Friday, February 25, 2011

“Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians”

DCSS has “too many chiefs and not enough Indians”. The figures below show why certified teachers must vacate the classroom and stop teaching our children in order to get ahead in DCSS. These numbers come from the state Report Card web pages. They reflect the number and pay of certified personnel in the DeKalb County School System as well as a comparison with the other metro Atlanta school systems.

8,200+ DCSS employees hold current certificates with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, almost all being teaching certificates, yet only 6,374 are fulltime teachers.

Looking at Average Annual Salary (benefits NOT included), Average Daily Salary, and numbers of certified personnel over the last three years, Teachers (and therefore students) have borne the brunt of cost cutting in this recession. The result of a constant reduction in teaching positions rather than sharply decreasing admin and support personnel has been increased class sizes and decreased student achievement.

These figures illustrate that the way to make the most money, have the most job security, and bear the least responsibility for student achievement is to get out of and stay out of the classroom.

*Note that Support (no supervisory duties) personnel work only 7 more days a year than Teachers, yet they make over $10,000 more in Average Annual Salary than Teachers.

DCSS Certified Administrators, Support Personnel and Teachers - Number of Employees and Average Salary
2007-10





Administrative 2007-08
Administrative 2008-09
Administrative 2009-10
Number
550
534
524
Fulltime number
541
528
518
Average Annual Salary
$88,255
$91,297
$90,901
Average Contract Days
227
226
225
Average Daily Salary
$390
$404
$404





Support 2007-08
Support 2008-09
Support 2009-10
Number
963
939
974
Fulltime number
880
857
911
Average Annual Salary
$63,202
$65,654
$64,891
Average Contract Days
198
198
198
Average Daily Salary
$319
$331
$329





Teachers 2007-08
Teachers 2008-09
Teachers 2009-10
Number
6994
6887
6739
Fulltime number
6631
6539
6374
Average Annual Salary
$52,728
$54,587
$54,413
Average Contract Days
191
191
191
Average Daily Salary
$277
$286
$285






Since Teachers are the employees who instruct our students and are TOTALLY responsible for making AYP, it seems obvious that DCSS has lost its focus.

Many posters have said their BOE members want statistics before they will admit our administrative and support group is overstaffed and overpaid while our teacher group is understaffed. Please refer them to these statistics the state has required DCSS to provide. These statistics have been subsequently posted on the state DOE website by the state of Georgia DOE Information Technology group.

Mrs. Tyson needs to begin and the new superintendent needs to continue to right size our ratio of Staff (admin and support) to Teacher personnel as well as right size the pay schedule for the admin and support group. Maybe this will encourage the BOE to press Mrs. Tyson for that missing 2004 Compensation audit. Perhaps Mrs. Tyson and the BOE will understand why they should have authorized an up-to-date Compensation audit last spring conducted by an independent accounting firm with no ties to the school system administration or the BOE.

Comparing the DCSS 2010 numbers of certified personnel to other Atlanta metro area systems, we have a lower Teacher to Staff ratio than any other metro system with the exception of Atlanta Public Schools, a system that is arguably not a model of fiscal responsibility. In other words, DCSS’s 4:1 Teacher to Staff ratio means that for every five DCSS teachers, we have one employee who is certified to teach, but does not do so.

In simpler terms, 20% of our personnel certified to teach do not instruct a single student.

Look at this comparison of DCSS with the other metro systems (be sure to click on the Personnel and Fiscal tab):

DeKalb Schools:
A. Enrollment: 96,678
B. Fulltime administrators: 518
C. Fulltime Support Personnel: 911
D. Fulltime Teachers: 6,374
E. Staff to Teacher Ratio: 4:1

Gwinnett Schools:

A. Enrollment: 158,438
B. Fulltime administrators: 644
C. Fulltime Support Personnel: 674
D. Fulltime Teachers: 10,484
E. Staff to Teacher Ratio: 8:1

Fulton Schools:
A. Enrollment: 88,446
B. Fulltime administrators: 370
C. Fulltime Support Personnel: 553
D. Fulltime Teachers: 5,919
E. Staff to Teacher Ratio: 6:1

Cobb Schools:
A. Enrollment: 106,574
B. Fulltime administrators: 411
C. Fulltime Support Personnel: 757
D. Fulltime Teachers: 7,773
E. Staff to Teacher Ratio: 6:1

Clayton Schools:
A. Enrollment: 49,381
B. Fulltime administrators: 282
C. Fulltime Support Personnel: 272
D. Fulltime Teachers: 3,565
E. Staff to Teacher Ratio: 6:1

Atlanta Public Schools:
A. Enrollment: 47,944
B. Fulltime administrators: 470
C. Fulltime Support Personnel: 364
D. Fulltime Teachers: 3,728
E. Staff to Teacher Ratio: 4:1

What happens when an organization like DCSS has “Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians?”

The result of directing a disproportionate percent of our certified admin and support personnel into non-teaching positions has been and will continue to be detrimental for DCSS students in terms of student achievement, the ONLY reason for our school system to exist. Until Mrs. Tyson and the BOE address this situation, our students’ achievement will continue to be the lowest in metro Atlanta.

(Source: the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement web pages – links provided in this article – click on the Personnel and Fiscal tab)

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Amazing. Thank you for this information. Why isn't the board looking into this??? Why isn't Tyson? Why does no one who can address the problem want to deal with the real fiscal needs in a way that puts the true purpose of schools first? How with RTT further compound this ratio?

Anonymous said...

Great Info, Cere

From the Dekalb Co. Personnel & Fiscal tab we can see that our Admin and Support staff could be a little more diverse.

The facts speak for themselves:

Greater than 4 times as many black administrators to white administrators.

More than twice as many black support personnel as white support personnel.

And compared to other metro counties, Hispanics, Asians and others are hardly even a blip on the radar.

Perhaps the new superintendent can seek to transition DCSS Admin & Support to a more balanced and diverse workforce.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting this information out. The board, Tyson, and others benefiting from the system don't want this information out, but we need to get it out so that people understand how much we are over spending.

Anonymous said...

Having gone to a district with small schools, schools with 300 students or less shared principals. The librarian, gym, music, and art teacher was also shared between the schools. We went to these specials one time each week.

I believe that there are many ways that DCSS can cut costs. It's not just cutting administrative costs through salaries. It's asking do schools with 300-500 people need an AP and a principal? Can small schools of 200-400 children share principals? Do these schools need full time librarians, music, art, gym teachers? Could these teachers be shared?

If the DCSS community wants small schools, than sacrifices need to be made by everyone, and a better use of funds needs to happen across the board.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 8:31

Please understand that the certified Support personnel listed on the state website and in this article are NOT art, music, PE, Media Specialists. Art, music, PE, etc. DO teach students ever day.

The Support personnel listed in this article DO NOT teach any students at all. That's why they are listed as Support on the state website.

Your idea about small schools sharing art, music, etc. is good however.

Anonymous said...

There are 406 principals and assistant principals presently employed. Principals and assistant principals maintain their teaching certification as well as their admininstrative(leadership certification). So Cere which one of your administrative or support columns do we subtract the 406?

Anonymous said...

I would venture to say that the Support numbers have gone up while teacher numbers have gone down because Audria Berry in the Office of School Improvement has been adding Support personnel such as Instructional Coaches and Instructional Coordinators with additional federal funds rather than Title 1 teachers. Meanwhile as our general funds have gone down, Dr. Lewis and then Ms. Tyson cut teaching positions.

These numbers don't reflect the teaching positions cut this past year (2010-11). That won't come until next January. I expect the imbalance will be even worse. We're approaching a 3:1 ratio of Staff to Teachers. The BOE needs to be looking at this - too many chiefs and not enough Indians means kids don't get taught. Just exactly how does the BOE think kids get an education?

Anonymous said...

Principals are 12 month employees Assistant principals are either on a 10 month (elementary) and 11 month (secondary) so I guess 406principals and assistant get subtracted from the first box leaving 118 admininstrators. Are counselors support people? The increase in support positions comes from mandated funds (teaching coaches, teacher support specialists, etc.)

Anonymous said...

@ 9:19 am

These figures came from the state website. The DCSS administration gave these figures to the Ga. DOE so the figures come straight from the DCSS administration to the state.

Are you saying the DCSS administration gave the state inaccurate information?

We have way too many Assistant Principals. We never used to have this many Assistant Principals. Even 7 or 8 years ago a high school had only 2 APs. Now it's customary to have 4 or 5 APs. Ten years ago - the 80+ elementary schools had NO APs. We had ILT (Instructional Lead Teachers - who by the way taught a class or two). First they changed the ILT's title to AP and then came the raises. A great way to employee a lot of high paying personnel. The APs did nothing that the ILTs didn't do before.

I absolutely say that we need to cut a number of Assistant Principal positions. We have literally hundreds of APs.

Anonymous said...

You might note that the students in DeKalb County schools are 72% black, 11% Hispanic, 2% mixed race and 10% white. One might argue that the predominance of black admininstrators mirrors the student population. What is out of whack is not enough Hispanic administrators or teachers. This post is in answer to "Perhaps the new superintendent can seek to transition DCSS Admin & Support to a more balanced and diverse workforce."

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this response-"Are you saying the DCSS administration gave the state inaccurate information?" please explain it.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you some other figures:

Economically Disadvantaged Students Title I (rounded)
DeKalb 69% $37,000,000
Gwinnett 50% $23,500,000
Fulton 43% $21,000,000
Atlanta 78% $45,000,000
Cobb 56% $17,000,000

Entire State of Georgia %56% $469,657,813

Part of DeKalb expenditures compared to other systems are driven by the high number of economically disadvantaged students and the high number of Title I schools

When we look at the Title I expenditures by system we see:

DeKalb $16,938,000 for teaching $2,596,000 for administration
$9,259,000 for teacher training
$5,000,000 for transportation
$0 for support

In Gwinnett $12,000,000 for teaching
$5,000,000 for administration
$1,650,000 for teacher training
$653,000 for transportation
$3,837,000 for support

Fulton $9,583,999 for teaching $1,109,000 for administration
$8,208,000for teacher training
$14,249 for transportation


Atlanta $17,000,000 for teaching $2,300,000 for administration
$15,700,000 for teacher training
$14,249 for transportation
$376,613 for support

Cobb $10,000,000 for teaching
$665,000 for admin
$1,357,000 for teacher training
$898,254 for transportation
$1,400,000 for support

Cerebration said...

Interesting, Anon. I wonder, is the "America's Choice" contract included as part of "teacher training"?

Anonymous said...

Great question on America's Choice, Cere!

I'm thinking more and more that the 2004 audit shows something Tyson's leadership does NOT want to show the public. This information from the state is the tip of the iceberg. I hope Sandy Spruill gets that full "unedited" original 2004 Ernst & Young audit.

A Palace cleansing awaits and when it happens it will be a huge palate cleanser for the taxpayers in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

so if DCSS is the only system converting state dollars to "points." And, if DCSS is doing the 'numbers' in October and telling principals in some weird way how many teachers they qualify for after the October "count," and then there is a May "count" and they lose points because, particularly at the high school level at the schools with lots of transfers, teh kids have 'gone away,' they doi't get to "use points" becauase of the timing of the counts and the "notification of the counts" --when then the points get "left on the table" because they weren't "known about" or "just weren't really assigned" -- is this a reason that DCSS has been working really hard to have "friends and family" in the roles of principal and not to have tenured princicpals in the role of principal? Becasue, the more experienced the principal, the more likely the pricipal is to pick up on the pattern, the more they are able to learn to "play the points" and to "petition for more points" and "to plan for the next year" (for the benefit of the kids mind you) and then there's less money in the kitty for administration and legal fees... so maybe the "point game" and lack of experience at the principal level in the school house is intentionally done to prevent the money from actually getting to the students... (compare to the systems like cobb and gwinnett and fulton where there are no points, schools get funded with dollars from the state -- for title i, for gifted, etc.). Just wondering and trying to figure it out.... I've been thinking it's intentional chaos but maybe there's more to it....

Anonymous said...

I know, title 1 is fed dollars not state dollars, same principle though.

Anonymous said...

Title 1 are federal dollars. Gifted dollars are funded at the state level, not the local level.

Rufus from Druid Hills said...

Black/white, does it really matter? What matters is there are just too many, period. Cut the staff, hold those remaining accountable and lets get this ship righted.

Does Druid Hills High really need 4 assistant principals?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:48

"Part of DeKalb expenditures compared to other systems are driven by the high number of economically disadvantaged students and the high number of Title I schools"

We keep hearing how Title 1 dollars can't be spent on teachers when many systems spend their money on Title 1 Math and Title 1 Reading teachers (hence the term "Title 1 teacher").

Since a greater percentage of DCSS Title 1 schools are not making AYP, we can only conclude that the Office of School Improvement needs to change the investment of DCSS Title 1 dollars. Title 1 dollars need to be shifted into direct instruction rather than administration and support personnel.

Anonymous said...

Some systems still have the Instructional Lead Teacher as the assistant to the principal in elementary schools. That model was much less expensive and in my opinion much more effective. Why can't DCSS change back to that model and substantially cut the number of APs in the Middle and High schools? Does anyone think we need that many APs in the middle and high schools? Take a look at SWD HS. Two of their assistant principals were demoted from being principals. Wasn't Ralph Simpson and another high ranking administrator put in assistant principal positions when they were demoted in the Bookgate scandal? It seems this position has become a dumping ground for administrators being disciplined or demoted.

Anonymous said...

Who are these 974 certified Support personnel who work only 7 more days than teachers and make over $10,000 a year more? That's almost $1500 a day more for those 7 days.

Anonymous said...

