Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ma Charrette - Oh lá lá!

I went to the Chamblee Charrette and thought I'd report back. The turnout was enormous - I would estimate approximately 300-350 at a minimum were present. The overwhelming majority appeared to be from Chamblee attendance but there were a few Lakeside, Dunwoody, and Cross Keys folks present.

Add "large projection screen" to the wish list
Everyone gathered in the Bulldogs' gym for an intro - I missed the first fifteen minutes but the format was fairly simple. While the group was assembled, a brief summary slide show was presented describing the "2020 Vision" thing. Then the MGT of America folks passed out remotes to everyone and guided us through a few live survey questions with results projected over head (kewl!). That was fun but not particularly enlightening.

A sample question was something like, "Do you think portable classrooms are a viable, long-term solution for capacity planning?" Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree ... really?

After that, smaller groups of thirty or so split up and migrated to various rooms to fill out a simple form rating a school facilities (your choice). Then, a facilitator guided us through some questions and discussion points about priorities and concerns. Again, nothing particularly interesting or new here. Most folks in my group were Chamblee parents and talked a lot about the bad facilities and the lack of trust of leadership and absolute paranoia about being districted out of Chamblee.

At the end of our session, one astute CMS parent asked if the MGT reports would be available for the public to review. At which point, the lead consultant, Dr. Carnes (I think I have that correct) came over and said all reports would be available through the school system. I pointed out that having direct access to the reports would be a good idea since trust, or lack thereof, was the major theme of the night and offered up our humble blog as an alternate medium.

Dr. Carnes brought up the recommendations from a similar effort in St. Louis and suggested we could look at that to see what to expect in the final report. They took the todo to find it and I believe I have spotted it already here:

MGT Report for SLPS

He did say with great confidence that they will put everything on the table as they did in St. Louis. In that case, they recommended the closure of twenty-nine schools. In the end, that system closed seventeen of those recommended. He was very adamant that their report would include specific school closures and re-districting plans among other recommendations. So, I think we can expect a  very interesting report from them. Whether our leadership takes the recommendations to heart is an entirely different matter.

The irony of sitting in a planning charrette in CCHS was not lost on me. Whatever expert recommendations might end up in the MGT report about the CCHS area they are dead before the surveying is done and it is written. That ship has sailed and CCHS programs and attendance areas are now in a protected status. So this begs the question: If the System can manage planning CCHS facilities and attendance with no charrette, why is it necessary anywhere?

Discuss ...

115 comments:

Anonymous said...

DeKalb Parents has detailed meeting notes from the BOE meeting where they voted to fund Chamblee and notes from the Chamblee Charrette, with all the questions, etc.

DeKalb Parents

Anonymous said...

Kim

Remember there hasn't been any plans put out there for the size of CCHS. For 70 million dollars they can build a pretty big high school.

I think the small group process worked in some rooms and not in others. A friend ended up in a room with a bunch of Fernbank parents and they really dominated the room. Lots of anger there, what is up with that?

They used the rows to form the small groups -- not a good idea because those people generally came with each other. They need to mix it up a bit.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that there are communities that will answer yes to trailers if it means redistricting can be avoided.

Ella Smith said...

Fernbank do not want there boundary lines moved. I found this out when I went to their forum with Dr. Walker and I. I honestly set most of the time like a lump on a log as they allowed Dr. Walker to call on the parents to ask the questions and of course he acted like I was not there. It was a very unpleasant experience. I had went to Fernbank before for a forum and it was very pleasant.

Dr. Walker assured the parents he would not vote for any changes to Fernbank regarding their lines regarding their overcrowding. I think he said more of less that you do not change something that is working. This experience made me aware that all the meetings like this really do not matter at all and all the recommendations to the board really do not matter at all when school board members already promise they will make no changes to school lines.

Fernbank is overcrowded. There are two schools right beside them that are less than 100 students from capacity so if the lines were moved these two schools could stay open. This is one of those tough questions thta needs to be analyzed by experts and data collected before poltical decisions are made and promises are made on how school board members will vote.

From what Dr. Walker said I am not for sure he will be supportive of any of the school closure either. I am hopeful I am wrong on this as we do have too many schools in the county to operate efficienty. However, this is a tough decision and just like Fernbank parents no one wants their school to close or their lines to move so what do you do. However, some parents are more vocal than others. I understand how the Fernbank parents feel. They bought homes in an area and paid more money for them. They want to stay in that school district because of that. But how many other taxpayers in the county feel the same way? This is the problem. There is no good solution to please everyone.

Anonymous said...

Kim

I think the attitude about Chamblee was expressed in multiple rooms. I know that in one room when a participant suggested that perhaps the system ought to just make decisions, another Chamblee parent said "Hell no, they aren't changing my attendance zone."

This is an impossible task because it has as much to do with academics as it does with instruction. Parents are as concerned with what type of child their child will be sitting next to as anything else. And this attitude permeates almost every cluster in DeKalb so it isn't limited to N. DeKalb at all.

Dunwoody Mom said...

A sample question was something like, "Do you think portable classrooms are a viable, long-term solution for capacity planning?" Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree ... really?


There are certain areas of Dunwoody that would probably agree with that statement if it meant that got to stay in their school.

But, seriously, the more I think about this vote for the new Chamblee HS and the lack of argument from the "usual suspects" about what the "north" gets, I am convinced there was some promises made. I guess what those are will be revealed soon.

Anonymous said...

This is how our school board works: Chamblee High was in horrible shape for years, but was ignored because its parents are not squeaky wheels.

It's district rep., Jim Redovian is in a run-off. Now all of a sudden, the other BOE members come to his rescue and $50 to $70 million will be spent to build a brand new one. Was it needed? Yes.

Why was it done with incredible speed? Was it a $70 mil political favor? You're darn right.

Is this anyone to manage a billion dollar budget? Of course not.

After the score of scandals, including school construction scandals, has the BOE learned anything? Heck no.

To everyone who voted for Gene Walker, Jay Cunningham and Sarah Copelin-Wood to return to office to spend our billion dollars a year, shame, shame on you.

Thank you, BOE, for granting a $70 mil political favor to ensure Redovian is re-elected. Keep fighting the good fight, Nancy Jester!

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom

If you read the notes from DeKalb parents you will see that SCW and ZR did argue against this, SCW more than ZR. In the end, they voted for it, but with SCW you never know if she knew what the question was.

