Thursday, September 9, 2010

DeKalb County School Closures and Redistricting are coming and listen to Board Member Sarah Copelin-Wood argue at the inequities.

Last week Ms. Ramona Tyson, Interim Superintendent of the DeKalb County School System informed those attending the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents Council that a number of schools in the central and south parts of DeKalb County are severely underpopulated, which means the district is spending more money to keep them up and running. Due to this and over population in the northern part of the county, Ms. Tyson said that redistricting and consolidation is a must for the entire district. She stated that numerous community meetings on the subject are in our future.

I was provided a DVD of the BOE meeting of August 27th and after viewing I decided to highlight Board Member, Ms. Sarah Copelin-Woods closing comments berating the data being used for future consolidation, the staff member providing it, as well as the process in moving forward. In my opinion, Ms. Woods seems a little out of touch in this 20 minute tirade (broken into two parts) where she not only publicly berates a single staffer, she openly states that she is willing to provide tit for tat on wasting our tax money as long as she gets hers. The comments in video 1 at 8:58, when she states "Fellow Board Members, I always voted for your schools, whatever it is. If you wanted a Taj Mahal out there with parking decks ..." is clearly a disgrace.

We deserve better.

Video of first half of comments.

2nd half with Ramona Tyson response.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I'm speechless. I would think this is behavior the Governor should look at as far as using his powers to remove a BOE member, such as he did with those from Warren County.

Anonymous said...

SACs has to step in first, before the Governor can exercise his power.

She seems to not understand that she was addressing Dan Drake, rather harshly.

In addition, if there is going to be a honest discussion about what needs to happen in the McNair cluster, they need a new board member. She seems to understand that things aren't going well, but she can't ever articulate it well.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The current SACS inquiry - could that not constitute SACS involvement?

Cerebration said...

I get very frustrated with Ms Woods as I do think she sometimes comes very close to making a cogent point, but then she flies off in another direction, never quite completing a sentence in her verbal stream of consciousness.

I understand that the people in her district are upset that some of their schools are being considered for consolidation, but they are not being well-represented by Ms Woods. She is making this a north/south, us/them issue when it is clearly not. She just doesn't understand the numbers. The schools being considered for consolidation only have a couple of hundred students in them. She does come close to wondering how it is that the charter schools popping up in the area are allowed to operate with just as few students, but she never can quite nail down a point.

Fact is, the schools in her district are losing out on state funding because they have too few students. This means that local tax dollars have to fill the gap - and that is what is inequitable.

I also find it quite revealing that she seemed to consider that her support for the "Taj Mahals" in Jay's district should have come back around for support to maintain the tiny schools in hers. She pretty much admitted that there is a tone of "tit for tat" on this board. That's just plain not right.

Anonymous said...

SB 84, the Gov can step in "if a local school system or school is placed on the level of accreditation immediately preceding loss of accreditation for school board governance related reasons by one or more accrediting agencies,

So SACs has to do more than investigate.

Anonymous said...

I think her point about the condition of the schools in her district is valid. These buildings are literally falling apart, crumbling foundation and all.

BUT, McNair Learning Academy was built to replace three old elementary schools. This school is just in its second year. So she has at least one very new school in her district.

If the enrollment trends don't change in the McNair cluster, and more students don't start to appear, it is probably appropriate to consider consolidating the remaining 50 year old schools into one new larger school.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I don't think the Governor used SB 84 to remove the board members...

Anonymous said...

This really steams me!! She is just too much! If they redistrict my neighborhood out of Lakeside just to make things "equitable" (North/South-wise) and leave the 200+ non-residents at Lakeside, I will go ballistic. We bought our house because it was the Lakeside district and we should have first choice to remain at Lakeside, not the people that were given special permission to attend.

Anonymous said...

I can not believe that Tom Bowen didn't put an end to her madness, and that no other BOE member called her out for her insane nonsense. She is out o control and worse than any board member that had Clayton County lose its accreditation.

She is a true embarassment and a major detriment to the school system. This is not a person who should be allowed to help shape the course of any school ssytem, let alone the 26th largest one in the USA.

I am dumbfounded at her remarks, but also furious that our BOE members are so passive and limp.

Anonymous said...

Please tell every voter/taxpayer you know about the video link to SCW's comments.

No reasonable adult would conclde that SCW is sane and should be allowed to set policy and steering a system that affects 98,000 children.

I'm actually woried about her mental health. This is not a healthy indivdual.

