Sunday, July 24, 2011

DCSS Title 1 Schools and AYP: "The Shell Game"


To see how disappointing for Title 1 students DCSS 2011 AYP results are, compare DCSS with other metro systems that are demographically similar:

73% of Marietta City Schools Made AYP in 2011. Marietta City Schools has almost EXACTLY the same demographics as DCSS.

55% of Clayton County Schools Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2011. Clayton County has similar demographics to DCSS.

20% of DeKalb Schools Title 1 schools Made AYP in 2011.




Of interest: 59% of all Title 1 schools in Georgia Made AYP in 2011.

As quoted in the AJC, "Trent Arnold, DeKalb's executive director of assessment and accountability...said lower-level schools in the district "struggled" and fell short of goals. Arnold attributes the growing failure to increasingly tough standards..."

Since the performance standards are EXACTLY the same for ALL school systems including those that are demographically similar to DCSS, is Mr. Arnold's statement a valid excuse?

Does anyone think our teachers don't work as hard as Clayton County and Marietta City teachers?

Are our parents less involved than Clayton County parents or Marietta City parents?

Are DCSS students less intellectually capable than Clayton County or Marietta City students?


If you answered NO to the questions above, the DCSS administration must assume responsibility for these catastrophic results. Consider that the DCSS administration and the BOE decreased 600+ teaching positions in the last two years, increased class sizes to levels not seen in 30 years, and overburdened teachers with meaningless classroom tasks, overbearing oversight, excessive meetings, and training that is disconnected from the learning process.

20% of DCSS Title 1 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress in 2011 – down from 74% of DCSS Title 1 schools making Adequate Yearly Progress in 2009. What happened to our Title 1 schools in two years time? Are the BOE members who represent these Title 1 schools asking Ms. Tyson, Dr. Beasley and Dr. Berry this question? Are the parents in all DeKalb County schools asking Ms. Tyson, Dr. Beasley and Dr. Berry this question?



Student progress in DCSS Title 1 schools has DECLINED at an unprecedented rate. The DCSS administration knows how bad this is for students. Just watch the video of the called Board of Education meeting last week to see how the DCSS administration and the BOE "sweat" the release of the AYP data. They were scrambling to come up with a plan to deflect responsibility for yet another year. They are counting on taxpayers being complacent players on the other side of the table in this shell game.

Source: http://www.gadoe.org/ayp2011.aspx

87 comments:

DaQuan Raheem Smiff said...

What can we do? Serious question here. As parents, what can we do? Board members will continue to be elected, turf protectors will continue to do so, superintendent shenanigans will continue, what can we do? Is it me or do the palace employees adjust their response to you based on your race? Sure seems that way.

Cerebration said...

I have had that same suspicion, DaQuan. I have wondered if "different" people are told "different" stories -- basically told what they are perceived as wanting to hear.

It is possible to raise student achievement for Title 1 students. Sagamore ES did it. They have many students who qualify for Free & Reduced lunch, and who do not speak English as their first language. However, the school does not receive any Title 1 funds, due to the fact that these students do not make up enough of a percentage of the total school.

So parents took the bull by the horns and spent their time, during school, after school and on the weekends, individually working with struggling students - those students who had not passed the CRCT. Below is a report on the results -

Here are the numbers from the CRCT's in math. (Which is the subgroup of our school that did NOT make AYP last year)

2010 4th grade math
Level 1 / Did not meet expectations / 38 kids

2011 5th grade math / Same kids
Level 1 / 14 kids

That is a 68% reduction in failing kids in just 1 year!!!!!

2010 4th grade math
Level 2 / Meets Expectations / 41

2011 5th grade math
Level 2 / 55

A 34% increase.

2010 4th grade math
Level 3 / Exceeds Expectations / 21

2011 5th Grade Math / 32

A 52% increase.

Overall the 2010 class had 100 students in which 38 kids did NOT meet expectations.62% passing.

2011, we had 101 kids and 14 did not meet expectations. 86% passing.

That is a 39% improvement in one year of active parent participation with these kids.


So in response, ask the school system for one on one attention for struggling students instead of sending in people who simply hover over the already over-burdened classroom teacher. Title 1 teachers can work individually with students in pullout sessions focused on reading and/or math. This is the kind of intense, true intervention it will take to bring students who fell behind back into the fold and prepared for a solid future.

Cerebration said...

One more suggestion: track student progress individually over the course of their entire education. We should always know whether an individual student is on track for reading, math, etc and whether that student made gains over the last semester. Teachers need real-time access to this information so that learning techniques and support can be put in place for individuals as the need is shown.

Currently, student data is too old to be useful, or too cumbersome to input (we still use scantrons - unnecessary if students could test on computers and those computers could immediately evaluate and store data as well as immediately show progress or regression). Teachers should be evaluated on whether or not each student is progressing - regardless of the rate - or grade level of that progress.

Technology in the hands of students is key.

Cerebration said...

(BTW, these suggestions are not things I dreamt up - these have come to the blog over the last year or two from teachers.)

Cerebration said...

And lastly - INSIST that the board get off their duffs and hire a superintendent. They have already rejected several highly qualified candidates - I'm not sure who exactly they are looking for - Yoda? Brad Bryant even tossed his hat in the ring and still - we hear nothing but crickets from our board. They are absolutely deadlocked and unable to take any action.

Dekalbparent said...

"Arnold attributes the growing failure to increasingly tough standards..."

I haven't the time to do this research right now, but it would be pretty simple to check whether the demographically similar systems (Clayton, Marietta) also had an increased percentage that did not make AYP, even though their overall numbers are better than DCSS. If the tougher standards are a cause, then it should have also affected them.

atl said...

@ Dekalbparent

" If the tougher standards are a cause, then it should have also affected them (Marietta City and Clayton).."

Excellent question.

The tougher standards affected both Clayton County and Marietta City, but they affected DCSS much more.

See below for the percent of Title 1 schools in Marietta City, Clayton County and DCSS that Made AYP in 2009, 2010 and 2010

2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring):
Marietta City - 100%
Clayton - 82%
DCSS - 74%

2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring):
Marietta City - 100%
Clayton - 82%
DCSS - 52%

2011 (Stricter standards)
Marietta City - 73%
Clayton - 55%
DCSS - 20%

Here are the links to this data to make it easy for you to verify:

Marietta:
2009:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=781&T=1&FY=2009

2010:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=781&T=1&FY=2010

Clayton:

2009:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=631&T=1&FY=2009

2010:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=631&T=1&FY=2010


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

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

2011 - DCSS, Clayton, and Marietta:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/_documents/ayp/ayp2011/2011-Needs_Improvement-School_Level_Report%201%2007.21.11%20125pm.xls

atl said...

Rockdale County Schools has similar demographics to DCSS with the exception of their test takers were made up of around 57% low income while DCSS test takers were made up of around 73% low income (2010 data - 2011 not available yet)..

Rockdale has a greater percentage of their schools classified as Title 1. 94% of Rockdale's schools are Title 1 versus of 67% of DCSS's schools are Title 1.

While the poverty rate is higher in DCSS and that has an very real effect, Students with Disabilities (SWD) is the group that DCSS has the most difficult time with regarding AYP - even more than Economically Disadvantaged (low income). 9.3% of DCSS students are classified as SWD versus 9.4% of Rockdlae students are classified as SWD. Rockdale does very well with this group. As far as all students classified as Economically Disadvantaged, Rockdale also has done an excellent job with that group.

I don't know how Rockdale addresses those subgroups to get such great results, but the DCSS administration should be going to Rockdale to see and hear what they are doing.

