Friday, October 2, 2009

An American Story Right Here in DeKalb

We were recently directed to an article written by Jamie Gumbrecht and posted at her blog about her visit to the International Community Charter School in DCSS. It's amazing to think that within our DeKalb County School System is this charter school full of promise - the genuine original promise of what it means to come to America. The video highlights a story of two boys - one born an American and one a Burmese refugee - who became fast friends at the International School. The school suffers great challenges as it is comprised half of refugees and has no official school building. They struggle to meet their annual funding goal of $400,000. But amazing things are happening here - you may recall ICS student Genevieve Wilson who won a national poster contest for World Refugee Day and was flown to DC, stayed at the Ritz and was presented an award by Angelina Jolie! Her poster will be exhibited at the National Geographic Museum.

In addition to the article and video above written and produced by the New York Times, the school has been highlighted in the Christian Science Monitor with the story of "Little Bill Clinton", as well as the inspirational story, "Outcasts United", by Warren St. John (also the author of the NYT piece.)

We need to rejoice for this school, be glad in it - and support them in any way that we can.


To make a donation to the school click here.


Anonymous said...

The DCSS Central Office has done everythng in its power to discourage charter schools. Crawford, Turk and Moseley view them as a threat. It's sad, but the charters persevere. Bless them!

Ella Smith said...

Charter Schools have every right to exist.

This appears to be a great Charter. I can remember when it was first started. The founder worked very hard as a leader to make her vision a reality.

However turning public funds over to a Charter School also comes with challenges. It takes a great deal of business sense to run the business of a school. It is not as easy as just wanting it and hiring teachers. You also have to provide benifits and pay for benifits.

Many Charter Schools also have been caught abusing funds or misusing funds. We do not hear as much about that. I worked for a Charter School temporarily and it was scary as an employee. I did not know if I was going to be paid from month to month.

Paula Caldarella said...

The DCSS Central Office has done everythng in its power to discourage charter schools

But yet, DCSS okayed this Charter School.

Anonymous said...

"But yet, DCSS okayed this Charter School."

It took a whole lotta kicking and screaming for a long time to get DCSS to finally do so. It really took a lot out of the parents. Just ask the group from Avondale how hard DCSS has made their charter process. it should not be an easy process to start a charter, but it shouldn't be as rife with roadblocks and barriers from DCSS.

Cerebration said...

The agenda for Monday's BOE meeting lists approval and denial of charter applications. I don't know the specifics of the schools listed, but here is the link to one that (IMO) really has their act together...(is this the Avondale group you mentioned Anon?)

Cerebration said...

I especially admire their child-focused daily schedule:

. What is a typical daily schedule?
In the early grades, a typical daily schedule is as follows:
7:30 AM - 8:00 AM Before school program (voluntary and fee-based)
7:45 AM School is open to all students
8:00 AM School day begins
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
-Core Curriculum Reading
- Writing Workshop
- Mathematics
- Hands-on Science
9:30 AM & 10:15 AM Mid-morning breaks
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch - exact time depends on section and Recess
12:45 PM - 2:15 PM Paragon® Curriculum - Integrated study of world cultures that incorporates
- History
- Geography
- Art
- Drama
- Music
2:15 PM Afternoon break
2:15 PM - 2:50 PM Physical Education
2:50 PM - 3:30 PM Spanish
3:45 PM - 4:45 PM Afternoon tutorials (free if prescribed by the teacher)
3:30 PM - 6:00 PM After school program (voluntary and fee based)

Cerebration said...

Both of my children suffered through a middle school schedule that consisted of Algebra at the end of the day... after 5 or 6 other classes - and no kind of recess... ok, now let's do some Algebra! (It didn't work out too well for either of them.)

Anonymous said...

"But yet, DCSS okayed this Charter School."
They turned down the petition to create a middle school on the same model. No substantive reason given--DCSS just didn't like to give up control of the money, never mind what the school would have done for the kids.

Anonymous said...

still can't understand why Lakeside parents (council) aren't pursuing Charter--now they can bypass the county and go to the state.

Anonymous said...

Lakeside has a "private school dress up" day this week (for homecoming week joke)--saddle oxfords, plaids and jackets... I guess you could call tnat "Charter School Dressup" just as well.

They ought to be serious about it.

Anonymous said...

"Private school dress-up"....that's hilarious! Unfortunately, two of mine have to play this every day.....

themommy said...

Actually, conversion charters can't go to the state if the local system denies them. The local system owns the building.

Anyone have any insight as to why Tucker High was denied a charter tonight?

Also, this discussion about the sick leave policy for DeKalb employees highlights just how bad our board is... Pathetic

Anonymous said...

I did not watch the board meeting tonight but would be interested in a quick update by someone.

Regarding Tucker High being turned down for conversion charter status, I never understood what types of waivers they were asking for.

I also have never understood why Druid Hills dropped its charter. Was it because they wanted to be an IB school?

andi said...

"Private school dress-up"...Funny
We had Farmer Day when I was in school.

Cerebration said...

I've slacked off guys! I missed the Board meeting altogether - even on the tele! (Too much work - which is good, actually!) I'll try to catch it on a rerun - and in the meantime I hope people who did catch the meeting will share their notes.

Cerebration said...

We once posted an article about the hard-working folks trying to start charter schools -one being the DeKalb Prep Academy and one in Avondale Estates - it's a program called "The Museum School" and is quite unique.

Once again, the fabulous Neighborhood Newspapers and Kyle Dominy have given us the story, Charter school on tap for Avondale Estates?

There is one quote I would like to highlight:

Sarah Copelin-Wood, who represents Avondale Estates on the county school board, said the application was denied due to a recommendation by school administrators.

She said she was not opposed to the creation of the charter school but said she wished efforts would go into improving existing schools.

“It is totally up to the parents to send their kids to school where they want to,” she said. “I’m not opposed to them starting a school, but I wish we could combine our efforts in our [existing public] schools.”

My advice to Sarah C-Wood is to create a board and administration that is open and willing to conceive and implement some of these innovative ideas on their own and maybe these folks will talk. As it stands now, it is very, very difficult to affect change and participate in a meaningful way in many of our schools - heck parents are fighting like mad just to try to reinstate recess!

Anonymous said...

Sarah Copelin-Wood, who represents Avondale Estates on the county school board, said the application was denied due to a recommendation by school administrators.
“It is totally up to the parents to send their kids to school where they want to,”


If it's only up to the parents, why do we even need you and a Board of Ed, Sarah?????

And Sarah is one of the BOE members pushing for a attorney based on race, not cost or expertise.