Anonymous said...

This is the exact reason why District 3 needs new leadership.
WWW.ELECTWILSON2010.COM Corey is the gentleman that has the PROFESSIONALISM to get it done. Your support for him, is a support for all of Dekalb.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anon 10:36 -
"If they redistrict my neighborhood out of Lakeside just to make things "equitable" (North/South-wise) and leave the 200+ non-residents at Lakeside, I will go ballistic."

Before any discussions of overcrowding and redistricting, the non-resident students need to be evaluated and removed from the enrollment numbers. This is the case at Fernbank Elem, where there are rumors of redrawing district lines to help with overcrowding while there are well over 140 non-residents currently enrolled at the school.

Anonymous said...

At about 6:10 in the second segment, someone apparently asked Bowen to cut her off and Copelin-Woods went ballistic. The very best bit though is at 11:30 in the second video when she treats Ramona Tyson like a 4 year old, essentially telling her to "look at me when I'm talking to you."

Dunwoody Mom said...

I am dumbfounded at her remarks, but also furious that our BOE members are so passive and limp

Perhaps the other board members were trying to follow board rules in the manner the SCW was not:

Board members shall work with each other in a spirit of harmony and cooperation even when there are differences of opinion. Board members shall interact with each other in a respectful and professional manner. Disagreements among Board members shall be handled in a professional and non-confrontational manner.

Anonymous said...

What you couldn't see in the video is the reactions and actions of the other board members. That is why SCW says so many times, listen to me or I listened to you, etc.

She could see them getting up and leaving, physically turning away from her, etc.

The problem for the board is that when they try to interrupt her, it just gets worse. She gets more belligerent and hostile. In the first half of the video, Ms.Tyson tries to answer her questions/statements, and SCW doesn't stop.

As someone who was actually there, I know the board was very constricted, you could see it in their body language.

I do think that the Board needs to institute a time limit on all discussions from here on out. At the regularly scheduled meetings they have one, it is time to use one for the called meetings as well.

Anonymous said...

There should be a time limit. To allow her to rant and be little a person like that is uncalled for. She is not about all of the children in DeKalb. This is obvious time and time again. As a parent, we all have trouble getting to meetings after work, but this is something that we do, if we care about our children.

The bottom line is that we have schools that are very over crowded and we have schools that do not have enough students and cost the school district too much money.

SCW needs to have actions taken against her for this rant and misbehavior of the employee. She was out of line in the way that she reacted and responded to both this employee and Ms. Tyson is not acceptable.

I hope that decisions for this are made after the elections, as we need to have level heads in this decision. It is obvious to me that SCW is not capable of making a sound decision for the children of DCSS.

I pray that we get new blood in. Someone who is able to see the big picture and how decisions effect the district as a whole and not just their particular area.

Thank you for obtaining this video and showing us what happened. Disgust and outrage is how I feel.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Amen and Amen. Anon 12:54p.m.
I pray that we get new blood in. Someone who is able to see the big picture and how decisions effect the district as a whole and not just their particular area.

I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Wilson at an event recently and was thrilled at his ability to answer questions with facts and not use race a contributing factor. Anon at 6:26 a.m. WOW is putting it lightly. SCW as a Board Member for the next 4 years is totally 10 steps backwards for DCSS. Please let your voice be heard on 11/2/2010. No to SCW and yes to Corey Wilson. He made one statement during our conversation that showed me he understands what DCSS needs "Unity is only gained by getting rid of the racial divide, We are 1 Dekalb not North or South" Thank you Mr. Wilson for wanting to help us turn the corner.

Anonymous said...

I used to like SCW. I admired her fiestiness, and every once in a while, she'd ask a brilliant question.

But she's outta control. Her mind is fried. This is not a person who should have any authority, let alone be one of a small number of people who control a billion dollar budget of taxpayer dollars.

Tom Bowen is chair of the board. He needs to have the cajones and gravity to take control of a meeting when a member has flown off the deep end. Then again, Tom Bowen named a person with DCSS contracts to be the head of the Citizen's Construction Advisory board. Tom also defended C Lew time and time again. It's time for a new BOE chair (hey, set up Pam Speaks!).

But back to SCW: She is not in control of her mental faculties. Everyone has their bad days, but her performance on the video crosses the line. She clearly deserves an an official adminishing by the board.

