Monday, January 10, 2011

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

As the Fernbank, Druid Hills and Lakeside crowds were organizing their own community ad hocs designed to fight the redistricting plans for DCSS, Dunwoody remained relatively quiet.  Now, they have come to the table with a petition of their own (a petition I would say that even Dunwoody residents probably do not agree upon completely).  All of this powerful resistance to redistricting plans tells us one thing: Communities have absolutely no faith or trust in our school system leadership and will not blindly follow any recommendation they attempt to put forth.

The school system has held some very sacred cards close to their chest in this game. One, Arabia is completely off the table. Not even discussed. Not even offered up to relieve over-crowding in that area—even though that is the stated reason the school was originally built. (Read our report on it here.) Two, the school communities currently resisting redistricting are convinced that their schools are over-crowded largely due to the enormous numbers of transfers—legal ones like AYP and special ones like Administrative Letters. It is patently unfair to deem a school "over-crowded" when the crowding may be due to outsiders, and then make neighborhood children attend school elsewhere. Ramona Tyson quietly removed the board policy that was up for change on this subject at the last meeting—Why? Three, there are too many issues tangled up in this plan to make it workable. For instance, the magnet programs need to be addressed and attended to as a subject all their own—not simply part of this plan. And really, what good does it do to redistrict students into failing schools? It won't stick, as these students will now qualify for AYP transfers. And last, there was an audit conducted in 2004 by Ernst & Young that showed DCSS was spending an estimated $15 million annually on inflated salaries in administration. That report was mysteriously buried and no new report was ever ordered. Interestingly, from our estimates, this entire painful redistricting plan will not save the system as much as implementing the salary audit recommendations. What a tangled mess!

AT any rate, check out the petition by clicking here.

Target: DeKalb County, Georgia School Board & Superintendent
Web site: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/redistricting
Background (Preamble):
This is a petition to inform the DeKalb County School System where Dunwoody stands on the Redistricting and Consolidation Plan, that will take effect August 2011. DeKalb County has made two preliminary redistricting proposals that affect Dunwoody schools.

The Superintendent is accepting public input and will make her final recommendation on redistricting to the School Board on January 31, 2011. Please sign the petition to show your support.
Petition:

PETITION FOR DUNWOODY COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

1. We do not support the County’s Decentralized Plan as is.

2. The County Decentralized Plan has the following problems:

•Dunwoody Elementary School (DES) cannot accommodate 1,132 students. The cafeteria and gym are comparable in size to Vanderlyn’s. Children will be moved from modular classrooms at Vanderlyn to trailers at DES.

•There is no access to Austin or Vanderlyn for students who live in rental complexes.

•The percentage of renters at DES would be over 60% compared with 0% at Vanderlyn and 0% at Austin.

3. We believe the 4/5 school is an excellent educational model, and one of several plausible solutions. We believe the 4th and 5th graders from Kingsley should attend DES.

4. We believe that limiting access to Vanderlyn and Austin to only homeowners is not acceptable.

5. We believe Dunwoody homeowners should be able to send their children to Dunwoody schools.

6. Modular classrooms are a better learning environment than trailers.

7. The location of the magnet program should not influence fair drawing of school lines in Dunwoody.

8. We believe it is irresponsible to decide to keep magnets where they are before knowing whether it is more cost effective for the County to centralize them.

230 comments:

1 – 200 of 230   Newer›   Newest»
Cerebration said...

For those interested, here is Lakeside's PTA-sponsored email -

Dear Henderson - Lakeside Community,
Friday, we invited PTA leaders from schools that feed into Henderson and Lakeside to meet with us to address the school system's proposed redistricting for our schools. We are now asking for you to take action.
To bring you up to speed, here is a little background on the redistricting: There are 11,000 empty seats in schools across DeKalb County. In order to maximize capital and operational funding opportunities provided by the State of Georgia, the school system must address the empty seats. This can be done by closing or repurposing schools and/or by changing the boundaries of the attendance areas of the schools.
DeKalb County hired an outside consulting firm, MGT of America, to make recommendations about where schools should be closed and where lines should be redrawn. MGT did an educational adequacy survey of every school, held a series of meetings for the public to provide input, and gathered demographic data that was studied. They presented 2 proposals to the Board of Education on January 3rd. They can be found at this link.

For the Lakeside community, the proposal included moving attendance lines for most elementary schools, in some cases removing students from the Henderson-Lakeside district. It includes sending a percentage of students from Briarlake, Oak Grove and Sagamore, who now attend Henderson and Lakeside, to Druid Hills Middle (formerly Shamrock) and Druid Hills High. One option sends a portion of the Evansdale community to Livsey.
Now it is time for the public to comment on the proposed changes.
At Friday's meeting, the PTA leadership of the schools in the Lakeside cluster unanimously agreed that, at a minimum, we want to preserve the Henderson-Lakeside school district as it exists today. We have data that shows that when construction is complete at Lakeside, we will have room for every high school student in the attendance area. Therefore, we do not see a need to remove students from our feeder pattern as the options now suggest. We understand that the attendance lines of some of the elementary schools within our feeder pattern may need to change to avoid overcrowding, to adequately use the existing buildings and to qualify for maximum state funding. We are willing to do that to keep Lakeside's entire existing attendance area in place.
The Lakeside community believes the Board of Education will make the best, most economically responsible, decision about the location and number of magnet programs within the county. We hope to focus the Board of Education's attention on our recommendations to help them best configure the Henderson-Lakeside community for maximum fiscal responsibility.

Cerebration said...

PART 2


Here's how you can help:

***There are six community meetings throughout DeKalb in the next 2 weeks. Please attend as many of these as you can and express your desire to keep the Henderson-Lakeside community intact.

January 11, 2011 - Miller Grove High School, 6:30 pm
January 12, 2011 - Druid Hills Middle School, (formerly Shamrock MS) 6:30pm
January 13, 2011 - Chamblee High School, 6:30 pm
January 18, 2011 - McNair High School, 6:30 pm
January 19, 2011 - Bethune Middle School, 6:30 pm
January 20, 2011 - Stone Mountain Middle School, 6:30 pm
***Please write to the superintendent and your school board members to let them know your thoughts. Contact information for the Board of Education members can be found here. To email Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson: Ramona_Tyson@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

To help with your comments and letters, we have summarized our comments below:
*** We applaud the DeKalb County Board of Education for taking steps toward optimizing the use of our limited resources. The consulting firm hired appears to have done exactly what they were asked to do. We support the goals that grew from the public charrettes across the county.
*** One of the Board of Education's stated goals with redistricting is to minimize split feeder pattern schools. We agree with that goal and want to preserve the vertical alignment of schools that was put in place seven years ago.
*** The proposal does not consider the diverse, unique school community that exists in our area. One of the hallmarks of Lakeside is its parental involvement and local community commitment. If schools and communities are fractured with additional split feeder patterns, there will be fewer involved parents. Students will be less connected to their school communities and, therefore, less successful.
***The nuances of traffic in the Emory-LaVista corridor must be considered. That area is currently overwhelmed with traffic. Adding additional school buses and cars would further impact the area and result in extended bus times and additional expenses. (For students in extra-curricular activities, you may be concerned about teenagers driving in heavy traffic.)
*** The best solution for high schools across the county is to keep vertical alignment of schools. Where redistricting needs to occur, it should be done by moving elementary lines. This will maintain the strong existing communities across the county. In 2003, when vertical alignment began, the Blue Ribbon Task Force recommended moving lines within a feeder but not disrupting high school attendance areas due to the community support for high schools.
*** The programs at Druid Hills and Lakeside are different. Our community solidly supports a seven period day, and Druid Hills uses a modified block schedule.
***We would like to see that the changes to attendance areas affect as few students as possible, with the smallest possible expense.
There are other concerns that you may have as individuals, too. As you express your concerns, please keep in mind the needs of the students and the need for financial responsibility. Also, please bear in mind that the members of the Board of Education represent ALL of the students of DeKalb County.
Please feel free to email us with questions. We will get back to you as quickly as we can, even if it means answering in a blanket email. Thank you so much for your support.

On a personal note, we appreciate the support and input from the leaders of the schools in our feeder pattern. We also appreciate the help from the many wise parents at Lakeside High School.

Sent by Lakeside High School PTSA Communication Committee

Anonymous said...

that Dunwoody petition is pure hate. The people zoned out of vanderlyn are sick to their stomachs that their kids will have to go to elem school with kids from apartments. They should be ashamed. No access? That's like saying kids from Dunwoody do not have access to Arabia Mtn. I looked at the maps, the kids closest to austin stay at austin, the kids closest to Vanderlyn stay at Vanderlyn. those closer to Dun Elem go to Dun Elem. I doubt Tyson and jay will agree with the petition folks.

Kingsley Dad said...

The petition is not hate. It is about equal access and enrollment balance. My kids attend Kingsley, and I certainly can see the merits of the petition.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kingsley Dad. While the motives of the petition writers may be suspect, access is an issue.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 3:23. Dunwoody parents, please don't become elitist an self-absorbed as the Fernbank parents are, and the Lakeside parents are on their way becoming.

And this from the Lakeside PTA?

"If schools and communities are fractured with additional split feeder patterns, there will be fewer involved parents. Students will be less connected to their school communities and, therefore, less successful."

Says who? This is pure conjecture with no basis on data or research.

Everyone thinks their school is so unique, so diverse. Guess what? It simpy ain't true.

Lakeside aprents have every right to be furious on the amount of administrative transfers they receive, and the amount of students from Central office and other school system families who dont live in the sending area. And they need to make a bigger fuss about it.

And they have a point that subdivisions should not be split in half.

But sorry Lakeside parents, the population in the county including your area shifts, and the school ssytem should be re-districted at least every ten years.

I really believe this is much more about the comfort level of parents thatn it is about their students welfare. Students have no overwhelming desire to go to school with the same exact kids from k through 12. They can actually have friends who go to other schools, even private school. They actually have friends they met through sports, dance, summer camps, etc.

Please Lakeside, don't fall into the Fernbank mentality; you're bigger than that.

Anonymous said...

Kinsley dad,

Access? whom do you suggest gets access to Vanderlyn? You are at Kingsley, do you want access? how about a kid in south deKalb? should he have access? You have to draw lines, and the lines were drawn. Vanderlyn is as far north as you can get, so it makes sense kids from the far north part of dunwoody go to school there. go look at the Vanderlyn map. tons of kids in that neighborhood and the school holds less than 600. You going to punish people who live close to give 'access' to someone 2 or 3 miles away?

this new buzz word, access, sounds like something out of nancy pelosi's mouth. lol

Anonymous said...

I find it terribly offensive that the email came from the Lakeside PTSA. Is that even allowed? PTAs can't endorse candidates or campaign for them? Is this really that different?

Anonymous said...

I think they are throwing the elementary schools under the buses. If your lines are changing, tough. Just know that you still get to go to Lakeside HS.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Anonymous, you obviously don't know what you are talking about. Vanderlyn is not "as far north as you can get".

Also, in light of what is going on in the country right now, it might be nice if you would tone down the rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how they can say the petition represents "Dunwoody". I live in Dunwoody and do not agree. I looked at the petition and what really gets me is that there are quite a few names of people who have children that don't even go to school in Dekalb county. They have instead chosen private schools.

Anonymous said...

I live in Dunwoody and am greatly saddened and embarassed by the presence of this petition. It is 100% totally unacceptable to categorize people by the type of home in which they live (i.e. apartments) and that's what the petition is all about. It is shameful and disgusting that some people in Dunwoody would stoop to this. It is not appropriate for alledgedly responsible adults to define and others simply by their type of home. What values are we teaching our children by making such statements?

Dunwoody Mom said...

This is not about the categorizing people. But, it is becoming about some individuals, such as yourself, turning this petition into such an argument - to reflect away from the real issue here.

Chesnut parent said...

People who live in Dekalb and opt for private school are still apart of the community (pay taxes) and have just as much right to participate as anyone else.
This is not about race, it is about access. There should be rental access available at all of the schools. NOONE said anything about fairness.
Why is this a problem to anyone.

Anonymous said...

DunMom

My error, Austin is furthest north of all schools, followed by Vanderlyn and kingsley. All the kids from the north part of dunwoody are in one of those three schools, as they should be. keep the racist petition on your own blog and on the real estate guy's blog

Anonymous said...

Sorry DunMom but you cannot gloss over the fact that 3 separate bullet points on the petition are targeted about folks defined as apartment families (i.e. "renters) and the redistricted DES folks do not want a high percentage of "apartment students." That's disgusting and shameful.

Anonymous said...

Access? Is this the Word of the day? I want access to Kittredge, the gym at the central office, and to the Slurpee machine down the street. is there a petition for that?

Dunwoody Mom said...

And here is my response to you when you posted that nonsense on my blog...

"So, 3 out of 8 bullet points makes the petition disgusting and shameful? No, I don't think so. I think is becoming, from you anyway, that about about Austin and Vanderlyn protecting their "newfound" turf. I hope you are the exception and not indicative of how most of the Austin/Vanderlyn parents feel. "

High School parent said...

