Thursday, October 14, 2010

School Closings, Redistricting and Master Planning

Everyone should take a few minutes and look through the latest information posted about master planning and redistricting.

The 2020 Vision process is an 11-month process (October 2010 - August 2011) that will culminate in a 2020 Master Plan that will describe the facilities, programs, and other needs of the system over the next ten years and the recommended facility improvements required to meet these needs.

The whole process is posted here. http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/vision-2020


The school redistricting and consolidation process for the 2011-2012 school year will occur over five months, as shown below.

Date(s)

Task(s)

October 12 - November 19, 2010

interviews / focus groups

presentation to each of the four parent councils

targeted briefings to press and community leaders

October 18 - November 19, 2010

school site visits for development of school closure/redistricting recommendations

November 9, 10, 15, 16 & 18, 2010

public engagement charrettes

November 19, 2010

conclusion of data collection phase (necessary for development of school closure/redistricting)

November 19 - 30, 2010

online survey

December 6, 2010

present public engagement summary to the Board of Education (post report to the website on December 7th)

December, 2010

development of recommendations for school closure/redistricting.

internal discussion of draft recommendations with superintendent and staff, in preparation for January 3rd meeting

January 3, 2011

board meeting - presentation of school consolidation recommendations

January, 2011

public engagement - Round 2 (five meetings; TBD)

formal public hearings (two hearings; TBD)



The Charettes will be :

1. Chamblee High School, Tuesday November 9, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

2. Towers High School, Wednesday November 10, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

3. McNair High School, Monday November 15, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

4. MLK High School, Tuesday November 16, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

5. Stephenson High School, Thursday November 18, 6:30 – 8:30 PM


The way it is explained makes the charrette process sound very interesting.


See the description here:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/vision-2020/2020-vision-public-charrettes.pdf


The website for the company that is assisting with this process.

http://www.mgtofamerica.com/pk_12_market

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! I looked at these web pages at the DCSS website last night.

The one thing that concerns me is that the very person who will need to oversee this incredibly huge plan is not even working for DCSS yet! Our new Super will be tasked with overseeing a program that he/she had no say or input in. I know there are so many pressing needs for our district and we need to move forward quickly. However, is it smart to start such a huge endeavor without the leader that will be expected to run it?

I'm just asking.....

Anonymous said...

"Our new Super will be tasked with overseeing a program that he/she had no say or input in.'

That's nothing. The current BoE will vote for the program without reading it, understanding it or even know what it's implications are. They always do. Right, Jim Redovian?

Anonymous said...

When I compare the edubabble from Vision 2020 with the document posted here earlier from Cobb County schools explaining their budget I wish I were living in Cobb County. Scarry to think how inept the folks at DCSS really are.
GET OUT AND VOTE ON NOV. 2

Anonymous said...

I guarantee you that this document was written by the consultants, not the system employees.

Cobb is Cobb because of the caliber of parents that live in the system. Excellence is demanded by most and so therefore delivered. DeKalb is well, DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:05

Friend, you are talking about me and my neighbors. And, to be honest with you, the truth hurts. . . .

OUCH!

Dunwoody Mom said...

It's sad that some of you take a venture so important to the future of our children with snarky and negative remarks. They are not productive to the task we as parents and stakeholders to have to face.

As the old saying goes, "if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem".

Dunwoody Mom said...

The Public Charettes are open to all - Parents, students, faculty, staff, and taxpayers of DeKalb County Schools. Now is the time for all of these stakeholders to offer their input.

Here We Go Again said...

Dunwoody Mom (as usual) makes an excellent point. Now is the time for the "background static noise" (parents, etc.) to stand up, speak out and be ignored by a BoE that has already decided to do what it's going to do regardless of what public comments and correspondence they receive!!!

Who's with me!!!!!

Anonymous said...

DM, There are some snarky comments, sometimes and they give me a chuckle. This is a very important task and that's why I asked the question in an earlier post.

Our new Super will be tasked with overseeing a program that he/she had little say and input in. I know there are so many pressing needs for our district and we need to move forward quickly. However, is it smart to start such a huge endeavor without the leader that will be expected to run it?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. A professoinally run organization with competent management would have its leadership team in place BEFORE undertaking a major reorganization / restructuring. That's so elementary it falls under the heading of "common sense".

Anonymous said...

