Thursday, January 20, 2011

Attention Losers! This is How You Win ...

This post, a copy of an email distributed by Fernbank was added yesterday by a new participant . We just want to assure readers that the blog is simply enlightening the community—as we did by publishing the other community emails we received—not endorsing anyone's actions or viewpoint.   - Moderator

Points for Tonight at Shamrock/Druid Hills
Everyone must attend tonight's redistricting meeting at Shamrock/Druid Hills Middle -- even if you think you're not affected, you are -- we will lose teachers, financial support, and key parental involvement. Some examples of how you will be affected? No art special, no science special, no Reflections, no Chess Club, no Hospitality chairs, no Library Committe chairs, no Ambassador leaders, no Garden Committee leaders -- the list goes on and on. Your community needs you there tonight and every other night you possibly can. Every parent and stakeholder should have a personal goal of attending TWO meetings.

Process Points to Follow:
1. Be on time, or better yet, be early.
2. Sit at a table (8-12 roundtops) with 1/3-1/2 Fernbank people.
3. Control the pen, control the mike, or better yet, both. Each table will have a "scribe" -- be it. Each table will have a "reporter," who will speak for 2 min. -- be it.
4. When you get to "Option 3," be clear and concise. Use Fernbank as an example of the larger theme -- e.g., not breaking up long-established neighborhoods, moving kids to different programs, supporting larger schools.
5. When you hear a point that is consistent with our position, go ahead and applaud.

Substance Points to Follow:
1. We need a clear strategic vision first, before we implement redistricting for fewer, bigger schools.
2. With that vision in place, follow the Board's own goals:
-- don't split in half historic neighborhoods, like Fernbank, where the building has supported the same neighborhood for 50+ years and the school's many buildings have served Druid Hills for 90+ years.
-- don't move children from one kind of educational program to another, like IB. The IB program should be available to more students, not fewer. We support a larger school of 900 and providing more access to IB.
-- the plan must account for future growth. Construction on hundreds of residences for Emory and CDC families is breaking ground this year. According to the Board's own goals, those residences should be zoned to Briar Vista.
-- the plan must provide safe, walkable environments and pay attention to traffic patterns, and not further clog the Clifton Corridor.
-- decisions should be based on actual cost benefits, not on speculation.

Response on smaller issues:
1. We have no official position on location of magnets. If conversation at your table focuses on that, incorporate that concern into your points and MOVE ON.
2. If anyone suggests making Briar Vista a PK-K or PK-1 campus for Fernbank's children, talk about 1100 students and families with multiple children driving back and forth and back and forth along Clifton Road during the morning rush hour. Enough said.
Finally, schools from our cluster will be there tonight in DROVES. Be there -- for your friends, your neighbors, your children, and OUR school.




282 comments:

1 – 200 of 282   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Wow...word-for-word what a Fernbank woman said tonight at CHS in her role as reporter...wonder if her tablemates were a little irritated at her taking the table's points and making it all about Fernbank.

Anonymous said...

Great, thanks Fbank folks for perfectly encapsulating everything that the county hates about c/n dekalb. That our way should prevail, by any means necessary.

I am pissed off at the DCSS for having such contempt for the citizens that they would ram something this disruptive through with a payoff to the interim and zero cost analysis, for a gain of what, half of the 11K empty seats resolved?

I am a product of DCSS in the 70s and 80s, of the gifted program no less, and I remember even in the 4th grade thinking that while I enjoyed all the extras the program provided, it wasn't really fair. Facebook is great insofar as it shows many of my non-gifted peers are equally if not more successful. I know that isn't proper evaluation, but my opinion.

Also pissed at myself for not paying attention until now. I thought living in an overpriced ranch house near the train tracks in a stupidly named subdivision (Diamond Head) was enough dues, apparently not. Just some levity...

Anonymous said...

We'll see if this is how losers win!

How big was the crowd tonight at CCHS? My kids are in CMS and CCHS, my wife and I are headed to Bethune next week.

Anonymous said...

I was really crowded tonight. Fernbank did not seem to have a big presence. Cluster one has it's own issues

Anonymous said...

The Emancipator, I can't tell if you are serious or if this is a goof.

If you're serious, your post needs to be re-named:
"I'll pretend to care about all the school kids, but I'm a DHHS'er, Shamrocker, Fernbanker, Lakesider, and I want mine for my kids. F y'all everyone else, and the southside is on a different planet then us".

We might as well tell the DeKalb Delegation to split the district right now.

We are off to nowhere good said...

It is really sad that the system for feedback is set up in such a way the little groups are drowned out. I am sure their concerns are equally distressing to them. I went to both of these meetings and did not hear a peep from the folks being shuffled over to Clarkston for DHHS. To me still the biggest issue on the table.

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

I saw this email flying around the other day too. There are so many neighborhood emails flying around on the subject that I wonder if people haven't lost their senses.

There are small schools around DeKalb that don't have art and/ore music or extras at all. I hate thinking that their voices may get drowned out by powerful groups like this.

Please don't get so fractionalized over this. After it's all said and done, we're still all going to be parts of the same county and we need to work together to move the county forward.

Kim Gokce said...

Well, I wish I was shocked by what I'm reading. So, for everyone who has expressed disdain for the Fernbank parent groups (and there has been quite the drum-beat here lately), which is the problem? Are you upset about their tactics or that they are better than your group's?

For me, this is just another example of what is wrong with DeKalb public - small-scale, balkanized school districts. Ho hum ... yawn!

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

@cere: "we're still all going to be parts of the same county and we need to work together to move the county forward"

Says who? We have managed very nicely working against each other, haven't we? Isn't what wave after wave of PTAs fight for the same thing? Don't we have exactly what we've fought for? Bit by bit we have built this system - the expansive property holdings, the bloated admin, adn the palace politics. We own it. And yet we hate it ... tragic!

Cerebration said...

People, be respectful. The writers of this email certainly strongly believe in their perspective. If you have a different one, please share it without throwing sticks.

That said, I do have to wonder how redistricting will effect Fernbank's Garden Committee.

Anonymous said...

Wake up Kim. Fernbank has done a stellar job alienating themselves from the rest of the county. To think now that they will be welcome anywhere is wishful thinking. We may be part of the same county but we are all outsiders looking in on their precious "Historic Neighborhood".

Kim Gokce said...

Regarding the public meeting at CCHS tonight, I talked myself out of it. I really, really intended to go but had flash backs to the charette - terrible parking, predictable questions/answers and I walked away with zero. I admit it, I went to a bar instead and chatted with friends about the great things we're doing for the Feb 14th open house at CK. Ahhh, the quiet and peace of an attendance zone no one wants to touch! :)

Anonymous said...

RE: Garden Committee

Maybe only the families being redistricted have green thumbs. :)

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 11:36 "Fernbank has done a stellar job alienating themselves from the rest of the county."

Well, no disrespect intended but ... so what? I don't see how this has any bearing on the real outcomes. Does anyone who lives in any other neighborhood school attendance area really care what some other area thinks? Not what I've seen so far ... I admit limited exposure but I'm not seeing or feeling the love on these matters anywhere in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

I was impressed tonight that 2 or three people out of like 2000 came from cluster 3, 4 or 5.

Anonymous said...

Fernbank is by all accounts the leading PTA in the system, followed by Lakeside. It's a fact. They know it and everyone else knows it.

Neither has ever given a flying blankety blank about the nepotism, the cronyism, the waste, the overinflated admin salaries, the unneeded departments like the Office of School Improvement, etc.

They have the ears of the BOE, of the DeKalb Delegation, of the big money in the county, etc. They had a chance to help stop the madness.

But instead, as long as they got "their's", they did not give a rat's arse on how the other schools in the county were doing, especially in South DeKalb.

Sorry Fernbank and Lakeside, DCSS is the way it is in part to you.

Kim Gokce said...

The one thing I have to say about this email after re-reading it is that it was refreshing that they did not throw the "property values" red herring into the mix. Every other parent group I'm listening wears that one out and it makes me immediately tune out ... no merit.

The authors of this email are actually saying a straight forward and simple to understand thing - it is THEIR school and they want only the best for it. I'm not endorsing it - just pointing out that it is logical and defensible and sounds like what many other PTAs posture is towards THEIR neighborhood elementary.

Anonymous said...

Well, I hear you on the property values thing, but then again not...many people bought at the top of the market for the schools, and they have already lost money, and a lot, because they gambled and lost, and that loss will now be compounded a great deal. I understand it is not a given, but the attitude is that these are super rich people that are only concerned about property values. I could care less about property values except as it relates to my kids going to a good school, and my ability to sell, buy and move. I can't afford private school, I bought the best I could afford, and since I am posting anonymously, paid well more than I should have because I wanted the best for my kids...I have already taken a huge hit, as I should, as many others have, but to be so angry that I am losing everything and my options are limited is mean. Perhaps I should have moved to an apartment and saved for private school, but its not like you are talking about super rich people that have options -- I don't. I can attempt a short sale, ruin my credit, and my kids will still not be where I want them to. I know "the school" is not everything, I went to Grady and turned out just fine, thanks, but I think the attitude is overblown.

Kim Gokce said...

Go Gray Knights! Very nice stadium make over ...

Kim Gokce said...

Makes me nostalgic for my "Lancers" of Lakeshore High School, Fulton Co ... a simpler time!

I guess my attempts at sarcasm are not coming through the web postings here - I think this type of activism is what our system is built upon. I don't like it but I have to say that it is the same thing I hear over and over in other areas just not as well done, frankly.

M G said...

"Some examples of how you will be affected? No art special, no science special, no Reflections, no Chess Club, no Hospitality chairs, no Library Committe chairs, no Ambassador leaders, no Garden Committee leaders -- the list goes on and on. "

The students in my school must be the ultimate in losers. They have never experienced a school that has any of these things Fernbank parents are worried they will lose.

Sadder still, very few if any of their parents will attend one of these meetings to speak for them.

At some point, everyone involved is going to have to set their personal situation aside and decide what the minimum acceptable bar for a school to offer is going to be. When every student has access to that level of education, then we can talk about some lucky kids getting more.

My list includes reasonable class sizes for the content areas, PE every day, Art and Music at least weekly, and a functional computer lab. Many of you are saying that's not a lot. It's not, but we have thousands of students who don't have access to the items on the list.

Would you accept that situation for your child? If not, then why would you accept it for ANY child?

Anonymous said...

The "leadership" at the Palace are having a blast watching us turn on each other. This is exactly what they want. With the Super Search, the transition and whatever that looks like and the actual implementation of this latest boondoggle redistricting/punish success game, we better watch what both hands are doing at the Palace.

Beasley is getting less and less respect from the very people he leads, yet he seems to be setting up to become a bigger player. Ms. Tyson has her raise and nice contract, yet we still have CLew's leadership in place and transparency is the last thing they want and of course the BOE, if they don't get their way will just scream the "r" word or worse that equitable lie always works too, they played that card during the last redistricting 3 years ago.

Sitting in traffic for an hour to get to school or waiting to win a lottery is no way to get an education. There should be magnet/High achiever offerings all over the county! The smaller schools need to be closed or lines redrawn to get their numbers close to capacity. That should be first. Then the new PUBLIC audit of the Central Office and then a PUBLIC audit of the magnet programs to see if centralizing them makes sense.

Let's see the finances, the cost breakdowns of these 2 plans. How much money will this save? How much money will DCSS earn from the state and Feds? Why didn't MGT have the financial figures when they presented these two plans originally. Will DCSS let everyone see the cost structure of this plan?

Let's also cut back at the Central Office. It's time to start saying so long to these 6 figure salaried coaches that never see the classroom. Ms. Berry and her Army need to be sent back into the classrooms and the money her, department of school improvement spends, should be split up amongst the schools.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Regarding the financial breakdowns of the plans. I recalled a parent at Huntley Hills discovered a huge mathematical error when Clew tried to close the Huntley Hills Montessori, 3 years ago. Clew claimed it would save almost a million dollars, if they closed yet. Didn't a parent redo the addition and discovered less than 100K savings and when this was exposed they were able to keep the Montessori? I have this right?

Folks, we must demand the financial plans of these two choices that are on the table. We must have time to look at the numbers and scrutinize them.

Anonymous said...

Agree with both MG and Anon 1228. As, I would suspect, most people do...everyone has a visceral reaction to their kids and imposed change, and secondarily their ability to change the situation (property values), but I would guess that there are more people that want a floor for ALL kids first than seems to be expected, and absolutely more that ardayre angry at the BOE and DCSS in the dismal leadership in providing equitable education to all kids in the county.

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about Fernbank except from this blog but it sounds like a group of parents who work very hard to have a good school. It sounds as though they do not want to lose any of their students. That is understandalbe. Are they losing students to make Briar Vista meet the bar of 450? If so then that will probably happen.
About the magnets, I want to know what the financials really are for moving it. The way the middle schools and high schools are structured I see no savings on either money or travel. Possibly it will add to travel time for many of the magnet students and may cost more to get the school up and running. What is the plan? Will the Avondale non-core teachers just stay and become part of the magnet program? Will they have sports and after school activities? What is the plan for the fruit basket turnover?
I do think the consolidation and redistricting needs to happen. I just think it would be less stressful if we knew the plan because there has to be more to the plan than has been presented. The lines for Cross Keys, Chamblee, Lakeside, Druid Hills, and Tucker do not make sense unless they are planning on building a large school to house both Cross keys and Chamblee.

Anonymous said...

Also the numbers for the NCLB students have to be included. It is hundreds of kids going to receiving schools. The home schools have to be improved. I think the students who take the option of going to a different school do improve but that does not help overall success rate of DCSS. We still have too many schools not making AYP. By the way those kids, including 6th graders, are leaving home really early, driving across town or taking Marta to get to their new schools. It is not the best solution to the problem. However I will say that I do not know the solution for the underperforming schools. I do like the idea of small group instruction using Title 1 monies if that is possible. A good school does start with a good adminstration so maybe the top folks should be throwing that into the fruit basket turnover also.
It is going to be hard to right-size all of the schools when we have hundreds of students leaving their home schools because of AYP status.

Anonymous said...

I want to put my energergies and funds in working together to restore and keep DeKalb Public Sytrm thew best in the nation.Please jion me.
\
Sabdt can you help ur turn a neg. to a Pos?

Anonymous said...

At the elementary level, there are almost no transfers.

John Barge, the new superintendent of education for the state, announced major changes to math yesterday. I have not had time to study them, but this new math has been a real problem.
It will be interesting to see how, over time, student achievement changes.

Anonymous said...

So does this mean Briar Vista will get a chess club, garden club and extras?? I think that is the mist insane argument I have seen. Let's do better as a general community.

Anonymous said...

At Chamblee, there were lots of people there. The tables in the gym were full and as I was leaving to go to the cafeteria they were trying to form small groups on the bleachers. They were also adding chairs to tables, so I don't know what exactly happened there.

I ended up in the cafeteria and I found almost every table to be very diverse in terms of home schools. At some, every parent was from a different school.

At the beginning, the reviewed the job of the reporter because there had been complaints the previous two nights. A facilitator who had been there for the other two sessions told me that the hijacking was being done by more than one school, so Fernbank isn't the only guilty party.

In the cafeteria, hijacking wasn't a problem, I don't think.

Most parents were Region 1 and Region II.

NOTE -- THEY ASKED THOSE WHO HAD ALREADY ATTENDED TO GIVE UP THEIR TABLE SEATS SO THOSE WHO HAD NOT MIGHT GET TO HAVE MORE INPUT. THERE WAS ALMOST NO ONE WHO DID THIS.

Amy Power said...