P.S. Cere, hey whatever happened with that e-mail exchange back and forth with SCW and Tom Bowen, when a member of the school closing advisory panel asked for an investigation of SCW? Tom Bowen had the nerve to hope the public would forget about it and it would go away, but SCW pressed him to say it publically. Tom Bowen is inefective as chair, and there's no defending him.

Cerebration said...

I don't think anything ever came of the emails between Bowen and Wood. Sadly, if it had, perhaps she could have been reeled in earlier. However, she was left with a sense of being "untouchable" regarding her meddling in the Task Force's school consolidation plans.

For a review, refer back to these posts

Spinning a web of deceit our board reps try in vain to sweep their own debris under the rug

and

Faye Andresen writes . . .

(You know what they say, "Never write something in an email that you wouldn't want on the front page of the New York Times". That's really how fast emails get shared.)

Anonymous said...

Would love to see this, but since the county blocks YouTube, guess I'll have to wait until I get home.

Anonymous said...

WOW! This lady is out-of-touch!

We have an estimated 6,782 open seats in 29 schools as reported on the school system website last spring. (See the redistricting information.) We need a comprehensive, county-wide redistricting plan this year. As a taxpayer, I am tired of paying for some children to sit in small classes in nice new schools when others are sweating it out in large classes that are held in rundown trailers. If this is all about the children, then Ms. Copelin-Wood needs to look beyond her own little neighborhood and see how her obstructionist tactics affect all of the children in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

We had to put up with talk like this during the last time they closed schools. We were placing facts about the growth in our area and yet she just called our school a "white school" in the north part of the county.

At the time, when the school was open, we were the most diverse elementary school in the DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Well, hopefully, THIS loud, unprofessional, disrespectful outburst will seal her fate and her tenure as DCSS BOE member will come to an end.

I always wonder if others are embarrassed, even her peers, isn't she embarrassed. I keep waiting and waiting for someone to say something, anything, positive about the representation of Sarah Copelin-Wood and Zepora Roberts.

I pray, yes pray, that we get people on this board next go around that's professional in the way they present themselves.

Anonymous said...

If we don't, then I think I'll just slug someone.

Anonymous said...

What is she talking about McNair es being overcrowded? The enrollment data indicates it is under capacity.

Anonymous said...

SCW must go. She is hurting "the cheeldren" in her district as she constantly refers to them. I do not think she has the mental ability to process reality any more. By consolidating a few schools the students and teachers will win with more resources, more teachers, etc. Class size has very little to do with school enrollment.

Please if you live in this district vote for a new BOE member.

Anonymous said...

Bowen let this ridiculous rant go on much too long. She should have been admonished on camera for violating policy.

However, she gave Bowen an "out" when she said if you put a time limit on me then I can't stay here any longer (or something to that effect.) So... give her a one minute time limit. If she wants more free publicity she can hold a press conference.

I have a splitting headache from watching this worthless tirade.

No Duh said...

The Sept. 7 Board meeting is now available on the DCSS website, on demand.

Anonymous said...

Having attended several of the citizen's planning task force meetings, I can say with great confidence that the parents in her schools appreciate all her efforts to save their schools. They love their community schools.

Anonymous said...

If these parents want to keep these under utilized schools, then maybe they should have to pay a premium to send their children to these schools, as they are costing the district more money to run, than other better utilized schools.

I am sure that the parents of the schools that closed in the last go around liked their schools as well. Many of these children are now in over crowded schools, because of this poorly thought out move.

Right now, the district needs redistricting and right sizing of schools. There are going to be many people all over the county. Parents who are upset that their precious school is closing. Parents who are upset that their child will have to attend a different school in a different attendance area. Taxpayers who are upset that the premium they paid for their house is now lost because of the change in schools that their children will now attend. Etc, etc, etc.

The bottom line is that the district needs to get it's act together and make our district more efficient. We can no longer keep everything the way that it is. The funding simply is not there. This also goes for other workers in the central office, maintenance, Coaches, Video, and any other area of staffing that we are simply paying people too much money or that they are simply not qualified to do the job in which they are getting paid to do.

This taxpayer and parent have had enough waste. We are spending too much money on trailers that really are unnecessary if lines were just redrawn.

Anonymous said...

We are spending too much money on trailers that really are unnecessary if lines were just redrawn.

This isn't totally true. There are some easy fixes, but in many cases the schools with spaces are no where near the schools with space. Take a look at the Cross Keys elementary schools, on both sides with almost no exceptions, they are surrounded by elementary schools that are full or nearly full.