Rockdale Title 1 Schools Made AYP rate:
2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring): 100%

2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring): 100%

2011 (Stricter Standards): 88%


DCSS Title 1 Schools Made AYP rate:
2009 (BEFORE strict test monitoring): 74%

2010 (AFTER strict test monitoring): 52%

2011 (Stricter Standards): 20%


sources:

2009:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=722&T=1&FY=2009

2010:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=722&T=1&FY=2010

2011:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/_documents/ayp/ayp2011/2011-Needs_Improvement-School_Level_Report%201%2007.21.11%20125pm.xls

Dekalbparent said...

Math not my strong suit, but I calculate
Clayton schools suffered a 32% decline from 2010 to 2011 in the percentage of Title 1 schools making AYP,
Marietta a 27% decline,
Rockdale a 12% decline,
and DCSS a 61% decline.

Georgia Gal said...

LANCASTER SYSTEM

http://www.spinninglobe.net/lancsys.htm

An "each one teach one"

A proven idea from the 19th century.

I would be interested in trying this in one school in DeKalb County.

Georgia Gal said...

How it worked and what killed it

Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838) led a movement to establish schools that used what he called the Monitorial System, sometimes called the "Lancasterian" or "Lancastrian" System, in which more advanced students taught less advanced ones, enabling a small number of adult masters to educate large numbers of students at low cost in basic and often advanced skills. From about 1798 to 1830 it was highly influential, but was displaced by the "modern" system of grouping students into age groups taught using the lecture method, led by such educators as Horace Mann, and later inspired by the assembly-line methods of Frederick Taylor, although Lancaster's methods continue to be used and rediscovered today. Problems with the "modern" methods and the effects of the use of them are encouraging concerned persons to re-examine such earlier methods as those of Lancaster and adapt them to the current educational environment. Some of the documents which discuss the method and its use are now presented here.

atl said...

@ Dekalbparent

Very interesting data.

Tougher standards had an effect, but DCSS Title 1 schools dropped off the cliff from 2009 to 2011 - far greater declines than comparable school systems.

What are the factors that caused the steep decline? I didn't hear anything in the Triage meeting/plan video meeting that addressed what the factors were that would cause this? How can you address the problem is you don't know what caused it?

Has Morcease Beasley sat down with the teachers in the Title 1 schools and asked what the problems are and then made a plan to improve based on what is actually happening in the classrooms? Are class sizes too large, is the no zero policy not working, is the administration not backing the classroom teacher up when there are discipline problems, is there too much paperwork, is the current parental involvement model not working as well as it should? What do the teachers say is wrong? That's where you start. Then you work to make it better.

Until DCSS engages the teachers in the classroom in this discussion, determines the roadblocks to student success, and make plans that incorporate what the "line position" aka "teachers"say, this problem will not be solved.

The entire Triage plan is disconnected from teacher input and teacher buy-in. You cannot separate the teacher from his students - they are the members of the classroom. The teacher's environment is the students' environment.

DCSS teachers in Title 1 schools are dedicated and hardworking. They must be a part of any solution or there will not be a solution at all.

dundevil said...

Change is needed but it will not come from within the DCSS. Even if/when a new superintendent is appointed there will be those on the BOE and in the administration who will sabotage any meaningful reform effort that might cost them jobs. Look what they did to Dr Brown and that was before the CLew group was entrenched like they are now.

Somehow or other SACS has to act to put DCSS on probation so that the State can step in and clean up the place.

RUKiddingme said...

Again I say, DCSS needs to hire a Chef Gordon Ramsey style instructional Superintendent with a team that operates just as "straight" as he does regarding instruction and results!!! No excuses!!!
Until that happens,the children will continue to suffer and that's the sad part of all of this egotistical grandstanding!

teacher said...

@ RUKiddingMe

You hit it on the head. Until that happens, DCSS will never change. Never!

Dekalbparent said...

Seems to me that DCSS persists in attacking the problem "top-down" - as in the top decides what to do (and heaven knows they may well be making their best recommendation) and the top sets up to do it.

While this approach may well be OK in some circumstances (say, in a factory when the supervisors can see what the workers may be doing poorly and institute new procedures that accomplish the tasks better), it is not the approach to use in this situation.

The ONLY way to attack the problem is to ask the teachers what is happening - there are too many potential causes. If the principal and APs are on the ball, they my also have good insights, but the questions need to be asked at the schoolhouse level, and the changes have to begin there - each schoolhouse needs an individual approach.

Until DCSS can change the approach to the problem, nothing's going to work very well.

Fred said...

Looking at the number of Title 1 schools in a district is a high level view. Go deeper and look at the depth of the poverty along with the raw scores. Case in point, Rockdale County has 11 elementary schools, 10 which are Title 1. Hicks Elementary has the higher percentage of economically disadvantaged students that took the test with 82%. Most of Rockdale’s elementary schools were racially diverse. They did a good job with their economically disadvantaged students and should be commended. House was one school that also used the ELL category. None had enough students in the SWD category for it to be counted.

Look at the schools in the McNair cluster, Clifton, Flat Shoals, Gresham, Meadowview, McNair Academy, and Sky Haven. Two made AYP (Clifton and Meadowview) though had to use the Absolute Bar. Each school had over 90% Title 1 test takers, several missed 100% by 1-8 students. Also look at Knollwood (Columbia high school) that had 100% of its test takes as Title 1 students (113). It should be noted these are all predominately African American schools. None of these schools had enough test takers in the SWD and ELL categories.

When you have an entire community that has been mired in poverty for many years, can you make changes to the schools independent of changing the community? If a child only sees other children like themselves, how do they know when they are doing as well as their peers at a school like Vanderlyn? If you took one of these children and placed them at Vanderlyn, would that change their life outcome? Take a look at the raw scores and percentages I cited above. You will see interesting patterns.

Cerebration said...

One of my friends lives in rural southern Ohio - - basically Appalachia. Their schools are all Title 1 and she raves all the time about the fantastic Title 1 teachers and the extras their children get from Title 1. (This is a highly educated parent who has chosen to live in the country and 'make her own butter' even though she was raised in a regular town and has a bachelor of music.) I'll have to ask her more specifically exactly how their county spends the Title 1 money. She thinks it's a fantastic bonus!

atl said...

@ Fred

I'm at a loss to respond to your comment.

What exactly is the main idea of your comment? I'm sure you have something in mind, but I couldn't discern it.

Perhaps you could repost, but this time state your main idea first and then give the supporting details.

What is your conclusion and how did you arrive at your conclusion? Be concise.

When doing an opinion piece, it's most effective to begin with your main idea and then use the statistics (or supporting details) to support your main idea all the while understanding that brevity is the soul of wit. Take a while to think about your audience, and then use that to draw your reader into the piece you write. That's what I used to teach my students when they wrote opinion pieces.

Daniel said...

I've mentioned it before and I will mention it again. In 3 years, it won't matter. One student not performing up to par will result in an entire school being labeled. I'm not justifying poor results, but seriously, we need to look at the bigger picture and see what is causing a school to miss. The law is called "NO" Child Left Behind. While I continue to agree with the intent, the problem we continue to overgeneralize the problems - one subgroup struggling should receive the attention, not the entire school.

dekalbga said...

So Dr. Beasley has issued his first mandates as to how to begin improving "teaching and learning"

Documents regarding the start of the school year have already been distributed to teachers via email.

First, we are to assess each child for multiple intelligences. If you are not familiar, the theory is that we each learn differently--verbally, visually, musically, and so on. If teachers know their students' learning styles, they can be more effective.

NEWSFLASH: Good teachers create lessons that include a variety of assignments--and assessments. We don't need to take time away from INSTRUCTION to administer and score a test, discuss the results with students, and then create a spreadsheet for the data. We know that kids are different, and we know how to teach them.

