Thursday, March 3, 2011

DeKalb Schools Placed On Advisement...

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has issued its report based on a visit to DCSS in late January 2011.

You can find the entire report here:

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/newsroom/press/pdf/2011-03-03.2011-03-14.AdvancEd_Special_Review_Team_Report_%282011-03-03%29.pdf

It is a surprisingly easy read. I recommend that you read the fairly brief report.

Our system has until October 31st to address the concerns in the report or risk losing accreditation.

From the latest AJC article:

In the past six months, SACS has received reports of a DeKalb board member engaged in a heated dispute with a legislator, another threaten to slug a reporter and a third belittle administrators during a public meeting. Elgart attributes these behaviors to the board members’ failure to work together.

“We have board members who, once they are elected, forget they are supposed to move to serving; some of them are still running an election,” he said.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/sacs-orders-dekalb-to-859629.html

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

"SACS registered particular concern over the school board securing a permanent superintendent, implementing newly enacted policies and procedures, addressing ongoing legal matters and improving its governing effectiveness."

The above statement is very reason why we need to go a long way from DeKalb County to find an effective new leader. This new Super will have to do a huge Spring cleaning of the inept that reside at the Palace.

It's good to see that SACS put DCSS on notice, however nothing is going to change until we see ALL the folks, that were among CLew's inner circle, handed their pink slips and shown the door. If not, the new Super will never be successful in turning our fraud of a system around.

Anonymous said...

What's with the final sentence about an election next week with 15 candidates running for five positions?

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/sacs-orders-dekalb-to-859629.html

Proof read much, AJC?

Anonymous said...

Journalism at it's best:

"Board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham’s family restaurants also sold $22,000 worth of pizza to schools.

Cunningham is one of five board members running for re-election next week. In total, 15 candidates are competing for five seats."

themommy said...

That line has been removed.

Anonymous said...

"SACS’ questioning began after former superintendent Crawford Lewis, former chief operating officer Patricia Reid and two others were indicted in May on charges they ran a criminal enterprise at the school system. Their trial is scheduled for early next year.

Since then, several DeKalb school administrators also have been disciplined after they were caught selling their own books to their schools for profit. Board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham’s family restaurants also sold $22,000 worth of pizza to schools.

Cunningham is one of five board members running for re-election next week. In total, 15 candidates are competing for five seats."

These final lines are cut and pasted from the Oct. 28, 2010 article "SACS will evaluate DeKalb schools".

Laurel Ridge Mom said...

SACS ordered the district to meet eight improvement steps, which included.... redistricting and closing schools..."

Anyone know in more detail what was meant by that? Are they saying they should, or shouldn't be doing that?

Anonymous said...

Can the State move in now? Or does the status have to be "on probation"?

Anonymous said...

In other words if we don't redistrict and close schools we lose accreditation. That accounts for 2 of the 8 items:

1. Finding a superintendent-under way-application deadline closed-wonder if any worthwhile candidates want the job? Should have someone by summer
2. redistricting-underway
3. closing schools-underway
4. Revising policies and procedures-underway
5. Implementing new policies and procedures-remains to be seen
6. On going legal matters-how do we resolve this until the courts act?
7. Improving governing effectiveness-good luck this one is on us voters to wise up
8. Address testing irregularities-underway people under investigation by the professional standards commission. This happened after the report was drafted.

Anonymous said...

The state could possible move in after the loss of accreditation but it did not happen in the last two cases of accreditation loss. Based on the 8 items and the progress on those DeKalb is unlikely to lose accreditation. If they did the state would be unlikely to move it and in my opinion unwelcome.

Anonymous said...

“For accreditation purposes, they are not in crisis,” SACS’ president and CEO Mark A. Elgart said. “It’s not to say these challenges are minimized or not real.”

Is DCSS accredited or not? Is this more severe than Clayton and APS warnings?

Tom Bowen and Ramona will be toting this SACS statement as saying that things are basically OK. What would manifest a crisis?

Schutter doesn't want any schools closed. But that is the DCSS bargaining chip to get SPLOST IV passed. Trade school closings and drawing boundary lines

2:52 nails it. Only a new super can change it unless the State can take over.

Anonymous said...

Yes DCSS is still accredited and will undergo the normal accreditation review in October 2011. However, the 8 items better be fixed by then or a great deal of progress made that promises to fix them.

Anonymous said...

3:43 DCSS has no jurisdiction of SPLOST IV. If Atlanta doesn't want it, we can't go for it. DCSS cannot count on SPLOST IV, as Atlanta mayor wants to go for money for transportation and not schools.

Anonymous said...

The way I read it most of the 8 will be fixed by the time a new superintendent is hired. The fix is underway for 6 of the 8. No one can fix the board unless its the voters (that would be us instead of them).

