Monday, November 22, 2010

1,900 Bullying Cases Found In Atlanta Schools - DeKalb leads the way

After spending nearly $400,000 for Judge Moore to conduct an "investigation" into bullying after the suicide of young Jaheem Herrera, resulting in her verbal proclamation (no written report) that there was "no bullying" at Dunaire, we now find out that in reality, DeKalb is the leader of the bullying pack.

From WSB:

A survey of school systems in the metro Atlanta by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution found 1,900 instances of bullying were reported in the 2009-2010 school year. Of those instances, only 30 students were expelled, sent to alternative schools or placed in other classes as the law requires in documented cases of bullying. DeKalb County schools led the list with 696 incidents of bullying, but did not record how many students faced disciplinary action. But Quentin Fretwell, director of student relations in DeKalb, said the system takes bullying seriously. The Georgia Legislature approved legislation this year that tightens the state bullying law. Public school systems across Georgia have until Aug. 1 to adopt policies that meet the requirements of Georgia's revised bullying law.

And if DeKalb being the worst isn't bad enough, the following facts are just as bothersome:
  1. Very few students were disciplined according to the law.
  2. Quentin Fretwell says one thing, but the district obviously is doing something different.
  3. DeKalb didn't document (or wasn't transparent about) how many students were disciplined.
According to the AJC, the reason Judge Moore could pronounce "no bullying" in the Jaheem Herrara case was that there was no legal definition of bullying for students his age. (To clarify - in reality, her $400,000 investigation could not legally state that there was bullying, as legally, there was no such law for her to stand behind.)
Jaheem’s death prompted Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, to sponsor amendments to the state’s bullying law. Effective in January, the revised law requires the state Department of Education to develop a bullying policy that local school systems can use as a model.

The former statute, said Jacobs, didn’t adequately define bullying, didn’t address cyber-bullying and applied only to grades 6-12, overlooking about half the state’s students — those in grades k-5. Jaheem, Jacobs noted, was in the fifth grade.
===

AJC's BULLYING STATISTICS
Unless otherwise noted, all data came from the 2009-2010 school year. The first number represents bullying cases; the second depicts the number of students transferred to alternative schools, expelled or offered some other alternative:


  • Atlanta: 351; 5
  • Cherokee County: 42; 5
  • Clayton County: 520; 7
  • Cobb County: 166; 0*
  • Decatur: 0; 0
  • DeKalb County: 696; N/A **
  • Fulton County: 131; 5
  • Marietta: 59; 0

*Based on 2008-09 academic year
**The district does not keep records of transfers or disciplinary actions

===

For our blog post with information on bullying and places to get help, click here.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here is the actual article from the AJC.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/law-firmer-against-bullies-748057.html

Cere,

You might want to add some of it to your blog post. Make sure you look at the chart at the bottom, it doesn't look like any systems are doing very much.

Keep in mind that somehow the reporter left out Gwinnett's statistics.

Gwinnett has a long history of covering up disciplinary issues.

Anonymous said...

Does this really surprise anyone?

Cerebration said...

Thanks Anon - more info has been added.

Also, our blog post below with a collection of anti-bullying information is very helpful.

Bullying – An Information Clearinghouse

Bloggers, please add additional resources you know of to that posting.

pscexb said...

I recall talking to Dr. McGiboney about this a few years ago. Interestingly, he commented that those in DeKalb should have greater confidence in these numbers when compared to other districts. He gave an example of a student being disruptive in class, mouthing off at a teacher, being sent to the office, then mouthing off at an administrator. In DeKalb this would be counted as 4 incidents where in other districts this would be counted as 1.

The overall problem is that there is not a standard regarding how incidents are measured from district to district. As mentioned earlier, Gwinnett and APS have been cited for improperly reporting discipline statistics. It's hard to believe Decatur had 0 incidents of bullying. Would you rather be in a situation where the incidents are documented or not?

This does not excuse the fact the bullying is going on in our schools. At the same time, we can't be naiive and pretend this is a new phenomenon. As long as there are individuals that use power over others to either embarrass or get their way, we will have bullying. We will also have those that observe the bullying and say nothing. IMO, they are just as guilty.

Anonymous said...

That may be correct about the 4 incidents instead of one...the discipline referral sheet allows teachers to check off "charges", and they are supposed to be treated individually. But I found a lot of assistant principals would slap them on the wrist, especially if it was late in the year. I found out why later - they would get discipline reports for each grade level and the principal would tell them that according to the records, there were too many in school suspension, or other consequences and the county had targets you were not supposed to exceed. Then the AP would go after the teachers with high discipline rates, claiming they had classroom management problems. Now, when I was a kid, there was no such thing. Kids knew better in general than to mouth off or misbehave, behavior issues were isolated incidents, and not dependent on the teacher. You weren't there to be entertained, you were there to be educated.

