redovian continues to forget that he represents the schools in Chamblee as well.

I agree with earlier poster that we need to annex kids into Dunwoody High.

I moved to Chamblee area so my kids could attend CMS and CHS. Cross Keys is 8 miles from my home and a 20 minute walk from the Brookhaven Marta stop. However, my middle schooler has expressed an interest in attending Dunwoody High if DCSS did close CHS. Once again people talking about closing a school that has achieved their goals and is very diverse.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I find it interesting how Dunwoody parents are always calling for Chamblee schools to be closed

Really? When did Dunwoody parents call for Chamblee schools to be closed? Who said anything about closing Chamblee?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

"Really? When did Dunwoody parents call for Chamblee schools to be closed? Who said anything about closing Chamblee?"

You did. Every chance you get.

Actually, singlehandedly, Dunwoody Mom, you are giving Dunwoody an even worse reputation for "We got ours!" entitlement. And Dunwoody already had a reputation for back-room deal-cutting and selfishness that knows no bounds.

Dunwoody Mom said...

LOL - you're an idiot....sorry, cere, I know you don't like name-calling. I have NEVER advocated for Chamblee to be closed - please provide evidence as such. Why would I do that? I am a Chamblee graduate.

I have actually been very upfront of my disdain for the lack of attention paid to that school both in facilities and in the lack of attention paid to the resident students, i.e. non-magnet students.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Does anyone out there still have the Moseley "background noise" t shirts from several years ago???? If you do wear them to tonights board meeting.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting about the annex idea, as someone else posted, is that the intent was to reinvent the host school DCSS is just using it out of convenience and laziness.

The huge amounts of money that are now going to poured into McNair High School and Clarkston High could be used to totally reinvent those schools. The options were endless.

What is DCSS doing instead? Paying more $$$ to America's Choice for extra support. I am certain that Copelin-Woods would be upset about this if she clearly understood it, but she has such a hard time getting to the root of the problem. She talks about the issues with purchased programs but can never sustain an argument long enough and with enough lucidity that her fellow board members buy the argument.

If ESEA/NCLB isn't reauthorized and changed soon, then no high schools, with the exception of DSA, will make AYP. Then transfers will cease.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, wow! Stay calm. I think the poster was referring to one of your earlier posts where you talk about Chamblee High students rolling into a larger campus at Cross Keys. I had no idea you graduated from Chamblee, I'm happy to know that. My kids have an advocate to save that school and maybe bring some renovations that are so desperately needed. Clew kept promising us the renovations but he kept saying the next SPLOST...blah, blah, blah

I honestly do not think we're going to have another SPLOST until we have totally new leadership and transparency at DCSS.

Dunwoody Mom it's great to know you are an advocate for CHS and I can't wait to discuss with you how we can improve the facility there.

Cerebration said...

Actually, I've probably said that we could close Chamblee. If the school board wants to build a nice magnet campus for math, science and the arts on the North Druid Hills property and Cross Keys becomes an outstanding area vocational/technical/college-prep school, then that only leaves resident students from Chamblee HS. There aren't that many of them and they could attend any of the area schools - Dunwoody, Lakeside, Cross Keys or the new Druid Hills campus. I like both the idea of a Druid Hills magnet campus as well as a Cross Keys Technical Campus - I think these "campus-like" facilities would appeal to many students who simply don't do well in a traditional environment. Something with more choices, small group majors and flexibility is what's needed in our system.

Anonymous said...

As of yesterday the school choice (NCLB) transfers were up to 1577 students. I heard a rumor that the numbers went even higher today.

Does anyone have solid figures? This is a travesty for both the students looking for a new school and the students and teachers in the receiving schools.

Anonymous said...

August 4th was the deadline for NCLB request...The final figures were given by Moseley at the BOE meeting Monday. What is the source of this "rumor"?

Cerebration said...

True. This was covered in the August 9 meeting post.

Moseley reported that we have 93,764 students enrolled today, and expect that number to jump to 98,181 by Monday.

We have about 6,500 teachers and 10 teacher vacancies.

1,577 students applied for an AYP transfer. Chamblee HS has 198 acceptances and Arabia (well, the annex of Arabia which will actually be at Lithonia) has 240. Moseley has decided to wait three weeks before actually sending these AYP students to these schools. (Not sure what that's about...)

Anonymous said...

The stated reason for having the students wait is because they need the time to get the annex at Lithonia and Chamblee ready.

I think that they are hoping that students will change their minds.

For any parents sending their children to either of these schools, BE AWARE, that these schools are 7 period day schools. Your child will have missed the first three weeks of 3 entire classes. In addition, they should be 3 weeks ahead in the 4 classes they are taking on the block.

I am not sure anyone is telling folks this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Watch the August 2 board meeting and Gene Walkers' ridiculus comments about why Arabia Mountain high school is not taking NCLB transfer students on its campus. It seems that Arabia is "very special." What a slap in the face to Chamblee, Lakeside and Druid Hills.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Someone made this comment to me yesterday. I don't know if it is accurate, but, I was told that when the 200 NCLB transfers hit Chamblee, that majority of that school's student population will be from the south end of the county. Can this be true?

Anonymous said...

It may be true even without the transfers. The magnet program has lots of S. DeKalb students and most administrative and charter transfers are S. DeKalb students.

Chamblee was about 55 percent African-American last year. I don't think this is reflective of the resident Chamblee population.

This past year at Chamblee Middle, there were only 140 students as the magnet program is still at KMS. Only 30 percent of that class was African-American.

Anonymous said...

Who is paying for the new Superintendent of Teaching and Learning position? Why do we need all of these new positions? Why doesn't someone tell these people that email software is not designed to become a data warehouse to store massive amounts of information? What are the qualifications that allow one to work for this department? Why do we need new staff to monitor the monitors? How much is this costing the Dekalb County tax payers?

Mary Kay Woodworth said...

Better start talking to Chamblee Middle School parents. One week into the first semester, and they are very worried. The attitude that's been prevelant for years that "we're always going to lose kids to private school" still is true on our BOE.

Anonymous said...

What's got the Chamblee middle parents upset?