Friday, January 7, 2011

Fun with numbers

It isn't enough to simply say that you don't like one part or another of the redistricting and consolidation plan. That gets us nowhere in filling empty seats and closing near empty schools. Tuesday Night at Miller Grove is the first of 6 public meetings for the community to provide feedback on the plans presented. Bring your plan. Share it with Dan Drake and the MGT consultants.

Dan Drake is making it very easy to build your own school zone. He has provided three maps, one for north, one for southwest and one for southeast. Be warned, these are large files and if you have an older computer they take a while to load. Each map is has the number of elementary, middle and high school students who attend their HOME schools labeled by neighborhood and/or apartment complex. The first number is elementary, the middle number is middle, and the last number is high school.

You can print the area you are interested in and draw your own set of lines. I recommend that you look at this chart to get a sense of enrollment numbers that the consultants have set as goals.

Remember that if we are going to make any progress in capturing additional state funds and having a more manageable facility load, there has to be school closures and redistricting. That means that any plan you put forward impacts children, even if not your children. Heady stuff, I think.

TV Reports from meetings held last night

Meeting Recap:

January 2011
public input workshops (Updated!)
Miller Grove High School, Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Druid Hills Middle School (Shamrock Middle School), Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Chamblee High School, Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM
McNair High School, Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Bethune Middle School, Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Stone Mountain Middle School, Thursday January 20, 2011 at 6:30 PM

January 31, 2011
special called board meeting—Superintendent presents redistricting and school consolidation recommendations
February 22 & 24, 2011
formal public hearings, Administrative and Instructional Complex auditorium at 6:30 PM
February 28, 2011
special called board meeting—approval of school consolidation and redistricting recommendations


Anonymous said...

It's amazing that when the Citizens Planning Task Force came into being, the cries were that DCSS needed to do a district-wide redistricting, not just consolidate schools. Now that DCSS is doing what folks wanted, they're saying, "Slow down!" and "Redistrict anywhere you want... just not me."

Make up your minds folks.

Anonymous said...

Good luck speaking at any of the public meetings. Lakeside parents will be camping out in advance at each meeting site.

Anonymous said...

And the Lakeside folks should be camping out. If LHS was my child's home school and I was up for redistricting I would be furious. They need to remove all the out of district, special permission students from the school and it won't be overcrowded.

Cerebration said...

I have a feeling that the complex issues underlying many of our feeder patterns as well as a long-standing tradition of offering special permission transfers to so many "squeaky wheels" was not shared with the consultants when they set out to do their task. I am fairly certain that they went at it with the assumption that if there are almost 1800 students in a high school, then they must all live in the district (except those legally allowed choice from a "failing" AYP school). Lakeside, at last count, we estimated had between 400-600 students attending that do not actually live in the district. I said this the minute this process began - unless you cull those first, you cannot redistrict and ask neighborhood residents to attend another school.

If I were interested in making a case for keeping my home zoned to Lakeside, I would not speak on "fractured" neighborhoods or some such emotionally charged language. I would bring raw numbers (hint: the principal knows - make him give them to you - as Ms. Moton did). Demand that the special permission, fake addresses and admin and employee children return to their home schools first, then have a look at the need to redistrict.

Cerebration said...

Here's another complex issue that most likely wasn't brought to the attention of the consultants. Our school system has a habit of drawing the most amazing amoeba-shaped attendance zones in order to scrape a certain "cultural" group all together and ensure that they attend the same school. This has been going on at Cross Keys with the Hispanic community for a very long time - as Kim wrote about in his post -

One of These Things is Not Like the Other ...

Now - as I look at these maps - it appears that the same tactic is being used for Clarkston (land of the refugees). Bear in mind that the board recently approved the daughter of a DCSS official as Clarkston's new principal - someone with minimal experience as an AP - none as a principal - mere weeks after approving a policy against nepotism. Now, it appears as if they are going to great lengths in this new plan to park ALL refugees at Clarkston (removing them from Tucker and Druid Hills) along the same lines as Cross Keys immigrants. I mean, is it me - or did they just move a whole bunch of refugee kids from Druid Hills into Clarkston and then try to replace them with children from Leafmore? It looks like a fairly even swap to my eye.