Anonymous said...

Sacs punted. We're screwed.

Anonymous said...

Are we really surprised?

Anonymous said...

Where can the SACS report be found?

Anonymous said...

Wow......can SACS mandate redistricting or closing of schools (if so, how many) as a provision for maintaining accreditation or is this just filler for the report? ie.....do what you said you were going to do.

Seems like this list has some soft spots.

Anonymous said...

"can SACS mandate redistricting or closing of schools (if so, how many) as a provision for maintaining accreditation or is this just filler for the report?"

I assume that SACS isn't mandating 'closing' or 'redistricting' as much as they are mandating that the school system deal with its mis-allocation of building/classroom resources.

Empty space, class size, overflow classrooms, school enrollment...issues that have been on the radar of the board for years, but have been pushed and pushed, not because they didn't need to be done, but because the board was unwilling to make the changes that needed to be made...(IMO-because when you run on a platform of 'its us against them' instead of 'let's make the entire county great' and then you turn around and close 'us's' schools, you will lose the next election)

Anyway, someone else can shed light if this is off base...but I assume that the 'mandate' of closing schools is really a mandate to fix your enrollment problems (and short of forcing people to move into a different district...closing/redistricting is the only way to do that)

Cerebration said...

To the poster who said, "This new Super will have to do a huge Spring cleaning of the inept that reside at the Palace.
"


I don't think we should wait for a new super to do this. Ramona Tyson knows who needs to go - she has a long history with these people. She owes it to the children of DeKalb to clear the path for the new super and rid the system of those who drag it down, are not worth their salt, or worse, would try to sabotage a new super. (As happened with Johnny Brown.) Ramona should do this. She is getting the big bucks and she should do it because it's the right thing to do for the system,for the future superintendent and mostly for nearly 100,000 children who are counting on her to bring resources back into the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Ya'll are welcome and invited to parse the hastily written spin on the SACS report:

To: All DeKalb Employees
From: Mrs. Ramona Tyson, Interim Superintendent
Subject: AdvancED SACS Report
Date: 03 March 2011

DEKALB SCHOOL SYSTEM TAKES ACTION REGARDING SACS ACCREDITATION REPORT

The DeKalb County School System announced today actions to address recommendations made by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission.

AdvancED’s report concluded that DeKalb Schools is not in crisis for accreditation. AdvancED delivered its report today to provide assistance and direction and to provide the DeKalb County School System with a “road map” to gain full accreditation in 2012.

“We appreciate the help and advice that AdvancED has provided us over the past several months and we will continue to work with them to implement their recommendations,” said DeKalb County Board of Education Chairman Thomas E. Bowen.

Today’s recommendations came about after DeKalb Schools sought advice and help from AdvancED, and the School District has been working in collaboration with AdvancED for the past several months. AdvancED today praised the School System for its leadership, and acknowledged that DeKalb Schools is on the right trajectory to address its recommendations.

AdvancED has indicated that the School System is in a period of advisement and that DeKalb Schools is not in violation of any of the AdvancED standards. They have provided eight specific recommendations for the School District, including completing the facilities Redistricting and Consolidation process, hiring a new permanent superintendent and reestablishing the School System’s strategic planning in order to guide the direction of DeKalb Schools in the future.

AdvancED will revisit the School District before October 31 to measure progress. Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson is today forming an internal task force with the goal of ensuring that the School District has adequately addressed all eight required actions by October 15, when the School System is required to submit an Institution Progress Report to AdvancED.

“It is through the leadership and integrity of Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson that hope and trust [in the School System] is beginning to be restored in the DeKalb Community,” the AdvancED report said.

Chairman Bowen added: “Our job over the next seven months is to build on that momentum and to restore DeKalb School’s full accreditation status.”

To view the letter from Dr. Elgart, the Special Review team report, as well as a question and answer document from AdvancED, please visit www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

Anonymous said...

Tried to post a copy of Ramona's spin sent out to teachers about the SACS report, but it vanished just after it was posted.

It's enough to make me paranoid!

Could someone else try to post it?

Cerebration said...

Found it! It was in the SPAM filter... for some reason, Google has really beefed up the spam filter - please post a comment or email me to let me know if you post something that doesn't show up - I'll check the filter - it's usually in there.

Anonymous said...

Cere,

I hope you're right about Tyson doing the "interim" job of cutting loose the former "Clew Circle".

Not sure why so many remain today, whether it is a legal reason, with so many questions yet to be asked in a court of law or any other reason.

These folks at the Palace surprise me time after time. But you're right Cere, for the sake of DeKalb's students the time has come for a huge change at DCSS.

Anonymous said...