Anyway, they do keep records - in school suspensions, etc. I found as a general rule, students were never transferred to another class for disciplinary action in DeKalb.

Dan Magee said...

"DeKalb County schools led the list with 696 incidents of bullying, but did not record how many students faced disciplinary action. But Quentin Fretwell, director of student relations in DeKalb, said the system takes bullying seriously."

Quentin, obviously you and DCSS are not taking bullying seriously, IF YOU CAN'T EVEN RECORD how many students faced disciplinary action. Our BOE has a duty to make sure administrators manage info. and records properly and efficiently, but they enable the Central Office to drop the ball repeatedly. With the MASSIVE MIS Dept. that Ramona Tyson and Tony Hunter have built up
with hundreds of staff, expensive equipment, and a monster budget, keeping track of such data should be a snap.

But there's NO acountability.

Same old, same old DCSS. Things will not change until there is a complete overhaul of the Central Office and many less administrators and middle managers in place, soaking up resources from the school house.

pscexb said...

Anon 10:24 said,

Now, when I was a kid, there was no such thing. Kids knew better in general than to mouth off or misbehave, behavior issues were isolated incidents, and not dependent on the teacher. You weren't there to be entertained, you were there to be educated.

Yes, those were the days. Teachers knew they had the support of the administration along with the parents. The worse thing said between students may have been that you have 'cooties'. After all these years, I never figured out what they were but at the time it sure hurt hearing that....

Anonymous said...

Where on the DeKalb County Schools' new website can you find information about criminal and disciplinary incidents at each school? They used to post a report by school....does anyone know? They also used to report breakdowns of enrollments by schools as well in a single report, showing proportion gifted, proportion free lunch, race, etc. Does anyone know if this is obtainable in a single place still?
Thanks

Cerebration said...

You can find the enrollment by race, gender and ethnicity by grade at

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

Dunwoody Mom said...

All of this information is on the GADOE website:

Unsafe School Data:

https://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/sr_pack_056a_new.entry_form?p_fiscal_year=2010

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/pea_infosys_data.aspx

Look under Reports.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cerebration. Got the sex/race breakdown and really appreciate it. Do you know if there is a breakdown for programming provided for each school (gifted, special ed, % free lunch)? We reviewed this data about 5 years ago but the source page I had marked is now gone and I cannot find a replacement.
Also, I thought the county was required by law to report crimes and disciplinary reports by school....cannot find this either.
Thanks.

Cerebration said...

Here's the link to the state's data. There is info for help desk personnel too. If you can't find what you're looking for, I'm certain they will help you.

http://www.gadoe.org/datareporting.aspx

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I didn't think of going to the state, I thought this was supposed to be reported by county. : )

Dunwoody Mom said...

It has not been updated for the 2009-2010 school year, but the GADOE puts out a Report Card for each District/School which has a lot of information.

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

Anonymous said...

wow. At a quick glance, it is frightening that our proportion of students in gifted programming has decreased by 5% in 4 years. My experience says that folks with gifted kids in local schools are leaving because they aren't getting services....hope to get in the lottery if you can organize travel if you get in. Otherwise, move. Clearly folks have.

pscexb said...

Anon 1:49, what data are you looking at? From the link provided by Cere, I saw an increase from 05/06 (9,470) to 08/09 (10,331) in the gifted category. In fairness, there was a dip from 07/08 (10,561).

In recent years, some of the decline in the magnet program can be attributed to the elimination of door to door transportation. You wouldn't want to think this has anything to do with the overall pool of gifted children, unless there was an effect of fewer children taking the testing for gifted certification.

Anonymous said...

@pscexb: I looked at the data again, and see that you are right. I pulled up reports from the district, then the state.

I would argue, though, that these numbers are not reflecting the magnet program, even though that is what the district would have you think. These are the numbers that represent students who have been officially identified as gifted (NOT as high achievers). The magnet programs serve high achievers, not gifted students.

I fully recognize that the only gifted students who matter to the district are those who are in the magnet programs. This is exemplified in the fact that there is not a gifted coordinator who is actively ensuring that local schools are providing services specified in the state law....rather they will only follow up if you have it in writing that a school is not providing services - they will not investigate without a parent doing the work. (Read here that you have to "out" yourself.") And if there are too "few" gifted students in a school, you are just SOL - too bad (I've actually heard the equivalent of this from folks in the district office - something to the effect of "if there are only 75 students in your school and you don't qualify for a point - it is just going to be hard to provide those services". The situation is even worse if your school decides to use the points (or partial points) for other purposes because there are simply too few children who are affected by not having gifted services provided.