Gee - sort of reminds me of the old days when the Supreme Court created a court order that DeKalb could not segregate it's black students and HAD to integrate the schools. I guess what was good for the goose, doesn't even apply to the gander.

Cerebration said...

One more thing - in order to refocus on consolidation of under-enrolled schools - which was the original goal - I want to repost the schools that caused this redistricting discussion in the first place. These schools are causing us to lose FTE pupil funding from the state. (My calculations estimated $11.5 million last year alone!) These schools need to consolidate and/or somehow be brought up to approved enrollment levels. Maybe we need to just do this enormous plan in phases - as the low-enrolled schools MUST be consolidated by June in order to apply for state funding with the expectation of a better outcome.

Below are the schools currently very much under-utilized, costing us lots of unrecoverable money from the state. On top of that, some of these are magnets, which already cost more than regular schools. So some schools are not only costing more to operate, but they are harming our ability to recover reimbursements from the state.


Atherton 66%
Avondale ES 67%
Avondale MS 55%
Clifton ES 66%
DeKalb Alternative 43%
DeKalb EArly College Academy 57%
DeKalb Night HS 17%
DeKalb School of the Arts 56%
DeKalb Transition Academy 24%
DOLA (Online) at McNair 45%
Dunwoody ES 65%
Eagle Woods Academy 51%
Elizabeth Andrews (Open Campus) 54%
Flat Shoals ES 57%
Gresham Park ES 49%
International Student Center 51%
Jolly ES 66%
Knollwood ES 39%
Margaret Harris 19%
McNair MS 60%
McNair HS 62%
Peachcrest ES 50%
Pine Ridge 61%
Rock Chapel ES 62%
Shadow Rock Center 69%
Sky Haven ES 42%
Snapfinger ES 51%
Wadsworth ES Magnet 32%

Question: Do the programs considered some kind of special program (alternative, special ed, etc) actually count against the system for low "capacity"? I would hope the state only looks at regular education schools, not alternative or special education programs.

At any rate, these numbers are really bad. These schools must be consolidated to meet our utilization goals. The big question is - do we really need to shuffle chairs at schools not on this list - unless it's in order to make room for students coming from one of the above being closed?

Anonymous said...

Agree Cere. This is probably why Dunwoody is so quiet. Most of Austin's "apartment kids" are proposed to be districted somewhere else, as are other area elementary feeders. The new Dunwoody elem will pick up the lion's share.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the story on the news last night showing Fulton County students being removed from their schools because their proof of residency didn't pass muster? Imagine if we did that in DeKalb County?! I know Gwinnett and Fulton invest time and resources into this.

In DeKalb, not only do we NOT check residency, we have a totally corrupt system of students managing to go to any school their parents/upper administrators/school board members want them to attend.

Cerebration said...

There's one more resource from this blog that I hope will be helpful - it's the story we did regarding the transfers - north, central and south. Very interesting numbers - who goes to school in their assigned district and who doesn't?

North vs Central vs South - what's the deal?

Below are the student numbers for each zone:

North DCSS students:
Living in zone: 13,202
Enrollment: 14,519
Capacity: 12,393 (2,126 over-capacity)

Central DCSS students:
Living in zone: 9,702
Enrollment: 9,244
Capacity: 8,798 (446 over-capacity)

South DCSS students:
Living in zone: 21,513
Enrollment: 18,267
Capacity: 21,192 (2,925 available seats)

Anonymous said...

Has NCLB and the AYP transfer option gone away? If not, won't we be be back in this same mess in a couple of years?

The overpopulated schools are also the ones that have been required to accept transfers. Will that no longer be the case??