The process is long overdue and needs to begin now. All the comments will be saved and can be reviewed when a new Superintendent is hired. And much of this will be decided by the BOE (after the election).

The last attempt at redistricting and consolidation was horribly flawed, became a circus and a total failure. I agree with the Mommy that using a contractor is new and somthing I did not anticipate. But given the last fiasco I hope that everyone treats the process with respect and gives it a chance to succeed.

And before you all hurl tons of negative comments, I have students in schools that most likely will be affected by both the Master Plan and Redistricting issues.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:14, no hurling of anything your way! My kids will most likely be effective as well.. I was just asking the question if it was smart to start a huge endeavor like this before a new super was in place.

I agree the new super will be able to read the comments etc.. but if we take until next summer to find a new super, this whole endeavor will be underway and the new super who will be responsible to oversee it will ultimately have no say in the preparation of it. Is this smart or could this be job security for the old guard?

If I was interviewing for the job, I would tell the BOE to slow down since ultimately it will be the new super's responsibility to oversee the program. The old guard could set-up the new super for failure before the new super was even hired!

Dunwoody Mom said...

If you have reviewed the information with regards to the Redistricting/Consolidating, you would see that this is being driven, not by the BOE or the Super, but by Parents, students, faculty, staff and taxpayers.

There is nothing wrong with beginning this process now - as a matter of fact, it is imperative that it begin now.

The new Super will need to hit the ground running to clean up the mess. Having a head start on this issue would be welcome for the new Super, imo.

Anonymous said...

I agree, redistrict now...if a super is hired midstream great. If not, this needs to be done! We want the super to be able to focus immediately on achievement!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, redistricting the entire system is only one of the huge problems the new super will have to address. I think going ahead with a data-driven solution is necessary, even without our next super. It is something that cannot wait.

I am skeptical of this whole "vision" deal given that it culminates with the next SPLOST vote. Seems like they're trying to make it look like they're organized and innovative to impress taxpaying voters.

Anonymous said...

Dan Drake is going to become a very well liked or disliked man in the weeks to come! Fasten your seat belts folks, it's about to get very interesting.

I hear from a Palace insider that Beasley is gunning for the Super's job. If this is true the BOE should let him know that they plan to hire a total outsider, so he can focus solely on student achievement and quite possibly looking for a new job, since the new super will hopefully want his own person in that role.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who want to wait until we have a new Super in place to redistrict need to think about the children who are right now sitting in moldy old trailers every day. Children who wait in line for breakfast for as long as 20 minutes. Children who must eat lunch at 10:00 AM or have to wait until 1:00 PM for lunch. Teachers who are doing the best they can with classes that are too big, while neighboring schools have smaller classes, are able to serve breakfast without the extended wait time, and children eat lunch at a reasonable hour. We need to get this process going now. Waiting is not good for many of our children.

Ella Smith said...

I thought this was suppose to be out in the fall.

However, it looks like it was put off until after the elections. The individuals who are up for election do not want this to be a factor in the election. It it funny how the Powers To Be Can Put Off Important Things Like This Until After The Election. They are smart planners.

OhWell said...

I hope the Chamblee Charter High School supporters are prepared for the closing and redistricting process. All signs seem to point to CCHS being on the hit list. In my opinion, DCSS is already setting up Chamblee for closure

1. Chamblee HS was targeted for closure several years ago because of its age, condition and low student population.

2. DCSS has not committed any SPLOST funding towards renovations, additions or replacement of the facility, despite several promises to do so.

3. Board member Jim Redovian has stated that the magnet program will be relocated to Avondale HS. If true, this will by itself reduce the student population by upwards to 50%, bringing the remaining student count far below building.

4. The racial dynamics of the BOE will almost certainly result in the mandate that a North DeKalb high school be closed along with any South or Central DeKalb closure. At least two high schools will be closed, and possibly three.

5. Dunwoody, Lakeside, Druid Hills and Tucker High Schools will not be seriously considered for closure, due to community influence, location, historical reasons, and recent financial investments in renovations, additions and replacement buildings.

6. The North DeKalb choice will be between Chamblee and Cross Keys, and the two schools will most likely be merged into a single facility. Considering just the facilities alone, it’s going to be a tossup as to which one goes, except for the fact Cross Keys is just now undergoing a major renovation.

