Friday, November 26, 2010

Make sure your opinion counts



I was perusing the responses to the online survey for the 2020 Vision and found that they had some themes:
  • All schools are not perceived as equal. Even schools geographically close can be wildly inconsistent in educational opportunities.
  • Therefore, people do not want to redistrict schools that currently do a very good job. 
  • If the board simply rearranges attendance zones, people will either leave or move to be in the school zone of choice, making redistricting futile.
  • These feelings are amplified at Fernbank, Dunwoody and Chamblee.
  • Montgomery parents are upset at severe over-crowding.
  • People are concerned about the impact of property values.
  • People are concerned that they will lose their neighborhood feel and the ability to walk to school.
  • The consensus on magnets is split. Many want the magnets left alone. Many think they usurp funds and opportunity.
  • Overall, most respondents recognize that our schools have deteriorated into a vortex of disrepair and inequity. Parents that can, have worked very hard to improve and maintain a good neighborhood school. They will fiercely protect it.
  • Many people commented that the board is not to be trusted. They questioned who is serving on the committee.

Some quotes:

Fernbank and Dunwoody seem to be the most prolific responders -

Fernbank elementary school has a lot of international kids from Emory families. Many of these families live around Emory University which is on the outer edge of the Fernbank school area. These kids contribute a lot to the credits of international baccalaureate for this school. In addition, most of these families pay attention to education very much, I do not think they will send their children to another school that they are not satisfied with if they are cut out of the Fernbank area. I heard many parents said that they will move into the new fernbank school area or move to the area of another good school, which will make consolidation less effective.

Please do not jeopardize the success of Fernbank elementary by redistricting.

Fernbank Elementary School is a great model. The district should not be altered which would chnage something that works very well.

Like where the kids are now at Vanderlyn. Would like very much if Oxford Chase subdivision stay at Vanderlyn


Chamblee HS responses were also high -

Keep magnet program at Chamblee HS

I do not wish to be redistricted away from Chamblee HS


And there was a fairly large supply of opinions from Towers HS parents who had these comments -

Keeping neighborhoods intact is very improtant to me. Towers HS has a new technology wing. This addition is vital to our future.

It is important that Towers HS receive all monies that have previously been allocated forimprovement in both science/technology as well as providing improvements that have been requested for exterior appearances. this should be compatible with schools in North DeKalb!

Treat this school like it was on the north side of town. give it the funding that those schools receive


In fact, to add to the north/south debate, someone left this comment -

North Dekalb gets too much money allocated. South Dekalb, darker in hue and having the bulk of the more impoverished neighborhoods, needs the funds to be at least evenly distributed. Why do we always have to threaten public exposure and discord in order to get what we pay for? Keep Wadsworth open and stop playing games to prevent enrollment increase. We need more Wadsworths in South Dekalb. That will improve the performance of the county as a whole educationally and justify greater federal funding.

(Oddly, there is only one response identified as being from Arabia. But then, none of this effects them. Most comments are from over-crowded schools in disrepair with an assigned attendance zone.)

Concerning property values, these are some responses -

concerned about very negative impact on housing values if neighborhood is redistricted to Cross Keys HS

Be very careful with your changes. Dekalb has lost a ton of families and students as of late. The wrong changes and Dekalb could lose much more in the wrong areas. Your choices can seriously affect property values and the tax base for the county. In this economy, Dekalb could turn into Clayton very quickly.


And overall, the mistrust of the school board was a consistent theme in the responses -

school board must establish trust, transparency, accountability

Nobody trusts the board.

I don't believe the BoE will implement the plan as delivered.


I found one comment that I think states the crux of the problem in a nutshell -

Redistricting is a futile effort if there is no coherent plan to bring all of our schools up to par academically. Parents whose children are in under-performing schools will always find a way to move their children to better schools.

But overall, I agree most with this comment -

Please place the goal of providing the best education experience for the children of the county at the very top of your list of goals.

===

At any rate - please go to the website and add your opinion. The school district is asking and posting them for the world to see - I'd call that transparent! Now do your part and participate!

Click here and then click Take the Survey. You can only take it once per computer, as the software keeps track of IP addresses and locks you out.

After that, make sure you attend one of the remaining Charettes below.

Henderson Middle School, Mon. Nov. 29, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Peachtree Middle School, Tue. Nov. 30, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

===


Update: It looks like the word got out in the Lakeside cluster.  Many in that district have filled out the survey and want to maintain the Oak Grove, Henderson, Lakeside lines.  There is also a consensus to send all of Sagamore to Lakeside (some now go to Druid Hills). 


Keep it up! Please encourage folks from other school districts to fill out the survey! It seems that the only reason they aren't is because the awareness is too low. Spread the word.

For more information, read our some of our other posts on the subject,
School Closings and Transparency
New Attendance Data to Review
DeKalb County School Closures and Redistricting are coming and listen to Board Member Sarah Copelin-Wood argue at the inequities
Yeah Task Force!!!

210 comments:

1 – 200 of 210   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

I am so sick of hearing the complaints about overcrowding at Montgomery. Ever since Nancy Creek was redistricted, we've heard about how overcrowded Montgomery is. I was shocked to learn recently that all this overcrowding has resulted in 2 trailers. I've never heard Huntley Hills (the other school that received the Nancy Creek students) complain about overcrowding even though they have twice as many trailers as Montgomery. Nearly all the middle class, single-family homes from Nancy Creek went to Montgomery, while nearly all the apartments went to Huntley Hills. Huntley Hills received the more challenging population to educate - the immigrant families, the poor families, the transient families. Yet Montgomery does all the complaining. I suggest the folks at Montgomery drive by Pleasantdale Elementary and look at what severe overcrowding looks like. Last time I checked, there were close to 20 trailers out there.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I can't believe I am giving kudos to Alvin Wilbanks, but...

Maybe we should just follow Gwinnett's lead (as so many have suggested). Submit a redistricting plan, have a few community meetings to discuss the plan, tweak the plan a little (just to say they "listened" to the communities) and then "just do it".

I understand the reasoning behind DCSS wanting to get the community involved, but this is going to ugly, ugly, ugly - IMHO.

Cerebration said...

I couldn't agree more Dunwoody Mom! Redistricting has been a hot-button topic for several years now - let's just do it and move on. Then work very hard to ensure that every school has quality teachers and art, music, PE and AP courses. Actually, ironically, this is what Paul Womack has been saying more or less too.

Anonymous said...

RE: Towers: I went to a district-wide meeting there a couple of years ago, and all the people from our North DeKalb school were very impressed at how nice Towers was; its classrooms and hallways were clean and bright, and there was fabulous technology everywhere. It only highlighted what a stinkhole our North DeKalb school is. That Towers parent has no idea what he/she is asking for and has obviously never actually gone to see the North DeKalb schools that are supposedly soaking up the county's funds.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting topic in Maurene's Post on the AJC. The support of parents in any school is critical to its success. Principals must be empowered to handle discipline problems. There needs to be options for magnet students, as well as students with special needs. In the area of special needs, I include students that are not being successful in a traditional school. It is not the building that makes the perception that the North schools are better, I think it is the belief that those schools are getting something special. It is the community support. How do we get every community to support its schools? Becuase of the state budget problems and funding issues there are going to have to be some hard choices made about schools. Unless the DCSS can change its image, it will be very difficult to recruit or keep the kind of parent, educators and students that would enhance our system. Ms Tyson has a difficult job ahead of her. I respect her for trying to tackle the hard issues.I read so many times on this blog that the solution is to remove this person or remove that person? The main person responsible for not taking care of the system has been removed. Let us try to support Ms Tyson. I cannot imagine anyone wanted to be in the job she currently has now. We have got to heal and try to do the best for all of our children. If we keep fighting the north and south battle, we are going to lose the war. We need the right things in all schools. We are going to have to demand that our school board works together for all schools. Nov. 30th is election day.

Cerebration said...

You've summed up the basic sentiments of this blog, Anon. Except to add that we all think the central office (especially Title 1 administrators) needs to be reduced and those dollars should go directly to the schoolhouse in support of students and their classroom teachers.

Anonymous said...

If you read the comments, you can tell that many of them are either coming from the same person or the same neighborhood. The language used is almost identical to other comments. Fernbank and its' historical attendance zone lines.

Come on, how many people would use those words on their own.

In order to allow parents to comment on each of their children's schools, the survey add to allow multiple responses from the same IP address, but it is clear, especially as it relates to some schools that the responses are coming from just a few people.

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason that north DeKalb schools have more resources is that parents raise/donate tens of thousands of dollars for the school each year. These funds are used to pay extra teachers (art, music).

I am all for every high school having a wide variety of AP classes but the fact is the school cannot offer an AP course unless there are enough qualified and interested students to fill the classroom. Look at the IB program at MLK - only a handful of kids enrolled. The program at Druid Hills has grown to 50 or more kids per year. Only a few schools are able to offer AP physics and AP chemistry - simply too few kids at most schools to fill the classroom.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading the comments from the survey on DeKalb's website. I am not sure that this survey has been well publicized. Look at the schools where the most comments are coming from and you will see trends. I am wondering about the large majority of schools where there are no comments or just one or two. It is entirely possible that parents from some of these schools are working from talking points.

Anonymous said...

Based on the data that was on the DCSS website last spring. The three most overcrowded elementary schools are Vanderlyn, Pleasantdale and Nancy Creek. DeKalb needs to do a better job of distributing apartment complexes among the schools. There is absolutely no reason to inundate one school with all of the apartments in a geographic area.

Anonymous said...

What data are you looking at? Nancy Creek closed in 2007

Kittredge is there now and they only have a little over 400 students.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:39 I wonder if doing away with magnet schools would make the numbers of students eligible for AP courses larger, as all kids would then go to their home school. If we can have magnets that take the best and brightest out of the local schools, than we need to offer those students who were not picked for the magnet programs but still qualify for them the AP courses that they deserve and would be getting if the magnet programs were not in existence.

I believe that so few kids qualify for the AP courses not just because of the magnet programs, but also because we have stopped to teach for mastery and instead teach for exposure. There is a huge difference in these types of learning and many of our kids simply can't cut the mustard with AP, because they don't have a strong background in that subject.

Anonymous said...

There is no qualification for taking AP courses in DeKalb - they are open to all students.

Anonymous said...

I think what the poster means is that many schools in DeKalb do not have enough students who are interested in signing up for AP classes (e.g. only 3 sign up for AP physics or AP chemistry or AP art history). If the majority ofthe students in a school have a problem mastering Algebra II, do you think very many will sign up for AP Calculus? Thus these AP classes are not offered.

My daughter went to Chamblee High School and could take virtually any AP class she wanted to take because so many students signed up for these classes.

Our attendance area is Lakeside which offers almost every AP class. Dunwoody HS and Druid Hills HS also offer a full range of AP classes.

Does every school in south DeKalb have enough students signing up for AP classes that they can offer virtually every AP class? If not, then this goes to the heart of equality of services throughout the county.

DeKalb should be offering every AP class to every student via online classes. Joint enrollment with Perimeter College should be offered to students who demonstrate they are ready for those classes.

No Duh said...

Happy Thanksgiving holiday to you all. Cere, did I see you in that long Kohl's line this morning?....

I've said this before on this blog. I would prefer to use my tax dollars to pay AP teachers to teach three or four students at a school, than to bus students all over this county for AP access, or to pay Audria Berry's army. Then, someone else came up with the idea of schools sharing AP teachers until the enrollment in the AP classes increases. If you build it,they will come.

BUT, we can't just stick a teacher in a classroom,call him or her an AP teacher and expect the students to get the most out of the class. What are the criteria for teachers to become AP teachers? Do you need a different certification? Do you need to be a subject-matter expert (and how would you prove that)?

Another thing that I think DCSS should pay for -- from its PR budget -- is free "tours" of other schools. Call it an excchange program, but parents would sign up for "Tours of the South" and "Tours of the North." South DeKalb parents would board a school bus for a half-day tour (conducted by their own BOE members so they could see, too?) of "northern" schools. And vice versa for the northern parents. Tours are free of charge -- the only requirement being that after the tour is complete,you must commit to going back into your communities and speaking the truth about what you saw!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, It isn't Nancy Creek that is overcrowded it is Indian Creek. According to the numbers last spring,they were short 113 seats. They are surrounded by schools with lots of open seats. This should be an easy fix.

Anonymous said...

Amen to whoever posted that about Huntley Hills! Look at how the attendance lines were drawn when Nancy Creek closed. The line went to one side of Chamblee Dunwoody Road to get all the apartments and then further down, closer to 285, the line moved to the other side, to send the single-family homes to Montgomery. Overnight, Huntely Hills demographics changed, they became Title I, they had to translate everything, and oh, by the way, added even more trailers. Have you heard them complain about it? No. They embraced it and have remained successful. Other schools and parents could learn a lot from that school.

I only hope that when the new lines are drawn, they do not weave around apartments and other "undesirable" areas just to include or exclude them from certain schools. That's a disservice to all schools and all kids. And in my opinion, the ones who work so hard to shelter themselves and their kids from others that don't look like them and/or have less money - all is good now, but I'd like to see how your kids function in 20 years when they are in the "real" world - in which these "other" kids will dominate. Something to think about...

fedupindcss said...

AP classes cannot be offered at a school if there are not enough kids signed up. It is just not a good use of resources. Instead, offer enrollment for AP through the Georgia Virtual School, provide a classroom with computers for those students, and they can take any AP class they want. Problem solved. The state is dying to get kids in these classes, and they are quite good.

Of course, that gets to the subject of what a racket AP classes are, in that they are merely a money making venture for the College Board. Ask some kid who took AP calc how that second semester math is working for him at Tech, having skipped the first semester because of his high school AP. They are not college level classes by any means, at least not as taught in most of DCSS

Dunwoody Mom said...