How far are we willing to bus our elementary students?

Anonymous said...

Simply put, SCW's tirade sits square on the shoulders on the weak, ineffective, out of his league chairperson Tom Bowen. This is a big boy/big girl world, and Tom Bowen fails 740,000 county residents/taxpayers, and 98,000 students and their parents. SCW's idiotic, racist outburst should have been ended after a few minutes, Thanks for nothing Tom Bowen

Anonymous said...

Bowen is in an unenviable position. This could have been avoided. It should have been easily predicted, as Sara Copelin-Woods is still so upset about the school closings. Using a time limit of 10 minutes is clearly the way to go.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:46

"This is the case at Fernbank Elem, where there are rumors of redrawing district lines to help with overcrowding while there are well over 140 non-residents currently enrolled at the school. '

People will pay $40,000 to $50,000 more for the same house to be zoned into Fernbank ES so it's understandable that you feel this way (witness which side of Willivee you are on).

I used to teach at Fernbank ES so I realize that the parent involvement and PTA money that goes into Fernbank is a real benefit for students including your child.

Until DCSS rightsizes the enormous admin and support side, schools will continue to be divided into the haves and have nots (depending on the PTAs and parent volunteers) because they cannot get adequate funding and support any other way.

If you are a parent in an affluent area, you need to be advocating for DCSS to stop draining the schoolhouse to fund admin and support (1,239 Central Office employees and 7,300 support versus 6,500 teachers) and place that money into the schools. If you get rezoned (and many of you will), you will not have that affluent PTA cushion and involved volunteers. DCSS students should not be so dependent on where they live as to what their educational opportunities are.

It would be wise for all parents to begin advocating for DCSS to spend more INSIDE the schoolhouse than OUTSIDE the schoolhouse so all schools have:
1. A safe and clean environment
2. A competent teacher in a reasonably sized classroom
3. Abundant access to cutting edge science and technology equipment

Ensuring ALL schools have these components is the best way to make sure your child is not on the losing end in redistricting.

Anonymous said...

I don't think SCW is embarrassed and I think that many of her constituents will applaud her efforts.

Anonymous said...

I hope they are sensible enough not to base the redistricting on the current school population without removing all transfers from the equation. By my reading of the documents, there are schools that would be overcrowded even if only the children in the current attendance zone are counted, but the parents will accept redistricting, because it cannot be avoided.

If the lines are redrawn without subtracting transfers, I predict crowds will descend on the Palace from my neighborhood, at least.

Anonymous said...

One of the challenges that DCSS faces in redistricting that other school systems like Fulton and Cobb, don't is the impact that parental financial contributions are having at our schools. And how this varies greatly within out high school clusters.

Fernbank is a perfect example. The school receives tremendous financial support from parents. If only 100 of those parents are redistricted to an elementary school where fewer parents can give substantially, those parents and children will see a difference in the school.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:31

I hope you are right. I also hope they come up with a policy about what to do with administrative transfers at schools.

If redistricting is going to occur, do the administrative transfers have to leave as well?

Anonymous said...

"Fernbank is a perfect example. The school receives tremendous financial support from parents. If only 100 of those parents are redistricted to an elementary school where fewer parents can give substantially, those parents and children will see a difference in the school. '

Exactly. But that is because DCSS has such inequality from school to school because so much is spent OUTSIDE the schoolhouse rather than INSIDE the schoolhouse. Vanderlyn is a prime example. They chose to have "permanent" trailers to be installed so their children could attend Vanderlyn which has a very affluent PTA and many involved parent volunteers. The PTA and involved volunteers make up for the fact that DCSS spends so much more for admin and support services than for teachers and a safe, clean and tech rich environment for students.

Anonymous said...

All of the 1,239 Central Office employees and many personnel in the Support services side can send their children to any school they want. This is a huge number of students that cause an imbalance.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder about whether the resident count at some of the "desirable" schools (i.e. with wealthy PTAs) includes students who don't actually live in the district, but were enrolled as living there.

I know of a student in one of these schools whose parent rented a garage apartment in the district, but does not live there. I had a woman at to my yard sale this year who told me she had leased a studio apartment so she could get her kids into a specific school, even though they "go home" every night.

Folks are desperate to get their kids where they feel they will get the best - who wouldn't be - but it makes redistricting an incredibly difficult problem. The suspicion is everywhere, and if parents feel as if they have a good situation, they will not let go of it easily.