Hats off to the petition people for looking out for all instead of just their corner of the world. Seems to me they are ready willing and able to transition to k-5 if need be. A big step from 3 years ago.
Let's work it out together as a community. After all the kids will spend grades 6-12 together. Helping all the k-5 schools be diverse and challenging and a great experience is what it should be about.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I really do believe anonymous is a "lone wolf". I know many parents who live in the Austin/Vanderlyn district. They do not have the same view as this individual.

btw, when your children get to middle school and high school - nobody cares a whiff where they went to elementary school.....My children have classmates and friends who went to a different elementary school than they did.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, defining folks separately as apartment dwellers doesn't belong in the dialogue. That's what's wrong with the petition. I'm sorry you don't see it.

Anonymous said...

Have I got this right? The people at Austin and Vanderlyn will have lily-white schools, and when people object, those people are racist?

I want some of that logic.

Anonymous said...

The petition does not mention apartments.

Anonymous said...

Apartment communities should be shared among all the schools in a feeder pattern. It is wrong to assign students to a school based on economic status or home ownership.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Anon 4:53!!!

Anonymous said...

When parents wake up and it's not just about YOUR kids, but ALL kids in DCSS??? Schools need to close, feeder patterns need to change.

Are tax payers going to put up with the over paid administrative staff in the palace saying that it's not fair??? Heck no!!!

Kids aren't going to be negatively affected and if you don't like it move or send your kids elsewhere. ALL kids in DCSS deserve to have a quality education, not just a few.

jjslider13 said...

I think the petition people are thinking about all the kids.

One DeKalb Parent said...

I am a resident of DeKalb County and I have two children who attend DeKalb County Schools (one in elementary and one in middle).

I am speaking only for my self when I say " I have absolutely no faith or trust in our school system leadership and will not blindly follow any recommendation they attempt to put forth."

Just sayin' . . .

Adios Kittredge said...

Yesterday, January 9, 2011, someone used the Kittredge PTA 'constant contact' email system to send out the following email:

The Parent/Teacher Associations for the Kittredge and Wadsworth Magnet School Program have serious concerns regarding the "centralized" option being considered by DeKalb County. As proposed, the centralized option would shut down two of the most successful academic schools in the State and attempt to relocate staff and students to a new, centralized location in Avondale. Although the PTA groups are certainly willing to support changes in the system that would save money, improve academic performance, and provide more access to magnet programs, the centralized option appears to provide none of these. We have four primary concerns:



1. The Centralized Option is Not Cost-Effective and Wastes Resources. The Magnet program was restructured just three years ago to provide additional Magnet School options to parents and students in both North and South DeKalb County. Both of these options have proven successful. After two years of hard work, Kittredge and Wadsworth have now successfully transitioned to these new locations, have attracted new, dedicated faculty and motivated students, and demonstrated outstanding academic results. The centralized option would unravel this progress, increase transportation costs, and create significant new start-up/transition costs for the new location.



2. The Centralized Option will Undermine Current Academic Excellence Demonstrated by Kittredge and Wadsworth. Kittredge and Wadsworth are ranked as number 1 and 2 in the state based on just released testing scores by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Forcing the schools to relocate will only undermine the academic excellence that has been achieved by the students and existing faculty and Kittredge and Wadsworth. Based on feedback from our parents, forcing these schools to shut down will not just mean moving to a new location -- it will cause high achieving students and faculty at Kittredge and Wadsworth to drop out of the magnet program altogether.



3. One School Provides Less Opportunity than Two. "Equitable access" to education means more choices -- and more opportunity -- for students, parents, and faculty. Two proven magnet schools provide more diverse educational options than an unproven school at a single location.

4. The Centralized Option has a Disproportionate Effect on Children. The Centralized option affects 3200 more children than the Decentralized option while only eliminating an additional 900 empty seats.



Again, the PTAs for Kittredge and Wadsworth fully appreciate the need to consider redistricting options, but closing two of the most successful schools in the State, increasing transportation/transition costs, and reducing access to programs for parents and students is not a reasonable option.

As this process moves forward, it is critical that we let our voice be clearly heard by the Board of Education about the suggested relocation of the magnet program for High Achievers to a central location. Because the topic of the Magnet Program has a particularly strong emotional and political hook, we suggest that as a community we focus on the key points that are as factual as possible (including the ones listed above)...

Anonymous said...

This entire redistricting would have gone down so much easier if Ms. Tyson and the BOE had at the same time:

1. Equalized pay for the non-teaching employees like the 2004 missing audit suggested (Cere is right - that needs to be made public as well as the DCSS BOE meeting notes need to be published again).

2. Cut out expensive and ineffective learning programs like Parent Centers ($4,500,000), Americas Choice ($8,000,000) and 90 Instructional coaches ($9,000,000) and placed hundreds of Title 1 teachers in schools to help the classroom teacher teach small groups of struggling students math and reading

3. Come up with a recommendation for the savings DCSS would accrue outsourcing highly paid employees like 290 member MIS group ($20,000,000 a year) and the 217 member Security force ($12,000,000) as well as lower paid employees like custodians and landscaping crews.

4. Put a stop to all administrative transfer for school system employees OUTSIDE the schoolhouse. If a teacher has a child, let him bring her to school with him (this is state law). Otherwise, the child needs to go to school in his attendance area.

5. Come up with a plan that put magnet and special programs on par in per pupil spending with students in the regular education schools.

Adios Kittredge said...

Yesterday, January 9, 2011, someone used the Kittredge PTA 'constant contact' email system to send out the following email:

The Parent/Teacher Associations for the Kittredge and Wadsworth Magnet School Program have serious concerns regarding the "centralized" option being considered by DeKalb County. As proposed, the centralized option would shut down two of the most successful academic schools in the State and attempt to relocate staff and students to a new, centralized location in Avondale. Although the PTA groups are certainly willing to support changes in the system that would save money, improve academic performance, and provide more access to magnet programs, the centralized option appears to provide none of these. We have four primary concerns:

Adios Kittredge said...

We have four primary concerns:



1. The Centralized Option is Not Cost-Effective and Wastes Resources. The Magnet program was restructured just three years ago to provide additional Magnet School options to parents and students in both North and South DeKalb County. Both of these options have proven successful. After two years of hard work, Kittredge and Wadsworth have now successfully transitioned to these new locations, have attracted new, dedicated faculty and motivated students, and demonstrated outstanding academic results. The centralized option would unravel this progress, increase transportation costs, and create significant new start-up/transition costs for the new location.



2. The Centralized Option will Undermine Current Academic Excellence Demonstrated by Kittredge and Wadsworth. Kittredge and Wadsworth are ranked as number 1 and 2 in the state based on just released testing scores by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Forcing the schools to relocate will only undermine the academic excellence that has been achieved by the students and existing faculty and Kittredge and Wadsworth. Based on feedback from our parents, forcing these schools to shut down will not just mean moving to a new location -- it will cause high achieving students and faculty at Kittredge and Wadsworth to drop out of the magnet program altogether.



3. One School Provides Less Opportunity than Two. "Equitable access" to education means more choices -- and more opportunity -- for students, parents, and faculty. Two proven magnet schools provide more diverse educational options than an unproven school at a single location.

4. The Centralized Option has a Disproportionate Effect on Children. The Centralized option affects 3200 more children than the Decentralized option while only eliminating an additional 900 empty seats.

continuing on . . .

Again, the PTAs for Kittredge and Wadsworth fully appreciate the need to consider redistricting options, but closing two of the most successful schools in the State, increasing transportation/transition costs, and reducing access to programs for parents and students is not a reasonable option.

Adios Kittredge said...

The *PROBLEM* with this email is that it was NOT authorized by the Kittredge PTA, did not accurately reflect the opinion of the Kittredge PTA and did not represent the views of the Kittredge community.

Anonymous said...

Who sent it then, Adios?

Adios Kittredge said...

But wait. There's MORE!

Today, January 10, 2010, someone used the Kittredge PTA 'constant contact' email to send out a "clarification" of the January 9, 2010 email. It read, in part, as follows:

"We would like to clarify the previous email regarding redistricting concerns.

The concerns raised in the previous email are representative of the co-presidents of the Kittredge PTA. The email does not represent the position of the Wadsworth PTA. Moreover, these concerns do not represent the views of all Kittredge parents.



Sheesh! What a bunch of selfish, self absorbed, me first parents! The Fernbank crowd has got nothing -- NOTHING!!! -- on these Kittredge PTA co-presidents.

Anonymous said...

I too was offended by the original KMS PTA email. I'm a Kittredge Parent. And I support centralization and moving all magnets to Avondale. After reading that first email, I wanted my KMS PTA dues back!

Anonymous said...

New DCSS Vision Statement: Abandon hope all ye who enter here..

Wyndy Amerson said...

Our neighborhood is 2 miles from Lakeside. Everyone south of LaVista is now zoned to DHHS. DHHS is a fine school but the students will have to travel 45 minutes on a bus up Clairmont - a heavily congested corridor to a high school with only 1 practice field and little visitor parking where Emory is about to start buidling next door. LHS has space and is going through a major renovation that we have worked hard to finally get after 3 Splost votes. We have paid high taxes to live in this area. Now, over 200 Admin transfers are given to Central Office staff and they come to LHS and bump out our residents. We have a feeder program of Oak Grove to LHS. They are disrupting neighborhoods - real communities - to move 10 or 20 families back and forth across elementary lines. Do you have any idea how this instability will hurt our property values. My boys all went to Oak Grove and LHS. I am an empty nester. We can walk to LHS and this redistricting everyone south of LaVista to a high school over 5 miles away is stupid.

Cerebration said...

Very good points, Anon 5:27 PM. Please send those in an email to Ms Tyson.

As far as Kittredge and Wadsworth go - I can't read anything past "two top schools in the state". Well, Duh! You only take top students that have to pass several tests and win a lottery before you'll accept them! (Same for DSA) Try being a top school while educating everyone in your attendance area—that would be impressive.

Have you ever garnered ANY data showing that attending these magnet schools has a direct impact on increasing SAT scores and college acceptance vs staying at the home high school? I mean, would these kids have ended up doing just about the same had they simply attended their home high school and taken high level and AP courses? Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I get this, Adios.

The Kittredge PTA co-presidents sent an email claiming to represent BOTH Wadsworth and Kittredge?

And then the next day the Kittredge PTA co-presidents sent an email admitting that they did not represent the views of either Kittredge OR Wadsworth?

Caught in a lie much?

These clowns would fit right in on the Board of Education!

Anonymous said...

I have been surprised at the lack of magnet parent response. Should have known that something like this was coming... Boy oh Boy - no wonder DCSS BOE gets away with whatever they want. Not in my back yard.
Those " push back " comments were so off base they were laughable. Increase transportation costs - don't they realize that they aren't entitled to transportation anyway. And to tout the test scores of a self made situation. Really - come on magnet parent you can do better than that !

Anonymous said...

Wow, Kittredge PTA co-presidents. Just, wow.

Can PTA co-presidents be impeached?

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that the KMS PTA presidents felt like this was appropriate. Especially since they had been warned to poll the membership if PTA was to do any advocacy at all.

(And I question whether advocacy should be allowed from the PTAs.)

Shame on them.

I think the KMS parents deserve new leadership.

Anonymous said...

I personally would have a lot more respect for the complaints of Fernbankers, Lakesiders and Dunwoodyites if they went after the Central )ffice waste and graft as Anon 5:27 addressed:

-Completely eliminate the Office of School Instruction!!! Send them back to the classroom, or they can look to find out if there are any other school systems anywhere that likes to overpay instructional coaches. Good luck with that.

-Demand the 2004 Ernst & Young salary audit is made public. The Guillory's had no experience in transportation or media before they got their current jobs which pay in the mid-$100's. If they are good at their jobs, then keep them, but pay them what an Assistant Principal makes.

-From now on, no administrator makes more than a veteran principal, other than the superintendent.

-No more take home county vehicles.
Hey Nancy Jester and Donna Edler: Please help make public a list of everyone who currently has a DCSS take home vehicle. No more Gasgate scandals either.

-Significantly downsize Parent Resource Centers. Keep them at the lowest performing schools and schools with a high immigrant or Latino population. Staff with with retired teachers on an hourly pay rate, no bene's. It is flat our unethical that the no prior experience in education daughter of a BOE member makes more than most veteran teachers.

-Axe America's Choice immediately, save $8 mil annually, and teachers will jump for joy too.

-Audit the underperforming departments: MIS, school police, Sam Moss, office of Internal Affairs, etc. Make changes and save millions, and we get the benefit of better performance too.

-NO MORE administrative transfers except in rare circumstances!!!

-Any staff or administrator who does not live in DeKalb County has no right to bring ther echild to a DCSS school. That's a $10,000 perk and it sticks it to actual property owners. I have bno problem with a teacher bringing her/his child to their school, but that's it. And if you live outside of Dekalb County, it's an incredible perk that you really should be taxed for.

-Closely look at the current hodgepodge mess of magnets, charters, IB, high achievers, etc., and clean it up. And why can't every school have art & music, once we stop the Central Office bloat.

Fernbankers, Lakesiders and Dunwoodyites: Like it or not, it appears to the rest of the county that you only care about your own neighborhoods, and everyone else can be darned.