Next, "All teachers should diagnose the instructional needs of students the week
of August 8-12"

No guidelines or suggested evaluation methods were provided here (a blessing, I suppose). Whatever data is generated from the two assessments then becomes the "class profile."

I may not be able to put a name with each face in my classroom for a while. But that's OK. I will have some data attached to that name, and learning will improve.

My head is spinning. And we haven't even begun.

atl said...

@ Dekalbparent

"So Dr. Beasley has issued his first mandates as to how to begin improving "teaching and learning.....First, we are to assess each child for multiple intelligences."

That's EXACTLY what Dr. Beasley did last year - BEFORE he presided over the lowest student achievement rate in the Atlanta metro area.

Dr. Beasley has 3 1/2 years of teaching math in a classroom in the 1990's. Is he even concerned that he is presiding over the lowest achievement rate in the history of DCSS? Can DCSS students take another year of his educational policy and procedure decisions?

Cerebration said...

This is interesting: I've been organizing files on my computer and came across this old report from an educational "Summit" from EduStat. This case study focused on DCSS and some key players you will all recognize. Makes you realize, we've been "down this road before" basically with the same people ... to no avail.

Case Studies

Case Study 5: DeKalb County School System, Georgia: Blue Print Model for Data Driven
Decision Making

1. Presenters: Dr. Crawford Lewis, Superintendent, DeKalb County School System; Ms. Ramona Tyson, Chief Information Officer; Dr. Wanda Gilliard, Associate Superintendent, Curriculum & Instruction; Dr. Wendolyn Bouie, Area Assistant Superintendent, Administration.

2. Topic Description: Learn how a large urban school district developed a blue print model to use the power of data to drive continuous improvement to increase student achievement.

Seven key principles provide the strategic framework for implementing a system-wide initiative that includes the selection of an instructional data management system, implementation strategy for system-wide buy-in, and best practices for leveraging a comprehensive systemic approach to extend from vision to action to rollout to readiness.

Topics covered will include:

i. Factors that led DeKalb to realize the need for an Instructional Management System

ii. Process for selecting an IMS vendor and factors that led to the decision to purchase SchoolNet

iii. Blueprint timeline

iv. Marketing/Communications strategy and roll out

3. Learning Objectives: Participants who attend this session will learn:

i. How to establish a blueprint framework that focuses on a shared vision and goals for continuous improvement

ii. How to align operations to achieve shared visions and goals

iii. How to effectively implement a public relations marketing plan for rollout of a data management system

iv. How to implement a data management system as a system-wide initiative

4. Agenda

i. Blue Print PowerPoint Presentation, 30 minutes, Dr. Crawford Lewis, presenter

ii. Strategy Map for Marketing Plan, 15 minutes, Ramona Tyson, presenter

iii. Strategy Map for System-wide Initiative, 15 minutes, Dr. Wanda Gilliard, Dr. Wendolyn Bouie, presenters

iv. Panel Discussion/Questions & Answers, 60 minutes, DeKalb School System Panel
Team

Cerebration said...

@dekalbga - what kind of testing is this? Teachers have to give the assessments? Is it not possible for some of the Instructional Coaches or parapros to take children out in small groups and have them take these assessments on laptops? Laptops that could process the results in a nanosecond? Then the teacher could print out the results and get right to work with the newfound knowledge.

Cerebration said...

I am sure something exists like this for young children, but take a look at "My Reading Lab" to see what many of our colleges are using. I would hope that our high schools could use the same program. It's really helpful to students. Instant results!

My REading Lab"

Cerebration said...

Here's an article from 2008 where Dr. Lewis promoted his enthusiastic plans for improving schools. (This was the year he moved principals around and gave some of them a $10,000 bonus for being "highly effective".)

Cerebration said...

Lewis Reveals Plans To Improve Student Achievement In DeKalb
Written by Aileen Harris
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

In his second State of the School system address, DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis highlighted several school achievements and also revealed a number of initiatives aimed at improving student performance. Among the achievements, more schools made AYP last year than the year before, the graduation rate has increase steadily since 2005 to 72.5 percent last year and DeKalb School of the Arts was the only metro Atlanta school to make the US News and World Report’s Best High Schools 2008’ list. Pictured: Dr. Lewis greets a well wisher following his State of the System speech in January.


On the other hand, Lewis deemed 13 of schools that did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as High Priority Schools.

“We are working on improving these schools,” he said. “We have assigned dynamic principals to these school with the goal of moving the schools forward.” Lewis also encouraged the entire community to get involved in improving the schools.


Cerebration said...

In 2007, 77 percent of DeKalb County schools made AYP, while five elementary, 11 middle and 11 high schools did not make the list.

“We will not be satisfied until substantial progress is made in each of these schools,” Lewis said. “At both the system and the local level, we must identify and destroy those root causes that are responsible for the lack of success in these schools. We will take the necessary steps to get these schools back on track, including tackling student attendance or negative student behavior.”

Last fall, Lewis formed a high impact committee and charged it with developing a comprehensive, system-wide plan to address “Needs Improvement and High Priority schools.

“Over the last six months, the committee has complied data, including the school’s history, its discipline record, the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, and other supporting school-based data,” Lewis said.

Lewis also plans to launch an Instructional Data Management Systems (IDMS) program, a centralized data management system that will provide status gauges for:
Curriculum and instruction
Communication and collaboration
Student data management and reporting
Benchmark assessment and administration and
Professional development.

With IDMS, parents can view comprehensive performance data on his or child, principals can view evaluate teachers class by class and review real-time performance data. District administrators will be able to review data across all schools and all regions and see trends by grade, classroom and individual levels.

“With the implementation of IDMS, we will no longer have to wait for spring test results like the CRCT or ITBS to receive important data about our students,” Lewis explained. “IDMS will allow us to take the pulse of our students’ academic standing using real time data.”

In concert with IDMS, Lewis is implementing a “Balanced Scorecard,” designed to gauge the system’s progress in the “strategic goal areas” of:
Student achievement
Risk-free learning environments
Internal processes
And effectiveness of educational programs

Lewis said the self-grading system includess conducting in-depth examinations of the human resources, transportation, school nutrition, financial operations, technology and facilities service and construction departments.

To address the system’s lack luster High School graduation rate (67.4 for title one schools and 79.0 percent for non-title 1 schools, according to the Georgia Department of Education), Lewis unveiled “Operation Graduation.”

The main goal of the program is to increase the number of 9th graders who actually graduate from high school four years later. As part of the program, a cadre of school officials, including coaches, counselors and principals, will brief freshman students and their parents on the number of available options to consider over the four years in high school, Lewis explained.


Some Parents after the meeting were encouraged by some of the initiatives but a couple with children in south DeKalb high schools said they wanted to hear more about how the system plan to address the 11 high schools that did not make AYP.

“Everyone in the south wants to send kids to the north and central DeKalb schools that make AYP but that is not a viable solution to the problem,” one parent said.

Cerebration said...

I also understand that Dr. Beasley just sent out the exact same teaching and learning charts on those 7 principles that he sent last year. That'll help!

resident2012 said...

Beasley has failed. The data shows it. Change your methods or get out of the way.

atl said...

@ Cerebration

"Lewis also plans to launch an Instructional Data Management Systems (IDMS) program, a centralized data management system that will provide status gauges for:
Curriculum and instruction
Communication and collaboration
Student data management and reporting
Benchmark assessment and administration and
Professional development."

This is the same system (SchoolNet and eSis) that taxpayers paid $11,000,000 for starting in 2007 and 4 years later it still has NOT delivered.