Yet another reason we HAVE to redirect the money to the schools.

Anonymous said...

Now that we know how SC-W feels, maybe she won't speak again. On and on and on. And on. My goodness! Do the children in your district a favor and stop hurting them by arguing with your peers and talking down to your peers. You speak so much about not hurting the children, yet your tirade hurts them more than you will probably ever be willing to look at and admit. People like you like to hear themselves talk, but rarely see how they are perceived.

Anonymous said...

SCW forgets her "cheeldren" when they leave her schools and head for another district. Her actions and votes take care of her area - she is oblivious to them and the needs of the rest of the county where her constituents may have enrolled by taking advantage of the AYP transfer option.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:03 You are right about that! Redovian requested that list this summer. Would admin. transfer and special permission requests be available through Open Records? If not, Dan Drake, can you find out that data and update your figures for us? Our schoolhouse teachers had to jump a thousand hoops to get permission for their children to attend the school or feeder school where they teach - a no brainer since it benefits the schools in that feeder because the teacher can be there for morning and afternoon tutoring, clubs, coaching, etc - otherwise they'd have to leave to pick up a child across town. However, central office staff, who do not directly benefit a local schoolhouse get the pick of the system!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:31
Yes, all transfers (except AYP that are already at a school and are allowed to complete the highest grade in that school) need to return to their home schools. Parents as recently as this year have received special permission to attend schools not in their district with arguments like: when I bought my house, I was told it was in this school zone...my child has gone to school with his friends since kindergarten...

Folks, purchasing a home in no way obligates the school system to grandfather an attendance zone for you. If you choose to get special permission for your child for a school, you need to be prepared to accept that you may be placing your child in a position down the road to be separated from friends when they graduate from that school - don't lay that on the school system - it is yours to own!

Anonymous said...

I watched this video on more than one occassion & I still cannot believe what I am seeing!! The sad part is that Sarah Copelin-Wood is a board member that WE have elected!! She cannot complete a thought process let alone articulate her point(s) effectively or professionally. I, as a concerned parent, can completly relate to the frustrations one feels when it comes to the well being of our children & a desire to fight for their rights. However, as responsible adults we realize that the best way to get things accomplished &/or make a difference is to do so in a calm, diplomatic, respectful & surely grammatically correct manner. Sarah Copelin-Wood, as evidenced in this and many other meetings, is incapable of this. How can we continue to allow her to oversee School policy & procedures?? Our children deserve better!! Our children deserve someone who will not rant & rave but instead properly research, effectively discuss at the end of the day, make a difference in the lives of our children.
Someone suggested I go to www.electwilson2010.com and look at what Corey Wilson had to say. I did & now I'm suggesting you do the same. I read up on what he stands for & the differences he wants to make; and I say volunteer to help make a difference, sign-up to further his cause, carry a sign, spread the word, donate to his campaign. Something, Anything.... But let's get Corey Wilson on the board & give our children a fighting chance!!!

Anonymous said...

Actually, a few years ago SCW was obsessed with the high number of middle and high school students from her district that weren't at their home school. It was about 2005, and the system did a report for the board, at SCW's insistence. This report showed how many students from each school were enrolled at each school.

McNair middle had over 300 students at other schools. Now it is 254.

The continual problem with SCW is that she understands that there is a huge problem in her district, she just can't articulate exactly what it is and how to start fixing it.

Anonymous said...

It's understandable that many are giving SCW credit for "saving her schools". The fact is she's one of the five needed votes to save them.

So credit where credit is due to this forward-thinking board.

Anonymous said...

Actually the state advised against closing the schools last year.

I don't know how many of you are aware that under Dr. Lewis, DCSS had a tenuous relationship, at best, with the GA DOE folks. I believe that some of this was because Ms. Pope was hiding things and didn't want the state to reveal them.

When Ms. Tyson met with state officials, they discussed the need for DeKalb to do a master plan for facilities in order to fully leverage state dollars.

That is what Dan Drake and Barbara Colman are working on now.

Anonymous said...

Trailers are the easy way out for the DCSS leadership! Our school was closed several years ago, while redevelopment of old multi-family complexes took place. The short term decrease in numbers gave Clew a chance to move another school into the facility.

Now the other two elementary schools have trailers and are packed! No one expected the economy to dump and since private is no longer an option for so many in the attendance zones, the schools need relief.
The first two "instructional cottages" arrived this week at our neighborhood schools. The funny thing the cottages are now sitting on a new $500k parking lot, that was finished last year, to provide parking for the packed school, now that parking is gone.