I believe one reason the middle schools need so many APs is because of the behavior problems. Every time I'm at my kids' school, the APs are very busy dealing with the students who have committed infractions of school policy. People have compared MS to prison - and they kind of are - but it appears necessary to keep the troublemakers in check so the rest can learn. The bureaucracy required in dealing with these issues is intense.

Anonymous said...

If you compare the title I funds for the large systems given on this site DeKalb spends a comparable amount on teachers. DeKalb spends as much as Atlanta does for teachers and gets less Title I money. Their biggest expenditure that is unlike the other systems is the 5,000,000 that goes to fund transportation for students who may transfer out of non AYP schools under no child left behind-a mandated expense.

Anonymous said...

DeKlab also spends less on Title I administration than Gwinnett does in both raw dollars and per cent of Title I expenditures.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:05 pm

I've been at middle schools on the southside of DCSS where the APs stand in the hallways between classes and use bullhorns. It's pretty disconcerting. These are some pretty highly paid disciplinarians. People say the same thing if you mention that DCSS has the most numerous and expensive (even compared to APS, Clayton, and Fulton) security force in the metro area as well.

Perhaps if we were busy spending some of these tens of millions for the security force (206 for the 44 middle and high schools - no elementary schools - they have locks and a buzzer - at a cost of $12,000,000) and 260 Assistant Principals at a cost of $26,000,000 in salary and benefits), we would be able to have more teachers and our students would be more occupied with learning and less with misbehaving.

You can't keep cramming more and more kids into small rooms, providing them with less teachers to help them and actually be able to do interesting and meaningful activities like - for example - science labs (too dangerous to do with the current number of students per lab) and then not expect them to misbehave.

Maybe we should try providing the resources for direct instruction of students instead of treating them like criminals and cattle. DeKalb has definitely lost their focus.

Anonymous said...

206 Security personnel and 170+ APs (I took out the elementary numbers) equals 382 employees at a cost of $29,000,000 for our 44 middle and high schools (plus a few centers) seems excessive to me.

In the late 90s we paid the elementary school Instructional Lead teachers about $2,000 more in a stipend than a regular teacher. Even in 2000 when we switched their titles to Assistant Principals, we still paid them a modest stipend. Now APs make an average of $80,000+ (not including benefits). How times have changed.

Is this another group that Lewis "upgraded" the pay for?

Anonymous said...

Actually Title I schools everywhere in the US have a higher % not making AYP. Of the 89 Title I schools only 46 make AYP. This is actually higher than the national average. It is lower for the Georgia average. In Georgia about one out of 4 Title I schools don't make AYP. Of course, Atlanta Public schools skew that data.

However for non title I schools in Georgia 1 out 4 doesn't make AYP. In DeKalb we do better only 1 out 6 non Title I schools make AYP.

85% of high school students in Title I schools in DeKalb pass the high school graduation test.

In any case DeKalb leads the state in the number of Title I students and the number of Title I schools. The portion of Title I money spent on teaching is in line with all other Georgia schools.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:19 pm
"DeKlab also spends less on Title I administration than Gwinnett does in both raw dollars and per cent of Title I expenditures. "

You're right. DCSS is busy spending their money on "Improvement of Instructional Services" - would that be Instructional Coaches and Coordinators and Parent Center Personnel (a favorite place for BOE family members).

If you want to debate the effectiveness of Title 1 schools in DeKalb versus Gwinnett, I'm happy to do that. Look at the PERCENT of Title 1 schools that made AYP in DCSS (only 52%) and then look at the PERCENT of Title 1 schools that made AYP in Gwinnett (83%).

Now what were you implying about Gwinnett?

I guess you didn't think anyone noticed that after the tests began to be monitored last spring, the percentage of DeKalb Title 1 schools making AYP went from 75% in 2008-09 down to 52% in 2009-10.

DeKalb is very similar to Atlanta Public Schools. After the tests began to be monitored last spring, the percentage of Atlanta Public Schools Title 1 schools making AYP went from 81% down to 58%. I'm surprised no one never picked up on those figures.

Only 52% of Title 1 schools in DeKalb making AYP is the lowest achievement for Title 1 schools we have experienced since AYP was instituted. This can be laid directly at the feet of the Office of School Improvement and their use of funds not providing an ROI of improved student achievement.

DeKalb Title 1:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Atlanta Public Title 1:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=761&T=1&FY=2010

Gwinnett:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=667&T=1&FY=2009

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 2:33

"In any case DeKalb leads the state in the number of Title I students and the number of Title I schools."

That is not correct. APS (91 Title 1 schools) with half the students we have have more Title 1 schools than Dekalb (89 Title 1 schools).

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 2:33

"Of the 89 Title I schools only 46 make AYP. This is actually higher than the national average. It is lower for the Georgia average. In Georgia about one out of 4 Title I schools don't make AYP. Of course, Atlanta Public schools skew that data. "

That's just not true. Where are you getting your data? I hope you aren't with the school system. Posters can see the facts below and then check out the data for themselves on the Georgia DOE website.

52% of DCSS Title 1 schools Made AYP this year while 76% of Georgia Title 1 schools Made AYP this year.

A. Dekalb County:
Meeting AYP Criteria 46
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 43
Total 89

46/89 = 52% of Title 1 schools in DeKalb Meet AYP

B. State of Georgia:
Title I Meeting AYP Criteria 1131
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 367
Total 1498

1131/1498 = 76% of Title 1 schools in Georgia Meet AYP


(source: Georgia DOE
Dekalb County Title 1 data (see Number of Schools by Adequate Yearly Progress Status):
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

State of Georgia Title 1 data (see Number of Schools by Adequate Yearly Progress Status):
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&StateId=ALL&T=1&FY=2010)

What is the information that the Office of School Improvement gives the BOE? Does the BOE ever go to the Georgia DOE to get this information?

Anonymous said...

how many of these admins are sitting at the central office pushing papers and creating reports and busy work for teachers. Those are the most concerning positions, as they ask more from teachers and merely compile information, but get paid more than anyone.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:33 pm

"In any case DeKalb leads the state in the number of Title I students and the number of Title I schools. The portion of Title I money spent on teaching is in line with all other Georgia schools."

Here's some food for thought. Look at Clayton County. They have 61 schools and all 61 are Title 1 schools. So 100% of Clayton's schools are Title 1. Very single school is low income. Now lets see how well their Title 1 money is spent on teaching low income students:

82% of Clayton County Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2010 versus only 52% of DeKalb Title 1 schools.

Clayton County:
Meeting AYP Criteria 50
Not Meeting AYP Criteria 11
Total 60

50/60 = 82%% of Title 1 schools in Clayton Meet AYP

Please remember these figures are after the state began strict monitoring (they didn't see any difference after monitoring unlike the drastic difference DeKalb saw).

Do you still say DCSS Title 1 money is well spent?

Dr. Berry should not be the Executive Director of the Office of School Improvement with data like this.

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians is very apt for Dr. Berry and her administrative team's performance. Since 2004 they have presided over declining achievement in Title 1 schools.

A low income student in Clayton county has a better shot at student achievement than in DeKalb.

Until Ms. Tyson and the BOE change the direction of expenditure of school system dollars and in particular Title 1 dollars, student achievement will continue to decline and be the lowest in the metro area.

After Dr. Berry and Dr. Lewis abandoned the direct instruction of students by Title 1 Math and Reading teachers and instituted scripted learning programs and non teaching groups such as coaches, coordinators and family coordinators, student achievement in Title 1 schools declined.

BTW:
Posters please take a look at Clayton County's Title 1 expenditures and achievement (see Number of Schools by Adequate Yearly Progress):
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=631&T=1&FY=2010

Cere,
An entire article should be done on Title 1 and federal funds expenditure and what kind of Return on Investment DCSS is getting for these funds.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/senator-accuses-dekalb-school-853174.html

Anonymous said...

Best..Post...Ever on this blog!

Anonymous said...

"In any case DeKalb leads the state in the number of Title I students and the number of Title I schools. The portion of Title I money spent on teaching is in line with all other Georgia schools."


This because the DCSS Central Office 1) encourages families who should not qualify for FRL to apply anyway, and 2) doesn't check to see if any family should be receiving FRL.

Its fraud, and if the Feds ever choose to investigate, all heck will break loose in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

Our BOE is an utter embarassmnet.


Senator accuses DeKalb school official of ethics violationBy Megan Matteucci

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
3:10 p.m. Friday, February 25, 2011

State Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) has accused the DeKalb County school board vice chairman of attacking him and said he plans to file an ethics complaint.

Jones and board member H. Paul Womack got into a dispute Thursday night at a DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce banquet over a pending ethics bill. Jones said Womack pointed his finger in the legislator’s face, used profanity and said he was God.

“I’ve never had an elected official come at me with that kind of venom and animosity out of his mouth,” Jones said.

Womack said he did not use profanity but did criticize the legislator over bills to create an independent ethics commission to govern the local board and establish qualifications to run for school board.

“He can file anything he wants. I didn’t think it was an ethics violation to voice an opinion,” Womack said. “Yes I said ‘I’m God where you’re concerned.’”

David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, intervened in the dispute and said he reported it to the board chair.

Anonymous said...

Not what this dedicated teacher needed to read on a beautiful Friday afternoon. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

"Its fraud, and if the Feds ever choose to investigate, all heck will break loose in DeKalb. "

This is true of every school system in the country, I expect, barring those that have no poverty.

Anonymous said...

I guess you got your answer on if the church is running things behind the scene! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I'm God! HAHAHAHA!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the post.

And it occurred to me, weren't teachers supposed to get the annuity back that was provided by DCSS in lieu of Social Security?

Now our unfortunate DCSS teachers are not going to get anything in addition to retirement, whereas most working folks will receive Social Security.

What DCSS did to teachers by taking away the annuity was a real body blow to teachers, cutting out what's most important to anyone: future income for retirement.

It was promised at some point that the annuity would be restored whether by Tyson or Lewis or someone else, I'm not sure. Does anyone remember?

If so, where the hell is it?

Anonymous said...

WSB reports that DeKalb spends more principal money per student than all except Atlanta


www.wsbtv.com/video/2699400FY2/index.html

Seems that the more that is spent on administration, the poorer are the results. Or maybe DCSS administration is somewhat more competent than Atlanta, but not as good as others.

Anonymous said...

When Cynthia McKinney was the U.S.
Representative for CD4, the main job of her office was to secure benefits for her constituents. She bragged about it.

America ... the land of opportunity. But some would just rather coast along.

Anonymous said...

"Womack said he did not use profanity but did criticize the legislator over bills to create an independent ethics commission to govern the local board and establish qualifications to run for school board. '

Womack needs to resign. He cannot have a civil conversation with an elected official. Mr. Womack has taken no responsibility for the fiscal missteps of our school system. Most importantly he has taken no responsibility for declining student achievement.

Senator Jones is absolutely right to promote a bill to create an independent ethics commission to govern the local board and establish qualifications to run for school board.

Below is the contact information for Emanuel Jones. I just emailed him my support for his efforts. I hope you'll email him as well and pass this link along to everyone you know in DeKalb County that cares about our children's education:

Senator Jones's Capitol email:
emanuel.jones@senate.ga.gov

Senator Jones's District email:
emanj@mindspring.com

Anonymous said...

I think that PR from DCSS is posting comments here.

Sounds like someone is trying to skew the obvious to look like something not as nefarious as those who plow the fields every day know it to be.

You're a little too obvious.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 5:31

"Seems that the more that is spent on administration, the poorer are the results. "

That's the main point of this article. The more DCSS has diverted from direct instruction and into admin and support, the lower our student achievement has gone. Until every cent that can be is poured into direct instruction, this decline will continue.

This phenomenon is not a correlation; rather a causal relationship exists here. Diverting vast amounts of money from direct instruction to non-teaching personnel in a low income school system will cause a decline in achievement.

Anonymous said...

@8:11 AM

"From the Dekalb Co. Personnel & Fiscal tab we can see that our Admin and Support staff could be a little more diverse."

County CEO Ellis constantly preaches that DeKalb is a wonderfully inclusive and diverse County. I guess that that does not apply to employment. Former CEO Jones showed us that by blatant reverse race discrimination. Two of his co-defendants and co-conspirators still work for the County.

Asians probably are not hired because they are good workers and are smart business people. This does not fit the DCSS administration personnel mold.

Anonymous said...

"I think that PR from DCSS is posting comments here'

That's fine with me. They can't change the data the state has for DeKalb. I wouldn't have even looked Clayton up if they hadn't posted. Nor would we have looked so closely at Title 1 and Audria Berry's lack of performance in the area of student achievement if they hadn't brought it up. The declining student achievement in Title 1 schools as well as the dramatic decline experienced this past year when monitors were in place deserves a post all on its own.

The BOE needs to be asking for data from Dr. Berry. The BOE has approved all of the expenditures Dr. Berry recommends (they have the ultimate approval over these funds) while overlooking the fact that our Title 1 schools (the majority of our schools) has experienced declining achievement and is now the lowest in metro Atlanta in Title 1 schools making adequate yearly progress. Why have the BOe members asked no questions regarding return on investment or lack thereof regarding Dr. Berry? She is after all the head of the Office of School Improvement and Title 1 is under her. If our schools fail to improve year after year after year, then she is responsible and needs to be replaced with someone who can take those hundreds of millions and improve student achievement. It's really that simple.

Anonymous said...

@5:37 PM
Zephora "Rocky" Roberts did not resign because she threatened on camera to slug a Channel 9 news reporter.
But I do think that he should resign because he contributes nothing to the DCSS BOE and usually supports Bowen and Ramona. He just takes up space

Anonymous said...

Zepora Roberts was voted out by a landslide. Unfortunately, we cannot vote Mr. Womack out. His actions are an embarrassment to the citizens of DeKalb County. I would ask who does he think he is showing such public disrespect to another elected official who does not share his opinion, but I suppose his answer would be - God.