Anonymous said...

I am of two minds on the issue of parents advocating to keep the status quo in their area. I know that we have to redistrict, and it has to be painful for some.

But Lakeside parents have always been involved in and supportive of the school. They haven't been asleep at the wheel and suddenly waking up to cry, "Foul." It is one of the only true neighborhood schools, and it's hard to fault them for wanting to keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that the consulting company does not know about the transfers. Data on transfers in and out and those going to private school has been available at least since Dan Drake took over. These numbers were used by the task force last year, and there would be no reason the consulting company wouldn't know about them. Someone at the meeting does need to ask, point blank, what are you doing about adminstrative transfers? They may have already made the decision that those who are there are grandfathered but whatever new policy will be put in place will be what happens from here on. They may have considered future forecasts without transfers, too. It needs to be asked so that the answer is on the record, but I fully believe they know about all of it and are making decisions based on a new (unannounced) transfer policy.

Anonymous said...

Under the centralization plan, some of the Austin apartments are going into Montgomery - between the seperation of the former Nancy Creek and Keswick families and the randomness of the "New"/"old" Nancy Creek/Kittredge redistricting, Montgomery parents are galvanizing to fight the centralization plan.

Cerebration said...

Like the mommy says, don't just complain - bring a plan of your own that makes sense and is fair.

Anonymous said...

Under no child left behind the district must permit transfers from schools not making ayp over a period of time to schools that do. Lakeside, therefore, by law will have transfers as long as it is one of the few successful ayp schools in the county. The consultants can not therefore rule out all transfers. Also under federal law any student who declares themselves homeless (which includes moving in with relatives after losing your parents abode) must be allow to register and attend the most convienent school. Hypothetically I could lose my house, move in with my parents in Gwinnett and send my children to Lakeside. There are no allowance for residency checks under this law. You meerely have to say you are homeless, At present we have somewhere between 1000 and 3000 homeless students a year. Any of them can also reguest transportation as well.

As for verification of residency I can see another office on Mountain Industrial tracking down the malefactors. Perhaps we could also give out rewards to parents who who accuse nonresidents?

Anonymous said...

I believe the district is looking at other NCLB options other than continuing to overcrowd schools. The annex options that are being utilized this year for Arabia Mtn. and Chamblee are perfectly legal remedies for NCLB transfers.

Anonymous said...

Since DCSS is revisiting all of its policies why not press the board for a transfer policy that requires verification? Should there be no admininstrative transfers? Should the recieving principal have the last say on whether to accept? Should there be a cpacity limit that says no more transfers after this point? Based on what I read on this blog transfers is taking on the status of one of those urban myths. Maybe we shuold have tranfer bounty hunters who get paid for every fraudlent registration they find?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Chamblee Annex, is it true the 90 or so students are headed back to Chamblee Property and the Annex closed?

Anonymous said...

Fast-forward to August 1, 2011.
AJC headline "DCSS has successfully completed its redistricting by a combination of under, over, re,and de-centralization and receives
$15 million from the State. SCW has a screaming fit that there was discrimination because two schools in her district were closed."

August 2, 2011 DCSS has the same administration and the same problems that it had a year before.

August 1, 2012 zzz zzz still the same.

Where did the $15 million go? To prevent layoffs in the administration and maybe even increase salaries.

You all are great people. But you only are spinning your wheels.

No Duh said...

At the start of Monday's BOE meeting Tyson recommended removing an attendance policy from the agenda until further notice. I don't know how to make a direct link to it, but if you cut and paste this you should come to the policy that was taken OFF the agenda just before discussion of the redistricting plan.

Please notice, the policy specifically addresses the children of "School-based staff," but leaves central office staff completely out of the discussion. Not in the policy, too bad, we'll do as we wish...

No Duh said...

Oh pooh! link doesn't work. I'll figure it out or cut and paste it...