I recognize that this isn't an issue for this blog, or for the folks here likely for that matter. When I look at the numbers, I see that there are 10,331 students identified to the state as gifted. Are there that many students in the magnet programs??? I find it hard to believe that this is the case, when the magnet programs are open to high achievers (who meet this criteria at a 75th percentile). I honestly cannot tell from these aggregated data; it would be nice to be able to see what the number of gifted children in grades 4-5 are, for example, then compare this to the number of children in Wadsworth and KMS.

So, are the gifted kids NOT in the magnet program receiving the services that they are supposed to receive in the local schoolhouse - according to state law? Who is following up on this....I suspect it is not the magnet coordinator (from my discussions with that office asking for follow-up). Does anybody even care about these kids in the local schools?

Yep, I'm frustrated...and I know many other parents of gifted kids in the same situation. We see "out" as quickly becoming the only option. Rentals in your area available soon.....

Anonymous said...

sorry so long above....don't bother.

Anonymous said...

is there a way to drill down the school safety data to school level?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Once you are in the District Level page - off to the left is the "School Level Data". Click on that, then click on the school.

Anonymous said...

"I've actually heard the equivalent of this from folks in the district office - something to the effect of "if there are only 75 students in your school and you don't qualify for a point - it is just going to be hard to provide those services". "

If a Georgia school system takes money to serve one gifted child they must serve all gifted children. Gifted education is MANDATED and funded in the state of Georgia. Systems can't pick and choose and MUST serve every child classified as gited.

If your child is classified as gifted and not getting services ( beleive the minimum is 4.5 hours a week - the coordinator can tell you), contact the DCSS gifted coordinator Pat Copeland, Director PAT_COPELAND@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us or Dr. Kishia T. Dixon, Coordinator KISHIA_T_DIXON@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us (678) 676-0291

If that doesn't resolve the problem contact the Georgia DOE gifted coordinator Annette Eger
Program Specialist for Gifted Education (404) 657-0182 aeger@doe.k12.ga.us

DCSS gifted webpage: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/support/gifted/

State gifted webpage:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ci_iap_gifted.aspx

Anonymous said...

Gifted money from the state can only be used for gifted and must follow the child at the school.

Ella Smith said...

There is so much bullying that goes on in our schools. However, it is not preceived as bullying so this is the issue. It is preceived as students playing around or horsing around with each other.

However, there is much emotional damage done through this playing around or horsing around. It is not needed and it hurts many of our students.

Dunwoody Mom said...

That's so true Ella. I think it is incumbent upon us as parents and the schools to sit these children down and explain the new bullying guidelines.

I think one of the student advisors made mention of this fact at the last BOE meeting. It isn't enough to adopt these new guidelines, but you have to explain these to the students as well.

Geez, as a Mom, I wish Facebook would just disappear forever.

Anonymous said...

There is a very simple solution to the horsing around problem. Don't allow it. I had a bullying incident in my classroom. I didn't realize what was going on until it turned into a fight. After that, students engaging in horse play in my classroom received detentions. Everyone was told up front what the consequences for this type of behavior would be. My AP backed me up and I never had another problem.

If DeKalb wants to get rid of the bullying, they have to take a tough stance on the behaviors that are associated with bullying. That means real and immediate consequences for everyone involved. Most kids won't get caught twice.

Anonymous said...

Bullying students is bad and i hope dekalb does a beter job in the future, but bullying in the past has taken place with the employees in dekalb also. Yes it bad when it is a child. But when it is done to a adult it can be very bad when your job is on the line and this has been going on in dekalb for many, many years. The word BULLY a person habitually cruel to thers who are weaker. That being said is what has happen too many in the system.

Anonymous said...

"My AP backed me up and I never had another problem."

That does make a lot of difference. I found some APs back you up, some don't. At our school, we got way more support until about mid-year, then it dropped off. The numbers were too high, so the APs were not disciplining students so that the records wouldn't be too high at county. Alternative school fills up, too, so its not an option for some of those offenders either.

But the reality, above and beyond discipline, ius that there isn't a culture among students, parents, administrators, to deal with the issue. Maybe at some schools, but not at ours, and certainly not at Dunaire, where tragedy struck.

Masika Bermudez said...

Hello to all this is Masika Bermudez, Jaheem Herrera's mother and voice.reading this blog is like a blessing sent from heaven,finally somebody can also see and realize that bullying is the reason why my son committed suicide, not the long so called domestic dispute that they reported of me and my fiance.On April 16th before my son's untimely death he told his best friend that "he was so tired of telling these people (teachers & administrators) and they arent doing anything , the only way out is death. This is a cover up, and one day i will prove it, and get the justice i deserve.