I think Maureen has finally let that "Race Card" cloud her mind. Why does she always go back and drag up untruths she wrote months ago. If I remember right, the election was in Nov. 2010. Hello, it is now 2011. We want news not history.

Anonymous said...

Please read the Q&A about the decision to place DCSS in Accreditation on Advisement status. This is posted (along with the full report) on the DCSS webpage.

To me it says that SACS thinks DCSS is making progress but they also want to have a hammer to hold over them to make sure the administration and BOE complete the process. So we are still under review and kind of on probation. For example, there are some new policies but SACS wants to see DCSS enforce them.

Kim Gokce said...

" ... reestablishing the School System’s strategic planning ..."

The single most important item in my opinion. From the first day I popped my naive, big nose into public education in DeKalb, this has been a glaring, fatal gap in governance. I'm so glad to see this on the list of items being watched.

Anonymous said...

Ya'll so hopeful. Tyson won't do it. She got her raise, now she waits for retirement. She'll push papers and bide time. She's made NO hard decisions to date, no reason to think she'll start now.

The posted memo gives herself credit for moving us up and out....no reason to do any hard work ...just cross ts and dot i's.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you this...SACS never interviewed the whistleblower in the Lewis/Pope scandal and never interviewed other KEY employees who have strong records of speaking out against the ongoing fraud and manipulation at DCSS. Who did SACS interview? This is crazy!! How do you not talk to the whistleblower on the Pope/Lewis scandal (who is a lawyer)??? Unbelievable. No credibility with this review at all! Shame on you SACS--don't let APS give you an excuse to overlook DCSS. You can handle both at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Elgart and SACS have a website. Anyone wants to forward information on the 8 prongs up for review in October -- go for it.

No Duh said...

SACS said, “It is through the leadership and integrity of Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson that hope and trust [in the School System] is beginning to be restored in the DeKalb Community,” the AdvancED report said."

Say "hello" to the new DCSS Superintendent.

And I, too, want to know exactly who SACS interviewed (from the community, as well). Haven't had time to look through the report. Is there a list of exactly who they interviewed in the report?

Anonymous said...

Tyson, integrity? Cutting teachers, keeping central office staff, and runnin' home to put a million bucks in the bank? restoring confidence? So, the comments about SACS being too closely tied to DCSS is clearly right on.

Sinking ship....

Anonymous said...

"DeKalb has been ordered to make eight improvements: redistrict and close schools based on data"

But then Gene Walker can't promise Fernbank they won't be re-districted. But then Paul Womack and Don McChesney won't be able to give Lakeside and Sagamore their every desire.

Anonymous said...

I know some of the folks they interviewed and they are folks who would have "told it like it is" -- not people just telling them that things are great. They are invovled people who know what's going on and who know the truth about what's going on. What was done was done very deliberately. I read it like a "noose" -- it will draw tighter if the act isn't cleaned up a lot more. DCSS is in better shape than APS and Clayton only because the BOE puts on a good show for the public -- what goes on behind the scenes isn't any better. Ms. Tyson absolutely must clean house and clear the slate for the new superintendant, who must be brought in from the outside to face a different scenario than Dr. Brown faced so it's not deja vu. She knows this and if she wants do what is best for the kids, including her kids' friends, she will do the right thing. She will not be around for very long after the new super takes over and I do not believe she is remotely interested in keeping this long term -- she is the mother of some pretty young children and she impresses me as one who actually understands what life's most precious gifts are (hence why I also think she may do the right thing). I don't think she can be mom and superintendant and what she's gotten these past 12 months isn't what she bargained for (and lots of money doesn't fix everything). So she can do the right thing and find something else that will allow her to balance her life better. One of the things each and every one of you can do to help things along is to contact legislators and get the law passed to shrink the school board down to 5 (or 7 if you feel that is better) but get it shrunk......

Anonymous said...

Sorry anon. You will never convince me that Tyson has a pure heart and is in it for all of the children. Kids who could have used 5-6 paras in the classroom are going without because she sought (as I understand it) and was given a raise. This doesn't even touch how many more will go without once her retirement benefits kick in. She now can afford private school for her kids and get them out of the system that so many others are simply stuck with. From everything I've seen, she cares about her salary, her benefits, buildings and computers. She's had ample opportunity to make cuts to the central office that would be truly meaningful, and has anyone seen that happen?

Sheila said...

Congratulations! It was my favorite bike at the show.

Anonymous said...

How has everyone forgotten that Ramona was hand picked by Clew as his "interim" replacement? In my mind...that alone is reason enough to not trust her at the end of the day.

Cerebration said...

ok, so judging from this latest addition to the information in the post, SACS really is only concerned about the public behavior of the board, not the consistent education of all DeKalb students and the even distribution of student FTE funding.