It is unacceptable that MIS still has not gotten this system to deliver the benefits they promised the BOE it would produce. The BOE should ask Ms. Tyson who recommended this system and MIS:

1. Why this $11,000,000 system is not delivering the data to the teachers' desktops in a timely manner?

2. Why are students still "bubbling in" the benchmark tests with paper and pencil in the 21st Century?

3. Why are DCSS teachers being asked to take valuable instructional and planning time to scan in hundreds of answer sheets?

Accountability needs to come to the DCSS administration.

Stnuocca said...

Cere,

You really don't see Dekalb County is using the low results to justify why it must field these ill-serving programs and plans to improve the IMPOSSIBLE that we have been conditioned (by politicians and talk show hosts)to think is POSSIBLE? And THAT is why this useless bloated central office

Solution? Allow teachers to teach as many students are possible and give the teachers the same privilege that private (or charter schools should) schools have to separate the students who will not learn or will not behave!

Instead, we (the public) are contributing to place these programs with no outcome on the back of teachers.

If the competent principals would only show some backbone and run their schools, they'd get much higher scores using a rational local approach.

Something as simple as following a math or a Spanish textbook from chapter 1 to 10 would be better than following whack-a-mole curriculum prevalent in Dekalb County.

Cerebration said...

Whack-a-mole - - that's funny. I think I'll have to steal that...

Actually, after listening to your perspective the last few days, I'm starting to agree Stnuocca. But then again, I think my push for smaller classes and pullout sessions for anyone who needs extra help isn't that far from what you're saying. We do need some kind of measurement tool to gauge learning. I prefer one that measures constantly - on a computer - with immediate feedback. In fact, when given prompts toward correct answers, students will learn. Many of these programs do this. High stakes testing with narrow windows for whole school approval has been a disaster.

Cerebration said...

We've been struggling with the special education group for quite some time. Here's another document I discovered in my files:

Date : 12/09/2008
FOCUSED MONITORING REPORT
Increasing the Performance of Students With Disabilities on Statewide Assessments
DeKalb County
Crawford Lewis
Superintendent of Schools
Karen Baron
Director of Special Education

The State Advisory Panel for Special Education serves as the stakeholder committee for the GaDOE and advises the state on the development
and implementation of the GCIMP, including Focused Monitoring. The stakeholders reviewed state data on the Performance Goals and Indicators
for the students with disabilities and determined that the two priority indicators for FY09 (2008-2009 school year) would be increasing the
performance of students with disabilities on statewide assessments when given appropriate accommodations and decreasing the percentage of
students with disabilities who drop out of school . For the performance indicator, the 2008 assessment data for all systems were reviewed and
compared to systems with similar size populations of students with disabilities, and ranked within the similar size groups. Those systems with
lower performance of students with disabilities in either reading or mathematics, within their respective size group, were selected for Focused
Monitoring. For the dropout indicator, the 3 most recent years’ data were averaged and those systems with a higher dropout rates were selected
for Focused Monitoring.

Focused Monitoring

DeKalb County School System was selected for Focused Monitoring in the area of mathematics achievement because the data indicated need for
improvement when compared to other systems in the size group A (3,000+). The purpose of the Focused Monitoring site visit to DeKalb County
School System was to identify reasons why the performance of students with disabilities in mathematics remains low and to begin to assist the
system in the identification of strategies that improve achievement.
.
Percent of Students with Disabilities Who Met or Exceeded Standards

Assessment data in Mathematics

3rd-8th grade CRCT
2007 - 46.10
2008 - 38.20

GHSGT
2007 - 27.60
2008 - 28.40

A review of the data shows that when DeKalb County School System is compared with the 12 other systems in the same size group, the percent
of students with disabilities meeting standards in mathematics is below State Target. A review of previous years’ data also shows that the
percentage of students with disabilities meeting standards in mathematics was below State Target. A review of the data also indicates that
DeKalb County is no longer considered to be significantly disproportionate in the identification, placement, or discipline of students with
disabilities. DeKalb County has not met the 2008 State Target of 59% for the percentage of students with disabilities in general education
classes. As part of the Focused Monitoring activities, the Local Education Agency(LEA) Implementation Plan submitted by the system for FY 2009
was reviewed. The DeKalb County School System does have an Improvement Plan goal that targets improving performance in mathematics.

The system will be required to revise activities, using the findings contained in this report in its efforts to move forward in improving the achievement of students with disabilities. Please refer to the section "Required Evidence of Improvement" for specific information. Systems that fail to meet compliance criteria within one year and fail to make AYP in two years may be subject to sanctions from the GaDOE.

wondering said...

“Something as simple as following a math or a Spanish textbook from chapter 1 to 10 would be better than following whack-a-mole curriculum prevalent in Dekalb County” (Stuocca,2010).

You are so right on with this. You hit the nail right on the “mole” head. DeKalb Country for all intensive purposes does not even have a math curriculum. I think the curriculum that they purchased a few years ago for millions of dollars, was deemed unacceptable. Therefore, a supplemental and complementary program was included along with the original. If that is not enough, there are the additional Ga. performance activities that one must include in their instruction as well. So yes, the whole mess is indeed similar to trying to whack-a-mole.
It is obvious that the problems here are indeed abysmal, especially in math. Why, has the obvious reaction not been to look at the math curriculum? Let’s look at how we are teaching math. Let’s look at what we are using to teach math. Let’s see if our practices are developmentally appropriate. Let’s see what the teachers have noted and reflected upon about their math experiences. Then let’s quickly do something else, as this is not working. Yes, there are a series of let’s here. This change cannot come about from those uninvolved in direct student instruction. Hire all the additional coaches you want, at their exaggerated salaries, and the results will not change.

Indentify the problem, find the solution. Fail to identify the problem, fail to find the solution.
DCSS seems to continue to claim to need coaches to support teachers. Teacher don’t need support right now, it’s the students that need the support. Request a waiver from the feds or DOE to use the required teacher training earmarked monies for students.

DCSS and the DOE seem to get everything else waived. It should be noted that due to repeated request to have percentages waived in order for more schools initially to make AYP, the state is facing these consequences of failure to meet AYP later than sooner. Sooner might have been better as it could have eliminated the illusions of past “successes.” Let’s stop whacking the mole.

Fred said...

I made a honest mistake earlier, Knollwood is actually an Avondale feeder school, not Columbia.

Continuing from above, take a look at all the Columbia elementary schools, Columbia, Kelly Lake, Snapfinger, and Toney. This is the high school cluster next to McNair and they all have a poverty rate of over 90%. Kelly Lake and Snapfinger have received monetary awards for being on the Distinguished list for high poverty schools for accomplishments over the prior years. None made AYP this past year.

Look at the Towers cluster schools of Atherton, Canby Lane, Glen Haven, Peachcrest, and Rowland. They all have over 90% Title 1 students. Canby Lane received monetary awards for being on the Distinguished list for high poverty schools for accomplishments over the prior years.

Between McNair, Columbia, and Towers, you have 15 elementary schools with over 90% Title 1 students. This is a large connected, community. Of this 15 schools, 2 made AYP this past year, using the Absolute Bar. I don't think you will find a concentration of poverty like this in the state, unless you may see that in APS. This did not look at all the Avondale schools, which have similar demographics and is next to these clusters.

I can cite statistics with anyone but at the end of the day, these are children and communities in the county we live in. They have names and faces. We can look at the trends with the raw data for each school since 2008 to see if there have been improvements. At the end of the day, we are using the results of one test to determine that community's performance in helping their children get educated. I don't think that is right.

Cerebration said...