Anonymous said...

I hope all the Lakeside parents who supported Womack over Steinfeld in '08 finally get it. He was a has-been then, and he's a worse one now. And he's backed by the old guard who somehow think the issue is race, not quality schools. Oh come, oh come Emmanuel! We will be so grateful of you're able to clean up he ethical mess that is the DCSS.

Shayna said...

I've sent Emanuel Jones a "thank you" e-mail for pursuing the legislation and a note that we don't really appreciate such behavior from our BOE... please do the same.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Womack's remark to Senator Jones shows that he is more interested in the power that being a BOE member brings than helping students become the best they can be.

Anonymous said...

I sent Emanuel Jones an email as well expressing my thanks for his efforts on behalf of DCSS students and my dismay that Mr. Womack displayed such disrespect to him. How embarrassing to have him as my district rep.

Wyndy Amerson said...

Too many of the older folks who have nothing to look forward to besides Vanna White and voting put Paul Womack in office. They recognzed his name and voted for him and now we are left to deal with the mess of man way out of step of his district (and ethics.)

Anonymous said...

By Megan Matteucci

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

State Senator Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) has accused the DeKalb County school board vice chairman of attacking him and said he plans to file an ethics complaint.

Jones and board member H. Paul Womack got into a dispute Thursday night at a DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce banquet over a pending ethics bill. Jones said Womack pointed his finger in the legislator’s face, used profanity and said he was God.

“I’ve never had an elected official come at me with that kind of venom and animosity out of his mouth,” Jones said.

Anonymous said...

Womack Part II
Womack said he did not use profanity, but did criticize the legislator over bills to create an independent ethics commission to govern the local board and establish qualifications to run for school board.

“He can file anything he wants. I didn’t think it was an ethics violation to voice an opinion,” Womack said. “Yes, I said ‘I’m God,' but he brought it up."

David Schutten, president of the Organization of DeKalb Educators, intervened in the dispute and said he reported it to the board chair.

Paul "I'm God!" Womack said...

Paul "I'm God" Womack is in the news. Again.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/legislator-claims-ethics-violation-853174.html

Anonymous said...

When are the people running the show going to put kids first? Will SACS need to come in and strip our accreditation?

Anonymous said...

There may be a possibility that there will be MORE support personnel this fall. The county office is discussing adding more instructional coaches...as many as one per school. If so, the teachers will really be upset. Now, in Title I elementary schools, a coach is shared by two schools. This needs to stop. Where is the money coming from...Race to the Top.

Anonymous said...

Well, Dr. Berry is making those decisions, but the BOE must approve them. Write your BOE members and encourage them to refuse to add any more support personnel. Express that existing support personnel need to be cut, and Title 1 teachers or even classroom teachers need to be added so that our children can receive direct instruction from certified teachers.

The BOE must understand that DCSS student achievement declines are their responsibility. Express your concern that the Office of School Improvement has not only failed to improve student performance, it has actively presided over its decline. Dr. Berry needs to be replaced with someone who will make the decisions with RTT dollars that will ensure more Title 1 schools make AYP - not less.

The dramatic decrease in Title 1 schools making AYP after monitors were installed shows that some further investigations are warranted in DCSS. The student improvement in Title 1 schools that the BOE may have been quoted in past years is not happening. The BOE should be asking Dr. Berry why the scores decreased in Title 1 schools so dramatically after monitors were installed in 2010.

Private School Guy said...

What's with this?
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/legislator-claims-ethics-violation-853174.html
Anyone here witness the incident?

Anonymous said...

How embarrassing that David Shutten had to usher Mr. Womack to the side. Mr. Womack needs to resign. He has shown he is more interested in the power of his office than in the welfare of the children of DeKalb County.

Mr. Womack lives in my community and is my BOE rep. I looked up his property taxes (they are a matter of public record), and he pays 70% less than what we pay, and his house is valued at 30% more than our house. My husband keeps saying it's because he is a school board member, but that doesn't sound right to me. I've never heard that school board members get such property tax breaks. We're older just like him so it can't be age related. Someone on this blog published all of the property taxes of all the BOE members and most of them pay very little. No wonder they don't care about raising property taxes or how the property tax money is spent.

The problems of declining student achievement do not lie with our students and parents and teachers. The problem lies with the leaders of DeKalb - the administration and the BOE. They refuse to take responsibility for poor student achievement preferring to blame the parents, students and teachers. Real leaders take responsibility when their policies and decisions don't work. If the DCSS administration and BOE can't do the job, they have an obligation to step aside and let someone do the job who is more capable.

Mr. Womack verbally attacking Senator Jones is symptomatic of the "blame" game that the BOE engage in by saying everyone else is responsible for the lack of student achievement except the people who run the school system.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is Womack's beef with the ethics bill?

Anonymous said...

Remember folks the reason they can't touch Ms. Berry is that the BOE is trying to avoid more lawsuits since she was the one who traveled with Clew to the Bahamas on the P-Card and she provided turn down service, for Clew, at the Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Plantation.

There is no accountability at DCSS and its time for the newest BOE members, Ms. Jester and Ms. Edler to start asking the toughest questions. Ms. Tyson as long as you keep Ms. Berry on your staff, your comments when you took this job last spring as interim to change things was just a bunch of words.

How long must we endure this junk? Ever since Ms. Debbie Loeb, former Asst. Super for Clew, who retired suddenly in 2005, DCSS has lost all of its' integrity, honesty and is failing our kids!

Nice job Mr. Womack! Do your constituents and fellow board members a favor and resign today! Your time has come and gone as an effective leader on the BOE.

It's another sad day at DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 12:06

DCSS need a new head of the Office of School Improvement considering Ms. Berry makes the decisions for $128,000,000 a year in federal funds while student achievement is declining in our Title 1 schools.

Your rationale doesn't make much sense to me. The BOE has wasted tens of millions on frivolous lawsuits that had nothing to do with student achievement. I don't know who accompanied Lewis on those trips - I guess no one will know for sure until the trial starts and records are made public. Anything else is speculation.

The point is that students are being left to pay the price for the poor decisions of the Office of School Improvement and the BOE approving those poor decisions. That should be the ONLY consideration. Student performance should ALWAYS outweigh any friends and family connections, fear of lawsuits, or obligations the system feels to its employees. Students mastering the content is the ONLY reason for our school system to exist.

The smallest percentage of DCSS Title 1 schools made adequate yearly progress this past year since records have been kept.

Only 52% of DCSS Title 1 schools made adequate yearly progress in 2010. DCSS has sunk to the LOWEST percent of Title 1 schools increasing student achievement in the ENTIRE metro area (including APS with the state monitors in place).

Clayton Co. had 82% of their Title 1 schools make adequate yearly progress last year and EVERY single one of their schools are Title 1 (low income students) so it's not our students who are to blame. And don't blame the teachers. They have taken on more students and follow the scripted learning program that Ms. Berry and the Office of School Improvement personnel implemented.

At some point, the declining student achievement of our lowest income students MUST trump everything.

When does the good of the students and the expenditure of hundreds of millions of taxpayers producing a negative ROI trump some flimsy excuse like a lawsuit? Any legal settlement is small potatoes compared to the hundreds of millions DCSS is spending to see our student achievement go to the bottom of the barrel and our children being deprived of an educational opportunity that they will never get again in their lifetime.

AS Ms. Berry and the Office of School Improvement keeps driving student achievement down further, who will stand up for the students? Don't they have a right to a quality education? Don't they have a right for the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to produce a good Return on Investment in the form of student achievement?

All high level administrators who are making these decisions that negatively affect student achievement should be replaced with personnel who can implement policies that increase student achievement.

Anonymous said...

It was good that David Shutten was there and had the presence of mind to walk Mr. Womack away from the confrontation.

As for student achievement. Discipline is a big part of the instructional process. If we don't have student discipline under control we will not be able to provide effective instruction.

IMHO you do not need more security officers. You need administrators and teachers who follow through with the discipline plan. Yelling over a bullhorn is not enforcing discipline. Administrators need to back their teachers. The discipline plan needs to be consistently enforced. That means making sure that parents understand that rules are rules and there will be consequences for not complying. I work in a Title I school and we make AYP. It can be done.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 12:49

"I work in a Title I school and we make AYP. It can be done. "

Of course it can be done. Discipline has slipped badly with the current DCSS administration as they have been more interested in cutting direct instruction positions (i.e. teacher positions) and hiring administrators and support personnel that are friends and family or are amenable to Central Office edicts whether they are effective for students or not.

I've worked in most of the Title 1 schools in DCSS, and I can say that there are many dedicated teachers. They have been given a tough job, and the majority of them are very caring individuals.

I was appalled at the lack of backing teachers received with regards to discipline. As you pointed out, much of it came down to the principal. I was also appalled at the ideas that flowed from the Central Office to the schools - ideas that showed the scant classroom experience of so many of the Central Office administrators. Sitting in meetings and listening to people make educational decisions that so obviously drained teachers' instructional time and were clearly not beneficial to students convinced me that unless you have an extensive amount of classroom experience (i.e. as a grade level teacher or a content area teacher) you should not be in charge of policy. Only when you've had at least ten years as a regular education teacher should you even be considered for an administrative position.

Ella Smith said...

I for one hope this incident with Mr. Womack did not happen. I would hope that any school board member would understand the importance of having a separate board to review the ethics of their behavior. The only reason I would suspect any board member would be against such a new board is because they/the board want to be in charge of this themselves so their is no oversight.

As a teacher I have oversight regarding my behavior. I would like to see my local school board have oversight also. I agree with Senator Jones. There needs to be oversight of behaviors of the school board by having an ethical committee. I cannot see why any board member would be opposed to this unless they have something to hide or they feel they are above the law because they are a member of the school board. A school board member is definitely not God and does need to follow the ethical code regardless of who a board member may think he or she may be.

Again I sincerely hope this did not happen. If it do it is another embarassment to our school system.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why the administration has kept Ms. Berry as the head of the Office of School Improvement as her decisions have resulted in the worse decline in student achievement in Title 1 schools since records are kept.

The fear of a lawsuit does not seem to be an adequate reason. There must be other reasons she is allowed to continue to make decisions that have resulted in student achievement declining in Title 1 schools. They certainly have enough statistics about declining student performance in the Title 1 schools to at least move her to a position where her decisions cannot impact student achievement as negatively.

Anonymous said...

Fernbank Science Center needs to be eliminated as a DCSS program. I went with my high school son and his friend to the STEM program that was advertised as an opportunity for high school students interested in science, math or engineering to meet with colleges and people from industry.

It was a huge joke. There were about 6 colleges there with a table staffed by an alumni volunteer (not faculty or admissions) who had nothing to offer but a brochure. Atlanta Metropolitan College was not our idea of a STEM school. There were no tables or any organized response from industry but only a handlful of volunteers who we were told would tell a student how they got interested in a STEM related career. But we were not even directed to where they were.

No programs or talks by engineers at Lockheed, ATT, Georgia Power. Nothing. It was sad and embarrassing.
All this in the corner of a dingy and dark portion of the "museum."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of too many chiefs, Dr. Beasley struck again at a multi-grade S.C.I.E.N.C.E conference at Elizabeth Andrews High School this very Saturday morning!

He came armed with statistics to lob insults at the assembled teachers. He insulted the kindergarten teachers as well as the high school teachers.

He was not an elitist: he insulted low performing schools as well as high performing schools.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Dave Schutten was not there to calm Dr. Beasley!

Since the science teachers got paid $100 stipend for attending this morning, Dr. Beasley was justified...

Way to go, Beasley! You have to pay to get an audience and you lob insults...

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 2:08

"No programs or talks by engineers at Lockheed, ATT, Georgia Power. Nothing. It was sad and embarrassing.
All this in the corner of a dingy and dark portion of the "museum." "

Well, we pay $7,000,000 a year (a good deal of our science budget) for that "dingy" place. The grounds are very nice as far as green space which is terrific for the Fernbank Community and they do have 90 students a semester go through the STT program.

It's good to see that others think that $7,000,000 would be better spent on science education in the schools. A majority of the employees are admin and support and never instruct a student. Here's their admin and support positions. I noticed they have 4 exhibit designers to maintain the exhibits in the museum:

Support Maintenance $56,402
Support - Technical Support $66,088
Support - Support Services $6,790
Support - Security $48,093
Support - Security $47,150
Support - Security $46,929
Support - Secretary $39,427
Support - Secretary $39,427
Support - Scheduler $43,516
Support - Photographer $67,380
Support - Media Specialist $91,320
Support - Maintenance $47,150
Support - Maintenance $34,276
Support - Maintenance $44,836
Support - Maintenance $33,616
Support - Maintenance $32,426
Support - Maintenance $39,276
Support - Head Custodian $52,091
Support - Geologist $75,430
Support - General Administration $50,520
Support - Gardener $44,836
Support - Exhibit Designer $77,892
Support - Exhibit Designer $69,516
Support - Exhibit Designer $84,720
Support - Exhibit Designer $63,576
Support - Designer/Photographer $66,096
Support - Custodial $31,048
Support - Custodial $29,310
Support - Custodial $31,048
Support - CTSS $49,194
Support - Clerical $7,679
Support - Clerical $37,485
Support - Bookkeeper $27,707
Administrator - Director, Fernbank $98,568
Administrator - Administrative Coordinator $91,884

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of too many chiefs, Dr. Beasley struck again at a multi-grade S.C.I.E.N.C.E conference at Elizabeth Andrews High School this very Saturday morning!

He came armed with statistics to lob insults at the assembled teachers. He insulted the kindergarten teachers as well as the high school teachers."

Dr. Beasley is just nervous because Ms. Tyson has told him to get those scores up and he really doesn't know how to do it. He thinks if he rides teachers hard enough somehow the scores will come by magic.