With respect, if any one of you would like to contact me directly to discuss any issue related to redistricting, please feel free to do so. You have my email. Concerning opinions expressed here that I, personally, look out for only my interests or my school's interests, and not system-wide issues, those beliefs are misplaced. For just one example, below is the email I sent to Don McChesney on February 25, 2010 -- almost one year ago. I will post his response as in the next following comment:

Mr. McChesney,

I am a 17-year resident of DeKalb County, and the parent of three children (2nd, Kindergarten, and a 3-year old). I reside in District 2, the district you represent. I have followed closely all information that the Board of Education and DCSS administration has made public, as well as information made public by media outlets via Open Records requests. That review leads me to write to you asking you and the Board to take two actions:

(1) The number of employees in the Central Office must be reduced by a far greater percentage than 15% (or 148 in number). It is simply unacceptable that this school system has 982 people employed through its central office. In any other endeavor -- be it public or private, corporate or governmental administration -- this size could not and would not stand. Before the Board of Education takes one, single action that touches upon students -- magnet schools, montessori, paraprofessionals, pre-K, spreading PE, music, and art teachers across schools, actual teacher salaries, increasing class size, or the Science Tools & Technology program -- the BOE should cut headcount at the Central Office by 40% and salary/benefits at the Central Office by 60%. Companies and other government entities have taken these kinds of actions every day, and survived and even improved performance. This Board owes it to DeKalb taxpayers and children to do the same.

(2) The current Superintendent has demonstrated, on a number of occasions, actions ranging from extremely poor judgment to mismanagement to arguably petty theft and lying to government investigators. His performance in office comes nowhere near the level we should expect of the top administrator of DeKalb County schools. I urge you and the rest of the Board to terminate his contract with cause. In my opinion, failing to do so constitutes a knowing and intentional breach of the duty you and other Board members owe to the taxpayers and school children of DeKalb County.

On a final note, I would like you to know that on Thursday, February 11, 2010, I and a handful of other parents (mostly from District 2) came to the DCSS offices at attend the Board's working session on the budget. Immediately upon arrival, we learned that the meeting had been cancelled as of Tuesday evening (approximately 36 hrs. earlier). The Board adjourned to executive session. Another mother (with children at Briar Vista) and I asked one of the employees where to find the most up-to-date calendar on the DCSS web site. That employeee took about 3-4 minutes to show us on her computer. Once she had done so, the other mother and I were quickly escorted to the nearest exit by no fewer than four uniformed security personnel. I was surprised and asked, good-naturedly, if all parents got an escort -- the guards told me "we're just doing what we're asked." Honestly, I am disgusted by the brazenness and arrogance of that treatment. Again, before the Board does anything that remotely touches upon students in the classroom, you need to cut the excess personnel, and then some.

I look forward to your cooperation on these matters and to the Board's protection of the interests of DCSS stakeholders -- the children and the taxpayers.

With regards,

Amy M. Power

Amy Power said...

Don McChesney's response, dated February 26, 2010:

Dear Ms. Power,

Thank you for your email. Let me briefly try to address the main emphasis
of your email. Many people do not understand that many of our employees
that do not work in schools are listed as central office employees. Many
of these people are actually in areas like building and grounds,
maintenance, and even HVAC technicians. It is quite unwieldy. Many of
these people are what the public refers to as bloat. Our central office is
not really the size many people think it is. In our curent proposal we
have targeted 148 employees for potential RIF;s. This is still a work in
progress. I do not know where the cuts will finally settle.

I have read that people want us to terminate our over 400 educational
specialists, once again referred to as "bloat" by many. You should know
that these specialists are ALL the art, music, and p.e. teachers. We are
making drastic cuts in the upper echelon of the central office. This is a
work in progress.

In regard to your second point. Let me caution you to regard as "factual"
all that you read or hear via the media. What you are suggesting we do
with the superintendent would be most irresponsible. He has been charged
with nothing or convicted of nothing. You are asking me to terminate the
superintendent based on he said she said. That would bring a major lawsuit
by the superintendent that you and I as taxpayers would get to pay for. I
am exercising my fiduciary responsibilty to protect you as a taxpayer from
such an action. You need to understand we are being advised by an
internationally known lawfrim of Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan. We pay
them $1.7 million a year to keep us from making uninformed mistakes. We
are getting qualified legal advice.

Let me be the first to say that if the superintendent is found to be
guilty of any wrongdoing I will ask the BOE to act. I must deal with facts
and facts only in this legal matter.

As far as your treatment the day you came to the offices. I know nothing
about any of that. No one has been asked to be rude or abrupt to visitors.
The board did not ask that you be escorted out of the building. I will try
to make others aware of how their actions are perceived.

Thank you,

Don McChesney

Amy Power said...

Apologies that my first comment did not post. It was:

With respect, if any one would like to contact me directly to discuss any issues related to redistricting, please feel free to do so. You have my email. Concerning opinions expressed here that I, personally, or parents at Fernbank care only about themselves and not other schools, or problematic issues system-wide, you beliefs are misplaced. For just one example, below is an email I sent to Don McChesney on February 25, 2010 -- almost one year ago:

Mr. McChesney,

I am a 17-year resident of DeKalb County, and the parent of three children (2nd, Kindergarten, and a 3-year old). I reside in District 2, the district you represent. I have followed closely all information that the Board of Education and DCSS administration has made public, as well as information made public by media outlets via Open Records requests. That review leads me to write to you asking you and the Board to take two actions:

(1) The number of employees in the Central Office must be reduced by a far greater percentage than 15% (or 148 in number). It is simply unacceptable that this school system has 982 people employed through its central office. In in other endeavor -- be it public or private, corporate or governmental administration -- this size could not and would not stand. Before the Board of Education takes one, single action that touches upon students -- magnet schools, montessori, paraprofessionals, pre-K, spreading PE, music, and art teachers across schools, actual teacher salaries, increasing class size, or the Science Tools & Technology program -- the BOE should cut headcount at the Central Office by 40% and salary/benefits at the Central Office by 60%. Companies and other government entities have taken these kinds of actions every day, and survived and even improved performance. This Board owes it to DeKalb taxpayers and children to do the same.

(2) The current Superintendent has demonstrated, on a number of occasions, actions ranging from extremely poor judgment to mismanagement to arguably petty theft and lying to government investigators. His performance in office comes nowhere near the level we should expect of the top administrator of DeKalb County schools. I urge you and the rest of the Board to terminate his contract with cause. In my opinion, failing to do so constitutes a knowing and intentional breach of the duty you and other Board members owe to the taxpayers and school children of DeKalb County.

On a final note, I would like you to know that on Thursday, February 11, 2010, I and a handful of other parents (mostly from District 2) came to the DCSS offices at attend the Board's working session on the budget. Immediately upon arrival, we learned that the meeting had been cancelled as of Tuesday evening (approximately 36 hrs. earlier). The Board adjourned to executive session. Another mother (with children at Briar Vista) and I asked one of the employees where to find the most up-to-date calendar on the DCSS web site. That employeee took about 3-4 minutes to show us on her computer. Once she had done so, the other mother and I were quickly escorted to the nearest exit by no fewer than four uniformed security personnel. I was surprised and asked, good-naturedly, if all parents got an escort -- the guards told me "we're just doing what we're asked." Honestly, I am disgusted by the brazenness and arrogance of that treatment. Again, before the Board does anything that remotely touches upon students in the classroom, you need to cut the excess personnel, and then some.

I look forward to your cooperation on these matters and to the Board's protection of the interests of DCSS stakeholders -- the children and the taxpayers.

With regards,

Amy M. Power

Amy Power said...

My apologies, for some reason, my original comment did not post. I will try to break it up so it fits.

With respect, if anyone would like to contact me directly to discuss redistricting issues, please feel free to do so, you have my email. Concerning opionions expressed here that I, personally, or Fernbank parents generally, care only about their own school and not other schools, or district-wide problems, that belief is misplaced. As one example, I will post below an email I sent to Don McChesney on February 25, 2010 -- almost one year ago.

Amy Power said...

Dated February 25, 2010:

Mr. McChesney,

I am a 17-year resident of DeKalb County, and the parent of three children (2nd, Kindergarten, and a 3-year old). I reside in District 2, the district you represent. I have followed closely all information that the Board of Education and DCSS administration has made public, as well as information made public by media outlets via Open Records requests. That review leads me to write to you asking you and the Board to take two actions:

(1) The number of employees in the Central Office must be reduced by a far greater percentage than 15% (or 148 in number). It is simply unacceptable that this school system has 982 people employed through its central office. In any other endeavor -- be it public or private, corporate or governmental administration -- this size could not and would not stand. Before the Board of Education takes one, single action that touches upon students -- magnet schools, montessori, paraprofessionals, pre-K, spreading PE, music, and art teachers across schools, actual teacher salaries, increasing class size, or the Science Tools & Technology program -- the BOE should cut headcount at the Central Office by 40% and salary/benefits at the Central Office by 60%. Companies and other government entities have taken these kinds of actions every day, and survived and even improved performance. This Board owes it to DeKalb taxpayers and children to do the same.

(2) The current Superintendent has demonstrated, on a number of occasions, actions ranging from extremely poor judgment to mismanagement to arguably petty theft and lying to government investigators. His performance in office comes nowhere near the level we should expect of the top administrator of DeKalb County schools. I urge you and the rest of the Board to terminate his contract with cause. In my opinion, failing to do so constitutes a knowing and intentional breach of the duty you and other Board members owe to the taxpayers and school children of DeKalb County.

On a final note, I would like you to know that on Thursday, February 11, 2010, I and a handful of other parents (mostly from District 2) came to the DCSS offices at attend the Board's working session on the budget. Immediately upon arrival, we learned that the meeting had been cancelled as of Tuesday evening (approximately 36 hrs. earlier). The Board adjourned to executive session. Another mother (with children at Briar Vista) and I asked one of the employees where to find the most up-to-date calendar on the DCSS web site. That employeee took about 3-4 minutes to show us on her computer. Once she had done so, the other mother and I were quickly escorted to the nearest exit by no fewer than four uniformed security personnel. I was surprised and asked, good-naturedly, if all parents got an escort -- the guards told me "we're just doing what we're asked." Honestly, I am disgusted by the brazenness and arrogance of that treatment. Again, before the Board does anything that remotely touches upon students in the classroom, you need to cut the excess personnel, and then some.

I look forward to your cooperation on these matters and to the Board's protection of the interests of DCSS stakeholders -- the children and the taxpayers.

With regards,

Amy M. Power

Anonymous said...

Amy,

I know that some on here feel that Fernbank parents have abandoned the rest of the system. As a regular participant in the process, who has been attending board meetings for many years, the reality is that most parents and taxpayers have paid little or no attention to anything. Even when people like me were imploring them to. It is only the recent budget and legal troubles that have captured people's attention.

However, to actively encourage your parents/supporters to hijack this process is wrong. Every community and every school deserves a voice. It was clear that the consultants have picked up on this hijacking because of how they gave instructions last night.

It was also clear, that last night, most tables had some diversity because so many people arrived very, very early and took spots at different tables.

In fairness, my friends who went to Tuesday and/or Wednesday nights meeting indicated to me that there was at least one other school with a similar strategy.

PolitiMom said...

This type of post is kind of annoying, imho. I know I have my own biases and agenda, but this blog is about making ALL dekalb schools better, not how to strategize so Fernbank doesn't get split at the expense of the redistricting process. I could write a whole diatribe about how the Dunwoody Cluster can "own" all the other public meetings (since we pretty much owned last night's at Chamblee) but that isn't in the point of this blog. Cere-if you monitor this blog, I question why you let this one in.

One of the Fernbank PTA presidents was at my table last night and she was very well organized, had her talking points and had been to the two previous meetings. She plans to go to all of them. I respect that level of commitment, but with 2000+ people focused on Dunwoody and the magnets, her voice was all but lost. She makes great points, though. I get why Fernbank is so passionate, but this blog isn't the place to strategize at the expense of the rest of the county. Take it offline.

Anonymous said...

Pitting one school against another should come as no surprise to anyone. This is a good way to distract from all of the other huge problems and mistakes, like Tyson's $75K raise and the SACS visit next week.

If the board or superintendent would come up with a minimum set of educational criteria for every school (specials, resources) and not let any school enjoy any specials or extras above that until every school is guaranteed that minimum, you would see "have" schools strongly advocating for the "have nots".

In addition, to those of you who want this process slowed down (another talking point from Livsey, Sagamore, and Fernbank), here's a newsflash. This WAS delayed and slowed down for a year. You just didn't pay attention last year because YOUR school wasn't on the chopping block.

Anonymous said...

This is the culture that DCSS leadership loves! As long as you have the stakeholders at each others throats, DCSS can run rough shod over the entire county!

I was unable to attend CCHS last night, I live only half a mile from the school but had to work. My wife and I plan to go to Bethune next week to have our voices heard.

My exit question, if MGT has changed the rules in mid process to avoid issues stated above, could Fernbank's modus operandi backfire on them? I know Clew and the leadership, which is still in place, hated some of the parents of Nancy Creek making such a noise during the last redistricting process 3 to 4 years ago. They ignored the parents, ignored the facts we placed in front of them and called the parents names in the media when faced with the opposition. They closed Nancy Creek, spent a million dollars to retrofit the school for Kittredge and now they want to change it back, since growth in the area will relieve pressure on other area schools as well as the growth in the overall area. Funny how the parents were right and the leadership was wrong. What makes this time any different?

The Chamblee folks are right to be angry. Neighborhood parents worked hard to make Nancy Creek a diverse and great neighborhood school. But once again DCSS can't have success, they must punish it even if faced with the facts that the parents worked hard to place in front of the leadership.

What makes this leadership any different? It's the same except for Pope and Clew! Be careful Fernbank, your plan to stack the deck could go down in flames!

Anonymous said...

Wow, not enough coffee yet this morning to be totally objective, but I'll try.

I cannot fault a school with having a plan and for fighting to protect your school. Our school did that this week too.

But we didn't direct people to "control the pen, control the mic, or better yet, both". And we weren't trying to 'move on' when the topic didn't affect us. In fact, I learned a few things from my DeKalb neighbors this week.

Ms Power, I'm impressed you posted a reply. But I'm not that interested in 2 pages of your old emails to DCSS, what I want to know is ...

When did your group go from organized to sinister?
Why are your needs more important than mine?
Would you shush me if I was at your table?
and lastly, WHAT IS a Garden Committee?

Would you consider lending them to our school to help cut grass and maintain the grounds? Because the county isn't doing it and I'd like my Saturdays back.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Fernbank parent. I applaud the Fernbank group for it's organization, passion and commitment to Fernbank. I appreciate the hard work of these parents to improve and maintain their school. I don't think that we should limit what a group can do in support of their school. I would hope that we could learn from these schools.

As for schools that have no parental involvement...that's what all those family service coordinator positions are supposed to do...so if there are schools with coordinator positions that still do not have parental involvement, maybe we need to look at the effectiveness of the program?

Anonymous said...

What? Another DCSS program with NO return on investment? I'm shocked I tell ya, SHOCKED!

I hope this relic of a system listens to the stakeholders this time around, since most were ignored the last time.

Kim Gokce said...

"The lines for Cross Keys, Chamblee, Lakeside, Druid Hills, and Tucker do not make sense unless they are planning on building a large school to house both Cross keys and Chamblee"

Among all the schools you mention, there are about 5,600 students in attendance area. This is two modern-sized schoools. Tucker should have been built on a 3,000 enrollment scale and Chamblee SHOULD be now. IF our fearless leaders had been responsible with SPLOST III, we would be in a position TODAY to save MILLIONS every year in capital maintenance, school house administration costs, central operational service costs, central office administrative costs, AND provide full and equitable opportunities to every one of the 5,600 children in these areas of DeKalb.

What have we done instead? Placated every local group - a modest (but nice) reno at Cross Keys, a modest reno at DHHS, a reno at LHS, a rebuild at Tucker, and a rebuild at CCCH (to-be). This series of decisions should be the grounds for ethical charges against our leaders at best - criminal at worst.