I agree and will repeat what I said earlier -

We do need some kind of measurement tool to gauge learning. I prefer one that measures constantly - on a computer - with immediate feedback. In fact, when given prompts toward correct answers, students will learn. Many of these programs do this. High stakes testing with narrow windows for whole school approval has been a disaster.

These children, in extreme poverty, need much more attention than children with better conditions. That is why the small groups, extra support, pullout reading and math is so important. I also wish our board and county commissioners would work together to promote summer parks programs, library programs and after school programs -- pooling resources with social services. Poverty is absolutely the number one issue that needs addressed in education.

Cerebration said...

Unfortunately, for many years now, our school system leaders have been focused on "emergencies" - one after another. Obviously, looking back, knowing what we now know about Dr. Lewis and Pat Pope, our top leaders were looking out only for their own pocketbooks and personal gain -- not at how to best educate the poorest children of DeKalb.

Our team is temporary - we need one that is permanent. We need highly qualified, focused leaders in the top jobs - superintendent and teaching and learning - ASAP!

Cerebration said...

Really - just think about how all of those local tax dollars that were spent on expensive attorneys could have benefited our poorest children!

atl said...

@ Fred
Your premise appears to be that DCSS's high rate of low income students concentrated in Title 1 schools is the reason so few of these schools failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress. You cite the 90% DCSS low income schools in particular.

Look at Marietta City Schools low income concentration of students per school as contrasted to their Adequate Yearly Progress.

Marietta City Schools
Title 1 schools:
Burruss ES - 45% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Dunleith ES – 100% low income - Met AYP for 2 years (Did Not Meet this year)
Hickory Hills ES – 100% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Lockheed ES – 100% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta 6th Grade School – 64% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta High School – 45% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta Middle School – 66% low income – Met AYP for 2 years (Did Not Meet this year)
Park Street ES – 100% low income – Met AYP for the last 3 years
Sawyer Road ES – 100% low income – Met AYP for the last 3 years
Westside ES – 42% low income – met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta Charter School – 20% low income - Met AYP for 2 years (Did Not Meet this year)

Non-Title 1 Schools:
Marietta Center for Advanced Academics - Met AYP for the last 3 years

Look how Emily Lembeck, the Marietta superintendent of school system feels about the "core business of educating students":
From the AJC June 20, 2011:

School officials said the budget process has been challenging since 2008. Lembeck said privatizing custodial jobs was a difficult decision based on the economy, which has driven school systems to look at business and staffing practices....
...It becomes more difficult to protect what happens in the classroom without looking at some services that are not directly related,” Lembeck said. “Reducing days of instruction through furloughs and larger class sizes is not in the best interest of our core business of educating students.”

50% of Marietta City School personnel are teachers. They have preserved their teaching personnel at all costs.

Ms. Tyson needs to be looking at school systems in the metro area that are successful with low income students and asking what are they doing that DCSS is not.

The administration needs to take a look at the underlying causes of the low student achievement in low income schools, mainly located in South Dekalb. The teachers, students, parents, and income levels have remained constant in the last 3 years in DCSS Title 1 schools, while student achievement has dropped at an unprecedented rate. What are the variables? A dual system has been created and condoned too long.

The administration cannot know the barriers to student achievement teachers and students have by sitting in their offices and looking at statistics, sitting in meetings and talking about what to do, doing the same thing - only more, or simply giving up on low income DCSS schools.

Soliciting the input of teachers as to what is working and what is not working, looking at other successful comparable school systems, and preserving the "core business of educating students" are prerequisites for moving students forward.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

The numbers speak for themselves and they do not lie! Audria Berry and her army has done NOTHING to improve scores. Since she became the watch person of the federal funds the learning has gotten worse and in some instances do not exist!

Audria Berry = Epic Failure. She must go! The current leadership is the problem and must go if we want any change in DCSS.

atl said...

The success of comparable metro school systems with equal or greater low income concentrations of students seems to contradict the premise that DCSS's high concentration of low income students in Title 1 schools is the reason so few of these schools failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Consider Marietta City Schools low income concentration of students per school as contrasted to their Adequate Yearly Progress.

Marietta City Schools
Title 1 schools:
Burruss ES - 45% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Dunleith ES – 100% low income - Met AYP for 2 years (Did Not Meet this year)
Hickory Hills ES – 100% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Lockheed ES – 100% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta 6th Grade School – 64% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta High School – 45% low income - Met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta Middle School – 66% low income – Met AYP for 2 years (Did Not Meet this year)
Park Street ES – 100% low income – Met AYP for the last 3 years
Sawyer Road ES – 100% low income – Met AYP for the last 3 years
Westside ES – 42% low income – met AYP for the last 3 years
Marietta Charter School – 20% low income - Met AYP for 2 years (Did Not Meet this year)

Non-Title 1 Schools:
Marietta Center for Advanced Academics - Met AYP for the last 3 years

Look how Emily Lembeck, the Marietta superintendent of school system feels about the "core business of educating students":
From the AJC June 20, 2011:

School officials said the budget process has been challenging since 2008. Lembeck said privatizing custodial jobs was a difficult decision based on the economy, which has driven school systems to look at business and staffing practices....
...It becomes more difficult to protect what happens in the classroom without looking at some services that are not directly related,” Lembeck said. “Reducing days of instruction through furloughs and larger class sizes is not in the best interest of our core business of educating students.”

50% of Marietta City School personnel are teachers. They have preserved their teaching personnel at all costs.

Ms. Tyson needs to look at school systems in the metro area that are successful with high concentrations of low income students and ask what are they doing that DCSS is not.

The administration needs to take a look at the underlying causes of the low student achievement in low income schools, mainly located in South Dekalb. A dual system has been created. The teachers, students, parents, and income levels have remained constant in the last 3 years in DCSS Title 1 schools, while student achievement has dropped at an unprecedented rate. What are the variables?

The administration cannot know the barriers to student achievement teachers and students have by sitting in their offices and looking at statistics, sitting in meetings and talking about what to do, doing the same thing - only more, or simply giving up on low income DCSS schools.

Soliciting the input of teachers as to what is working and what is not working, looking at other successful comparable school systems, and preserving the "core business of educating students" are prerequisites for moving students forward.

Fred said...

In keeping with the comparison with the blog topic, I decided to look at Marietta schools. The big difference is this is a one high school district. There are over 80 elementary, 20 middle, and 20 high schools in DeKalb. That says something about how and where you spend your time.

I took at look at 7 elementary schools in Marietta (I did not consider Marietta 6th grade school). With the exception of Westside (32) and Burruss (57), the other 5 schools (Dunleith, Hickory Hills, Lockheed, Park Street, and Sawyer Road) had 100% of its test takers in the ED category. The categories considered for making AYP in these 5 schools were Black, Hispanic, ELL, and ED. With the exception of Park Street, each school was racially diverse with Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites. The only school that did not make AYP was Dunleith. Park Street passed using the Confidence Interval of Black students. The bar for CRCT Mathematics was 75.7%. With few exceptions, most schools passed with over 80%.

Marietta should be commended for the great job it does with educating poor children. It is curious that in the metro Atlanta area, a school district has 5 out of 7 elementary schools with 100% test takers as economically disadvantaged. It makes you wonder about their tax base. It would also be interesting to see how much they spend per child as compared to DCSS. I’m sure there are other questions others could ask. DCSS should definitely speak to Marietta to understand their success.

Cerebration said...

I'm not following the comparison of numbers of poor children.... Isn't that the basic premise of Title 1? That the school is a majority low-income? Aren't we splitting hairs by comparing poor to dirt poor?

All of these children can do better. They just need confident leaders who view the task of educating them as Job #1.