DCSS taxpayers are demanding results and are realizing that if student achievement does not improve significantly, Ms. Tyson, Dr. Beasley, Dr. Berry and the BOE are totally responsible. They get the big bucks and the power to enact change.

It's dangerous to exert so much pressure teachers to get those scores up. Look what happened as a result in APS. If Dr. Beasley does not want to collaborate with teachers on how improve student achievement, our students will continue to circle the drain. This is what happens when you hire someone who was in the classroom for a grand total of 3 1/2 years over 15 years ago. His lack of educational experience is showing.

We'll see what happens when the scores come back. Why has no BOE member mentioned the fact that the number of Title 1 DCSS schools Making AYP dramatically decreased after stricter monitoring was instituted last year?

Anonymous said...

What did Dr. Beasley say that was so insulting? What is he requiring teachers to do? Does he guarantee that his ideas will increase student achievement? If his ideas are implemented and student achievement doesn't increase, does he realize he bears the responsibility?

Anonymous said...

Look at this excerpt from the DeKalb Schools website. It describes Crawford Lewis as the former superintendent. I'm providing a link to it as well. Go to this link and look how many programs DCSS has going on as our student achievement declined. Every one of these programs had to hire staff to manage and run them. No wonder we have "too many chiefs and not enough Indians".

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/

(Lots of inaccuracies regarding student and personnel counts. We pay a small fortune for this website. It should be accurate)

"About DeKalb County Schools

Come Discover the Wonders in "Premier" DeKalb

The DeKalb County School System (DCSS) is a metropolitan Atlanta public school system located in the second largest county in Georgia. DeKalb, one of the most culturally diverse counties in the nation, has a student enrollment of more than 102,000 students in 143 schools and centers, and 13,285 full-time employees.

All DeKalb schools are dedicated to giving every student the best possible education through an intensive core curriculum and specialized, challenging instructional and career programs. DCSS is striving to become the premier K-12 school system of choice and is constantly improving and refining instruction and management to make it as effective, productive, and economical as possible. To this end, former Superintendent Crawford Lewis, Ph. D., lead the school district on a journey towards excellence by sharing his "Blueprint for Premier DeKalb." The seven strategic pieces to this blueprint are leadership, data analysis to ensure quality decision making, customer service, accountability, access and equity for all students, training for all employees, and unity. With leadership being the capstone of this blueprint, Dr. Lewis galvanized all employees with the rally cry of "Premier DeKalb ... One Direction, All Schools, Every Student!"

"Good leadership at the principal's level is the most critical factor in ensuring the overall success of our schools ... and will help us to realize our vision of a Premier DeKalb," said Lewis......"

....Read on about all the programs DCSS has.....

Anonymous said...

What a crock. Also, Ramona Tyson should be held responsible too for plummeting test scores. She is part of the decision-making team that chose to increase class size and place more of the burden of cuts on teachers. Teachers, you know, the only people in this bloated system who actually have an impact directly on student achievement. Lewis' plan "says" he focused on these things:

"The seven strategic pieces to this blueprint are leadership, data analysis to ensure quality decision making, customer service, accountability, access and equity for all students, training for all employees, and unity."

Didn't then. Don't now. The only thing Tyson could and should do to improve student achievement is put more teachers in direct contact with students. Spend the Title 1 money on support in the classroom and after school. It's a military approach: more boots on the ground. It ain't rocket science, but DCSS leaders keep acting as if it is.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 4:44

"It's a military approach: more boots on the ground. It ain't rocket science, but DCSS leaders keep acting as if it is."

See where the BOE approved Ms. Berry's recommendation to spend $1,197,150 for Teachscape in September, 2010.

"03.21
Approved the purchase of services provided by Teachscape for the 2010-2011 school year, using Title I American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, in the amount of $1,197,150"

Teachscape is online professional development service. Don't we have enough support people already? What do those 974 people do - they're not clerical or maintenance or supervisory. Most of them are supposed to doing staff development.

Does anyone else think Teachscape will be like eSis/Schoolnet which cost us $11,000,000 - never worked correctly and we're still paying for it:
http://www.teachscape.com/html/ts/nps/index.html

How many Title 1 teachers of math and reading directly teaching struggling learners would this expenditure have bought?

Here's the BOE minutes link:
https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=279601&MID=14123

Why is this administration so averse to direct instruction of students?

themommy said...

I would love specifics about what Beasley said...

Please if anyone wants to share.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Beasley and his information on the drop-out rate in DCSS - from CrossRoads (by Ron gilliam):

"Dropout rate is a community issue
Cross Roads News
2 months ago | 194 views | 0 0 comments | | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With all due respect to Dr. Morcease Beasley, who stated in the Nov. 27, 2010, CrossRoadsNews that my information regarding high school dropouts in the Nov. 6 issue conflicted with data supplied by Georgia Department of Education, please note the following quote from DeKalb School Board member Jay Cunningham:

“Research shows that only 37 percent of black males in South DeKalb are graduating and that’s a problem,” he said. “We have to look at how to get the black males to finish school and work with them. This is also a community issue, so we have to start at home and get the parents, students, and community involved to tackle this issue.”

If Cunningham’s information is correct, can we therefore assume that 63 percent of black males in South DeKalb are not graduating? According to Beasley’s numbers, an average of only 3.9 percent drop out. Does that mean that the remaining 59.1 percent complete four years of school but just don’t graduate? Furthermore, according to Beasley’s figures, South DeKalb schools are graduating 80 percent of their students. Comparing his numbers with Cunningham’s, less than half are black males.

There is obviously a problem with data collection (or interpretation?).

Read more: CrossRoadsNews - Dropout rate is a community issue
..."

http://crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/10612405/article-Dropout-rate-is-a-community-issue?instance=news_special_coverage_right_column

Anonymous said...

CrossRoads is an excellent news source. Read Ron Gilliam's original letter:
http://crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/10176201/article-Dropout-rate-is-puzzling?

Here is Morcease Beasleys repsonse:
http://crossroadsnews.com/view/full_story/10421385/article-Dropout-assertions-don%E2%80%99t-match-Dept--of-Education-data?instance=news_special_coverage_right_column

Anonymous said...

I'll bet the benchmarks are showing that our science EOCT is going to be lower than ever. That's why he is so nervous. Well, he and Ms. Tyson decided to keep admin and support personnel and cut science teacher positions. Labs are all but impossible since the danger to students rises exponentially after 24 students in a class and labs are the best and recommended way to learn science. If DCSS EOCT scores fall in science, it is completely the responsibility of Ms. Tyson and Dr. Beasley who made these decisions so detrimental to this critical content area. Let's place the blame where it belongs - on administrators who value non-teaching positions over teaching positions.

Science teachers - did he talk about the indicators for science content mastery - i.e. benchmarks show students aren't mastering science content?

What did he expect? Pack the science classrooms, take away labs, and science achievement will fall. He and Ms. Tyson made the choice to tank science achievement. They need to be held responsible.

Anonymous said...

What do you say teachers? Are your Instructional Coaches working with students like Ms. Tyson and Mr. Beasley say? Put Ms. Tyson and Mr. Beasley to the Truth-O-Meter.
(from Dunwoody-Chamblee Parent Council: http://www.dcpc-dekalb.org/node/27)

"Dr. Morcease Beasley
3 days for community information meetings:
9/9 @ Columbia MS 6:30 pm
9/14 @ Dunwoody ES 6:30 pm
9/18 @ AIC 9:30 am

Want all students to have instructional needs met; using 7-step instructional process:
-Diagnose students needs – what do they know/not know/learning styles, and monitor progress
-Maintaining profiles of student’s learning styles
-Plan engaging lessons and activities that appeal to all levels
-Teach; student collaboration w/teachers and other students to develop higher-order thinking skills
-Formatively assess students to see who “got it” and who didn’t; 70/70 -- students/# meeting expectations is this year’s goal – low but reasonable for this first year
-Re-teaching when necessary and giving summative assessments for benchmarks to validate teaching process (ex = CRCT, graduation tests)

Audience Questions:

Lynne Deutsch – why not move certified teachers from central office into schools? Beaseley –educational coaches have been directed to school house. 8 content coordinators (cut from 16) – 3 directors plus 5 coordinators. Tyson – perception seems to be that coaches are working with teachers; they are working with teachers and students.

Parent – must be engaging activities, but our teachers are pulled in so many directions they cannot teach every child/every day; county has asked for more paperwork, tracking, etc – no time for teaching. Ask teachers to help w/implementation; we lose sight of what a teacher’s day is like. "

If Ms. Tyson does not know what is happening with the Instructional Coaches, maybe she needs to call her into her office and ask Ms. Berry why the Instructional Coaches are not working with students.

(source: http://www.dcpc-dekalb.org/node/27)

Anonymous said...

Biggest problem in DCSS - the people in charge of making decisions about instruction for our kids are making well over 100K a year, but themselves, are not well educated, have no ideas, have little experience, and overall, are not very intelligent. Morcease is CLew Jr., our interim super is a business ed teacher, and the high school science coordinator knows little about science. Without removing this top layer of incompetence, things will never get better.

Anonymous said...

@2:40
my son spent the morning working with a PhD level FSC instructor helping to remove invasive plants from the forest behind Fernbank Science Center. At least 25 kids were there to help. They learned scientific names of the plants in the forest, and about forest ecology. My son came home excited about science and eager to go back to help again next month. This opportunity is open to all DCSS students (and no, we do not live in the Fernbank community) and got my son excited about hands-on science. We need to preserve and expand these experiences for our kids.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:11 pm
":We need to preserve and expand these experiences for our kids. "

At the expense of $7,000,000 that could be spent in the regular science classrooms? Your son should be having hands-on science as a daily activity. I know that seems far fetched, but that's what needs to be happening.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a giant online org chart showing the title, responsibilities, and compensation for every DCSS employee at that North Decatur HQ campus. Click on each i.d. photo and you get their credentials or CV, plus how well they've met their performance goals for the past 5 years. (Ha!)

What do these people do?
How well do they do it?
How are they rewarded when they perform to par?
How are they disciplined when they're sub-par?
And do they warrant that level of compensation? What (or who) brought them into the system?
Who protected them from corrective action when they screwed up?

My kids have experienced excellent DCSS teachers, but that was happenstance. Sheer luck. The leadership of DCSS is so self-serving and so badly educated themselves, they don't know how to develop or improve systematic processes for enhancing public ed. So NO WONDER they fixate on standardized testing goals.

Actions speak. A broken-down, dishonest system doesn't begin and end with one individual. The admin layer of the DCSS is so far from being a transparent organization with clearly defined accountabilities, every day they continue "as is" becomes a betrayal of our teachers and the further victimization of our children's educations. But that's just me.

So what are we going to do about it?

P.S. To the DCSS PR individuals who are inserting "strategic" comments on this thread: shame on you. Learn the ethics of your profession and act like adult professionals.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson said that instructional coaches work with students? Maybe she needs to define that more clearly.
We have 2 coaches at our school. I can't recall when they ever work directly with students.
Occasionally, we ask them to model a 30 minute lesson for new teachers.
Once the pincipal asked the coach to spend more time with a struggling math teacher (twice a week, provide more support) and the coach reported the school to Dr. Berry's office (specifically Dr. McBride) that the principal was trying to assign duties outside their job description.
I guess you can't give them a set schedule and "take away their flexibility".

So the coach stopped going to the classroom and the teacher again had miserable student achievement.
The teacher had to come to weekly teacher meetings with the other teachers just like everyone else.

We think this coach complained because she herself did not have good classroom management.
Then she made the point that it was the classroom teacher and administrators job to handle discipline first. I agree to some extent, but this sure is a lot of placing blame somewhere else.

Points I would like to make-what constitutes working with students?
Principals should be able to use coaches as needed such as decreasing teacher student ratio in the toughest classes and pulling small groups and also have them collect results also in terms of student achievement data.

Anonymous said...

For all y'all who praise Ramona Tyson, her allowing the Office of School Improvement to waste tens of millions of our tax money (whether federal, state or local) is inexcusable.

This is a zero return on investment department. And even if the feds pay Title 1 dollars, we here in DeKalb are still on the hook for pension and benefits.

There is no data to prove that Parent Resource Centers and the Audria Berry-led office of School Improvement provide any benefits, except for adding hundreds of non-teaching employees who suck up resources from the classroom.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:14 am
"Once the pincipal asked the coach to spend more time with a struggling math teacher (twice a week, provide more support) and the coach reported the school to Dr. Berry's office (specifically Dr. McBride) that the principal was trying to assign duties outside their job description.
I guess you can't give them a set schedule and "take away their flexibility".

So the coach stopped going to the classroom and the teacher again had miserable student achievement.
The teacher had to come to weekly teacher meetings with the other teachers just like everyone else."

It's decisions like this made by Ms. Berry that have led to declining student achievement in DCSS Title 1 schools. The Office of School Improvement needs a new director who will make the decisions that improve Title 1 school achievement. Continuing with the same leadership decisions will ensure DCSS Title 1 schools have declining achievement.

Hundreds of millions of federal dollars have been spent with Ms. Berry making the recommendations and the BOE approving them with the result that DCSS has seen a decline in Title 1 schools making AYP like no other metro system.

Why is Ms. Berry and her staff at the Office of School Improvement not being held to the standards of improving student achievement for DCSS students?

Does Ms. Tyson not look at this department and see that Title 1 schools have hit an all time low in schools making AYP? Does the BOE not look at this information?