Remember that every board member has constituents that have students at CCHS and in the magnet programs at CMS and KMS. They are probably among the most vocal constituents they have.

Anonymous said...

When Pat Pope originally prepared the very first draft of a plan for SPLOST III, she only had new construction on it. She was never convinced that renovating many of the old schools was a good idea.

Of course, that wasn't politically possible nor necessarily practical so she started over.

This money became available within the last 8 weeks or so. With the exception of Chamblee, I think, every high school that was scheduled to get work under SPLOST was completed or underway already.

We all know that the renovations done have generally not been thorough enough or done well enough. Hopefully the facility assessments that are being done now will reflect that.

How we address these needs is critical as we move forward.

We could start by having fewer buildings, that would be a huge help.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I did read the notes. I did not get the impression they were arguing against a new Chamblee building, just that other schools had needs as well - especially Redan.

That has been my point all along...with a school system of $144 million in construction needs, they utilize all $58 million of the bond proceeds on one project. I have said and will continue to say that is not the best use of the money.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Charrette and the overwhelming number of parents I saw were from the Dunwoody clusters, especially Dunwoody elementary schools.

In my breakout session the majority of the conversation was all about Dunwooody elementary school lines. There was also a good discussion about the need for good academics in ALL the schools.

It was clear to me that a major motive behind this process is to figure out how to convince DeKalb voters to support SPLOST IV.

Anonymous said...

How they divided up for the small groups is part of the problem. They took rows so the groups in each room seemed to not be diverse.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, We know from every post of yours that you were against the CCHS new building and how it was done. GET OVER IT! In the words of Fran Millar, "It's a done deal!"

Now let's move on and see what the stakeholders can do to make our system right! Good grief.

The many responses so far have been very informed. Folks, this Charette business is an attempt by the leadership to make us think we've got some say in the matter. Dan Drake and his team are already moving on redrawing lines. This think is moving incredibly fast due to deadlines imposed by the state to receive their funding.

Like the QSCB bonds deadlines and guidelines this whole process has to be done in a huge hurry or we'll miss out on even more funding.

Dunwoody Mom, in another thread I posed some questions to you and you never answered them. I understand your feelings about the way the CCHS building was approved. It was not a great situation but the BOE had a gun to their head due to the deadlines that those bonds had. Did you want to miss out on those funds too?

It's not a perfect world right now and that's why we need to get as many incumbents out as possible to right this top loaded system of ours. We need to get OUR money back into the classrooms. Bottom up budgeting. That's what we need.

Anonymous said...

@anon 736am,

I agree about the idea that this was all about how to sell a SPLOST IV to the public. They are using our money to see how they can get more of our money. What a farce! They practically asked the question, "What would it take to get you to vote for SPLOST IV?" The choices were all things that are necessary but there was one that was missing. Elect new board members! We need Nancy Jester and Donna Edler on that board.

I agree with the other anon - Keep fighting the good fight Nancy Jester!

Dunwoody Mom said...

Dunwoody Mom, We know from every post of yours that you were against the CCHS new building and how it was done. GET OVER IT! In the words of Fran Millar, "It's a done deal

Well, Sandy, I never said I was against the CCHS building, please find where I said that. What I am against is using this entire bond on one project.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom said, "the more I think about this vote for the new Chamblee HS and the lack of argument from the "usual suspects" about what the "north" gets, I am convinced there was some promises made. I guess what those are will be revealed soon."

Sure promises were made. The love fest between Cuningham and Redovian, Monday night, made that painfully obvious, Jim has guaranteed his vote for something that Jay needs down the road. I think we need to get Nancy Jester and Edler in there and nip those promises in the bud! NIP IT!

Our system needs to be fixed. By voting the incumbents back in it will be business as usual. Until Clew's ENTIRE leadership group has been shown the door, nothing is going to change!

I hope the MGT group that is handling the Charettes will fix a few of the problems they had last night. Mix up the groups! Larger Projection screen! More questions asked to the stakeholders!

If Dunwoody wants trailers, so be it. If Redan needs a new building then those parents need to organize, like the Chamblee parents did, and come with the truth. Once the BOE saw the engineering report on CCHS, it was obvious the can could not be kicked down the road any longer. There were 700+ resident students about to be left without a school. What could have been done to serve them?

This whole thing should have been done 5 years ago, when the whole Sembler/Briarcliff property/3 or 4 school closings reared its' ugly head. Clew had a chance to be a leader and instead he chose to kick the can down the road. His antics got us to this point and it's time we find ourselves new blood with no ties to DeKalb to run OUR system!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy Creek parent. Where you there last night? I wonder if you were in my small group room.

The arguments about Nancy Creek got a little tiresome. I especially liked it when a parent asked what would happen to KMS and a Nancy Creek advocate shrugger her shoulders and said, "not my problem." Later on, though they admitted that Montgomery wasn't so crowded.

The prize for honesty in my small group goes to the gentleman who pointed out after the facilitator had answered a Nancy Creek parent's question about projections that if you looked at his neighborhood and saw all the little children you would think you would need a huge school, but that most families move as their family's grow to a different area.

No body in Chamblee wants redistricting either, please don't try and hold your community up as some stellar example.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom thanks for the compliment, but I am not Sandy!

If multiple projects had been funded using QSCB, then there would not have been enough money for a new building for CCHS. If that building had been condemned, DM have you seen the engineering report, where would those 700+ resident students go? Dunwoody? Tucker? Lakeside? Cross Keys? All those schools are close to and way over capacity.

Plus, It has been explained if multiple projects had used those QSCB's funds the paperwork and hoops DCSS would have had to jump through would have been a daunting task for Turk and his bunch. Too many mistakes had been made in the past, which is one reason why we need a change in that position. However, with one project and a construction company with the experience using government funding for building projects will make it easier for the funds to be used properly and reported properly.

Like Nancy Jester has said she wants to make sure the project is done right and does not end up costing DCSS more than it should.

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

If you're talking to me, a Nancy Creek parent, I was a Nancy Creek parent. I could not attend last night, our kids had other commitments that had to be met. We plan to attend the charette at PCMS.

We live a mile from CCHS so I don't think we'll be redistricted to another High School. But there are parents in areas around 285, as well as Dresden/Ashford Park area, who are concerned with the lines being redrawn.

I am interested in hearing more about the small group that talked about Nancy Creek. Montgomery is about 75 - 100 students over capacity, not a huge number but over none the less. Huntley Hills is over too and I've been hearing that the Montessori Program there is drawing to a close over attrition. Is this true Huntley Hills parents?