Here is a link to the 9/15 Enrollment Report..It provides a lot of information with regards to Enrollment, Capacity, # of seats. While we talk about schools in the southern part of the county being under-enrolled, there are several high schools that are way over-capacity: SWD, MLK, Lithonia - the reason Arabia Mountain needs to be become a traditional HS - to help relieve this burden.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/EnrollmentReport_20100915_1005am.pdf

Anonymous said...

Fedup, sorry that AP calculus didn't work out well for the students you know. My son has found that his AP classes prepared him very well for Georgia Tech. He also has heard that the students you mentioned wouldn't necessarily have been better off in first-semester calculus. Some sections of Calc I are said to be overly rigorous for a beginning class; Calc II is said to be better.

Think of AP classes as a way to get the most rigorous preparation available in DCSS, not so much as a way to accumulate college credits. Georgia Tech doesn't offer credit for AP Physics B, for instance, but students will be better prepared than if they had only taken the non-AP physics class.

Think of success in terms of AP exam score, not course grade. DCSS staff can't water down the AP exam because it is graded by College Board. Students get out of AP what they put into it. AP study books cost less than $20; my daughter also found the prior tests on the College Board website to be very helpful for getting a 5.

Perhaps some DCSS honors students haven't had a sufficient foundation to do well on AP tests no matter how self-motivated they are. I feel for them, because they are going to have a hard time in college. If nothing else, at least the exam is a wake-up call.

Anonymous said...

DCSS counselors put every child in AP classes they can regardless if they have the foundation of not. AP classes they take in senior year are listed on their high school transcript they submit to colleges in the fall. Many of these students do not master the standards and teachers are pressured to give them grades they do not earn. At the same time classes that are packed with students who do not have the foundation skills slow the class to the detriment of sudents who do have the confent and skills mastery. Slowing the class down results in less 3s, 4s and 5's and more 1s and 2s. Putting 25 or 30 students in an AP class of which as many as 15 do not have the necessary background makes it probable that those 15 will score low and the ones with an adequate grasp of the prerequisite material will score lower than they would have if they were in a class that could speed along.

Anonymous said...

AP teachers are required to take a one week summer course specific to the AP course they will teach. The training is minimal.

Online AP courses, especially for sciences, are not a substitute for a well-taught classroom course. How do you perform a lab experiment online?

No Duh said...

"AP classes cannot be offered at a school if there are not enough kids signed up. It is just not a good use of resources."

Sorry fedup, "not a good use of resources" doesn't make for a very good excuse in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

2:14,

I have to disagree that the AP training is "minimal." One must teach a subject area for several years before being allowed to teach AP. Teachers cannot decide to teach AP; their principals have to select them and send them to (and pay for) the summer session.

The training introduces teachers to the standards for AP and the expectations for the course and testing. It doesn't cover the subject matter, which the teaher has already mastered and successfully taught. One week is plenty of time to learn how to teach AP.

I am not asserting that all AP teachers are terrific. A school might want to offer an AP course that only one person wants to teach, so that teacher goes to the training. But for the most part, the courses are taught by those who are well-prepared.

Whether outside pressures--including the DCSS policy of letting every kid take AP--dilutes the expected rigor is another matter.

Anonymous said...

"One must teach a subject area for several years before being allowed to teach AP. Teachers cannot decide to teach AP; their principals have to select them and send them to (and pay for) the summer session."

Teachers with only a year of experience can teach AP.

Teachers do not have to attend the AP Institute to teach AP. This is optional and recommended but not a requirement.

You are correct that principals do have to decide if they can teach AP just as principals decide on all courses that teachers in their schools can teach.

Anonymous said...

8:50,
Joint enrollment with Perimeter is available to all students. Some dont' even have to be "joint" enrolled--they attend Perimeter only and get high school credit.

2:14,
According to the requirements--as listed on the GA DOE website--for online AP courses, all labs have to be perfomed in a "face to face" setting and supervised by a teacher.

Anonymous said...

I think it's hilarious to read the comments about Montgomery and Huntley Hills. First of all what road or roads would you use to redraw the lines for Huntley Hills and Montgomery?

I was at Nancy Creek when it closed and the PTA there had embraced the all the races. They had interpreters at the PTA meetings and had international nights and celebrated its' diversity!

The PTA attempted at keeping the school opened but at the time Clew needed a building for Kittredge. Plus, the numbers went way down after they tore down the Johnson Ferry Public Housing. Now the neighborhoods are filling up again with younger kids and the schools are getting a bit crowded.

I remember when the vote went down, Clew promised that there would be no trailers at Huntley Hills or Montgomery. We laughed pretty heartily when we heard that one. I think that's why a parent complained about the crowded schools.

DCSS stakeholders are paying for a decision made 40 years ago when DCSS decided to build smaller neighborhood schools.

Dan Drake and the Charette givers will have some interesting things to read in the report. However, get ready for a really quick decision, this is going to happen real fast!

I still think it's a good idea to get rid of the leaders of the Central Office that served under Clew. They have grown a bit comfortable in their fancy leather furniture in the palace on Stn. Mtn. Industrial

Cerebration said...

November 27, 2010 11:12 PM

The reason we leave AP open to all students is to attempt to introduce them to the "rigor" of college - and - to raise the chances of making the Newsweek list of best high schools. (This is the very simple formula they use - divide the number of students enrolled in AP courses by the number of seniors in that school.)

http://www.newsweek.com/feature/2010/americas-best-high-schools/list.html

From the FAQ's page of the website:

1. How does the Challenge Index work?
We take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge (AICE) tests given at a school each year and divide by the number of seniors graduating in May or June. All public schools NEWSWEEK researcher Amy Novak and I could find that achieved a ratio of at least 1.000, meaning they had as many tests in 2009 as they had graduates, were put on the list on the NEWSWEEK Web site. Each list is based on the previous year's data, so the 2010 list has each school's numbers for 2009.

Cerebration said...

It's very interesting to me to see who is responding to the survey and who is not. You can actually watch the comments in real time here -

VISION 2020: PUBLIC COMMENT INPUT

So far, as you can tell from the bar charts, of the 719 responses representing a specific elementary school, 140 or 19.6% are from Fernbank, 103 or 14.4% are from Montgomery and 85 or 11.9% are from Vanderlyn. Huntley Hills, Kittredge and Dunwoody ES are also represented, however, there are many, many schools - most in south DeKalb - with no voice in the survey. (Kudos to parents at Towers HS for their very large contribution to the survey though!)

So, will this play out that the most represented schools in the survey are heard, while others are not or are the people from other schools bending the ear of their board rep to go to work for them so that they will be heard as well? I'm not sure this survey is a very good representation of the entire school system. It really does focus on the opinions of a few very vocal schools. Valid opinions, but one-sided just the same...

South DeKalb parents should find a way to get their opinions in the survey ASAP!

Click here to take the survey -

2020 Vision Survey

Go to the "Stakeholder Input" section and click "Take the Survey"... it literally only takes 5 minutes or less. All you do is rank what you think in order of importance and then at the end - leave a comment. All comments are immediately published online for the world to see!

Anonymous said...

"DCSS counselors put every child in AP classes they can regardless if they have the foundation of not. "
While DCSS may have posted guidelines to determine who is qualified to enroll in AP or advanced classes, the county office always allows the parent to waiver their child into a class. Counselors have no choice if the parents makes a demand. The county will support the parent's decision. A counselor would be fighting a losing battle.

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

I do not ever recall a counselor putting my child into any class.
Outside of the required courses, myy child chooses what she wants to take and upon meeting with her counselor each year, I either ok her choices or we make modifications and I sign-off on the course selection form.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

That's your experience with your child, but teachers have numerous children they teach in AP, many encouraged by the counselors to take AP classes when they are not academically ready for the rigor of an AP class. How do you think DCSS (and many of the other metro systems) have students that make so many 1s and 2s?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Then why did these parents sign-off on their children taking the AP classes?

Don't put all the blame on counselors - parents have the biggest responsibility to make sure their children are taking appropriate courses.

Dunwoody Mom said...

My sense is that the AP test score is not as important as the experience of taking an advanced course.

Why is it that some people decry the lack of rigor in DCSS and then turn around and criticize when students partake of these courses?

Makes no sense other than some people just need something to complain about.

Anonymous said...

My daughter got offered more class options, including AP classes, when I went to school and met with the school guidance counselor. It may be that different counselors/schools respond differently.

Anonymous said...

RE: Trailers

I just read some of the comments on the 2020 Survey. It is interesting that Vanderlyn got semipermanent modular classroom units while Title I schools get old, run down, trailers.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Yeah, well, neighboring Dunwoody elementary schools have old run down trailers....

Anonymous said...

Vanderlyn has both the new modulars and some of the old run down ones too. It's ridiculous. There are so many trailers at Vanderlyn.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/education/21cncschools.html?ref=education

This is a very timely article for us in DeKalb about Chicago's inability to close a handful of very small, shrinking elementary schools that are low performing.

I think you could just change the names and you could be talking about the specifics of DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

I don't agree with your statement. Many of my daughter's classmates took AP classes at CHS in order to exempt expensive college classes. One student avoided $20,000 in student loans for Emory because she scored 4s and 5s on all her AP classes. My child took classes and scored 4s and 5s so that she could take less hours (science major with many labs) and concentrate on her rigorous curriculum. All of her CHS classmates took the AP classes in order to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter that they studied (teachers used to have to recommend you for AP classes).

Are AP classes "preparation" to "show" students what hard work in college is like or are they truly in depth learning for students who are ready and eager for that level of work and need that challenge? You really can't have it both ways - students taking AP classes to say they took those classes with no expectation of scoring above a 1 sitting with students who truly are striving to master the advanced content.

Dunwoody Mom said...

You really can't have it both ways - students taking AP classes to say they took those classes with no expectation of scoring above a 1 sitting with students who truly are striving to master the advanced content.

Why can't you? I don't think it has to be one way or the other - the goal of taking AP classes can encompass both the goal of gaining college credit and the need/desire for rigorous work regardless of what a student makes on the test.

Anonymous said...

The research supports that simply taking an AP course makes a student more prepared for college regardless of what the score on the exam is or even if the exam is taken.

Anonymous said...

DM is correct. I've taught AP in two very different schools. In one school, I was so very proud of my "1's" because they were going to be better prepared for college and they came back and told me so. I now teach at a high achieving school and I'm just as proud of some of my 1's because my classroom is open to all students-those that can get credit and those that need the rigor. I'm capable of teaching both in the same classroom. And if you want to use test scores as a judgement of my teaching ability you are missing the point.

Anonymous said...

DM is incorrect. I've seen and taught in AP classes full of well qualified students, and in rooms dominated by kids there for the rigor and the experience. The latter is a disaster, with the skilled kids left wanting more and the unskilled begging for extra credit to save their grades.

You really can't have it both ways.
Either it has to be taught as a college level class or it's just another meaningless showpiece.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 7:01 pm
"...if you want to use test scores as a judgement of my teaching ability you are missing the point. "

That was not the point at all. I was a teacher from 1971 to 2008, and I'm not a fan of test scores as a measure of teacher efficacy.

But there is a difference in students who are taking AP courses for a deeper understanding of the content and those who are there to get a "feel" for college courses. It's either a college class or not. You either master the content or not. In college, if you cannot master the content, you fail the class.

So are these college classes or "college prep" classes? Don't call APs college classes and then say - well, they are really just "practice" for college classes.

No Duh said...

Of course you can have it both ways. If your child makes a four or five on the AP test and that translates into exempted classes in college -- woohoo! I'm glad for you.

But, if he or she is sitting next to a student who scores lower on the AP test, what do you care???

Are you implying these "lower performing" students are lowing the standards in the classroom? How can that be if your child is making a four or a five??

If you build it they will come. And they will learn -- and that's all I care about.

AP equity North and South, East and West. Chant with me now....

Anonymous said...

I don't care who takes an AP course, but the test for the AP credit should be paid for by the child and his/her parents, not using tax payer money.

Anonymous said...

@ No Duh 8:32 pm

I'm saying that filling the room with students that are unprepared for the AP content will lower some students' scores, and EVERY student is important.

There will be less mastery of content when teachers have to remediate students who come into AP classes with less preparation.

For example, in AP biology, students are assumed to have mastered the chemistry content necessary to understand the biochemistry section of the course. There is NO additional time in the very strict and measured AP biology class structure (set by the College Board, not the teacher) for the AP biology teacher to stop the class and reteach chemistry so that all students will understand the biochemistry section. After all - is it fair to penalize those students who have a poor background in chemistry - perhaps because their chemistry teacher taught to the middle of the class?

So what would you have the AP biology teacher do - stop the class and reteach the chemistry portion or let those students sink who are not prepared? Most AP biology teachers will stop the class and reteach since failing students is highly discouraged in DCSS. When they stop and reteach, the class gets off track. Again the strict time frame is set by the College Board who assumes that the students are prepared in their chemistry classes for the biochemistry section.

"If you build it they will come. And they will learn -- and that's all I care about"
I liked that movie too, and that may be all you care about, but that is not the reality of the way the class is structured by the College Board. Have you taught an AP class of students who are unprepared for the coursework?

PolitiMom said...

re-lack of so. dek. schools represented on the survey--this would be a great time for concerned board members to communicate to their constituents that they need to respond. Sadly, we must not have any concerned board members in DeKalb. Donna Edler, hope you are reading this and encourage all your supporters to complete the survey. I'm getting so disgusted with the apathy of the community when it comes to this board. Its even in my own neighborhood. People complain about how they can't be trusted and how the system is so broken, but so many of my neighbors are STILL going to vote for the incumbent. I'll bet these are the same folks who voted Republican on Nov. 6 as a "message" to Obama. If its okay in a national election to vote with our feet, why doesn't it trickle down into the local races? I can't imagine voting for any incumbent on this board because as a collective body they have failed us! OK, my time on the soapbox is over.