Email Ms. Berry, Ms. Tyson and the BOE members to ask why Ms. Berry has forbidden Instructional coaches to work directly with students while Ms. Tyson and Mr. Beasley are giving parents the opposite information. Ask why more Title 1 schools than ever are not making AYP. Ask them to compare DCSS with Clayton County with respect to number and percentage of Title 1 schools making AYP.
(from Dunwoody-Chamblee Parent Council: http://www.dcpc-dekalb.org/node/27)


Compare these figures for yourself posters regarding the number and percentage of DCSS Title 1 schools meeting AYP. Go back to ALL of the years before to do a more comprehensive comparison:
2008-09 DCSS Title 1 - see Number of Schools by Adequate Yearly Progress Status:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

2009-10 DCSS Title 1 - see Number of Schools by Adequate Yearly Progress Status:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Look at Clayton County Title 1 schools making AYP in 2009-10:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=631&T=1&FY=2010

Anonymous said...

See the decline in Title 1 schools Making AYP over time:
Percent of Title 1 Schools Meeting AYP
2004-05 71.6%
2004-06 65.4%
2004-07 76.4%
2004-08 61.9%
2004-09 74.1%
2004-10 51.6%

See what the admin and support comprising the Office of School Improvement has done to "not improve" DCSS Title 1 schools. Absolutely NO accountability for causing DCSS Title 1 student achievement declines in this department.

(source: http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010) Click back all 7 years to verify these figures. This should make it easy for the BOE to see the data.

Anonymous said...

IMO student achievement is the ultimate measure of success for everyone in the district, from the students to the Superintendent. We were told that achievement is down across the county. This is a direct reflection on the leadership for the system. Last month Mrs. Tyson was given an additional 101,000 dollars, because she is doing a good job. How are we defining "good job"? It seems obvious that how well we all do our jobs should be reflected in student achievement. Mrs. Tyson and Dr. Beasley do not have 8 years of classroom experience between them, yet they are making decisions that impact every student and teacher in the district. This is like appointing a doctor, that has only completed his/her residency, as Department Chief of Surgery.Anyone in administrative role serves as an insturctional leader. Morever, they should be master teachers, capable of providing the necessary support and making the appropriate decisions to maximize student achievement.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Please can we just stop with the AYP label? It proves nothing. Just looking at the number of schools making/not making AYP is a simplistic and a not-very-smart way of viewing failure/success. What needs to be done is to look at the test scores behind those numbers. Is the school making progress from year to year? Also, there are schools where the majority of the school has very good test scores, but a sub-group "fails" which labels the entire school as failing. There are also schools with poor test scores that do make AYP.

Anonymous said...

I work at Dresden Elementary, and we make AYP. We have two Instructional Coaches - one for Reading and one for Math. (There are several other people employed that are not formally Instructional Coaches.) The math instructional coach does serve students. She pulls groups, helps teachers with lessons, co-teaches - whatever is asked. The reading instructional coach serves students only when directly ordered to do so. She avoids working with students at all costs - unless she can DIBEL (reading fluency test) the kids. DIBELS is not valid for ESOL populations (we are heavily ESOL), but she likes dibeling. Who knows why she's there?

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

"Please can we just stop with the AYP label? It proves nothing. Just looking at the number of schools making/not making AYP is a simplistic and a not-very-smart way of viewing failure/success. What needs to be done is to look at the test scores behind those numbers. Is the school making progress from year to year?"

AYP is a VERY big deal. Not making AYP is the reason we have overcrowded schools as students transfer to the few schools we have making AYP. Not making AYP is why teaching in schools not making AYP are spending hours on paperwork. Not making AYP is used as justification for the addition of hundreds of support and admin personnel. Not making AYP is being used as a reason to exert pressure on already overstressed teachers.

Not making AYP is a very big deal for many reasons - all of them terrible for students.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

""Please can we just stop with the AYP label? It proves nothing. Just looking at the number of schools making/not making AYP is a simplistic and a not-very-smart way of viewing failure/success. What needs to be done is to look at the test scores behind those numbers. Is the school making progress from year to year?"

Why don't you try to put together some facts and figures before you make a statement like that. Can you give us an analysis and then cite your sources?

Actually, AYP stands for Adequate Yearly Progress in case you didn't know.

Other systems similar to DCSS (e.g. Clayton) have a much higher rate of students making AYP and statistics do not point to cheating. You are right in that not making AYP is dependent very much on the subgroups of learning disabilities and economically disadvantaged children. The point is that DeKalb has not given the proper support from an administrative level to increase these students' achievement. The DCSS administration needs to bear the responsibility when their decisions do not help students achieve. Until we hold them responsible, nothing will improve.

Anonymous said...

Look at the ITBS scores for DCSS schools. Even though the ITBS is not considered when calculating AYP, the ITBS is a much better measure of student achievement that the CRCT because:
1. It is a NORM referenced test
2. It is NATIONALLY normed so students are measured against all the other students in the U.S
2. It allows parents and educators to see more precisely where each child lies in terms of achievement (e.g. 9th grade level in math, 3rd grade level in reading, 12th grade level in science, etc.)
4. "Cut" scores are not set by the state of Georgia - subject to change every year

Per the 2009 scores (most recent on the DCSS website), 7th grade scores show:
1. 43% percentile in Math (i.e. 57% of the students in the U.S. scored higher in Math than DCSS students)
2. 46% percentile in Reading Comprehension (i.e. 54% of all the students in the U.S. scored higher in Reading Comprehension than DCSS students)

Looking at the scores school by school, you can clearly see that Title 1 schools are the ones experiencing the greatest decrease in student achievement.

DCSS has not improved the student achievement in the Title 1 schools, and that is due to its leadership including the Office of School Improvement. This is the most pressing issue in our school system. the direct instru

The teachers in the Title 1 schools have done what the Office of School Improvement has directed them to do, so it's obvious the failure lies with the leadership. DCSS needs to change the leadership of the Office of School Improvement to personnel who can improve student achievement.


Take a look at the ITBS scores:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/testing/testscores.html

Anonymous said...

Although the ITBS is not a part of the AYP calculation, IMO this achievement test is superior to the Georgia CRCT because:

1. It is a NORM referenced test that shows more precisely where a student lies on the spectrum of achievement (e.g. a 4th grader may be on a 2nd grade reading level, a 5th grader may be on a 6th grade math level, a 6th grader may be on a 10th grade level in science, etc.)

2. It is a NATIONALLY normed test. That is to say, each student is compared with all the other students in the U.S. based on his/her age and grade level.

3. The ITBS as an assessment instrument is more valid and reliable because it is not subject to the "cut" scores being changed every year like the Georgia CRCT.

Looking at the DCSS website 2009 ITBS scores for 7th graders:

Math Total: 43 Percentile (57% of 7th grade students in the U.S. scored higher than DCSS 7th graders.)

Reading Comprehension: 46 Percentile (54% of the 7th grade students in the U.S. scored higher than DCSS 7th graders.)

Take a look at the scores for every school in DCSS. The Title 1 schools are the ones experiencing the greatest decline in scores.

Year after year, teachers in Title 1 schools have followed the directives of the Office of School Improvement so declining student achievement falls squarely on the leadership of DCSS and specifically on this department that has been charged with increasing student achievement in DCSS Title 1 schools.

Directing hundreds of millions of dollars into admin and support while draining the classrooms of direct instruction personnel has not proven efficacious for students. New leadership is required to turn this ship around.

(source: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/testing/testscores.html) *2009 is the most recent test date, however you can see scores over time from 2004.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Actually, I am in the process of putting data together. I hope to have something for Cere to post Monday or Tuesday.

There were some real gains in elementary school Math CRCT scores between 2009 and 2010 in fact 29 Title 1 schools saw upticks in their scores. We'll see if they hold up this year.

The real problem areas are the Middle Schools and especially the High Schools.

Anonymous said...

I have seen many instructional coaches in my years of teaching in DeKalb and they are typically not the best teachers. These jobs include a pay raise and are considered "plum assignments" for teachers anxious to get out of the classroom. The individuals who get these jobs are more often hired through some personal connection, not because they are exceptional teachers.
I personally wish they would do away with the whole concept. The Instructional coach position creates another layer of bureaucracy that we don't need and can't afford. But, if DeKalb MUST hire instructional coaches I have a simple proposal: Hire one extra teacher in the math and language arts department at each school. Allow the teachers in the department to choose the coach for the year with the understanding that that teacher will return to the classroom the following year. Each year a new coach would be chosen and there would be no pay raise included. No new job title would be necessary, no pay raise required, teachers would be empowered and the central office wouldn't have these quasi-administrative postitions at their disposal to reward their friends and family.
Talk about genuine staff development.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom
"There were some real gains in elementary school Math CRCT scores between 2009 and 2010 in fact 29 Title 1 schools saw upticks in their scores. We'll see if they hold up this year."

Yes. But we have 89 Title 1 schools. I look forward to your data.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

I'll see what I can put together on the ITBS scores over time for the Title 1 schools. One poster talked about the ITBS as being a superior measurement. That's definitely true.

Anonymous said...

CRCT math scores fell for DCSS Title 1 schools from 2009 68% down to 65%) to 2010 according to the DOE website. Reading stayed about the same (84% down to 83.7%).

2009:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

2010:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Anonymous said...

I agree that ITBS scores are much more accurate than the CRCT used to make AYP.

The CRCT is a worthless test and does not tell what a child does and does not know. First the children have all of the time that they need to complete it. Second parts are read to the children in the early grades, so it does not measure an ability to read. Children who cannot read can pass the CRCT in first and second grade if they are good listeners. Third, the bar for the CRCT is way too low.

Nationally normed tests are far superior to the tests that states created to show AYP. States created them, so that they could manipulate the data, which is done time and time again.

I hope that when Dunwoody Mom looks at the data, she also looks to see how/if the state manipulated the data for each of data. This is the telling part to see if gains were truly made.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 2:54

I don't know about all the Instructional coaches, but I looked up all the Prevention/Intervention Coaches and I could only find 3 with current teaching certificates, 6 have expired certificates (including one with a past ethics action), and the rest have no teaching certificates that I could locate. There are 22 employees in Prevention/Intervention in DCSS that I located from the DCSS websites. Looking up each of their salaries and calculating benefits, we pay them around $1,800,000 in salary and benefits (around $82,000 a year in salary and benefits for each one of these employees). Who hired them and who pays them - the Office of School Improvement of course.

Dunwoody Mom said...

ITBS are a definite upgrade over the CRCT as far as any meaningful data. The scores are compared against all other students nationwide.

This certainly be any state's standard - to see how our students fare against students around the U.S.

As a parent I find very little validity in the CRCT's.

Dunwoody Mom said...

CRCT math scores fell for DCSS Title 1 schools from 2009 68% down to 65%) to 2010 according to the DOE website. Reading stayed about the same (84% down to 83.7%).

My data is coming from reviewing the individual school scores. I still have to review my data, but I do show an overall uptick in the Math scores.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I hope that when Dunwoody Mom looks at the data, she also looks to see how/if the state manipulated the data for each of data. This is the telling part to see if gains were truly made

Huh?

Dunwoody Mom said...

I hope that when Dunwoody Mom looks at the data, she also looks to see how/if the state manipulated the data for each of data. This is the telling part to see if gains were truly made

Huh?

Ella Smith said...

We have too many chiefs. However, many of the school board members still see the school system as an employee service for many people and when it comes down to it many of them are concerned about individuals who might lose their job. No one wants people to lose their jobs. However a business, even a educational system must try to run lean and use money wisely. I do not see this happening anytime soon. However, I do hear that Dr. Tyson would like to do much more but is waiting until the new school superintendent is here so they can make the call.

Anonymous said...

If she is not willing to make the decisions of a super, why are we paying her the salary of a super? Either do the job or give back the raise...she should not get to have it both ways!

Anonymous said...

Ella, please! You just said Ms. Tson is waiting for the new Super so THEY can make the decision. When the new Super arrives, my hope is that Ms. Tyson will be applying somewhere else to work.

The duty of the new Super will be to clean the mess up that Clew, Pope, Tyson, Moseley, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Tucker, Ramsey, Beasley, Berry, Turk and the rest have made over the past 6 years. If not, well DCSS is doomed!

Ms, Tyson will NOT have a lead roll at DCSS once the new Super arrives. if she does then the new Super will have NO shot at changing the fraud that DCSS has become.

Anonymous said...

@ Dunwoody Mom

"My data is coming from reviewing the individual school scores. I still have to review my data, but I do show an overall uptick in the Math scores"

Well, this data regarding CRCT scores comes from the state website. The Georgia DOE Technology Group has the CRCT data so it's a pretty straight forward program that plugs the data for Title 1 schools into the state website. The Personnel and Fiscal data is dependent on DCSS reporting, but this data is not.

http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Anonymous said...

Regarding Ella Smith, 5:20

According to the DCSS web site, Mrs. Tyson does not have a doctorate degree. However, she does have her Bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia and her Master's degree from West Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Can I just add something about AYP? In 3 short years, it won't matter because the cut score to make AYP will be 100%. That's not rounded. One student failing CRCT or GHSGT will result in an entire school being labeled. Also, as Dunwoody Mom correctly said, failure to make AYP doesn't mean very good things aren't happening at the school. Look, for example, at SWD. It missed the mark in math for 2 years, but is showing really strong scores in English. Does this mean SWD is a bad school? I'd argue no. If it were, the county would have yanked the magnet out of there real quickly. The problem with labeling the whole school based on one issue is the people who tend to take advantage of the transfer option aren't the children who struggled. Finally, AYP can be denied by factors beyond the control of any school that doesn't graduate seniors - elementary and middle schools have to rely on attendance rate - and there is immense pressure on teachers to pass students who aren't ready to pass classes in high school to maintain the graduation rate.

Ella Smith said...

I have heard repeatily that she would like to clean house. However, she has bosses to answer to who make the final decision and decide when this can be done. This is just what I have heard.

I have heard she will be around to make suggestions to the new superintendent but the board wants some of those decisions to be made by the new school superintendent. I hear Ms. Tyson is very aware of what needs to be done. This is just what I have heard. I make no judgements one way or another. I do know the job is a tough job with nine school board members.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh!

