Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: The Year to Become a HAPPY School System

Dr. Martin Seligman, arguably the premier researcher and proponent of the psychology of happiness, says that happiness has three essential components:

First: the ability to savor life’s pleasures.

Second: there’s a true engagement with one’s work, avocations, and loved ones.

Third: the sense that one is serving a larger purpose beyond one’s self.

I think it's the third that we need to attend to in our schools.

Whenever we focus on something greater than ourselves--especially the well-being of others--our sense of satisfaction and peace grows exponentially.

Dr. Seligman says at his website, Authentic Happiness, that (more or less) happiness can be taught. Well then, I say, let's start teaching it!

What is positive education?

“Positive education is defined as education for both traditional skills and for happiness. The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people, the small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion all argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school. There is substantial evidence from well controlled studies that skills that increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement and meaning can be taught to schoolchildren.” From Positive education: Positive psychology and classroom interventions by Martin E.P. Seligman, Randal M. Ernst, Jane Gillham, Karen Reivich, and Mark Linkins

Teaching Well-Being in Schools


The following is an excerpt from Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being

First, a quiz:

Question one: in one or two words, what do you most want for your children?

If you are like the thousands of parents I’ve polled you responded, “Happiness,” “Confidence,” “Contentment,” “Fulfillment,” “Balance,” “Good stuff,” “Kindness,” “Health,” “Satisfaction,” “Love,” “Being civilized,” “Meaning,” and the like. In short, well-being is your topmost priority for your children.

Question two: in one or two words, what do schools teach?

If you are like other parents, you responded, “Achievement,” “Thinking skills,” “Success,” “Conformity,” “Literacy,” “Math,” “Work,” “Test taking,” “Discipline,” and the like. In short, what schools teach is how to succeed in the workplace.

Notice that there is almost no overlap between the two lists.

The schooling of children has, for more than a century, paved the boulevard toward adult work. I am all for success, literacy, perseverance, and discipline, but I want you to imagine that schools could, without compromising either, teach both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement. I want you to imagine positive education.

Dr. Seligman introduces us to a couple of programs that can actually be taught: The Penn Resiliency Program and The Strath Haven Positive Psychology Curriculum.

First, the major goal of The Penn Resiliency Program is to increase students’ ability to handle day-to-day problems that are common during adolescence. PRP promotes optimism by teaching students to think more realistically and flexibly about the problems they encounter. PRP also teaches assertiveness, creative brainstorming, decision making, relaxation, and several other coping skills. PRP is the most widely researched depression-prevention program in the world.

And then The Strath Haven Positive Psychology Curriculum is a more comprehensive curriculum that builds character strengths, relationships, and meaning, as well as raises positive emo­tion and reduces negative emotion.

The U.S. Department of Education invested a $2.8 million grant to carry out a large randomized, controlled evaluation of this high school positive psychology curricu­lum. The results? The positive psychology program improved the strengths of curiosity, love of learning, and creativity, by the reports of teachers who did not know whether the students were in the positive psychology group or the control group. And the program improved social skills (empathy, cooperation, assertiveness, self-control), according to both mothers’ and “blind” teachers’ reports. The program reduced bad conduct, according to mothers’ reports.

===

Let's do it! Let's invest in kindness, empathy and happiness education in 2012. Everything else will fall in line.

To read more about the art of positive education and the happiness curriculum, click here.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year 2012 is Off with a Bang!!!
**Marcus Turk - Finance Manager(sent to service center until 6/30/2012) and
Uladia Taylor - Purchasing Manager (terminated...Internal Affairs packed her up this morning) were sent packing this morning from the Palace.
Wow what a shocker....what a way to start the New Year...OMG

Anonymous said...

This is excellent news. Does his mom know the news? I bet she's mad. Congratulations Dr. Atkinson. Now, which administrators are moved for 2012 on the south end. There are so many that needs to go to the service center with Turk.
Donot know the Purchasing Manager

Is she the person also responsible for Berry's purchasing book? So, now the Bookgate Crook gates have another member of this elite club.

Anonymous said...