Anonymous said...

Right you are PolitiMom, plus very few teachers have responded. Given the number of inane e-mails we get from central office(& then resent by the Principal) you would think someone should tell the teachers about the survey.
Oh, and where is ODE and/or Page?

Anonymous said...

What should bother us the most, is the lack of answers from middle and high school parents.

These are pretty critical years and the focus and energy of survey participants is all focused on elementary school.

Is everyone that happy with their middle and high schools? I doubt it.

No Duh said...

Anon 9:26.

Nope, never taught an AP class.

My point is, making AP classes available (for equity sake) versus a student's motivation for taking the class are two different things.

Does a student take an AP class for exposure to a higher level (more challenging)learning experience, or does a student take an AP class SOLELY for the purpose of scoring well enough on an AP exam to save some money and time in college?

I recognize the catch-22 our AP teachers face. I am keenly aware that our teachers are not allowed to fail students. Sadly, this even applies to purely voluntary classes like AP.

I view the availability of AP classes in all our schools as an OPPORTUNITY for students to challenge themselves. If they attempt the challenge and fail, they have learned a good lesson in my opinion.

I said, "if you build it, they will come." I didn't say, "if you build it, they will come and automatically succeed."

Anonymous said...

I believe that kids fail at our high school, though I know that it isn't easy to fail a student. I know students taking credit recovery, so clearly they do fail.

Anonymous said...

intersting thread, although i noticed you don't acknowledge the students who are in AP only to get the extra points. about 2/3 of my ap students don't have the skills or motivation to do true ap work. their response to hamlet, the glass menagerie, the great gatsby, etc.? "boring." most of the kids sit and talk/text all period and do just enough work to get by. no support to speak of from the parents. when you report them adminstration says "can't you control your students?" meanwhile, the principal told us ap teachers that if we don't get ap test scores up, some of us will not be teaching ap next year. as always, blame the teachers. "if you build it, they will come"? yes, but mostly just for the additional points to their gpa, not for challenging work.

Anonymous said...

So what about the students who do want in depth learning of a subject? Are they getting this in AP. They don't have to be "gifted" (that's the ones that can probably get most of the content on their own even if the teacher does have to slow down the class to remediate). They just have to have the will and determination to take a college level course.

Personally, I think APs should be offered in all schools as well, but this is just another inequity in DCSS. Many of the students who would benefit from AP offerings have transferred to theme and magnet schools or using NCLB to transfer to one of the few Made AYP schools.

Why aren't students in every DCSS school given the opportunity to go to Perimeter College to take classes - those are college level classes. My daughter was offered that option at Chamblee High School. How many students get that option? That's even better than an AP class IMHO.

Anonymous said...

"I believe that kids fail at our high school, though I know that it isn't easy to fail a student. I know students taking credit recovery, so clearly they do fail. "

And many teachers are pressured to change students' grades so that they don't fail. This seems like a clear ethics violation to me, yet every time a grade changing scandal in DCSS comes to light with the teacher blowing the whistle, the teacher has been let go and the administrator has stayed and gotten a promotion.

MLK:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlFiNlZ3uo

Redan:
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22250810/index.html

This BOE refused to put an ethics policy in place until SACS forced them to do so.

And where was Ron Ramsey, head of Internal Investigations, when this written complaint was submitted to him? Why did he not follow up on these grade changing charges? Why does the nightly news have to do his job, the superintendent's job and the BOE's job?

Anonymous said...

Every student in DCSS has the option of applying for dual enrollment at GPC - as long as they meet the requirements as set for by GPC.

Anonymous said...

One opportunity open to all DeKalb County students. If your high school does not offer AP physics or AP chemistry or if your high school has it and the scheduling doesn't work then you may take AP physics and or chemistry at Fernbank. Fernbank success rates on AP courses (students with a 3 or higher) is as good as any high school in DCSS and better than most.

Anonymous said...

"I don't care who takes an AP course, but the test for the AP credit should be paid for by the child and his/her parents, not using tax payer money."


I respectfully disagree. Research shows that states that provide test fees have more students and better perfomrance. One exception is in Texas where the ODonell foundation funds test fees for selected school districts and provides a $100 bonus to each AP teacher for every student that scores 3 or higher. In those districts the numner of students who take and pass AP courses is triple the national average.

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

The State is paying for 1 AP exam if the student qualifies for free/reduced lunch.

For all other students, DCSS is paying a certain percentage of the cost of the exam - 25%(?) with the parent/student paying the remaining $80 of the cost of the AP exam. I think I have my dollar amounts correct.

Anonymous said...

"The State is paying for 1 AP exam if the student qualifies for free/reduced lunch. "

That seems equitable to me.

Anonymous said...

The College Board only charges Title I students $57 per exam.

pscexb said...

@Anon 1:15 who asked,

Why aren't students in every DCSS school given the opportunity to go to Perimeter College to take classes - those are college level classes.

Anon 1:31 is correct but I 'think' what you are asking is whether all students in every school are made aware of this option. Without question, Chamblee has a long history of recommending joint enrollment to their students thus their counselors are probably more proactive than at other schools. It's fair to ask if counselors at other schools are creating awareness of this option to high achieving juniors and seniors. How to create this awareness when other priorities may exist is the never ending question.

There were some concerns a few years ago as to whether schools would receive the state allocation money for these students however I believe that was resolved recently. There was also concern whether students would receive full DCSS credit for college classes. That was resolved recently with legislation.

Anonymous said...

I think the situation is just the opposite at CCHS, Ernest. I think they push AP first and foremost and students have to seek out GPC information.

Some joint enrollment classes are not to difficult. Some are very difficult. This is an option that students need to fully research and understand.

I say this as a parent whose child did joint enrollment. It is an eye opening experience when the professor/instructor only gives a few tests to make the grade.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:34 PM

I believe the Fernbank class is after school, correct? If so, students have to be able to get themselves there.

There are some real equity issues there if this is the case.

Dunwoody Mom said...

At our recent rising-senior class parent meeting at Dunwoody HS, there was a speaker from GPC that provided a lot of information on dual enrollment (we referred to it as joint enrollment in my day, but whatever). There also was a reminder that junior students interested in dual enrollment need to go ahead and take the SAT as those scores need to be into GPC prior to Fall semester.

Anonymous said...

The other reason that the AP classes at Fernbank are not an option is that they start at 3:00 (for AP Chem) or 3:30 (for AP Physics). High schools do not dismiss until 3:15. So even if a kid has a car, there is no way he is going to be able to get there in time unless they don't take a fourth period class at their high school -- especially if their high school does not permit them to drive to school (which many do not). The problem with not taking a fourth period class is that you miss out on TWO carnegie units (because 4th period is worth one carnegie unit per semester) but you only get ONE carnegie unit by taking the AP class at Fernbank. (which lasts all year). Also, in some cases, there is a class you need during 4th period. Given this, I am not sure how this Fernbank program survives, unless it is mainly used by kids who live close by (Druid High School kids I guess?)

Kim Gokce said...

I came across a few more survey comments featuring Cross Keys attendance area - nice to see the high achievement of our students has drawn attention:

"My family moved to our current home in 1999 (Brookhaven Fields) and have made a temendous investment in our community which includes our schools. We have two children attending Ashford Park Elementary and Kittredge Elementary. I want to ensure that the Brookhaven Fields Neighborhood remains with the Chamblee High School district and not re-districted to Cross Keys. If redistricted to Cross Keys this would be a huge adverse impact to the neighborhood, school district and Dekalb county revenues. from loss in home values, families moving to a better school district and families pulling their children from public school to go to private school. Thank you, Kelly Combs"

"1-concerned about very negative impact on housing values if neighborhood is redistricted to Cross Keys HS"

"Why is Hightower Elementary, a Title 1 school from Doraville, feeding into the Dunwoody Cluster middle and high school where there are no Title 1 funds to help these students receive the extra spending they deserve? Are their needs being met by going to the Dunwoody cluster? With the Dunwoody cluster projected growth and overcrowding at the middle school, could this school be moved to Cross Keys high school?"

"I honestly believe our overcrowding problems can be solved with a little smart redistricting and...

Send Hightower Elementary to Cross Keys — CKHS is a better fit for those Title I students. Further, it would best redistribute students evenly."

"Hightower Elementary should be considered for the Cross Keys High School Cluster so that they retain their Title 1 funds."

Anonymous said...

The Ashford Park parents/neighbors are as militant as any other group, Fernbank, Vanderlyn, etc, just smaller in number.

Hightower does a fabulous job for the students there. Cross Keys might be a better fit for the Hightower students as they truly struggle once they leave the support they have there to go to Peachtree and Dunwoody.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:28
"The other reason that the AP classes at Fernbank are not an option is that they start at 3:00 (for AP Chem) or 3:30 (for AP Physics)......Given this, I am not sure how this Fernbank program survives, unless it is mainly used by kids who live close by (Druid High School kids I guess?)


Yet another reason why the Fernbank community is so protective of Fernbank Science Center. It's a terrific resource for that community - not so effective for the rest of the county.

Anonymous said...

As a Dunwoody high parent, I am not sure I agree with those comments about Hightower. Cross Keys seems a long way away from Hightower. I do not think it would benefit that community to have to travel that far to conferences, activities, etc. While they are technically over the line into Doraville, they are really close to Dunwoody (just a few blocks into Doraville).

Also, it is natural that some elem schools that are Title 1 are not going to feed into Title 1 middle schools and high schools because middle schools and high schools are made up of multiple elementary school populations. Is there any data to suggest that their needs are not being met at Dunwoody HS/Peachtree MS? If not, I see no reason to move them. Dunwoody HS is not overcrowded (not sure about Peachtree MS) -- if those students are taken out of the mix, there would probably be empty seats at the high school.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments could make you crazy.

To the young couple with no children yet, worrying about the location of the magnet program is a bit premature.

To the Montgomery parents who have posted multiple times about not wanting the apartments from Dunwoody -- don't worry, nobody does!

To the Brookhaven fields parents, we get it you want to stay in Ashford Park.

To the Evansdale parents and everyone else...

NO ONE WANTS A CHANGE.

What is the system suppose to do?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Actually, Dunwoody HS is overcapacity by about 200 students and PCMS is over-capacity about 130 students with those totals expected to grow.

If you look at the CRCT scores of PCMS, you will see that it is the ELL group that struggles the most. Would they be better served at a Title 1 MS and HS? I don't know the answer to that question - that should be left to the "experts" to decide.

I do know that the Hightower community is a wonderful community and have been an integral part of PCMS and DHS.

Kim Gokce said...

"Cross Keys seems a long way away from Hightower"

In terms of net distance, you'd have to drive passed Dunwoody HS, Chamblee HS, and Lakeside HS to reach Cross Keys HS ... but then again, you'd be welcome. lol.

All joking aside, this is just the most recent example of a decades-long tradition of how we operate our public system. No opportunity to push out the "less-then-desirables" from our "neighborhood" schools has ever been missed and this round is no different. At least, that is what much of the public is postured to accomplish. The question is, will our leadership and system function as per normal or not?

The Vegas money says same old, same old but my Quixotic heart will not let the last ounce of hope go. On Rocinante!

What people do not realize (in a long list of realities) is that there is no additional instructional space at Cross Keys. The fourth wing is now 1/2 Career Tech and the remaining three wings are completely full - not a classroom in sight. Of course, there is lots of room to add trailers now that I think about it.

So, we could take all the lower income, mostly brown children from Dunwoody attendance ... if we could get them safe passage through Chamblee attendance area. It is so hard these days to push these kids around! In the good old days, neighborhoods weren't mixed and it was easy to keep these things straight! What's a girl to do?

Kim Gokce said...

"I do know that the Hightower community is a wonderful community and have been an integral part of PCMS and DHS."

Right and, I believe, they have made AYP thirteen years in a row or something crazy? Yeah, they're clearly a burden. Thank you for being a voice of reason ...

Cerebration said...

Plucked these helpful links from the AJC blog comments - thanks to B. Killebrew -

===

It is important to peruse the current district boundaries in order to best understand the situation.

These links will be very helpful for everyone participating in this blog topic. Please read and view:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/ES%20Attendance%20Area.pdf

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/Middle%20School%20Attendance%20Area.pdf

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/High%20School%20Attendance%20area.pdf

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 5:25 "To the Brookhaven fields parents, we get it you want to stay in Ashford Park."

Well, the most interesting part of this view to me is the claim about property values. Fields redistricting from Montclair ES (CKHS) into Ashford Park ES (CCHS) was effective less than three years ago. The commenter mentioned "how hard" they have worked to build a good school at Ashford Park ES and how devastating to property values it would be to go back to CKHS.

Property values haven't done anything in the last three years if they are lucky. Most likely, their neighborhood has seen a small dip in property values. So, what explained the steep rise in values in between 1999 and 2005? Surely, this would be impossible in an attendance area like CKHS and yet it happened. Could it be that the "property value" affect isn't quite as substantial as realtors would have us believe?

Pure scare tactis IMHO.

Anonymous said...

@ Kim
"Could it be that the "property value" affect isn't quite as substantial as realtors would have us believe?"

Maybe property values are not driven by schools in Brookhaven (although I served Ashford Park as little as a few years ago and a great many of the neighborhood did not send their kids there - very many Hispanic students). However, in my Northlake neighborhood, schools drive property values. Perhaps Central DeKalb is different although I maintain the property values in certain zip codes and school scores are correlated.