Cerebration said...

Masika, I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss. Everyone on this blog will continue to do whatever we can to stand against bullying. Our prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Ms Bermudez my family and I will continue to pray for you and your family. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking your loss is, but I do know how terrible it is to have your child bullied and no one will help. I pray you get the justice you and your family deserve.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Cerebration for all of your helpful information! I am trying to deal with a bully situation and I was feeling hopeless.

Cerebration said...

You're welcome. I'm so glad we could help. I hope you find some good information. Our post below is chock full of resources we collected.

Bullying – An Information Clearinghouse

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:55 pm
"I fully recognize that the only gifted students who matter to the district are those who are in the magnet programs. This is exemplified in the fact that there is not a gifted coordinator who is actively ensuring that local schools are providing services specified in the state law.."

Regarding the Gifted program in DCSS. Neither the Director of the Gifted Program Pat Copeland nor the the Coordinator of the Gifted Program Kishia Towns-Dixon show gifted certification on the Georgia Teacher Certification website.

Does anyone else find this unsettling for a program that serves over 10,000 DCSS students? How did these two women get the job of overseeing the Instructional part of a multimillion dollar gifted program if they are not certified in that program?

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/support/gifted/

Go here to find areas of teaching certification:
https://www.gapsc.com/Certification/Lookup/look_up.aspx

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find this unsettling for a program that serves over 10,000 DCSS students? How did these two women get the job of overseeing the Instructional part of a multimillion dollar gifted program if they are not certified in that program?

Interesting question however one that does not matter as both ladies are in an administrative role for the program.

The answer to the question is they are what's left of 4 department heads. 5 years ago, there were separate coordinators for magnet, theme, charter, and gifted along with assistants. Now there are two. This is part of the restructuring that has happened over the years in the central office. Add up the number of children in each of those programs along with the number of teachers. How effective can two coordinators be when you consider that number?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:33 pm

I looked up Sonya Porcher's certification. She was the Gifted coordinator for the last 6 or 7 years, however I believe she was let go last year. She is certified in Gifted and she taught gifted in a school.

Why would Ms. Tyson replace a coordinator certified in gifted with two employees who are not certified in gifted to run the Instructional piece of this critical program?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:56

"Interesting question however one that does not matter as both ladies are in an administrative role for the program. "

I really don't buy that. We have so many personnel who have their administrative certifications and in addition have their gifted certification.

Gifted serves 10,000 over 10% of our total students. At least one of the coordinator/directors should be certified in gifted and have some experience teaching gifted, be trained in the evaluation and staffing of gifted kids (believe me - there are many questions regarding gifted staffing), and understand the unique needs of gifted students.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:56
"The answer to the question is they are what's left of 4 department heads. 5 years ago, there were separate coordinators for magnet, theme, charter, and gifted along with assistants. "

But you do understand that gifted funds are the financial glue for Kittredge, Wadsworth, Chamblee HS, Chamblee MS, Arabia Mtn., DSA, marbut, etc.?

Why would you not require that at least one person has a gifted certificate? We don't get state money for magnets and themes. We do receive a little for charters. The main money comes from funding for gifted students.

We are talking about $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 in funding at a bare minimum. We have 87 teachers of gifted. Using Ms. Tyson's numbers of $65,000 per teacher in salary and benefits, we are spending around $5,500,000 on teachers of gifted teachers.

My question is where are the missing millions for gifted education going?

Are any parents of gifted students interested in this question or are you happy with the services your child is receiving?

Anonymous said...

It's really not that hard to figure out. I've been teaching for twenty-three years and have seen students held less and less accountable for the choices they make. DCSS has taught our young people a very dangerous life lesson and has allowed the parents to make it even worse. Kids can be rude and disrespectful, not come prepared for class, and lack any kind of motivation, but it is the teacher who is questioned when they don't pass. This reinforces the idea that they can treat others anyway they want to with no consequences. Yes, bullies were present when I went to school (oh so many years ago), but their behavior was not tolerated and they were swiftly and severly punished with the full support of their parents. You would not believe the excuses we hear for the behaviors none of you reading this would tolerate. Let's get real! These kids are going to fail at life unless we all teach them personal responsibility now. Believe me, it's very serious.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion which is based on observations and requests for information and poring over the school based budget, it appears that gifted funds are used to pay for additional assistant principals and other administrative types that otherwise would not be funded. When I questioned is this was true, I was told that these administrative staff members directly benefited the gifted students. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 7:48 pm

", it appears that gifted funds are used to pay for additional assistant principals and other administrative types that otherwise would not be funded. "

That doesn't seem possible since gifted funds are supposed to follow the students and be used for instruction of gifted students.