If you want support, then help us fight the waste, bloat, cronyism, etc. that the Central Office and Board of Education has created and enabled for years.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 5:43 pm
"We can walk to LHS and this redistricting everyone south of LaVista to a high school over 5 miles away is stupid."

Well. Thank Fred Milani as well. He built tons and tons of cluster homes "nearer" to LHS than you are while the building in the DHHS area has not been anywhere near the volume of the LaVista area near LHS. So now the circle is smaller around LHS since the population is denser. I'm sure administrative transfers are in effect, but you've also been pushed out of the circle with the intense amount of building all those million dollar cluster homes along Oak Grove and Briarcliff and their feeder streets. I heard very few people (except some in the Sagamore Hills community) complaining when all those million dollars houses were going in.

As you got pushed out of the LHS circle when it grew smaller and denser, you got pushed into the DHHS circle. That area has not seen the number of cul-de-sacs we have seen where one day there was one house on Oak Grove Rd. with a very big yard and the next time you look there is a cul-de-sac with 10 homes. Multiply this over and over and you'll see why south of LaVista is now out and you are on the fringes of a large group of LHS parents.

The administrative transfers should be dealt with by Ms. Tyson. Then the true numbers can be seen. But the housing has become extremely dense around LHS. That will affect some people even if the admin transfers are gone.

Anonymous said...

"If you want support, then help us fight the waste, bloat, cronyism, etc. that the Central Office and Board of Education has created and enabled for years."

Okay, I'll bite. Other than ranting on this blog, what are you doing to fight the waste, bloat, etc? I can tell you that Fernbankers and Lakesiders regularly hold community-based meetings to address these issues. What exactly are you doing?

Cerebration said...

Check out this chart showing the "ins" and "outs" of the transfers at DCSS high schools. How can it be possible that we count a school like Clarkston as "under-enrolled" when this chart clearly shows that 455 students have chosen to transfer OUT of this school? So, now the solution is to draw more from other areas and send them to Clarkston? Why? They will just choose to take an AYP transfer out. It's an exercise in futility. Check out all of the transfers - it's an impossible target that redistricting will not resolve.

HS Transfer Chart

BTW - here's another, relevant chart showing school by school (except Arabia, Kittredge, DSA, Wadsworth, etc) where students come from.

Resident/Non-Resident Chart"

jjslider13 said...

Yes please tell us what the Dunwoody, Lakeside and Fernbankers can do? Advocating for ourselves is not mutually exclusive from your stated goals.

Anonymous said...

"Thank Fred Milani as well. He built tons and tons of cluster homes "nearer" to LHS than you are while the building in the DHHS area has not been anywhere near the volume of the LaVista area near LHS."

Actually, look at the county data. There have been more housing "units" added around Druid Hills High School than Lakeside over the past few years. Now they are mostly apartments with some townhomes, mainly around the back end of Emory on Briarcliff. Not too many are households with children. But it has greatly increased the population density (and traffic).

Yes, there have been homes built around Lakeside, but many of them were tear-downs, just replacing an older home with a new fancy one. Not that many new "units' have been added. The actual population density around Lakeside has not changed much over the past 10 years. And most of the new housing is high end, even in this market. The neighborhoods around Lakeside do not attarct young families, and they do not turn over like they do in other area's of the county.

Cerebration said...

Let's see - there are 239 non-residents at Lakeside. How many are being carved out of Leafmore and sent to Druid HIlls?

Anonymous said...

"Other than ranting on this blog, what are you doing to fight the waste, bloat, etc? I can tell you that Fernbankers and Lakesiders regularly hold community-based meetings to address these issues. What exactly are you doing?"


Not sure about you, but I've taken my concerns directly to my BOE members. And I've researched how the other metro school systems operate, good or bad.

Anonymous said...

NO SCHOOL TOMORROW!

Anonymous said...

PLEASE, PLEASE LOOK AT THIS CHART AND FOWARD IT TO OTHERS:


http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/ResNonRes_20100915.pdf

It paints a sad picture of our school system.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 6:08 pm
"I can tell you that Fernbankers and Lakesiders regularly hold community-based meetings to address these issues."

LOL - that's a lot of action. Maybe you need to get the people who wrote that email call to action - "legal redress", signatures on petitions for recall of BOE members, etc. - that are determined not to be zoned out of FB on the case on this one.

BTW - I don't know about Lakeside, but I do know that most all of the precincts in the Fernbank area voted for Eugene Walker. Walker has 5 or is it 6 relatives (all non-teachers) employed by DCSS, he's a close friend and supporter of Crawford Lewis (see BOE meeting where he introduced a commendation for Lewis not too long before he was indicted), wanted to give a $40,000,000 tax break to Sembler who funded his 1st BOE campaign to the tune of thousands of dollars (and remember - on a $40,000,000 in property taxes, DCSS would get around $28,000,000 - glad the AJC caught that one), and has voted in favor of every bloated non-teaching over paid non-teaching personnel program DCSS has.

I gave money to the campaigns of Jester and Edler and worked in my community to get them elected. They are elected - not just because of my efforts (I'm just one citizen), but on the part of many concerned, committed and active citizens. Electing 2 new members in this county was not easy. Perhaps if FB precincts had not voted for Walker, there would have been a runoff. The two runoffs we had produced two new members.

You've got to admit this seems an awful lot about perceived property values and swim and tennis club talk about a school you are used to having in common and not so much about educational attainment.

Cerebration said...

Let's also see - out of 1420 students at Chamblee, 749 are transfers (mostly magnet). If we move the magnet, we leave a high school with 671 students.

OR how about Druid Hills - with 300 out of district students?

Anonymous said...

@ 6:08 pm

Oh yes. I also have had quite a bit of contact with my BOE members.

BTW - I was impressed last year with the Fernbank community's awesome marshalling of resources to bring cutting loose the financial burden ($7,000,000) of the ineffective Fernbank Science Center (a lesson in administrative bloat if there ever was one). They seemed to be very organized and effective with that initiative. Meanwhile, science is at an all time low in DCSS. Do you want me to drag out our steadily declining science scores?

Anonymous said...

@ 6:28
"community's awesome marshalling of resources to bring cutting loose the financial burden ($7,000,000) of the ineffective Fernbank Science Center (a lesson in administrative bloat if there ever was one)."

That's true. The Fernbank community joined ranks and absolutely put a stop to any move to reform the science center. As a result this cost center was touched almost the least of any cost center. It still have the same old administrative bloat of more administrators than teachers.

Anonymous said...

this is NOT NOT NOT Dunwoody's petition. This is the SOW Petition, aka the South of Womack petition.

Dunwoody Mom said...

So, those of us who live "south of Womack" aren't really citizens of Dunwoody?

For someone who was upset about "labeling" people, you are sure doing enough of it yourself.

Anonymous said...

"I gave money to the campaigns of Jester and Edler and worked in my community to get them elected. They are elected - not just because of my efforts (I'm just one citizen), but on the part of many concerned, committed and active citizens."

You do realize as a former Fernbank parent Donna Edler had significant support from the Fernbank area.

Anonymous said...

DunMom,

go out and ride a sled or make a snowman. you have been pimping this petition all day. the petition refers to itself as a 'dunwoody' viewpoint. you know it does not reflect but a small portion of dunwoody, less than 20%. Same can be said for rick's petition three years ago, opposing the 4th 5th school - it was not a 100% dunwoody issue either. Your NorthofWomack friends have already made plans for then 2011-2012 Vanderlyn school year so leave your name tag at the door at the end of the year.

Anonymous said...

"go out and ride a sled or make a snowman. you have been pimping this petition all day"

This is unnecessarily snide but sadly representative of a vocal minority on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I think the point that, regardless of the new lines, people will be allowed to transfer out of failing schools is a MAJOR consideration that needs to be addressed. I had not thought of it before, and this blog is the only place I have seen it mentioned. This is a huge point of contention and could cost DCSS millions of dollars to go through with plans that cannot be implemented as stated because parents will transfer out. It will be as if the lines were never redrawn.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:17 is probably correct. And I cannot count the number of families with extraordinary children who have decamped to Westminster, St.Pius, Pace and elsewhere. These are families - many of them Asian, many of them with ties to Emory/CDC who never considered wading into the DeKalb County School mess. Their decisions should give all of us pause, as they did not for one minute consider Lakeside a suitable education.

Anonymous said...

personally, I think the most critical element in this whole mess is that you can not "balance" enrollment at "overenrolled" schools until the transfers are sent back to home schools and you see what the "home" population really currently looks like -- to redistrict folks who bought homes, paid high premiums for their homes in some cases, and pay higher property taxes, relying on a certain school situation premised on an overcrowding situation that is artificial (particularly into a school from which folks could then transfer out of) is foolish and shortsignted. It is also premature with the other issues, particularly the corruption, that is currently going on in DCSS.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your logic.

Every time I have used NCLB numbers to pick a school for my children I have ONLY used "Exceeds" as my comparison number. I use those numbers to filter out the 5-8 best elementary schools in an area and then I tour each school. I find the "Exceeds" number usually accurately reflects the academic excellence of a school.

I have lived in 5 states in the last 12 years so picking a school for my kids is something I have had to do too often.

Anonymous said...

Woops... sorry... meant that comment for the Fernbank/Briar Vista discussion!

Anonymous said...

I guess the thread Fernbank vs. Briar Vista - By the Numbers didn't teach anyone to take a dispassionate look at the data regarding achievement. This leads me to believe that there is much social posturing going on here as well - you know Northlake parents - "I live in Amberwood and my child goes to Oak Grove" or Emory/CC area parents - "I live in Clairmont Heights and my child goes to Fernbank" when there is no real difference in achievement if your child went to the next school over.

And then there's the Asian card. "They won't send their kids to our schools." How ridiculous.

There are many post-doctoral students and MDs (Asian, European, African, American, etc.) who are interns and residents who work at Emory and CDC who send their kids to Medlock, Briar Vista, Fernbank, etc. They live in apartments while they are underpaid and learning, and have brains to burn. They work unbelievable hours, and many of them have spouses who are also working on PhDs and MDs as well. They have kids that have the same abilities and drive. Their kids tend to score in the 99 percentile on the ITBS and the Cogat. They will eventually move into a nice big house, but that's not what defines their children intellectually.

A school does not have to be the top of the heap for these kids. It just has to be "good enough". Central DeKalb is full of them. Their parents are cheap labor until they get their final academic credentials. They cluster around the Clifton Corridor in nondescript apartments. They don't really care if their child ends up at Medlock or Birar Vista or Fernbank. Their children are a lot like them. They are on the move intellectually and a very self actualizing group.

Anonymous said...

The Dunwoody peititon is an embarassment- and I live in Dunwoody. I would like to see residents of the city of Dunwoody stay in Dunwoody schools, but this spiteful dismissal of renters is shamful. I also see no virtue to the 4-5 DES, which just adds to traffic and splits families into multiple elementary schools.

Try this- gerrymander the Dunwoody area apartments. One complex goes to Austin, another to Vanderlyn, etc... Pretty easy to do with the properties near the mall.

Or try this. Send a bunch of apartment kids to Kittredge and run a school with a school as the MS and HS do. The Chamblee schools would welcome them.

As ineptly delivered as the Kittredge message was, I think their main points are correct. Let the magnets be.

It is a failure of the Magnet office that we have no data on the effectiveness of the programs. I have loads of ancecdotal stories about their positive effect, and a very personal one, but that isn't what is needed.

Thanks to the snow, we can all chill out for a while.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the magnet parents step up and ask the system to eliminate transportation all together. That is 3 to 4 million dollars.

In addition, the magnets must begin to operate on the same funding formula as the rest of us. No more extras at all.

Anonymous said...

10,000 adult residents and 300 signatures isn't really a mandate.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 8:07

"very time I have used NCLB numbers to pick a school for my children I have ONLY used "Exceeds" as my comparison number. "

I moved into a nice area in DeKalb expecting that my child would do just fine. I was right in that she was in the 99 percentile in the Complete Composite on the Cogat and always scored in the 99 percentile in Reading, Math and her Complete Composite on the ITBS, a norm referenced achievement test. I never really paid attention to the CRCT - it's not very useful when looking at multiple levels of attainment.

She would have been in the 99 percentile in any of the adjacent schools as well. Our area is "nice enough", and I always concentrated on her using critical thinking skills since she was very small. Middle class parents like my husband and I are going to have children who do well pretty much wherever they go.

Competent teachers and small class sizes make the most difference in lower economic areas and when you have a child with Learning Disabilities. It's not coincidence that the two areas that keep DCSS schools from making AYP are ALWAYS in the areas of SWD (Students with Disabilities) and Economically Disadvantaged (poverty). Well, there's the subgroup of ESOL (ELL), but you have to realize that taking a test in a foreign language you are just mastering is bound to affect your score.

Anonymous said...

"In addition, the magnets must begin to operate on the same funding formula as the rest of us. No more extras at all. '

Excellent point. I would love to see the numbers presented to DCSS parents. This would take the "sting" out of magnet services. Magnet parents should be advocating for this.

Anonymous said...