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the temporary hijack of this thread off-topic...

DeKalb County is looking for "community hero" nominations. While I don't know Kim Goecke (sp?), Deirdre Pierce (sp?), or Cere well enough to properly nominate them, their reputation as community volunteers stands out. If anyone knows them well enough to nominate, they'd probably be good candidates. I'd love to see one (all) of these advocates get some public recognition they deserve.

Follow this link:
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-seeks-award-nominations-859540.html

Anonymous said...

I ask the questions...

-Who is behind SACS?
-Why is SACS relevant?
-Who made SACS relevant?
-Why isn't SACS interested in educating students, since they accredit the very schools they learn?
-What political roll does SACS play?
-With every interaction with DCSS, SACS continues to head down the path of irrelevancy.
Hey SACS open your doors and let us look inside and see who the real puppet master is. Your comments about Ramona expose that you really did not talk to all the players in the DCSS story.
Why not mention the fact that DCSS has not aided by the freedom of information act and release all documents that relate to. as well as the original E&Y 2004 audit document, which has been requested numerous times by numerous different groups? Doesn't seem transparent to me.

What about Tyson's salary increase and vote during the midst of the holidays, then having to hold a public hearing about the salary package, AFTER THE FACT(Vote)! Those pesky open government laws do get in the way sometimes.

Hey DCSS, you folks work for me and the taxpayers of DeKalb! Be good stewards with OUR money, be open and transparent and I'll support you anyway possible. but as long it's business as usual and CLew's circle remains intact I can't trust our current interim leader to do the work that is needed before the new super arrives.

Anonymous said...

I think SACS is like the Health Department -- they inspect school systems to see if the rules are followed much like a heath inspector checks restaurants for cleanliness, proper signage and equipment. A restaurant can offer poor quality food and have bad service but still make an A on a health inspection. A school system can graduate students who are not literate and still pass all SACS requirements.

Anonymous said...

hey Sam Moss Center Director Steve Donanue (a former principal with no maintenance & operations experience): Thanks for stinking at your job!


http://www.championnewspaper.com/news/articles/850water-leaks-cause-health-hazard-at-middle-school850.html

Jacqueline Riley, secretary for the Miller Grove Middle School PTA, said she sent a letter to the school system on Sept. 30 detailing some of the problems caused by faulty plumbing and leaks in the roof. Riley said a group came and toured the school Nov. 9 of last year but that nothing has been done.

“Don’t assume that we parents don’t care,” Riley said. “We do care about what’s going on in the schools and the education of our children. There’s been a high level of tolerance in the south DeKalb area and [the school system] has gotten in the habit of dumping on us. We’re not going to tolerate it when our children are at risk".

Vickie Elisa, communications director for the DeKalb County Board of Health, said her agency was notified of problems at the school on Feb. 2 and environmental inspectors went to the school the next day.

The health department does not have the proper equipment to identify different types of mold, Elisa said.

“Ceiling tiles were damaged and there appeared to be some type of leakage,” Elisa said, summarizing a report made by the agency’s environmental inspectors. “Water feeds mold. There seemed to be an excess of water and it was recommended to seal off any access to water to prevent further intrusion of water.”

It also was recommended that the water damaged areas be cleaned up, Elisa said.

Elisa said someone from the middle school called the health department on Feb. 10 and said, “that the school was looking into getting repairs done and putting together an action plan for repairs.”

For Riley, however, the school system’s actions come too late. She also is concerned about the heating and air conditioning system at the school as well as the plumbing. She said her son told her last year that his class had to be moved because of the strong odor coming from the bathroom.

“Repairs need to go beyond the roof,” Riley said. “The HVAC system needs to be replaced because the air is thick and ventilation is poor. They have severe plumbing issues—the bathrooms flood and most of the water fountains don’t even work. I know they’ve closed off the bathrooms before.”

Anonymous said...

"the school was looking into getting repairs done and putting together an action plan for repairs.”

And how many administrators and support personnel does it take to put together "an action plan" or repairs?

Anonymous said...

It might be because there is no moon tonight that I really don't understand SACS' praising on one hand and condemning on the other our Dekalb County.

If SACS praises R. Tyson for restoring Dekalb to its former glory, why does it ask for a permanent superintendent?

It is as if Dekalb County's ills started last February.

What of these highly paid yet untested principals and assistant principals who cannot find their bottoms with a flashlight? You know, the ones that make one poor decision after another while virtuously following the dogma of the County fearing for good reasons they could never rise to assistantships at other counties!

SACS, come back and ask about the hiring practices....

Anonymous said...

Still moonless in Dekalb!!
Repairs not done? Bad hiring practices!