In just about every televised board meetings that I have watched over the last 2/3 years, Marcus Turk has garnered verbal praises from 1 or 2 board members. I can't think of 1 board member who has not lavished praises upon Mr. Turk over this period.

What gives? Were the praises truthful, legitimate, or undeserving?

In any of these cases, it would appear, that the individual board members were......( I am not sure how to complete the sentence).

Anonymous said...

Warehousing employees at the service center without a reduction in pay/benefits even for 6 months is of little value.

Terminating employees only to replace them with another body does not address the issue of a top-heavy administration.

So before we all start doing the happy dance, that change is on the way, let's make sure this is real change and not a "bait and switch" manuever to get us fooled into believing real change is upon us.

Anonymous said...

If this is a part of Dr. Atkinson reorganizing the central office, citizens need to support her with patience. Citizens also need to be aware of OCGA 20-2-940. This is the Fair Dismissal Act which guarantees employees due process rights. It governs the dismissal, demotion,
and suspension of professional, certificated school district employees in Georgia. Whatever actions are taken need to be done in accordance with the law otherwise the school system will face employment ligation. Do we want to spend more money on lawyers fees for not following the law? Why do you think Annette Roberts is still employed by the school district?

Anonymous said...

Yes, and Annette Roberts is laughing at DCSS admist her shame and still getting paid.
This administrator had only one book in the entire school on nutrition. One can only ask, where did the title 1 money go? And to whom?

Plus, Annette Roberts misused Special Education money as well. Plus, cursed out her teachers whenever she felt like it. So, as long as she is out of the buildings in DCSS, let them pay her to sit home and continue to boss and conjure up chaos from home with what is going on in her former school. Stealing is Stealing, Dr. Roberts, not sure what your new last name is, since getting married recently.

Anonymous said...

I like how Dr. Atkinson is Slow Walking the Family and Friends and her Sorors of (AKA) out the door.
Let's continue......drum roll. Now, that is business, taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

The taxpayers need to know when is CLEW and Pope going to Trial. I bet his hard drive and cell phone records will show a lot of female (AKA) administrators numbers and not related to business. There are so many especially at the elementary level.

Anonymous said...

If you eliminate positions, can't you let people in those positions go? Seems to me this is one way to reduce not only personnel, but also the top heavy administration. There's no guarantee you can keep a job that is no longer deemed useful to an organization.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:34

The short answer to your question is no however there are some caveats. If you have the time, read the following:

http://www.brockclay.com/PDF/Article_Fair_Dismissal_Act_11-16-06.pdf

I was reminded about the case in Gwinnett where the teacher (Neace) disciplined a student by lowering their grade (student was sleeping in class) which was a violation of school board policy (page 17 of the link).

Anonymous said...

Above was meant for Anon 3:54.

Anonymous said...

Seems like "we", the taxpayers are being beat over the head with the threat of litigation pursuant to
O.C.G.A 20-2-940!

http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-20/chapter-2/article-17/part-7/20-2-940/

Yes, it is specific and but is not to be interpreted as a blank check for misdeeds nor an excuse for incompetence.

The specifics have to do with certified employees and those on contracts.

There is no way in Hades I'm going to believe a substantial number of the F + F are due protection under this code. And if they are "certified" we are in more of a world of hurt than imagined!

Achelous said...

Not to change the subject, but we've been working on student happiness AND achievement in many ways, without a multi-million dollar grant.

Each year at Lakeside, we have a teen leadership specialist come in and speak to about a quarter of the band students about working together, being happy, and realizing their needs WHILE maintaining achievement.

It's become so popular that we have to limit the class each year. I've tried to get the rest of the school to get on board with this, but to no avail. (It's also why there are no hazing problems in the Lakeside Band) I've also mentioned it to many other band programs in DeKalb, but we are still the only school that offers this program.

The website has some great resources:
http://www.teens2teams.com/

Cerebration said...

Has this been announced? Has Walter Woods sent out a press release? By the way, whatever happened to the guy Tyson hired after a national search to be our PR person? Wasn't his name Rodney Jenkins? What is he doing these days?

Passionate... said...