7. Although I’ve never seen any mention of it, I am guessing that the middle school High Achiever magnet program will be relocated to Avondale, as Avondale Middle is also severely under populated. In that case, Sequoyah MS will almost definitely be closed as Chamblee MS is practically brand new.

8. The Central and South DeKalb schools most likely to be closed include Towers, Avondale and Clarkston. Columbia, Stone Mountain, Redan and Cedar Grove might also be on that list. The other schools in this area are either too new or too important to the community to close. I suspect that Avondale will most likely be the first choice for closure, but since the building will then be used for DSA and the Magnet Program, it would not be technically closing and there would be no significant cost savings.

9. Should Chamblee and Cross Keys merge, the resulting student population will be too large for either campus as they currently stand. This situation may then lead into the redistricting discussion, as a feeder elementary may then need to be transferred to an adjacent high school. As an example, a possible scenario would be placing a Chamblee-Cross Keys elementary school in the Druid Hills cluster, a Druid Hills school transferred to Lakeside, a Lakeside school transferred to Tucker, and a Tucker school transferred to Stone Mountain. The ripple effect would continue through into Central DeKalb, meshing with the elementary school closures and transfers that will have to occur there. (This is just one of many possibilities, but illustrates that many, many schools are going to be affected.)

10. Also consider that a Chamblee-Cross Keys merger may provide the final impetus necessary to justify building an all new state-of-the-art replacement facility, as has been mentioned previously in this blog. As part of this process, this may be the only way the C-CK community can justify any claim to the newly found excess SPLOST funds. Of course more money will be necessary than now available as a new facility will most likely cost upwards of $60 million or more.

So with this particular scenario, the Roberts-Copelin-Wood-Walker troika are rewarded with the High Achiever program move to the Avondale Schools and the Chamblee-Cross Keys community receives a new building. Will this make everyone happen? Not likely, but it may be one of the less bitter possibilities. So if the Chamblee community is bound and determined to fight to keep CCHS open, these are the kind of choices and issues you will need to anticipate.

Anonymous said...

I do think about those kids sitting in moldy trailers everyday, my kid is one of them.

But look how can we expect a new super to come in and oversee a plan when that person has had no input? I'm not saying to postpone to start the whole process, I just feel that we should make sure not to end the process and make the decisions until we do have a Super in place. I hear they are going to make an announcement about a new Super on April 15th. I find that odd since we have not even chosen the company to help DCSS search for one. The presentation/questions and discussion meeting is tomorrow morning at 9am, conveniently while most of the stakeholders are at work.

Anonymous said...

Very scary that Beasley is gunning for Superintendent job and citizens of DeKalb should be very afraid if this happens.

OhWell said...

I hope the Chamblee Charter High School family is prepared for the closing and redistricting process. All signs seem to point to CCHS being on the hit list. In my opinion, DCSS is already setting up Chamblee for closure

1. Chamblee HS was targeted for closure several years ago because of its age, condition and low student population.

2. DCSS has not committed any SPLOST funding towards renovations, additions or replacement of the facility, despite several promises to do so.

3. Board member Jim Redovian has stated that the magnet program will be relocated to Avondale HS. If true, this will by itself reduce the student population by upwards to 50%, bringing the remaining student count far below building.

4. The racial dynamics of the BOE will almost certainly result in the mandate that a North DeKalb high school be closed along with any South or Central DeKalb closure. At least two high schools will be closed, and possibly three.

5. Dunwoody, Lakeside, Druid Hills and Tucker High Schools will not be seriously considered for closure, due to community influence, location, historical reasons, and recent financial investments in renovations, additions and replacement buildings.

6. The North DeKalb choice will be between Chamblee and Cross Keys, and the two schools will most likely be merged into a single facility. Considering just the facilities alone, it’s going to be a tossup as to which one goes, except for the fact Cross Keys is just now undergoing a major renovation.

7. Although I’ve never seen any mention of it, I am guessing that the middle school High Achiever magnet program will be relocated to Avondale, as Avondale Middle is also severely under populated. In that case, Sequoyah MS will almost definitely be closed as Chamblee MS is practically brand new.

8. The Central and South DeKalb schools most likely to be closed include Towers, Avondale and Clarkston. Columbia, Stone Mountain, Redan and Cedar Grove might also be on that list. The other schools in this area are either too new or too important to the community to close. I suspect that Avondale will most likely be the first choice for closure, but since the building will then be used for DSA and the Magnet Program, it would not be technically closing and there would be no significant cost savings.