Anonymous said...

DCSS administration needs to be more transparent how funds earmarked for special use and special need students are spent. DCSS has 10,000 gifted students. How many parents of gifted students would like their children to have more gifted services?

Does anyone know what the per pupil funding is for gifted in dollar terms? The funding is an override of 65% on state funding for each gifted student served the maximum number of hours. Are these gifted students funded $1,000 per pupil, $2,000 per pupil, $3,000 per pupil? Is the funding $10,000,000, $20,000,000 or $30,000,000?

Based on the 87 teachers x $65,000 per teacher figure (Ms. Tyson's figure), $5,500,000 is spent on gifted teachers. How in the world could they justify spending gifted funds on assistant principals?

Anonymous said...

If any parents are interested in how gifted funds are supposed to used, contact the state of Georgia gifted coordinator:
Annette Eger
Program Specialist for Gifted Education
1766 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 657-0182
aeger@doe.k12.ga.us

Here is the gifted website page:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ci_iap_gifted.aspx

Anonymous said...

Well, it doesn't surprise me that the gifted millions are not spent on instruction for gifted students. It sounds par for the course. Just think what a great program gifted could be if these millions were spent on gifted students.

Anonymous said...

Ho has money been spent on gifted children in the past? I thought they had pull-out, high achievers, impact, etc. for every school based on the size of the gifted population.

Is it being done differently today since Ms. Talley is no longer over instruction?

Anonymous said...

The question is not how is gifted money spent on gifted students - it's how is gifted money not spent on direct instruction for gifted students. Inclusion has allowed gifted money to be spent as part of the school budget including non-teaching administrative positions.

Anonymous said...

The Director of Gifted, Theme and magnet is not certified in gifted and the Coordinator of Gifted, Theme and magnet is not certified in gifted, nor have either one ever taught gifted education in the gifted program yet gifted money floats much of the boat for those schools. Georgia as a whole has 9% of total students classified as gifted - DCSS has almost 10.5% (10,000) of our students classified as gifted. This is a huge amount of money inflowing into the county for the services of only 87 gifted teachers (gifted teachers are paid t the same rate as any other teacher). What kind of services could we have if all of this money went to directly instructing gifted students?

Anonymous said...

Pls write legislators....we need all financial transactions-checks & pcards w/o acct info~posted on line as a rqmt for school systems & county govt for transparency on hiw our money is spent.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:01 & 9:13, can you point to models used by neighboring districts for how the gifted money is used and the type of instruction the students receive? I thought other districts used a similar model. It would help us if we knew what we should be asking for.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:10

"can you point to models used by neighboring districts for how the gifted money is used and the type of instruction the students receive?"


This is from a Fulton
County high school Creekside High School. Is this waht you're looking for:

"Creekside's Gifted Program strives to provide a diverse, high quality educational
opportunity through a challenging, unique program of study with the following
servicing options:


Seminars (9th – 12th grade) – Students have a choice of up to two
seminars they can attend. Each semester requires a minimum of 12 to
20 hours centered on new topics each quarter as determined by student
interest.
Directed Studies (11th – 12th grade) Juniors and seniors may enroll in
Directed Studies or an Independent Studies Course instead of a seminar.
Individual Projects (9th – 12th grade) – With the supervision of a teacher of the gifted, the student conducts in-depth research as an extension of a curriculum topic in a class.
Career Internships (11th – 12th grade) - Juniors and seniors can participate in a school internship with a local business or government agency.
Advanced Placement/Honors Courses (9th – 12th grade) These college level or advanced courses meet daily and prepare the students for the rigor and challenges in college. "

Here's a link to their TAG (Talented and Gifted program):
http://www.creeksidehighschool.com/academics/tagd.html

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:10
"...can you point to models used by neighboring districts for how the gifted money is used and the type of instruction the students receive?"


Here is the Fulton Elementary School gifted services model.

I. Fulton Elementary Schools:
Students spend an entire day every week in a gifted class.
"Elementary students receive gifted services one day per week in a resource class.
• The student attends the gifted resource class at his or her home school.
• Elementary gifted resource class size is limited to 17 students."

II. Fulton Middle Schools:

"Middle School Curriculum for Talented and Gifted Education
• Middle school students receive gifted services in one to four TAG classes.
• TAG classes consist of advanced content courses in the areas of English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics.
• TAG classes are aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards and FCSS TAG Standards.
• TAG classes are part of the student's daily schedule.
• Middle school TAG class size is limited to 21 students.
• Numeric grades are earned in TAG classes.
• Students may also participate in individual projects in the area(s) of content placement. With supervision by a teacher of the gifted, the student conducts in-depth research as an extension of a topic in the Fulton County curriculum."