Fred said...

Maybe a solution is to offer Emily Lembeck, the Marietta school superintendent, the DCSS job? A local person that knows the area and has had proven success with educating poor children. The obvious question is can these skills scale to a system the size of DCSS. We'd sure save on relocation costs.

If not offering her a job, perhaps DCSS should go after their head of instruction.

Anonymous said...

Transiency needs to be figured into the equation. Students who change schools and or systems two or three times during the school year face greater challenges than impoverished students who remain at one school all year. Everyone is aware of this but no one is making calculations that matter and putting money into the problem.

Cerebration said...

DeKalb schools is a microcosm of the very same issues our schools face nationally -- all in one school system. Any new superintendent who comes in here, assembles a crack team of pros in key positions, works really hard, tries innovative techniques, takes risks, thinks outside the box and ahead of his or her time will make great strides and could place that person in the national spotlight in my opinion. I think solving DeKalb's woes is tantamount to solving what ails our schools nationally. I really think it's that big of a deal.

Anon said...

I'd be all for giving the job of superintendant to the head of the Marietta system ... seems to me she's doing a great job with similar demographics.

dekalb2 said...

I am a teacher in a Title I school that did not make AYP. There is no support from the administration on discipline issues. Many teachers spend at least 50% of their classroom day on discipline issues instead of teaching the students. There are wonderful teachers in our schools that can not teach because of the severity of the discipline problems. This is where little focus is given by Dr. Beasley and others.

Stnuocca said...

There is a lot of intangible in discussing people, populations, and the human spirit.

I posit that a Somali immigrant family who elects to rent an apartment in the Clarkston district is different from a Somali immigrant family who elects to rent an apartment in the Lakeside district even if their income levels are the same. This was true (and still true) when otherwise financially burdened families manage to cob enough nickles to get 1 or more off-springs to private or parochial schools.

I might argue that the heavily Title 1 families of Marietta are probably very different in attitude and expectation than the families in of the heavily Title 1 in Dekalb.

The "trauma" we see in emergency rooms serving these 2 populations are so different.

atl said...

@ Stnuoccoa
"I might argue that the heavily Title 1 families of Marietta are probably very different in attitude and expectation than the families in of the heavily Title 1 in Dekalb."

So are you saying the low income students in Marietta are different than the low income students in South DeKalb?

The numbers do not support your position. Marietta City's affluent schools have very few low income students. Much like DeKalb, they are segregated into areas of poverty, arguably even more stratified than DeKalb.

Note that MOST of the elementary schools in Marietta do not have even 1 test taker from an affluent home - 100% of the students in most Marietta City elementary schools are low income.

The administration in Marietta has invested in smaller class sizes and a smaller admin and support to teacher ratio than DCSS. Is it possible that less admin and support numbers and a greater emphasis on the classroom has produced better results?

atl said...

Is anyone surprised that Marietta City Schools spends 87% of Title 1 dollars on Instruction while DCSS spends 51% of Title 1 dollars on Instruction?

Marietta City Schools Title 1 Expenditures:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=781&T=1&FY=2010

DCSS City Schools Title 1 Expenditures:
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2010

Stnuocca said...

--Is it possible that less admin and support numbers and a greater emphasis on the classroom has produced better results?----Of course, it does! This can't be refuted by people with common sense.

But, let me ask you this silly question that may offend some:

If anyone had a choice, would he/she prefer to be confronted at midnight by an unknown from and in a dark deserted alley in the most blighted neighborhood of Marietta or by an unknown from and in the most blighted neighborhood of Dekalb County? That is why folks who elect to "rent" or "buy" Marietta are different from the folks who elect to stay or are simply trapped in certain areas of Dekalb.

Sagamore 7 said...

DeKalb 2,

What do you think about big brother in the classroom? What I am trying to say is that I thinkk it would be a good idea for our school system to have video cameras in EVERY classroom and digitally record every day of every class.

Not that we have to keep the recordings on file but as a backup measure to protect the teacher and students in an undisciplined environment.

I remember I used to be scared to death of the principal's office and the whooping I would get at home if I EVER acted up in class.

I don't think getting sent to the principal's office is feared anymore, nor is the teacher.

If the teacher could inform the students of the video cameras monitoring them then we might have a few less distractions.

On the other hand, we might be able to watch our teachers educate our children and see how effective their teaching methods are!

The City of Atlanta today approved cameras in all city buildings as well as streets and intersections for crime prevention purposes.

Somebody is taking action!

BTW, did anyone hear about the Bishop and his daughter getting her school course credits at NBMC? I thought he had a school for boys at his church, not for his daughter? I'd hate to be in your shoes Ms. Pringle!

S7

atl said...

@ Stnuoccoa

"That is why folks who elect to "rent" or "buy" Marietta are different from the folks who elect to stay or are simply trapped in certain areas of Dekalb."

The areas are actually very similar.

Kim Gokce said...

"There is no support from the administration on discipline issues. Many teachers spend at least 50% of their classroom day on discipline issues instead of teaching the students."

Amen to that - I had this experience as a student in my day. The inmates had taken over the asylum back then. My mother spent years facing the spineless, paper-tiger administrative support in south Fulton County as an English teacher. It was so pitiful ...

Each of the last five years of her teaching Macbeth to high schoolers I urged her to retire early because of the escalation in verbal abuse and threats from "students." Finally, when a "student" that had threaten to "beat her white ass" spit at her and was returned to the classroom, she retired.

I often tell her she should find "little Johnny's" family and write them a thank you note for raising such an awful child that helped her quit.

Kim Gokce said...

@Stunocca: "If anyone had a choice, would he/she prefer to be confronted at midnight by an unknown from and in a dark deserted alley in the most blighted neighborhood of Marietta or by an unknown from and in the most blighted neighborhood of Dekalb County"

Having the distinct honor of haunting both said milieus, I have to say that I agree with you - but not for the reason you state. The only difference between the two options is that you can run faster out of the worst parts of Marietta than you can some of the same conditions in DeKalb.

So, in my mind, there is no qualitative difference whatsoever vis-a-vis the challenge of public education. I believe it is more plausible to hypothesize that the key environmental difference is the size of the systems and the inherit advantage leadership would have in managing fewer students and fewer schools.

Kim Gokce said...

@Stunocca: "I posit that a Somali immigrant family who elects to rent an apartment in the Clarkston district is different from a Somali immigrant family who elects to rent an apartment in the Lakeside district even if their income levels are the same."

The problem with this idea is that it is a point-in-time analysis. My experience (anecdotal) is that it very well could be the same exact family you are describing in two different time periods.

I have to say as interesting as your expressed views about various communities are they do not dovetail with my own experience and observation. My experience with the very poor, poor, low income, and modest income immigrant families from Brookhaven to Pleasantdale has taught me that the students and parents are precisely like you and I in their hopes, dreams and efforts for their children.

Where they are in a point in time does not define who they are or where they are going ...

Cerebration said...

How about outside a Dunwoody preschool in broad daylight? Or going to lunch through a parking garage in a glitzy Midtown high rise? Or at a summer camp in Norway?

Kim Gokce said...

Actually, while we're piling on the point ... the most direct and violent assaults I have ever personally witnessed or been a victim of were both on just outside Marietta city-proper. Ugh, I had forgotten about that biker dude that just slammed into me at random, "I doooonnta .. laaaik yew!" he shouted in a drunken rage. Ah, memories!

Kim Gokce said...

Then, there was that woman that beat her boyfriend senseless in the parking lot of a strip mall - wow! She was clocking him and I ran out (foolishly) to break them up. I was afraid he was going to take only so much of a beating before he turned on her and murdered her right there. Ugly! Yep, Marietta is a real treat in certain quarters ...