We are suffering county wide over decisions that were made 40 years ago. The BOE back then made a conscious effort to build neighborhood schools. Since, the state DOE updated their rules regarding state funding and DCSS has been trying to catch up for years. Think about the changes DeKalb has gone through since 1965. There are some tough decisions coming and it will effect every single DCSS stakeholder. Stay engaged! The more noise everyone makes, the more the BOE will have to listen.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, No I am NOT Sandy Spruill.

I am a passionate stakeholder and both of my kids are in the school system currently. I must remain anonymous for reasons you would not understand.

I've used the term CLEW on this blog for a couple of years. I also have used the term Palace, for the boondoggle on Stn. Mtn. Industrial. I also enjoy using the term folks. It's who I am, but to accuse me of being someone I am not is pretty funny. I wish I could write as well as Sandy too! I look forward to the day when I can walk up to you in person and introduce myself.

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the post, Kim. Good job. And I hope everyone read DeKalb Parent's notes - always a very detailed resource!

Personally, I agree with a few things. We've long advocated for Chamblee HS on this blog. That building is horrible. Unhealthy. Unsafe.

However, what a surprise! Somewhere between $58-70 million - for a school enrollment currently at about 1500... I would think we could build a very large facility with $70 million. So now the question is - "if we build it, will they come?" Hopefully...

Also - I see the politics in this. Threefold -

1 - this is a political endorsement of Jim Redovian by the rest of the board. (Not sure that's good for Jim...)

2- This ends all conversation about moving the magnet. The magnet cannot leave, as the school would be left with less than 700 resident students rattling around in this giant new building. So end conversations about merging magnets in a central location.

3 - This hog-ties us to vote for SPLOST 4. Either vote for it - or we'll take it from your property taxes cause we've gone and signed on the dotted line and now we owe the money.

(ps - Dunwoody mom - Sandy is definitely not online this morning - I know this for a fact - her internet has been down)

Melissa Wilks said...

I do not understand "Anonymous" postings. Wouldn't this blog have more credibility if people would identify themselves and stand up for what they believe in?

I encourage posters to use their name to identify themselves. I believe this would result in some of the postings becoming more thoughtful; in other words, inflammatory comments would be more thoughtfully considered before posting.

This blog has the potential to be a wonderful, credible resource. But the back-and-forth between some of the Anonymous postings sounds ridiculous at times. And, therefore, lessens the credibility of the whole.

Anonymous said...

CCHS is, and always has been landlocked. There's never been enough land for "practice" athletic fields which every other HS in the district has.

Now that funds are available for a new school I hope consideration is made to either:

1) Build a multi-level facility allowing for a smaller footprint freeing some land for a new field or

2) Selling some of the "former" CCHS land for residential development, using the proceeds to buy land at the ever-struggling Chamblee Plaza and build the new school there, while converting the former CCHS parking lots to practice fields and greenspace for school and public use.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, Cere, I'll believe you...My apologies to the poster.

However, I wouldn't necessarily buy into the fact the magnet program won't move. You could redistrict into Chamblee, or BETTER YET, build a brand new facility for the Cross Keys and Chamblee areas.

Sagamore 7 said...

Melissa,

Unfortunately DCSS has a vindictive side to its rule.

When teachers post on this blog they usually feel the results at their workplace.

Fortunately for us, we have plenty of teachers that voice their opinions and concerns on this blog and therefore can't disclose who they are.

I hope this helps you understand why so many people hide their identity.

Sagamore 7

Dunwoody Mom said...

Selling some of the "former" CCHS land for residential development, using the proceeds to buy land at the ever-struggling Chamblee Plaza and build the new school there, while converting the former CCHS parking lots to practice fields and greenspace for school and public use

There is no market for real estate now - just look at all the empty car dealerships on PIB. Yes, you can get land cheap now, but you can't sell what you have.

Also, I didn't realize that Chamblee Plaza was for sale. Has someone told the Dunkin Donuts or Chick-Fil-A?

Anonymous said...

My favorite was the sweet older woman in my small group that said she lived across the street from Vanderlyn and she and her neighbors are so tired of looking at all of the trailers. She expressed dismay that there was a redistricting plan and then *poof* it was gone and all the trailers are still there! Too funny.

My group spent most of the time expressing their distrust of the BOE. We told the MGT person that we thought he and his company would do an excellent job and write a fair and honest report, but we doubt any of it will be put in to action by the BOE.

I believe in the main presentation they said that the report would be put on their company website the day after it is presented to the BOE. So at least we won't have to depend on the BOE/DCSS for access to it on Dec 7.

Dunwoody Mom said...

My favorite was the sweet older woman in my small group that said she lived across the street from Vanderlyn and she and her neighbors are so tired of looking at all of the trailers

A comment about the uproar on the Retention Pond at DHS is on my lips, but I shall refrain.

Anonymous said...

"Selling some of the "former" CCHS land for residential development, using the proceeds to buy land at the ever-struggling Chamblee Plaza and build the new school there, while converting the former CCHS parking lots to practice fields and greenspace for school and public use."


Fantastic idea. The City of Chamblee has a smart, energetic mayor. Would like to see the city work with the school system on this imortant project.

Cerebration said...

As far as the charrettes go - I'll have to attend one to voice my opinion with any kind of authority, however, judging from past efforts like this - (Blue Ribbon Task Force, Citizens Task Force, Judge Moore, etc) - it's much ado about nothing. These things always end up serving as smoke and mirrors so that the board can just dang well do as they please. It's a distraction, IMO - so please try to look beyond to see what the man behind the curtain is up to...

Ella - Walker was in full campaign mode when he made those promises to the Fernbank people. Let's see what his actions are - after all - he asked us to judge him by his actions.

But Kim is correct - how can the board vote on one hand to spend so much on enlarging and improving one school when they have yet to collect the data proving it's the best choice. Perhaps consolidating magnets would have been a good decision. Now, we'll just never know.

I still think that compiling all of the money into a super-nice, college-campus like facility on the Cross Keys property would be wise. The magnet program could be housed in one building, the vocational programs in another... shared buildings elsewhere - and an auditorium everyone could use. Plus, just a short walk from the Brookhaven Marta.

Hate to be so cynical - but the trust is still not there.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Hey, Cere, come to the one at Peachtree - we can sit and be cynical together.

Anonymous said...