HVAC that make too much noise in the classrooms that teachers and kids cannot hear? Bad hiring practices.

Computer systems and programs that benefit no one but the vendors? Bad hiring practices!

Cheating principals on CRCT? Bad hiring practices!

America's Choice replacing

Superintendents gone unchecked in the Bahamas or at the the gas pumps? Bad hiring practice!

Had any of the good people, including our interim, not being beholden to CLEW, they would have spoken up and kept him in line!

We need Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration enumerating our griefs against our school system....our modern day, King George.

Anonymous said...

What has Tyson done wrong as super? Nothing!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that I can spend one hour perusing AJC articles about Dekalb-school district with highest paid administrative staff; largest number of out of school personnel; CRCT cheating; belligerent and inept board members; shoddy and late paperwork leading to lost funds; $2000 chairs at headquarters-and find numerous concerns but it has taken SACS months to "advise" Dekalb?

Is anyone else feeling as if SACS is too connected to Dekalb? How many people working for SACS once worked in Dekalb County?

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you something Tyson did wrong.... she is hiding the 2004 audit. Numerous groups have filed FOIA requests of all documents and we're still waiting.

She promised transparency.... same Clew Circle still employed.... we're waiting!!!

She has done a lot, but it's hard to trust a person that the former, indicted DCSS Super chose for the job. I'm just saying.....

Tyson show us the light! Open the castle gates and let the taxpayers in on the fun! The truth shall set us free!

Anonymous said...

SACS seems to be ambivalent. Tom Bowen used SACS' phrasing to praise the interim..

Anonymous said...

8:08pm-What has she done right?

She touts a $12 million-savings in closing schools when we can save that same amount in eliminating just 100 of the grossly overpaid and unnecessary sub-superintendents, directors of ______, or instructional supervisors or coordinators.

She allows certified "educators' to remain outside the school building and hires, or at least advertised the positions, two new members of the PR staff while increasing class sizes. The best PR is students' success-not spin.

She sanctions ineffective teaching strategies (like multiple intelligences and word walls) and countenances a ruse of a discipline system.

Equally concerning is her apparent lack of knowledge or expertise in this field. What (other than having worked up the ladder under CLEW), specifically,even made her qualified to lead one of the largest school districts in Georgia?

Anonymous said...

@8:16

That is unfair! She has run a flawless technology department. I mean because of her short stint at IBM, Microsoft is a leader today!

She gave Dekalb the holy tablets and the arch of the new covenant.

Are better off today under Tyson than under Lewis? Yes, we are!

Again too many bad hiring practices!

Anonymous said...

I understand that Tyson was a wonderful principal at Druids' Hill for many years.

She understand teachers and students. She ran a good ship there.

Anonymous said...

Of the 100's of retired superintendents capable of being interim, why do you think CLEW and the Board selected an insider with little experience?

It's a little like the CIA installing a banana president so...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Donahue is an excellent administrator. Since he was assigned there, the service center is running more effectively. He has made major changes to resolve issues with buildings/grounds and employees. Get your facts straight before you start making false statements.

Anonymous said...

At 8:41

He learned how to manage property where?

The issue is this:

DCSS is the moral equivalent of 12 blind painters assigned to paint the Sistine Chapel. Things are not going so well.

We then send in a 1 good-eye manager and things begin to improve. We all leap and call it a success! That is where we are with Tyson and Donahue.

Just raising the competence is not enough. We got to get the job done before we can go for walks under the silvery moon.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 8:27 =

What? Tyson at Druid Hills?

Anonymous said...

The only school mentioned in Tyson's DCSS biography is Lakeside where she started in 1987 after graduating from UGA. It doesn't say where else she served.

Anonymous said...

"I understand that Tyson was a wonderful principal at Druids' Hill for many years. "

She was neve a principal.

Ms. Tyson was a business teacher at Lakeside for 2 years in the late 80s, she went to IBM as an Educational Consultant on a DeKalb Schools program, she came back to DCSS and was placed in MIS, she worked in MIS until 2008, in 2008 she became DCSS Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations reporting to Crawford Lewis.

Anonymous said...

Flawless technology department! Tyson was the one to give a former BOE chairperson's son a job and a $15K raise. The son didn't show up to his new job for 6 months, until parents exposed his little fraud. When a former Asst. Super called her on a speaker phone, with parents in the room, Tyson was stunned and had no idea the person she gave a huge raise and new position had not shown up for his new job. 6 months! The kicker. That person is still on staff today. So don't say flawless MIS. There are many other things about MIS, I hope some MIS folks come on here and discuss some other flaws.

Tyson is one of the original Clew Circle leaders. SACS report was weak and it was sad that there was no discussion about the education of students in their report. SACS parent company is called AdvancedED, nothing advanced about DCSS currently.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous 8:41

"Mr. Donahue is an excellent administrator. Since he was assigned there, the service center is running more effectively.'