Kim Gokce said...

... on the other hand, there was the first house I ever lived in DeKalb where one evening a neighbor dropped by, a Friday, I think, with his 18-mo old boy and ask me to keep him for a few hours because "some real bad people were coming over" ... yep, DeKalb is a real treat, too, in places.

I think this is a completely moot point ... there is no excusing our poor academic showing. None.

flayshigs said...

"I think this is a completely moot point ... there is no excusing our poor academic showing. None."

So regardless of geography and race, and in the case of Eddy Long, financial background, we have a cultural problem?

Kim Gokce said...

If by a cultural problem, you mean that our institutions and leaders excuse discipline problems; that academic failure is not an accepted fact but rather a symptom of something else; that everyone and no one is responsible for the student's performance, then, yes, we have cultural problem.

Parent->Student->Teacher is the holy trinity and everything else is noise.

Kim Gokce said...

Good Parent + Good Study Habits + Good Teaching = Extraordinary Achievement

Any combination of two good actors in this academic drama will result in a decent outcome on average. When two or more good actors are missing, it becomes a farce.

Clearly in DeKalb, we have too many cases where there are two bad actors in the equation. All we are doing in this thread is arguing about which two bad actors are to blame in DeKalb on average.

Only one actor can be controlled by the system - Teachers. So why we talk about anything else is a mystery to me. Teachers, lots of highly qualified teachers is all we can demand from our system leadership to affect performance - the rest of academic performance is truly out of our hands.

Cerebration said...

interesting choice of words. Many of us can remember the day that Moseley referred to parents as exactly that - "Background Noise"... I still have the shirt!

Kim Gokce said...

Lol ... yes, I remember that one. I believe that was on the subject of re-districting, yes? In those "debates," I have to agree with Mr. Moseley - I have found that parents with children enrolled in a particular school are the LAST people who should be in control of system re-districting decisions. But then again, if we can't trust our leadership, we'd be fools to leave it up to them, eh?

Classic Catch-22, DeKalb is ...

flayshigs said...

Parent->Student->Teacher is the holy trinity . . . Not in DeKalb as far as DCSS is concerned.

DCSS leaders and BOE members have definitely lost sight of the education goal. Clearly their sight is on their own pockets and political futures at our expense. Cell towers, for example? In the past couple of months I have become aware of several young families that have chosen to sell their DeKalb properties at a loss in order to move to a more productive metro school system. Ultimately, their wise decision (and loss) will be at county (and our) expense.

DeKalb County taxpayers will soon be paying big time for the incompetent school system and county leaders uninformed and ignorant voters insist on electing and re-electing. An example of one of the clowns that represented a portion of DeKalb on more than one term is Cynthia McKinney who is currently an ardent supporter of the murderous Moammar Gadhafi.

If DCSS had a competent BOE, superintendent, and administration there would be very little “background noise” in DeKalb.

Cerebration said...

Here are my notes from the beginning of the school year last year - from the blog post

August 9 Board Meeting


Moseley reported that we have 93,764 students enrolled today, and expect that number to jump to 98,181 by Monday.
We have about 6,500 teachers and 10 teacher vacancies.
1,577 students applied for an AYP transfer. Chamblee HS has 198 acceptances and Arabia (well, the annex of Arabia which will actually be at Lithonia) has 240. Moseley has decided to wait three weeks before actually sending these AYP students to these schools. (Not sure what that's about...)


We'll compare this with numbers released next week.

betty said...

I gotta ask, Georgia overall sucks in education. What is Nebraska, Colorado, Washington, Oregaon, Maine,Connecticut and the other 40some odd states doing that we are not? Can't somebody just get the damn curriculum from them and let's teach it. It doesn't have to be this hard.

DCSS sucks and that's all there is to it. It won't change, because the folks that are in charge want the money. They want your money, and mine and they don't care about the "children".

Shoes Keep Dropping said...

Write your Board members. We need a superintendent now!! There haven't been any recent called BOE meetings to discuss personnel- what are they doing?

We need Dr. Duron before someone else grabs him or school starts and we're stuck because no one will leave in the middle of the year! His system is 93% economically disadvantaged and he has improved achievement. Texas is ranked much higher than Georgia nationally. They have an online check register! They have their BOE agendas posted well in advance of meetings. If our BOE doesn't move forward, we will be stuck with Brad Bryant or
someone else appointed by the state. Given our state's failure in academic achievement with Bryant on the state
BOE for 7 years, our future looks dismal if we venture
down that path.

Cast your vote for Duron! He is a far cry better than any
other options we've heard about! Tell your BOE members today!

betty said...

@ shoes dropping: About Dr. Duron, we'll see about him this Friday. The State of Texas releases it's findings. Check out their website on his school district, SAISD or San Antonio Independent SD. Can we get behind him, I guess we will see.

Cerebration said...

We have a lame duck board right now. They are all aware that the law reducing the size of the board to 7 will require them all to run again for their seats. Also, the districts will be redrawn according to populations described in the Census (same with the legislative districts).

Two of them are on vacation this week. Tom, the chair and their leader, has another very demanding job plus other responsibilities (in addition to being a husband and father) - I don't know how he can muster the time and energy to handle all that needs done on the board of education in addition to the rest of his bio:

Mr. Bowen also represents Georgia’s 4th Congressional District and currently serves as Board Chair on the Georgia Student Finance Board of Commissioners. He was appointed to the GSFC Board of Commissioners in October 2004.

Bowen is an attorney and certified public accountant (CPA). He has extensive experience in the area of state and local tax counseling.

Bowen is Director of Tax with Hewlett Packard Company. Mr. Bowen oversees all aspects of the Company’s sales and property taxes.


https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/AboutBoard.aspx?S=4054#31066

I've concluded that they are too distracted and/or divided to come to any kind of agreement on a new superintendent anytime soon.

Fred said...

I mentioned earlier that perhaps DCSS should consider the Marietta superintendent for the top job, given the success that she has had in that school district in education poor children. I decided to look at her salary and saw that she made over two hundred fifty three thousand dollars. This for a school district that has 8000 students. When you consider DCSS pays their superintendent around two hundred forty thousand dollars for 100000 students, it looks like a bargain.

Someone mentioned that most of their staff are teachers yet they have a teacher student ratio of 1 to 20, which is greater than DCSS which is 1 to 16. They also spend over $9000 for each student.

Despite this, DCSS should still speak to Marietta about their successes and consider Emily Lembeck for the superintendent job.

Cerebration said...

Good input, Fred. Isn't it funny that we have such a lame board of education that bloggers have to resort to publicly researching and plotting how to steal another superintendent?!

Sagamore 7 said...

Fred,
I am curious, can you explain your method of getting a student / teacher ratio in DCSS at 1:16?

How many general population classes do you know of that have 16 kids in them?

S7

Anonymous said...

@ Fred
"When you consider DCSS pays their superintendent around two hundred forty thousand dollars for 100000 students, it looks like a bargain."

When you look at the very high rate of student progress for Marietta students, $200,000 seems like like a bargain for Marietta City taxpayers.

Cerebration said...

DSA has this kind of class ratio, Sagamore.

Sagamore 7 said...

Cere,
I understand DSA and Wadsworth but where did Fred get the 1:16 ratio for the ENTIRE school system.
I do not believe it is true.
S7

Fred said...

Sagamore 7, your question illustrates how some numbers don't really tell the full story. I got by number by taking 100000 students and divided it by 6500 teachers. I can admit this ratio does not reflect the actual ratios in most classrooms.