Tyson just got an Oscar for best performance as superintendent.

The district high command also won in special spinning.

The school board is interned with Mel Gipson and Christian Bale in anger management.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:57
Part 1 of post:

"Can I just add something about AYP? In 3 short years, it won't matter because the cut score to make AYP will be 100%. That's not rounded. "

"Cut" scores do not work that way.

The "cut" score designates the passing score for a test. For example, if you designate the "cut" score as answering 60% percent of the math problems as "passing", then every student who answers 60% of the math questions correctly is designated as "passing" or in CRCT terms as "Meets".

Now if I lower the "cut" score to 45%, then every student who answers 45% of the math problems correctly will now be designated as "passing" or in CRCT terms as "Meets". Can you understand how a "cut" score of 45% means more students will pass than if the "cut" score is 60%?

Can you see how the "cut" score can be manipulated in a CRCT (criterion referenced test - that's what the acronym CRCT stands for - Criterion-Referenced Competency Test)?

Georgia has changed its "cut" scores from year to year. For example, last year students taking the science EOCT had to answer less than 50% of the questions correctly to obtain a "passing" or "Meets" standards score.

The ITBS is a norm referenced test so it is designed as the classic "Bell Curve". Students are ranked against each other so we can see each student's relationship with all of the other students. This is the main difference in "norm" referenced tests and "criterion" referenced tests.

Theoretically it is possible for ALL students to be successful on a criterion referenced test. It depends on how high or low the "cut" scores are set.

Although a norm referenced test is a more much more finely tuned measure of student performance (e.g. does my 4th grader read on a 4th grade level or a 6th grade level or an 8th grade level?), a criterion referenced test is the only fair way to measure if ALL students have mastered the absolute basics (i.e. does my 4th grader read on grade level?).

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:57
Part 2 of Post:
Of course failure to make AYP does not mean good things aren't happening in a school. In almost all instances, we can predict that Students with Disabilities (SWD) will be the group that cannot master the basic skills for any particular grade level. In actuality this group is generally very small. Why not target this group with direct instruction of "double dose" reading and math? This is what Massachusetts does with great success (the only state to compete successfully in the International Testing arena).

Small groups of struggling learners should be having direct instruction in math and reading - "double dose" if necessary - starting in the very early grades so they will have their math and reading weaknesses corrected BEFORE they go to middle and high school.

Can EVERY child be on grade level? No. Not EVERY child is going to be on grade level in reading and math. But as Dunwoody Mom has pointed out, small groups of students are the ones who are struggling. We should not discount those students. We should not be asking teachers to "pass" them along every year to "improve" the Graduation Rate.

We should be providing targeted help for those students - not in the form of Instructional Coaches who do not teach students, but using Title 1 Math and Title 1 Reading teachers who will directly instruct that limited number of children who have problems in reading and math starting in their early years. We will greater success with these small groups of students who predictably do not "meet" standards. This is why looking at Make AYP is important.

The Office of School Improvement has not provided the support students need. We know this because less schools than ever are making AYP. These small groups of students who are struggling in reading and math are not getting the help they need and the scores are showing it. Teachers are stretched too thin to rectify this problem. We need more Indians and less chiefs in order to change this.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 9:57
Part 1 of post (sorry this didn't post first)

Crct and itbs

@ anonymous 9:57

"Can I just add something about AYP? In 3 short years, it won't matter because the cut score to make AYP will be 100%. That's not rounded. "

"Cut" scores do not work that way.

The "cut" score designates the passing score for a test. For example, if you designate the "cut" score as answering 60% percent of the math problems as "passing", then every student who answers 60% of the math questions correctly is designated as "passing" or in CRCT terms as "Meets".

Now if I lower the "cut" score to 45%, then every student who answers 45% of the math problems correctly will now be designated as "passing" or in CRCT terms as "Meets". Can you understand how a "cut" score of 45% means more students will pass than if the "cut" score is 60%?

Can you see how the "cut" score can be manipulated in a CRCT (criterion referenced test - that's what the acronym CRCT stands for - Criterion-Referenced Competency Test)?

Georgia has changed its "cut" scores from year to year. For example, last year students taking the science EOCT had to answer less than 50% of the questions correctly to obtain a "passing" or "Meets" standards score.

The ITBS is a norm referenced test so it is designed as the classic "Bell Curve". Students are ranked against each other so we can see each student's relationship with all of the other students. This is the main difference in "norm" referenced tests and "criterion" referenced tests.

Theoretically it is possible for ALL students to be successful on a criterion referenced test. It depends on how high or low the "cut" scores are set.

Although a norm referenced test is a more much more finely tuned measure of student performance (e.g. does my 4th grader read on a 4th grade level or a 6th grade level or an 8th grade level?), a criterion referenced test is the only fair way to measure if ALL students have mastered the absolute basics (i.e. does my 4th grader read on grade level?).

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:18....

The link you provided does not take into account the re-test scores.

Anonymous said...

10:48 I disagree with you about criterion referenced tests. We have kids in the lower grades who can't read passing the CRCT because it's read to them. The bar is so low for the CRCT and manipulated by the state that it means nothing to people who really want to know where their child stands with other kids in the nation.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:16 am
"I disagree with you about criterion referenced tests....The bar is so low for the CRCT and manipulated by the state..."

That was one of my points. That the "cut" scores for the CRCT appear to have been lowered by the state in order for more students to "pass". IMO this is a very questionable practice.

I searched for the information from the state as to how they change the "cut" scores (i.e. lower the "cut" score needed to pass the test). Their official stance is that they lower the "cut" scores because some years they use "harder" questions. A more detailed explanation is not forthcoming. They state it is too complicated for the layperson (translation taxpayers/parents).

The ITBS is a much better test because it is not developed by the entity who gets measured. A test developed by the the entity being evaluated loses validity and reliability.

The CRCT should be a National criterion referenced test developed nationally by an independent agency like the College of Education of the University of Iowa who develops the ITBS. You would be able to rely on the information that your child can compete with any child in any state.

If the CRCT were out of the hands of the Georgia DOE and was the same throughout the U.S., we would be able to compare our students' progress in meeting basic skill levels to every other state to see if we really are getting the ROI we have been promised. That's the hue and cry for nationalized testing. One reason parents like the ITBS is they can see how their child fares against all other students in the U.S.

Although a criterion referenced test like the CRCT will never be as good information wise as a norm referenced test like the ITBS, if it is accurate (i.e. reflects the skills each grade level should know) and the "cut" scores are fair (not just 45% correct to pass the test), then it makes sense that we should have a test that asks and answers these basic questions:
1. Is my child on grade level in reading and/or math?
2. Has my child mastered the math and reading skills of his/her grade level?
3. What percent of our students are mastering the basic grade level skills and what percent are not mastering these skills?

A Criterion referenced test does not say all children must be above average (obviously impossible). Rather it says all children should meet minimum standards (e.g. all 4th graders should be able to do double digit multiplication and division with a remainder). Of course NCLB is erroneous because there will ALWAYS be some students who cannot meet the minimum standards, but most students should, especially if they get the additional direct instruction they need. This does NOT mean more highly paid non-teaching personnel like Coaches and Coordinators and Family Coordinators.

NCLB was set up to allow states to write their own evaluations. Parents aren't as dumb as they think. The "dumbing down of the test by the states" has been one of the biggest backlashes against the standardized testing by parents.

While you say the test is easy for your child, however, you must understand that many DCSS students cannot even pass this test when it's read to them. Think what a sad commentary that is on the leadership of our school system. Hundreds of millions spent for high paying admin and support jobs, while teachers and students get the little bit that trickles down to them.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:17
"The link you provided does not take into account the re-test scores."

Please provide us with a weblink that shows the retests scores for 2004 - 2010 for DCSS, all the other counties and Georgia. That way a comparison can be made as to the efficacy of the DCSS Office of Improvement over time.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:17
The retest scores are in there. That's the reason the Ga. DOE could not post the results of the 2009-10 Made AYP before January 2011. I saw where Cross Keys now has the correct information. They were listed as Did NOT Make AYP and now they are listed as Made AYP.

Anonymous said...

CRCT
@ 8:16 am
"I disagree with you about criterion referenced tests....The bar is so low for the CRCT and manipulated by the state..."

That was one of my points. That the "cut" scores for the CRCT appear to have been lowered by the state in order for more students to "pass". IMO this is a very questionable practice.

I searched for the information from the state as to how they change the "cut" scores (i.e. lower the "cut" score needed to pass the test). Their official stance is that they lower the "cut" scores because some years they use "harder" questions. A more detailed explanation is not forthcoming. They state it is too complicated for the layperson (translation taxpayers/parents).

The ITBS is a much better test because it is not developed by the entity that gets measured. A test developed by the entity being evaluated loses validity and reliability.

The CRCT should be a National criterion referenced test developed nationally by an independent agency like the College of Education of the University of Iowa who develops the ITBS. A national CRCT would let us compare our students' progress in meeting basic skill levels to every other state to see if we really are getting the ROI we have been promised.

Although a criterion referenced test like the CRCT will never be as good information wise as a norm referenced test like the ITBS, if it is accurate (i.e. reflects the skills each grade level should know) and the "cut" scores are fair (not just 45% correct to pass the test), then it makes sense that we should have a test that asks and answers these basic questions:
1. Is my child on grade level in reading and/or math?
2. Has my child mastered the math and reading skills of his/her grade level?
3. What percent of our students are mastering the basic grade level skills and what percent are not mastering these skills?

A Criterion referenced test does not say all children must be above average (obviously impossible). Rather it says all children should meet minimum standards). Of course NCLB is erroneous because there will ALWAYS be some students who cannot meet the minimum standards, but most students should, especially if they get the additional direct instruction they need. This does NOT mean more highly paid non-teaching personnel like Coaches and Coordinators and Family Facilitators.

While you say the test is easy for your child, however, you must understand that many DCSS students cannot even pass this test when it's read to them. What a sad commentary that is on the leadership of our school system. Hundreds of millions spent for high paying admin and support jobs, while teachers and students get the little bit that trickles down to them.

Anonymous said...

Note at the bottom of the page....

Please note: All data related to the Adequate Yearly Progress and the Improvement Status for schools and districts displayed on this page is based on test results from the spring testing for this school year

Anonymous said...

Great news (NOT!) The middle schools all get to take a pre-CRCT test in all 4 core content areas the week of March 7th (maybe they don't already do enough testing??) and it counts as a test grade! How about elementary schools - anyone heard?

Me thinks Beasley is suddenly panicking about impending middle school pass rates!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the ajc can investigate the cut rates for this year?? I seem to recall they worked that story a couple of years ago and discovered the pass rate was a very low number of correct answers. Can't imagine the number of correct answers is going up. Maybe our news teams can investigate and find out the percent of correct answers in each content area in each grade level needed to "pass". Bet that would be telling! The state plays with numbers just like the school system plays with state earned dollars using a "point" system to convert dollars to school earned FTEs.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:21
"Note at the bottom of the page...."

What page. Can you provide a link?

And can you tell us what schools made AYP on the retest last year or this year that's not reflected on the state DOE website? We can email the DOE to ask about those schools.

Anonymous said...

it's not the cut score that will be 100% for AYP in three years- it wil be the number of students who pass.

Anonymous said...

Some of us might quarrel with a large high school having 5 asssitant principals. However, we need to remember that staffing decisons are made by the principals themselves. The are allocated points and allowed to staff based on their point budget. If they want less assistant principals and more teachers then it is up to them. Their school community has some sway, active parents, the teachers, and the rest of the staff inluence those staffing decisons. You are looking at tow opposing world views here. Either the control is local-teachers decide for their classroom and principals for their school or everything is mandated from the top. Right now principals and teachers are given the latitude unless the school in failing. Then things like America's Choice may be applied from on high. So if you are worried that the present list of over 400 principals and assistant principals for 144 locations is too many administrators there are two things you can do. The first is to press for the colsoing of the 8 to 14 schools needed and then the redistricting or buildouts needed to eliminate both under utilization and crowding. The second is press your local school to slim down an assistant principal when approriate. The closing of 8 schools would result in getting the number under 400. The lack of self discipline by the students often makes extra APs attractive. More parent volunteers in the hallways has solved this problem in other communities.

Anonymous said...

Part 1 of post:
@ anonymous 2:17 and anonymous 11:21

"The link you provided does not take into account the re-test scores...Please note: All data related to the Adequate Yearly Progress and the Improvement Status for schools and districts displayed on this page is based on test results from the spring testing for this school year"

I see what you mean. The DCSS DOE Title 1 pages say that the spring retakes are not calculated into the number of DCSS Title schools making AYP. Great point about getting the accurate data. I located which DCSS Title 1 schools made AYP on the retests and added those numbers in.

They make the Office of School Improvement look SO much more inept. This office needs new leadership asap. Does anyone else think going from 87% to 52% in percentage of Title 1 schools making AYP in one year means Ms. Berry's decisions are actually causing a DECREASE in student achievement in Title 1 schools?

2:17 - I'm guessing your point is that the Office of School Improvement causing a decline in Title 1 schools making AYP is much more dire than the numbers show on the DCSS Title 1 webpages once we add the retakes back in.

Recalculating the numbers to include the DCSS Title 1 schools making AYP on the retakes would give us:
2009: 77 out of 89 DCSS Title 1 schools (87%) making AYP
2010: 52 out of 89 DCSS Title 1 schools (54%) making AYP in 2010

Ms. Berry has tanked our Title 1 schools so much worse than we thought.

I'm glad you pointed that out. Because that led me to look up the schools in DCSS that made it on the retests and add those numbers back into the data.