What most people on this blog complain about as THE PROBLEM was created by the very dynamics we are seeing in this charette/charade/parade of "public input." The "Public" is not engaged - a tiny sliver of angry and fearful parents are engaged.

Fear and loathing is no way to run a school system.

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't have a problem with Fernbank being organized and passionate. I started out feeling pretty sympathetic to their redistricting issue. Of course they deserve to be advocates for their school, and good for them.

But the steamroll-everybody-else approach outlined here really rubs me the wrong way. Our ES PTA actually made a point of reminding our parents to listen to other points of view and represent them well as scribe/presenter ... I guess that's probably just losing strategy and not worth doing?

Honestly, if you were sitting at a table with worried parents from other schools, wouldn't you be a little ashamed to push their concerns behind your talking points? I know I would. And I don't think it's because I don't care enough about my kids to be passionate. That said, I know there are many wonderful families at Fernbank and I'm sure not all the Fernbank parents have played this way, regardless of what one email says.

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting last night at CHS, who were we all talking to? Were there any school board members there?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Power's year-old email is germane to this discussion. Here is a board member defending a superintendent who was indicted soon after. It reveals the culture of stonewalling and deceit and frankly, stupidity that contributes to the total lack of trust parents have in DCSS. It's
"I'm a board member. We have an 'internationally known' law firm. We have the credentials and you are a nosy parent. Stop asking questions. Now kiss my ring."

How can parents possibly trust good outcomes to this crowd? All parents want to do is ensure their children are well-educated. And you can see from Ms. Power's marching orders to her community that she knows this is war. It should never have reached the point where parents have to get this personally invested to compensate for what DCSS has failed to do for its students. So when all that investment is threatened, it brings out the worst in people.

But then, I understand it completely. I reached a point when I found not one sane voice left at the Central Office. Our kids are in private school now.

Kim Gokce said...

"parental involvement"

What we are often talking about is NOT "parental involvement" ... we are talking about political advocacy. Parental involvement is making sure that students meet their commitments in the classrooms, that the teachers are supported both in classroom discipline and classroom supplies, it is volunteering to be a classroom helper, it is all these things and more.

My comments that follow at not directed at Fernbank parents but at ALL DCSS neigbhorhood parent groups who always refer to their local public school as "OUR SCHOOL." It is not YOUR school. It is the "PUBLIC's" school.

YOUR school was not built for YOUR child. It was built to serve "THE PUBLIC." The "PUBLIC" is not communist concept of collective irresponsibility. It is a social contract to provide for the education and socialization of the children of our community. Those that are enrolled now, tomorrow and twenty years from now.

In our case, "our community" is defined as DeKalb County. Now I know many of my neighbors wish that weren't so but it is a fact. I also know many of my neigbhors are working furiously to change that reality of our community. Some want to change it by divesting in DeKalb. Some want to change it by increasing their control of their local public school. Some want to see the entire public system wither and die.

As long as we are this provincial, this short-sighted, and this inward-directed when it comes to the future of public education, WE ARE GOING TO DEMAND AND GET MORE OF THE SAME OF THE PAST 25 YEARS! Enjoy!

Sorry, didn't sleep well last night ... As long as "THIS" is the game, then kudos for Fernbank for "getting theirs." Now, go get yours and the Devil take the hindmost!

Anonymous said...

OT:
Any word, hint, rumor YET on the make-up days for last week? Are we going to be the last county in the state to annouce what we're doing?

Kim Gokce said...

@Kim: "ethical charges against our leaders at best - criminal at worst."

I meant to say, "civil charges at worst" ... it is negligence that rises to legal action in my unlegal opinion.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 8:41: "It should never have reached the point where parents have to get this personally invested to compensate for what DCSS has failed to do for its students."

Very well said and I agree 100% with you. The question that has not been answered to my satisfaction is, what exactly "caused" this situation? I realize it is probably a confluence of many factors but as I have said before my personal conclusion is that the single largest contributing influence is OUR insistence on maintaining a "neighborhood scale" school system.

To me, this fact is at the root of the "central office bloat" we bemoan on this blog - not the only cause but the biggest one. Just in the scenario I mentioned above (THS, CCHS, DHHS, CKHS, LHS), we are talking about $400k per year simply in Principal salaries that SHOULD NOT be. We have at least two Area Assistant Supers where we need one - that brings us to half a million per year in savings ... EVERY YEAR. That is just the "ante" on what we would be saving in personnel, capital expense, and operational expenses EVERY YEAR if we planned as we should.

Pogo said it best, "We have met the enemy and they is us."

Kim Gokce said...

My apologies if I bail on this thread for a the day but I have to get busy to earn money to pay the mortgage and sales tax to fund all the extra administrators and operations personnel we must have to run YOUR neighborhood school. :)

Kim Gokce said...

... "poorly run," I should say. Have a blessed day!

Cerebration said...

PolitiMom - the blog (or the moderator) do not endorse this letter - when it was posted, I let it stand as I agreed with the poster that the rest of the county should know what they are up against when trying to be heard. I think taking it "offline" is exactly what will lead to those other voices going, "what happened?"

This is how people are playing behind the scenes. In fact, we have posted other letters from other schools - many of them having made cogent arguments for the system at large, many of them fighting only for their own school or neighborhood.

IMHO, this is where I agree with Paul Womack. The "open" "community" "transparent" meetings to hash out this enormous plan will not be effective for the system. They will be highjacked by the most vocal.

The school board has the power and was elected to make these decisions. The superintendent should make these decisions. Legally, I think after the plan has been proposed, school systems have to host community information meetings and listen to input. However, the board can and should have made these decisions and moved on. (In fact, I wondered waaaay back when why on earth they didn't consolidate the schools as suggested by the Task Force -- beginning in August 2010). Now to make this all one giant task is creating confusion and pandemonium.

I really think there's a possibility our board has allowed for too much discussion on just about every school-related issue, causing this bottleneck of inaction and fighting amongst communities.

DeKalb people are better than this.

Cerebration said...

That said, I think I'll go into this post and add a line stating the fact that the blog is simply enlightening the community, not endorsing anyone's actions.

Cerebration said...

If the board or superintendent would come up with a minimum set of educational criteria for every school (specials, resources) and not let any school enjoy any specials or extras above that until every school is guaranteed that minimum, you would see "have" schools strongly advocating for the "have nots".

I like that plan.

Cerebration said...

Another Email --

Here's some pertinent info from another email flying around regarding the community meetings - I think it makes a strong case for consolidating first. This really needs addressed ASAP - and I just don't know why it has become part of an "overall" discussion. IMHO, consolidating these elementary schools should not have to wait until the masses agree on an overall redistricting plan.

I did notice something interesting.
SC1 has 13 elementary schools (estimated K-5 pop - 9,346)

SC2 17 (8,457)
SC3 10 (7,108)
SC4 14 (9,747)
SC5 22 (9,706)

Anonymous said...

Even if Fernbank l;oses part of its attendees it will still have art, etc. The children who are transfered by redisticting away from Fernbank will have them also.
The students of those concerned middle class families will continue to do well in school and DeKalb County will have two high performing schools where there was one before. Redistricting is for the entire county and the changes for the people in the south will be much greater. As far as for building an expansion at Fernbank the only spaces left are the playing field and the heavily tree area to the side. I will chain myself to one of those trees before I let anyone cut them down. They originally tried to do the last addition there and we stopped them and we will again.

Cerebration said...

Really - look at these numbers - it's incredible waste. I find these numbers stunning -


SC1 - 13 elementary schools for 9,346 students
SC2 - 17 (8,457)
SC3 - 10 (7,108)
SC4 - 14 (9,747)
SC5 - 22 (9,706)


22 elementary schools in Super Cluster 5 and only 13 in SC 1 and 14 in SC 4 (both similarly sized). These must be balanced ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the majority of parent leaders at Fernbank do not continue their involvement at Druid Hills High School. Ironically, while Fernbank PTA has more eager parent volunteers than they can use, DHHS PTA can barely staff a full board. Where are they Parents seem to think that involvement (and monetary donation) at the elementary level is more important than at middle/high school. Actually the opposite is true.

Where are these super-involved parents once their kids leave elementary school? Are they tired? Have they all moved to private schools?

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting last night and I found the conversation at the table to be very cordial. There were three clusters represented (1,2,4) and all of the participants worked to make sure our talking points reflected the main ideas of each group. We also worked to make sure it was not just the issues that affected our kids directly but big picture issues that will affect all of Dekalb.
While I understand the fear that has lead to the "Ferbbank" model of trying to take over the table (and be assured that every organized group was trying to do the same thing - it is not just Fernbank), I personally found it not to be a concern. Everyone at the table had a voice and the moderator worked with us (kudos to the fabulous Sedrick Childs from Chamblee Middle)to help us combine our concerns into a cohesive statement.
There is something to say for being prepared - you do need an action plan before you go and every school/community should be giving those to their members.
Just saying I don't like it is not helpful - you need to be specific about the problem and the solution.

The bigger question is will we be heard. There did not appear to be anyone writing down the comments we made - so I think what is said does not really matter. It is what is on the sheet.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9:57 said, "Redistricting is for the entire county and the changes for the people in the south will be much greater."

I understand this plan effects more people in the south, but let's remember the folks in Chamblee. 4 years ago there were 3 great Elementary schools and they were drawn into 2, crowding Huntley Hills and Montgomery. The parents tried to explain that growth in the area, DeKalb County's (Vernon Jones) Vision plan zoned a lot of multi-family units in the area and the fact no one at DCSS really worked the REAL numbers. They needed the building for Kittredge, so Sembler could buy the North Druid Hills Rd, property, which never panned out. So the last 3 years these two schools welcomed the Nancy Creek families.

Today, now that we have real data, thanks to Dan Drake, Clew's lies have come home to roost, and now they want to revert the districts back into 3. Seems to me being redistricted twice in 3 years is a fairly "great" sacrifice too. So enough with this north/south thing and let's get the right plan in place so we can move forward and educate our kids.

Anonymous said...

Re: The McChesney correspondence.

It is sometimes said that the one that controls the information flow wins the battle. Mr McChesney bases his responses on information provided to him by the school administration. And of course they are going to present their position in the best light to preserve their present positions and salaries. I have had e-mail correspondence with Don and it does seem to me that his perspective is tilted toward protecting the administration. But he will listen to arguments.

My question is, "how do I get mine?"
I have no children in DCSS. Maybe I can have a tax reduction?

Anonymous said...

I think on this blog its just easier for folks to type Fernbank than say Oak Grove, Vanderlyn, Sagamore Hills.

It just rolls off the fingers.

Anonymous said...

Cere- 10:02

These are astounding. Maybe these are the numbers we need to be focusing on. Someone needs to show these to SCW when she complains about her area losing schools. I think that is very easy to understand and speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

How many specific schools were names last night? Much more than those that have been mentioned here. I have heard no comment about the aggresive actions by Livsey (they have a web site), Vanderlyn, Chamblee, S.W. Dekalb, .....

All parents are doing the same thing - advocating for their students which means for their schools. Good for you for caring!

I agree with previous posters - stop fighting with other schools.
I think we all agree on the major point - this plan will not work.

We also all agree that is ridiculous that a plan that did not include the cost savings was presented to us. It is worthless to present a plan that will "save us money" when no one knows if that is true.

Dekalb - come back to us when you can document the most cost effective and least disruptive plan.

The costs need to include not only dollars but also in terms of the impact on the students.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration:

"There are so many neighborhood emails flying around on the subject that I wonder if people haven't lost their senses."

And yet you publish this one when we have already hashed this out on another thread. Sorry Cere but I have to call BS on this - there are other much worse letters/emails floating around. Publishing this sort of thing serves to perpetuate the divisiveness you claim to dislike.

Jeanie said...

RE Fernbank.

Last night I heard comments from Montgomery, Kittredge, DES, Austin, Fernbank, Oakgrove, Sag. Hills, Hawthorne, Vanderlyn, Chesnut, CCHS, SWD, Lakeside to name a few. NO group hijacked the meeting. They were all heard.
The truth is there are many points that cannot be translated to a county wide issue. Should they be ignored?

Anonymous said...

Here are the names and emails that should be posted on this blog. Aren't they the ones we really should be blaming for hijacking the process?

Mr. Thomas Bowen, Board Chair
thomas_bowen@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678.676.0027
Mr. H. Paul Womack, Jr., Board Vice Chair
H_Paul_Womack@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678.676.0027
Sarah Copelin-Wood, Board Member
sarah_copelin-wood@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
404.371.1490
Mr. Jay Cunningham, Board Member
jay_cunningham@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678.676.0027
Ms. Donna Edler, Board Member
donna_edler@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678.676.0027
Ms. Nancy Jester, Board Member
nancy_jester@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678.676.0027
Dr. Pamela Speaks, Board Member
pam_speaks@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
770.493.4805
Dr. Eugene Walker, Board Member
eugene_p_walker@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678-518-0525
Mr. Donald McChesney, Board Member
don_mcchesney@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678-676-0027

Superintendent Ramona Tyson
ramona_tyson@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
678-676-0010

Cerebration said...

Publishing this sort of thing serves to perpetuate the divisiveness you claim to dislike.

Well, I guess if publishing divisive community emails perpetuates divisiveness, then that is what will be. However, personally, I think that publishing these reactions can serve to help people face their fears without harming others.

We've pretty much published them all. I do hate the divisiveness - and I happen to believe that bringing these efforts into the light of the greater community at large is the better option.

Many of these emails have been posted in the comments and I personally posted the Dunwoody community email on January 10 -

The latest community push-back: Check out Dunwoody's petition

That post brought out 230 comments - many containing panicky email responses to redistricting from a variety of communities. Some of those included the Lakeside, Leafmore, Sagamore, and Livsey's website. I actually haven't seen these kinds of efforts from south DeKalb schools - however, as I have stated, I think Sarah Copelin Wood and Zepora Robert's demands that the entire county "feel the pain" was the trigger for the actions that have led us to this enormous plan we have today.

Cerebration said...

Thank you Anon. For those unaware, we have a link on the right side panel of the home page that will generate an email to the entire board with one click.

It's called, EMAIL THE BOARD OF EDUCATION and it's just under the "Mark Your Calendar" icon.

Carolyn said...

I had decided that by the time I gathered my thoughts, the discussion had moved on, but I have changed my mind. I did not want an opportunity to go by where I wished I had done something, however small and insignifigant. Something I could use as an example, however to my children. Do all of you anonymous posters realize that January is anti-bullying month in DeKalb County Schools? Is this what you are teaching your children, that an adult disagreement includes name calling while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet? If you knew Amy Power, you would know that she is far from arrogant, but is highly passionate about her causes and interests. The email that 'Emancipator' posted was meant to engage the unengaged Fernbank parents, to make them understand how much impact the volunteerism of one section of the neighborhood has had on the learning experiences of all of the students at our public school.

We, the parents of Fernbank Elementary, do not suffer from the impression that we deserve any special considerations, but if we do not advocate for our children, who will? We have tried to make our message that which would serve all students of DeKalb County - keep the neighborhoods together, be aware of existing traffic patterns and proposed growth. Can you argue that this is the wrong message for us to bring to the table?

The parents of Fernbank Elementary worked hard to have the International Baccalaureate program provided at our public school and we are trying to support that section of our neighborhood that would be redistricted to a non-IB school. We also would be happy for the school board to add to our attendance zone. We do have children in portables, but we are making it work - and by 'we' I of course mean our fabulous principal, faculty and staff. If any other schools are interested in trying to bring the IB program to their students, I know that our parents would be happy to help navigate the process.

I am proud to have Amy as a friend and our school is lucky to have her as PTA co-president.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn - great post! I am not even a Fernbank parent nor do I know Amy.