DM -- While it's scary that our board has the power, the land doesn't have to be for sale. They can invoke "eminent domain" and buy it without the owner's consent since it's for public use. Hopefully though they'd be able to work out a reasonable agreement with the owner instead.

Dunwoody Mom said...

It would take years for the eminent domain issue to be resolved in court if the owner does not want to sell. Remember this money has to be spent within 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, Apology accepted, and I really do want to meet you at the PCMS charette. We might not see eye to eye on every subject but we are both passionate about one thing. Changing the way DCSS operates and achieve the task of teaching DeKalb counties children.

I know the Mayor of Chamblee and I hope he helps with CCHS. However, everyone has to move now! There are only 2 years and 362 days to complete the project.

DM, I wish there had been more time to discuss building a larger building and combining with Cross Keys and making Cross Keys a wonderful Technical School, DeKalb would have been proud of. But these stimulus funds have some of the wackiest rules and guidelines. If you ever have time, read about QSCB Bonds. It's a tough read but you can also ask Nancy Jester, she has a great take on them.

Anonymous said...

DCSS could still use build one school for both Chamblee and Cross Keys.

Anonymous said...

I love hearing what happened in the small group settings. Just spoke to two more friends, no one wants change that will impact them.

It isn't just from one cluster either, so far the comments came from Tucker, Lakeside, Dunwoody, Chamblee and Druid Hills.

If I was Ms. Tyson, I would run for the hills!

Anonymous said...

^^ Not true. I want change that will affect me. I live in Dunwoody in the Chesnut district. Right now the school only goes up to 3rd grade, the kids have to transition to Dunwoody Elementary at 4th grade. Dunwoody Elementary is undercrowded -- while all of the Dunwoody K-3 schools are OVERcrowded. This is really dumb. I would like to see the lines redrawn so that all seats in the beautiful new Dunwoody ELementary are filled and so that all kids can go to the same school for grades K-5 just like the kids in other parts of DCSS dol.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:28, I know there are more of you out there, however, you are the first one to mention the silliness that Clew created when Dunwoody Elementary became a 4th & 5th Grade academy and the overcrowding continued.

Have you spoken with Mr. Redovian? If so, what was his response? If not, send him a question, I'm interested in hearing his response.

Anonymous said...

Redovian has said publicly that redistricting is coming. Now that we have a professional planner the whole process should go much smoother. Well, not much smoother, but the lines that Pope presented left hundreds of empty seats at DES, for the just in case kids she thought might show up, and left almost all the other schools overcrowded.

Dunwoody Mom said...

There were new attendance lines drawn for Dunwoody ES prior to its opening.

A lot of screaming caused DCSS to abandon the plan very quickly and come up with the 4/5 school.

Anonymous said...

The attendance lines that were drawn for DES were a joke. As I wrote above, 100s of empty seats because in S. DeKalb when they open a new school 100s of students unexpectedly show up.

(Someone should really ask how that is possible, but not my battle. Where do they come from? Henry County?)

Anyway, Pope couldn't find a way to fill the school and the screaming from all parts of the community, derailed the process.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Not all parts of the Dunwoody community objected to the lines drawn.

Dunwoody Mom said...

John Henegan covered it all...Here is just one post from his blog..

"The Redistricting Plan was touted for almost two years as the sensible solution to our schools’ overcrowding problem. Most people in the community assumed this plan or some variation would be implemented. However, a new plan was recently proposed which has completely surprised the community. This new plan, the Academy Plan, permanently relocates 4th and 5th graders from three schools to the new school. As a result, the current 2nd and 3rd graders at Austin, Chesnut, and Vanderlyn would not finish their elementary years at their neighborhood school, but instead would be bused to the 4th & 5th grade “New School".

http://dunwoodynorth.blogspot.com/2008/06/academy-update-meeting-june-21.html

pscexb said...

As usual, great summary of the Chamblee Charrette by Kim along with interesting comments thus far. I stand by comments made in the September 17 blog, Where the High School Students Are, found at:

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/09/where-high-school-students-are.html

I believe the decision made on Monday was premature given we haven't begun reviewing realistic options for closure/consolidation/redistricting. It was interesting listening to Ms. Copelin-Woods before the vote as she not so subtlely said, "if you want something, do what the folks in Chamblee did and ask for it". Seems she was implying that squeaky wheels get what they want.

As some have already mentioned, decisions are usually made to build schools based on historical trends of the student population in that area. For the last 25+ years, the residential high school student population has ranged between 650 and 800. If the decision is to build a school that can accomodate up to 2000 - 2200 students, you could probably combine Chamblee and Cross Keys while also tweaking the lines for Dunwoody and maybe Lakeside.

Ultimately we need to spend less on buildings and more on instruction. In order to do that we need to reduce the number of schools in the district. We'll find out if our Board is willing to make the tough decisions or continue to accomodate citizens.

I actually attended a Magnet Advisory meeting last night. As you can imagine, there were several questions about what the impact of a new Chamblee will do for the southern strand of the High Achievers Magnet program. Several also asked about rumors of possible consolidation of the high acheivers magnet program into a central facility. Its going to get interesting.

Anonymous said...

The reason for the original lines screaming? Clew and Moseley redrew the lines with a sharpee marker. Dan Drake was not on board yet so an uninformed decision was made by the corrupt leadership. The sharpee lines disected neighborhoods in half and in one instance had divided a small sub division in half! One side of a street would attend one school while the other side another school. There was so much screaming CLEW came up with the current plan, which silenced the masses but NOT everyone.

Dunwoody Mom said...

And my guess that there will still be unhappy people in Dunwoody when Dan Drake reveals the redistricting plan.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 5:13a "They used the rows to form the small groups -- not a good idea because those people generally came with each other. They need to mix it up a bit."

Very practical point ... I'll pass along to Bill Carnes - I think they will use this advice.

Cerebration said...

psc - great advice! In fact, I think this is the smartest comment posted on this blog in a very long time -

Ultimately we need to spend less on buildings and more on instruction. In order to do that we need to reduce the number of schools in the district. We'll find out if our Board is willing to make the tough decisions or continue to accomodate citizens.

Kim Gokce said...

Although publicly there is "no plan" for the CCHS site/Bonds, I think it is pretty clear that the BoE intends to keep the status quo - rebuild on site with marginal land acquisition if possible adjacent and that's it.

The school will be built of, by, and for the current attendance area and will continue to serve as the High Achievers Magnet. Any of the other ideas being discussed here are already off the table in my judgment.