I love our school, however the leadership needs to go! I look forward to the plans that Drake and Colman are putting together.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. DeKalb is ready to close under enrolled schools, not because they don't like neighborhood schools, but because under enrolled schools don't have the magical 450 students to get full State funding. Then the State tells DeKalb: No, wait, keep those small schools open and put together a plan which may take over a year to develop.

DeKalb does so at the State's request. Since apparently the single only reason the small schools are open is because the State requested them to be so, shouldn't the State be providing 100% full funding for them in the interim?

I'm at the point I don't know who's in charge of making the difficult decisions anymore. Clearly it's not the local BOE. I don't think it's the State, but they have shown enormous influence. Maybe it's really the new DeKalb Delegation legislative group who pledge to help DCSS get out of it's mess. Oh, that's something to look forward to...

Everyone get those Superman capes out of the closet and join in, the power vacuum is waiting for you.

Dunwoody Mom said...

When I was a student in DCSS, in the Dark Ages, my elementary school was very overcrowded. They handled it by putting classes in storage rooms with no windows and taking single classrooms, dividing them in half with a plywood wall thus making 2 classrooms out of 1 classroom. I think trailers, while not optimal, are a way better alternative.

Dunwoody Mom said...

There is a called Meeting today of the BOE at 1:00 p.m. Any idea of the reason? Perhaps SCW's behavior?

Anonymous said...

Where do you get the information regarding the "Last minute" called meetings by BOE?

Does anyone know what happened at the meeting today at 1pm?

Sagamore 7

Cerebration said...

This is all the agenda said about today's meeting -


C. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
It is requested that the DeKalb Board of Education adopt the September 10, 2010 called
meeting agenda.

Motion by: ________________ Seconded by: ________________ Vote: _____________






D. ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION
It is requested that the DeKalb Board of Education adjourn the September 10, 2010 called
meeting to executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

Motion by: ________________ Seconded by: _________________ Vote: ____________


If you would like to be added to the email list announcing meetings, send an email to

MARGARET C. FRANCOIS

Anonymous said...

Watch the video...SCW can't even pronounce the word "technology"??!! She is one of nine votes that is in charge of a billion dollars every year??!!

Anonymous said...

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2935662058758102231&postID=2900426488902857474

Sarah Copelin-Wood's insanity is one more reason why Dunwoody is eventually going to opt out of DCSS and get its own charter school system. One of its state rep's or Fran Millar when he wins his state senate race will draft legislation and get it passed.

And no one will blame them for doing so. Well, except maybe Ron Ramsey.

Anonymous said...

One of the interesting rants of SCW was about Clifton elementary school which houses a technology magnet.

What no one does a good job communicating with her is that the magnet program could be moved if the school is closed. The Clifton magnet is not whole school, rather it is a program within the school. It could be housed anywhere.

Clifton was one of the schools given a D in terms of condition. Given the grade inflation in DeKalb, we all know what that D really means!

Anonymous said...

I have never met SCW, but I have always heard negative things about her. I actually took the time to watch the video, and the conclusion that I came up with is that she is right! And she does have a point. However, I have a suggestion for her and the rest of the DCSS. Keep students in their neighborhood schools and work to improve the conditions of those schools. Close the schools that are not getting state funding whether they are on the north or south end. Create a basic skills test that students need to know prior to moving to the next grade even if it means that 100 students are retained, visit schools during transition time to see how difficult it is to get students to come to class, change the discipline protocol on skipping class, change the protocol on allowing suspended students to make-up work that they never make-up, allow APS and principals to do their job and discipline children, etc. I love DeKalb County, but until the real problems are fixed we will have issues.

Anonymous said...

Anon @8:45 on 9/10 - It's going to take more than just legislation by the General Assembly. The state constitution prohibits new "independent" systems, and I think DCSS will not let that happen easily. Just look at the efforts to reform Milton County.

Dekalbparent said...

A question:

If an under-enrolled school is near an over-enrolled school, logic dictates that some of the larger school's students be re-districted to the under-enrolled school. But what if the under-enrolled school's stated capacity is less than 450, and it cannot get the full state funding unless it is over-enrolled?

The solution would be to add on to the smaller school to increase its capacity, but this (as we know) takes a lot of time. Meanwhile the problem persists.

Anonymous said...