My wish is that every school in the county had a similar advocate. Unfortunately that is not true. Maybe she would be willing to partner Fernbank with a school that is not making AYP so those Fernbank parents could work to help that school as well. That would a great use of the enthusiasm and a great lesson for the students.

PO'ed Fernbank Mommy said...

If your PTA officers are not spending all of their time being effective advocates and organizers for your school, then you have a big problem and you'd better get up off your keyboard and go track them down.

I sleep better every night knowing that Amy Power and many, many other fellow parents at Fernbank are working tirelessly for the preservation of our wonderful school community and for the good of all Dekalb County kids (believe it or not).

Shame on all of you for devolving into this ridiculousness.

This blog is a fantastic source of information and impressive analysis when folks stick to facts and figures. I learn something every time I read it. However, it is relentlessly mean-spirited posts like this one, singling out one school among many and attacking one passionate person, that make me question if there are just 10 people writing back and forth to each other, or if this is truly a forum for all concerned Dekalb parents to tackle the pressing issues that we really have to be working together on.

What I find incredibly arrogant and offensive are the snide comments and sweeping generalizations which have posted again and again. There seems to be an image of the Fernbank school community as all living in meticulously-restored 1920's Druid Hills mansions (nope), all being one-income families (really nope), all being white native-born Americans (nope again), and mindlessly frolicking with unicorns and bluebirds all day long (only on weekends). This is all very far from the reality of life at Fernbank.

Except for the unicorn. We do have one. She's out back in Fernbank Forest. If you are nice to us, we'll let you meet her.

Auntie Gerrymander said...

My concern over the Fernbank approach is not their potent and enthusiastic advocacy--more power to them. My concern is the list of red herrings and half-truths that I heard Fernbank parents repeat ad nauseum at Shamrock the night before last. Repeating untruths does not make them true. It might make them what Stephen Colbert called "truthy," but that's all.

For the record:
-- If redistricted, no IB student would be "forced" into a Montessori classroom. In fact, unless they have significant and recent prior Montessori experience, they are not even eligible for Montessori.

-- Briar Vista does have an art special. Not sure what a Hospitality chair or a Garden Committee leader is, but anyone at Briar Vista is certainly welcome to start such a thing. Do you really think you would be prohibited from doing so?

-- Re: "breaking up long established neighborhoods"
Briarcliff Road separates the panhandle of the Briar Vista attendance area from the Fernbank attendance area. Otherwise, there is no difference between the lovely, renovated, Craftsman bungalows on Stillwood and Briarwood from the homes across Briarcliff Road. The neighborhood has _already_ been broken up due to a series of past decisions to gerrymander the Fernbank/Briar Vista attendance area.

-- The Briar Vista schoolhouse is also fifty years old. So what. The original Fernbank Elementary was located on the Druid Hills H.S. site. There is nothing magical about the bricks and mortar of the current Fernbank Elementary School. The upper middle class children who attend Fernbank will thrive wherever they land.

-- The Clifton Corridor redevelopment project that Fernbank is willing to "give" Briar Vista is a red herring. The townhouse part of the project has been tabled indefinitely. Ground has not even been broken on the mixed-use retail/apartment project that is proposed. The planned multi-family units are not family friendly, and therefore will host few children when built. Not to mention, since when is it in the power of Fernbank parents to "give" even non-existant apartments to another school?

-- The Fernbank advocacy of maintaining the vertical alignment of IB schools from Fernbank to Shamrock to Druid Hills is also a red herring. Fernbank has one of the lowest percentages of sending elementary school students up through the feeder schools to graduate from the designated high schools. In reality, Fernbank is a feeder for Paideia and the like.

-- The reality is that Fernbank has something approaching 0% of students in the Free or Reduced Price Lunch category. The parents don't want their children to sit next to students who are not People Like Us, which is what would happen at Briar Vista. It's classist, and smug, and very unpleasant.

-- What has not been mentioned is that Fernbank enjoys a special relationship with Emory University that includes perks such as volunteer programs and free health screenings from student nurses. As if the Fernbank students didn't already have health insurance galore! When approached with the idea of expanding the program to include Briar Vista, an Emory University representative said something to the effect of "we wouldn't want to dilute the program." Emory professors and clinical faculty may send their kids to Fernbank, but their post-docs and grad students send their kids to Briar Vista. I bet that there are some uncomfortable situations in some Emory research labs right now.

Nevertheless, whatever happens, if any students end up being redistricted to Briar Vista from Fernbank, I am sure that they will be welcomed with open arms. The parents, on the other hand, may want to consider getting a refresher course from their kindergarten children on working well and playing with others.

Anonymous said...

Untruth in the last post... Fernbank does not have free Health screening done by anyone from Emory ... So much misinformation goes thru on this blog.

YetAnotherFernbankParent said...

The bottom line for this Fernbank parent, and i think for many, is not that we are classist and smug and do not want to sit next to people who are not "People like us". The bottom line for me is that Briar Vista does not score as well academically as Fernbank does, and does not have the extra-curricular activities that Fernbank does. For my family, those were the reasons we decided to spend more than we should have done to move here (to a fixer-upper ranch, not a mansion). Lots of Fernbank parents live in ranches and apartments. Many ARE post-docs, junior/research faculty, Emory/CDC staff. We do not all live in mansions over here, but those that do are just real people too who want the best for their kids.

As parents who both work at emory full-time, we are very grateful to Amy Power and all of the other Fernbank parents who are willing to give such large amounts of time to our school. Really, the number of volunteer hours that some parents give to Fernbank is astonishing. We have the extra-curricular activities that we do because of parent volunteerism. My understanding is that we have a full-time in-house art teacher because of our annual auction, which is run by parents. Our chess club and garden club are run by parent volunteers. Of course this is not prohibited in other schools, but we are fortunate to have a lot of parents who devote a lot of time to the school, and that is the result. Together with the school's grades, thats what many of us moved here for, and that is what we do not want to lose. To Amy and the many other Fernbank parents who put in so much of their time, thank you, I hope we do not lose you.

Anonymous said...

This entire exercise is (allegedly) done for the purpose of saving money (for the administration). But no one has even bothered to compute the savings. ONLY IN DCSS could this happen. This is no way to make a decision.

What would happen if Cereb fired up the spread sheet and databases and showed that every plan and alternative would COST DCSS money?

Ramona has to decide which plan to accept and make the recommendation to the BOE. She will take the plan that will save the most jobs of AP level and above. Teacher can get thrown under the bus.

No matter what plan is recommended, the Walker, SCW and Cunningham Troika, possibly aided by Speaks, will use the R word. Bowen, McChesney and Womack will cower and compromise to show collegiality, PC,repent for guilt, or whatever. Jester and Edler are unknown quantities on this.

Anonymous said...

At the meeting last night, we were promised a cost-benefit analysis next week.

I agree - this plan should not have been proposed until we knew if it was going to actually save us money.

Please drop the Fernbank discussion - it is annoying. Everyone wants the best for their kids. Let's not target specific people and/or schools.

Lefty said...

Anon 4:07, if you had paid attention to the BOE during the last 2 years, you would know that Speaks rarely votes with your "Troika." Pam Speaks is probably the one board member who votes objectively. We might not always agree with her point of view, but she does not play politics.

Cerebration said...

Couple of things: There are always going to be mistruths passed around. Usually and traditionally, they are spoken, now, however, with the advent of the internet, we have the same thing but different. The good news is that (as illustrated above) whenever someone spots a 'mistruth', they can very easily and quickly add a comment to correct it.

Also, FWIW, anytime Marshall Orson has sent me info to post, I have done so for him happily. We really try to post it all - there are over a dozen people with front page posting privileges and several others who send info for me to post for them (Cerebration - the moderator). If you send an email with an important bit of info or newsworthy item, 99% of the time we will post it for you, even if you don't have or want posting privileges.

Send it to

reparteeforfun@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

"However, to actively encourage your parents/supporters to hijack this process is wrong. Every community and every school deserves a voice. It was clear that the consultants have picked up on this hijacking because of how they gave instructions last night."

I'm really sorry that opened this post. I agree with this this individual's comments. Some of you should be very ashamed of your actions. Let me add one other thing, it is wrong, VERY WRONG, to drag another school's reputation through the mud, just to get what you want. Especially, if you have never been inside that school building.

Every child has a right to a good education. Every child has a right to sit in a real classroom and not a trailer. Every child deserves to have all those specials that are offered at our magnet schools. This should not be about who deserves more.

Cerebration said...

@ YetAnother -- While I very much agree with you about Amy Power and the parent leaders at Fernbank, (super nice people - terrific school advocates) I hope you will read our recent post on the subject of test scores - with hours of time spent compiling data by our resident researcher, DeKalb Parent -

Fernbank vs Briar Vista - By the Numbers…

I think the aggregated data will tell a more honest story than what appears at first glance.

Lisa Lee said...

To MG: Thank you, thank you, thank you! So eloquently put, I must repeat . . . "At some point, everyone involved is going to have to set their personal situation aside and decide what the minimum acceptable bar for a school to offer is going to be. When every student has access to that level of education, then we can talk about some lucky kids getting more.

My list includes reasonable class sizes for the content areas, PE every day, Art and Music at least weekly, and a functional computer lab. Many of you are saying that's not a lot. It's not, but we have thousands of students who don't have access to the items on the list.

Would you accept that situation for your child? If not, then why would you accept it for ANY child?"

Anonymous said...

The title itself is offensive enough, but then reading the rest of it, well, it's really disgusting.

Jeremy said...

1) If you are a parent of a child in the DCSS and you/your spouse/family member haven't been to one of the Charrettes or Public Workshops, you should'nt comment. PERIOD.
2)I've seen SEVERAL different school "strategies" at this point - Livsey, Medlock, Sagamore Hills & Oak Grove, Vanderlyn, Chamblee magnet. Why is it SO astounding that Fernbank distributed something?
3)Those who posted insults about the "Garden Club" and Fernbank kids being losers should be ASHAMED.
4) At Chamblee, I sat at a table dominated by Vanderlyn moms who did EVERYTHING they could to marginalize anyone who tried to make other points (@Politimom I guess we'll see you at McNair next Tuesday?)
5) At Shamrock, I sat with people from Laurel Ridge, Sagamore. We did all we could to incorporate their points, reach consensus.
6) @ Aunty Gerrymander...your post shows a) you have know idea of the history of central dekalb schools and b) you probably use the race/class card every day.

My son just entered Pre-K. I am so completely DISAPPOINTED that THIS has been my introduction to the public school system in Dekalb County. It's SAD to see parents, teacher, admin attack each other's situations rather than work toward constructive solutions to such a dramatic plan.

Anonymous said...

Come on y'all, don't you think that the blog article title "Attention Losers . . ." is meant to be ironic?

Cerebration said...

Yes, I guess the irony of the title was lost on a few people - as the tongue in cheek response to the loss of the garden club. But as far as I'm aware, neither one was meant as offensive - in fact, I interpreted the post title to call out to the schools that do not get what they want -- as in - this is how you do it! (ie; "win")

Cerebration said...

BTW Jeremy, we've pretty much posted all of the other community responses you mention. As I stated before, many can be found in the Jan 10 post,

The latest community push-back: Check out Dunwoody's petition

Jeremy said...

@ Cere I was not concerned/offended by the title, but a post from earlier calling Fernbank kids losers. Perhaps you've deleted. Sorry, I find little humor in the current situation.

Cerebration said...

I don't recall or see a comment calling Fernbank students losers, however, if you would let me know the time stamp of offensive comments, I will delete them. (Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't have a "report this as offensive" button like some blogs.)

Anonymous said...

Regarding Mr. McChesney's email: IF the school board is trying to reduce expenses at the "top", please explain the $75,000 raise to the interim superintendent. The reasoning to bring her pay in-line with the other metro superintendents is ridiculous. Do you pay a substitute teacher the same as the regular teacher? The 18 month contract, the $2,000 increase/month in expenses? Seriously, all of you are complaining about parents at Fernbank fighting for their children. Do you want more from Dekalb for your children? Look at your elected representatives, did they vote for this pay increase? I'm sure this money would have been better used to subsidize art, PE, etc.

Cerebration said...

Does anyone know if Brad Bryant was paid the full salary of state superintendent while he served as interim?

Anonymous said...

Auntie Gerrymander - maybe you should spend some time with a couple of Fernbank students/parents. You obviously don't know what is happening at Fernbank or your post would read very differently. Fernbank is probably one of the most diverse schools in Dekalb. At one time, there were students from more than 20 countries enrolled. Most of these students live in apartments/small in the area. Their parents are enrolled at Emory, Columbia or work at CDC. Hundreds of volunteer hours are logged at Fernbank. Parents and grandparents participate with the kids. You may want to check your numbers related to free lunches - you are very wrong.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen anything about perhaps selling some of the property owned by the Dekalb BOE?

fernbankgardenmom said...

In this process, I think we should seek understanding, and try to unite as a county. In the evenings this week I have connected with people across DeKalb that have very unique concerns about each plan proposed. The research is a starting point, but fails to understand the nuances of each community. That is why each of us shows up. We are passionate because, like yours, we are connected to the people in our community.

Fernbank's garden committee has been mocked on this blog, but it was started as a pilot program for school gardens across DeKalb County. We did not spend PTA money, or personal money to put in a thirteen box vegetable garden, with the goal that this could be expanded to all of Dekalb, to work toward the Obama goal of ending childhood obesity. Whole Foods has 5% days quarterly, and is looking for opportunities to help communities. They paid for our garden, and would pay for other school gardens. Find a plot, make a plan, apply.

Fernbank's Reflection's committee partnered with McNair this year to get this valuable National PTA Art competition to be a part of their school experience. A McLendon parent reminded us at a meeting this week that Fernbank students helped stock their library.

I could go on.....

Anonymous said...

SACS is comin' to town yall!

Perhaps a few welcome signs would be in order!



Dickerson said he anticipates the district will spend about $2,000 on the visit, including lodging at the Holiday Inn in Decatur, meals and travel expenses.

Anonymous said...

@ Amy Power 6:36 and 6:37

Last year the Fernbank communtiy protected Fernbank Science Center from closure or even substantial cuts while 100 teacher positions in the schools were cut and students all over DCSS were packed even more tightly into classrooms. Reference the Open Letter to the Board from the Fernbank Elementary School Council:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/letter-from-fernbank-elementary-school.html
....and Mel Konner's AJC op-ed piece about how FSC's STT class was really great for his daughter. Who did the Fernbank parents know at the AJC that would give Dr. Konner this venue?

Fernbank Science Center is a $7,000,000 expense that produces absolutely NO improvement in science scores countywide. In fact, DCSS science achievement scores have declined significantly in recent years.

$7,000,000 is probably half of what this entire school closure and redistricting effort will produce in savings (last year $14,000,000 in savings was projected). We are shuttering local neighborhood schools and redistricting your children, but by golly we'll have the money to save this edifice to the 1950s located in the Fernbank community.

The ONLY consistent daily science instruction FSC provides is the STT program that serves 90 students a semester - that's 180 out of 96,000 students a year. Otherwise, this outdated idea of former Superintendent Jim Cherry puts thousands of buses on the roads belching pollutants into the metro Atlanta air to bring students to instructors for a ONE TIME A YEAR "science lesson" - ONLY in DeKalb would this happen.

You posted an email to Mr. McChesney protesting the DCSS administrative "bloat" that needs to be cut before Fernbank Elementary School is touched. Did you know that Fernbank Science Center has 63 employees and cost $7,000,000 to operate. ONLY 29 are teachers while 35 are admin and support personnel.

It would appear that the Fernbank community is fine with cuts and changes to the DCSS system - as long as it doesn't affect them.

Anonymous said...