If you think people would loose their mind over redistricting in Chamblee area BEFORE the new $70m dollar school is built, what do you think ... will it be a quieter or LOUDER argument? No question, LOUDER!

Our system is a political system and as per PSCEXB's comment above, Mw. Woods was not hinting that squeaky wheels get the grease - she was stating that directly.

As far as the ability of the system to plan for larger capacity on the same site - of course they could but they will not. They will need to go to up at least two stories simply to provide land space for the spa-like amenities we can expect like a nata-torium, auditorium, and Decatur-like, turfed stadium.

So, my advice to those interested in the future of education in "Region 1" is to plan on a new CCHS in place, with attendance lines pretty much unchanged. Then, we can start talking about what to do with all the opportunities and problems that have been waiting to be addressed for the past decade.

Whatever emerges from the 2020 planning, it will have an "intact" CCHS as a foundation ...

Leo said...

I attended the Chamblee Charrette last night and overall was impressed by the process. I have confidence that the folks at MGT will present a plan supported by data. I spoke with Dan Drake, and while I don't envy his job, he stated that he was going to use as much objective data to support his recommendations. I can support well-reasoned plans, even if I don't like the outcome (it is possible that I'll be redistricted to schools with poorer performance and resources). I also get that many people believe voting to rebuild CCHS is putting the cart before the horse, but really, the funds have been allotted to build a new high school. What the county does with that high is limitless. They could move the magnet program and redraw districts to ease the overcrowding at Dunwoody, Lakeside, Tucker. They could combine CCHS and another school. They could keep the magnet program and keep the lines largely the same. Just deciding to rebuild the school doesn't mean that there aren't options which could impact parents and students in other attendance areas. I hope that the new proposal advocated ensuring that all of our students have access to all programs (art, PE, technology, music, foreign language, etc.) even if that means fewer but larger schools. And even if that means my house gets districted into a "lesser" school group and I have to move.

But frankly, I suspect that there will be a lot of effort into developing a well-reasoned and objective plan and that the same crap will happen that always happen with people yelling and screaming about how unfair it all is and nothing or only a small portion of something will actually be approved by our Board. When that happens, I give up.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the company will do a super job collecting data and making solid recommendations. I do not have this same trust in the board of education to make the correct decisions. I wish I felt that the board of ed would do the right thing for DCSS and the children, but I don't see why they'd start now.

Thanks for this info. Kim.

Kim Gokce said...

Oh! I forgot to mention that Dr. Carney told me today that the document found and posted in this item is the executive summary ... somewhere out there is a much larger report for St. Louis that I'll try to acquire and post back here.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: re - "Hogties..."

Right! I think this is a very important point. Not only did the BoE obligate every DeKalb County property owner or sales tax payer to repay the $58m or whatever, they did so without blinking - this should disturb every one of us.

The analogy I made to my wife after the vote was that it was as if a 0% limited time offer credit card promo showed up in my mail box, addressed to me. Then, my son that bears my name retrieves the mail, fills out the app, gets the card, and goes to buy a mercedes with it. Who is responsible? I am.

The BoE has acted like that bad, greedy child in this case. Yes, it was a great offer. No, they did not have "Daddy's permission." The point I am making is not pro- or con- CCHS. I personally will benefit from the Magna Charta in Chamblee. My complaint is about governance process and accountability.

Anne said...

I am an Evansdale elementary parent (feeds into HMS and Lakeside) and I attended last night. My notes are online here.

Teaching Science in DeKalb said...

You're right that posting on this blog puts teachers at risk, even if the risk is only being "politely" asked not to do so. And we get that feedback for posting during non-work hours, of course--no one would visit this blog while at work!

Trailers: Teachers don't like trailers overall, but some feel this way more than others. You need to consider the kinds of classes that might take place there. It's a lot easier to hold an English, math, or language class in a trailer, than a science class, IF you want your children to do labs in science (which is absolutely necessary if they are to learn science). Trying to manage a lab with 32 big high school students in a small trailer space, without proper ventilation, water supply, or disposal places, is just plain dangerous. Many teachers have just given up doing labs, even in regular classrooms, because the overcrowding exceeds what is recommended by safety experts.

Flinn (the safety "bible": find it online) recommends no more than 24 students per lab-that's because that's the largest group a single teacher can monitor safely.

32 seated kids are safer in a trailer if they are in a non-lab class: they don't have to move around, stay out of each other's way, measure things, and deal with possibly toxic substances. Please, don't allow administrators to put science classes in trailers--for everybody's sake!

Cerebration said...

Ann- thanks for sharing your meeting notes - very copious. But I must admit - I got very very sidetracked reading your blog -- that's a very good blog you have - good writing - genuine and endearing. Loved it.

Cerebration said...

My daughter had science in a trailer in middle school.

Didn't really matter though, as she never had a science lab in any science class in DCSS - ever.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

"Didn't really matter though, as she never had a science lab in any science class in DCSS - ever."

That is so very sad. I taught 6th and 7th grade science in an elementary school in DCSS from 1972 to 1974 in a regular classroom with a science demonstration table (sink and electrical outlets) - no middle schools at that time. 6th grade was earth science and 7th was a combination of chemistry, physics and biology.

We stained cells (plant and animal) and all the students looked at them under their light microscopes to identify all the parts and functions of the cells, the students combined chemicals in test tubes to produce oxygen and lit glowing splinters, we made our own batteries and electrical circuits and electromagnetic fields, we dissected frogs - you name it - we did it. We did labs several days a week.

I ran into a student in 1999 who was in my 7th grade science class. She was 40 years old and remembered all the things we did. She said her mom still had a picture of our class.

DCSS has really lost its focus. No wonder our scores are so low in science and math. Science and math are the most abstract and therefore the difficult subjects for most students. What was true for students in 1972 is true for students now. Labs are the lifeblood of science education. Some students can learn science without labs, but most students need that concrete experience.

Ella Smith said...

It should be about reducing the number of schools and increasing the achievement of the students.

Anonymous said...

Well, Melissa, in response to your comments below: it's very naive of you to think everyone with something negative to say about DCSS (imagine that) would post their name. Have you seen the damage they do to employees who speak up and ask the right questions? Certainly, as a parent, I can understand your comment. But, not as an employee AND a parent. It's too risky. They will stop at nothing to destroy if you cross them, even if you are right. Sorry to burst your DCSS goodness bubble.