Capacity is a floating number with fluctuations in class size limits. However, DCSS has a handful of very small elementary schools that can currently hold 450 or less. They are Briarlake, Chesnut, Hawthorne, Livsey, Medlock, and Sagamore.

I believe that this issue is going to be addressed in the master plan.

Dan Magee said...

Just watched the SCW video's. I'm an avid follower of DeKalb politics. Copelin-Wood's rants are on par with Vernon Jones' finest moments of losing his temper. Have never seen any other county elected official come anywhere close to Woods' insanity except for Jones on his worst day.

It is unbelievable to me that she one of nine people steering a large school system with a massive budget and thousands of employees. Embarassment is the only word to describe her rantings. And why did Chair Bowen allow her to berate the supt. and Dan Drake, and then go on and on and on?

Anonymous said...

This is from the email newsletter from Lakeside HS. See what kind of stress the influx of unexpected transfer students has on the entire school:

All students will also be issued new copies of their class schedules. We are adding 7-8 classes to reduce class sizes in Social Studies and English classes. We waited until this point in the semester so that we could make all the changes at once and so that grades for the first four and a half weeks would not be lost. If your student's class schedule has been changed, you are encouraged to meet with his/her new teacher on Thursday, during conference night, to learn of the expectations for the remainder of the semester.

Anonymous said...

This isn't just because of transfers, rather it is because DCSS held off on hiring teachers. Thee are schools that received no transfer students that are having to do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I am confused about the Chamblee annex. There are only 18 kids there according to the attendance data posted online. That does not really seem efficient. How many teachers do they have for these 18 kids? Why not just put them at Chamblee HS? What was the big deal about how the transfers were going to crush Chamblee HS -- there are only 18 of them??

Cerebration said...

So, are we to assume that the student population has grown in DeKalb since last year? No teachers lost their jobs, so the need for more teachers must indicate increased enrollment... ?

Anonymous said...

Just because no teachers were laid off does not mean that there are not fewer teachers due to attrition, duh.

Cerebration said...

ok, thanks. I guess every once in a while I have brain cramps. Thanks for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

Anon, 12:02

Originally, there were 200 AYP transfers going to CCHS. DCSS added the 4 trailers needed, until the Public went nuts!

After parents saw that their 9th graders were going to be going to a High School with many 17-19 year olds, they most likely pulled them out and went back to their own schools.

Word has it that the annex thing is not going to work. There have been folks who have said they have been feeding students differently, more food for the older and less for the younger and the mix was not really working out. Her words not mine!

Anonymous said...

Huh? All high schools have 17-19 year olds! SInce there are only 18 kids, shouldn't they be moved to the Chamblee HS main campus? How on earth does it make sense to hire all the different subject teachers for 18 kids?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where the 18 came from - there are about 125 students at the Chamblee annex.

Anonymous said...

anon @12:46: Please see the enrollment report at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/. It shows that only 18 students (all 9th graders) are at the annex.

Anonymous said...

Mosley indicated at the BOE meeting that there were 125 students at the annex. I can't explain the discrepancy in messages.

Cerebration said...

Someone, please ask the principal and let us know the response. This is a wild discrepancy.

Anonymous said...

As I watched that depressing rant of SCW, I kept hoping that Pam Speaks would pick up Sarah's big ole pocket book and whack her up side her head and say shut up you old fool. Sarah is all about what effects only her district and doesn't give a hoot about anything else. I swear if I was on the BoE they would have had to take me to the ER to stitch the hole I'd have bitten into my tongue. What a nightmare

Dunwoody Mom said...

OT: I have a chart outlining the miserable SAT scores for DCSS. Lakeside did well and Cross Keys had the highest gain in SAT scores!!!

http://dunwoodyschooldaze.blogspot.com/2010/09/local-sat-scores-take-dive-sat-scores.html

Dunwoody Mom said...

Or if you want to ignore my blog :)
here is the link to just the scores:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_xrNa5Ie6mDA/TI5fuTV1A-I/AAAAAAAAAZg/cf4fLSZH3tQ/s1600/sat+scores.jpg

Anonymous said...

Regarding SAT scores:

As scores in schools have continued to decrease, why is Audria Berry still in her job of Director of School Improvement? When will the upper management of DCSS be held accountable for their utter failure to improve academic achievement for students?

Let Dr. Berry go and get someone who can improve our schools. That's something Ms. Tyson should be doing - hold these Central Office folks accountable for student performance and cut them loose if they don't perform. I'm sure taxpayers would support her on that one.