No Duh said...

Posting in pieces:
Student Attendance policy (taken off table at Monday's BOE meeting)

First piece:

A student is usually assigned to the school serving the geographic attendance area in which the student resides. (A student’s residence is defined in Policy JBC, and attendance areas are discussed in Policy AD.) However, the DeKalb County Board of Education desires to enhance the educational opportunities available for students of the DeKalb County School District and therefore has established numerous school choice options through which District students may be assigned to schools outside their attendance area. Additionally, students may be eligible for assignment to a school other than the school in their attendance area pursuant to state or federal law.
Instances in which students may attend school outside their attendance area are outlined below. The District will publish written and/or electronic materials further explaining each of these options.
Students who do not reside in the District are not eligible for enrollment in a District school, except as required by state law or as provided below.
A. ESEA/NCLB Public School Choice
Pursuant to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind Act (“ESEA/NCLB”), students attending a school designated as Needs Improvement may be eligible to transfer to another school that is on the District’s list of receiving schools. Each year, the District provides notice to parents or guardians of students who are eligible for ESEA/NCLB transfer.
B. Special Needs Students
In certain circumstances, special needs students requiring special education student services will be placed in a school other than the school serving their attendance area, in accordance with special education procedures.

No Duh said...

Piece Two of Attendance Policy:

C. Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program (Senate Bill 10)
Qualifying special needs students may attend another public school within the District that has available capacity and that has a program with the services agreed to in the student’s existing individualized education program.
D. Limited School Choice (House Bill 251)
Students may enroll in certain schools outside of their attendance area where space is available. The House Bill 251 receiving schools to which a student may transfer are publicized each year after seat availability has been determined.
E. Other School Choice Programs
The District offers a number of academic options for students, including, for example, charter schools, magnet programs, and theme schools; these options are referred to as School Choice Programs. The available School Choice Programs and the relevant admissions criteria are published yearly. Every eligible student, regardless of circumstance, must follow the published criteria and process.
The Board, upon recommendation by the Superintendent, and as allowed by applicable laws and regulations, may move a School Choice Program to a different facility or cease the operation of a School Choice Program.
F. Children of Full-Time District Employees
Subject to review by the Office of Student Assignment, a student whose custodial parent or legal guardian is a full-time school-based employee of the District may enroll in the school in which the parent or legal guardian is employed, regardless of whether the employee and student reside in this or another school district. Transportation will not be provided by the District. Children of employees who do not reside in the District will not be required to pay tuition.
A student whose custodial parent or legal guardian is a full-time school-based employee at a theme school may enter the lottery to attend the respective theme school, regardless of the student’s residence. The student must comply with the school’s published admissions procedures.
Because of the unique nature of magnet programs, which have special admission criteria and competitive selection processes, children of magnet program employees will be given no special preference in the application or lottery process for admission to the respective magnet program. Students wishing to enroll in the program must follow the published admission procedures and meet the admission criteria for the program. Moreover, because of the special cost to the District in providing magnet programs, these programs are limited to students who reside in the District.
This provision does not apply to pre-K programs.
Employees’ children who, at the time this Policy is enacted, are attending a school at which they would not be entitled to enroll under this Policy shall be allowed to remain in their current school until they have completed the highest grade at that school.

No Duh said...