For the record, Fernbank's free and reduced lunch rate is 9.3% this year, which is only higher in DeKalb than Austin, Vanderlyn and Oak Grove.

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_frl001_public.display_proc

Anonymous said...

"Who did the Fernbank parents know at the AJC that would give Dr. Konner this venue? "

Dr. Konner wrote the letter to the AJC to express his own views and support for the Science Center. He did not write the piece on behalf of or at the request of anyone at Fernbank School. He did not need anyone to help him publish is the AJC. He is an extremeley well respected, Harvard educated anthropologist and member of the Emory faculty. He has written numerous books and is a highly reknowned scholar who understand the value of science.

As has been stated before, Fernbank school PTA, while supportive of the Fernbank Science Center, were not responsible for "saving STT" last year. The decision to maintain the program has been made long before anyone at Fernbank School spoke up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fernbank Science Center hater,
please get your facts straight before writing your anti-FSC comments over and over on this blog. Better yet, call the science center and find out about their other course offering and about how many kids they served on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

I see that the magnet program at CCHS is getting some free publicity on Channel 2 tonight.

They interviewed a student and her father (who are the granddaughter and son, respectively of a former principal of KMS) about the facebook group and petition the student has started protesting relocation of the magnet. All well and good, but when the student talked about the move of the magnet interfering with college acceptance and said that the none of CCHS magnet teachers would be at the new location, I was disturbed. I can't see the truth of either of these statements, but they are being widely disseminated.

Additionally, Monica stated that the redistricting would eliminate 11,000 empty seats. Again, incorrect - if I recall, the centralized option leaves a bit over 5,000 seats empty and the decentralized one leaves a bit over 6,000 empty.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 6:33
Regarding your response to Auntie Gerrymander:
"You may want to check your numbers related to free lunches - you are very wrong."

I don't know about free and reduced price lunch numbers, but these numbers are published on the state of Georgia DOE website for NCLB Test Takers:
18% of Fernbank ES students are classified as Economically Disadvantaged
54% of Briar Vista ES students are classified as Economically Disadvantaged
73% of DeKalb County students are classified as Economically Disadvantaged
59% of Georgia students are classified as Economically Disadvantaged

Auntie Gerrymander was not too far off.

Posters may go to this source - Georgia Department of Education website. Be sure to click on the Test Participation tab:

Fernbank:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=103&SchoolId=23014&T=1&FY=2010

Briar Vista:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=101&SchoolID=23044&PID=63&PTID=214&T=0&FY=2010

DeKalb:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=103&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Georgia:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=103&StateId=ALL&T=1&FY=2010

Anonymous said...

Ugh to the Channel 2 story.

Shame on them and shame on that student.

AND REALLY, REALLY shame on teachers if they are talking about this at school in front of students.

Fernbankgardenmom said...

Check your facts: Fernbank Science Center is used by more than our county. Look how it is used... Parents from all over DeKalb come to the science center every weekend to participate in this.

The NASA Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA, is a national innovative project designed to increase participation and retention of historically underrepresented K-12 youth in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The goals of the NASA SEMAA project are to inspire a more diverse population of students to pursue careers in STEM; engage students, teachers and parents by incorporating emerging technologies into the project; and provide a challenging curriculum that meets state math, science and technology standards. SEMAA proactively addresses these goals by delivering a "hands-on, minds-on" curriculum, a state-of-the-art Aerospace Education Laboratory, and an innovative Family Café.

In just twelve years, SEMAA has emerged as a nationally renowned leader in the efforts to increase the participation of historically underserved K-12 youth in the areas of STEM. Established as a joint venture between NASA Glenn Research Center and Cuyahoga Community College, the project has grown from a single site to a national organization that is supported by Congress and dedicated to improving the academic success of children nationwide. Currently, SEMAA is located at community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HISs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, or TCUs, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and science centers/museums in 23 urban and rural cities throughout the United States. (See the list of NASA SEMAA institutions and locations below.) Historically, the growth of SEMAA has been supported by congressional representatives and NASA. The project has grown from one site in fiscal year 1993 to 23 operational sites in fiscal year 2004, serving over 84,000 students, parents, teachers and others.

To accomplish this level of success, communities must come together to establish partnerships. The partnerships provide the support and skills to impact the underrepresented students in many positive ways, thus ultimately contributing to the pool of talented scientists and researchers in STEM fields. The SEMAA activities are not intended to replace science and mathematics instruction in schools, but to provide support to schools by offering science and mathematics enrichment projects to encourage student interest and success in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

For more information from the national NASA/SEMAA program including curriculum outcomes and other sites, please go to http://www.semaa.net.

Auntie Gerrymander said...

I would like to revise my comments. Two years ago when I met with an Emory administrator, she described the special relationship that Emory had with Fernbank. In my naivete, I really had no idea about the extent of Emory's support of Fernbank until she told me. Frustratingly, I can no longer find my meeting notes. If the relationship has been dissolved or changed, then I was honestly unaware of that, and I apologize.

I do know and am friends with many Fernbank parents. I guess that is what upsets me so much. They seem so nice and friendly, and then they participate in a campaign which _feels like_ they simply do not want their children to go to school with my children. In addition to the distortions about Briar Vista (yes Virginia, we do have a gymnasium as well as PE, recess, Chess Club, after school care, a safe and organized car pool system, Discovery, dance, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, art and music classes), the strident tone of much of the rhetoric is very off-putting. Perhaps someone just has a tin ear for how their strategies make them appear to others.

Anything having to do with our children cuts right to our hearts, and so we react. Perhaps we can all make our approach more civil, reach out to one another to double-assertions before making them, and remember that our kids need us to be role models as well as advocates.

Thank being said, I need to go read stories to my children.

Good night!

Anonymous said...

Fernbank Science Center does not have any special connection to Fernbank Elementary School. The Science Center serves all students (and teachers) in DCSS. Any perceived "connection" between the two is false.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:49
I'm not a FSC hater, and my facts are straight. I know Dr. Konner and respect his work at Emory and his field research before he came to Emory. I can even understand his support for FSC. His daughter (grown now) came to Fernbank ES from Paideia when she was 9 years old. I have no doubt that the SST program was great for her. She was an extraordinary child intellectually when she went to Fernbank ES, and I'm sure she's an extraordinary adult now.

However, DCSS science teachers deal with ordinary children every day. EVERY child - ordinary or extraordinary - needs and deserves DAILY science instruction and access to cutting edge science equipment. FSC does not provide that for our students - only the grade level teachers in the DeKalb elementary schools and the science area content teachers provide that.

$7,000,000 would go a long way in providing DAILY science instruction for EVERY child in DCSS and buying cutting edge science equipment for the schools.

I urge posters and readers of this blog to call or email FSC or go on FSC's website to find out ANY daily science instruction they provide other than the 90 students a semester in the STT program.

Wanting to see a good return on investment for educational dollars does not make someone a "hater".

The Fernbank community doesn't want to lose this $7,000,000 white elephant called FSC, they don't want to lose the IB program, they don't want redistricting of any of their students - in short they don't appear to want anything to do with the DeKalb School System with the exception of making sure DeKalb County taxpayer tax dollars are maximized in their favor. That may sound mean, but that's the way the community is coming across.

Anonymous said...

ANYTHING THAT IS WORKING WELL, DCSS BOARD AND FRIENDS WILL DESTROY ...

WHEN ALL AROUND THEM, BUMPING INTO THEM EVERYDAY, ARE THINGS TO FIX, TO CHANGE, TO ELIMINATE.

THEY REFUSE TO LOOK AT OUR REALITY.

THEIR REALITY IS TO BRING EVERYTHING DOWN TO MEDIOCRE SO THAT DCSS OVERALL DOESN'T LOOK SO BAD. IT'S A SAD FACT.

JESTER AND EDLER, PLEASE PLEASE DON'T FALL IN LINE. YOU TWO ARE OUR START, OUR HOPE, FOR A BETTER TOMORROW WHERE EXCELLENCE AND BEST IS VALUED.

Anonymous said...

@ Fernbankgardenmom
"Check your facts: Fernbank Science Center is used by more than our county. Look how it is used... Parents from all over DeKalb come to the science center every weekend to participate in this.
"

I know my facts. Science achievement scores in DeKalb County are rapidly declining and FSC takes up an enormous percentage of the DCSS science education budget ($7,000,000 a year).

Science content mastery is for EVERY child in DCSS. Science content mastery ONLY comes with daily science instruction by a competent science teacher. DCSS needs to face the fact that we can't have a $7,000,000 science center that employs 35 admin and support center employees and only 29 teachers and expect this arrangement to have a substantial impact on 96,000 students. I know those 29 FSC teachers work hard. But FSC utterly fails to ensure mastery of science content to 96,000 students.

I've got to give it to you guys. You are a formidable group. I also know most of you have never been in schools in South DeKalb watching what those teachers struggle with as they teach ordinary student science content. The students are capable, but their science teachers have too many students in their classrooms, and they do not have the science equipment they need (true of Lakeside as well).

FSC at $7,000,000 a year for 29 teachers is a terrible financial drain on science instruction for the ordinary SCSS student. Not even George Bush could change those facts.

I'll next be accused of "hijacking" this discussion, but you guys must think this blog needs to be overwhelmed with any opinion that opposes your own.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher. I have taught in schools with various culture/ethnic/race mixes. They have also been across the spectrum on the socio-economic strata. My current school is one no one wants to merge with, but I love this place. The students are truly among the best in the county and among the worst. The good kids have actively involved parents and parents I've never seen, so do the not so good ones. The parents from the other schools who fight to keep my kids out have never been to my school. They judge us based on test scores, AYP, and our "reputation". They hurt their children as they fight to protect them from my "undesirable" students. My school suffers from neglect, does not have an active PTA, and has some serious problems, but I would bring my own children here. A school is not defined by a building or a neighborhood or a district; it is defined by the people who enter its doors. Kim has shown us all what one person can do to bring hope to the hopeless. If your child ends up in one of “those” schools, don’t bail on your community. Maybe you could take a school that has struggled and been ignored and turn it into a Chamblee, a Fernbank, or any of the other schools you are fighting so hard to leave unchanged. The lesson your child is learning from your battle may be that there are people who deserve good schools and people who don’t, and you just don’t want them exposed to the other kind. Change is inevitable and adaptation to change is a lesson we all struggle with. I think that my own children benefited from the changes in their school districts; I know I learned a great deal when I was forced to adapt to redistricting as a student. That being said, it is still important for us to hold the county accountable for the accuracy of the warm body counts, the out of district students, the administrative transfers, and of course, the money so that we do this right.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:20
"Fernbank Science Center does not have any special connection to Fernbank Elementary School. The Science Center serves all students (and teachers) in DCSS. Any perceived "connection" between the two is false. "

Then why would the Fernbank Elementary Council's write this Open Letter to the Board last year then they were afraid the $7,000,000 a year for 29 teachers program was going to be touched:

"We recognize the difficult, and sometimes painful, cuts which must be made and we appreciate the range of comments and criticisms which permeate the conversations about the budget. We are but one perspective which we hope reflects the broader interests of all students served by DCSS....We do understand the perceived higher cost of programs such as Scientific Tools and Techniques at the Fernbank Science Center but we also note that this program addresses a critical shortcoming in national education delivery and serves a substantially underserved population, all in a program of national renown which simply cannot be duplicated in the typical schoolhouse. ...At the same time, we believe that Fernbank Science Center is one of the DCSS entities best positioned to seek longer term third party external support, particularly in the absence of any other science museum or center in the close-in Metro Atlanta area.... times, but from adversity can come success. We urge you to retain a long-term point of view which will best position the children of DeKalb for success in the future.

Sincerely,
Marshall D. Orson
Chair
Fernbank Elementary School Council"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:39 you live in a bubble. FERNBANK IS ONE SECTION 8 HOUSING COMMUNITY AWAY FROM FAILING AYP AND YOUR DEFINITION OF LOW PERFORMANCE. ARE YOU READY TO MOVE WHEN THIS HAPPENS??

ALL WHITE DOES NOT MAKE IT GREAT. YOUR IB PROGRAM CONFIRMS Y0UR HYPOCRISY. YOUR ACHIEVEMENT IS RELATIVE TO THE POPULATION DRUID HIILS HAS SYSTEMATICALLY CREATED. WHY ELSE WOULD YOU WELCOME MEDLOCK AS AN ANNEX AND BE REPELLED AT THE IDEA OF BRIAR VISTA??

YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. YOU CHILD WILL BE SHOCKED AT THE WORLD THEY SEE ONCE THEY LEAVE YOUR LILLY WHITE ENCLAVE.

Anonymous said...

Look at this "Open Letter to the Board" from the Fernbank Elementary School Council about consolidation last year when their own neighborhood was not up for redistricting:

"We recognize the difficult, and sometimes painful, cuts which must be made and we appreciate the range of comments and criticisms which permeate the conversations about the budget. ...
Reluctantly, we must also urge the consolidation of more than four schools. DeKalb has a long history of small neighborhood schools, an arrangement we can no longer afford. Based on the stated projected cost savings of nearly $600,000 per school, the consolidation of additional schools should realize a significant savings. And, we believe the savings would be greater when you account for shortfalls in state funding (based on 450 elementary school minimums) coupled with lower central staffing requirements to serve fewer facilities.....These are no doubt difficult times, but from adversity can come success. We urge you to retain a long-term point of view which will best position the children of DeKalb for success in the future.

Sincerely,
Marshall D. Orson
Chair
Fernbank Elementary School Council"

Perhaps Fernbank Elementary School parents need to take the "long-term point of view which will best position the children of DeKalb for success in the future".

Read the entire Fernbank Elementary School Council letter at this address:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/03/letter-from-fernbank-elementary-school.html

What say you Fernbank Elementary parents? Do you still stand by your open letter to the board?

Anonymous said...

Fernbankgardenmom, you should have preached this before your self righteous, entitled community started taking cheap shots at their neighbors.

That's the problem with elitist. They convince themselves that theirs is the only opinion.

There is no going back now. You have hung yourself. No one is sympathetic. No one want to cooperate with you now.

Anonymous said...

@8:51 I applaud your attitude. I can only hope that the majority of the DCSS school teachers feel and act the same. If this is true, then maybe the school system does have a chance if it could get rid of the decidedly self aggrandizing administration and populate the board with fresh faces and new ideas that are not wedded to the past civil rights days. Most of the people in this country really do want to afford equal opportunity to all of the citizens.

Anonymous said...

"Then why would the Fernbank Elementary Council's write this Open Letter to the Board last year then they were afraid the $7,000,000 a year for 29 teachers program was going to be touched:"

I live well outside the Fernbank area and share these same opinions about the science center. Many across the county share these views and have made their opinions known to the County Office. Just because Fernbank Elem put their support in writing does not mean they have a special relationship with the Science Center. DeKalb county is much bigger than Fernbank Elementary and people in other parts of the county value the service of the science center. In fact, the majority of DAILY outreach programs by Fernbank Science Center teachers are to high schools in the far reaches of the county.

Anonymous said...

"The Fernbank advocacy of maintaining the vertical alignment of IB schools from Fernbank to Shamrock to Druid Hills is also a red herring. Fernbank has one of the lowest percentages of sending elementary school students up through the feeder schools to graduate from the designated high schools. In reality, Fernbank is a feeder for Paideia and the like."

This is actually true - and is a point worth repeating. I wish these Fernbank parents would keep their kids in the middle and high school and volunteer their time at these schools. Currently not the case....

Anonymous said...

"Ugh to the Channel 2 story.

Shame on them and shame on that student.

AND REALLY, REALLY shame on teachers if they are talking about this at school in front of students."

AMEN! Glad to know that entitlement is rampant in the north as well as it is in the South.


Can we change this blog to the

DeKalb County School Whine-Gotta Get mine

Anonymous said...