9. Should Chamblee and Cross Keys merge, the resulting student population will be too large for either campus as they currently stand. This situation may then lead into the redistricting discussion, as a feeder elementary may then need to be transferred to an adjacent high school. As an example, a possible scenario would be placing a Chamblee-Cross Keys elementary school in the Druid Hills cluster, a Druid Hills school transferred to Lakeside, a Lakeside school transferred to Tucker, and a Tucker school transferred to Stone Mountain. The ripple effect would continue through into Central DeKalb, meshing with the elementary school closures and transfers that will have to occur there. (This is just one of many possibilities, but illustrates that many, many schools are going to be affected.)

10. Also consider that a Chamblee-Cross Keys merger may provide the final impetus necessary to justify building an all new state-of-the-art replacement facility, as has been mentioned previously in this blog. As part of this process, this may be the only way the C-CK community can justify any claim to the newly found excess SPLOST funds. Of course more money will be necessary than now available as a new facility will most likely cost upwards of $60 million or more.

So with this particular scenario, the Roberts-Copelin-Wood-Walker troika are rewarded with the High Achiever program move to the Avondale Schools and the Chamblee-Cross Keys community receives a new building. Will this make everyone happen? Not likely, but it may be one of the less bitter possibilities. So if the Chamblee community is bound and determined to fight to keep CCHS open, these are the kind of choices and issues you will need to anticipate.

Anonymous said...

Sure looks to me like they want to get the southern communities involved in discussions. I'm looking at the school maps for the Charettes, and it is interesting to me that folks in the Tucker area, which had multiple schools on the most recent closure lists, will have to travel further than constituents of any other group/area. Why isn't the central cluster the recipient of these forums? Seems like most of them are clearly on the southend.

Anonymous said...

Tucker High Cluster parents, Anon: 9:26 is right! I just looked at the map and once again it looks as if our DCSS staff is trying to weigh the results of the charrettes with the majority of one end of DeKalb.

Tucker parents you need to start calling, emailing your BOE Reps, Cluster Superintendent, Tyson etc... They should just add one more and put it at Tucker High. You guys have a new auditorium right? The right way to do this is to have one at every High School.

Start making noise so they can get another scheduled in time. Tucker deserves a voice in this huge endeavor!

Anonymous said...

The same survey that they use at the Charette is going to be online and available for all stakeholders to participate in.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 7:56. You are correct, however it's still not right to avoid an entire slice of the county with such a huge endeavor about to ramp up.

I think they should have held meetings at each High School, since that determines the feeder patterns of the district.

Anonymous said...

You know what, when I posted this morning at 7:56 am, my tired eyes looked at the list and saw Tucker where it said Towers!

There needs to be more meetings and they need to be more geographically diverse. Use the middle schools, if the high schools are under construction.

Anonymous said...

The idea behind the plan is that unlike past times DCSS will seek extensive public input before there is any plan. The first tasks of the planning effort are to seek stakeholder input with no preconcieved notions and to collect data on the schools, demographics and the trends. During these tasks you do not need a new leader right now. The public and the data will be the leader. Once the data collection and stakeholder opinion is collected any fool will be able to read it and be up to date on what the plan needs to be. This is an honest effort to make sure that there are no questionable numbers and that everybody is heard. Ms. Tyson warned admininstrative staff against trying to do anything about the plan but listen for a change. With an outside consultants counting the seats (school capacity), new census data, outside engineers evaluating school condition, and multiple oportunities for everyone to be heard we should get to a jumping off point where we can have a decent plan. The beauty of the process is that it whould preclude any prior agenda and , in fact, I don't want to hire a new leader that might dominate the process with their agenda. This is our school system and we need to hire someone who complete the plan-not force it on everyone. The biggest stumbling block will be (I predict) that once everyone is heard we will find there is some disagreement among the stakeholders and whatever is done will disappoint someone. Politics will creep in and interest groups will lobby for their neighborhoods and interests rather than consider the welfare of all the students. You all may complain about this, but a majority of the people who cared to vote elected the shcool board. So the buck stops with all of us. Let's do what we can to make this work-if we do, it will.

Anonymous said...

In order for this process to work they need input from a broader area of the county. There is only one school in north DeKalb, nothing along the central area and four schools in the south. If parents from the Dunwoody area can't make the meeting at Chamblee it will be a heck of a ride to the next meeting.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the southern part of the county the only part that matters to the people running the school? It has seemed like that to me for the time that we've lived here.