Melissa Wilks said...
I do not understand "Anonymous" postings. Wouldn't this blog have more credibility if people would identify themselves and stand up for what they believe in?

I encourage posters to use their name to identify themselves. I believe this would result in some of the postings becoming more thoughtful; in other words, inflammatory comments would be more thoughtfully considered before posting.

This blog has the potential to be a wonderful, credible resource. But the back-and-forth between some of the Anonymous postings sounds ridiculous at times. And, therefore, lessens the credibility of the whole.

November 10, 2010 9:11 AM

Anonymous said...

"Teaching" 4:11,

The max (per fire code) for a trailer is 28 kids. If they are violating that, you need to report it to the county.

I cannot imagine how hard it would be to teach a lab-oriented class in a trailer. Seems as if you should be able to rotate with a teacher in the building so that you could each have lab days. But yeah, I know--the teacher in the building "owns" that room. Shame that an admistrator doesn't have the good sense to intervene.

BUT the trailer is no picnic for this English teacher. I don't keep my kids seated--they act out skits, write songs, work in small groups--a lot of things that require space. Not the same safety issue, but lack of space sucks for all of us. No matter the discipline, trailers are not conducive to our best teaching practices.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 4:11
"The max (per fire code) for a trailer is 28 kids. If they are violating that, you need to report it to the county. "

If you're worried about reporting this to an administrator, perhaps you have a parent who is interested in doing so.

Cerebration said...

FYI - in case you missed this first charrette -

The location and time of the five public charrettes are:

Chamblee High School, Tuesday November 9, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Towers High School, Wednesday November 10, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
McNair High School, Monday November 15, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
MLK High School, Tuesday November 16, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Stephenson High School, Wed. November 17, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Henderson Middle School, Mon. November 29, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Peachtree Middle School, Tue. November 30, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Anonymous said...

If Nancy Jester is elected, there will be absolutely no representation from District 1.Remember it takes 5 votes to get ANYTHING passed. Name two Board members who will give her the time of day...but there is nothing wrong with being a place holder. She and Elder will be so ignored and that will be good for the rest of DeKalb. Can't wait for the show to start!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1143,

You don't understand the insider support Jester has. District 1 will be well represented indeed! You don't understand where the power really is. Give the good people inside a chance by electing Nancy Jester! Go Nancy go!!!

Anonymous said...

Look here:

http://ethics.georgia.gov/Reports/Campaign/Campaign_Name.aspx?NameID=2314&FilerID=C2006001034&Type=candidate

Then look here:

http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/search.aud

enter the names you got off the first link. Look at the salaries. That's most of what you need to know about who gets representation. Friends and family!

Anonymous said...

Anon. 11:43pm. I get it now, I have to vote for Redovian, so whatever deals he made to get the votes for CCHS, can be fulfilled with the others.. Riiiiiight!

I think I'll vote for the candidate concerned about my kids education and about making principals and teachers the highest paid employees at DCSS. I'll vote for the candidate who sees a bloated Central Office and who is for getting rid of these expensive programs that have no return on investment. I'll vote for Nancy Jester, she will do her best to keep the other BOE members honest.

It's time for change and we must elect Jester an Edler to send a message to Tom Bowen, who seems to think no message was sent on election day.

Anonymous said...

There is something suspicious and weird and just not right about the relationship between Redovian and Cunningham. Is District 1 now going to have to start buying his pizza or what?!? I'm thinking it's bigger than that. I'm wondering what sort of back room deals were made so that Redovian could sweep in at the 11th hour, right before a run-off and act like he actually represents and cares about his constituents outside of Dunwoody.

And based on some past comments and actions, I'm no longer convinced he even represents Dunwoody well - unless you are one of the few who donates to his causes and/or can show up to every meeting to bug him - those are ones who pull his puppet strings. He's a very nice man, and I believe his heart is (or was) in the right place, but our only hope going forward is Nancy Jester!!!

Ella Smith said...

If you want change we better work to get the voters back out to the polls.

It is sad to see political comments being made to try to help the members of the board get elected. For the citizens who watch I am not sure this hurt the district 1 candidate. I have always like Redovian. However, I was disappointed to see that he did not show up to the county forums. I also have got to know Nancy and she is a very good candidate and would make a very good school board member. Elders also would make an excellent school board member. So it will be interesting to see what happens at the polls on Novemember 30th.

If voters come bad out for change then there will be change. That is the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Nancy Jester and Donna Edler are the only way to go ... it's so obvious we need people with fresh insight, AND NO CONNECTIONS, and NO FAVORS to uphold.

Jester and Edler priorities are right. Please give them a chance on November 30 to BALANCE THIS BOARD.

BALANCE THIS BOARD. BALANCE THIS BOARD.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the Towers' Charrette last night? I am curious about attendance and tone of discussions in the small group settings.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 11:28 - I am a Chesnut parent too and the best thing that has happened to our kids is they go somewhere else for 4th and 5th grades. Did you ever see what Chesnut's 4th and 5th math scores were like? Not so great. I fail to see the love of the small, neighborhood school. They can't educate all of the kids to their potential. With 3 or 4 4th grade classes how can you have band or any of the "extras"?
I'll sell my house or go to private school if I'm stuck with Chesnut beyond 3rd grade. They should demolish both Chesnut and Kingsley and build a larger school.
Please, please redistrict me. I think I'll just start looking for a house in Decatur now . . .

Dunwoody Mom said...

Let me state this unequivocally, anonymous 0926, but my children attended Chesnut and received a FABULOUS education.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, my children do not. They used to do things a little different at Chesnut, but the changes they've made in the last few years are, in my opinion, not good.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What changes are you referring to? Don't insult a school and its students with vague statements, so let's hear your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have a child at Chesnut right now and we are very pleased. I do not understand the appeal of leaving Chesnut for grades 4 and 5 to go to a school that is farther away. It is not a perfect school but so far I have not come across any perfect schools. Of all the schools in Dunwoody at the elementary level, I would choose Chesnut or Kingsley because I do not like the trailer park situation at Vanderylyn and Austin. Maybe that will improve with redistricting.

The only negative we have experienced at Chesnut is that it is very difficult as a new parents at the school to get involved. However, I think this is caused by the PTO/Charter Council folks, not the school itself. The teachers and administrators welcome involvement but not all of the other parents do. Again, no such thing as a perfect school.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I think that's true at a lot of schools and I have heard the same thing from parents at DES. I know I was much more involved at Chesnut than I was at Peachtree and now at Dunwoody, but I think most parents tend to be more involved at the elementary level.