"This is actually true - and is a point worth repeating. I wish these Fernbank parents would keep their kids in the middle and high school and volunteer their time at these schools. Currently not the case.... "

Really? Apparently you need to acquaint yourself with the Druid Hills Middle and High School PTSAs and School Councils.

Anonymous said...

Qui audet adipiscitur

He who dares, wins

That's what this is

Anonymous said...

What % of kids from the proposed redistricted portion of Fernbank ES typically attend the Druid Hills (Shamrock) MS and Druid Hills HS? and what % leave for private school?

lee@signaldesign.com said...

Anonymous,

The Fernbank School Garden was started October 2010. A School Garden/Farm To School meeting for all of DeKalb that was to take place at Fernbank this month was just rescheduled this month because of the redistricting meetings. Do not portray for a moment that our broader idea is only being shared after the fact. The proposal that our school administration approved in October outlined the goal of sharing our exploration with all of Dekalb. Let's not cut ourselves off from each other, when there is so much to gained form sharing. What is Elitist about trying to follow the example from the White House to introduce our children to growing their own food and eating whole foods?

Cerebration said...

I know plenty of people who left DeKalb schools for private school after (or during) elementary school years. This has nothing at all to do with buildings or science centers or attendance lines or historic communities or gardens or anything - - The reason these people left the system was the lack of confidence in our middle and high schools' abilities to educate their children nearly as well as the private schools --- with highly qualified teachers, the proper tools, student support, discipline and smaller class sizes.

This needs to be the goal - fix our schools so that people don't abandon them - they stay. They stay with confidence. Confidence in EVERY DeKalb school.

Anonymous said...

One of the largest (if not the largest) cohorts of students entering Druid Hills Middle School comes from Fernbank Elementary. Yes, it would be great if every Fernbank 5th grader went on to DHMS but approximately 85% do move on. And the parents are engaged in those schools, bringing their energy and commitment to the middle and high schools as they did with Fernbank Elementary.

YetAnotherFernbankParent said...

Is there any co-operation going on currently between the PTAs of schools in each cluster? Does anyone know? I hope so, this would be encouraging as it seems there are so many individual PTA voices, each with their own school-specific concerns.

But many of these concerns are general and shared -- for example, don't make kids move from a school they are in walking distance from to a school they need to drive 30 mins to (countless responses on the Survey regarding this issue), don't move kids to a new school that performs less well academically (perhaps debatable for Fernbank/BVE, but clearly a huge issue for kids being moved from Druid Hills High to Clarkston, and for several other moves...), don't close schools that are performing well and have potential to expand/meet the DCSS goals of 900-seat elementaries (Livsey and Medlock). I'm sure there must be more overlapping concerns and maybe a united approach would be the best way to attempt to reverse these proposals.

I wonder if collaboration between PTAs is happening behind the scenes. This would help out groups like the DHHS-to-Clarkston group, for example, who are small and may not have a very strong voice by themselves (or are drowned out by the much louder voices of bigger PTAs).

Anonymous said...

@ anonymlus 9:18
"In fact, the majority of DAILY outreach programs by Fernbank Science Center teachers are to high schools in the far reaches of the county. "

Then if the majority of the 28 (the lowest paid teacher was cut last year) Fernbank Science teachers are doing Outreach programs, why is this multimillion dollar structure maintained and the 35 admin and support personnel:
Support Maintenance $56,402
Support - Technical Support $66,088
Support - Support Services $6,790
Support – Security $48,093
Support – Security $47,150
Support – Security $46,929
Support - Secretary $39,427
Support – Secretary $39,427
Support - Scheduler $43,516
Support – Photographer $67,380
Support - Media Specialist $91,320
Support - Maintenance $47,150
Support - Maintenance $34,276
Support - Maintenance $44,836
Support - Maintenance $33,616
Support - Maintenance $32,426
Support - Maintenance $39,276
Support - Head Custodian $52,091
Support - Geologist $75,430
Support - General Administration $50,520
Support - Gardener $44,836
Support - Exhibit Designer $77,892
Support - Exhibit Designer $69,516
Support - Exhibit Designer $84,720
Support - Exhibit Designer $63,576
Support - Designer/Photographer $66,096
Support - Custodial $31,048
Support - Custodial $29,310
Support - Custodial $31,048
Support - CTSS $49,194
Support - Clerical $7,679
Support - Clerical $37,485
Support - Bookkeeper $27,707
Administrator - Director, Fernbank $98,568
Administrator - Administrative Coordinator $91,884

Source: 2009 Salary and Travel audit (Do you think they might make more in 2020?)

Anonymous said...

corrections:
Source: 2009 Salary and Travel audit (Do you think they might make more in 2010? not 2020 - will it still be around with its stuffed animals by 2020?)

Anonymous said...

Whoa, am I the only one who was neutral on this whole Fernbank thing until seeing the letter that said to go ahead and close the schools last year? Wow. Just wow. How dare they tell DCSS to slow this process down this year when they KNEW it was going on a year ago? They just don't like the fact that THEY are on the list this year. So only slow down when Fernbank is named. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Much has been made of the continuation of the IB program for Fernbank Elemenatary's 700 students - all of who are enrolled in the IB program - all the way through high school. But these are the numbers for the IB program:
9th grade - 40
10th grade - 40
11th grade - 35
12th grade - 35

And the students are not all Fernbank ES students. They come from other DCSS schools as well. According to these numbers, only a tiny fraction of Fernbank ES students actually graduate from the IB program. And correct me if I'm wrong, but those students formerly at Fernbank zoned into Druid Hills can pick right back up on the IB program in middle and high if they choose.

source:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/druidhills/
Click on Comparison of the IB to the AP program

Cerebration said...

Whoa!!! FIVE security staff at pushing $50k each? And a full time photographer at almost $70k? PLUS a second "Designer/Photographer at another $70k? (Those are just salaries right? Benes are another 30%!) Dream jobs - can I get one??? I can do security - I'd love to do security!! SIX maintenance people? TWO secretaries? Plus TWO clerical AND a bookkeeper?

No wait - I want this job --
Administrative Coordinator $91,884

What do you need to know to be an Administrative Coordinator? I KNOW I can do it!

Anonymous said...

IB at Druid Hills HS is 11th and 12th grade only, as long as language and other prerequisites are completed in 8, 9, and 10. Students can be fully successful in the high school program without any exposure to IB principles in elementary and middle school. It is a shame that more kids don't chose to pursue the high school IB program. It is the best thing DeKalb high schools have to offer.

Jeanie said...

One thing about the Fernbank letter that surprised me was their dismissal of combining the schools and having one be PK-1st and 2-5 at the other. Then both schools would have their funding....
Seems to me the only chance there is for groups to impact any change on the countys part is COMPROMISE.

Anonymous said...

Maybe more would if they had access to the curriculum earlier. For the record, Fernbank became IB Certified in 2008, Druid Hilld Middle 2010. The kids currently in Fernbank Elementary and Middle will be the first that had a full path to IB.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration
And Amy Power and the Fernbank Elementary community are worried about Central Office "bloat" yet they went all out to preserve the "bloat" at Fernbank Science center last year.

And if the 28 FSC teachers are doing outreach programs - i.e. going out into the schools to teach classes, what are these 35 administrative and support staff doing all day? A lot less these days.

Yes. Astounding isn't it? Millions and millions for support staff at FSC doing - what was it again?

Which begs the question - why would the Fernbank Elementary School Council go to bat for all these FSC admin and support personnel if less and less instruction is taking place at the science center?

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's amazing professional sports teams, including the Braves, don't pay their photographers that much money. The system could get better photography at a much cheaper rate if they contracted it out. Really stupid on the district's part.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:18
"Just because Fernbank Elem put their support in writing does not mean they have a special relationship with the Science Center."

From the brochure on the Fernbank ES website advertising Fernbank as a great school to attend:

"The Fernbank Science Museum and Planetarium, and Fernbank
Forest, sit directly across the street – with Fernbank Natural
History Museum and IMAX just a mile away. Our students visit
these museums and facilities, while enjoying hikes, experiments
and science shows on a regular basis."

Source:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=11&ved=0CCQQFjAAOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fschools.dekalb.k12.ga.us%2Ffernbank%2Fpta%2Ffiles%2FFCF8208DCC41437EAA10D9088472285D.pdf&ei=a1Q6TejMN4G78gaU-8imCg&usg=AFQjCNHbjh6YACVEitaeq2KoreIdMT8sww&sig2=DhY8r5vrxGfgk_VBnm393A

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 10:25 pm

Hopefully, you're not the only one who reads in this open letter to the BOE from the Fernbank Elementary School Council that they are for closing schools and redistricting last year when their school was not going to be touched. It's really worth posting again - forgive me:
""We recognize the difficult, and sometimes painful, cuts which must be made and we appreciate the range of comments and criticisms which permeate the conversations about the budget. ...
Reluctantly, we must also urge the consolidation of more than four schools. DeKalb has a long history of small neighborhood schools, an arrangement we can no longer afford. Based on the stated projected cost savings of nearly $600,000 per school, the consolidation of additional schools should realize a significant savings. And, we believe the savings would be greater when you account for shortfalls in state funding (based on 450 elementary school minimums) coupled with lower central staffing requirements to serve fewer facilities.....These are no doubt difficult times, but from adversity can come success. We urge you to retain a long-term point of view which will best position the children of DeKalb for success in the future.

Sincerely,
Marshall D. Orson
Chair
Fernbank Elementary School Council""


So last year "DeKalb has a long history of small neighborhood schools, an arrangement we can no longer afford."

..but now the Fernbank email as posted on this thread says:
"With that vision in place, follow the Board's own goals:
-- don't split in half historic neighborhoods, like Fernbank, where the building has supported the same neighborhood for 50+ years and the school's many buildings have served Druid Hills for 90+ years."

What happened to the "arrangement we can no longer afford" of last year? Would Marshall Orson, Chair
Fernbank Elementary School Council, like to write a new open letter to the BOE retracting his support last year for closing schools and consolidation?

Cerebration said...

Oh geesh! Now we have former school board members making public opinions --

School Redistricting Plans Spark Discrimination Controversy

A former school board member says part of the plans to redistrict hundreds of DeKalb County students to new schools could lead to a lawsuit. He says the plans divide students along socio-economic lines.

“It’s too much, too soon,” Jim Redovian told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik.

Statistics provided by the school district show Austin Elementary School is more than 100 students over capacity, while Vanderlyn Elementary is 289 students over its capacity. Those statistics show Dunwoody Elementary school is operating under capacity by nearly 400 students.

Redovian told Petchenik he’s concerned about the way the redistricting lines are currently drawn, because he said they would move apartment-dwelling students currently enrolled in Vanderlyn and Austin into Dunwoody Elementary, leaving only students who live in single-family homes eligible to attend the other two schools.

“If you have two schools up in the northern part of the county that end up being predominantly white, you’re looking for a problem from the Justice Department,” he said. “I think it’s setting it up for a lawsuit, and I think it’s setting up for the opportunity for the courts to get involved to go back and tell the county what to do, which is not always the best thing for the kids in the area.”

Jeremy said...

@Cere You mentioned I should point out offensive posts...

@ Anon 9:02 "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. YOU CHILD WILL BE SHOCKED AT THE WORLD THEY SEE ONCE THEY LEAVE YOUR LILLY WHITE ENCLAVE."

Really? Talk about hatred...

@ Anon 9:08 "There is no going back now. You have hung yourself. No one is sympathetic. No one want to cooperate with you now."

What a pathetic, offensive attempt at basic grammar...you should delete just because.

Again...It's SAD to see parents, teachers, admin and others attack each other's situations...

Anonymous said...

My Ferbank third grader has been to the Fernbank Science Center twice so far on a field trip.

No corruption on that front.

Cerebration said...

Oh that -- I've been called "Lily White" so many times I don't even take offense to it anymore...

I will say though, it is black students in metro Atlanta - especially south DeKalb, who will be surprised to find out that much of the world does not look like them or share their culture. The U.S. as a whole is only about 12% African-American - there are more Hispanics these days. And Indian, Asian, Middle-Eastern, etc. The new census will be very interesting, as I think these numbers have probably grown, but our country is more of a melting pot than ever in history I believe. ALL of our students need to be prepared for this truly diverse world.

Anonymous said...

To all schools that are not "acting like": Fernbank... or Lakeside... or Vanderlyn... Livesy this is what can make you strong -- you bond as a community, parents get together, they work together, they contribute as a community to a school and they fight like tooth and nail to do what they believe to be in the best interest of their school. DCSS is at fault for allowing the little fiefdoms to spring up all over the county and for allowing the complete disparity in offerings from one neighborhood to the next. There should absolutely be some base at which all students are entitled to services for art, music, gym, foreign language, and core materials before anyone gets more and those who are the "sneetches with the stars" who have these things don't understand what it is like to be in a school that does not have these things for the 'sneethces that have none." DCSS is to blame for that disparity not the parents fighting to keep what they have in tack. Before DCSS can redistrict a "sneech with a star" to make hiim or her a "sneech without a star" (even if the new school is itself a wonderfully proud and terrific "diamond in the rough") it is absoluately imperative that DCSS take the inbetween step of collecting the 2010 census data to ensure that it has the best data possible, enforce current esidency "bounderies" and see who is alredy supposed to be at the schools, and then absolutely even the offereings so that there are no "sneetches without stars" so there are not such hard feelings if the lines are, indeed, ultimately re-drawn. I believe, that eiminating most of the "special" programs at the elemantary level and only using the IB program, across the board, at the elemenary level, may be a way to beneift all of DCSS's elementary kids in a way that would be far more equitble and benificial than what is currently in place -- obvioulsy this is something that is working in many places -- even if by 11th grade, 15 year olds decide not to commit to the increaed graduation requirements for the IB diploma (where all of the exams are graded and overseen by folks overseas). I understand that Fulton is operating this way (for the most part) and they only have a "cohort" of high schoolers in the program at Riverwood -- there is a base level of high level "basic" elementary education being received in the IB program in elementary and middle school that has a lot to offer with many more "checks and balances" than anything DCSS is doing overall at the present time (with regard to curriculum oversight and how things are taught and graded and standards with international checks and balances -- before folks rule this idea out, I think it's worth looking into -- take a look at Fernbank with a more open eye, watch the Hobart Shakespeareans and look at what schools like Sarah Smith and Jackson are doing and then lets try to get DCSS to actually have a real conversation about what's best for the future of all of our kids as a whole).

Anonymous said...

I note that the letter from the Fernbank School Council talks about school closings, not redistricting, which was the focus last year. Having attended the public meetings this week, Marshall Orson and others made a clear and cogent distinction between the school closing process, which is suppose to address schools which are significantly under-populated, and redistricting which has not been demonstrated to produce any savings or achieve any benefits. The 450 number is the red herring some refer to. Does it really make sense to move kids around based on...well, we do not know what it is based on. Putting aside some writers’ obsession with Fernbank, why are we moving students from Oak Grove to Sagamore (and vicea-versa) or rearranging entire feeder patterns when the premise of "maximizing state funding" appears to be incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Okay--show of hands by all of you bashing Fernbank, this means you favor the redistricting that DCSS proposes? If so, you are being very quiet at the public meetings where over 3500 people have already participated and there appears to be no support for the overall plan (or even for parts of the plan other than some groups favoring putting the magnets together and others favoring the continuation of separate magnets).

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:56
"The 450 number is the red herring some refer to. Does it really make sense to move kids around based on...well, we do not know what it is based on."

Well, we're splitting hairs here aren't we? "You never said we would have to redistrict to get to the 450 minimum requirement for state funding for schools in DCSS."

Look at what the letter from the Marshall Orson and the Fernbank Elementary Council says:
"And, we believe the savings would be greater when you account for shortfalls in state funding (based on 450 elementary school minimums) "

So Fernbank realized then a savings would be in the offing if schools were 450 minimun enrollment. They just didn't think it would affect them.