Article, research, and Lakeside-Positives is the way to go!
As far as the other news about Turk and Taylor-cleaning our DCSS house is a very positive and needed action.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 3:26
"Do we want to spend more money on lawyers fees for not following the law? Why do you think Annette Roberts is still employed by the school district? "

Why did she tell the AJC she was firing Ms. Roberts when she was obviously keeping her on the payroll?

Why did Ms. Tyson tell the AJC she was demoting and drastically decreasing the pay for Ralph Simpson and Ms. Thedford when she knew she was keeping them at virtually the same pay ?

Ms. Tyson told the newspaper and thus the taxpayers what she thought would get her good press.

Here are the links to verify that what Ms. Tyson told the AJC and the public versus what she really did:

AJC article 12:40 p.m. Sunday, August 15, 2010:
"DeKalb County’s top school official is firing two principals and demoting two other officials after an internal investigation found school funds were used to purchase thousands of dollars worth of books that school administrators had written. ....

Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said the investigation uncovered a misuse of school funds that was “alarming,” “disturbing” and “unethical.”.....

The district cut Simpson’s salary from $115,405 to $89,599, and Thedford’s from $105,615 to $93,168, district Chief of Staff Alice Thompson said."

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-fires-2-demotes-592425.html

Taxpayers need to go to the 2011 state salary and travel audit that lists the 2010 - 2011 salaries for these employees:

Ralph Simpson:
School year 2010 - 2011 - $113,697
(versus the $89,599 quoted to the AJC)

Selina Thedford:
School year 2010- 2011 - $107,153
(versus the $93,168 quoted to the AJC)

So Ms. Tyson did not appreciably reduce their salaries. They functioned as Assistant Principals for the entire year at almost the same salaries with generous travel benefits as well.

The average salary for an Assistant Principals in DeKalb is $77,000 a year so they are not in line with the pay for Assistant Principals either. In addition, Mr. Simpson has $945 listed as his travel expense, and Ms. Thedford has $2,499 listed as her travel expense. The average travel expense for DeKalb Assistant Principals in the 2010-2011 school year was $390.

Judging by Mr. Simpson's and Ms. Thedford's compensation, Ms. Tyson has rewarded them for their unethical behavior.

Did the Central Office and Ms. Tyson think no one would look their salary information up?

Apparently, the AJC never followed through to see if the "demotion" as told to the newspaper ever happened.

Taxpayers need to go to Open Georgia. gov (see link below) to see the 2011 salary and travel information for DCSS employees. Please look up these two employees for yourselves.

http://www.open.georgia.gov/
Click on Salary and Travel Reimbursements, choose Organization, choose Fiscal year 2011, choose Local Boards of Education, and search for Dekalb County Board of Education.

Anonymous said...

How can we trust Dr. Atkinson has really gotten rid of these incompetent employees? Ms. Tyson said she fired 2 and demoted and cut the salary of 2 when the AJC found out these employees were using Title 1 funds to buy their own or friends's books. Yet one is still on the payroll and the 2 that were to have their salary lowered are still collecting almost the same salary.

Audria Berry has supposedly been fired, yet she is still on the email system FirstClass which is driven by payroll. So apparently, Dr. Atkinson still has Berry employed - she just doesn't expect her to work. Is this what taxpayers expect or want from Dr. Atkinson - the same old employee shuffle Ms. Tyson has given us with Simpson, Roberts, and Thedford?

Anonymous said...

Smoke and mirrors. Maybe Atkinson needs to gain credibility by showing Tyson the door?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I think Atkinson is over her head and plans to take us to the bank. Someone must monitor her actions, expenses and the army of highly paid family and friends she is bring in here, two by two and three by three. Who is minding the store? What is happening with INCREASED STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT? I expected some changes in student achievement. What are the goals? Will my child's school make AYP this year? I want lower pupil teacher ratio and more monet sent to the school house. How is this going to happen if she keeps double loading central office. I want to support dr. a. BUT .....

Anonymous said...

Frankie freeman daughter-in law of Dr. Robert Freeman. She came in the system as a school bus driver and after she married his son last i heard she was marcus turk admin. assistant.

We must all pray for Dr. Atkinson.

I sure hope she cleans out the sam moss center. That is where they send all the rejects.