BTW, I used to teach at Woodward which has many beautiful homes around it, but very few homeowners sent their kids there - almost all went to private school. That was a shame because Woodward has wonderful students. Maybe that has changed as well.

Anonymous said...

I find that comment about moving the "mostly brown" children from Dunwoody to CK offensive. That is insane and insensitive. Dunwoody High is actually a very diverse school. That is one of the reasons my family chose it. In fact, anyone who is willing to classify children as "mostly brown" would probably consider Dunwoody HS to be "mostly brown." Redistricting one elem school to another cluster is not going to change that! And who wants to change it anyway? There are a lot of us out here who value the diversity in the Dunwoody cluster.

Children are children. This way of looking at people by color is so outdated. The children (of all colors) themselves care a lot less about skin color than us grown ups. We could really learn a lot from them.

If people think that these kids would be better served at another school, that's one thing. But unless it is demonstrated that that is the case, there is no reason to move them.

And while DHS may technically have 200 more students than capacity, those figures do not reflect the 8-10 new classrooms going into use in the next six months. I really don't see why Dunwoody HS needs to be redistricted at all.

Kim Gokce said...

For me, it isn't a question of whether school districts are part of the real estate purchasing decision - clearly they are. This in and of itself will eventually drive a value differential. I think, however, that the affect is greatly exaggerated by those who are in the "right districts" and the truth is far less than these owners and their Realtors would have the buying public believe. It is sort of a perverse dynamic but that is life in the big city ...

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 5:55

Well said! I know many parents "of color" in the Dunwoody attendance area and fully understand it to be a diverse school myself. I think those that try to isolate areas like Hightower are completely uninformed and form their opinions mostly based on hearsay and group think. I have to believe they are also a minority of opinions in the Dunwoody attendance area.

That said, even a few voices can have a big impact if they are loud enough and long enough. At least, that seems to be the history ...

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 5:50 "BTW, I used to teach at Woodward ..."

Unfortunately, your experience is still pretty much the case. Out of the 800+ kids at Woodward today, I know of only 2-3 kids from some of the single-family neighborhoods that are enrolled. And while many parents choose private, just as many find ways of entering a Chamblee-district public school.

Woodward is a school full of great kids and teachers. I have the good fortune of being on the School Council and I get to participate in events over there from time to time. There is a revitalized PTA with parents driving projects such as RE-PAINTING THE ENTIRE EXTERIOR of the school. Yes, they are!

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/education/21cncschools.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=education

The consortium’s researchers have found that, like at Paderewski, even the worst schools improve if they have the right resources, including a principal who can forge strong ties between the school, parents and the community; hire good teachers and give them opportunities to improve their skills; install a rigorous curriculum; and make the school safe and centered on students’ needs.


"Centered on the students' needs"

That will never happen in DeKalb, as Crawford Lewis/Ramona Tyson/Ron Ramsey/Bob Moseley/Audria Berry and other Central Office bureaucrats have made sure DCSS is solely centered on the Central Office.

A vote for Jim Redovian and Zepora Roberts is a vote for a bloated, inefficient, self-obsessed/nepotism-filled schoo system.

PLEASE VOTE FOR DONNA EDLER AND NANCY JESTER!!!

Anonymous said...

What is the most perverse thing is that in DeKalb and the City of Atlanta property values are driven by elementary schools not high schools.

Look at the real estate ads for Cobb, N. Fulton and Gwinnett -- see what you see.

To many people are making decisions based on who their child will sit next to in elementary school and then they flee to private for middle and high.

What was the percentage of Fernbank 5th graders that went private last year for 6th? Was it 30 percent or more?

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

Remember to comment on the proposed policy changes that are up for vote on Monday night.

The most important one is the layoff policy of professional staff. Until this policy is changed, Ms. Tyson's and the Boards hands are tied.

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/index.aspx?S=4054

Then look on the right side and click on each pending policy.

Thanks!

Cerebration said...

Good advice Anon -- click on the link and read the policy people - and let your opinion be known. This is a very good new policy - sorely needed - IMO

This policy shall apply to all personnel employed by the District. Nothing in this policy, however, shall be construed to extend to affected professional, contracted employees any expectation of re-employment or due process rights greater than those available to such employees under the Fair Dismissal Law of Georgia; nor is this policy to be construed to mandate the promotion or transfer of an employee to a position of higher, lower, or equal rank, authority, or compensation, regardless of whether the employee who is to be terminated may be qualified or certified for a higher position.


Board Policy
Descriptor Code:GBKA
Professional Personnel Lay-Off

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/100-students-receive-warning-758437.html

A hundred students at Fulton County's Westlake High School must show proof of residency by Dec. 22 or run the risk of being kicked out of school. All of the county's 92,000 students were required to show proof of residency, and 90 percent complied, Allison Toller, school system spokeswoman, said Monday night. The students at Westlake were pulled from class and given the Dec. 22 deadline. This was isolated to Westlake, said Toller. "It also has to do with some miscommunication issues at that school," she said.


What will it take for DeKalb Schools to implement regular residency checks?

Fulton is being sued over their policy but they aren't backing down. I wish DeKalb would do the same.

Anonymous said...

Residency checks should be the responsibility of the Ron Ramsey-led DCSS Office of Internal Affairs and the 200 plus staff strong school police department with its nine detectives and two chiefs.

Which means nothing will get done.

Anonymous said...

You know, if you live in Dunwoody, you just can't win. You can't state an opinion without someone calling you a racist. And we all know, that if that label gets hung on you, you're done. If anyone calls you a racist, you're guilty until proven innocent and you can never be innocent.

Kim Goke (sp?) said below that Dunwoody was motivated by moving "brown" children out of the neighborhood schools, when in reality Dunwoody schools are the most ethnically diverse in DeKalb county. So either he's a liar or a pot-stirrer and has no problem ruining someone's life if he wants to throw the "R" word around for fun.

This week I gave up on DeKalb schools for my children and I'm going private. Not because of ethnicity (although somoene here will call me a racist, I'm sure) but because I will not allow the school board or any regulars here, or ANYONE in the county to use my children as pawns in their racial political game.

I'm out of here. Even the discussions are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Wealthy PTAs can accomplish those extras for students.

See this comment:

"I'm very involved in the school, as are many of the parents at Fernbank. Parent involvement is one of the things that makes Fernbank very special. We pay for our Art and Science teacher's salaries."

Can you blame parents for wanting to keep their kids in a school that can provide all the extras?

Title 1 funds spent at the schoolhouse level might not pay for art and science teachers, but they could provide reading and math specialists and cutting edge technology and science equipment. Until DCSS starts to use these funds to provide a level playing field, there will be a vast gulf between affluent and low income schools.

Anonymous said...

Here's a quote from Kim's post that I referenced. Anyone who makes a suggestion he doesn't like is deemed a racist in his smartass attitude:

"So, we could take all the lower income, mostly brown children from Dunwoody attendance ... if we could get them safe passage through Chamblee attendance area. It is so hard these days to push these kids around! In the good old days, neighborhoods weren't mixed and it was easy to keep these things straight! What's a girl to do?"

This is as bad as the board itself.

Kim Gokce said...

The only name calling on this thread has been by my anonymous friends who don't like my take. I stand by my sarcasm.

I haven't and don't engage in name-calling. I do have a habit of speaking openly about race and about bigotry - a very sticky subject. While I won't deny that racism is alive and well, I actually believe that the type of bigotry I've pointed out isn't racism. It's class-ism. As I mentioned, this is about lower income, "mostly brown ... " students.

The target of this bigotry isn't necessarily a particular race - racial make-up is somewhat coincidental. It is apartment dwellers mostly that are rivaled in these debates. It is discussed openly in polite company, is part of the survey comments, and has been explained to me directly by leaders in the system - homeowners are to be heeded, not apartment dwellers.

We don't think they have the same right to quality of public education as our children do when the chips are down. Go ahead, deny it!

You racist? I don't even know who you are - please! Now, you know my thoughts and you can still consider me a liar and smartass if it helps you. Au revoir!

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 10:19 "Can you blame parents for wanting to keep their kids in a school that can provide all the extras?"

Absolutely not! I don't blame any parent for doing what is best for their child in their own eyes. What I do have a beef with the parent who wants to push everyone else's kid out the way to get it.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 5:50 "I maintain the property values in certain zip codes and school scores are correlated."

There's no disputing the correlation - what I'm questioning is the causality. I really believe the property value "risk" to re-districting is exaggerated in most cases.

Anonymous said...

Kim

Across DeKalb, especially North and Central, up until two or so years ago, there are clear examples of the same house in two different elementary school districts having very different values.

In some cases, the gulf is rather wide, 10s of 1000s of dollars -- as much as 30,000 or more.

I can't say with much certainty, but I am guessing that a young family would find a home in Brookhaven Fields more desirable than one in another school district located nearby.

Cerebration said...

Maybe. But I really think property values have much more to do with location and traffic, as in proximity to the city, shopping and work. The closer you are to Buckhead or Emory, the better off. Or if they want a big house value, they go to Alpharetta. I think people usually inquire as to the schools being good, but that's not usually the #1 motivator.

Anonymous said...

Cere

I have to disagree with you on this. While location is key, school quality, perceived or real, is totally a factor in many families decision.

Go to any relocation website like citydata.com and look at the questions people ask. It is almost always about schools if they have children. The only exception to this, and even it isn't consistent, is parents who will rent. People buying homes seem to be very driven by school quality.

Anonymous said...

And this has to be my favorite comment of all:

I support redistricting as long as my child can go to ________. I moved from California to Atlanta and chose the _______ subdivision specifically so that my son can attend _____.

Names have been blanked to protect the innocent.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:28
"The other reason that the AP classes at Fernbank are not an option is that they start at 3:00 (for AP Chem) or 3:30 (for AP Physics)......Given this, I am not sure how this Fernbank program survives, unless it is mainly used by kids who live close by (Druid High School kids I guess?)

You would be wrong about this-the students come from all parts of DeKalb County and the classes are full. Convenience is out weighed by the student's and their family’s desire to excel. Moreover STT students hail from every part of the county. Each middle school has an allotment based on enrollment (although STT for 9th grade students, they are selected from each middle school).

Anonymous said...

Then how do virtually all of the 8th grade students from a certain small private school continue to get in to STT?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:39 AM

It is not okay to use this blog to hide behind "Anonymous" and spread unsubstantiated, undocumented rumors.

If what you are saying is true, then name the "small private school" and provide the number of students that equals "virtually all" of the 8th grade students at the school.

Otherwise, you should retract what you said because you are nothing more than a cowardly, uninformed rumor-monger.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cerebration said...

We can't post names without facts.

Anonymous said...

If the poster is interested in the enrollment at Fernank, couldn't he/she simply request the number of students in each class by school? Are Fernbank classes undercapacity? Overcapacity? Might be some interesting research.

I for one was very disappointed to see that students in the magnet programs cannot participate in these programs, but resident students in the same school who are taking magnet classes can attend. Makes no sense.

Kim Gokce said...

Cere and

Anon 7:05am "I have to disagree with you on this. While location is key, school quality, perceived or real, is totally a factor in many families decision."

I think you are missing my point (I get that a lot - I can be verbose).

There is no doubt that many do make school district a significant decision criteria in their choice of home location - I agree with that completely. The distinction I'm trying to make is about how significantly that translates into hard dollar values vis-a-vis other influences.

So I am not saying school districts do not affect home values - I'm saying that it is not a catastrophic impact many would have us believe. But let's not debate theory, here's one conclusion from a fair effort to isolate the affect:

"The final comparison I draw is of
houses within .15 miles of an attendance district boundary.
The estimated equation is:
,
where priceiab is the selling price of house i in attendance
district a near boundary b, Xiab is a vector of house
characteristics, Kb is a vector of boundary dummies, and
testa is the measure of school quality assessed at the individual
school level.
Using this boundary fixed-effects technique, I find
that substantial omitted variable bias exists when one relies
on the standard controls for neighborhood characteristics.
Significantly, my estimate of the value of better schools is
only about half of the normal hedonic housing price
estimate. Controlling for neighborhoods and school
financial inputs, I find that a 5 percent increase in elementary
school test scores (a change of approximately one
standard deviation in the observed data) leads to an
increase in house prices of approximately 2.1 percent, or
$4,000 at the mean house price of the sample. From
another perspective, a movement from the twenty-fifthpercentile
school in the sample as ranked by test scores to the
seventy-fifth-percentile school results in a 2.9 percent
increase in house prices, or $5,500 at the mean house price.15
How can we be sure that this procedure actually
estimates the value of better schools? The study includes
a number of specification checks, including checks to
determine whether the attendance district boundaries
chosen represent neighborhood divisions. For example, I
eliminate any boundaries that could be major roads, and
I control for measurable neighborhood characteristics
(evaluated at the level of the census block group). A particularly
compelling check involves comparing the results for
one- and two-bedroom houses with the results for houses
containing three or more bedrooms. One would expect
individuals who live in houses with three or more bedrooms
to be willing to pay more for better schools than people in
smaller houses because they are more likely to have
children. The study very clearly confirms this expectation."

Anyone who wants the full summary see:

http://www.ny.frb.org/research/epr/98v04n1/9803blac.pdf

In light of the example above let me re-phase my point ...

If providing for more efficient and ethical attendance areas for all children in DeKalb would make your $200,000 home worth $196,000, are you still going to go to the pitch forks and torches every time there's a re-districting and consolidation discussion?

Kim Gokce said...

Sorry about that, the equation did not copy and paste well. here's another attempt:

log(priceiab)=a+Xiab b+KbF+ gtesta+eiab

Anonymous said...

Not all Fernbank Science Center classes are "full." My friend has a high school student who takes a class at the Fernbank science center and there are only 5 or 6students in it. What a complete waste of our tax dollars.