LOL I guess that's why the HVAC systems in classrooms in the middle of winter run 85 degrees and teachers have to open their windows.

DCSS Teacher said...

How does one contact Mark Elgart? I know it's on this blog but can't find it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Funny that mention's made about leaky roofs. I drove past the Brad Bryant center today. There's all kinds of activity going on with new roofing, and, apparently HVAC systems.
Good to know that a building that doesn't house any students gets bumped to the head of the list when repairs are due.

Anonymous said...

So things are better at the sam moss center, give me a break. If things are so much better then why is maria a. washington back out there working when she was one of pat's very close friends? And why did she get that positions over the other ladies out there? That whole thing was wrong and we still have other people who were in the lay-offs with a lot more time than her.I knew something was up when she was out there having lunch with mike. She knew what pat was doing, that is why pat got rid of her entire dept. Maria must have said something she didn't like in the first search, they all had to go to the county office. Again who you know not what you know. None of the friends and family lost there jobs. Nothing is going to change as long as they keep the same staff of the friends and family.

Anonymous said...

Having followed SACs' actions with great interest since the Clayton issues started several years ago, the thing that separates DCSS from Clayton, Walker, Wake (NC), Atlanta, etc is the fact that the board seemingly cooperates.

In addition, we lack true whistleblowers when it comes to what SACS is overseeing.

The other systems have board members reporting other board members' bad behavior. Sometimes even the superintendent does it. Johnny Brown filed a complaint with SACS when he was here.

This needs to change. While accredidation is important, getting DeKalb back to being a highly functioning school system is critical. This can't happen with this current board, I am afraid.

Our delegation needs to step in and they seemed to have really dropped the ball.

What a shame.

Sagamore 7 said...

Mark Elgart
Southern Accredidation of Colleges and Schools

melgart@advanc-ed.org

888-413-3669

Keep everyone updated, please.

Anonymous said...

Action Plans for Repairs??!!
Schools should be able to just do a work request for repairs and the work gets done. Mold is mold. I thought the service center had 30 days to complete a job anyway. If a entire HVAC system is needed, then Donohue's office needs to make sure it is done. Sounds like too many hoops to have a building in good shape for kids, staff, etc.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:28
Dr. Mark Elgart
President/CEO
AdvancED (SACS/Casi)
9115 Westside Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Or Call -
888.41ED NOW (888.413.3669)

Anonymous said...

As long as the old regime is in place, there will never be an atmosphere for true whistleblowing.

The Area Superintendents need to go too. Exceptions are Segovis and Pringle. Pringle hasn't been around enough to judge her. If you work for Segovis-then he looks out for his schools and tries to help them deal with their issues. The others, especially Dunson, need to go. Mr. Dunson doesn't even want you to call his office. I was told he wants schools to solve their own problems. why do we need him? God bless his secretary and coordinator, they should get his pay. I asked too many questions once and was called into a meeting and my ability to lead was questioned. Believe me, I am going to stay low key and call other principals when I need help and retire quietly. Area supts also need accountability. If their schools aren't performing, they need to go too. Start with Dunson. They picketed MLK when he was principal and he got promoted.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. I saw some articles that said Eddie Long spoke to students at some DCSS schools. One was SWDHS?
Was he ever paid fees by these schools? If so how much?
Was he ever paid consultant fees with Title 1 funds? He only has to mention a few lines about student achievement in his speech and Dr. Berry will approve it.

Can we get a list of all consultants and their bios for last 5 years and what they were paid and by which schools if the had contact with students and staff?
This information is there because principals have to submit bio, W9, contract agreement before it is approved.
Come on Dr. Berry-be transparent!

Anonymous said...

Eddie long should not speak to anyones child at this point. The problems with his life needs to be cleaned up before he speaks to our children in dekalb. When was it that he was at swd? Are was this before the suit?

Cerebration said...

There's a picture of Long speaking to an audience with a microphone in this article,

Bishop Eddie Long Lawsuits accuse leader of sexual coercion; Long adamantly denies

The caption under the picture reads,

Bishop Eddie Long addresses students of Southwest Dekalb High School in 1997.

Cerebration said...

There's another article about Eddie Long using DCSS buses to haul students to a camp at New Birth

Bishop Eddie Long: DeKalb schools profit from Bishop Long

Bishop Eddie Long has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to DeKalb County schools, but that doesn’t mean he has influence over the district, school officials said Thursday.

Schools officials said they have no plans to sever ties with Long, but the system began distancing itself from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church months before the lawsuits filed this week.

Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said she is not a member of New Birth and has had no contact with Long since she took over the district in February. That includes not supplying school buses for a New Birth camp, like in previous years.

Cerebration said...

Our primary connections with the church are the use of the church as one of the district’s graduation venues and the charter school located at the church. To the extent that the allegations are determined to impact either of these, the district would assess the facts and take the appropriate action,” Bowen said. “Prior support from the church to the District would not impact our fiduciary duty to well being of the district’s children in any way.”

Cerebration said...

Alas, I've saved the most interesting for last. This is from Talk to Action

Bishop Eddie Long - Dominion Theology and Disdain for Separation of Church and State


In Taking Authority Long describes being invited to lead a religious rally in a local Dekalb public high school after one of the school's students was stabbed. He describes the Dekalb County Public Safety Commissioner as telling the students,

"Here we are in defiance of the Supreme Court, calling on the name of Jesus Christ."
Long continues,

I preached for twenty-five minutes. I began by telling the students, "God told me to come here because He has chosen Southwest DeKalb [High School] to be His kingdom of high schools." I told them that God had ordained them to be a special group of students and that we had gathered together to sanctify that ordination.

At the end of that seventy-five minute "motivational assembly," students came forward by the hundreds to confess their faith in Jesus and to receive prayer. As you can imagine, the legal director for the Georgia office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was not pleased...

Dekalbparent said...

Cere - I noticed the article was from August 2010. Do you know if anything ever came of any ACLU action? I sure looked like a violation of separation of church and state to me.

Cerebration said...

Sure don't. I do know that Senator Grassley of Iowa has closed up his investigation in these mega-churches (New Birth being one he was investigating).

Anonymous said...

NO New Birth influence at DCSS? It is highly unlikely given the amount they have donated. They only donate when it's beneficial to the church. In 2008, I personally saw that the Miller Grove High School Boy's Basketball team had white warm-up jackets that featured the New Birth shield logo on the center, upper back of the jacket (imagine that...a public school sports team wearing a uniform with a church logo). Tucker High School's 2008 state football championship rings were purchased with a generous donation from New Birth. Have they ever supported less successful or lower profile programs? Where is New Birth's enthusiasm and generous support for Literacy and Math enrichment programs at any DCSS school? My guess is that they get more 'bang for the buck' in the programs they have chosen to favor. An audit should be done of any 'gifts' from NBMB Church to any DCSS pgrogram.

Cerebration said...

New Birth once collected $100,000 in one offering from the Men's Mission for Destiny Academy charter school students to take a trip to South Africa. (Destiny Academy is housed in a former DCSS school, now owned by New Birth, which it leases to DCSS...I kid you not.)

Destiny’s trip to South Africa in peril

Anonymous said...

Controversy surrounding 'Bishop' Long' did not begin with his involvement with DCSS. He and his 'theology' have long been embroiled in controversy, and Dekalb Schools should have never been involved with him to begin with.

http://itcsenior06.blogspot.com/2006/05/not-all-at-seminary-welcome-bishop.html

Cerebration said...

It was Ron Ramsey, DCSS head of Internal Affairs, who originally recommended Eddie Long for the job at New Birth.

(The following text is from a file that has been removed from the internet - it was in our archives.)

Ron Ramsey (with updates)

The word was out in the community that the pulpit at New Birth was vacant. A pastor search committee was formed by 16 of the members. Through word of mouth, they received 37 applications. They prayed and extensively weeded out applications for weeks, conducting interviews and listening to taped sermons of pastors. Selected applicants were invited to conduct a sermon at the Sunday services. New Birth was nearing a decision when church member Ronald Ramsey highly recommended a minister named Rev. Eddie Long who had just performed Ramsey’s wedding ceremony.


Interesting from January 2000, read the last sentance!!:

http://161.58.19.96/jan00/index.htm

Caption to a missing photo:

Bishop Eddie Long embraces a young parishioner during festivities celebrating the opening of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church's new Family Life Center in Lithonia, the first phase of its $50 million project off Evans Mill Road.

Long also announced an era of renewed activism for New Birth, including areas of economic independence and traffic. He also put the school system on notice -- the status quo will no longer be acceptable.

Lisa Lee said...

"The United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." John Adams, founding father of my country

Anonymous said...

Mr Jackson, principal at Tucker is part of the good ole boy system too. That is why Ralph Simpson, demoted area supt ended up at Tucker High with him. Of course, he is buddies w Eddie Long and got him to buy the rings.

We have to ask ourselves, is the money spent on these gifts really just the money DCSS gave him in the first place?

Anonymous said...

"ATLANTA-Bishop Eddie Long told graduating students at the Interdenominational Theological Center that he thrives in controversy." Highbeam.com
Eddie Long should be pleased with himself.

Anonymous said...