Anonymous said...

Where did you see it reported that Audria Berry was fired? Could you cite your source on that?

Anonymous said...

The general rule for administrators is that they live/die by an annual contract which is renewed July 1. Therefore all of these bodies that are being pushed out of his/her positions are placed in schools, S.A. Moss Svc Ctr,, Jim Cherry, etc. until June 30 and they can all be disposed of properly.

This may clear up why these removed leaders are still appearing on First Class. And FWIW I personally know that people were laid off and remained on first class for up to a year recently...I chalk this up to messy housekeeping in MIS.

I know for a fact that Berry, Turk and Taylor are no longer in their high paying positions...now while they are probably still being paid per the contract..they are no longer leading the herd and emassing more problems for the students of DCSS.

Dr. Adkinson is keeping everything very close to the vest and not tipping her hand. Today is day 2 of the New Year workday at DCSS and the natives are worried and weary over what the next few weeks will bring.
We hate to see anyone lose his/her job but some corrective measures must happen to fix the district and salvage the reputation of the successful schools, leaders, staff and students.
A Quality Education and Effective Leadership Can Spell Success in DCSS and all Metro Altanta Schools!

Anonymous said...

Anon. 1:59 AM states...Frankie freeman daughter-in law of Dr. Robert Freeman. She came in the system as a school bus driver and after she married his son last i heard she was marcus turk admin. assistant.

Open.Georgia.gov lists a Frankie J. Freeman-Business Serv. Secretary-DCSS-$72,551.87 fiscal yr. 2011.

I, on the other hand, Teacher-10 years-3 degrees-$53,518.40

Boy, I chose the wrong field!

Anonymous said...

Check out the "new" organizational chart.

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

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Anon 6:14 - Ms. Bahamas Berry along with her Assistant was escorted out of the Palace by DCSS Security Police, was unable to pack her desk. Her things were shipped to her as well.

I know this by an employee at the Central Office. Things are happening and Dr. Atkinson is doing everything she can to make these changes with as little litigation as possible.

DCSS will be paying double for the next 6 months until contracts are fulfilled. Why do you think the BOE took so long to choose a Super? They wanted the friends and family under contract for one more year.

Give Dr. Atkinson a chance and let's keep the lawyers out of this.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:33am the organizational chart is under construction per the website/PDF

I guess this is posted for all the naysayers who think that Dr. A is not shaking things up!

Anonymous said...

@ nonymous 9:55 am
"I guess this is posted for all the naysayers who think that Dr. A is not shaking things up!"

I guess your point is that the Organizational Chart is a blank page?

Anonymous said...

@ Atlanta Media Guy
"Why do you think the BOE took so long to choose a Super? They wanted the friends and family under contract for one more year."

Actually, Ms. Tyson recommended all of the "Friends and Family" contracts to the BOE. It is Ms. Tyson's signature on all of those "Friends and Family" contracts.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 10:08a.m. My apologies I meant to include that the organizational chart is under construction, hence the Dr. A. shakeup comment. The cabinent member names are probably on a Velcro label to easily be removed.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon 9:33 AM. And the Under Construction chart was my point exactly.

Anonymous said...

The BOE would not allow Ms. Tyson to make major personnel decisions while she was Interim Super.

Cynical in Chamblee said...

The DCSS organizational chart has been that way (under construction) for months. It was even taken down while Ramona was the "interim." I for one, can't wait to see who's name IS NOT on it, as opposed to who is on it! The sooner, the better. Since all of these big fat contracts expire on June 30, maybe July 1, 2012 will really be an Independence Day for DeKalb. It is truly time for all of these "friends and family" dependents to be eliminated, not shifted and/or reassigned.

Anonymous said...

DR.Atkinson is cut throating all the way down to teachers, bus drivers rtc. Can't wait to see some of the waste in the school house replaced with competent, dedicated folk/. Some employees beat the students out of the building while some school parking lots are still full at 6:00 P.M. I just hope we cut back and not bring another friend od Atkinson in here . History can't repeat iyself.

Anonymous said...