I continue to maintain that all the middle and high school teachers in this Center should be redistributed to schools with low science scores. These highly paid teachers should teach a regular load of courses and mentor the other science teachers in the school on how to better deliver the science curriculum.

Anonymous said...

@Cerebration, 10:28 AM
"We can't post names without facts."

That's what I was asking for ... substantiation, documentation.

It is not okay to post and pass along rumors and vague, undocumented accusations. Very reminiscent of the McCarthy Era.

Cerebration said...

Oh, this blog is pretty tame compared to most - and compared to McCarthy. I try to clean up the comments - most blog moderators don't.

Dekalbparent said...

At the risk of being called a defender of the privileged, I need to say that I have NEVER heard one Fernbank parent say they want to remove any of the kids from the school, and the both the Fernbank council and PTA have stated their position that no child should be removed. This includes the more than 100 out of district kids currently at the school.

They have also stated that their position on the adjacent under-enrolled schools is to add to Fernbank and enroll the kids there. They welcome all (including apartment dwellers!) If you check the district lines, you will see that,along with the Druid Hills neighborhood, Fernbank includes middle-class neighborhoods as well as apartments.

Anonymous said...

@ Dekalbparent 1:54 pm

While a number of Fernbank parents say they would rather take on students and expand rather than be zoned out of Fernbank, not all feel that way. Look at some of their comments:

"There needs to be a reconciliation between historical and neighborhood proximity with the "no child left behind" program in an effort to reduce the number of children migrating from poor/lower performing schools and districts to higher performing and preferred schools. ...we currently have 4 children at Fernbank"

or this:
"Fernbank is one of the better schools in DeKalb county. There doesn't seem to be a practical reason to try and absorb more children into an already overcrowded and old facility"

or this:
"Fernbank Elementary is already over capacity. While I understand the need to consolidate schools, our elementary school has historically served this neighborhood, and I feel strongly that it should not be affected by redistricting. We just do not have the space to take additional students from neighboring schools that are currently under enrolled."

Or this
"Fernbank is at maximum capacity.....Please do not try to push many more kids into this school."

or this:
".....Our school (Fernbank) has been doing well. Why change a good thing? ....there is a fairly easy solution....start by ensuring all the non-residents are relocated to their neighborhood schools, if those schools are under-enrolled.

Anonymous said...

@ Dekalbparent

"This includes the more than 100 out of district kids currently at the school.

Why would Fernbank have 100 out of district kids currently at the school? That's almost 15% of their total enrollment! Quite frankly, I can see why parents would be upset if 100 out of district students stayed at Fernbank as their children are sent to other schools. How on earth did an elementary school get so many out of district students?

Anonymous said...

I think it will be interesting where the children of DCSS Central Office and Support managers go after redistricting. With 1,200+ Central office employees and hundreds more in Support management, many of them placed in schools that were handpicked by their parents, expect to hear some noise from parents who are redistricted out of their school to make room for Central Office personnel's children.

I think the practice of letting Central Office parents "pick" a school for their children is just wrong. They should send their children to their home school and apply for special magnet, theme, or charter schools just like other parents.

Anonymous said...

You forgot this:

"I will not be able to attend the charrettes this week, but certainly plan to attend at least one of the upcoming ones. Thank you for the chance to provide input. Fernbank parents sincerely appreciate the work you are doing on behalf of all the children in the county. We treasure our school and are proud to say that our outstanding IB program serves families from all corners of Dekalb and we want to keep it that way."

And this:

"Please consider expanding Fernbank elementary (bringing in students from low-attendance schools), rather than redistricting current Fernbank families to other DeKalb elementary schools. Isn't that the best way to avoid current DCSS families from "jumping ship" to private schools or home-school programs? Keep DCSS strong by keeping the top-performing schools in tact."

And this:

"Maintaining the Fernbank district is imperative for the educational excellence of our students and the cohesiveness of our neighborhoods. The schools have worked hard to institute the IB curriculum throughout our students' education and this needs to be preserved for all students currently enrolled in the district. If additional students can be added to the school without putting the instruction capacity at risk, then all the better for those who can benefit from the high quality of education we all enjoy at Fernbank."

And this:

"Please keep our neighborhood intact. There are many international families attending Fernbank from our area, and if they are districted out, they will go elsewhere. The IB World School program is extremely important to everyone in the school. Most of our families are very involved in supporting the school as well as Shamrock and Druid Hills, and to remove our area from the school would remove much of its support base as well as changing the character of the school. We do not think fernbank is overcrowded - the school is handling its student population and its programs quite well. If the building is enlarged, we can welcome even more children - what a great opportunity!"

And this:

"Please keep Fernbank attendance lines intact or expand. There is no sense in removing children from a successful school and putting them in a school that is on the failing schools list. I was frustrated that quality of education was not listed as an option, because that is what school should focus upon.Thank you for being wise in your decisions."

The overwhelming majority of the families in the school would welcome more students rather than lose current ones.

Anonymous said...

You forgot this:

"I will not be able to attend the charrettes this week, but certainly plan to attend at least one of the upcoming ones. Thank you for the chance to provide input. Fernbank parents sincerely appreciate the work you are doing on behalf of all the children in the county. We treasure our school and are proud to say that our outstanding IB program serves families from all corners of Dekalb and we want to keep it that way."

And this:

"Please consider expanding Fernbank elementary (bringing in students from low-attendance schools), rather than redistricting current Fernbank families to other DeKalb elementary schools. Isn't that the best way to avoid current DCSS families from "jumping ship" to private schools or home-school programs? Keep DCSS strong by keeping the top-performing schools in tact."

And this:

"Maintaining the Fernbank district is imperative for the educational excellence of our students and the cohesiveness of our neighborhoods. The schools have worked hard to institute the IB curriculum throughout our students' education and this needs to be preserved for all students currently enrolled in the district. If additional students can be added to the school without putting the instruction capacity at risk, then all the better for those who can benefit from the high quality of education we all enjoy at Fernbank."

And this:

"Please keep our neighborhood intact. There are many international families attending Fernbank from our area, and if they are districted out, they will go elsewhere. The IB World School program is extremely important to everyone in the school. Most of our families are very involved in supporting the school as well as Shamrock and Druid Hills, and to remove our area from the school would remove much of its support base as well as changing the character of the school. We do not think fernbank is overcrowded - the school is handling its student population and its programs quite well. If the building is enlarged, we can welcome even more children - what a great opportunity!"

And this:

"Please keep Fernbank attendance lines intact or expand. There is no sense in removing children from a successful school and putting them in a school that is on the failing schools list. I was frustrated that quality of education was not listed as an option, because that is what school should focus upon.Thank you for being wise in your decisions."

The overwhelming majority of the families in the school would welcome more students rather than lose current ones.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 5:19/5:20mpm

I didn't forget anything. Look what I said:
"While a number of Fernbank parents say they would rather take on students and expand rather than be zoned out of Fernbank, not all feel that way."

It's too bad Fernbank parents aren't expending all of this energy getting the 8,500 admin and support numbers as contrasted to 6,500 teachers rebalanced. Where were they when teachers positions were being cut, class sizes increased, admin and support ranks swelled, and promotions given out like candy.

After Dr. Lewis took control, we went from 50% of our personnel as teachers to around 40% of our personnel as teachers. Per Ernst and Young, the 2004 Compensation audit showed $15,000,000 annually in salary over payments to non-teaching personnel (and that was before Lewis hired more admin and support personnel and promoted and paid them even more).

School redistricting is a drop in the bucket compared to right sizing the huge admin and support machine. However, redistricting and consolidating schools has the advantage of saving money without touching Central Office personnel (1,239 or 1 for every 5 teachers) or support personnel who are friends and family.

Personally, I think no school should be closed or redistricted until the admin and support area (particularly the Central Office) is right sized. That's one thing parents need to communicate to Ms. Tyson and the BOE.

Fernbank, Vanderlyn, Austin, etc. parents need to press for economies in the admin and support bloat rather than fight over the crumbs they may get from the DCSS administration.

Anonymous said...

Solo glad to read in the survey responses that so many have spoken out against the dunwoody 4th 5th grade fiasco! I'm really hoping that will be converted to a k-5.

Anonymous said...

Extremely interesting data. Everyone should look at these maps.

Thanks to a poster B. Killibrew on the AJC blog Get Schooled, here are links to current district boundaries.

What's up with the vast area south of Fernbank and north of McNair? Does this area not have designated schools? Looking at this map, I can see why Fernbank parents are nervous about redistricting. Many of them are miles from the school while other streets not zoned into Fernbank are literally right next to the school.



A. DCSS Elementary School Attendance Map:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/ES%20Attendance%20Area.pdf

B. DCSS Middle School Attendance Map:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/Middle%20School%20Attendance%20Area.pdf

C. DCSS High School Attendance Map:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/High%20School%20Attendance%20area.pdf

Anonymous said...

The gap between Fernbank and McNair is the City of Decatur school system.

Is is me, or are the districts for Midway ES and Fairington ES absolutely insane??!!

Fix the mess, Dan Drake!! Don't let politics and selfish, anti-team player parents (that's you Fernbank) drive the proverbial bus.

Anonymous said...

Dan Drake wanted to close Midway in large part because of its insane attendance zone.

I attended several of the task force meetings last year.

Midway has a lot of students, but apparently most of them are actually closer to other schools than Midway. The attendance zone has been impacted through the years by annexations and other school closings.

Midway also houses a Montessori program which was another reason its supporters noted to keep it open.

I think it is important to note/know that Midway had among the lowest test scores in 5th grade in the state.

Cerebration said...

While you're looking, see that little square area that hangs down in the Chapel Hill section of the southernmost point of DeKalb? That's where Arabia is! Accessible to virtually no one north of I-20, nowhere near a MARTA station, yet promoted as a countywide school of choice.

Cerebration said...

Also, if you would like to download the attendance data, for each school and the students who live in the zone but don't attend their home school, visit the planning department link and look for this -

2010-11 SY Information
Enrollment report, by school, by grade (Sep 15, 2010 data)
Attendance Area and Enrollment Report, home schools only (Sep 15, 2010 data)
Non-Resident High School Students Matrix (Sep 15, 2010 data)

DeKalb County Schools Planning

Anonymous said...

Cause Arabia MT should be a neighborhood school. Think anyone is going to be brave enough to do it?

Anonymous said...

"selfish, anti-team player (Fernbank) parents?"

Pardon me, but I am a Fernbank parent, and I don't appreciate the stereotyping any more than any other group in Dekalb county.

I am an active parent. I went to one of the 'Charades'. I watch this blog. I vote in the elections. I attend the parent council meetings. I've made my opinions known about the idiocy of Central Office. And I volunteer a hell of a lot of time at my kids' school.

Here are a few truths:
1. Some schools in Dekalb are better than others...and yes, we need to work on making them all better.

2. Due to #1, some schools are over capacity. In fact, FB is over capacity by roughly the number of students that come to it *from out of the district.*

3. Yeah, it makes me pretty damn cranky that my kids might get redistricted out when in fact there is plenty of room if those other children were not there. Please note, I am NOT suggesting those out-of-district kids get sent 'home' - I do believe FB is something special, and the more kids that get a chance to share in it, the better. We have a couple of trailers. A couple more won't kill anybody.

4. Fernbank parents are vocal because Fernbank Elementary works, and works well. Why do some parents (who apparently don't much like us "selfish, anti-team player (Fernbank) parents?") insist that building other schools up MUST include messing with those that work?

Anonymous said...

I have a message to the Brookhaven Fields Parents who are posting over and over again on the survey.

I am not sure that it is a contest to get your message about wanting to stay in Ashford Park out. In fact, it isn't. I don't think you will be rewarded for posting the most.

Anonymous said...

I taught in DeKalb for almost 40 years and lived in the Northlake area for almost 30 years so I’m well aware of where the “mess” of gerrymandered zones comes from. BTW I taught for a decade at Fernbank and also at Medlock for a number of years (and many other schools) so I know all too well the politics of that situation. For example, the Tobie Grant public housing project (Scottdale area) zoned into Medlock as Pierre1852 speculated is a hangover from the 1969 DCSS desegregation case.

DCSS has long needed to address redistricting. Much of what has happened in DCSS is “don’t ask, don’t tell”. In other words, the high achieving schools do not rock the boat, they pay the highest taxes, and the BOE can do as they please as long as they leave these schools alone. Parents in these schools hire extra faculty, paint the schools, install technology and do all the things that the DCSS administration should be doing for all students. It’s no coincidence that the most responses regarding redistricting come from the highest achieving schools. They have had the luxury of not being involved in the problems of the school system that most students and parents face. This has become up close and personal so they will organize to preserve the status quo.

Anonymous said...

"Central Office personnel (1,239 or 1 for every 5 teachers)"

This is bad data. First of all central office staff is anyone not assigned to a school. That includes bus drivers.

According the GADOE report card on the website (see http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009) in the 2008-2009 school year (most recently posted by the state). These are precut figures. I anxiously await the new report card for 2009-2010. They are also precut.


Certified Staff Position Ratios
Teacher/Administrator Ratio
13:1
Teacher/Support Person Ratio
7:1
Teacher/Staff Ratio
5:1
Student Enrollment/All Teachers
14:1

534.43 Administrators
With 143 locations half of those are principals and assistant principals

939.11 Support personnel that includes everyone bus drivers, janitors, security, MIS, secretaries, bookkeepers. With 143 locations secretaries, bookkeepers, and janitors account for over half of the 939.11


6,886.51 Teachers

Anonymous said...

Then how do virtually all of the 8th grade students from a certain small private school continue to get in to STT?