Anonymous said...

Just sent Bowen and email...voicing my concern that the parents and taxpayers for the feeder schools for Tucker, Druid and Lakeside haven't really received equal treatment in unveiling this plan, we don't have a meeting in central Dekalb....maybe they aren't redistricting in this area????

I know this is a prelim. meeting, but they soliciting our opinions and I for one would like the opportunity to be a part of the solution.

After all, just how many people can you pack in at Chamblee? I will try to ask this question of Ramona at Briarlake on Wednesday and see what she says.

OhWell said...

As a Tucker High parent, I’m not all that concerned about this first round of meetings. Although there were two Tucker elementary schools included in that very first master list of schools that might be closed, they were both quickly dismissed simply because the demographics didn’t support any closures in the cluster, and there was no nearby school with room to accommodate student transfers. The Tucker cluster, by itself, will not be the primary focus of the school closing and redistricting initiative. What I am concerned about is how the Tucker cluster might be affected by closures and/or redistricting of schools in adjacent clusters. (THS cannot host a meeting as the new gym, auditorium and full cafeteria will not be open until after the new year.)

This first round of meetings will not have a great impact on the process. Yes, community input should be an important factor in the decision process. And yes, I agree that having these meetings at the start of the process is the right way to go. However, with the way these meetings are being structured, they just aren’t going to be of that much value. Of greatest concern it that they’ve only scheduled 2 hours for each meeting. After the time necessary for introductions and their initial presentation, and the wrap up and conclusion at the end, there will little more than one hour available for this ResponseCard/Feedback process, and for the promised Small-Group discussions. One hour simply isn’t enough time to break down the multiple issues that need to be addressed, or to effectively set up the smaller groups and have meaningful discussions or any type of resolution. And each of the 5 meetings will be the same, starting from scratch, as each meeting is targeting different sections of the county. So we’re going to have 5 meetings where the community and parent input is going to be very emotional, very selfish and lacking any sense of the broader mission at hand. What we will hear is 1) “You can’t close my school because we are . . . . . !” and 2) “You should close their school(s) because . . . . . !” (Fill in the blanks with whatever.) Well, sorry to say, we’ve been there, done that. Remember the Citizen’s Planning Task Force?

OhWell said...

Is the Chamblee Charter High School community prepared for the closing and redistricting process? All signs seem to point to CCHS being on the hit list. In my opinion, DCSS is already setting up Chamblee for closure.

1. Chamblee HS was targeted for closure several years ago because of its age, condition and low student population.

2. DCSS has not committed any SPLOST funding towards renovations, additions or replacement of the facility, despite several promises to do so.

3. Board member Jim Redovian has stated that the CCHS magnet program will be relocated to Avondale HS. If true, this will by itself reduce the student population significantly, bringing the remaining student count far below building capacity.

4. The racial dynamics of the BOE will almost certainly result in the mandate that a North DeKalb high school be closed along with any South or Central DeKalb closure. At least two high schools will be closed, and possibly three.

5. Dunwoody, Lakeside, Druid Hills and Tucker High Schools will not be seriously considered for closure, due to community influence, location, and, most importantly, recent financial investments in renovations, additions and replacement buildings.

6. The North DeKalb choice will likely be between Chamblee and Cross Keys, and the two schools may be merged into a single facility. Considering just the facilities alone, it’s going to be a tossup as to which one goes, except for the fact Cross Keys is just now undergoing a major renovation.

7. Does the middle school High Achiever magnet program go to Avondale Middle along with the high school program? If so will that result in Sequoyah closing, as Chamblee Middle is much newer?

8. If Avondale High and Middle Schools become dedicated to the High Achiever and DSA magnet programs, will another pair of Central/South DeKalb schools be targeted for closure?

9. Should Chamblee and Cross Keys merge, the resulting student population will be too large for either campus as they currently stand. This situation may then lead into the redistricting discussion, as a feeder elementary may then need to be transferred to an adjacent school cluster. As an example, one possible scenario would move a Chamblee-Cross Keys elementary school to the Druid Hills cluster, a Druid Hills school moves to Lakeside, a Lakeside school moves to Tucker, and a Tucker school moves to Stone Mountain. The ripple effect would continue through into Central DeKalb, meshing with the elementary school closures and transfers that will have to occur there. (This is just one of many possibilities, but illustrates that many, many schools are going to be affected.)