The cut throat should include these elementary, middle, and high school principals/assistant principals at large who are just sitting on their thrones doing nothing all day long just shifting papers on the south end of the county.
Many were placed by area directors, CLEW, family members, sorority connections (AKA) and the new plan, Just Because I like You.
The schools on the south end are just running themselves academically.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:06
"The general rule for administrators is that they live/die by an annual contract which is renewed July 1. Therefore all of these bodies that are being pushed out of his/her positions are placed in schools, S.A. Moss Svc Ctr,, Jim Cherry, etc. until June 30 and they can all be disposed of properly."

Contracts are VERY clear in DeKalb County. The wording specifies that the contract is for a job in DeKalb Schools, but that the pay and assignment (school, department, etc.) is flexible and NOT guaranteed. The school system reserves the right to place you in whatever position they want with the pay to be commensurate with your responsibilities at that time.

Even Dr. Lewis made it clear during his last year that employees who are demoted would not be receiving their same pay for the next year - a Human Resources practice that was long standing in DeKalb Schools.

What should be of the utmost concern to taxpayers is the fact that Ralph Simpson made $113,697 last year when he was an Assistant Principal the entire year. He was an AP for the entire school year 2010-2011.

The average pay for DCSS Assistant Principals is $77,000, and Ms. Tyson told the AJC via her spokesman Alice Thompson that Mr. Simpson would be demoted and paid $89,599. There was no reason given to DeKalb taxpayers for paying Mr. Simpson $113,697 to be an Assistant Principal.

Out of 276 Assistant Principals in DeKalb Schools, please note that the Ralph Simpson is number 1 in pay and Mrs. Thedford is number 5.

Factoring in benefits Mr. Simpson is costing DeKalb taxpayers $136,000+ a year and Mrs. Thedford is costing DeKalb taxpayers $128,000+ a year or a total of $264,000+.

What kind of message does this send to Principals, Assistant Principals, teachers, and other hard working employees?

The AJC quotes:
"Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said the investigation uncovered a misuse of school funds that was “alarming,” “disturbing” and “unethical.”.....
...The district cut Simpson’s salary from $115,405 to $89,599, and Thedford’s from $105,615 to $93,168, district Chief of Staff Alice Thompson said.""

Ensuring the financial future of employees that have been demoted is not in the best interests of what taxpayers, parents, and students.

This is most unsettling. Taxpayers need some explanation for the discrepancy in what Ms. Tyson and Ms. Thompson told the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and what the state compensation data says.

We are tired of being told - trust us -- and then we find out that nothing or the opposite has been done. Delay, delay, delay and hope the public forgets is exactly why this grand jury is important. Nothing else seems to have gotten their attention.

sources:
AJC:
http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-fires-2-demotes-592425.html

Open Georgia (state salary and travel reimbursement web pages):
http://www.open.georgia.gov/

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:14
""The BOE would not allow Ms. Tyson to make major personnel decisions while she was Interim Super.

Would Ms. Tyson make a public statement regarding this or is this just your opinion?

Taxpayers were under the impression that they were paying Ms. Tyson $290,000 in salary and benefits (a figure she asked the BOE to give her and they approved) to direct resources back into the schoolhouse and improve student achievement.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-approves-73-000-807788.html

http://www.communityradar.com/story.php?title=interim-superintendent-ramona-tyson-gets-44-pay-raise--is-the-raise-legal

Anonymous said...

I also had a conversation with Tyson. Her hands were very tied by the Board during the "Interim". Dr Atkinson obviously negotiated to have a more free hand.

Cerebration said...

The only people with the power to tie the hands of any superintendent are members of the board. If the board prevented Ms Tyson from cleaning house, then shame on the board. In fact, if the board actually told her no she could not fire someone even for cause, then big shame on the board. I'm certain SACS would like to know that if it's true.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

I agree. If the Board did tie Ms. Tyson's hands when she sought to terminate personnel with cause or to eliminate non-teaching personnel to balance the budget or to save money that could be returned to the taxpayers or stave off a millage rate increase, then SACS should be involved. The Board was in essence making personnel decisions that were supposed to be made by the superintendent.