Innuendo-call a spade a spade. Get some facts. The rules are The programis open to 9th grade students enrolled in the DeKalb County School System. Federal law requires that no ninth grader be denied the right compete for the program. However, "Students apply through their school counselors, who have applications and printed brochures. Please note that the applications and other materials are returned directly to the schools, not to Fernbank Science Center. The deadlines for submitting materials are set by the individual schools." Maybe you should ask the people as Fernbank why a DCSS school would reccomend someone not enrolled?

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 1:53
" This is bad data..”

No, it is not. Dr. Lewis cut 275 teacher positions for 2009-10 and Ms. Tyson cut 100 more teacher positions in 2010-11. That's 475 teacher positions.

Going to the state 2009 Salary and Travel audit you cite, and you can sort on bus drivers. You will see that DCSS has around 1163 bus drivers so I don't think there would be much left in the way of Central Office employees if we counted them.

We have 60 personnel in HR alone. The Office of School Improvement has 25 directors and coordinators. We have 90 non-teaching and 40+ non-teaching Literacy Coaches. We have ESOL non-teaching Coordinators and Coaches. Fernbank Science Center has over 60 employees (only 29 are teachers) and I believe all are counted as Central Office employees). The list goes on and on.

Let's see why our classes are soaring to 30+ students which is what we really need to worry about. I did a sort with the most recent 2008-09 Salary and Travel audit (I too am awaiting the new one which BTW will be published at the end of December according to the state website.)

Although teacher positions were cut this past year so we have less teachers, here are the figures I found when I sorted the 2009 state Salary and Travel audit (reflective of 2008-09 figures - before the 475 teacher positions were cut):

Total DeKalb Schools employees: 15,859
Admin and Support non-teaching personnel: 8,828 (56%)
Teachers and Media Specialists: 7,031 (44%)
Source: DCSS Superintendent’s FAQ page
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/files/3C2819BD7CDE4BA6B8BE01FC4A39343C.pdf
Numbers of teachers NOT grade level teachers or content area teachers: 2981
This includes:
Library Media Specialists:
161
Special Area Teachers:
1369
(Special Education Adapted PE, Pre-K Sp.Ed., Psycho-Ed Sp.Ed., Sp. Ed Interrelated, Sp. Ed. Specialist, Sp. Ed. Autistic, Sp. Ed. Emotional Behavior, Sp. Ed. Hearing Impaired, Teacher of Mild Intellectual, Teacher of Moderate Intellectual, Teacher of Orthopedic Impairment, Teacher of Other Health Impairment, Teacher Of Severely Intell. Impaired, Teacher of specific Learning Disability, Teacher of Visually Impaired, Speech –Language Pathologist, Adapted PE teacher:
1,369
Other Instructional Providers:
42
Instructional Specialists (Art, PE, Music, Band, Orchestra elementary teachers):
445
Gifted:
87
ESOL:
154
Early Intervention Specialists:
128
Instructional Coaches (America’s Choice Instructional Coaches, Literacy Coaches and Graduation Coaches):
80
Exploratory Teachers:
46
Hospital Homebound:
1
Vocational Teachers:
207
Related Vocational Teachers:
11
World Languages in high school and Connections teachers in middle school
250 (estimated)

Approximately 4,050 employees out of 7,031 teachers and Media Specialists teach grades 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5 and the content areas of science, math, Language Arts and Social Studies.

So complete responsibility for AYP rests on 4,050 employees out of 15,859 total employees.

Do you see how class sizes rise to over 30+? Do you see why grade level and content area teachers have the most paperwork and the most pressure? Do you see why we have difficulty attracting the best teachers into DeKalb Schools?

Please check my data with these websites.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. My bad - Correction 375 teacher positions were cut, which is why the 6886 figure = approximately 6,500 currently - without Media Specialists.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers should not have to try to ascertain these figures. The DCSS website should be transparent and give up to date figures on teachers.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to Ms. Tyson's FAW page. It was published last year:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/files/3C2819BD7CDE4BA6B8BE01FC4A39343C.pdf

Anonymous said...

OOps! Ms. Tyson's FAQ page:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/files/3C2819BD7CDE4BA6B8BE01FC4A39343C.pdf

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 1:53

Very funny!
Your statement:
"939.11 Support personnel that includes everyone bus drivers, janitors, security, MIS, secretaries, bookkeepers..."


LOL - we must have some really educated custodians and bus drivers if that 939 support personnel includes these personnel.

Please look at that page again. the 939.11 Support Personnel are "Certified Personnel" i.e. personnel who have teaching certificates.

What that page says is that in 2008-09 we had 534 Administrators, 939 Support personnel and 6886 teachers - ALL of who are CERTIFIED. The Support personnel refers to 939 personnel who are certified to teach but do not teach.

Did you realize that this page only refers to personnel with teaching certificates?

The name of the page is:
DeKalb County
Enrollment: 96,907
Certified Personnel Data

Do you see the Certified Personnel title on the top of the page?

Do you still say all our bus drivers and custodians and MIS personnel are certified teachers?

Please read the website carefully before you make these assertions:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:53 pm

Very funny comment! Talk about bad data!!
"939.11 Support personnel that includes everyone bus drivers, janitors, security, MIS, secretaries, bookkeepers."

LOL!!
So DCSS bus drivers, janitors, MIS, etc. are all certified teachers? That's what you're saying.

Please take another look at the state of Georgia website you got your information from. This webpage refers ONLY to CERTIFIED personnel - i.e. personnel with TEACHING certificates employed by DCSS.

Go back and read the webpage heading:
2008-09
DeKalb County
Enrollment: 96,907
Certified Personnel Data

According to this webpage you refer us to, during the 2008-09 school year we had 435 Administrators with teaching certificates who administrate, 939 Support personnel with teaching certificates who do not teach (don't really know what they do), and 6,886 teachers who actually teach.

Adding the "certified to teach" admin and support personnel together, in 2008-09 we had 1,374 employees that have teaching certificates who DID NOT teach and 6,886 employees who have teaching certificates who DID teach.

Please look closely at the teacher figure. According to this webpage, DCSS had only 6,539 fulltime teachers.

EVERY taxpayer/parent should see this page:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

...and click on the Personnel and Fiscal tab.

BTW:
Average pay for those Administrators:
$91,296.63
Average Pay for the non-teaching Support Personnel who are certified to teach:
$65,653.87
Average Pay for the Teachers:
$54,586.86

Are you still anxiously awaiting an update to this page?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:53 pm

Very funny comment! Talk about bad data!!
"939.11 Support personnel that includes everyone bus drivers, janitors, security, MIS, secretaries, bookkeepers."

LOL!!
So DCSS bus drivers, janitors, MIS, etc. are all certified teachers? That's what you're saying.

Please take another look at the state of Georgia website you got your information from. This webpage refers ONLY to CERTIFIED personnel - i.e. personnel with TEACHING certificates employed by DCSS.

Go back and read the webpage heading:
2008-09
DeKalb County
Enrollment: 96,907
Certified Personnel Data

According to this webpage you refer us to, during the 2008-09 school year we had 435 Administrators with teaching certificates who administrate, 939 Support personnel with teaching certificates who do not teach (don't really know what they do), and 6,886 teachers who actually teach.

Adding the "certified to teach" admin and support personnel together, in 2008-09 we had 1,374 employees that have teaching certificates who DID NOT teach and 6,886 employees who have teaching certificates who DID teach.

Please look closely at the teacher figure. According to this webpage, DCSS had only 6,539 fulltime teachers.

EVERY taxpayer/parent should see this page:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

...and click on the Personnel and Fiscal tab.

BTW:
Average pay for those Administrators:
$91,296.63
Average Pay for the non-teaching Support Personnel who are certified to teach:
$65,653.87
Average Pay for the Teachers:
$54,586.86

Are you still anxiously awaiting an update to this page?

Anonymous said...

So how do we have unmanageable class sizes in a science class or a 4th grade class if we have 6,886 teachers for 97,000 students?

....Because we have LESS than 4,000 content area (math, science, social studies, and language arts teachers) and grade level (1st, 2nd 3rd, 4th and 5th grade) teachers.

Only these 3,900 employees out of 15,000+ employees have AYP resting on their shoulders.

Here is the teacher breakdown:

Numbers of teachers NOT grade level teachers or content area teachers: 2981
This includes:
Library Media Specialists:
161
Special Area Teachers:
1369
(Special Education Adapted PE, Pre-K Sp.Ed., Psycho-Ed Sp.Ed., Sp. Ed Interrelated, Sp. Ed. Specialist, Sp. Ed. Autistic, Sp. Ed. Emotional Behavior, Sp. Ed. Hearing Impaired, Teacher of Mild Intellectual, Teacher of Moderate Intellectual, Teacher of Orthopedic Impairment, Teacher of Other Health Impairment, Teacher Of Severely Intell. Impaired, Teacher of specific Learning Disability, Teacher of Visually Impaired, Speech –Language Pathologist, Adapted PE teacher:
1,369
Other Instructional Providers:
42
Instructional Specialists (Art, PE, Music, Band, Orchestra elementary teachers):
445
Gifted:
87
ESOL:
154
Early Intervention Specialists:
128
Instructional Coaches (America’s Choice Instructional Coaches, Literacy Coaches and Graduation Coaches):
80
Exploratory Teachers:
46
Hospital Homebound:
1
Vocational Teachers:
207
Related Vocational Teachers:
11
World Languages in high school and Connections teachers in middle school
250 (estimated)

Source:
http://www.open.georgia.gov/

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:53 pm

Very funny comment! Talk about bad data!!
"939.11 Support personnel that includes everyone bus drivers, janitors, security, MIS, secretaries, bookkeepers."

LOL!!
So DCSS bus drivers, janitors, MIS, etc. are all certified teachers? That's what you're saying.

Please take another look at the state of Georgia website you got your information from. This webpage refers ONLY to CERTIFIED personnel - i.e. personnel with TEACHING certificates employed by DCSS.

Go back and read the webpage heading:
2008-09
DeKalb County
Enrollment: 96,907
Certified Personnel Data

According to this webpage you refer us to, during the 2008-09 school year we had 435 Administrators with teaching certificates who administrate, 939 Support personnel with teaching certificates who do not teach (don't really know what they do), and 6,886 teachers who actually teach.

Adding the "certified to teach" admin and support personnel together, in 2008-09 we had 1,374 employees that have teaching certificates who DID NOT teach and 6,886 employees who have teaching certificates who DID teach.

Please look closely at the teacher figure. According to this webpage, DCSS had only 6,539 fulltime teachers.

EVERY taxpayer/parent should see this page:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

...and click on the Personnel and Fiscal tab.

BTW:
Average pay for those Administrators:
$91,296.63
Average Pay for the non-teaching Support Personnel who are certified to teach:
$65,653.87
Average Pay for the Teachers:
$54,586.86

Are you still anxiously awaiting an update to this page?

Anonymous said...

Part 1 of post:
@ Anonymous 1:53 pm

Very funny comment! Talk about bad data!!
"939.11 Support personnel that includes everyone bus drivers, janitors, security, MIS, secretaries, bookkeepers."

LOL!!
So DCSS bus drivers, janitors, MIS, etc. are all certified teachers? That's what you're saying.

Please take another look at the state of Georgia website you got your information from. This webpage refers ONLY to CERTIFIED personnel - i.e. personnel with TEACHING certificates employed by DCSS.

Go back and read the webpage heading:
2008-09
DeKalb County
Enrollment: 96,907
Certified Personnel Data

According to this webpage you refer us to, during the 2008-09 school year we had 435 Administrators with teaching certificates who administrate, 939 Support personnel with teaching certificates who do not teach (don't really know what they do), and 6,886 teachers who actually teach.

Adding the "certified to teach" admin and support personnel together, in 2008-09 we had 1,374 employees that have teaching certificates who DID NOT teach and 6,886 employees who have teaching certificates who DID teach.

Please look closely at the teacher figure. According to this webpage, DCSS had only 6,539 fulltime teachers.

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of post:

EVERY taxpayer/parent should see this page:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

...and click on the Personnel and Fiscal tab.

BTW:
Average pay for those Administrators:
$91,296.63
Average Pay for the non-teaching Support Personnel who are certified to teach:
$65,653.87
Average Pay for the Teachers:
$54,586.86

Are you still anxiously awaiting an update to this page?

Kim Gokce said...

Other than being called a liar and ruining someone's life, I have found this thread very enlightening. The survey itself should be applauded for no other reason than it engendered a significant amount of "engagement."

That said, here is my distilled take-away:

1. This survey is mostly about how to help the leadership sell what it wants to do.

2. The overwhelming majority of respondents are addressing elementary schools as their interest.

3. The survey overwhelming reflects the Chamblee/Lakside/Dunwoody communities ... did you look at the totals?! Very impressive!

So, what are your take-aways?

Anonymous said...

Kim

To your #2, I think that many parents might have answered for each of their children's schools if they could answer the survey more than once. I started with the elementary child fully intending to do the others and then I could get in.

I find the results distressing. I don't think if helps the leadership at all. I think in the end it has just led to heightened panic and anxiety.

I like you and don't think you are a liar and you ruined no one's life.

Kim Gokce said...

I wish I had that kind of power!!! lol.

I appreciate the kind words - like a beacon in a dark world!

"heightened panic and anxiety"

To me, it is sort of like pulling a bandaid - get it over with! The conduct of system operations and planning should be much more business like than it is, that's sure. While I think it is good to have raised interest levels, I agree with you - this has simply created an enormous group hand-wringing.

Kim Gokce said...

I guess that is why I brought up the question about the actual impact on property values. This seems to be the most common theme of many of those concerned. I'm unsure but the little evidence I dug up recently sure seems to support the position that these property value impacts are exaggerated for affect.

Anonymous said...

I really do think you are great, Kim.