10. How will a C-CK merger affect Chamblee’s charter status? Would it automatically transfer, or does it have to recreated and approved from scratch?

11. Also consider that a Chamblee-Cross Keys merger may provide the final impetus necessary to justify building an all new state-of-the-art replacement facility, as has been mentioned previously in this blog. As part of this process, this may be the only way the C-CK community can justify any claim to the newly found excess SPLOST funds. Of course more money will be necessary than now available as a new facility will most likely cost upwards of $50 million or more.

So with this particular scenario, the Roberts-Copelin-Wood-Walker troika is rewarded with the High Achiever program move to the Avondale Schools and the Chamblee-Cross Keys community receives a new building. Will this make everyone happen? Not likely, but it may be one of the less bitter possibilities. So if the Chamblee community is bound and determined to fight to keep CCHS open, these are the kind of choices and issues you will need to anticipate.

Anonymous said...

"As part of this process, this may be the only way the C-CK community can justify any claim to the newly found excess SPLOST funds. Of course more money will be necessary than now available as a new facility will most likely cost upwards of $50 million or more."

The money is now here. The system accepted the federal bonds that total 50 million or so.

Anonymous said...

Part of the master plan might very well be the wholesale replacement of some older facilities that haven't had much investment, but with larger facilities.

School A is a small elementary school but is full. It is also old and worn out. Nearby, school B is overcrowded, but land locked, with not enough room for an addition. The system may choose to build a new, larger school A to accomodate more students since they can't add on to B and then redistrict.

I don't know how many places this plays out, but there are at least a few.

Anonymous said...

"THS cannot host a meeting as the new gym, auditorium and full cafeteria will not be open until after the new year.)"

I think this was part of the problem. An easily sovled one as you could use the middles schools, but Dunwoody and Lakeside are also under construction or scheduled to start right around then.

Anonymous said...

@4:35 a.m.
Stop with trying to perpetuate and encourage a rumor about closing Chamblee Charter High School.

Redovian NEVER said that CCHS was closing. I was present and then personally spoke to him. Redovian said that "one Board member" proposed consolidating the high achiever magnets. We now know that that Board member was Womack who does not have a lot of credibility as he says lots of crazy things.

Also Cross Keys did not have a complete renovation. They got some much needed patching up.

Anonymous said...

DCSS needs fewer facilities. How we get there will be complicated because it may mean changing things that haven't been changed in 20, 30 years or ever.

Emotions will run high and the process will be painful, but necessary.

We can't stay on the path we aer on now, from a facility standpoint. Our infrastructure is aging and will get more and more expensive to maintain.

Cerebration said...

Interesting ponder Anon 4:35 AM. I think the current plan is to step back - collect data - analyze that data and come up with streamlining ideas. I could be wrong, but I think we even have a newfound positive relationship with the state and they plan to help. So really, it's kind of pointless to speculate on anything right now. Even though it's hard to believe - I think that our current plan is to get the advice of an outside professional resource before making any decisions.

This is why I was so pleased when the task force announced that they couldn't come to an agreement and said not to close any schools right now. This should never be done with the pressure of a short timeline.

In fact, as it was announced at a recent board meeting, Lynn Jackson from the state will be speaking on Oct 21st at 10 am. (I'm assuming this is at the DCSS headquarters - does anyone know for certain?) I think this would be a very informative, eye-opening meeting to attend.

Anonymous said...

I strongly encourage everyone to attend a redistricting meeting even if it means traveling to a meeting in South DeKalb. We have two seriously overcrowded elementary schools in North DeKalb. I personally believe that we might be able to save some of our small elementary schools by adjusting the attendance lines in the area.

We all know the building survey will turn up some buildings that need to be replaced or upgraded. Our school board is more likely to help us with these problems if we turn out in large numbers to state our needs and our concerns. It will be hard to dismiss the concerns of North DeKalb parents if we speak up. Even if you are really busy, you should be able to find a few minutes to send an email message and answer a survey.

Ella Smith said...

It would be nice if no schools close as everyone has memories of their school. Closing high schools with all the community memories I feel will be the biggest fight and it should be. I think if the magnet students get moved this will open the door for a merger of schools on the north side of the county. I can understand the concerns of Chamblee's community. The key is keeping the magnet students at Chamblee.