To Anonymous 11:14 am who commented "The BOE would not allow Ms. Tyson to make major personnel decisions while she was Interim Super." and Anonymous 3:57 pm who commented "I also had a conversation with Tyson. Her hands were very tied by the Board during the "Interim"." If you have information that the Board was dictating personnel affairs that were the purview of the superintendent, you have an ethical obligation to give this information to SACS. This is clearly against SACS accreditation's policy.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration asked about Rodney Jenkins, the PR guy that Tyson hired. Once Atkinson came on board, Walter Woods got that position. I would guess Rodney is regretting making the move to a job that did not provide any job security. He knew the situation he was coming into. I would not be surprised if he is looking for another job.

This is also why Tyson could not get anyone of value to come to the school system, she could not guarantee they would have a job when the new superintendent was hired. Would any of you uproot your family to take a job that could not provide any job security?

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration

Rodney Jenkins is still employed with DCSS.

He has a FirstClass email address on the FirstClass Directory. The FirstClass Directory is driven by payroll. It is updated on a relatively frequent basis - every few days. The FirstClass Directory is not a manual operation and has not been for quite some time. If an employee is on the DCSS payroll, he will be on the FirstClass Directory within a few days if he is in the Payroll database. If he is not on the DCSS payroll, you will not find him on the FirstClass Directory.

DCSS has 15,000 employees. The manual method had many errors and was very time consuming for the CTSSs to type in every employee's information. Payroll is a database and the Payroll database is set to merge and synchronize with the email database at short intervals. An easy software program.

If you want to know if an employee is still being paid, just type his name into the FirstClass Directory.

http://fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us/directory/

For example, you can see that Annette Roberts and Audia Berry are still on the payroll by going to FirstClass. DCSS employment for non-teaching personnel is truly the "gift that keeps on giving".

Anonymous said...

The board would not let Tyson make personnel decisions, but they were okay with allowing a 30-year contract to lease 9 of our public school properties to a commercial enterprise for profit and payoffs? And they are okay with focusing all their attention and debate on this very controversial issue when they should have been looking for a superintendent? Or, perhaps, did they already have Atkinson in mind and they wanted to pave the way for her entry smoothly by getting the dreaded cell tower vote over and done with before she arrived so no one could blame her for the demise of these schools which will surely ensue.

Amazing how they can throw money around like it is nothing when it comes to their reports to the press or their accounting of friends/family salaries, but when it comes to getting a good deal for a lengthy contract of prime real estate from one of the most fat industries during a recession (telecommunications is second only to oil when it comes to our GNP), they suddenly become baffoons who rely only on what they hear from cheesy sales people from the one provider that has publically stated its desire to exit the American economy as quickly as possible?

No wonder it is the Lakeside poster who is the only one with something to say regarding this article about positive education in the new year. Lakeside is just the latest special interest group to be sitting back, acting all nicey-nice and giving little attaboys to the board in hopes that they make it long enough to sign the checks that have been promised for their snack bar, aeromatherapy classes and frapachino machines.

Just like Fernbank advocating for SPLOST, Lakeside will stick by this board and the cell tower PTA board members will continue to blame the parents for the poor attendence at the T-mobile meetings when we all know the truth is right around the corner.

They had best think twice before they try to appear in any more staged newscasts on FOX or troll around the blogs pretending to be the "average" parent who thinks cell towers are nifty and some bands are just immune to the culture that has somehow infiltrates all the rest.

Tyson and Atkinson have a lot in common - mostly that they were both escorted into their positions without objections by the very people who are now being investigated for milking us all out of our hard-earned money. Don't continue to hope for the best as that time has long past. we need to look for the underhanded side to every decision that is made and every public statement that comes out of the central office until the time that children truly do come first.

You've heard of someone who can't see the forest for the trees? This school board and administration can't see the needs of our children for the billions of dollars stacked in front of their drooling mouths by the well-meaning, yet woefully ignorant taxpayers, parents, foundations, corporate sponsors, non-profits and other well-meaning groups or individuals.

This thing has to blow up before we can fix it.

Cerebration said...