I think the property values argument makes sense to people in the context of what things were like when the purchased their homes.

If the same home in a top school district sold for $40,000 more than one in the next district over, then there is a reason to believe that the price of that home might drop to the values in the district next door if moved to that school.

Because of the believe that only certain schools are acceptable in certain areas, the impact on property values might be significant. I am not sure you see that in the Ashford Park area, but there are areas across metro Atlanta where you do. (In order not to pick on schools in DeKalb, I will use Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett -- Simpson Elementary an Peachtree Elementary or Atlanta -- Garden Hills Elementary or Sarah Smith Elementary.)

Kim Gokce said...

Again, thanks for the kinds words - it's good medicine.

On the property values question, again I think that the problem is very, very complex. It has been the subject of much formal research with results pointing in both directions.

For me, the more we examine the influencing factors of property values, the more we will realize that while there is definitely a school district factor it is much, much less than people are imagining.

In the research examples I've found so far, the range varies from 2-5% with those on the upper end of the range appearing to fail to account for all influences.

So again, my ultimate question is why we discuss redistricting in terms of property value being such a significant impact. Perception is reality but in this case I think perception is out of touch with reality ...

Anonymous said...

Ok, but how to you explain the fact, that in our neighborhood which is split between two schools, the homes in the higher test score elementary school generally sell for 20-40 thousand more than the same home in the school with the lower test scores?

This is before the economic crash -- of course.

Anonymous said...

The saddest and most disappointing part of this expensive Charette process is that the parents who screamed the loudest did not participate. I heard that the turnout at the south DeKalb Charrettes was low.

I just checked the survey results (which closed at 5 pm today) and not a single parent who responded indicated that their children attended Midway, Clifton, Gresham Park, Kelley Lake or Peachcrest. These were the very small schools slated for consolidation last year.

But as soon as the consultants release their recommendations I am sure that Sarah Copeland Wood will move into action. Sad, very sad.

And the school system and their consultants need to meet with the parents and teachers at some of these small schools and explain why consolidation will bring more teachers and more resources. Last time DCSS did a poor job of showing the pluses of consolidation.

Cerebration said...

Here's a really good comment I pulled from Maureen's AJC blog - Should parent affluence influence how schools are funded?

pierre
December 1st, 2010
8:09 pm

I haven’t read all the posts yet, so I may be repeating others here (I usually do read everything, but this post stirred an immediate response), but here goes. The contradiction was in the very post Maureen chose to put up on her original blog post. Yes, Lakeside’s parents are on the whole wealthy, educated, functional and involved in their childrens’ education. Yet everyone who has been to Lakeside will tell you that the facility itself is absolutely terrible–outdated, old and decaying to the point of being unsanitary in places (thanks to attitudes like that mentioned in the post by former–thank God–Board member Zepora Roberts). Yet Lakeside’s students, by any quantitative measure you choose to use, are among the strongest in DeKalb county. Conversely, I’ve traveled around the county and visited enough high schools to see that there’s some pretty nice southside campuses, and that all the bells and whistles have done little to stimulate student achievement.

My point? No one will ever stop parents who see the connection between their involvement in their child’s education and their child’s intellectual, physical and spiritual growth and success from actively participating in the schools their child attends. Take something away, those parents will simply give more. And long may that be the truth. How can you punish parents for putting in the extra effort for their child’s development and growth? Someone said elsewhere that if the Fernbank campus was composed entirely of tents and outdoor toilets, it would still be what it is, simply because of the compact between the teachers and the parents to better the lives of their students and children, and the connection everybody there sees between being educated and having a fulfilled life.

And it’s not just about the money you can give. It’s the time–and the quality of the time–you as a parent put in. No re-distribution of income is going to ever change that . I’d direct anyone who is interested in research into changing the stranglehold poverty and the culture of the ghetto has on educational achievement to read Geoffrey Canada’s book Whatever It Takes. This book will show you how deeply into an poverty-strickent community you have to go to change educational achievement. Right down to coaching new mothers on child-rearing techniques from the moment their children are born, and then you have to follow those children right through to high school graduation and beyond, always mentoring, encouraging and rescuing. I’m all for the model Geoffrey Canada has implemented in Harlem, but I don’t see our country as it is right now investing that kind of time, commitment and money on a national scale anytime soon. In the mean time, I categorically reject the Zepora Roberts recipe for educational equity (take guilt, pour on some boiling hot victimization, and stir).

Anonymous said...

The small private school that is able to send so many students to Fernbank's STT is a Christian school near Toco Hills (Emory people?). They have teeny classes – 16 kids per class in 8th grade – with at the most 4 full classes. So if six 8th graders from this private school, who are enrolling at LHS as freshmen are selected for one of the semesters, that is a HUGE number. And no question there would be others from the Druid Hills pool.

There were at least six kids from this private school/officially Lakeside kids at STT last Fall. Plus approx 10 or 11 HMS/LHS kids; for a total of 16 or 17 LHS kids riding the bus from Fernbank to LHS.

But not all kids from this school attend LHS - so there is a high probability that there were even more of these private school kids at STT who then went on to other high schools. Plus only 1/2 the high schools go in the Fall, Chamblee and Druid Hills go in the Spring.

Cerebration said...

In my hometown there are 4 elementary schools. They each have a PTA, but they have to pool their funds. Wonder if we could cope with that!

Anonymous said...

"Why would Fernbank have 100 out of district kids currently at the school? That's almost 15% of their total enrollment!"

Administrative transfers - kids of DCSS employees, many who don't even teach at Fernbank. plus other kids who have "special permission" to attend. I am sure this is true at many of the other better DCSS schools. My kids should not be districted out of Fernbank to accommodate administrative transfers.

Anonymous said...

To December 1 8:38 -- this private school's spots were taken by Lakeside bound kids in the class of 2013 by HMS currently enrolled kids who wanted spots, who had applied for spots (I think that year there were nearly 35 kids applyihng for spots) and there is no way to know if those children weere as qualified or more qualified than the currently enrolled DCSS kids at HMS who were not "granted" spots by the HMS counselor who did her job of selecting the top 12 or 13 that went from HMS in that pool of kids. I understand that this has been the case and the proceedure over at least the past 5-8 years (we know of one child in the class of 2013 and one who is currenlty a Junior at GA Tech with a similar experience who did not get a spot). People are not in a position to complain as it is "coming down" so no one is called on it and then, as the semseter proceeds (as opposed to the spring semester or summer before when the spots are awarded) the pieces start to fall into place and you start to really wonder how it happened that so many children who were not actually enrolled in the system at the time of the application process got spots in lieu of actually enrollled, truly qualified children (to their detriment).

Anonymous said...

I thought it was IB at Fernbank that allowed families to choose it.

Anonymous said...

Cere

In my hometown, which isn't so small but not as big at DeKalb, parents set up one foundation that does all the fundraising for the entire system. The businesses were so grateful, not being solicited all the time.

Anonymous said...

Last year when schools on the southside were being closed, not a peep was heard from Fernbank, Vanderlyn, or Sagamore Hills or Oak Grove. They were overcrowded so the parents paid scant attention to the controversy. Now that redistricting students out of these overcrowded schools is a possibility, these four schools have accounted for an amazing 35% of the comments.

Rather than waste their energies trying to pull political strings, these parents would be better off pushing the BOE and Ms. Tyson to make changes in the cost of the huge admin and support group before trimming the schoolhouse. The 1,000 admin and support personnel that Dr. Lewis added must be paid for somehow, and if rightsizing the 1,200 Central Office and 7,500 Support personnel is out of the question (and it looks like it is), then the schools will bear the brunt of the expense reduction.

Anonymous said...

Part 1 of post
If you don't think Fernbank parents are organized, just look at this webpage.
"Yahoo discussion group forming for Fernbank Elementary Neighborhoods

From the Fernbankd Elementary PTA: Dear Parents, Some of you may be aware that the DeKalb County Board of Education and Interim Superintendent have stated that they intend to conduct a county-wide redistricting and school consolidation, to be effective next school year. The main goal of the plan is to redistribute, or “right-size,” the student population to relieve overcrowding and potentially close under-attended schools. The state will only fully fund elementary schools that have 450 students or more.

If DCSS follows through with its stated intentions, and if they decide to close any schools or adjust any of the attendance lines in our part of the county, then Fernbank is bordered by three elementary schools that are considered "under-enrolled." Those schools are Briar Vista to the northwest; Medlock to the east; and Laurel Ridge to the northeast. Thus, if they proceed with redistricting, it is possible that they would try to send some of Fernbank's attendance zone to one of these other schools.

The Fernbank School Council and Fernbank PTA are working to keep everyone informed throughout this process. We have created a number of email groups for each of the neighborhoods within the Fernbank attendance zone. These groups are:
South of Ponce
Chelsea Heights
Druid Hills South (south of N Decatur, west of the village)
Druid Hills North (north of N Decatur, west of Emory)
Ridgewood Corridor (streets connected to Ridgewood including Durand Mill)
Emory Grove
Clairmont Heights
Emory/Clairmont Corridor (residences along Clairmont Road)
IB/School Choice "

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't understand the beef with 9th graders in dcss who were in private middle schools going to stt. Should they not have the same opportunities as the kids who went to public middle schools? That makes no sense given their parents pay taxes too. The stt selection method is absurd but that's not the fault of the kids so they shouldn't be penalized. I think stt should either be eliminated or the selection criteria made objective. But it should still be open to kids from private middle schools.

Cerebration said...

Wow. And I really thought the redistricting pushback was going to come from Dunwoody.

At any rate - didn't I call this first thing? You can't rearrange the deck chairs when some are nice and solid and some have raveled webbing.

fedupindcss said...

Kim--I have never grasped the property value concept, either. A Board member once told me that the cluster with the highest values was Cross Keys, by a mile, and that would certainly not be tied to the school (sorry, no offense, just reporting facts on the ground). This board member also told me that there did seem to be some correlation to elementary schools, but not middle or high schools.

At any rate, it has always seemed to me that individual student achievement in DCSS was tied less to a school or a principal or a curriculum and more to parents and peer group. It just happens that these kids, because of the way these communities are clustered near Emory and CDC (with the attendant well-educated involved parents), are aggregated. Same story as taking lots of these kinds of kids and bunching them together at Kittridge. I would imagine they would do well if their families were all suddenly stranded together on the same desert island.

Anonymous said...

"This board member also told me that there did seem to be some correlation to elementary schools, but not middle or high schools."

This is true in DeKalb and parts of Atlanta, it seems much less true in Cobb, N. Fulton and Gwinnett.

I totally agree about the Cross Keys comments. Some of the neighborhoods in that area are very expensive. But even in the top performing school districts, owners of very expernsive homes generally have options and know that when they move in.

I know many, many families that buy homes by location only because private school is and always will be their plan.

Anonymous said...

Cere at 10:22,

Most folks in dunwoody want and expect redistricting. I don't know many parents who are thrilled tat their kid sits in a trailer every day (like mine does). There is a small but vocal group of vanderlyn folks who fear redistricting primarily because they fear racial and economic diversity. They do not mind the trailers so much because the trailers at vanderlyn are super-nice and have things like bathrooms and technology that the trailers at the other dunwoody schools do not have.

If you read the survey responses you will see many many dun woody residents asking for redistricting.

Incidentally no one has ever been able explain to me why vanderlyn got such super nice trailers (they call them modulars). I certainly hope that the reason in no way relates to race. I have always been troubled by this question. Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

"Incidentally no one has ever been able explain to me why vanderlyn got such super nice trailers (they call them modulars). I certainly hope that the reason in no way relates to race. I have always been troubled by this question. Anyone know?

Check the age of the trailers/modulars... I have seen the new, nicer ones at schools across the county, both north and south. I think the new, nicer ones are the type being purchased over the last few years at all schools, including Vanderlyn.

Cerebration said...

I don't know why some people get those modulars except to say that they have bathrooms and are more permanent...

Also - even though there is a small vocal group of parents who don't want redistricted from Vanderlyn, I met many neighbors who live close to the school and have to look at that trailer village out their front windows every day and they don't like it one bit. That whole street was lined with Nancy Jester signs.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:37
"Incidentally no one has ever been able explain to me why vanderlyn got such super nice trailers (they call them modulars)."

Vanderlyn administration and parents pushed for these trailers because:
1. They are really very nice - they sit about 10 feet from the school across the sidewalk
2. They would be more less "permanent" structures that would accommodate students and preclude any redistricting suggestions

Anonymous said...

You all have it wrong. Vanderlyn got those trailers because Chip Franzoni insisted. At teh same time, board member Simone Manning-Moon, a Stephenson parent, insisted that Stephenson get an addition. Both were parents at the time.

Parents may be more in tune with some things, but I gotta tell you as board members they bring a lot of special interests with them. I hope that Jester and Edler can be above favoring and rewarding their own schools.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, there is only one other school with modulars and that is either Browns Mill or SWD. I can't recall which one.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 8:08 pm
"You all have it wrong. Vanderlyn got those trailers because Chip Franzoni insisted."

I'm 7:08
I'm not a parent at Vanderlyn

Maybe but the principal - now retired - told me that.

Anonymous said...

Browns Mill also has the modulars. Please remember Vanderlyn and Browns Mill got them because they severely overcrowded and had good advocates. It helped that they had space also.

When they were installed at Browns Mill, two grade levels were outside including the 5th and 6th grade magnets. I believe they had a total of 6 modulars at one time.

No Duh said...

" simply because of the compact between the teachers and the parents to better the lives of their students and children, and the connection everybody there sees between being educated and having a fulfilled life."