Fulton High Schools:
"Middle School Curriculum for Talented and Gifted Education
• Middle school students receive gifted services in one to four TAG classes.
• TAG classes consist of advanced content courses in the areas of English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics.
• TAG classes are aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards and FCSS TAG Standards.
• TAG classes are part of the student's daily schedule.
• Middle school TAG class size is limited to 21 students.
• Numeric grades are earned in TAG classes.
• Students may also participate in individual projects in the area(s) of content placement. With supervision by a teacher of the gifted, the student conducts in-depth research as an extension of a topic in the Fulton County curriculum."

See website:

http://www.fultonschools.org/k12/talentedandgifted/

No Duh said...

I was stunned to hear that not all DCSS elementary schools treat gifted students the same way. Our neighborhood elementary gifted program (called Discovery throughout DCSS), pulled the students out of their "regular" classes for about an hour four times a week. The students were responsible for making up what they missed in regular class while they were in Discovery.

Do all DCSS elementary schools "pull out" for Discovery? I don't think so. Did I hear Oak Grove doesn't pull Discovery students out? Sorry if I'm incorrect, but can't remember who told me that.

It should be consistent. I think there are plenty of gifted kids in all of our schools (north and south), but many are never tested beyond the co-gat. Kindergarten and first grade teachers ought to be recommending students for gifted testing, so these schools can earn the points needed to require dedicated Discovery teachers.

For every parent demanding their child be tested because they are SURE their child is gifted, I bet there are five who don't even know the Discovery program exists. We need to remember, that being designated "gifted" does not mean you are smarter than everyone else. It just means you will thrive in a more challenging/faster paced learning environment.

Now, don't get me started on how gifted teaching methods could probably benefit our total student population. If DCSS and the state would allow teachers to get creative and deliver the content the way the teacher sees fit, you'd see A LOT more engaged students and A LOT more engaged teachers.

I personally think all children are gifted -- it just requires the best teachers to open the packages.

My kids are constantly coming up with interesting things, and when I ask them where they learned "that" -- it's nearly always "in Discovery." If you make it interesting, it's memorable. Props to Ms. Gold and Ms. Rios. You rock!!

Anonymous said...

I started the gifted discussion but went out if town. No I'm not happy with whatshappening. no pull out out my elem. Principal indicates leveling allows students to be appropriately served. Have no discovery teacher. I assume they believe they are using cluster model as teacher is gifted certified, but I have not received gifted curriculum when I ask, and feel bad as teachers have either 25 or 30 kids in the class and I'm not sure how they are supposed to meet the needs of the 5-7 kids in the room with gifted cert. Can't see at all how those points are going ti anything for those kids. County office says they need written proof the school hasn't addressed, won't discuss issue with school until then.....don't want to proceed through school admin...attempts on this issue are fruitless.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:25

It sounds to me like your school is using the gifted money to hire extra teachers who teach regular ed but are certified in gifted which IMHO doesn't really address the needs of the gifted.

The person you should talk to is the Georgia DOE gifted coordinator Annette Eger
Program Specialist for Gifted Education (404) 657-0182 aeger@doe.k12.ga.us

State gifted webpage:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ci_iap_gifted.aspx

Ms. Eger could tell you what special services should be provided for gifted, and what you as a parent of a gifted child should expect in the way of information and services from DCSS.

It would be interesting to see exactly how much money is collected for 10,000 gifted children by DCSS. When the gifted program began to expand in the late 90s with new qualifications, the new influx of money allowed DCSS to have gifted students in gifted classes in all core subjects in middle school. Even small elementary schools with few gifted children had access to teachers of gifted. During the 2000s gifted began to be scaled back. The question is was the money drawn into the Central Office like Title 1 funds have been to be dispensed for assistant principals, extra regular ed teachers, etc. Not that these are not valid positions, just some of them are probably not germane to gifted education.

DCSS's 87 dedicated gifted teachers cost DCSS around $5,500,000. With 10,000 gifted children, are we receiving $10,000,000 or $20,000,000 for gifted education? What are we doing with the money? Ms. Eger could tell you what funding level DCSS receives. Subtract the $5,500,000 DCSS spends for gifted children, and then what's left over is what they are not spending for dedicated gifted teachers. At this point it seems very appropriate to ask DCSS to explain what they are doing with the rest of the gifted funds.

Anonymous said...

In the late 90's when qualifying for gifted changed, an influx of students into the program brought with it millions more in funding. Many changes came about for gifted students. For example, gifted children were staffed in all 4 core content gifted classes, elementary schools with small enrollment had at least a part time dedicated gifted teacher. Parents really liked this.