I don't think I've read a comment I've agreed with as much as that one in a very long time. Very true stuff. Paul Womack was the driving force behind the cell towers. He pushed the issue through at one of a small handful of board meetings not attended by Tom Bowen. As Vice-Chair, Womack led the meeting and he drove this train down the track. Watch the video and you will see. It was VERY obvious that the bloc that usually pushes back Womack on every item, mysteriously rubber stamped his cell tower initiative, with the money all going into a big 'pot' from which affected schools can ask for funding for specially requested projects. ie: Lakeside, with their ready list of 'Valhalla' projects that they think need private funding, but that should actually be covered with SPLOST.

Fast forward - Atkinson comes up for a vote and voila! Womack is totally on board, after publicly having supported at least two other candidates. Conspicuous? You betcha.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Atkinson is trying to clean up the mess that the friends and family have turn the system into a money making company for themselves. parents and taxpayers must stand with her and give her all the support she needs, for this will take time.

I hope that she sends Robert Tucker and Ramsey home asap.
And please get someone who knows how to run a transportation dept. Frances edwards son-in-law had only played in a band when the system gave him a job as a admin and up the ladder he went. Her entire family is on the payroll. This man is over the school bus drivers and the safety of the children in dekalb.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 8:17 pm
"The board would not let Tyson make personnel decisions, but they were okay with allowing a 30-year contract to lease 9 of our public school properties to a commercial enterprise for profit and payoffs?"

It seems that SACS (AdvancedED) should bear some responsibility for accrediting DeKalb if the Board of Education blocked Ms. Tyson's personnel decisions.

I think the grand jury is a stand-in for SACS. SACS accredited Atlanta Public as their Upper Management pressured teachers to cheat on standardized test scores and DeKalb's superintendent and number 2 employee were indicted on racketeering charges.

Anonymous said...

If Turk is gone, then where is Jamie Wilson? I think he might be with Turk, at the service center.

Anonymous said...

Annette Roberts is still being paid for stealing books and only one cookbook was found in her school library. Then the nut was demoted and refused to take the job. Taxpayers are still paying this lady who still communicates with staff at her former school as if she is still in the building. I guess she is bored at home all day, so she is still playing the role as the cussing administrator.

Anonymous said...

I also understand that Ms. Tyson's hands were tied by the BOE and that SACS does know about it. That doesn't mean that SACS cares...

Anonymous said...

Ms Atkinson's personnel moves gives
DA James an excuse not to proceed with the grand jury investigation. He will say something like he does not want to interfere with the DCSS internal proceedings that are taking care of the situation.

The job machine DCSS and County officials have the perfect cover in James. He will not investigate or prosecute unless forced to.

Anonymous said...

I frequently see reference to Open Gov as the source for salary information posted on this blog. As an employee of the district who has looked at those numbers with the same curiosity as you, I can attest that they are not always accurate. My salary, in fact, is listed on that site as being at least $5,000 over what I'm actually paid. Last year, my salary was understated by over $10,000! So...I do not know where these figures actually come from, how often they are updated, etc. But you cannot trust that they are true. Several of my colleagues and I have had quite a good laugh at what we supposedly make - some of us wish it was true, while others are thankful it is not.

at 1/2 10:31 pm

Cerebration said...

Well now that is a concern. We've never heard that before. No state employees have said that their salaries are misrepresented. That includes all university employees.

Anonymous said...

If the Professional Standards Commission holds hearings and invokes a license suspension of personnel for ethics violations (like Simpson and Thedford), why isn't this "cause" to demote them or fire them?

Anonymous said...

Well, this is interesting.

Looking at O.C.G.A. 20-2-211 (2010) shows that:
"Each local school system shall have a job description for each certificated professional personnel classification, shall have policies and procedures relative to the recruitment and selection of such personnel, and shall adhere to such recruitment and selection policies and procedures. "
http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-20/chapter-2/article-6/part-6/subpart-2/20-2-211/

So DCSS Human Resources should have the job descriptions for every certificated employee (and yes even the Guillory's hold certificates - not teaching certificates of course, but a certificate called Support Personnel License) if they are in compliance with Georgia law.