Even the best schools sometimes have to replace a teacher. I've noticed when teachers come to our elementary (one of the "good" ones) from other schools, they are blown away by the support of parents and PTA. They feel like they have died and gone to heaven. And, you know what? Remember that Dance of the Lemons from "Waiting for Superman"? Where principals trade their "lemons" on the hopes of not getting an even more rotten one...? If the teachers who have transferred into a "good" school were indeed lemons at their previous schools, something about an environment of excellence, high expectations of the parents, a couple of muffins during Registration Day, peer pressure from the other teachers, seems to make them want to be their best.

High Expectations are motivating.
Enthusiasm is motivating.
Empowerment is motivating.

I don't believe those things are mutually exclusive to schools with "money."

Anonymous said...

@ Nov. 30, 8:51 p.m.
Maybe Nancy Jester can convince her fellow Board members to make Arabia Mtn. a neighborhood school AND a receiving school for AYP - not a school with empty seats and an annex!

@Cere Dec. 2, 6:38 p.m.
Are you saying the neighbors expect Jester to support redrawing attendance lines to get rid of Vanderlyn's trailers? Sounds like there are strong opinions on both sides of that issue!

At the charrette at Henderson Middle School, 85 % of the attendees said portables were not an appropriate long term solution to over-crowding (obvious right?)but when it came to break out sessions and the online survey comments, they seem to be an acceptable solution if getting rid of them means re-drawing "my" attendance zone - the old "sure but not in my backyard" syndrome!

Cerebration said...

Yes, I'm saying that there are strong opinions on both sides. I think if you are on the "edge" of an attendance zone for a school you love, then you are ok with trailers or whatever it takes to stay at your school. However, if you are simply a retired person who has to look at a school piled up with trailers or you live close enough to the school that you are certain redistricting won't effect you, then you want the trailers gone.

Anonymous said...

Here's another opinion opportunity - not sure where to post this - maybe it should be a new blog topic.

To: All DeKalb Employees
From: DeKalb County Postmaster CommunityNet
Subject:DeKalb County School System Superintendent Search Community Meeting Notice
Date: 02 December 2010

DeKalb County School System Superintendent Search Community Meeting Notice

The DeKalb County School System will host two Community Meetings in December regarding the DeKalb County Board of Education Superintendent Search Process. The public is invited to attend both meetings.

The Community Meetings will be held at the following locations:

• Peachtree Middle School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

• Columbia High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Board of Education is seeking a permanent superintendent for the DeKalb County School System. This is one of the Board’s most important responsibilities, and the Board is conducting a national search for a leader for DeKalb Schools.

The Board of Education is committed to making the Superintendent Search Process open and transparent, and its search will include Community Meetings and open Board meetings for public discussion. Employees and members of the public are encouraged to participate in this important decision for our schools.

For more information, please visit http://www.dekalbsuperintendentsearch.com

Anonymous said...

Oops - sorry - part of the web address got cut off - trying again.
www.dekalbsuperintendentsearch.com/

Anonymous said...

@Cere 10:58
I'm confused - are you saying Nancy Jester promised those neighbors she would get rid of the trailers so they supported her?

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 12/1 7:27 "Ok, but how to you explain the fact ..."

Well I don't presume to explain anything about your neighborhood per se ... but I'll play along if you will ...

You say the differential was $20-40k "before the crash" ... are you saying the differential is no longer on this scale???

Regardless of the crash, $20-40k is a huge range ... something tells me there are some pricey houses in the 'hood! What are we talking here? 350k? 450K? Plus? I'm guessing there is more to the details of these comparisons.

Again, my point in reporting what I found in terms of research was to highlight that the analysis of the impact of school district on home value is VERY, VERY complicated but almost certainly over-stated by the public and by Realtors.

I would love to do a detailed analysis of "comparables" in your neighborhood over a period of years looking at individual homes that were truly "comparable" just to see what we'd find. According to the experts, if we really isolate all other influences, we should find between 2-5% differentials over time.

Anonymous said...

Anon Dec. 2 11:20 p.m. again.
Must have had a technical glitch or operator failure - the 1st post connected to the 11:20 post didn't appear. Not sure this is the best place to post this...it probably should be a stand alone post for comments.

To: All DeKalb Employees
From: DeKalb County Postmaster CommunityNet
Subject: DeKalb County School System Superintendent Search Community Meeting Notice
Date: 02 December 2010

DeKalb County School System Superintendent Search Community Meeting Notice

The DeKalb County School System will host two Community Meetings in December regarding the DeKalb County Board of Education Superintendent Search Process. The public is invited to attend both meetings.

The Community Meetings will be held at the following locations:

• Peachtree Middle School at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

• Columbia High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Board of Education is seeking a permanent superintendent for the DeKalb County School System. This is one of the Board’s most important responsibilities, and the Board is conducting a national search for a leader for DeKalb Schools.

The Board of Education is committed to making the Superintendent Search Process open and transparent, and its search will include Community Meetings and open Board meetings for public discussion. Employees and members of the public are encouraged to participate in this important decision for our schools.

For more information, please visit www.dekalbsuperintendentsearch.com

Cerebration said...

For a reminder of the top-heavy bureaucracy in DCSS, re-read this post -

Only Atlanta surpasses DeKalb in $100,000 administrators per student

From Atlanta Unfiltered -

Atlanta schools top peers – by far – in $100K+ salaries
January 19, 2010 --
Nearly 1,000 employees in five local school districts earned $100,000 or more in 2008-09, with the heaviest concentration by far in Atlanta Public Schools, an analysis of state salary data shows. ...
DeKalb paid more $100,000+ salaries — 223 — than any other Georgia school district last year, the State Auditor’s online salary database shows. DeKalb was followed by Fulton County schools (219), Gwinnett County (214), Atlanta (181) and Cobb County (124).
The data comparing the number of $100,000 jobs per student compiled by Atlanta Unfiltered claims this is how the metro districts compare -

Atlanta, 3.69 $100K+ salaries per 1,000 kids
Fulton County, 2.56
DeKalb County, 2.26
Fayette County, 1.94
Coweta County, 1.88
Forsyth County, 1.81
Rockdale County, 1.75
Clayton County, 1.62
Gwinnett County, 1.35
Cherokee County, 1.3
Henry County, 1.24
Paulding County, 1.19
Cobb County, 1.14
Douglas County, 1.09

Anonymous said...

When you pay taxes like this, it's no wonder you want to stick with the school you bought into.

Property Details
EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FOR VANDERLYN ELEMENTARY DISTRICT AT AN EXCEPTIONAL PRICE! THIS LARGE BRICK RANCH HOME BOASTS A GIGANTIC CORNER LOT, HARDWOOD FLOORS, OPEN KITCHEN, SEPARATE DINING ROOM, TWO LIVING ROOMS, FIRE PLACE, PRIVATE BACK YARD WITH PATIO AND SWIMMING POOL, 2 CAR GARAGE, AND SO MUCH MORE.
Beds 4 bed Baths 2 bath
House Size 2267 sq ft Lot Size 0.41 Acres
Price $270,000 Price/sqft $119
Property Type
Single Family
Year Built 1968
Neighborhood Not Available Style Ranch, Traditional
Stories 1 Garage 2
Property Features

Tax History
Year
2010 $5,966

Anonymous said...

Compare that one to this one in Chesnut

Beds 4 bed Baths 2.5 bath
House Size 2608 sq ft Lot Size Not Available
Price $248,500 Price/sqft $95
Property Type
Single Family
Year Built 1968
Neighborhood Not Available Style Split Level, Traditional
Stories Not Available Garage 2
Property Features
Status: Active County: DekalbArea: DUNWOODYSubdivision: Dunwoody North2 total full bath(s)1 total half bathFamily roomAttached parkingCommunity features: HOA, Public transportationLot features: Level driveway, Private backyardUtilities present: Public waterCall agent for details on association fee info.Elementary School: ChesnutJr. High School: PeachtreeHigh School: Dunwoody2 car garage(s)Cooling features: Ceiling Fan(s), Central Electric,CoolingBasementFireplaceLaundry roomHardwood floorsMainFloorBathroom
Fireplace Features In Great/Family room
Heating Features Forced Air, Gas

Tax History
Year
2010 $3,661

Pierre1852 said...

Did I see somewhere on DeKalb School Watch that the consulting firm hired to put forward re-districting recommendations is going to put its report online on December 7, or am I mistaken?

Anonymous said...

The data goes online in the next week or so. The recommendation will be presented at the January board meeting.

Hope this helps.

Kim Gokce said...

... and I believe that is a preliminary set of findings - the full recommendations will be made in August, right?

See: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/vision-2020

Kim Gokce said...

I believe the December 7th date was for the surveying results from online and public meetings ...

So, we should have by February the redistricting and consolidation recommendations for 2011/2012. Then, in August, the full Master Plan for "2020" will be presented.

Cerebration said...

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

-martin luther king, jr.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 12/3 6:48pm ... for some reason, I'm just now seeing your posts about the listing in Vanderlyn vs in Chestnut areas. Could you please help the remedial student here? I have no idea what your point was in sharing these listings.

One Fed Up Insider said...

Cere, for some reason I am just seeing your comments about Vanderlyn trailers on 12/2 6:38 p.m. and the question from Anon 12/2 11:26 p.m. about your post but don’t see your response – did Jester promise those neighbors she would get rid of their trailers? Did she say how – redistrict, add an addition to Vanderlyn, or some other solution?

pierre said...

This is on the DCSS website regarding the redistricting process:

December 14, 2010: post detailed data and reports on education adequacy, enrollment, and capacity to the website.

Anyone seen anything anywhere yet?

Anonymous said...

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/vision-2020

Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Newest addition (which was added on Dec. 14th as promised) is under education adequacy.

I, for one, would love to know what the deal is with the super clusters. Anyone know what is up with that?

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why our schools are now being grouped into "Super Clusters"?

Call them regions if you wish.
We already have 5 regions in our system based on feeder patterns elementary to middle school, middle school to high school. The regions have changed depending on the politics of the situation. The consultants redid the regions into what they think is a more rational division so that Dunwoody, Cross Keys and Chamblee HS are in cluster 1 or region 1, Druid Hills, Lakeside, and Tucker are in region 2, Stone Mt, Stephenson and Redan in region 3, etc.

The consultant grouping is far more rational divison of regions than before.

Regardless of what you call them regions or clusters the feeder patterns and the geographic areas of the district. What is important is not what we call the comparisons but what the numbers tell us and that will include equity, utilization, and needs. The fact that some of our facilities score so low shows what needs to abe done. When these numbers are combined with the engineering report on facility needs what it will cost to fix any physical defects ((According to this blocg there will be many) we will have some rational basis for what to fix, what to close, and what to redistrict.

Anonymous said...

what a great, if broad, thread; i teach in a south end school and in my ap class students admit they only signed up to get the extra points on their gpa; in fact, this is why the counselor put them in here; they also say they have no intention of even trying on the exam; and earlier this year, our principal told us ap teachers that if we couldn't get the kids test scores up this year, he'd get someone else to teach ap next year; i like working here, and i like my kids, but to pressure teachers in these situations instead of encouraging and helping them is truly disheartening; and all the finger-pointing at teachers gets really really old.

Sagamore 7 said...

2011 is the only year in the next DECADE that the state legislature can vote to redraw the school district lines.
It is my opinion that the consultants did this with a purpose which I completely support!

Reducing the size of our school board from 9 districts/board members to a TOTAL of 5!

What a masterful way to get your agenda approved by the state. Have the answers to their questions before the questions are even asked!

Please tell me this. Looking through the entire data that DCSS has supplied.
More specifically from the

"2020 Educational Adequacy and Technology Readiness Scores"

That is the first PDF that was just published at the end of the webpage found in the previous posting.

The Educational Adequacy ratings for Brand New Construction projects at both of these High Schools.

Tucker HS was rated an 82 for educational adequacy. It's a BRAND new high school and they got a low B grade for educational adequacy?

Arabia Mountain HS is a newer Brand new HS and they got a 75 rating? A C grade for their educational adequacy?

Before DCSS steps up to the plate for another round of SPLOST IV funding, I think we the taxpayers would like a detailed explanation of why are BRAND NEW HS's are getting such POOR grades regarding the Educational Adequacy of our BRAND NEW buildings!

Let's keep on fighting the fight!

Wait until Friday morning when Ray & Associates discusses their findings with the BOE for the search criteria for the new Superintendent.

Sagamore 7

Anonymous said...

Sagamore 7

I am surmising that the educational adequacy ratings at Arabia Mt. and Tucker were influenced by the school administrators and others who were on the tours and their wishes and desires for what the school should offer.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 4:33 pm

"i teach in a south end school and in my ap class students admit they only signed up to get the extra points on their gpa"

That's not a problem discreet to the south end. Counselors all over DCSS (and other metro systems) do that - put students in AP classes who do not have the background for the classes. This has the effect of slowing the entire AP class down and depressing AP exam results for many students.

The problem is that AP classes have a very lock step curriculum (set by the College Board who controls the AP exams) and a pacing chart that doesn't allow for slowing down for those lagging students. Teachers are caught in the middle by counselors who have no idea of the advanced curriculum and fast pacing chart and the AP exam developed by the College Board exam which is predicated on AP students having the background to master the AP content. In this economy, parents are strapped for cash and will do almost anything to improve their child's chance to get into a better school with a better financial package.

Anonymous said...

@Kim Gocke 12/6, I think the point was to demonstrate that houses in chesnut sell for less than houses in vanderlyn, even though they are in the same subdivision. However, I don't think the post was effective because the chesnut listing is a split level while the vanderlyn listing is a ranch, and everyone knows is going to sell for less, in general, than a comparable ranch.

Anonymous said...

I think, too, that the two houses are not in the same subdivision...Dunwoody North sends all kids to Chesnut, I believe, and none to Vanderlyn, so we're comparing apples to oranges.

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