I know that schools will close. I have every idea that it is going to happen all over the county. I think that it will be a bitter fight for many of the small community schools to stay open in all parts of the county. The percentage of capacity which is needed is 90-95%. The two school board members indicated that the grade schools must have 400 and something students to stay open in the county. This appeared to be a definite number that had been decided upon.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...
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Anonymous said...

It is remarkable that in the midst of creating a 'master plan,' redistricting, teacher furloughs and school closings that Dekalb Schools are still promoting employees into non-teaching 'coach' positions which have been controversial, to say the least and have not produced results. Where is the wisdom in that? Who's minding the store?

Cerebration said...

From Emory-Lavista Parent Council

Reminder for Redistricting Meeting Wednesday 20th

We hope you can join us at Briarlake Elementary School this coming Wednesday, October 20th, beginning at 8:45am.

Anonymous said...

Teaching coaches are paid for out of Title money that can not be used to hire teachers. The idea is that the coach can co teach and mentor teachers who need help. It is a new fad in education and one endorsed by the state and funded by the fed. There is some research that says teaching coaches are an effective practice. (If you do it right)

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:36

"Teaching coaches are paid for out of Title money that can not be used to hire teachers. "

Title 1 money can be used to hire teachers. The teachers that are hired just can't be classroom teachers. They need to be teachers with small groups of struggling students. Many school systems have poured much Title 1 money into targeting their students who are struggling with math and reading. DCSS has chosen to hire non-teaching personnel.

Title 1 money can be used to purchase technology equipment for Title 1 students. Instructional technology is an engaging and non-labor intensive approach for struggling students as well as increasing critical thinking skills. This has not been a priority in DCSS.

More Title 1 funding decisions should be at the local schools under the guidance of the principal and the faculty. All schools are not alike. Different schools have different needs. The closer the decisions are to the funding source, the more efficient the better the targeted assistance.

Much of the Stimulus money (DCSS has received tens of millions) could have been used to fund classroom teachers. Many other school systems used the money this way. DCSS chose to fund non-teaching positions and expensive learning programs.

DCSS administration and BOE made the decisions about the expenditure of these large sums of money (e.g. Hollywood trip). There has not been student progress associated with the expenditures of these funds. The DCSS administration and the BOE members do not want to take responsibility for their decisions.

Take a look at the Federal Govt. Title 1 page:
http://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.html
"More than 50,000 public schools across the country use Title I funds to provide additional academic support and learning opportunities to help low-achieving children master challenging curricula and meet state standards in core academic subjects. For example, funds support extra instruction in reading and mathematics, as well as special preschool, after-school, and summer programs to extend and reinforce

Some other interesting links:
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/nclb/faqs/teacherassistants/

http://www.ehow.com/how_4781322_become-title-teacher.html

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg1.html

Anonymous said...

In Dekalb, some Instructional Coaches were good teachers but are ineffective and there is little evidence of them having significant impact on student achievement. It is just another fad/popular theory. The Title I money, as mentioned earlier, can be put to better use.

Anonymous said...

Redistricting has its advantages and disadvantages. Has anyone thought about how relocating high school juniors and seniors would affect them? Is it possible to redistrict and grandfather in the high school? Does anyone care that we are playing musical chairs with students mid stream? Mold, trailers, etc....can someone stop and think and have a reasonable plan in place to make the transition....all this cold turkey stuff is for the birds not high school students.

Anonymous said...

"there is little evidence of them having significant impact on student achievement."

wrong wrong wrong

Anonymous said...

I'm not privy to all of the info. that goes into the decision/s of which schools should be consolidated or closed; however, I have a suggestion.

After all necessary info is collected and ready to be proposed to the deciding entity/board, I think it would be wise if the school's name was not mentioned.

Assign a CONFIDENTIAL random number to each school, establish the criteria used for making the decision to keep open, consolidate, or close the school (utilizing charts, graphs, funding formulas, etc.). Present the information.

Take a vote (by utilizing the CONFIDENTIAL school number only); publish the voting results by school number only those schools scheduled to be kept open, consolidated, or closed; lastly, publish the school's CONFIDENTIAL NUMBER along with the school's given name.

If these numbers could truly be assigned confidentially (without any DCSS, state government, church personnel or board member being involved), I believe the "race card" could be taken off the table. Let the facts speak for themselves.