DCSS has a large Special Needs population. Federal law dictates ratios much lower than the simple arithmetic I did above. If we do an "apples to apples" comparison, you perform your math the same when looking at other districts. I don't believe it tells the full story unless you look further at each school district.

The same logic applies with looking at how much is spent on each student. You divide the operating budget by the number of students. Again, because DCSS has many special needs students along with a large Title 1 population, the number is somewhat inflated.

Fred said...

@Cerebration,
"Isn't it funny that we have such a lame board of education that bloggers have to resort to publicly researching and plotting how to steal another superintendent?!"

Maybe it's time for citizens to take matters in our own hands. Several continue to mention Dr. Duron. I've heard some ask about Dr. King in Rockdale. Maybe there are other superintendents that our Search firm has not considered.

With tools like the internet available to us, we can probably research prospective candidates better than they can at a cheaper price. We are looking for either superintendent or superintedent of instruction candidates that have proven instructional successes with districts that have demographics and a socioeconomic status similar to DCSS. We can discount size if they've had success in larger districts. How many could there be?

atl said...

@ Fred
Interesting comment. Ms. Tyson has stated DCSS has around 6,400 teachers, but I'm going to go with your 6,500 figure. Let's use 97,000 for student numbers (that's the figure on all of the DOE sites).

This is what the actual numbers show:
Regular Education teachers in DCSS have around a 28 to 1 ratio of students to teacher while Marietta City Schools have around a 19 to 1 ratio of students to teacher. Regular Education teachers are the teachers who teach students math, science, social studies and language arts.

For Parents interested in how their child can sit in a class of 30+ in DCSS, read on.

DCSS:
97,000 students divided by 6,500 teachers = 15 to 1 students to teacher ratio.

Of course Fred was correct that we have quite a few Special Ed teachers (around 1300+) and Media Specialists (160), Gifted, Coaches, etc. They add up to around 3,000. When you take out the almost 3,000 teachers that are NOT grade level and content area teachers, you are left with around 3,500 grade level and content area teachers (also called Regular Education Teachers).

97,000 divided by 3,500 Regular Education teachers (the ones that teach math, science, social studies, and language arts to every child) = 28 to 1 student to teacher ratio.

Let's remember that the Primary teachers cannot have 28 in a classroom and the thousands of magnet students cannot either. So now the teachers in grades 4 - 12 in the Regular Education classes have to take on extra students. That's how we see 34 and 35 and even higher in high school classes.

Marietta City Schools:
Marietta City Schools has 653 teachers and 7,800 students per the state DOE and state salary and travel report.

7,800 students divided by 653 teachers = 12 to 1 students to teacher ratio.

418 out of 653 Marietta City Schools teachers (are grade level or content area teachers (Regular Education teachers).

7,800 students divided by 418 Regular Education teachers (the ones that teach math, science, social studies, and language arts to every child) = 19 to 1 students to teacher ratio.

Interestingly enough, I didn't see any Pre-K teachers in the Marietta system so perhaps the Pre-K is being done by the private day care systems.

Fred said...

@atl, the argument I would have with your math is that you substracted teachers without subtracting the student they may teach. Though I understand DCSS is moving away from the delivery model of pull out for many special needs students (Special Needs teachers collaborate with Regular Ed teacher for instruction), there are some that have that model. Margaret Harris is also an extreme exception however they have a very small student population.


I'm not sure if we can confidently say enough about those ratios unless we knew more about the different types of students. The simple math that is used to determine these ratios and average cost per student leaves out much important information.

I used the following link from the Marietta Schools site for my calculations,

http://www.marietta-city.org/aboutus/schooldistrictprofile.php

Not that it tells us anything but I calculate DCSS has 6 students per employee (97,000 / 15,000) and Marietta has about 7 students per employee (8,000 / 1,100). Does this mean that DCSS in more efficient with this ratio? You tell me.

Cerebration said...

Nice job on the research ATL. That was exactly what we needed to know.

And Fred -- great idea for a post - I'll get one queued up for tomorrow... Let's have another superintendent brainstorm! (Although, we did this once already and it fell on deaf ears...)

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/07/superintendent-search-blogging.html

atl said...

@ Fred

"I'm not sure if we can confidently say enough about those ratios unless we knew more about the different types of students. The simple math that is used to determine these ratios and average cost per student leaves out much important information."

Well, Fred, I used your numbers. As a matter of fact I used 97,000 students instead of 100,000 just to make sure I was on the conservative side.

You told Sagamore 7 you got your numbers by dividing 100,000 by 6,500. But your answer left parents scratching their heads wondering why their kids are sitting in a trailer learning science with 34 other kids. Now they can see how that happens in DCSS. Parents know intuitively that large class sizes are not a good learning environment for their children. Now they can see that a school system with similar demographics can have those lower class sizes. Remember that class size matters the MOST in raising the achievement of low income and struggling students.

"Not that it tells us anything but I calculate DCSS has 6 students per employee (97,000 / 15,000) and Marietta has about 7 students per employee (8,000 / 1,100). Does this mean that DCSS in more efficient with this ratio? You tell me."

I agree with you. That number is meaningless without context.

Looking at some demographically comparable school systems in the metro area that have MOST of their low income schools making Adequate Yearly Progress is a step in the right direction.

Taking an in depth look at successful comparable school systems with respect to:
Class sizes
Paperwork requirements
Student data management
Technology operations
Teacher turnover rates
Title 1 expenditures
.....etc.
are some of the many areas that need to be considered to find out what has gone wrong in DCSS. Only when you identify the problems can you correct them.

atl said...

Cutting the Central Office is one place we need to be looking for money to fund teachers for our students.

Decreasing the Central Office by 35% would give us the same support for teachers as Marietta City Schools, a system that has 73% of their low income Title 1 schools making AYP while DCSS has only 20% of their low income Title 1 schools making AYP.

Ms. Tyson states there are 1,200+ Central Office Employees for 6,500 teachers. 1 Central Office employee for every 5 teachers.

Look at Marietta City Schools:
79 Central Office employees for 653 teachers. 1 Central Office employee for every 8 teachers.

Sources:

"Ms. Tyson spent some time clarifying information about DCSS employees. She noted that there are ......1239 ....in the central office""
http://www.emory-lavista.org/node/43

Marcus Turk says:
"Turk – less than 10% of budget is central office staff – even if we eliminated all of the central office, it still wouldn’t fill gap."
http://dekalbparent.wordpress.com/meetings/april16th/
8% of our personnel costs is around $90,000,000 for Central Office personnel.

2010 State Salary and Travel audit

Anon said...

My husband's roommate from a few decades ago used taught HS math in the City of Marietta when they rolled out the Dr. Seuss math curriculum (the one that is now in the process of being replaced). The City of Marietta went out of its way to really train and develop its teachers on the program. They developed "kits" for the teachers for the "manipulatives" for use in the classrooms and other things. As a result, when the curriculum went into effect, they had a solid cadre of teachers who were very well trained on the curriculum being implemented (I'm not sure if they had text books....). I think one of the differences we are seeing in the AYP rates in the City of Marrieta vs. DCSS, particularly in math, reflects the way they rolled out the curriculum and the time, effort and energy they put into training their teachers on the program. I am sure that they will stick with the curriculum as it seems to be working for them. Whereas, DCSS utilized a "train the trainer" approach - in general, our teachers, themselves, never really understood the curriculum and were also never allowed the latitude to implement it in ways that made sense for the children they received in their classrooms each year... it was a disaster from the get go. The victims have been a generation of school kids -- when are they learning their math facts? Pay attention to the breakdown on National Merit over the next year -- see what systems (private and public) produce finalists and semin-finalists... it will be the first group of kids testing on the Dr. Suess math....