Of course, I agree with you that Ms. Tyson needs to tell you how much more state money DCSS will get when Briar Vista gets up to 450 because of the Fernbank students redistricted into their school.

Kim Gokce said...

Point of Order:

The 2010 Census keeps getting bandied about as yet another reason to delay decisions that are twenty years overdue - poppycock! The first every American Community Survey 5-year report is out already and contains very detailed population data that is barely one year old.

My son is four years old. My prayer is that before he graduates from high school we have the system the children deserve in DeKalb County. T
his 2020 Vision thing has too little vision going on and we the people are expending all our energies firewalling and reverting to tribalism.

We have devolved into a "Lord of the Flies" story - I just hope our conch shell hasn't been crushed yet and the call to rational discourse and common interests will prevail.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:56

"Putting aside some writers’ obsession with Fernbank,

I thought this thread was regarding an email the Fernbank CoPresident wrote regarding moving the Fernbank redistricting agenda forward. So wouldn't the posts be about - uh - Fernbank?

What school would you like us to discuss - Oak Grove - well then post an email like the one from Fernbank leaders.

Anonymous said...

Is Midvale an IB school? They have a link on their homepage to the IB program and a header proclaiming they are. In the meetings I have been to, I only hear about Fernbank having IB. Anyone out there from Midvale that can clarify that? I am merely curious as to the Fernbank parent claims about their IB program being the only one in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Not saying DELAY, just saying why didn't they use more recent and available demographic data, and how does more recent data impact the discussion.

Kim Gokce said...

I hear you and those are legitimate questions but what sort of precision to the data is really required when the numbers are so out of whack?

Our capital and capacity problems require hacksaw, not laser, precision.

Oh Well said...

I attended both the Druid Hills (Shamrock) and Chamblee Public Input Workshops this past week, and feel quite comfortable in stating that, despite the concerted efforts by the various North DeKalb elementary schools, they were NOT able to overly dominate the meetings and, for the most part, were contributing many thoughtful ideas that applied county wide, not to just their schools. The meetings were structured in such a way as to limit the potential for any one group to hijack the proceedings, and the sheer numbers of participants and tables made it that much more difficult. With perhaps 74 tables at Druid Hills, and more than 100 at Chamblee, every valid opinion was adequately and repeatedly voiced. Furthermore, their efforts are easily recognized by the consultants and DCSS planners for what they are, and this is certainly factored into their considerations in an equitable fashion. If DCSS receives hundreds of copies of the same 10 talking points, repeated over and over again, even if it represents 50% of the comments made, it still is only 10 talking points. If 50% of the comments originate from 5 schools representing less than 4% of the DCSS student population, they still only represent those 4%. The planners are not stupid; they know very well what is going on.

What I find most disturbing is the deafening silence coming from Central and South DeKalb. There are few if any comments on this blog, or anywhere else I’ve looked, on the massive closings and redistricting proposals in those areas. The changes at Fernbank, Lakeside, Vanderlyn, etc., pale in comparison to what is being asked of the students and families in the Avondale, Columbia, Towers and McNair clusters. They seemed totally absent at the meetings at Druid Hills and Chamblee. I don’t know about Miller Grove, but from what I’ve read, that meeting was also dominated by the North DeKalb schools. Both the meetings I attended were at least 90% white, and it seemed most of the African Americans in attendance were the moderators recruited from DCSS.

Even more troubling are the results posted on the DCSS web site page for the Public Input Comment Results, found at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/redistricting#publicInputWorkshop,
where over 90% of the respondents and 90% of the comments are from Superclusters 1 and 2. Less than 7% are from the 3 South and Central DeKalb clusters. Again, reading through the almost 1200 comments, there is nothing about Central DeKalb. Absolutely nothing. We know that they care. We know that they also love their schools and their teachers. And we know that they also have an equal stake in the future of DeKalb schools. But where are they?

Who is fighting for their interests?

Anonymous said...

"The Fernbank advocacy of maintaining the vertical alignment of IB schools from Fernbank to Shamrock to Druid Hills is also a red herring. Fernbank has one of the lowest percentages of sending elementary school students up through the feeder schools to graduate from the designated high schools. In reality, Fernbank is a feeder for Paideia and the like."


I like the Fernbankers, but it's very true that many of them do not go all the way through to Druid Hills High, and very, very few take part of IB at Shamrock and then DHHS.

I'd love to heear from a Fernbanker on why their PTA is so strong but most of these same parents don't follow through at Shamrock and DHSS.

Anonymous said...

"I'd love to hear from a Fernbanker on why their PTA is so strong but most of these same parents don't follow through at Shamrock and DHSS."

Because they're at Padeia or Pius by then.

Anonymous said...

According to the IB website http://www.ibo.org both Avondale and Midvale have IB Primary Year programs.

M G said...

I believe Midvale is an IB school. I know Avondale ES is an IB school.

Anonymous said...

Most parents in DeKalb care about their children. I would venture most don't want their children's school changed. Heck, many don't even like it if the principal or school secretary changes.

However, this is DeKalb. We have a huge population of under educated and poor parents. These parents often juggle two jobs with parenting and many, many are single parents.

They really do want the best for their children.

They can't go to PTA meetings, secret Friday night meetings to organize strategy and still get food on the table.

Does that make their argument less worthy?

Is this suppose to be about who screams the loudest and who sends the most emails?

Anonymous said...

I hate to point this out, but they do not appear to be using projections for this round. As far as I can tell, they are only using current enrollment. Look at the maps and the data provided and you will see what I am talking about.

I think this is because this is just Part I of a two part plan. I suspect the 2020 vision will have more projections etc.

Anonymous said...

Please, talk about something you know about. Most Fernbank kids do go on to Druid Hills Middle and High. We are not on this blog criticizing our track. We are working every day to make it the best it can be!

Anonymous said...

I am a Fernbank parent. Three years ago, I asked a graduating fifth grade family that was sending their child to Shamrock what percent of the class was going. That year it was 90%.

The Druid Hills neighborhood has a great deal of economic diversity. Many professors and CDC employees, VA employees etc. We have over 20 countries represented. Last year my, child had kids from 8 countries in his class.

Anonymous said...

One of the largest (if not the largest) cohorts of students entering Druid Hills Middle School comes from Fernbank Elementary. Yes, it would be great if every Fernbank 5th grader went on to DHMS but approximately 85% do move on. And the parents are engaged in those schools, bringing their energy and commitment to the middle and high schools as they did with Fernbank Elementary.

Cerebration said...

FWIW, most of the schools in central and north DeKalb have students from all around the world. That is not strictly unique to Fernbank. For instance, Oak Grove has students from over 30 countries and Lakeside, last I heard, had students from 58 countries, most of these families speaking their native language at home. I've long said that this is something that south DeKalb schools do not have to attend to - not a lot of ESOL programs in south DeKalb. The diversity is in central and north DeKalb. Kim has certainly enlightened us about the wonderful, international diversity at Cross Keys. Clarkston is well-known as a place for refugees to settle. These refugees are not "fellows" or "doctoral students" either. Many are from warring, dangerous countries. Sometimes they have to sit in class with students from the countries they are at war with.

There are many good people all over DeKalb helping and supporting young people newly settled here from other countries. If you want to be lifted up, join in and support them.

In fact, check out our post on the "Fugees" - and then send them a donation if you can.

Support the Fugees Family!

or join the Cross Keys Foundation as a Lifetime member (Nancy Jester is one!)

Cross Keys Foundation

Anonymous said...

http://dunwoody.patch.com/articles/public-chimes-in-on-redistricting-ideas-under-consideration

“The system can’t work without public feedback,” said DeKalb County Schools Public Information Officer Walter Woods.


Wait, I thought they fired all the PR staff except for Frances Edwards' daughter Philandra Guillory (she;s making a big six figure salary despite no previous experience in media), and Hired Cohn & Wolf and Jeff Dickerson to do PR. Dickerson is always in the AJC as a "DCSS spokesperson".

How much is Walter Woods being paid while we also pay Cohn and Dickerson?

Kim Gokce said...

@Anon 7:32 "They really do want the best for their children."

Thank you. This is the simple truth. It's like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds. Thank you!

I'm on my way to Woodward ES today to help (mostly observe) with a Saturday tutoring session. The families at this school and the six other schools of the Cross Keys attendance area the CK Foundation supports are not organized to push an agenda at the system level that would benefit their vision of their children schools. They are not even aware that this universe of calculated and complex advocacy exists.

They are, however, committed just the same as you and I to the elevation of their kids and are just as dedicated, if not more so, to their school's teachers and classrooms. The Woodward parents have done an amazing job of raising their children under very trying circumstances and you will find the 900 or so of them to be more or less just like the children of your school.

I pick up on your point, Anon, not to bash Fernnbank parents or any other of the "higher end" communities that are engaged in this fight for central office and BoE decisions. I do so simply to point out that the Cross Keys' community, one that spans the entire width of DeKalb Co., one that includes stakeholders in Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, and beyond, has absolutely nothing to gain or lose in this civic and political battle.

This group has managed to support one of the top three high schools academically speaking in DeKalb Co. with nothing like what other communities insist is essential for success - small, neighborhood scale ESes, sexy academic programs, or parent groups "running the show."

This year alone, they have produced a senior with a full ride at Williams College, the number one school in the U.S. according to Forbes, another senior with a full ride at Stanford, a little school in California you may have heard of recently due to the success of their football program. These two are representive of one of the smartest and most responsible group of seniors in DeKalb Co.

I know many tire of my endless praises and rants about Cross Keys' communities and schools but that is my point of reference folks. In my opinion, Cross Keys attendance area schools also challege many of the assertions about what is required for a successful academic product in our public schools.

Thank you, Anon, for reminding us all that we all want the same thing for our children - opportunity. In this 2020 Vision debate I hear too little about how we optimize opportunity for every child - those with a voice AND Those without a voice.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/26563404/detail.html
He said he was also concerned about the apparent lack of diversity that could occur if renters were cut out of the two schools. “I’m not going to use the word segregation, but I think there’s some disparity there,” he said.


But you did use the word
"segregation"!!

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: "Nancy Jester"

Uh oh! You've outted her now! LOL. This is one of the reasons I was so quiet during the election.

Thanks for the plug - it really is not necessary and therefore that much more appreciated. I'm just going blush and head over to Woodward now ...

Anonymous said...

"This group has managed to support one of the top three high schools academically speaking in DeKalb Co. with nothing like what other communities insist is essential for success - small, neighborhood scale ESes, sexy academic programs, or parent groups "running the show."


I wonder, who runs actually Fernbank, the school system or the Fernbank parents???

Anonymous said...

"And the parents are engaged in those schools, bringing their energy and commitment to the middle and high schools as they did with Fernbank Elementary."

Yes, there are many parents from the Fernbank community who are active at the middle and high school. I am grateful for these parents and for those from the other feeder schools who devote their time, energy and money to the school. But the number PALES in comparison with the number involved at Fernbank, and so do the financial contributions. Just compare the money raised by the PTAs, at the auction, numbers involved in PTA and school events. There were a couple years at Shamrock/DH middle where the school could not recruit PTA officers. Yes, involvement has increased and I hope it will continue to do so, but the reality is our middle and high schools desperately need parental support at the same level as the elementarty schools.

Anonymous said...

@8:39, Walter Woods works for Cohen & Wolf and is DCSS' main point of contact.

Anonymous said...

I really hope this springs up a lesson in humility. I am a fernbenk parent and it has caused me to be very reflective about my why we are here as a whole. I hope it has done the same for our famed PTA president (AP) the way you walk around the school as if you own it! Being selective in who you talk to and interact with completely jumps off the page of that letter. Not even sure you see it in yourself. I cou,d say more- but dont want to bash. We are here to support you but hopefully, this has caused pause in all of us!

Concerned said...

I am a North Dekalb parent with alot on the line during this process. I am happy to speak with anyone in South Dekalb to assist them with advocating for themselves during the next round of meetings. I am sure I am not alone, but how do we figure out what they want?
I have looked at the South Dekalb Parent Council webside and the South Dekalb Blog. There is no direction.
Just because we at Lakeside, Dunwoody, Chamblee, DHHS and all of our feeder schools are advocating for ourselves it does NOT mean we are blind to others. Even in our own cluster.

Cerebration said...

Yes, I know this about Nancy, because she has proudly worn her Cross Keys Foundation Lifetime Member pin since mid-election cycle. It's a super-nice pin Kim!

And in my heart, I disagree with these public parades. Sorry, but I gotta just say it. The board is wimpy. The board has had opportunity after opportunity to get this consolidation and redistricting done (as they were elected to do) yet they continue to choose instead to create "Citizen Task Forces" and "MGT Consultants" to drive the discussion to the point where it becomes a Cuckoos Nest.

The standard process as I understand it, is that a board of education devises redistricting plans and consolidation plans and legally must present them publicly (twice?) before implementation --- and then moving on. IMHO, I have to wonder if this isn't just DeKalb standard operating procedure - create fires in order to have to stop the 'real work' of focusing on education so that you can put out the fire. It's just been fire, after fire, after fire, after fire over the last 14 years that I've been involved.

No other school system does it this way. And if you'll notice, they all redistrict fairly regularly, with some pain, but then get back to the job at hand: EDUCATION. And their test scores show the difference.

Cerebration said...

ok - so, now we have the Dunwoody City Council discussing DCSS redistricting as an agenda item - in fact, they are presenting a formal "Resolution" on the subject.

Sigh!

Agenda Changes to the Jan 24th Dunwoody City Council Meeting - Revised resolution on DeKalb Redistricting

Dekalbparent said...

I am TIRED of people who don't understand the IB program trotting out statistics in an effort to prove the elementary IB program is worthless.

First of all, the IB Primary Years and Middle Years programs are different from the high school program. They are sound educational programs based on a perspective of educating the child as a citizen of the entire world. (e.g. no more history that stops at the borders of the U.S. as if what went on in the the rest of didn't matter. No more leaving out the influence of the rest of the world on scientific and mathematical innovations of the Renaissance - for goodness sake, who kept the science and math of the Greeks and Romans preserved? The scholars of the Middle East, that's who.)

The high school IB program is different. It is a challenging, discussion-based curriculum based on critical thinking and writing. It is not the same as AP (which is just as difficult, but is paced more quickly, with less writing). Both are scored by exams that are developed by someone other than the teacher (IB by the international organization and AP by the College Board) It is a matter of personal preference for the student. A better measure of the IB programs at elementary and middle schools is how many of the kids from those programs take either IB or AP.

As another poster said, the high school IB program is open to everybody, and it's too bad IB has a "scary" reputation. It's a program that (like AP) prepares the student well for post high school education.

(BTW, the numbers quoted below are misleading to say the least, because there is no IB program for 9th and 10th graders. They take accelerated, honors or AP classes in those grades, just like the kids who go on to AP.)

Anonymous said...

The reporting at my table at the session I attended got hijacked by representatives of two large, organized groups. They were not willing to voice the concerns of the parents at the table from other schools in their clusters. Wish I'd sat with Concerned at 9:32 instead of with people who were indeed blind to others.

I am sorry to have to concede that those who prefer majority-white single-family home districts are "smarter" than me. I intentionally chose an economically and ethnically diverse elementary with caring staff. My children had a good experience. The more homogeneous neighborhoods in our cluster may consider our elementary to be second-rate, but in high school my kids and their friends excelled, more than holding their own among peers from the "best" elementary in the cluster. The one thing wrong with being economically diverse is that you make a much easier target when the school system wants to make harmful changes. It is much harder to get a large group together to make a lot of noise when political action is needed.