Anonymous said...

I think Jim Redovian has sold out Dunwoody and all of District 1 in his attempt to get reelected. He'll have to pay up for the performance at the last board meeting. You know who will be paying, right? The tax dollars and programs in District 1 will be paying. That giant sucking sound is your tax dollars going somewhere to Jay "Pizza" Cunningham and Gene "I see color" Walker. Your property values are going to sink faster than our test scores. Vote for Jester and break up that block! Redovian already supports a tax increase with that group. He's very tight with them. Nancy Jester is our only hope!

Anonymous said...

First there is the co-teaching. Because of all of this switching around not one of my child's teacher's last year (1st grade) or this year (2nd) grade have the time to actually get to know my child. Also, last year she had to carry agenda, green folder, drink and snack, then stand out in the hallway for 5 minutes to switch classes. Then it's not your desk so you have nowhere to put your things. (She does this year as well, but she's a little bigger so its easier.) You are with a teacher for 90 minutes who barely gets to know you. The teachers that co-teach together do not get together *ever* to discuss each child and the progress, etc.

Next there is the leveling. You are either put in the smart group or the not-so-smart group. They are sort of taught the same thing, but not exactly, but I get a different answer every time I ask (my investigation into this in on-going). So your child might be getting 98's but are they in the smart group or the not-so-smart group? It makes a difference.

Next there is the looping. They "looped" last year - same classes and some cases same teachers as last year. It has its pros and cons, but the con for my child is that she wasn't re-evaluated. She is young for her grade, but worked hard improved by leaps and bounds but was not re-evaluated at the beginning of 2nd grade. Same classes, same teachers, so same groups - no question. No testing throughout the year to move groups - nothing. Cement.

So for my child (and others like her) it is not a great situation. Basically it is my assertion that the kids in the other group will be challenged more and therefore get a better 2nd grade education than my child. Principal's List pins and 99's on her report card mean little if she's not being as challenged as other kids in her class.

My understanding is that 3rd grade operates differently (they don't do the leveling) so I can hang my hopes on that, but the administration and I clearly have different viewpoints. I insist my child is not in middle school but they continue to treat her like she is.

Do other schools in the Dunwoody cluster do co-teaching? As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of this at the elementary level.

Anonymous said...

SACS is watching this runoff too. They saw what happened at the board meeting.

The idea that Redovian got all the votes is ludicris. 4 of them were going to vote for CCHS no matter what. 4 of them needed him to give them something. Those 4 are the problem long with Jim. They make the block that is destroying our school system.

Get Jester in there! We need her! Mark my words, SACS is watching.

Anonymous said...

All the Dunwoody elementary schools change classes at some point. Most do tremendous ability grouping.

This is common at many elementary schools nowadays and there is some research supporting the notion that even elementary school teachers should be specialists in their subject.

Just last year, there was discussion at the state board level and with the state legislature of giving elementary teachers who become math specialists and teach only math bonuses. Not sure what became of it, I think it went nowhere because of the economic situation.

Anonymous said...

Bowen, McChesney, Redovian, Speaks, and Womack, almost always votes together. Of course, there are some exceptions but that is the way it has consistently been for the last 2 years. Since most pay no attention, you might have missed the fairly common 5-4 outcomes that have been happening on many things.

And you have Gene Walker who will vote against something just because he knows it looks good even though it doesn't matter. He is the King of that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1044,

Those exceptions are the crutial votes that have sent our district into this mess. Now look who he will owe. I won't be pretty for north Dekalb.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts 10:29. I have a 2nd grader at Chesnut as well and I am very pleased with the differentiation they do as well as the co-teaching. It may be that it works better for some kids than others.

As far as the looping (I think this is the word for how some of the teachers "move up" with their class to the next grade?), I agree that it is not ideal. I think part of the process of elementary school is that kids learn to adapt to new teachers and also get the advantage of the relative strengths of the different teachers as they go through the grades. You lose that if the teacher moves up with you each year. It is not clear to me how/why they make the decisions about who moves up with their class and who does not. It does not seem to be consistent. I am hopeful that my child will have new teachers next year -- not because we aren't pleased with the two teachers (we like them both) but rather for the reasons I stated above.

I also agree that it would be better if teacher conferences were held with both teachers.

All in all, though, for us it has been a great experience at Chesnut and we are very grateful to be there.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The "looping" aspect must have been introduced recently - it was not a part of Chesnut at the time we were there. Though, there were years (not all of them)that my children had different teachers for different subjects.

Anonymous said...

This discussion illustrates how difficult it is to be a principal or teacher at a school with involved parents.

In some ways, it might be easier to be working somewhere with little parental involvement. No parental expectations at all!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:56 - sure, if your child is differentiated into the "upper" group all is well. You can be happy go lucky and rest assured that you're getting all Chesnut has to offer. My child is not getting all the school has to offer and therein lies the problem.

@Anon 11:01 - my child's education is ultimately my responsibility. If the school were open about what they do and how they do it maybe I wouldn't be in such a snit.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what you mean by not getting all that chesnut has to offer unless you are referring to Discovery? I think those are state requirements as to who participates in that, not Chesnut's.

In terms of the ability grouping done for reading and math, I don't think there is that much difference in the material being covered.

Anonymous said...

ok 12:12 - I did what you said. here are some 2009 salaries.


Jim Redovian - $23,400 (I'll assume that this is what all the board reps earn)

Pam Tallmadge (listed as Jim's chairperson) - $51,576 (DCSS - PR Dept)

Mary Ann Caruso (listed as Jim's treasurer) $75,444 (DCSS- grade 9-12 teacher)

Anonymous said...

@anon 132,

OMG...that's interesting! Isn't it illegal or unethical or against some rule for a school system employee to be an official in a campaign for school board?

Dunwoody Mom said...

#1 - Both of these individuals are now retired from DCSS.

#2 - What information do you have that they are part of an "official" campaign for Jim Redovian?

#3 -Do you have a point other than to smear someone that you don't want on the BOE?

Anonymous said...

They are listed on the campaign ethics form at the link

http://ethics.georgia.gov/Reports/Campaign/Campaign_Name.aspx?NameID=2314&FilerID=C2006001034&Type=candidate

Dunwoody Mom said...

LOL - 2006?????

You are stretching......

Just state the reasons for your support of Nancy Jester...Your continuous trying to pick apart Jim Redovian makes you look desperate...