Here was my methodology:
I looked at DCSS AYP retake numbers for 2009 and 2010:
11 Title 1 schools made AYP on the retests of 2009, but only 6 Title 1 schools made AYP after the retests in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of post:
I. 2009 summer retakes
Look at this link to the GA DOE. 12 more DCSS schools made AYP on the summer retests in 2009 (11 were Title 1):
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/2009AYPFINAL_MadeAYP100109.pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F6A8E2CF8F27CBE3D4507133CA0A4B995F73AA10171C8D2EB9&Type=D

Look at the DCSS schools that made it on the 2009 summer retests (they are listed on the website). I looked all of them up and the DOE website reflects that they made AYP in 2009:
Flat Rock Elementary School (Title 1)
Panola Way Elementary School (Title 1)
Salem Middle School (Title 1)
Peachtree Middle School (This school is NOT Title 1)
Redan Middle School (Title 1)
Columbia Middle School (Title 1)
Fairington Elementary School (Title 1)
Columbia Elementary School (Title1)
McNair Middle School (Title 1)
Knollwood Elementary School (Title 1)
Dunaire Elementary School (Title 1)
Heritage Educational Center (Title 1)

II. 2010 summer retakes
Look at this October 28, 2010 article from the AJC entitled "32 more metro schools make AYP, 3 no longer on ‘needs improvement' list":
http://www.ajc.com/news/32-more-metro-schools-699125.html

Look at the 8 DCSS schools that made it on the retests (they are listed in the article). Only 6 are Title 1). I looked them all up and they are reflected as making AYP on the DOE website:
Browns Mill Elementary School (Title 1)
Cedar Grove Elementary School (Title 1)
Cross Keys High School (Title 1)
Peachtree Middle School This school is NOT Title 1)
Shamrock Middle School (This school is NOT Title 1)
Sky Haven Elementary School (Title 1)
Stone Mountain Middle School (Title 1)
Toney Elementary School (Title 1)
Woodridge Elementary School (Title 1)"

If posters need any links to verify this data, I'm glad to provide it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:12
"However, we need to remember that staffing decisons are made by the principals themselves. The are allocated points and allowed to staff based on their point budget. If they want less assistant principals and more teachers then it is up to them. "

That's a very disingenuous statement.

Ms. Tyson mandates the class sizes for all schools. If she mandates no more than 30 students for the content areas of math, science, social studies and language arts, then the principals will have to allocate their points accordingly. Admin and support staff will be trimmed to ensure the class size is met.

Ms. Tyson specifically and deliberately asked the DCSS BOE to let her increase class sizes to the detriment of student achievement. She increased them, and she can reduce them.

If Ms. Tyson had made the decision against students going to class sizes in which they physically cannot move (a recipe for physical altercations and crowd control instead of learning), we would not find so many discipline issues.

The decision is clearly Ms. Tyson's. She sets the parameters for class size for students. She has it set so high now it's not a wonder more students are misbehaving. She has chosen APs, Security, Coaches, etc. over direct instruction for kids. That's very clear.

(See BOE meeting minutes June 22, 2010)

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:35

"it's not the cut score that will be 100% for AYP in three years- it wil be the number of students who pass. '

Exactly. If you reduce the "cut" score - i.e. a student only needs to only answer 50% of the questions correctly to pass the test and then the next year it goes to 45% and then the next year 40%, then a greater percent of students will always "pass". Of course, 100% will never be achieved. But you must realize that in the administrative realm, goosing the scores is but a stepping stone to polishing your resume so you can constantly move onward and upward. It's a constant shell game whereby you hope to be in another (more lucrative) position by the time the data catches up with you.

That's why NCLB will eventually be reformed and hopefully national tests will be instituted. We actually have some states that do not need to "goose" the scores. When we are compared to them, parents will see what we have in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:17

Since you pointed out the CRCT retests that need to be added into the 2009 and 2010 percentages of DCSS Title 1 schools that Made AYP, I was struck by how unbelievably close in numbers that Atlanta Public Schools and DeKalb Schools are in Title 1 schools with respect to that Made AYP in 2009 and then the enormous decrease in 2010.

Look at the unprecedented decrease in schools that Made AYP in APS and DCSS from 2009 to 2020:

Percentage of schools that Made AYP in DCSS:
2009: 87%
2010: 54%
*Number of DCSS Title 1 Schools: 89

Percentage of schools that Made AYP in APS:
2009: 81%
2010: 58%
*Number of APS Title 1 Schools: 92 in 2009 and 91 in 2010

Why is the decrease in Title 1 schools making AYP so similar to APS? This huge drop in percentage is almost identical.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:19 pm

It looks like DCSS Title 1 schools took a greater plunge in student achievement than APS. What has the Office of School Improvement been doing all this time? And now they want to spend millions more to Instructional Coaches.

Why is Ms. Berry not trying to add direct instructors for these children who need additional help? Why is she forbidding the Instructional Coaches to work directly with struggling learners?

Anonymous said...

Here is the job description for the instructional coaches from the Principal's Title 1 handbook
 
TITLE I INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES

Instructional coaches are on-site professional developers who partner with educators to identify and assist with the implementation of proven teaching methods.

DeKalb County School System (DCSS), has employed instructional coaches to support teachers and the instructional program within the district.

MISSION:The mission of Title I Instructional Coaches is to increase student achievement by supporting teachers and providing professional learning opportunities that strengthen standards-based teaching and learning through the use of best practices.

INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The principles of instructional coaching are grounded in research on effective professional development and professional learning communities. Coaching blends what is known about effective professional development with school-based and school-specific needs regarding content and school climate.
 
The instructional coach has demonstrated the ability:

• to work well with people and demonstrate and maintain productive and positive interpersonal and instructional skills.
• to work closely with the building administrator to coordinate and implement the work of a professional learning community.
• to collaborate with the school principals and administrative team.
• to effectively communicate with teachers, principals, parents, students, paraprofessionals and community members.
• to consult with groups and individuals.
• to facilitate groups.
• to think flexibly and to adapt work to the needs of teachers and students.
• to work effectively with new teachers providing support and encouragement.
• to work with teachers in a way that improves student learning.
• to work with teams to develop goals for improving student achievement.
 

Anonymous said...

Part 2
The instructional coach has:

• knowledge of current educational research and issues.• knowledge and experience in a content area(s) and in implementing best instructional practices.
• knowledge and experience using a variety of assessment tools and analyzing student data.
• knowledge of the work of professional learning communities; how to develop and enhance in schools.
• knowledge of providing innovative/research based professional development.  

The instructional coach has:
• a working knowledge of current research and resources related to district and site-based goals, staff development, and group processes.• knowledge and experience coaching/collaborating with other teachers. • knowledge of the change process and ability to help teachers make effective use of change.
• the ability to manage multiple projects effectively.
• the ability to manage time and schedules flexibly and in a way that maximizes teacher learning.
• the ability to collaborate with teacher teams, co-teach lessons, and model best instructional practices. • the ability to utilize creative solutions for implementing school-based staff development.  

 

Anonymous said...

Part 3
Characteristics of successful coaches

Research indicates three broad categories of skills that an effective coach should possess: pedagogical knowledge, content expertise, and interpersonal skills.

• Pedagogical knowledge. The literature is nearly unanimous that coaches should be experienced teachers who have demonstrated success in the classroom. Effective coaches have a thorough understanding of how children learn and are skilled in developing and implementing instructional strategies — from questioning strategies to classroom management — to improve student learning. These accomplished teachers not only have a larger toolbox of instructional strategies to draw upon; according to teacher surveys, they also are more likely to earn teachers' trust.
• Content expertise. Effective instructional coaches, no matter their subject area, have a thorough understanding of the subject they are coaching as well as familiarity with the curriculum that teachers are currently using. This is particularly important for coaches who focus on a subject area such as literacy or mathematics or who work at the middle or high school level, because of the demand for in-depth understanding of the complexities of the content area at higher grade levels. Process-oriented coaches whose task is to improve classroom strategies such as data analysis or differentiated instruction must also have experience in and a deep understanding of these critical instructional strategies and methods. Interpersonal capabilities. The existing research on effective coaches makes clear that along with content and pedagogical expertise, coaches must possess strong interpersonal skills and competencies. In a 2003 survey of 31 professional development coaches, the most frequently mentioned characteristic of an effective coach was "people skills," including the ability to build relationships, establish trust and credibility, and tailor assistance to individual educators' needs. Researchers at the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas have similarly found that successful coaches possess not only strong content knowledge but also an "infectious personality" that helps them encourage and inspire teachers to improve their practices.

No mention of working directly with students.

Anonymous said...

Most Instructional coaches do this:

Modeling

As teachers observe, instructional coaches teach their classes and demonstrate how the new instructional method or intervention should be taught. In some cases, instructional coaches provide checklists or some other form of observation tool so teachers know to watch for specific teaching behaviors.

http://www.instructionalcoach.org/about.html

If you can't model a perfect lesson for a teacher including handing the classroom management, you have no business being a coach. If you cannot do it better than the teacher you model it for, then they will not learn any better practices than what they are currently doing. Instructional coaches should be modeling lessons every day for teachers. We pay these Instructional coaches each an average of close to $100,000 a year in salary and benefits. Where is the accountability in terms of increased student achievement?

Anonymous said...

You can model a great lesson and teachers still might not embrace your ideas, but I guarantee if you can't model the lesson, you will never have a teacher embrace your ideas.


Instructional coaches cannot be credible agents for change if they can't even teach a lesson on their own. THAT's in EVERY piece of literature about Instructional Coaching I've read.

Anonymous said...

Of course, we do not know how many Title I schools in Atlanta Public Schools REALLY made AYP.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:00 pm

"Of course, we do not know how many Title I schools in Atlanta Public Schools REALLY made AYP."

Thank you for that comment. That's the unsettling fact about both DCSS and APS.

In APS considering testing and summer retests, a high percentage of Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2008-09 - 81%.
AFTER strict monitoring, only 58% Make AYP in 2009-10.

In DCSS considering testing and summer retests, a high percentage of Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2008-09 - 87%.
AFTER strict monitoring, only 54% Make AYP in 2009-10.

In Clayton County and Gwinnett County the Made AYP percentages stayed very steady even AFTER strict monitoring was instituted.

Looking at these percentages, it appears that Ms. Berry and the Office of School Improvement were NOT making educational decisions that were increasing our Made AYP rate in DCSS like the BOE and everyone thought. I guess Ms. Berry has a counterpart at APS that has run into the same conundrum.

Educational decisions that decrease student achievement need to be reversed with by installing administrators who can make the decisions that increase student achievement.

Anonymous said...

New York Governor Cuomo Seeks Cap on School Superintendents’ Pay

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/nyregion/01superintendent.html?hpw

Look at that limits!!!

Anonymous said...

And consider that the cost of living there is that much higher. Really, how can this board, and especially Tyson, sleep at night. I really hope that they get theirs, sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Actually DeKalb now has 93 Title I schools. Oddly enough although the number of Title I schools not making AYP has gone up, so have their test scores. The problem is the test scores are not increasing as fast as the per centage needed to make AYP increases each year.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 12:19
"Actually DeKalb now has 93 Title I schools. ... The problem is the test scores are not increasing as fast as the per centage needed to make AYP increases each year."

That's the Title 1 numbers for 2010-11. We don't have the scores for 2011 so that's not really a part of the discussion yet.

As to the "the problem", Clayton County has 100% of their schools that are designated Title 1, and yet 82% of their Title 1 schools Made AYP (EVEN with strict monitoring), and the year before 82% of their schools Made AYP.

Clayton and Gwinnett have very different demographics, yet both had over 80% of their schools Make Adequate Yearly Progress. DeKalb doesn't have any different rules than Clayton and Gwinnett have.

The fact that Title 1 schools in DeKalb went from 87% making AYP in 2009 to only 54% making AYP in 2010 after stricter state monitoring is extremely troubling. This is worse than APS. Ms. Berry and the Office of School Improvement need to take responsibility for these abysmal results.

Ms. Tyson should be asking for Ms. Berry's resignation and replacing her with someone who can turn student achievement around in our Title 1 schools.

Anonymous said...

Last year 18 general administrative secretaries in DCSS made more than $50,000 per year, more than any other system, metro or otherwise, in Georgia.

Topping the list for the whole state was Cointa Moody (yeah I know she's currently not employed and has some legal problems--is DCSS paying her legal expenses too?) at close to $75K. Of the top ten salaries for general administrative secretaries in Georgia, DCSS had four of them, more than any other system. Of the 18, several are now employed with Dr. B's Temple of Teaching and Learning.

Courtesy of the GA Dept of Audits & Accounts and DCSS's Staff Directory on their website.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Federal Government has any complaints about the Title 1 funding for DCSS with respect to the supposed "gains" in DCSS Title 1 schools Making AYP as reported by the Office of School Improvement?

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 5:26

Now this is exactly what the "missing" salary audit was supposed to do. 1. See if executive secretaries perform significantly different functions than other secretaries 2. Compare their compensation to compensation in other school systems and the private sector 3. Make salary recommendations for over paid employees.

How do you think they came up with the $14,800,000 in over payments for 2,500 non-teaching employees. They obviously had pay reduction numbers in mind for those 2,500 employees. Ernst and Young were recommending these pay reductions based on a fair and equitable compensation.

Why can't Ms. Tyson and most specifically the head of DCSS Human Resources produce that audit?

One poster stated that HR was making reductions in salary over time to put salaries in line with the audit. That means that HR had to have had the audit. Why would they throw a study like this away - wouldn't they need it to show employees who experienced salary reductions and complained?

Anonymous said...