Cere, The magnet students do not comprise the majority of out of resident students at CCHS. I think it is the NCLB school choice transfers. There are over 850 out of district students- you forgot to include the aproximately 100 ninth graders at the annex that may soon be moved into the school.

But you are absolutely correct that DCSS can "re-district" students to a school that does not make AYP and their parents will fill out the school choice form and move them right back out of the school. We need to find out what, if any, consideration MGT gave to this.

I think many hoped that Congress would address the punitive measures of the NCLB regulations by the end of the year, but this did not happen.

Cerebration said...

ok - does anyone know for certain how many magnet students are at Chamblee? If they leave, will it pull down test scores so that Chamblee won't make AYP anymore? And of course, there's no AYP transfer into magnets - so I guess that leaves Dunwoody, Druid Hills, Lakeside and Tucker...as receiving schools? Well, and the Arabia satellite...

Anonymous said...

"If they leave, will it pull down test scores so that Chamblee won't make AYP anymore? "

That's pretty easy. AYP is based on the scores of disaggregated subgroups making adequate yearly progress. Just one subgroup failing to make AYP means the entire school fails to make AYP. That's why it's important to understand the idea of disaggregated subgroups.

The main subgroups that 99.9% of the time cause DCSS schools to not make AYP are Economically Disadvantaged (poor students), Students with Disabilities (Special Ed), ELL (Limited Proficiency in English aka ESOL).

Obviously, whether the magnet students are there or not will not affect the scores of these groups - very few students in the magnet population belong to these groups.

So no - having the magnet program at Chamblee will have no affect on "Making AYP".

It will have an effect on average SAT scores and number of students taking and scoring high on Advanced Placement courses however, which is how U.S. News and World Report scores high schools. They will not be even ranked in U.S News and World Report anymore. But wasn't that a "hanging on the coat tails of the magnet students' scores" effect anyway?

Grouping a lot of smart kids together will increase your overall SATs - Duh!

Anonymous said...

• There is no access to Austin or Vanderlyn for students who live in rental complexes.

Oh, please. But kudos to them for their fabulous wordsmithing.

This is just from some Dunwoody homeowners that are pissed their kids might have to go to a school with, God forbid, apartment kids. A 4/5 "academy" is so ridiculous on so many levels and everyone outside of those who would be redistricted out of Vanderlyn and Austin can see that.

I'm surprised they didn't also wordsmith their way into petitioning that Hightower should be redistricted into Chamblee.

I'm sure that will come with the Dunwoody Charter Cluster petition next year...

Cerebration said...

According to the Dunwoody Crier

Under the centralized plan, Dunwoody Elementary School would cease to exist as a fourth and fifth grade school. Vanderlyn would send 536 of its students to Dunwoody Elementary School, while Austion would divert 358 and Chesnut would send 218.

A decentralized option would leave the charter system in place, but still convert Dunwoody Elementary and redraw the other attendance lines to even out enrollment.

School spokesperson Jeff Dickerson said the proposals “are just starting points for discussion.”

“I don’t see any of these plans going through intact,” he said. “The superintendent will make a recommendation after several public hearings, and the board can either approve the plan, modify the plan or not approve the plan.”

Anonymous said...

Bitter are you that the petition people are calling a spade a spade?

Anonymous said...

Too Late...Dunwoody...

The white liberal latte drinking crowd.

Cerebration said...

Truly, I do not understand that comment.

On another note -

For those of you in Dunwoody - you are very fortunate to have Dunwoody Mom in your midst. She has done a superb job of reporting on the Dunwoody schools and explains the areas redistricting quite well at her blog.

Every community wants to know the details of the plans and how they will effect their area schools. Every community needs a Dunwoody Mom!

Dunwoody School Daze

jjslider13 said...

Cere,

I think the comment insinuates that the petition people are liberal and the rest of Dunwoody is very conservative. Not sure I beleive that.....

My hat is definitely off to Dunwoody Mom!

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

As a magnet parent (two students: one at KMS and one at CMS) I support the centralization plan. I support moving all magnet programs to Avondale and eliminating redundant principals, APs, administration, etc.

I'd also support eliminating magnet transportation. The satellite drop off system is not useful and wouldn't be missed.

Anonymous said...

To be clear...there are many of us in Dunwoody that are "South of Womack" who do not agree with all the points on the petition.

But I think the entire Dunwoody community would agree that boundary lines within the cluster can be redrawn so that families within the cluster can stay there...

Anonymous said...

Cere at 10:33

her agenda seems to be advocating solely for a few neighborhoods in dunwoody close to 285. Most folks in dunwoody do not agree with the points in her petition. There are just not enough seats in the dunwoody cluster at the k-5 level. Some kids are going to have to go to neighboring underenrolled schools such as kittredge/Nancy creek. No way around it. And it makes the most sense for it to be the kids who live closest. Many of us are tired of the trailers when there are empty seats just across 285.

Leo said...

My problem with this petition is this: I know a number of the people who signed it (at least 35 of the signatures are people I know, respect and know where they live). I really like all of them. I also know that many of them live in the nicer neighborhoods behind Walmart who are proposed to be districted out of Vanderlyn and into DES. As much as I like these people, I think they are just looking for a politically correct way to say that they want to be in either the Vanderlyn or Austin school communities. They don't want to go to school with the "apartment kids" but we don't want to look like those Lakesie and FB parents.

Cerebration said...

personally, I think Dunwoody Mom presented the redistricting data very well. It's not easy to make sense of all this data and I think you all should appreciate her efforts. Every community should have someone to disseminate information from the school system to the community. It's not easy - what is easy is to critique.

Anonymous said...

As a Vanderlyn parent I do not agree with anything in that petition. The scare mongers of Dunwoody have written it and support it. Those worried about property values obviously paid too much for a home because of a perceived benefit from living in a particular school zone and care nothing about the children who live within the zone. Sad.

Anonymous said...

That is not true.

Anonymous said...

Leo at 11:05pm:

A quick clarification:

The Fernbank community does not want any of its apartments (proposed ones are on Clairmont Rd.) taken away, or its children from Jerusalem House (a group home for children whose parents possess special medical needs). The preliminary recommendation proposes moving those children who live in apartments and group homes away from Fernbank. The Fernbank community wants them to stay -- we are all one.

Wyndy Amerson said...

Milani may have built homes in the LHS district but there is still room at LHS for the residents who live in the district. It is hard not to believe that all of this is not created to subdue Sarah C. Woods so she will not throw down the race card. Spreak the pain, distract everyone and no oen will pay attention to the nepotism, corruption and total inablity to manage the school system. If we are so upset about moving the lines then we'll forget that the C. Lewis and some of his cronies are under indictment, that some of his cronies in the sytem haven't been indicted, that millions of dollars are wasted every day on useless programs and family members poorly qualified to be in the jobs supported by our tax dollars. We'll be so busy pitting neighbor at neighbor that we'll forget about the mis-manangement, corruption, Eddie Long, Crawford Lewis, Francis Edwards, Sarah C. Woods, etc. Leave the LHS, CHS, DHS, DHHS lines alone. Close the schools that are under-enrolled, stop admin transfers and keep neighborhood, feeder schools intact.

Anonymous said...

The Dunwoody lines are the exact same lines that Pat Pope presented to the community two years ago. Why did we need to pay a consultant for this?

Dunwoody Mom said...

A few points of fact...it's not my petition...I don't know the authors of the petition. I just put a post on my blog. You can either agree with or not, vote or not, I really don't care.

My children are not affected by the ES school redistricting, so I have no ulterior motives.

My children went to Chesnut, so I don't favor either Austin, Vanderlyn or DES.

Thanks for the kind words, Cere..

Oh, and WAR EAGLE!!!! Auburn University, National Champs!!!

Anonymous said...

Downey strikes again:
http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/01/07/central-dekalb-parents-prepare-for-war-is-battle-worth-it/?cp=3#comment-102849

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 11:51

"The Fernbank community does not want any of its apartments (proposed ones are on Clairmont Rd.) taken away,"

Why would you? A great many of those apartments are occupied by Emory and CDC students and personnel. Medical students, interns and residents, Masters and PhD candidates, post-doctoral workers, etc. are their parents.

I know many of the families in those apartments from my spouse's many years at CDC. Many of their children test into the gifted program at FB. I know that as well. The apartment situation around CDC and Emory is quite different than your typical renters.

Your statement is somewhat misleading, but it sounds good.

Kim Gokce said...

I hesitate to say anything about these heated debates in the DHHS, CCHS, LHS, and DHS zones because a) CKHS is once again the after-thought to the decision-making framework, b) I do not know the intimate details of each proposed change, counter-proposal, etc, but ...

There is one argument circulating that I would like to add to (or take away from depending on how you see it!) ...

In any political debate (and let's be real, this is a political debate ultimately), it is a truism that who ever sets the framework of the debate has a better chance of winning it. I think that the MGT recommendations as a foundation clearly set the debate around "centralized" vs "de-centralized." So far, with few exceptions I am observing that the public/parent groups are trying to revert the argument back to the micro level and this is natural.

The problem I see is the principles to move the argument to the micro level in one district undermine the arguments being proposed in other districts. For example, I think the most powerful argument in the LHS "resistance" to the lines proposed is framing the debate as "neighborhood kids" versus "transfers." In this argument, it is offered that it is unfair to move families from existing boundary areas before removing transfers.

I think this is a debating point that will carry powerful emotional weight in the political fight. I also think it is inadvertently an anti-magnet argument. We move kinds all over the county for all sorts of reasons - NCLB, admin transfers, and magnets. In essence, I see this LHS argument in its reduction ad absurdum as "no one moves until all schools are neighborhood schools" ... that's not likely to happen in any scenario.

I think the LHS argument against moving areas to DHHS is at its heart an argument FOR the idea of "neighborhood" schools and not so much an argument against anything in particular. For me, this LHS vs DHHS tension encapsulates the larger debate about what kid of school system we will have in the future.

I think keeping an eye on the recommended enrolment per school (ES, MS, and HS) would be wise. While MGT's proposals do not yet include mega school format, by DeKalb standards they are targeting MUCH larger schools. If LHS "looses" its transfers, it will need to be a much larger attendance area to "make weight" vis-a-vis these target enrolments.

Because we have incorporated into our system planning principles that are in direct conflict with one another we will end up with "winners" and "losers" once again and our long tradition of doing so will be intact.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever posted on Mareen's blog about going to the FBI/US atty with any hard evidence of fraud, corruption and "black mafia" activity....?

Ella Smith said...

The problem as I see it is that the old Lakeside High School lines are being changed. This is the area of the community that families carry the long histories of tradition for Lakeside High School.

IT would appear that the old Henderson lines are not being affected at all. It is just the old Lakeside High area lines that are being affected. This old Lakeside High School area has been part of the Lakeside High School tradition and history for a long time. To change this will be a big fight. These families will fight to keep this area zoned for Lakeside High School.

When the administrative transfers leave Lakeside there may be no need to cut any students out of the zone. When is this going to be address at Lakeside and throughout the county?

Many in the Lakeside High School community see the bloat at the administrative offices and would like for this to change.

Anonymous said...

Ella

You can say that about almost all high school district lines in DeKalb. Not much has been changed through the years.

This isn't Gwinnett or Fulton where we have been constructing new highs with any regularity.

Anonymous said...

Ella,
You're right in that parents do not understand who no admin and support is being cut, Ms. Tyson is asking the schools to again take the brunt of the budget cuts. She would gain more support if she right sized the admin and support side and did away with the admin transfers. Then the redistricting and school closure would be part and parcel of a larger plan to put money back into the schoolhouse improving the educational experience for our children.

Anonymous said...

"IT would appear that the old Henderson lines are not being affected at all. It is just the old Lakeside High area lines that are being affected. This old Lakeside High School area has been part of the Lakeside High School tradition and history for a long time. To change this will be a big fight. These families will fight to keep this area zoned for Lakeside High School."

Ella, I live in that area, and of course they are changing. The area is aging and just doesn't have that many school childen anymore. And of the children it does have, many go to private schools.

It's 2011. Sorry about "Lakeside Tradition", but it's time to re-district.

Cerebration said...

Kim I agree with you. This is why I've been asking - if the magnet program is moved from Chamblee - how many local students will be left? Could they not be merged with Cross Keys and spend all of the available construction money there? It seems like now, the plan is to move the magnet and then gerrymander attendance lines again in order to create a population for a brand new Chamblee HS.

Cross Keys has plenty of room to offer a fully comprehensive high school. Heck you could even make a case for relocating Woodward to a brand new elementary school and taking that property in for Cross Keys (the new CK that would absorb the 600 or so local Chamblee kids). Even doing all of this - I think you would still have a high school with a total population of around 1800 (same as Lakeside). The plan as it is now looks like they want to build a brand new Chamblee and leave CK as is (no auditorium, no new outdoor facilities, old gym, inadequate bandroom...). So we' have two under-enrolled, inefficient schools --- how does this solve anything?

Anonymous said...