Hey, everybody, it all good over at Columbia High School. Principal Uras Agee III be doing it right by the kids and staff there. Why today to show that he on top of his game with the student athletes he let the students have them a paper ball fight for five minutes in first hall at the beginning of fourth block! Why it was like it was snowing at Columbia High School ya'll. Teachers be ducking in their classrooms, and no administrator in sight! Them kids just throwing an throwing paper balls at one nother. No wonder Columbia High School be having those good basketball teams what with all this practice Principal Uras Agee III be giving the students during school time.

Oh, yea, Principal Uras Agee III sure do know how to run a school, and while you at it, use one of them master keys you got at that locksmith on Glenwood and Columbia next to the chicken wing place to go down to the flea market down there at the corner of 285 and Columbia an show that cell phone vendor in the flea market for 25% off I-phone covers. Principal Uras Agee III be recommending you be using one of them covers for yo I-phone sos you don't scratch it with that master key for Columbia High School that you got there at the locksmith on Glenwood and Columbia. Yea, tell em Jonathan Woods sent you and you can get you a buy-one-get-one-free DaVido meal deal at one of his daddy's I-talian resturants.

WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.

Anonymous said...

Are we the only ones who have noticed that following C. Lewis' fall from grace, Bishop Eddie Long was soon falling as well.

Is there a power struggle within the "community"??

Are these carefully orchestrated political/personal attacks??

Who are the ones behind the curtain?



Ben Dover Jim Bohica

Anonymous said...

Is it an ethical lapse or a legal issue for a married principal to hire his pregnant girlfriend to work under him at a DeKalb County High School?

Anonymous said...

do you mean that literally?

Anonymous said...

um, yes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:02

not funny at all

Anonymous said...

To: All Campus-Based Employees
From: Dr. Morcease Beasley, Interim Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Paula Swartzberg, Director of Research and Evaluation
Subject: Feedback Requested on Seven AdvancED/SACS Standards
Date: 10 March 2011


The AdvancEd/SACS District Reaccreditation Committee is seeking input from you, school staff, in order to align your perceptions of the district's implementation of the seven AdvancEd standards with the perceptions of district staff. Please respond to the 65 item survey by midnight on Sunday, April 3. We value your input as we engage in the continuous improvement process and as we move towards excellence in teaching and learning.

Anonymous said...

From Anon 7:33 (Commentary)

WTH does this mean? How can the district align its perception of this with the perception of the teachers? What if the teacher's perception is not correctly aligned? Will everyone be beaten over the head with an internal and external PR assault so that the teacher's perception will be correctly aligned (dismissed? distorted? propagandized?) And of course DCSS is still achieving "excellence in teaching and learning." What a load!

Anonymous said...

"in order to align your perceptions of the district's implementation of the seven AdvancEd standards with the perceptions of district staff."

This is a euphemistic way of saying you need to understand what we administrators have told SACS and agree with it. We want you to tell SACS you agree with it so we can show that input from teachers show you agree with us.

Anonymous said...

anyone having any problems with how it's being handled, could directly contact SACS and Dr. Elgart.... the e-mail has been posted here... Maybe Dr. Beasley and DCSS is actually looking to really improve things? If not, maybe you should report the way you are being brow-beaten.

Anonymous said...

for what it's worth, I think Dr. Beasley realizes he's in over his head and has been looking for help from "other places" so it's possible this is one of those "looks".

Anonymous said...

"I think Dr. Beasley realizes he's in over his head and has been looking for help from "other places""

If you're in charge of instruction for 96,000+ students and are over your head, you need to move over and let someone else who can do the job take over.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he look at school districts the same size as ours in other states who are succeeding?

He will see that the math program in elementary school doesn't change from year to year. That all schools follow RTI and that students get help from Title One teachers, and that any coaching that takes place is to help improve instruction and not as an administrative role. He will also see that students do not get multiple chances to get work turned in or regraded and that teachers are able to give the grade to the child that he/she earned. He will also see that discipline and proper student/teacher/employee behavior is expected or handled swiftly and sternly. He will also see that these school districts spend far fewer dollars on law suits, so that smaller class sizes can be had. He will also see that administrators run the show and not parents-although the administrators have significant amounts of teaching time, quality degrees and understand what it takes to be an effective classroom teacher.

If Beasley realizes that he is over his head, he needs to drop down from his position and get the hell out, so that DCSS can get someone who can do the job effectively and without care to anything about the children and the education that they receive.

Anonymous said...

I'm brave -- if others want to post very concrete, very implementable suggestions that could be sent to Dr. Beasley, I will find a way to send them to him directly. So post away but be respectful and treat him as you would someone who actually wants to learn.... (I'm a parent who's been around the block a time or two).