During the 2000s more and more inclusion and cluster models were seen in the schoolhouse. How many regular education teachers with gifted certification and assistant principals are being hired with gifted funds? Is the differentiation for gifted children happening in all of their classes?

DCSS has 10,000 gifted students. It's not unfeasible that DCSS is funded at $10,000,000 or $20,000,000 annually. DCSS only has 87 dedicate gifted teachers which in benefits and salaries equates to around $5,500,000. Where does the rest of the money go?

If you have questions about services your gifted child is receiving, the differentiation he/she should be experiencing, and the gifted curriculum, you should call or visit with contact the Georgia DOE gifted coordinator Annette Eger
Program Specialist for Gifted Education (404) 657-0182 aeger@doe.k12.ga.us

State gifted webpage:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ci_iap_gifted.aspx

Ms. Eger can tell you the dollar amount DCSS is receiving from the state to fund gifted kids. Subtract $5,500,000 we spent on dedicated gifted teachers and you may be very surprised.

Anonymous said...

Decatur city schools, btw, only hire new teachers with gifted certification. Their HR rep said that their G&T percentage is so high that scheduling classes is too difficult if some teachers have gifted certification and some don't.
I believe that Oak Grove may have a similar policy for similar reasons, as I've heard from parents that they don't do pull-outs for Discovery because they can fill entire homerooms with Discovery kids.

Anonymous said...

In addition, sometimes DCSS high schools will finagle the maximum class sizes for gifted classes by putting a gifted class in the same room at the same time as an "honors/advanced" class. They show up as two separate classes on official lists. Only if an official or a parent were to inspect how many kids are in a room at a time would anyone beside the administration and the teacher know that the law were being flauted.

Anonymous said...

"Now, don't get me started on how gifted teaching methods could probably benefit our total student population. If DCSS and the state would allow teachers to get creative and deliver the content the way the teacher sees fit, you'd see A LOT more engaged students and A LOT more engaged teachers."

No Duh, you hit the nail on the head. A good teacher doesn't need gifted certification to teach students in an engaging way. Teachers should be engaging their students and getting them to develop their thought process and critical thinking skills.


There are ways to fudge the numbers of the number of gifted students or even to label a child as being gifted. It is much easier to get a child labeled gifted, than to get students with learning disabilities the services that they need. I believe that all children should be taught at a higher level of learning to encourage deep thinking and engagement in learning.

Anonymous said...

Gifted teachers also need some oversight. In elementary school, I refused to have my child "pulled out" as the gifted teacher did nothing with the students. They missed content in the regular class and got nothing from gifted.

In high school my child has always had "advanced" students in her gifted class. It is amazing to me that the state has not caught on to this. How is DeKalb able to get away with this?

Has anyone heard anything about how the Math will change?

Cerebration said...

When I worked at an ad agency, I was asked to lead a group of 6th grade students with the gifted label in developing individual ad campaigns for an imaginary product (one I made up). They were the most attentive, curious kids I've ever met. I outlined their mission, we had some discussions and brainstorming sessions and off they went. The media they produced blew my mind! They had fully developed campaigns with edited tv spots -- one even went so far as to convince a local athletic hero to appear in his ad as a sponsor!

I've volunteered to work with many groups of kids on various types of projects and have enjoyed every experience at every level. But there really was something very different about those gifted kids. It was really just their speed of comprehension and their ability and enthusiasm to do the work.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

You are right.

Truly "gifted" students are "special". They think faster and deeper than other students. They take ideas and turn them around and upside down, and their conclusions are unusual and surprising.

I'm not gifted, but I taught gifted students for over a decade in DCSS.

What is difficult for us is easy for them. They sit in their seats and mentally race ahead of us. They skip directly from the problem to the answer with time left over to construct problems we can't even imagine. They are the square pegs in the round holes. They remind us that the world is unfair. They learn to hide their intelligence in order to blend in. They are our greatest group of underachievers. They invent new economies and pave the way to our future. They come in all income levels, gender, races, religions, and cultures. They are rare and pull the rest of us into uncharted territory.

Anonymous said...

@11:46 agreed, but how many of the kids labeled Gifted in DCSS are truly gifted?

Anonymous said...

ya gotta admit, it's funny when Montgomery parents complain about overcrowding with 2 trailers.