Ella,
Pride in what, exactly? I didn't grow up here and I really want to know. I do not understand this. I have been to Lakeside. Where was the community pride that allowed it to become so filthy? The bathrooms are unbelievable. As one educator has said, "take a look at the bathrooms in a school system and you know that they think of the kids." Yes, I've seen the trophy case full of athletic awards - from 40 years ago. Is that what you mean by Lakeside tradition? What I see are former parents and Lakeside alumni who are working to keep the lines the same to keep their neighborhoods in the school. What I don't see is that these same people provided academic and financial support or elbow grease as they waxed poetic about the "Lakeside Tradition" to clean the place up and ensure children are actually learning. While Lakeside is full of high-achievers - kids who are scoring in the highest percentiles from the time they are tested in elementary school - Lakeside itself is an academically weak school. Understand what I am saying: enrollment in Lakeside doesn't develop your child. The children were smart when they got there. These are students who are able to teach themselves and it could be argued they'd be far better served at DHHS if it offers an environment where teachers actually TEACH.

I think you are out of gas on the Tradition thing. I understand that transfer students should not dislocate students who live a mile from the school - but saying that the Lakeside should be kept together because it is somehow more significant than other school districts smacks of an inexplicable elitism based on the accomplishments of students who attended the school a generation ago.

Anonymous said...

1/10 @5:59 said - So now the circle is smaller around LHS since the population is denser.... As you got pushed out of the LHS circle when it grew smaller and denser....

You are way off base if you think the circle around LHS has grown smaller. Look at the map and tell us why the heck the Pleasantdale and Evansdale neighborhoods are in the attendance zone if the circle has grown smaller. Pleasantdale Elem. is approx 8 miles and Evansdale approx 4 miles from LHS. Oak Grove is .5 miles and my house is less than 2 miles and I'm up for redistricting to DHHS. All neighborhoods should be attending their closest schools, period. Evansdale should be going to Tucker and Pleasantdale attending Chamblee.

Cerebration said...

I don't think this is about the areas surrounding schools - this is about the county as a whole. The population in the south end has decreased significantly. Schools need to be consolidated there. This has triggered a northern "grab" for students in order to fill schools. The north end of the county offers the most students, so the districting push must go southward. It's completely logical and by the numbers.

Three things that need addressed first though -

-Sending students from a passing AYP school into a failing one does nothing, as these students can opt for an AYP transfer out of their newly assigned school. (This is especially noted for Clarkston.)

-Sending neighborhood students elsewhere due to artificial over-crowding (due to administrative and other special favor transfers) is patently not fair. We must cull the transfers, find out which are legal, remove those that are strictly there as a favor and then find out the school's true population.

-The administration needs cut. Leadership cannot expect neighborhoods and schools to take on yet another sacrifice, when there has been evidence for a very long time that our administrative salary schedule is bloated and wasting millions. Unless and until this is addressed, the public will resist orders to make sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 11:32...this is for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr5kWOdkHYA

Anonymous said...

for more on this, and if you haven't read it, see the clip from the Wall Street Journal by a Yale Law professor with a book coming out on "Why Chinese Moms are Superior" (I argue that for the most part, they are much like Jewish moms but as portrayed in this article much more extreme). Much of what we see in DCSS is cultural and the values being placed on education versus other things.... http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754-lMyQjAxMTAxMDAwOTEwNDkyWj.html

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: "if the magnet program is moved from Chamblee - how many local students will be left?"

Didn't some official somewhere say that this would be the best way to make way for the new construction at the same site? By minimizing the enrolment during construction?

So perhaps the un-stated plan is to do exactly what you suggest but at the Chamblee site rather than the Brookhaven site. 1. Move the magnet to Avondale, 2. Build a new chamblee, 3. roll CK attendance into new CCHS minus magnet.

Not Buying It said...

Of course, we don't necessarily oppose redistricting/redrawing bus lines/dress code/ROTC-like program in the underused DCSS building ... but FIRST address the administrative transfers, central office bloat, etc.

Classic delay tactics, right out of the longstanding North DeKalb playbook. Of course, those other issues could never be addressed sufficiently for you to then be willing to discuss any redistricting that involves a little pain. There will always be more meetings, hearings, petition drives, etc. required.

Gussy things up with as many tangential stats as you want, anyone with a little common sense can recognize NIMBYism and stall tactics when he/she sees is.

Cerebration said...

Well, I can see why you would think that - however, if you had been reading this blog for the last nearly 2 years and over 600 posts, you would see that we have been pleading for the school system to address these issues for a very, very long time.

Check out our archives - Click on Mr. Potato Head for starters...

Anonymous said...

Cereb @11:4 says:

"The administration needs cut. Leadership cannot expect neighborhoods and schools to take on yet another sacrifice, when there has been evidence for a very long time that our administrative salary schedule is bloated and wasting millions. Unless and until this is addressed, the public will resist orders to make sacrifices."

Almost everyone here agrees with the first sentence.

As to the second, there is no way for the public to resist unless SACS removes accreditation. Until then ... same-o same-o.

BOE and administration will look heroic in saving money by redistricting. What do they say on Wall Street "putting lipstick on a pig".

Let's start a fund to pay for the open records request for the 2004 accounting firm study. Filling out the request form is not that difficult. Maybe we could get Nancy Jester, Fran Millar, and AJC Meg Matteuchi to apply a bit of pressure to have Ramona find it.

Anonymous said...

We would not be having this debate if we had a DCSS leadership we all could trust! No transparency, hidden audits, CLew's people still in place. Good grief how long does it take to fire these folks.

Until I start to see change at the Palace, this plan should not be implemented. Ms. Tyson you got your raise now EARN it! Start asking for resignations, release the audit, do a new audit and make public the transcripts of ALL meetings. Sounds simple to me.

Once the above happens then I'll start to discuss this plan with an open mind.

Anonymous said...

last post should have said agree with the first TWO sentences but nothing can be done for the THIRD

Anonymous said...

RE: The LHS tradition--I gotta agree. Why are there 21 trailers, which were designed to be used as offices on construction sites? NO--it's not because of the LHS construction; a like number of trailers was in place last year; they were just moved.

And yes, some of those high acheiving kids are in those trailers. Most of the Gifted classes--because of their mandated low class sizes--are in trailers. The kids cannot see the board or the projector screen, cannot work in groups, simply cannot do a lot of the things that enhance their learning.

Where is the outrage on this? The "tradition" is great--lots of parent support for athletics, music, drama, and other programs. And yes, the PTSA provides enrichment funds for teachers to use for classroom purchases.

But there seems to be no concern regarding the learning environment itself. The school is about 20% over capacity. The building is filthy. The media center's offerings are pathetic.

But yes, the ones who are already smart will do well. But those who didn't come to LHS equipped to excel are no better off than kids at other schools.

Anonymous said...

@ not buying it
"Of course, we don't necessarily oppose redistricting/redrawing bus lines/dress code/ROTC-like program in the underused DCSS building ... but FIRST address the administrative transfers, central office bloat, etc."

Most of the posters here are not saying to wait until the administrative bloat is cleaned up until you redistrict. I'm certainly not. I'm just saying that Central Office reform and savings need to come in conjunction with redistricting.

I have lived one street from Briarlake (less than a 1/2 mile) for almost 30 years - less than 5 minute walk. Children on the street behind me have been bused to Henderson Mill Elementary for the 30 years I've lived here. They could walk to Briarlake in less than 10 minutes. Talk about a colossal waste in gas and transportation expenses!

This is rampant in my neighborhood, but no one wanted to tackle Jim Cherry's (the 1950s superintendent for life who started the walkable neighborhood school concept in DCSS) vision. As the schools became more and more insular and more money flowed to the Central Office and less to the schools, each group of parents drew together to make the school what they wanted it to be. If they wanted technology, the PTAs earned the money and filled it with technology. If they wanted yoga or Spanish or art or chess or IB classes for their children, the PTA earned the money and paid for the classes or a mom or dad wrote a grant to get the money. They tapped into moms and dads to paint bathrooms and plant flowers and come into the library to read books to the kids every week, and the list goes on.

Every school took on its own personna. This was fine with the Central Office which could devote less time to education and more time to "who's got the power?" and how much money can I make in this corporate environment (yes - they think like that).

We are reaping what has been sewn for many years. It's painful, but necessary, and there's a lot of NIMBY as well. But if the DCSS administration had not let the schools get to the point where they are so uneven in services and the parents are the ones who shape the schools, then there would be less resistance to this.

The administration must also be reformed or we will redistrict and the same dynamics will just be shifted to schools where the redistricting has occurred. We'll fight this same battle 5 to 7 years down the road when it comes to redistricting again.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:47 pm

"The building is filthy. "

Yet so many people speak against outsourcing custodial services. I guess I just don't get it.

Not Buying It said...

Cere, I'm very familiar with the blog and with the severity of the staffing and transfer issues. But, redistricting and best use of facilities is the issue that's on the table today, and rational people can all agree that's another critical issue. There's nothing in stone that says you have to tackle the other problems first, or even in conjunction - unless, of course, at the end of the day your neighborhood or school really would prefer no progress on redistricting. Much more comforting to protect your feeder patterns and keep complaining about the county's ineptitude and waste.

Cerebration said...

True. But the main point is that in order to build trust, the sacrifices need to occur in administration as well. We are all keenly aware and tired of dealing with the bloat and family perks.

A true Vision Plan is necessary in order to help people see where this is all leading and why. I don't see any kind of formal 2020 Vision other than hardware and buildings.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:35
Totally agree Pleasandale and Evansdale should not be in Lakeside feeder pattern. Makes zero sense geographically. But the issue has become that there are not enough students to fill Druid Hills HS. That's the issue here, not so much who can walk to what school. To fill seats, they've pushed Lakeside-area neighborhoods into the DHHS district, leaving Evansdale/Pleasandale in Lakeside's district because Tucker HS doesn't have capacity for two more schools. I think it's clear no one's feeder pattern can stay intact (Sorry, Lakeside PTA mommies) because what's required is a county-wide realignment to consolidate and balance enrollments. And I say this, even being apprised through this blog that Lakeside is the most special and wonderful school community EVER and it's full of some indescribable type of heritage and tradition that makes former alumni puff their chests with pride.

Anonymous said...

"Evansdale should be going to Tucker and Pleasantdale attending Chamblee."

Check your maps. Sending Pleasantdale to Chamblee means crossing Buford Highway and Peachtree Industrial. I always plan 30 minutes to drive over there. One tip, take surface streets to avoid I-285 because the traffic is always heavy. I can get to Lakeside in under 15 minutes. It is a much easier and safer trip. Do you want your novice driver out on the Interstate during rush hour?

Anonymous said...

"Do you want your novice driver out on the Interstate during rush hour?"

I believe that riding the bus might solve that problem.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:29

As Cerebration said elsewhere, everything has been pushed south to deal with declining enrollment there. Currently there are no shortage of students to fill Druid Hills High School (also, DHHS has 300 out of district students--more than Lakeside), the proposed new lines take about 350-400 DHHS students and re-locate them into Clarkston High, which has serious enrollment issues. The students that would come from the proposed Lakeside changes would be coming into DHHS to fill the students who will be going to Clarkston (and a few to Avondale as well).

About administrative transfers. There is no question that at the very least they are going to be ended for everyone except the children of teachers at the actual school, as they should be. That was the policy before the board at the last meeting which was suddenly withdrawn by Ms. Tyson. The only issue--a short-term one at that--is what to do about the ones there now: grandfather them at the school they're currently at or toss them out starting at the end of this school year? The real difficulty is factoring NCLB transfers into future enrollment projections, since the ridiculous NCLB AYP bar is going up each year (I think by 2015 schools have to have EVERY child passing their CRCT's/ EOCT's!) and soon almost every school will be a "failing" school!

Anonymous said...

Re: possible new policy concerning which schools children of teachers may attend.

Be careful what you wish for . . . currently the policy of Gwinnett County Public Schools is that children of teachers may attend any school in the cluster in which that teacher/employee works. The teacher simply brings the child to the teacher's workplace, and GCPS provides transportation to the child's school. If the teacher works at a high school which starts much earlier than the elementary and middle schools, GCPS provides--at no charge--child care to supervise the child and make sure he or she gets on the right bus.

Morale is already low enough for DCSS employees. If the benefits become even less competitive with the surrounding school districts, teachers will vote with their feet, even considering that they would only get seniority credit for a maximum of 7 years of experience at another school system.

Or, we could decide that we would like only the most junior teachers in the metro area teaching our children. In which case, sharpen the pitchforks and light the torches, and get those teachers' kids out of the DCSS schools.

As for Palace-based employees, I'm not sure what do with them. It does point to another cost savings from laying off unproductive central office staffers: the savings from no longer having to educate their children, especially if they reside outside the county.

Anonymous said...

"About administrative transfers. There is no question that at the very least they are going to be ended for everyone except the children of teachers at the actual school, as they should be.'

Why do you think this? Tyson is clearly uncomfortable changing this policy and at least one of our two new board members (Jester) has used an administrative transfer for one of her children. And does anyone know how Edler ended up with a child who attended Fernbank?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:12

"The only issue--a short-term one at that--is what to do about the ones there now: grandfather them at the school they're currently at or toss them out starting at the end of this school year? "

I'm interested in the expression "toss them out" yet when you talk about students that live in the neighborhood and would have a seat at the school if not for the administrative transfers, then these neighborhood students are being "redistricted".