Not only too many chiefs but wrong chiefs. Our principal retired at the end of Dec. Our new chief at Dresden in only 37. Hasn't been an AP for very long. Came from a school of 350 to a school of almost 800. She has never worked for a Title One school or an ESOL school. We are Title One and our population is 95% Hispanic. What is this about? Was there no one in the whole county with Title One experience and ESOL experience that applied for this position? This makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

you see, when you convert dollars to points, as you do in DCSS (unlike Fulton and Gwinnett -- I'm told) and if you appoint principals to schools for which they are not qualified (e.g. no title 1 experience to title 1 schools or move them around alot for schools with high gifted popultions) - and then you frequently move the principal around -- the principal isn't given a chance to figure out that the school isn't being fully funded by the county and that the funding formula is wrong. Once upon a time, the long tenured principals were really good because they could "manipulate points" well. But if DCSS just used dollars, there would be no points to manipulate. If the shell game is played just right, then more dollars are left in the administrative "bucket" and denied to the schools and principals because the principals aren't around long enough to figure it out and to do anything about it. So the selection makes sense if your goal is to keep the money in the bigger bucket....

Anonymous said...

I so agree with anonymous-March4- about our new principal at Dresden. When you bring in personnel who is inexperienced it doesn't take them long to begin to show stress. This woman is sinking fast. She has no personal skills and is coming across as "I'm the big bad wolf." Lighten up! We are not used to being treated this way.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that if they are young and inexperienced, then they can be trained? Or molded into the DeKalb way; you know that method, shut up and do what we tell you because we are the boss. Those teachers with experience just don't understand the big picture, this is not about just educating students but also proving just how smart and competent we can be(sic).

So we end up with insincere, incompetent, a--kissers who serve as in house county cheerleaders and who are walking examples of pretend sincerity and caring.

BTW, those CRCT practice tests in Middle schools are to get an idea of what the remedial summer school numbers might be.

Anonymous said...

Right on about bringing in inexperience principals so they can mold them to be like them. What ever happened to putting students first and doing what is best for students. At Dresden our new principal didn't even bother to come to our Progress Monitoring meetings. Our grade level was allowed to take a half day and collaborate as a team and then present to our AP and Instructional Coach students who are struggling and gather information on how we can better serve them. Wouldn't you think the new principal would want to know this information?

Anonymous said...

@ last 3 posters RE-new principal at Dresden.

The Area Supt for Dresden (Bradford)promoted her as a favor to Dunson. The work together to get their friends promoted. She was a former AP at Narvie Harris-one of Dunson's schools and then at Midvale-where Dunson's kids go. Of course, he looked out for her. As long as she doesn't create problems for the Area Supts-she will be fine. Doesn't matter if staff is a little unhappy. The AP had been there for years but she is white, so that was not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Dresden is Nancy Jester's home school. (Her children don't actually attend there.)

I hope concerned citizens will make her aware of the situation. I am sure she will be concerned. Though she can't technically intervene, if community members ask, she can inquire on their behalf.

I am beyond tired of the weak school based leadership in DeKalb.

It is a crime.

Anonymous said...

How many of you anonymous posters who feel the need to gossip about the Dresden Principal would actually say this to her face?

No, it's easier to trash someone anonymously on a blog. Easier,,,but cowardly.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine teachers reaction if parents started coming to this board and posting gossip and tearing apart the way the teachers taught?

No, parents have not and will not use this blog to take down teachers - even the bad ones. Why do teachers take to this blog to tear down their principals?

Anonymous said...

The purpose of the blog is get information out. Whe a decision is made such as placing an unqualified principal in a school three times as large as her last school which puts students at risk Dekalb County School family should be aware it. I have not read anything on this blog that attacked her as a person.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous @1:09 why didn't you sign your name?

Anonymous said...

I am sure most parents would not want their children taught by teachers who take to a blog to trash the principal of their children's school.

Anonymous said...

Who is trashing the principal? This is about the lack of lack of good judgement on the part of the area supe. and school board hiring policies.

Anonymous said...

I am certain most parents would want a principal who is qualified for the position and not some crony of an area superintendent's friend. Puh-leeze. I think most parents would be happy to know their children's teachers would make an effort to get the word out about an unqualified person being made principal of a school because of some personal connection with a supervisor and not because of merit and worth. DeKalb is full of such losers at the top. Why does anyone think the whole enterprise is crashing down?

To the person making all the posts about anonymous posters, why are you anonymous? Are you the principal? Horace Dunson's secretary?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Anonymous on March 5 at 3:08!!!!
Could not have said it better myself. I also think Hispanic parents whose children make up 88% of our school unlike our African African population which only makes up 8% would rather have a principal who speaks Spanish or at least has an understanding of the Hispanic culture. Why weren't the paretns given a voice in this decision. I am sure Mrs. Terrel would do great at an African American School.

Anonymous said...

Neither prinicpal at Sequoyah Middle School or Cross Keys High School is Hispanic and those schools seem to do well.

Cerebration said...

There are currently more Hispanics enrolled in DeKalb schools than whites. Honestly, the number of Hispanic administrators and/or teachers is very much under-represented. I am a huge fan of both the principals you mention, however, I think our system should make a concerted effort to find and employ more Latino employees in influential positions. It would be a positive step toward the diversity we claim to support.

Anonymous said...

We all know the Family and Friends plan exists-
So now we know what the possible connections are for the Dresden principal.
This blog is a good way to bring information to light.
I am sure the AP was probably given an interview to avoid a lawsuit.

Parents on a panel were done away with. This was Area Supts, the elementary director, Kelli Wright (AKA Sorority) make sure their man (or woman) get the job. I wonder if the principal is part of a sorority.

I bet Dunson would never be the area supt on the north end. The parents and teachers would insist on some sort of transparency and justification. They know what they were doing. I wonder what they could say to the AP to let her know she wasn't qualified.

Anonymous said...

There is no Area Super named Bradford.

Anonymous said...

Family and friends us certainly the theme of Dekalb County. I thought Tyson said it was going to be different. So much for change. What has been said is true of Dresden. Our principal really has no insight Into the strengths or weaknesses of our school. She stood up in a faculty meeting and us that the word in the district is we won't make AYP. Please, we have made AYP for the last five years. In my fifteen years in Dekalb County it has always who u know not who is best qualified for the job. Who suffers-children.

Anonymous said...

I believe the poster meant Bradshaw.

Here is a link to the DCSS administration organization chart

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/organizational-chart.pdf

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I did mean Ken Bradshaw, not Bradford. I blame it on the rain :)

Also, the principal at Sequoyah was promoted from within and had many years experience working in the community, not the same for Dresden.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a second graders and fifth grader, not at Dresden. As a parent I would apprecaite knowing whether the principal at my children's school was qualified or not. It seems that Dekalb county is a "good old boys" club. It is who you owe something to, whose faternity or sority were you members together and who sleeps with who. Hiring practices are based on these facts, not is this person best for this position and this school. Do you think it will stop with a new supertentent?

Anonymous said...

I've confirmed that even gifted HMS & CMS magnet kids are spending most of the next week taking a practice CRCT all morning_

what a bloody waste of time esp after a week off for ice

Anonymous said...

Do we know if Heery perhaps "recommended" Pat Pope to Lewis?

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 12:35

"Hiring practices are based on these facts, not is this person best for this position and this school. Do you think it will stop with a new supertentent? "

I think it will stop when:
1. The current DCSS administration Lewis put in place is let go
2. The BOE members (excluding the two newest reform candidates that were recently elected) are replaced
3. The nepotism and cronyism policies SACS insisted be put in place are followed
4. The Internal Auditor position has proven itself capable of following through malfeasance even it occurs at the highest levels of the school system.

Anonymous said...

Blacks comprise 71.30 percent of Dekalb County and even though they represent the majority of the student population doesn't mean it is fair to hire only Blacks for administrative positions. I agree with anonymous then it is beyond time for other ethnic groups be given an opportunity to become principals. Dresden's population is 90% Spanish. The principal, nor assistant principals at our school speak spanish. There are all different kinds of racism and this is an example of one.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 10:20
All the students at Druid Hills Middle are also taking a "practice CRCT" next week and it's being counted as a test grade!! What a waste of paper and instructional time. Teachers get ready to stand at the scanners!

Anonymous said...

Is Beasley grasping for straws and panicked about possible AYP outcomes? Could look bad in his bid for Super of DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:02 pm
"Dresden's population is 90% Spanish. The principal, nor assistant principals at our school speak spanish. "

I'm uncomfortable with choosing any administrator on the basis of race. Should only white principals be assigned to schools that have a majority of white students, should only black principals be assigned to schools that have a majority of black students, should only Hispanic principals be assigned to schools that have a majority of Hispanic students.

The best administrator should be hired regardless of race, color, creed or gender. This principal may not be who you consider the best qualified, but administrative competence should be what's driving the train.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 3:38

"Is Beasley grasping for straws and panicked about possible AYP outcomes? Could look bad in his bid for Super of DCSS. "

I don't think there is any way in the world that Beasley would be offered the job of Superintendent of DCSS at this point. However, he is probably angling for a job as superintendent of a smaller school system. That's probably what's driving him to get those scores up. More test prep will not help. I predict less schools than ever will make AYP - mainly because the class sizes are bigger than ever (yes - class size matters - just ask any teacher or student), his policies are draining the classrooms of planning and instructional time, and the morale is quite low among teachers who feel disrespected by the past and present administration.

Anonymous said...

Of course Beasley could get the Superintendent job. He is the right color, he owes favors to other people and he is one of the "good old boys". He has it all.

Anonymous said...

I am sure Beasley is in a long line of other people who have been promised the job. It seems in this school district it doesn't matter what your credentials are just if you are African American and someone owes you a debt. No wonder that there are race issues at certain schools. We want to teach our students not to judge by the color of a person's skin but by the content of their character but the hiring practices of Dekalb County is just the opposite. What hyprocrites!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a Black administrator and I believe I was hired not because of the color of my skin but because I am a highly qualified person. Frankly, I believe our time as come. People of all races should be shouting in the streets that our gifts and what we can bring to the table is finally valued. We are no longer second rate citizens. Whites have had their chance and it is now our time. Hispanics have not paid the price to sit at the table yet. Teachers who are afraid of us had better get used to it. We are not going away.

Anonymous said...

What price do HIspanics need to pay yet?

Anonymous said...

Really! What would people say if we got a Hispanic Superin.?

Anonymous said...

<>

I, for one, valued Crawford Lewis because of the positive trajectory and the example he might have provided to the 70% African-American students of Dekalb County.

I am sad to report that I was completely and shamefully disappointed. In fact, lately, I have been more disappointed by African-American administrators than Whites or Hispanics.

African-American administrators have a special duty to be more competent, more moral, and more irreproachable than Whites or Hispanics. African-American administrators (wife, children, and I are African-Americans) can start by getting real degrees, wear less flashy suits, and follow the rules of promotion.

It's possible because so far Barack Obama has not failed and has not faltered in his character like his politics or not!

Anonymous said...

At 10:31,

This is Anon 6:36am again

I take it that you'd say 50% or more of you fellow African-American administrators are competent. That is not what I see in this county!

My beef is not about color: it's about competence.

As a Black persons I know there are plenty of competent Black administrators out there. They are not placed correctly or appointed fairly.

Mediocre high administrators are scared of more competent, more moral, and more irreproachable African-American administrators.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:31> What an ego!

Anonymous said...

Anon March 6, 2:02, your figures are wrong, as of 2009, and it is widely believed among county staff that the Hispanic/Latino population is under-reported by the Census Bureau:


http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13089.html

Black persons, percent, 2009 53.7%

White persons, percent, 2009 40.2%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2009 10.9%

Cerebration said...

That's correct Anon. The county racial stats are quite different from the school system's. Anon 3:02 above is correct if they meant that the school system is over 70% African-American. However, the county is actually only a bit over 50% AA.

Anonymous said...

In regard to Instructional Coaches. This has been a problem for last 5 years. At Dresden our coac h does nothing. She sits behind her desk. In front of her desk is a white board that hides her. Since she has been at Dresden no one has figured out what she does.We are hoping new principal
will wise up to her and do something.warrud

Anonymous said...

The more incompetent someone of a minority race or gender (female) is, the more of disservice that person does to the entire race or gender. The assumptions then kick in that anyone of that race or gender only got their job because of race or gender. Such promotions do a tremendous disservice to the truly competent members of the race or gender in those roles. Once folks have experienced the incompetent ones, they begin to assume that others are only there because of race or gender and competence is assumed not to be there at all. Promotion solely based on race or gender is a complete and total disservice to that culture or race....

Anonymous said...

Well now, Avondale Middle school is slated to close...

I wonder where the instructional coach (ELA), Ms Wilson, will be going.
Since she is the wife of Jamie Wilson, Director Human Resources, I am sure they have already worked that out with Dr. Berry.

I hear though that the teachers like her, maybe she can come to our school and we get rid of the one we have.

Anonymous said...

I hear the Columbia ELA coach is really good, even though she is related to someone from the old regime (Duncun).

Dr. Berry, word is out that there may be changes with the instructional coaches because of complaints from principals, teachers,etc.

Please don't move Ms Duncun

Anonymous said...

Please move the Instructional Coach from Dresden. Since being at our school she has been useless. She hides in her office and I can count on one hand the number of times she has modeled a lesson in a classroom. She does the work of Para not an instrutional coach. Please send Dresden a good one!!!

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just remove Dr. Berry. She has made decisions that caused almost half of the Title 1 schools to not make AYP. Why is she not held accountable?

Passionate... said...

Mrs. Terrell, new principal at Dresden is doing a fantastic job. She is listening, observing, reflecting, and managing. She doesn't deserve the "hits" from this blog! She is well qualified! She has 14 years of classroom experience and administration. Give her a break! She is worthy! She waited for her opportunity. "Good things happen to those that wait." Instead of tearing her down, lift her up. Provide her with insight into the ESOL population and Title I needs. She is very bright, she'll get it!

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