According to the Georgia DOE website, Fernbank, which January 21, 2011 6:33 PM characterized as one of the most diverse schools in Dekalb, is 60% white and 17% Asian, with only 11% eligible for free/reduced meals. Their relative affluence and homogeneity is why they can organize a large and vocal group. If I had to do it over, maybe I would buy a house in a less diverse district, only as protection from being an easy target.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying that the IB elementary program is valueless--in fact, quite the contrary. The controversy is two-fold: why is IB available at some schools and not others, and why are FB parents saying vertical IB integration is a reason not to redistrict although apparently only a fraction of FB parents intend to send their children to public schools past 5th grade.

Anonymous said...

This is unreal, almost surreal! Cere, it might be time for you to start a thread about the overall proposals. Over the past three days, I have read talking points and position papers from CCHS, CMS, Montgomery, Kittredge, Fernbank, Lakeside, and now the Dunwoody City Council etc.. I think it would be great to place all these papers and positions into a public thread so everyone can read and determine what the schools community leaders are thinking. When you read them you'll notice that many have the same thoughts and ideas. Maybe we need to focus on what we agree on first and work from there. This us/them, north/south, Fernbank/World is exactly what our DCSS leadership wants. They know we are distracted and they will do whatever they want. Folks, this plan is a done deal, we're just deciding which one to choose. I wish we could take the magnet issue out of this debate. We need to balance the zones or clusters first. Then do a major financial and educational audit of the magnet programs countywide.

I really believe DCSS has made a major mistake trying to tackle this thing all at once. Clew had a chance to right this ship 4 years ago, but he did not have the intestinal fortitude to do it. Plus, because of Sembler it was all about the money and political favors back then. Now we're paying MGT consultants to lead us into the future.

Folks let's look back to the leadership and demand change! Let's audit the Central Office, I can't imagine the amount of money we would have to put back into the schools, if we could get rid of the very programs that are bankrupting our system financially as well as our kids education. Keep what works, duplicate it, balance the offerings at all schools as well as the attendance. Once this happens then we can tackle magnets and the like.

DCSS is far from being premier, and I blame the leadership and their unwillingness to look at what works and what doesn't. To the DCSS leadership, it's all about politics, friends and family. It's not about OUR kids and their education.

Anonymous said...

For the record, rumor has it that there were parents at at least some of the schools that were on the 'to be closed' list last year who were actually excited about the prospects of gaining the opportunity for a better opportunity and school for the child -- they "got it" -- they understood that there could be "efficiencies of scale" in a larger school with a different administrative staff. The adminsitrative staff and certain BOE person(s) stuck their body parts in and spoke for the parents and hijacked their beliefs and coerced them into speaking out in certain ways.... that may explain, maybe partially, why they've been so silent. Two jobs does not preclude one from filling out a survey. There is a reason that the schools sit half to two-thirds empty. There are twice as many schools as there are children in SC5. It's not just that SC1 and SC2 parents "know" how to advocate.... If you attend meetings on issues that are are great concern to SC5 parents, they really do know how to speak for themselves -- so perhaps they may like some of the possibilities here. Perhaps some of the issues raised by Dr. Blackwood speak some truths about administrators in certain buildings and change bring a breath of fresh air. I think it's inexcusable that any buildngs sit idle and become a blight for the community -- the buildings should required to be razed or sold.

Anonymous said...

If I were a Briar Vista parent I would be lobbying just as hard as I could to be redistricted into Fernbank because the writing is on the wall for the Briar Vista district. There is no way that school district is sustainable long-term and proabably not even short-term (5 years).

The entire northern part of the district attends the Torah Day School and once the new synagogue is completed much more of the surrounding neighborhoods will "convert". There are hundreds of children in that district that were not even taken into account as part of the in-district population, which is extremely mis-leading when you look at the numbers.

Emotionalism aside, the smartest thing BV parents can be doing right now is push to join Fernbank.

Anonymous said...

YOu know, after all that DCSS has been through and is going through, I do give DCSS (Ramona) and MGT credit for actually for the first time in a very long time setting up a process whereby it at least seems as if the parents can have some input. One of the true problems with our subpar education system (and there are schools that don't fit this) is that we have a lot of very well educated, well positioned parents who have a lot to offer, who can and are willing to offer a lot of expertise to DCSS on various underlying issues that are necessary and important. If DCSS can take a deep breath and accept this help -- the experts at GA Tech and Emory and the programs; the experts in the business world with marketing and purchasing backgrounds, and finance backgrounds, and actually implement some of the ideas that germanate from this expereince that actaully also comes with experience from having children in the schools and living in the neighborhods and they themselves being educated, instead of being scared to death of it and using their own backgrounds of many on-line degrees (sorry to offend anyone) and few years in classrooms to actually try to design the best system possible, there may be hope. There is so much to be gained by working together and using our collective expertise by being in the 6th largest city in America with so many universities and corporations and small businesses and successful people -- DCSS could really benefit by taking it's volunteer successful PTA parents and putting them to work for the good of the whole instead of marginalizing them. Oh, what it would be to be on a quest to implement "the best of the best" that works in education in other urban and suburban environments (including Fulton & Gwinnett & NYC) and in other corporate enviroments ..... rather than trying to make it up as we go and putting people into jobs without qualifications for them.....

Anonymous said...

I wish my kids school had someone fighting for its best interests as vigilantly as does the fernbank crowd.
Don't let bickering derail what should be the primary focus here- the shortcomings of the BOE proposal. BOE would love for infighting to take the spotlight off their flawed plan; with its complete lack of insight, and failure to promote quality of education.
Forget the strategies of other schools, get up to speed with the facts and bolster our forces as Fernbank has.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:51P Jan. 21 who disputed Auntie Gerrymander's comments that Emory has a special relationship with Fernbank and provides health services. This is straight from the Fernbank webpage. Check out your facts before you accuse others of lying:



"Emory University's partnership with Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills High School began under President James T. Laney. In 1986, the University in collaboration with the DeKalb Partners in Education, Fernbank Elementary and Druid Hills High School, established the Emory University partnership. In 2002, Cary Reynolds Elementary and Shamrock Middle Schools were added to the partnership.

The partnership is unique in that it is service oriented. The students, faculty and staff at each school have access to the facilities, research use, the Carlos Museum, tutors and many other opportunities. Over the years, more than 1,000 students have tutored. The pastoral counseling center provides family counseling, nursing students offer physical exams, and presentations on health and hygiene, and outstanding students and teachers at all four schools are recognized. As a result, the partnership was named one of the "100 Best for 1993-94" by the Partnerships in Education Journal.

One of the paramount contributions any great university can make is to be part of the entire community. Through this partnership between Emory, Fernbank, Cary Reynolds, Shamrock and Druid Hills, we have widened the circle of people who truly care about the advancement of children."

Cerebration said...

Please watch the video in the post that follows this one. The MGT consultant clearly states that they expect an "option 3" to emerge from these meetings. I don't think for one minute they actually expected people to endorse one plan or another. People are very quick to critique others work - that's why the most effective way to get the ball rolling is to introduce a strong idea and then watch the arm-chair quarterbacks tear it apart.

You have to be thick-skinned - but it's an effective way to get work done. I will grant the consultants points for moxy - moxy that our board is clearly missing.

Anonymous said...

Again, really? Get off the defensive. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Your fight is with the BOE, use your energy to find the inconsistencies with their plan.

Anonymous said...

"Check out your facts"... Anon 12:32, that is very wise advice that more that a few folks who post here seem unwilling to follow.

How hard is it to make a phone call and check that your "facts" are straight before you post them. I am sure the principal at Fernbank would be happy to talk to anyone about all the clubs they have, and explain in great detail the relationship they have with all their partners in education.

Anonymous said...

The concern I have is that Briar Vista and/or other schools might be closed in the master plan to be presented in August.

I think that there is much more angst to come and while it is a necessary pain, that won't make it any easier to take.

Anonymous said...

All you people are fighting with each other (or against Fernbank!) It is ridiculous! It is just want "they" want. Don't you realize that you are ALL in this together? It should not be one school this and another school that. We are fighting for ALL of our PUBLIC education. Together. Get real people. (And, no, I do not even have kids nor do I live in Fernbank district.) But I do have a vested interest in public education and DeKalb County. Stop harping on one of the schools in the county that does in fact have a high parental involvement. If someone did a CBS special on it, the greater population would love to see parents involved in their child's public school (such as a Fernbank, Oak Grove, etc.) Yet in reading these comments here, you all are MAD at the very parents who care about their school? What do you want them to do? Sit back? All you people are crazy. Go do something productive and stop complaining about a school in your own school district.

Anonymous said...

We need all of the PTA presidents in the system to work together, instead of against each other.

Remember this:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/01/only-atlanta-surpasses-dekalb-in-100000.html
"Only Atlanta surpasses DeKalb in $100,000 administrators per student"


It's the Central Office that needs new leadership and to be right-sized.

The single best thing PTA's can do is not fight over re-districting, but to band together and work for common goals.

Anonymous said...

You can say something that isn't true over and over, but it doesn't make it true! It is not a "fraction of Fernbank families that move on to Druid Hills Middle and High.

85-90% of fifth graders go to Druid Hills Middle.

I do agree that IB should be pursued by other schools in the county. Let's build more IB paths for kids all through the county. It is a rigorous high school path, and the more the kids are exposed at a younger age, the more likely they will be to choose that option in high school.

Anonymous said...

Attention Board Members (old and new)

Rumor is that you are meddling in this process. Please remember that SACs is watching and so are we. If we find that you overstep your boundaries, we will tell SACs ourselves.

Stay out of this and let the professionals do their job.

Again, do not jeopardize our accreditation to reward constituents that you think helped get you elected.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 1:49

"
85-90% of fifth graders go to Druid Hills Middle"

Well, if you're right, then you should have no problem citing your source - correct? Please cite a source that can be verified. Then we'll believe you.

Anonymous said...

Three years ago, 95 kids graduated from Fernbank 5th grade. All but 9 went to Shamrock.

Call the front office if you want the numbers from other years. It ranges from 9-18.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the voice of reason –I don’t know who hurt “anonymous “ from the FB community – but I am truly sorry for thir pain. Having said that – MOVE ON!!!! The 103+ students that will or will not be redistricted away from FB is NOT the problem and has become a distraction from the issues.
The big problem is that if we are to look at economic concerns for the county we are not addressing them with a big picture view of the county and it’s projected future. Eg.
• We have more vacant properties sitting around this county and their does not seem to be a plan to address those or the soon to be vacant schools.
• We have a board that gives such an exorbitant raise the acting superintendent that it ensures there will never be criminal action. After all, you can fill up your car as many times as needed if you have an expense account of $2500 each month (no receipts required!). While I do not have any issue with our acting superintendent, it sends a horrible message to teachers that haven’t had their raises/step increases in over 4 years. You don’t see a substitute teacher getting the same as a teacher do you? The same issues happened last year –just as they announced $300,000 to add new lighting (yet another re-do) for the board room – they also announce layoffs and cutbacks. There is a disconnect of concerns that are impacting the education of our children. The burden is on the backs of the families and educators.
• Projections do not align with the 2020 vision. I’m not sure what bon head came up with the idea for 900 elementary students in a school; however, if that is the plan why are we moving students out of schools that do not exceed this. Additionally, if something is working – leave it alone and move on to something that doesn’t.
• Many of the recommendations are not consistent with the district goals. Moving children out of their neighborhood into another neighborhood goes against “support of community cohesion” and “minimizing the distance of travel”.
• If the board is really interested in the public input, then how could they possible propose a plan that takes into account the concerns with such short window until the final board vote. Yes it has been done before – why don’t we get it right this time so we can move on in a progressive way that works for best for our children’s future.
• I could go on; however, I have probably lost all those that we only interested in the soap opera aspect this blog is turning into…..
When our county/board begins to present ideas that are consistent with their vision, using accurate and up to date data that includes a cost analysis, then we can all make intelligent decisions for this county and it’s future. Additionally, until the board and many in administration can act in a credible way and end their “let them eat cake” attitude, there will always be skepticism of anything presented. Until then we are not taking an honest look at the true needs of the county and we will always continue to re-do what was done and the cycle will continue. This is a wonderful opportunity to get it right. However, if you wish to continue FB bashing perhaps you could find another outlet to voice your anger towards all things Fernbank. This one is supposed to help all Dekalb county residents. If we are the Premiere County, let’s start acting like it!

Anonymous said...

Could the moderator please start a new blog topic that provides a forum for discussion that has a new header? Maybe then the conversation will steer away from Fernbank, and onto the real issues facing the county. Let's set a new tone for constructive discussion.

CAMMER said...

To: Anon
"All well and good, but when the student talked about the move of the magnet interfering with college acceptance and said that the none of CCHS magnet teachers would be at the new location, I was disturbed. I can't see the truth of either of these statements, but they are being widely disseminated."

Don't forget, there is no "truth" yet because there are two conceptual ideas put forward without any detailed plans. We need to help DCSS understand through forums like this that they could impact students in a negative way through unintended consequences. Would teachers who live near Chamblee drive all the way to Avondale each day? We don't know. It is important to point out all the potential hitches right now. Lets applaud the initiative from those who might be most impacted.

Cortlandt Minnich

Anonymous said...

@CAMMER

My questions were:

HOW would moving the magnet program affect college admission opportunities? It's the same program. Would a college ACEPT a student whose transcript says "DCSS High Achievers Program at Chamblee Charter High School" but REJECT one whose transcript said said "DCSS High Achievers Program at Avondale High School"

Would the magnet teachers give up teaching a magnet high achievers class because they don't want to drive to Avondale? As I understand it, the magnet staff from KMS all moved to Nancy Creek, even though they did not change their residences.

This just looked a lot like the fear-mongering we are decrying here on the blog. It is spreading to the children.

Anonymous said...

I believe all of DSA moved to Avondale despite the fear mongering... it's just that... fear and territorialism. Furthermore, at its inception, the magnet teachers at KMS and Chamblee were supposed to take what they learned in the magnet incubator and move into other schools so more kids could benefit from their skills --they were not supposed to be secluded away in the immune evirnoment of the magnet for their careers.....

Anonymous said...

http://www.championnewspaper.com/news/articles/771medlock-elementary-supporters-face-second-front-against-closure--771.html

Medlock Elementary supporters face second front against closure

Ella Smith said...

I did not think the Fernbank Parents over shadowed the Sharock/Druid Hills Middle School meeting at all.

I think it was clear that the Fernbank families wanted things left the same and it was clear the Lakeside community were more concerned with the high school boundaries than the elementary or feeder schools. The community feeds off the loyalty to Lakeside and not necessarily the elementary schools. I heard much discussion about strong boundaries like I85 and 285 which indicates that the Lakeside family (including me) feel that it is time to stop allowing politics in the past to keep Pleasantdale and other grade schools on the other side of the interstate that are closer to Tucker. Henderson Middle School has too many students. It would make sense to move some of the students to Tucker sense it is so close. Livsey could even take the overcrowding at Pleasantdale to prevent it from closing.

I have heard that parents from Evandale Elem. indicate that they have something in writing that they will never be moved to Tucker. I hope that one group of individuals have not been given this type of political promise at the expense of long time Lakeside High School residence that are in walking distance to Lakeside. This is unthinkable. The politician in the past is no longer on the DeKalb County School payroll in any sense. Even though the clout is still there it is time to allow the right thing to happen.

I hate to see Fernbank's distrist torn apart. These parents have work hard to provide their children all the support needed in their school to be successful. However, I also do not approve of students taking classes in trailers so if Fernbank is going to stay then an addition needs to be added onto their school. Maybe an addition can be added onto BriarVista for the incoming students also. This may be a good solution. We would have the number of students we needed in the schools.

I do not see the plan staying as it is and I do see school board members having a say in the changes. I think it will be hard for some of them to stay away as they made promises during the election process they need to keep.

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