Why is it somehow meaner to ask the administrative transfers to return to their home schools, but it's okay to ask other children who are zoned into their local school to transfer to a new school?

Hundreds of administrative transfers into DHHS is unacceptable. Hundreds into Lakeside is also unacceptable.

And it is NOT short term. There are hundreds more administrative transfers in the feeder elementary and middle schools to DHHS and Lakeside.

Didn't some Fernbank parent say they had over 100 administrative transfers who will then go through Shamrock and then DHHS over the next 8 to 10 years? That's a pretty long time for "short term". Parents start them young so they will be in the feeder school pattern. That's why it will take 8 to 10 years at a minimum before we see the end of this if something is not done NOW.

Only teachers should be able to bring their children with them to the school they teach at (state law). We even have children who do not live in DeKalb County but their parents work for in the administration end and they go to Lakeside as well. The administration has approved this. I wonder where they are on the books? How are they listed - just as transfers into Lakeside?

Send the transfers back to their home schools at the first of the year, and then redistrict the remaining children and send them to their new schools at the first of the year. That seems fair to me.

Anonymous said...

"at least one of our two new board members (Jester) has used an administrative transfer for one of her children. "

Jester has one child at Hawthorne. This child's transfer was done because parents in over enrolled schools can send their children to under enrolled schools. Her child went to Dresden, an over enrolled school. She transferred this child to Hawthorne, an under enrolled school. If this happened more often voluntarily on the part of parents we probably would not have this situation. Perhaps situations like Jester's need to be considered since those numbers might also "skew" the data. I don't know how many of these "under" enrolled schools are taking from the "over" enrolled schools. It seems to generally be the other way around in DCSS.

Jester does not have a child at Fernbank since Fernbank is over enrolled.

Administrative transfers into Fernbank are not due to students coming from over enrolled schools into an under enrolled Fernbank. Quite the contrary - administrative transfers (is the number 100?) have come from this school being a "go to" schools for administrators in DCSS particularly so they can get them into the feeder pattern for DHHS.

I still think rezoning and redistricting need to come about, and there is no reason why FB kids should not be rezoned into Briar Vista. But the administrative transfers at Fernbank should be sent back to their home schools this fall, and then the additional redistricting that entails FB kids being sent to Briar Vista should occur next fall as well.

Parents in these schools need to be asking Ms. Tyson about these administrative transfers, she needs to send the administrative transfers back to their home schools, and then she and the BOE need to get on with the vital business of consolidation and redistricting. You can't please everyone. But you can always strive to be fair.

Anonymous said...

With their salaries, the Palace employees can afford to send their kids to private school. :)

Anonymous said...

If we are redistricting all over the county, we could send administrative transfer students back to their home school. Once we know where the empty seats are, families could then apply for a transfer to a school that has open seats. This places all administrative transfer students in the same situation as every child who has to attend a new school due to an attendance line change.

Anonymous said...

@2:32

I think it's fair to grandfather them in to the end of their time at the school they are CURRENTLY attending. So, for example, if there is someone at Fernbank, then the student could finish his or her time there and then have to go to middle school in his or her district.

But there definitely needs to be a long-term policy that will be implemented with no exceptions, because right now it seems rather informal and open to many abuses. From what I understand, if it's ok with the principal of the school in question, then a student can attend, no questions asked. And of course, if the principal is directed from higher up in the county office to take a student...

Anonymous said...

"...soon almost every school will be a "failing" school! "

Well, when that happens this will be Gwinnett County and Clayton County's problem. The neighboring school systems will have to accept DCSS students from Did Not Make AYP schools into their Made AYP schools. That should endear us to them. And yes, more DCSS schools than ever will be in the Did Not Make AYP category next year. We may very well dwindle to one high school making AYP. Ms. Tyson has spoken a lot about bricks and mortar, but little about the education of children in the schoolhouse. She has such scant experience in the schoolhouse (2 years in the 1980s) that this is probably an unfamiliar and therefore uncomfortable topic. Her head of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Beasley has not much more experience than she has - 3 1/2 years in the classroom in the 1990s. So educationally things have not and cannot change.

Neither Ms. Tyson nor the BOE can control AYP transfers. DCSS accepts federal funds so that's the way it will be. However, administrative transfers are one big problem they CAN control and SHOULD control.

Anonymous said...

"I think it's fair to grandfather them in to the end of their time at the school they are CURRENTLY attending."

This is true, but a student who is being assigned to a new school next year isn't being grandfathered into the old school. Why is it more fair for a transfer student to be allowed to stay than a child who lived in the old attendance area?

Anonymous said...

@ 2:52 pm
"I think it's fair to grandfather them in to the end of their time at the school they are CURRENTLY attending. So, for example, if there is someone at Fernbank, then the student could finish his or her time there and then have to go to middle school in his or her district."

I think it "sounds fair" to do this as well. However, in the midst of redistricting, do we shuffle 100 students that live on streets that currently are zoned into Fernbank to Briar Vista, and then as the administrative transfers "age out" do we let these students come back into Fernbank? How long do we wait for the admin transfers to "age out" - 4 years, 5 years? Is that because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings?

I'm surprised it seems "not fair" to send the admin transfers back to their schools in the fall, but "relocating" and "redistricting" other students to new schools in the fall is just fine. Some students are going to be moving in the fall. Which group of students is the question being posed.

Make plans to send the admin transfers back in the fall, recount the student enrollment, and then redistrict and send the students to schools for an equitable balance in enrollment.

Anonymous said...

How did these administrative transfers get so out of hand?

I don't think there is a parent or taxpayer in the system that cares if a teacher bring his/her child to the school they teach at, but for all those administrative and support personnel (even ones who live outside DeKalb County) to be able to pick and choose wherever they want to send their child is a terrible practice. How can we ever get a handle on enrollment when this vast army of admin and support can pick and choose at will?

Could parents get some numbers as to how many transfers into the school are legitimate AYP transfers and how many are the Administrative transfers? That would be a starting point.

Ella Smith said...

DeKalb County first of all needs to check all residencies just like Fulton just did. If the students do not live in district then they need to go to their home school or to the county school in which they reside. DeKalb County could help the situation a great deal by doing this.

Many students' parents know how to play the system and also indicate they are homeless when in many situation this is not the case to attend the school of choice. No one checks the situation and this is a big loophole and the local students get redistricted.

Again, I am on the Lakeside side of Lavista and it looks like I am zoned to Druid Hills. I can live with the change if it happens. My son will be a senior next year however, and this could be a real issue to him if he is not grandfathered in. He has went to school in the Lakeside community since kindergarden through Oak Grove and then Henderson and now as a senior he could be uprooted to Druid Hills. That would really stint. Would the AP options be the same? Would the joint enrollment be the same?

Pride is a great respect of your school and and pride makes you want to be a part of it. This is missing today from so many high schools. Many high school students do not have pride in their school and do not have school spirit and have no idea what school tradition is all about. This comes not only from the parents but from the community. The great Redan High School also has a tradition and great pride over the years.

Sagamore 7 said...

Ella,

All rising Junior and Seniors for 2011-12 school year are not affected by the proposed redistricting. They are "Grandfathered" in as well as ALL of the transfer students until they graduate.

That in itself is a different issue that I haven't been able to figure out a solution.

S7

Cerebration said...

Administrative transfers and letters of special permission are handed out wildly to all kinds of people in DCSS - administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, regular parents, etc.

AYP transfers are different - they are legal and follow federal laws as they apply to NCLB or as the new Obama/Duncan administration calls it ESEA. Nancy Jester used a state transfer law called HB 251 which allows transfers from their assigned school to another of choice in the district as long as there is room:

HB 251

Beginning in school year 2009-2010, the parent of a student enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school in this state may elect to enroll such student in a public school that is located within the school system in which the student resides other than the one to which the student has been assigned by the local board of education if such school has classroom space available after its assigned students have been enrolled. The parent shall assume the responsibility and cost of transportation of the student to and from the school.

Cerebration said...

Ella is correct - another legal transfer is through the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The law is broad and covers many issues surrounding homelessness - the school issue having been only a very recent addition. The Act was originally signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on July 22, 1987

Click here for more info:

McKinney-Vento Act

McKinney-Vento Guidelines

Section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Act defines the following terms:
(a) Homeless children and youth means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes--
(1) Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
(2) Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
(3) Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(4) Migratory children (as defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended) who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described in this definition.
(b) Enroll and enrollment include attending classes and participating fully in school activities.
(c) Unaccompanied youth includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella

These admin and support personnel aren't using any subterfuge like saying they are homeless. The Fernbank and Druid Hills and lakeside, etc. administration knows where these students come from - even the ones from out of the county who have parents who are administrators.

Personally, I think the teachers should be able to bring their kids to the schools where they teach and that is it - no one else.

However, the rationale for the administrative transfers is that admin and support personnel should get the same perks as teachers and since they don't have a school they are assigned to they can pick a school to send their kids to (even if it's over enrolled). Honestly, this is how they talk.

This has grown over the years to be more and more popular as achievement has declined in DCSS.

Does anyone know if Ms. Tyson uses administrative transfer for her children? If she does, do you think she will support getting rid of administrative transfers?

Cerebration said...

Principals know the numbers. They can share with you how many AYP, homeless, HB 251, Admin/Special letters of transfer are in the building. Some will - some will lie and say they don't know - but they do.

As far as Tyson - I'm pretty sure she sends her kids to their regular assigned school. She is not a prima donna nor a clique monger. I sincerely look for her to return with a very tightly worded transfer policy at the next board meeting. She knows these transfers are a big monkey wrench in redistricting and maintaining enrollment balance.

Anonymous said...

Not on topic but I need to know. We attempted to go out today and our subdivision is a sheet of ice. My kids normally ride the bus. Is there school in the DCSS tomorrow? I noticed that Ga Tech and Ga State are both closed. That takes care of our older son. Has anyone heard? How are conditions where you live? I am sorry. I am just trying to get an idea about tomorrow. Thanks!!!!

Anonymous said...

Tyson's children attend Narvie J. Harris.

Anonymous said...

I am a renter and my kids go to Vanderlyn. I do not support the petition but it does have valid points. We can all agree there are serious problems with our schools and boundaries. DES needs to be K-5 to reduce overcrowding, and yes all schools should include apartment living. The petition creators should create its own map showing how they would fix the problem. You are expecting the board to do something right for us when they have done nothing right for the entire school system for many years. The reality is not everyone will be happy with the results and that is unfortunate but this is happening all across America right now. It is about time that parents are making a stand and they need to continue to -let your voices be heard!

Dunwoody Mom said...

DeKalb County Schools just announced they will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Anon says "About administrative transfers. There is no question that at the very least they are going to be ended for everyone except the children of teachers at the actual school, as they should be.'

NOT SO!!

The policy now being considered (and open for comments... not to be considered?) speaks only to teachers in school. It says NOTHING about people in administration or BOE. The present policy of unrestricted transfers for administrators will continue because NOTHING IS SAID IN THE POLICY TO PREVENT IT. Ramona and staff wrote the policy with the Mack truck hole to keep the status quo going.

Write your BOE member

Anonymous said...

Ramona and staff also review the public comments to the policies that they wrote.

The public doesn't stand a chance

Ella Smith said...

The law to allow teachers to take their children to school has been horrible abused. The purpose was good. It was to allow teachers to allow their children to go to school where they teach in order to prevent the teacher from having to miss activities of their child.

For instance, PTA meetings on the same night as their school, etc. It enabled coaches to take their children where they taught so so they could watch their childrenn participate in sport programs. However, it has turned into something else other than what it was intended because principals have done favors and school admininstrators have done favors and looked the other way.

Now the belt has to be tightened.

I also do not understand why DeKalb handles it AYP students the way it does and Fulton and other counties provide tutoring services and other great options. It makes no sense to me. This is not happening in Fulton County and Gwinnett County.

Ella Smith said...

However, it is my understanding there are many homeless students registered (as so at Lakeside). They may be living with grandpapers know or whatever due to the economy but they are allowed to qualify under this act and come to schools like Lakeside. I am extremely supportive of the Act if used properly. However there is talk in the Lakeside community of its abuse in order for parents to get their children into Lakeside. I could see this happening.

Anonymous said...

By 2014 all schools must meet AYP at 100% of all subgroups -- this includes English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities. This is based on the CRCT (not nationally normed testing). There is a bell curve for a reason. Kids have average IQs for a reason. There is absolutely no way, on the face of the planet, that any school that isn't choosing their population based on the top IQ range is ever going to be able to make AYP based on these criteria -- DCSS, City of Atlanta, Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb, Decatur, etc. This may very well be why we have 4 districts currently looking for superintendents while Obama and the State speak of holding teachers and those in charge "accountabele" -- it's really "no win" (I'm a parent -- not a teacher -- and I've actually comfronted Senator Isakson with these issues in a face to face meeting -- he told me -- in our group -- that the SWD crowd actively lobbied to be included in NCLB in the first place).

Anonymous said...

So with DCSS closed -- is your teacher posting assignments? CMS magnet has teachers sending out assignments. Top private schools are sending out assignments.... who else is posting on-line assignments?