There were barely 300 students at Nancy Creek when it closed. If it wasn't closed back in 2008, it would surely be on the list now.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent that is currently dealing with a bullying situation in the DeKalb County School System. So far it seems that the bullying policy is moot unless your child states that they are being bullied over and over and has been beat up by another student. My daughter defended herself and received the same punishment as her aggressor even though the aggressor posted on her Facebook page her intentions two days before she came after my daughter; not to mention after my daughter walked away from her twice and informed a security officer of what was going on and a secretary at the school. All I can get from the principal is that if my daughter feels unsafe I should move her to another school. Mind you the school administration has copies if this child's Facebook page where she brags about being a thug, claims she beat my daughters backside (but she used profanity)and in a conversation with friends there is a comment about how when she returns to school they are going to "run dem hands." The school rather protect this child and "help her" than to protect or help an A/B student that does not claim to be a thug nor has any behavioral issues on her school record. Can someone explain this to me?!?! The public schools seem to prefer to be reactive instead of proactive in bullying cases and like to wait until a child dies or kills another before they do anything!

Anonymous said...

@10:46 Keep records of your meetings with the principal, date , time, what happened, and all evidence and take it to a lawyer. Until the district is sued, nothing will be done. Also take it to the media.

The principals don't want to tarnish their school's reputation or go through the paper work.

Until DCSS is sued or incidences like this are in the media, DCSS is not going to change. Your child deserves better, and transferring her to another school is not solving the problem, as there will be another victim.

Anonymous said...

Which school? Who is the Principal?

Sagamore 7 said...

Anon 10:46.

Be very protective of your child. It seems you a doing things the right way.

Please send information to this blog or via email.

reparteeforfun@gmail.com

or

sagamore77@gmail.com

Everything will be kept confidential.

God luck and god bless.

Cerebration said...

From the Marcus Jewish Community Center -

In light of the recent epidemic of teen suicides due to bullying, the MJCCA Teen Department has partnered with Sandy Springs' acclaimed theater company, Act 3 Productions, for a special performance of The Laramie Project.
It's an inspirational performance to help increase awareness in our own community, performed by a stand-out cast of high-school and college students, including two of our very own BBYO members!! Space is limited. Don't delay! Reserve your tickets today.


Click here for tickets and information.

Anonymous said...

I also think that suicide prevention programs need to be offered and perhaps at lower grades than in the past.

No Duh said...

Anon 10:46.

Run, don't walk to AJC education reporter Megan Matteucci

mmatteucci@ajc.com or 404-526-5691

Enough is enough. This kind of administrative incompetence has got to be exposed. Let the media help you take your school out of the hands of thugs (the students who are thugs and the administrators who encourage them).


Remember, Megan can only report facts, and it may take her a little while to do her own investigation, but if your depiction of the events leading up to your daughter's bullying incident hold up under her objective eye, you may become a DCSS hero. (Not saying you are lying, just saying a reporter will take the emotions out and get down to an objective telling of what sounds like rampant bullying in your school.)

Anonymous said...

Remember that you can always press charges, especially against older students but even younger ones, if you get no satisfaction from the DCSS authorities.

This isn't always the right path to take, but if the situation is bad enough and the school or system isn't resolving it, then you do have this option.

I suspect that once you speak of this option to a DCSS official, you will quickly get results.

Anonymous said...

The ability to transfer has become such a commonly accepted practice by some school principals that it is their solution for everything.

Don't like it here-- let me help you get a transfer
Being bullied --let me help you get a transfer
Unhappy with a teacher --let me help you get a transfer

Sad, but true. Makes the principal's job easier.

Tonya Cummings said...

I know this is true my kids were bullied all year at McNair middle and I still haven't gotten justice I pressed charges on the kids but they continued in the same school bullying others, and the district let me transfer my kids to different school but they won't help me with transportation. Dekalb county doesn't care about this issue at all.

Dekalb county doesn't care about children being bullied in this county they take this so lightly and want me to send my kids back to this school, please help us if you can I beg you please....
I have been trying to get resolve on this issue for months, my kids were extremely bullied in McNair middle school last yr and I got them transferred out, in march to cedar grove, they have received death threats from two of the students as well we have pending charges and no contact order as well, however we are a family homeless and in tradition from domestic violence and in need of transportation to new school this year seeing how those same students go to McNair this year and the trauma my kids went through, my son was held hostage on the bus and beaten by 10 different students five of them I have pending charges the kids even came to our home. I'm trying figure out why the school cannot provide us transportation for this issue and what can I do. Poor black ppl are suffering in this community because of bullying kids are killing themselves from bullying in school and these same students are currently still bullying others students, they are also a part of a gang. I need help for my children I'm coming to you because I have gone to the board of education and they won't budge could someone please help my children. They did so well at Cedar Grove last year and are at peace could you please help us. please help us.....
This is a email I sent to school board mayor, governor, district supervisor, safe school, student services and all news media and no one cares I been turned down all day. They shouldn't wonder why kids are getting away with this or why they bringing weapons to school and killing themselves sad.