Anonymous said...

anon 132 and 159,

ok, i looked at that filing and it is dated as received in 2006. The treasurer and chair received payment from the system through last year. So, if they are "retired" now, they were still listed on the committee registration during the time they worked for Dekalb. Is that right?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of former PTA types working in DeKalb schools. Many of them are school secretaries and yes, some are teachers.

I know of one PTA president who eventually became a school secretary and went back to school to become a teacher. This is their community and they want to work close to home.

We should be grateful for anyone willing to teach math in DeKalb or anywhere for that matter. Math teachers are notoriously hard to find.

Neither of these employees work for the school system any longer.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Why are you so insistent in picking apart every little thing about Redovian? Again, you appear to be "piling on".

Nancy Jester has enough positives going for her - you don't need to try and crucify her opponent and those who support him.

I know Pam Tallmadge - she would never do anything that was not above board.

Anonymous said...

@DM,
I think you just register once with the state. It looks like they weren't following the rules. I'm not in district 1 so i won't get to vote. no matter who anyone supports shouldn't everyone play by the rules? That's part of the problem with Dekalb. we lose money, have book deals, fraud. Now this. It's no better than the others.

Anonymous said...

@206,
The registration shows people on the payroll for the system also as official officers of Jim's committee. There's no PTA involved. I agree we need good teachers. It's just that they can't serve as campaign officers.

Dunwoody Mom,
I don't know these people but it does look like they did something wrong or incorrect by being on this registration. Is it ignorance of the rules or just more typical Dekalb stuff? Whatever. It isn't right so...

Dunwoody Mom said...

Who said it was wrong? What rule did they break?

Quit trying to smear hard-working, decent people.

What has this blog become Fox News?

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-school-worker-accused-561398.html

"Board policy says that “employees may not take an active part in the political management of board elections.” The policy allows school employees to vote, place political signs in their yards and make campaign contributions, but they cannot identify themselves as doing it on behalf of the district.

Employees also may attend political rallies and meetings, but they are prohibited from “organizing, soliciting or serving in any leadership capacity for such activities,” according to the policy."

Anonymous said...

Fox News! That's awesome DM! Stop defending the mistakes of Jim and his inner circle! This behavior is part of the problem in Dekalb. It's worth noting. Voters will do what they will with it.

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

No, you are trying to disparage the reputation of good, decent people in your obsessive quest to unseat Jim Redovian.

It's sick.......

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody mom,
From reading this exchange no one said they did anything with money. Did I miss something? The board policy says no "organizing.." and employees "not take an active role". It isn't just about money. Can the original poster comment? Maybe you have a better understanding? Do you work for the county?
I'm not piling on. It does appear they didn't follow policy. I'm sorry if you see it differently. Not trying to offend you. I'm just trying to understand.

Anonymous said...

The Fox News comment has got me cleaning up hot tea off my computer screen. Nice DM! What are you implying? I have several friends who work for Fox News in the Southeast Bureau and the DC bureau, they are card carrying liberals and have worked for major main stream media firms like ABC News, NBC News and Cox. So I'm not sure what you mean by Fox News.

Regarding the looping comments. My kids both had the advantage of looping from 4th to 5th grades ONLY! It was great having the same teachers through those crucial years. One of my kids has moved on to middle school, but the teachers who looped with him were great assets to have when they informed us our kid would do well in the accelerated courses in Middle.

Plus, it made the transition from 4th to 5th real easy! The scores have improved steadily and both were on principal honor rolls. From Pre-K thru 3rd we had different teachers. But the looping in 4th and 5th has worked for our children.

Cerebration said...

Fox News? Geesh. I personally don't think that's a bad thing though. Dunwoody Mom, it really does look like Jim filed a report showing that his officers were school system employees back in 06. I'm not sure it's relevant that they have since retired.

I''m sure it was innocent enough. There's no clandestine motive here. It just shows once again that there are ethics rules out there that somehow, DCSS never quite got the memo on...

Anonymous said...

Why is is when DCSS uses the term "charrette" that I think of "charade"?

Cerebration said...

Emory Lavista Parent Council
Join us at 9:15 am
(refreshments begin at 8:45 am)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Medlock Elementary School
2418 Wood Trail Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033


Our guest speakers Zenda Bowie,
Georgia School Board Association,
and Berney Kirkland,
Chief of Staff Gwinnett County Public Schools

present

Good Governance for our Schools

Julie Rhame, board member for the Decatur City Schools and former Director of PR for DeKalb County School System, and Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, board member for the Atlanta Public Schools, will be joining the panel on governance.

The program will begin with an overview of good governance practices for school systems including the proper roles for school boards and their members. With a variety of school systems represented, each panel member will give their personal perspective.

Please join us at Medlock Elementary for the relevant and timely program.

Kim Gokce said...

What a great program! I wish I did not have the old nine to five tomorrow!

Here's some questions I'd love for someone to ask:

1) What legal mechanisms or organizational methods can a Board of Education employ to ensure equity in public school facilities and programs?

2) What questions should a Board of Education ask their superintendent at every public business meeting?

3) What is the ideal ration of Board of Education representatives to constituency?

4) Is there a limit to how big a district's enrollment be before it is unmanageable?

5) What "leverage" does a Board of Education have over an administration beside the ability to hire and fire?

6) What is the ideal term for a Superintendent in a large system like Gwinnett, DeKalb, or Cobb?

7) What is the ideal term for Board of Education members?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone attended the Towers or McNair charrettes? I wondered if they are continuing to get a good turn out.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone attended the Towers or McNair charrettes? I wondered if they are continuing to get a good turn out.

Anonymous said...

The Towers Charrette had about 150 attendees. Considering it was held on a 'prayer meeting night', most thought this was a good turnout.

No Duh said...

Kim: "2) What questions should a Board of Education ask their superintendent at every public business meeting?"

Just one in my opinion: When you asked the teachers, what did they say about... (everything on the business meeting agenda)?

Anonymous said...

I attended the charrette at MLK High School and it was not attended as well as it should have been considering the size of the schools in that area. Once in the small groups, we too figured it was a way to get a feel for SPLOST IV and one gentleman said he would not vote for SPLOST IV until someone showed him how SPLOST II and III were used. Good point. Also attended the meeting presented by the DeKalb Council of PTAs with the legislators. Our two legislators - Ronald Ramsey and Emanuel Jones were no shows. Very disappointing. Our representatives were there though and provided us with some good information.