Anonymous said...

You might be wrong.

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/22/17-gifted-children/

Anonymous said...

DCSS closed tomorrow, Wednesday.

Re the transfer chart. Lakeside shows 239 but the numbers from the school last year were much closer to 400. So my question: does this chart include AYP transfers or only non-AYP administrative tranfers HB251 or Homeless transfers?

I acknowledge the population growth in the northern vs southern end of the county and DCSS desire to shift school assignments southward. However, if the situation gets worse in 3 years, are we going to send students from chamblee to McNair just to fill seats? At what point do we stop moving bodies and start addressing the issues that strip students from more southern schools? Look at the gross numbers of underenrollment totals and compare to the number of transfers and you'll see that we created some of our own problems by offering alternatives. The numbers who transferred out are almost the same as the underenrollment. By continuing to ignore the issue of why these schools are not meeting the needs of those students/parents who want learning to occur, creating a climate where learning is OK, we will be doomed to forever redistrict.

The statement that population is not being replaced in Lakeside area is ludicrous. The older population is decreasing and being replaced by young families all over Lakeside district: over 19 kids preschool kids on 1 small street with only 1 middle school child in Sagamore Hills alone!

Anonymous said...

Ella, You are right on. DCSS made the choice to transfer AYP students rather than use the other federally acceptable approach to address the needs of students in their home schools via tutoring. Just add that to the list of things that we need to insist that DCSS start to get right. As long as we just move students, we avoid the issue. Those students who do not transfer are left in an under-enrolled, under-performing school and we have done nothing to improve the education of all DCSS students.

Anonymous said...

Transferring students from schools that don't make AYP is the easy way out. I really think that our kids would be better off with one-on-one tutoring. A student who can't pass the CRCT is missing skills. The only to help the student to be successful is to identify the deficits and remediate them. NCLB needs to be rewritten.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 4:17 and anonymous 4:30

Here is some information about Narvie J. Harris:
This is a theme school which means it is "choice" school. Students from the neighboring schools apply so this is not a school you are "districted into". A lottery is held to get into all theme schools including this one.

According to their website the creator of Narvie J. Harris was Fannie Tartt, former Executive Director of Elementary Education for DeKalb Schools. The principal of Narvie J. Harris is Dr. Sean R. Tartt. In 2006 "Champion Newspaper" identified Sean Tartt as Fannie Tartt's 30 year old son who is principal of Narvie J. Harris.

There are 988 students. In addition to 40 grade level/content area teachers, there are 2 Discovery teachers, 2 PE teacher, 2 Music teachers, 2 Media Specialists, 1 CTSS, 1 Computer Lab Instructor, 1 Reading Specialists, 2 Special Ed teacher, 1 Spanish teacher.

Narvie J. Harris is located about 15 minutes from Arabia Mountain High School.

From the DCSS theme school webpage:
"A traditional theme school is a school...attracts elementary students from neighboring schools or at the middle school level from throughout the school district...unique features...comprehensive, interdisciplinary educational program in a highly structured
setting...a challenging program...home study projects...a world language....research centered
assignments...hands-on projects requiring problem solving and critical thinking. Parents are a vital part of the program..."

DeKalb Watch's "New Attendance Data to Review" thread (Sept 3, 2010) had some discussion regarding Narvie J. Harris.
Cere, you posted:
"Narvie Harris has 953 with capacity for 837"

pscexb posted:
"It should be noted, that ES Theme transportation .... Converting them to a traditional school then redrawing lines will probably bring up the same concerns that many across the district have said over years, don't change something that is already working. "

Weblinks:
Narvie J. Harris:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/narvieharris/

Champion newspaper:
http://www.championnewspaper.com/narvie.html

DeKalb County School Watch:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-attendance-data-to-review.html

Narvie J. Harris Theme Creator:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCAQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dekalb.k12.ga.us%2Fnarvieharris%2Ffiles%2F7AA27247183F4C13BAE0396C1E7F9347.pdf&ei=u9osTYLtE4K78gaUq8XwCQ&usg=AFQjCNEdnf_WH7T1IFsN_39KL4jkJGrBGQ&sig2=SJG9gZgmqYFBuf9I1zgfmQ

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 4:17
"As far as Tyson - I'm pretty sure she sends her kids to their regular assigned school."
..and
Anonymous 4:30
"Tyson's children attend Narvie J. Harris."

Here is some information about Narvie J. Harris:
This is a theme school which means it is "choice" school. Students from the neighboring schools apply so this is not a school you are "districted into". A lottery is held to get into all theme schools including this one.

According to their website the creator of Narvie J. Harris was Fannie Tartt, former Executive Director of Elementary Education for DeKalb Schools. The principal of Narvie J. Harris is Dr. Sean R. Tartt. In 2006 "Champion Newspaper" identified Sean Tartt as Fannie Tartt's 30 year old son who is principal of Narvie J. Harris.

There are 988 students. In addition to 40 grade level/content area teachers, there are 2 Discovery teachers, 2 PE teacher, 2 Music teachers, 2 Media Specialists, 1 CTSS, 1 Computer Lab Instructor, 1 Reading Specialists, 2 Special Ed teacher, 1 Spanish teacher.

Narvie J. Harris is located about 15 minutes from Arabia Mountain High School.

From the DCSS theme school webpage:
"A traditional theme school is a school...attracts elementary students from neighboring schools or at the middle school level from throughout the school district...unique features...comprehensive, interdisciplinary educational program in a highly structured
setting...a challenging program...home study projects...a world language....research centered
assignments...hands-on projects requiring problem solving and critical thinking. Parents are a vital part of the program..."

DeKalb Watch's "New Attendance Data to Review" thread (Sept 3, 2010) had some discussion regarding Narvie J. Harris.
Cere, you posted:
"Narvie Harris has 953 with capacity for 837"

pscexb posted:
"It should be noted, that ES Theme transportation .... Converting them to a traditional school then redrawing lines will probably bring up the same concerns that many across the district have said over years, don't change something that is already working. "

Weblinks:
Narvie J. Harris:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/narvieharris/
(Also click on Theme Creator)

Champion newspaper:
http://www.championnewspaper.com/narvie.html

DeKalb County School Watch:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-attendance-data-to-review.html

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like Narvie Harris is a Kittredge model school -- my mantra is -- do away with these schools and make them all like that!

Cerebration said...

Thanks for the research. I guess we'll wait and see how Tyson really shakes out the transfer issue.

Check out our report on where people actually attend school -

North vs Central vs South - what's the deal?

It really is odd that the school system over-built in south DeKalb (and there are still plans on the docket for additions to MLK and Miller Grove) - AND - created several alternative "theme", "magnet" or "choice" schools - encouraging people to leave their neighborhood schools for something "special" - or an AYP transfer to a receiving school or a simple letter of transfer. So, now, they have created schools with enormous numbers of empty seats - for which the ENTIRE system must be redistricted.

It's just like musical chairs, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 6:33
"According to their website the creator of Narvie J. Harris was Fannie Tartt, former Executive Director of Elementary Education for DeKalb Schools. The principal of Narvie J. Harris is Dr. Sean R. Tartt. In 2006 "Champion Newspaper" identified Sean Tartt as Fannie Tartt's 30 year old son who is principal of Narvie J. Harris.
"

I guess friends and family strikes again!

Anonymous said...

The real million (or is it billion) dollar question is: how to fix things? Given all of the information sharing we can now do; all that has come to light about how the system really does seem to be more about adults than kids; it is more about who you know than what you know or what your resume really contains; your position may have more to do with where your gene pool is from and who you are connected to or have been able to connect with rather than a true meritocrcy where the truly qualified or in a position at true market "price" (salary). We have an enormous million, billion, trillion dollar problem. We have no checks and balances in place. We have high level adminsistrators holding down numerous jobs. Childrens' lives and home values hang in the balance -- much more so than all the jobs that everyone screams about when it comes time for some discussions. I really think the system is too big to manage. I really think SACS may need to take over. Perhaps the Governor. There are too many special interest groups all trying to protect their own turf. The stakes are very high for too many special interest groups and I don't really see anyone who will take the system out of the current situation in any "pretty" way. I still think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

Tartt was a gym teacher and taught for very few years. Doesn't really understand academics and is a snappy dresser. He is earning his PhD and is probably part of the Lewis hiring and growing DCSS plan.

Narvie has all kinds of students, very involved parents, a large PTA, and 2 counselors and 2 assistant principals to add to the staff already mentioned. It was used like a private school in South DeKalb. People who didn't want to spend money on a private school, sent their kid to Narvie. Was a better school when it started and has the same discipline problems that other schools in DCSS have.

If the feeder schools that feed it aren't over crowded-why it was built in the first place-it and other theme schools should be included in decision making for the school closing and redistricting.

DCSS can't afford a handful of special schools. We need for each and EVERY school to be the best!!!

Anonymous said...

@ 7:41

"
Narvie has all kinds of students, very involved parents, a large PTA, and 2 counselors and 2 assistant principals to add to the staff already mentioned. It was used like a private school in South DeKalb.

If the feeder schools that feed it aren't over crowded-why it was built in the first place-it and other theme schools should be included in decision making for the school closing and redistricting. "

If Ms. Tyson sends her children to Narvie J. Harris, can she really understand the concerns of parents who send their children to the regular education schools?

Anonymous said...

@ 7:41

"Tartt was a gym teacher and taught for very few years. Doesn't really understand academics and is a snappy dresser. He is earning his PhD and is probably part of the Lewis hiring and growing DCSS plan. "

I guess he got along just fine with Lewis who was also a PE teacher. His mother was the head of elementary education in DeKalb. Didn't she have a big disagreement with another upper level manager in the Central Office?

Anonymous said...

Sean Tartt. Wow! 30 years old and seasoned principal. I can remember when a principal was never under 40. They had years and years of classroom experience and then they were Lead Teachers or Assistant Principals and then they finally attained a principal ship.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:01
Even if every DeKalb school fails to make AYP and is in Needs Improvement (NI), students will NOT go to Gwinnett or Fulton. The Act does not require this- the guidance merely states that the system could "ask" a neighboring school system to take transfer students but there is no requirement to do so. DCSS has been turned down when they sought assistance in the past.

However, the guidance allows the school system to decide whether to place NCLB school choice transfer students in a non-Title I school even if it is in NI. For example, if DHHS or LHS fails to make AYP they can technically be receiving schools because they are not Title I schools. Or DCSS could open a new school.

Redistricting at the high school level in DCSS will never work until DCSS breaks the chronic school choice transfer habit.

Anonymous said...

Any idea how the school will make up days? An idea: remove a benchmark testing day and use it for INSTRUCTION!

Anonymous said...

-If the feeder schools that feed it aren't over crowded-why it was built in the first place-it and other theme schools should be included in decision making for the school closing and redistricting. -

The Theme elementary schools that were built provided relief to areas that had severe overcrowding. Instead of redistricting the elementary schools that needed relief, each school in the area was provided seats for the Theme school. The Theme school operated a lottery for the seats. the obvious attraction of Theme schools were parental involvement contracts (volunteering at least 10 hours per school year) and uniforms. As a result, it created an environment where like minded parents could send their children. Any school can become a Theme school if a supermajority of the parents request it to become one. This is no different to a school becoming a Charter school.

Dr. Fannie Tartt is credited with starting the Theme school concept in DeKalb County. The Theme elementary schools are Bouie, Narvie, Marbut, Robert Shaw, and Oakcliff.

Anonymous said...

The norm seems to be that we hire administrators at all levels with as little teaching and time in the classroom, in fact if it could be done, we'd hire administrators with no time in the classroom to collect big pay checks, boss teachers around, and ruin the lives of our children with the poor quality of education.

The above is tongue in cheek, but I was very surprised by how little teaching and classroom time any of the administrators that I worked with had while teaching in DCSS. This was a turn off to me, especially as I had had more experience than most of them. If DCSS is going to improve hiring administrators with solid teaching backgrounds should be one of the first steps, as well as right sizing the district, and making salaries for people working outside the classroom and those working in the palace. Our salary structure is out of whack and we have hired too many on who they know or are related to instead of experience and quality of product they are able to produce. Until these areas are fixed our schools will continue to have more and more that do not make AYP and DCSS will be a laughing stock of the Atlanta area.

Anonymous said...

TIME FOR A NEW PETITION. STATISTICALLY THIS ONE ISN'T WORKING.

Anonymous said...

"Ms. Tyson has spoken a lot about bricks and mortar, but little about the education of children in the schoolhouse. She has such scant experience in the schoolhouse (2 years in the 1980s) that this is probably an unfamiliar and therefore uncomfortable topic. Her head of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Beasley has not much more experience than she has - 3 1/2 years in the classroom in the 1990s."


Chew on this. For the 26th largest school system in America, the Superintendenet and Director of Curriculum and Instruction have less than six years between them.

Less than six years????

Tom Bowen, Womack, McChesney, Walker, Copelin-Wood, Speaks, Cunningham, Edler, Jester can any of you comprehend how FREAKING crazy that is?

Teachers of DeKalb County: The thousands of you working with our children daily should be incredibly outraged by this.