Sandy Spruill said...

It doesn't matter how many AYP transfers are at the Chamblee "annex." Chamblee is a charter school. According to the U. S. Department of Education's NCLB Public School Choice Non-regulatory Guidelines, dated January 14, 2009, concerning charter schools and AYP transfers, "a charter school must admit students on the basis of a lottery if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated." Further, "SEAs [state education agencies] or LEAs [local education agencies, i.e., DCSS] may not require a charter school to alter its admissions process [for students seeking a transfer under the public school choice provisions of AYP]."

Both programs integral to Chamblee Charter High School -- the resident program and the magnet program -- have more students apply than can be accommodated. A lottery is held for both. Only students who live within the CCHS attendance area and rising 9th grade students from the magnet program at Chamblee Middle School are guaranteed admission to CCHS.

Quite frankly, I have no idea where DCSS got the idea that there were even 50 extra seats at CCHS for 2010-2011 unless everyone in the lotteries was admitted and seats were left over. If that was not the case, AYP transfers cannot now leapfrog over those students who followed procedure and were part of the lottery for 2010-2011, though not chosen.

Regardless, students who want to transfer to CCHS from other DCSS schools must do so through the lottery when it is held for the 2011-2012 school year.

Anonymous said...

Well sandy spruill it actually does matter to me since I really care about whether school moneys are used efficiently. Operating an annex for 18 students does not sound efficient.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you'd offer these 18 students classes. We aren't paying a variety of teachers to teach these 18 students are we? That seems better than a private school education.

The entire annex thing, along with the transfers is a hoax, and it's a matter of time before more schools are not making AYP and then what?

Cerebration said...

Then I think you get to start transferring to neighboring districts -- look out Gwinnett!

Anonymous said...

Of course they're offering a variety of classes at the annex. Go to the school website and you can see hoe many teachers it is taking to staff this small student population.

Cerebration said...

Are you sure it's 18? We're hearing it's 108. Maybe it's a typo?

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the number is closer to 180. The data as of Sept 1 doesn't reflect that.

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Anonymous, 10:18 PM

I think you may not have understood what I was saying. The AYP transfers should never be put in an annex. Any annex.

As far as Chamblee Charter High School is concerned, there cannot be a CCHS annex or even any AYP transfer students to CCHS because, in doing that, DCSS is forcing CCHS to change its lottery-based admissions policy for both of the integral programs to CCHS: the resident program and the magnet program. That is not allowed according to U. S. Department of Education Guidelines.

There actually is classroom space for these students. The DeKalb Early College Academy. Gateway to College Academy. Plus, there is DOLA (DeKalb Online Academy) and the Georgia Virtual School.

There are other NCLB Public School Choice options that DCSS hasn't tried. Why? Who knows? My guess is laziness -- because it is easier to shove Title I kids from place to place than fix their academic deficiencies.

The worst thing is that DCSS is majority African American and primarily African Americans run DCSS and these Title I students are primarily African American. DCSS's decision-makers are exhibiting the worst kind of insidious racial discrimination: African American on African American.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson has already said that there will be a "new" school in place for next year as a public school choice.

This could be in an existing empty building or it could be in a school that they choose to close down and reopen.

I would recommend that the system does both. Open a "new" school for choice and close a low performing high school are reopen it as something else.

Anonymous said...

Why not use the $7,000,000 annually that we spend on Fernbank Science Center and turn that into a new school while keeping the STT, STEM, etc. programs that parents feel are valuable?

Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is that chamblre should be exempt from nclb transfers? Because they have a charter while dunwoody and lakeside do not? If that is the case the chamblee charter should be nonrenewed. Charters should not be a way to circumvent nclb. I hate nclband think it should be revoked but while we have it all schools should be subject to it regardless of charter status.

Cerebration said...

Interesting twist in Atlanta Public Schools -

Atlanta school board votes out chairwoman and vice-chairwoman

A slim majority of the Atlanta school board voted Monday to approve a controversial policy change and elect new officers to replace its sitting chairwoman and vice-chairwoman.

Members took the 5-4 votes after failing yet again to reach consensus, despite intervention that has included Mayor Kasim Reed. They also cemented a rift that has erupted at a crucial time for the school system, drawing condemnation from members in the minority who called the actions illegal after the board's attorney advised against it.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not player hatin' Jay."

Wow....such eloquent words from someone representing DeKalb.

I'm embarrassed, yet again.