So posting the positions, descriptions and pay scales of all these admin and support personnel should be a simple matter of uploading this information to the DCSS website.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:00 pm
"As an employee of the district who has looked at those numbers with the same curiosity as you, I can attest that they are not always accurate. "

The information for the state salary and travel audit comes from the DCSS Human Resources department.

I always found my salary was pretty accurate on this website when I worked for DeKalb not so long ago.

The DCSS superintendent signs off on the information reported to the Department of Audits and Accounts so Dr. Lewis and then Ms. Tyson have signed off on the accuracy of these salaries.

Here is the law:
"A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 6 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the Department of Audits and Accounts, so as to provide for the creation of and maintenance by the department of a website which provides public access to certain state expenditure information; to provide for a short title; to provide for procedures, conditions, and limitations; to provide for powers, duties, and authority of the Department of Audits and Accounts and the Department of Revenue; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes."

http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/sum/sb300.htm

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:57

"I also understand that Ms. Tyson's hands were tied by the BOE and that SACS does know about it."

You are implying SACS knows that the BOE interfered with Ms. Tyson's role as superintendent and did nothing about it. If you have knowledge of that, you should contact the Governor's office.

The majority of the DCSS BOE voted to give Ms. Tyson a $73,000 a year raise and another $24,000 a year in expenses.

Anonymous said...

Jamie Wilson is on FMLA (family medical leave act). He went out before the Christmas break.

Anonymous said...

10:51 pm... I've also been in touch with folks in the Gov's office, the legislature and State DOE ... I think they all know. I do encourage everyone who does know various "pieces of the puzzle" to also let these people know what they know.

Anonymous said...

BTW there is some inaccuracy in the myth that first class is tied to payroll. This is not factual there were people RIF'd and they remained on first class for almost one year and they were released June 30 2009 or 2010.

Those individuals were paid all monies for vacation and payroll on June 30 and their health benefits were paid until August 31, 2009 or 2010.

This information is not hearsay but a first hand account. I'll say it again, maybe MIS got a bit behind and failed to delete the accounts or maybe they thought the software would do it automatically with the payroll cycle but that can't be true because everyone within DCSS does not have a first class account.

A large majority of service center employees and custodians throughou DCSS do not have first class nor a computer to access the Internet while working.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:01
That is true that many service employees do not have accounts because DCSS pays by the account for the First Class service (this is a contracted service although e-rate funds much of it), but it is also true that FirstClass is tied to payroll. There are no data field errors in The FirstClass Directory (e.g. mispelled words, lack of capitalization, etc.), a situation that occurred occasionally to frequently when the CTSSs were inputting the information. There were "double email" addresses as well - for example, if a teacher transferred from one school to another, the CTSS at the old school had to remember to remove the teacher and the CTSS st the new school had to remember to add the teacher, and the names had to be consistent as well. In addition, if a teacher got married, some CTSSs would change the email address to her married name and some would not. User error was high.

Look at the organization field in the Directory. That let's you know which payroll cost center the employee is assigned to.

There may be payroll errors (payroll is human data entry so that will be a source of errors), but the data transfer from payroll to the FirstClass email system is pretty straight forward.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 0944 - the information you posted is in violation of Federal law.

Anonymous said...

@ Jan 4, 11:06 am, saying someone is on FMLA is not braking any law. The law is you cannot state WHY a person is on FMLA....

FWIW it is no secret in the Palace why he's out on FMLA either, however due to privacy laws that portion was not included in the aforementioned post.

Have a Premier Day!

Anonymous said...

Sharing what is already known "on the grapevine" about Jamie Wilson and why he is out on FMLA is NOT in violation of federal law.

It is in violation of federal law ONLY if it is provided officially by DCSS.

So, share away!

No Duh said...

Please don't share why Jamie Wilson is out on FMLA. I don't know who he is, or what his claim to fame is, but I don't think any person (no matter how corrupt or ineffective or whatever) deserves to be violated in that way.

Please don't.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I agree with No Duh. It is no one's business why Jamie Wilson is on FMLA. Would you want to be treated that way?

Cerebration said...

no worries no duh. we would take down private info. it's no big deal that he's out on leave, people take family leave all the time.

ps - Jamie Wilson, a former principal, is the head of DCSS human resources.