Anonymous said...

So Dr. Tartt's son was a principal of Narvie J Harris by the time he was 30.

And Audria Berry, Executive Director of the DCSS Office of School Improvement (an oxymoron if there ever was one), hired Dr. Tartt's son as a speaker last spring:

"The Premier DeKalb County School System Office of School Improvement
Presents
The Year of The Parent
RAISING THE BAR!
Together We Can Make a Difference
A FREE half-day Parent Conference

Saturday, March 13, 2010 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Avondale Middle School, 3131 Old Rockbridge Road
Avondale Estates, GA30002

A complimentary breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m.
Dr. Alduan Tartt, a practicing psychologist and accomplished author, community servant and humanitarian, is the keynote speaker. He will speak on the topic “Effective Parenting in Today’s Society”. Dr. Tartt will also present two workshops on parenting. In addition, a variety of workshops focusing on test-taking strategies will be offered to assist parents in the facilitation of student achievement."

How many sons does Dr. Tartt have?

Anonymous said...

“So Dr. Tartt's son was a principal of Narvie J Harris by the time he was 30.

And Audria Berry, Executive Director of the DCSS Office of School Improvement (an oxymoron if there ever was one), pays Alduan Tartt, her other son as a consultant:

"The Premier DeKalb County School System Office of School Improvement
Presents
The Year of The Parent
RAISING THE BAR!
Together We Can Make a Difference
A FREE half-day Parent Conference

Saturday, March 13, 2010 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Avondale Middle School, 3131 Old Rockbridge Road
Avondale Estates, GA30002

A complimentary breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m.
Dr. Alduan Tartt, a practicing psychologist and accomplished author, community servant and humanitarian, is the keynote speaker. He will speak on the topic “Effective Parenting in Today’s Society”. Dr. Tartt will also present two workshops on parenting. "

Anonymous said...

They may not have teaching experience, but they all seem to have PhDs.

Anonymous said...

A PhD from a school where you pay for it or just in general does not trump experience, something that most of the administrators I have talked to are lacking. You can't teach for 4 or 5 years and think that you know how to run a school or even do AP work. Experience is key to running successful schools.

Anonymous said...

Don't you have to be over 40 years old to be an humanitarian?

We fling titles like hot cakes in Dekalb County.

Anonymous said...

@10:28

You are so right. These microwave administrators can be so ill-prepared that the entire school suffers.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:37 You forgot to mention the salaries these two are pulling for the little experience that they have.

They aren't being paid peanuts, but have the top salaries in the district. The least amount of experience, the most important jobs, and no experience. Awww Premier DeKalb!

Anonymous said...

"They may not have teaching experience, but they all seem to have PhDs."


From online diploma mills.

Here's a favorite trick: On many of their resumes, they list their master's or PhD from Sarasota University, which doesn't exist. It's just a branch of the diploma mill, Argosy.


And if you don't believe that Audria Berry's army and many other DCSS administrators didn't work long hours during the school day for their online degree, I have a bridge to sell you.

I have heard this from countless teachers. Teachers who actually work with students don't have the luxury of working on their online degree during the school day.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:35 I have seen classroom teachers do this as well. It's an epidemic at DeKalb. The people who should be caring about the children and the knowledge imparted on to them, care more about the money in their paycheck and not a hoot about what the children do and do not learn.

Seeing teachers who worked on their PhDs during classroom time, while giving students worksheets to keep them busy, and then receive praise about their teaching and management of time made me sick. I knew it was time to leave, and haven't been happier since departing DCSS.

Anonymous said...

"Seeing teachers who worked on their PhDs during classroom time, while giving students worksheets to keep them busy, and then receive praise about their teaching and management of time made me sick. "

Yes, it is sad seeing so many educators seeking advanced degrees, most which would not impact the student. But let's take a step back and ask why. Could it be because the salaries we pay educators don't match the expectations we have for the job?

A system was created to pay teachers more based on the degrees they have or obtain. Maybe we should modify it to only pay more if it has a direct impact on student learning. I do find it strange having an elementary school teacher wanting to be called Doctor, expecially if the doctorate was just to have a salary increase.

Anonymous said...

"You can't teach for 4 or 5 years and think that you know how to run a school or even do AP work."

But apparently in DCSS you can teach for less than 4 years and not only run Curriculum and Instruction (Morcease Beasley) and the enire system (Ramona Tyson).

Anonymous said...

Most of these doctoral degrees or Ed.D., not PhD. There is a HUGE difference in the level and difficulty of coursework and in the scholarship required for the dissertation. Eugene Walker does have a real PhD, from Duke University, no less.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Walker's Duke PhD from the early 70s (in history I believe) is very impressive -- I think it would have been very difficult for him to have gotten - I believe Duke was very even whitter then than it is now... it does not excuse his "excesses," conflicts of interest and harassment suits but I give credit where credit is due.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Fulton has IB in all of their elementary schools. As we all probably know, Fulton did away with instrumental music in all elementary schools -- Fulton will not allow parents to supplement so that one school is offering something like that and another school does not. When Buckhead parents used PTAs to raised money for foreign language instruction, Beverly Hall stepped up and had it offered county wide. Fulton Schools have similar offerings (more or less) in all of their elementary schools. DCSS can not redistrict our overcrowded, highly successful schools (which I argue have gotten there because of these disparities-this underlies the "no apartments in my zoning argument") until the offerings at the schools have been leveled out. I do not believe that Fulton has a "Kittredge" magnet at the Elementary level. They have NorthSprings for Math and Science (Gwinnett has something similar) and something similar on the south side and incorporate their DSA equivalent into that building as a combined magnet (same on the south side). Grady also serves the "high end" student (Grady may be APS). Riverwood is Fulton's only IB high school & no transportation is offered (I don't know what they do with IB at the middle school level). I submit to you that DCSS should be doing, maybe exactly following, what Fulton is doing -- our demographics are virtually identical. Our politics should be virtually identical -- if they are not -- it's due to influences that should not be there. Maybe the systems should be combined so they can be run the same way and the corruption can then be addressed and economies of scale can somehow be realized. I would love to see a comparison of the level of experience of their administrators, their principals, their teachers, their "corporate charts" to compare to DCSS charts that are hard to find, and their pay scales and compare them point by point. The tax bases are somewhat different but they maybe shouldn't be... It might be interesting to see what the point utilizations look like. Our biggest problems in DCSS are corruption, lack of experience running things and way too many programs. Maybe we could then get an unbelievable Superintendant to run the combined system -- roll in APS as a very merged, largest system in the country and one superintendent?

Anonymous said...

The solution to all these problems - vouchers.

No more hierarchy needed as individual schools will replace "school systems".

No more lack of true parental influence. Parents vote with their vouchers. Their voice would be heard because the school would not want to lose enrollment.

No more teachers-that-don't-care because parents will be able to change their school if the current one is not living up to expectations.

One thing is certain, people will fight for a pay check which means better service all the way around.

Anonymous said...

While most of your points are right, Fulton does not have IB in all its elementary schools. Grady is APS.

Fulton does make sure that all the schools are pretty similar in the offerings at the elementary level and middle school level.

DeKalb has never even tried.

Anonymous said...

Before DCSS can even think about putting IB everywhere, they need to get their act together with the general education offered. The math curriculum in the elementary school is dismal and needs to have rigor and time for children to learn the concepts. Until the general education is fixed up and improved, and I mean really improved, adding IB to all elementary schools, will only add to the people at the Palace and the extraordinary salaries that they receive.

We need to clean up what we have and do it well before we can go and add programs that are nice, but are not going to be beneficial for the majority of children in DCSS.

The goal of public education is to educate the masses, not just the smart kids and we are not doing that currently.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:24, According to the state BOE we can miss 4 days and have the option NOT to make them up.

Anonymous said...

10:14 - do you think Woodward and St. Pious are going to double their enrollment and take every kid with a voucher in? One reason why they are academically successful is that they can be selective. I teach in a Dekalb high school and we have had private school students enroll during the middle of the semester.....and it wasn't their choice to leave their previous school. Fear of being thrown out is a big motivator in a private school...........

Anonymous said...

In reference to Anon's comment about Fulton parents paying for programs that other schools do not have...that is exactly what happened with band, orchestra and foreign language in the elementary schools. It is offered after school and those interested in it pay for it.

Cerebration said...

DeKalb and Fulton are not alike IMO. Fulton consists of 13 cities, many of them affluent.

The southern part of Fulton County is comprised of the cities of Chattahoochee Hills, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Palmetto and Union City. The northern part is home to the cities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs.

As the fourth largest school system in Georgia, Fulton has more than 12,000 full-time employees, including more than 6,800 teachers and other certified personnel, who work in 101 schools and 14 administrative and support buildings. During the 2010-11 school year, more than 92,000 students will attend classes in 59 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, 16 high schools (includes two open campus high schools) and seven charter organizations (some charters have multiple campuses but are considered one school).


The demographics are more balanced -

Racial Composition (rounded)
Black 42%
White 34%
Hispanic 12%
Asian 9%
Multi-racial 3%
Native American -less than 1%

Systemwide Free/Reduced Meals (rounded)
44% eligible


And get this - their motto is "Where Students Come First" and they actually post a recruiting schedule to nab the best and brightest employees

Recruiting Schedule

In addition, they place a high value on qualified principals - check out this ad -

WANTED: Current exemplary secondary principals for prospective middle and high school leadership opportunities for the 2010-11 school year. As a middle or high school principal, incumbents of these positions will serve as the instructional and organizational leader for a Fulton County middle or high school.

Preferred Experience: Five or more years of successful principalship experience in a secondary school environment.


DeKalb has nowhere near this level of professionalism or focus. They do not place the same value on teachers and principals. They have a much higher level of poverty -- over 65% Free & Reduced Lunch and the system demographics are very different - over 70% Black, 10% white and 11% Hispanic.

This is one marketing statement from their "New To Fulton Schools?" web page that caught my eye -

We believe school buildings should support student learning. Take at look at any of our schools. You will not find cinder-block warehouses. You will find buildings that were designed for kids. They have the infrastructure needed to support today’s technological classroom, they have wide halls and a quality design that accommodates class sizes. And they look nice, as well. A school is a very large building. We believe it should be an asset to a community, not an eyesore.

Cerebration said...

Did you catch that -

Preferred Experience: Five or more years of successful principalship experience in a secondary school environment.

Our Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning does not even have that much experience! He would not be able to even get a job as a principal in Fulton.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:54

"Dr. Walker's Duke PhD from the early 70s (in history I believe) is very impressive"

I've never heard anyone say Walker isn't smart. He just hasn't done anything that has improved student achievement. Improving student achievement is the most important job he has on the Board of Education. Wisely using tax dollars is the next most important job he has. Student achievement has declined and property taxes have risen. Therefore he has not performed his duties as a BOE member.

The other BOE members (with the exception of the 2 new ones who have no track record to date) are also non performers. Some might have been re-elected but they are still non-performers.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration
"Our Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning does not even have that much experience! He would not be able to even get a job as a principal in Fulton."

It long ago ceased to be about competence and performance in DCSS. It's ALL about relationships.

Anonymous said...

Yes, as part of the commitment to hiring the best, Fulton pays their teachers more. The scales for DCSS and Fulton used to be close to identical. Veteran DCSS teachers aren't going to make the change, but if I were graduating right now, it would only make sense to consider the salary. DCSS will end up with those who didn't make the cut elsewhere. Of course, some of those folks will be great teachers who just don't interview well or are certified in an area where the demand is low. But those sought after math and science teachers and those with Masters degrees (where the disparity in pay is even greater) have no incentive to choose Dekalb.

Cerebration said...

Not to mention, I personally have chatted with teachers who left DeKalb who cited one of their main problems as being poor principal leadership and principals having no real power to run their schools. Teachers need and want great leadership in the building.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

"Teachers need and want great leadership in the building. "

Students and parents want and need this as well.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what happens in the schoolhouse is paramount, but I am tired of working for an organization that is so poorly run as a whole. Not the redistricting but just all of layers upon layers of nonsense, as articulated by many on this blog.

I had a student teacher this year, and I tried SO hard to be positive. But it was pretty difficult to explain to her why I was giving benchmark tests, especially when she read them and saw the errors and ambiguous questions. There were other glaring negatives, but that one stuck out. This young woman is still in school and of course compares notes with her peers who are student teaching elsewhere, so the word is getting out there! She was incredibly bright and full of enthusiasm. But she isn't interviewing with Dekalb and will urge her fellow students not to do so.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone going to the meeting Monday to ask questions? I work that nite. I would like to see someone ask the board and the super what they are doing to address the fact that the departments in charge of curriculum and addressing school achievement/performance. Above and beyond redistricting (and in part hand-in-hand), this is the key issue facing our district. Our board and administration are sucking up money for administrative roles charged with improving these two things with no results. Students spend a statistically significant portion of their "instructional days" testing rather than learning. Our schools teach to the test rather than critical thinking and knowledge. What are they doing to scale back on the inane testing that the require of teaching and students and to develop real standards that teachers can work to creatively apply to ensure that our students really learn, not memorize to regurgitate.

Anonymous said...

sorry for the typos.

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