FInal Piece of attendance policy

G. Hardship Transfers
In exceptional circumstances, and on a case-by-case basis, hardship transfer requests will be considered. Upon receiving documentation of an extenuating situation, the Superintendent or designee may approve a recommendation by the Office of Student Assignment that a student be allowed to attend a school other than the school serving the student’s attendance area. State law allows for transfer requests in certain circumstances based on placement in a nonpermanent classroom or excessive travel time or distance, as specifically defined by state law and the rules of the Georgia Department of Education, and such requests may be considered by the District. For all hardship transfer requests, available capacity in the requested school at the time of the request will be considered. If capacity is not available, the Superintendent may approve transfer to another school in the District. Transportation will not be provided by the District.
H. Unsafe School Choice Option
1. A student who is the victim of a violent criminal offense, as defined by state law, while in or on the grounds of a public elementary school or secondary school that the student attends, may transfer to another school within ten days of the offense.
2. Federal law also provides for transfers out of a school that is designated as a “persistently unsafe school.” If a District school is designated as “persistently unsafe,” the District will provide procedures for students wishing to transfer from the school.
I. Seniors Moving out of the District
A current or rising senior at a District school who moves out of the District may complete his or her senior year at the District school if the student furnishes transportation, maintains regular attendance, and pays tuition as set forth in Policy JBCBA.

Anonymous said...

the piece of the puzzle left out of all of these discussions is: RTT. We got it, have no idea how Dekalb is spending it (haven't other counties already indicated) and must be assured that more funding will have to go to administrative costs. We have to have folks to create the assessments, tests, and curriculum that we force onto the teachers and students and others to analyze the data and outcomes. Trust me, we'll see a BIGGER administration with these funds added, not a smaller one. Barry will continue to have a position and we'll add another (does she have any relatives who need jobs), so that the curriculum can be adapted for these purposes.

Has anyone counted how many days kids actually have for instruction once testing and assessment days are taken out?

Redistrict so we can test more and hire more admins! Go go go! (sorry, had some frustrating school meetings today).

Anonymous said...

"The big question is - do we really need to shuffle chairs at schools not on this list - unless it's in order to make room for students coming from one of the above being closed?"

My answer is yes because we have schools that are overcrowded and need relief. This needs to happen. The only way to lower the student population at some of these schools is to make a series of moves.

Ex. School A is overcrowded but the neighboring schools are at capacity. 25 students move from School A to School B. 25 students move from School B to School C where there are empty seats. The enrollment at School B remains the same, but the overcrowding at School A is gone and empty seats have been filled at School C.

If you only look at the maps you just see attendance areas and lots of these line changes look arbitrary. You can't tell from the maps which schools are overcrowded. You need to print out the chart that tells the capacity of each school and how the enrollment changes with each redistricting option.

Cerebration said...

To help out No Duh a bit - here is the link to the page with "Pending Board Policies" - actually you can easily get to it from the DCSS home page - there's big text at the top -

Pending Policies

The list of pending policies is on the right hand column. The policy No Duh refers to is called JBCC-Student Assignment.

Anonymous said...

"Where did the $15 million go? To prevent layoffs in the administration and maybe even increase salaries."

So true. I think any parent who is facing their school being closed or their child being redistricted should be going to BOE meetings to ask Ms. Tyson - what are you doing in the way of decreasing the highly paid and numerous admin and support numbers. It would indeed be a shame if the DCSS students again took all the hits while Ms. Tyson struggles to save the admin and support jobs. This indeed is something you should write your BOE members about.

Perhaps Ms. Edler and Ms. Jester will be interested in the fact that Ms. Tyson has provided no figures for admin and support decreases while again asking the members of the classroom to take the economic hits. I don't have much hope for the others since so many of them either have friends and relatives in the system (doesn't Walker have 5 or 6 relatives - all non-teaching - working for DCSS?) and the rest of them seem to lack the financial acumen necessary to understand even the simplest of accounting figures.

Anonymous said...

@5:15 Isn't Mr Bowen a CPA with a high level financial job at some large corporation?

Anonymous said...

I think we’ve seen – with the inflated Central office salaries posted here, with the nepotism, with the charges the former superintendent faces, with the questionable ties between the DCSS Internal Affairs Office, a certain megachurch and a so-called PR flack – that we are not dealing with persons who even pretend that the rules apply to them. The BOE could well vote in a rules change governing administrative transfers and special permission – but do you think for one minute that will change behaviors? It will not. The next wave that will come to Lakeside will be the grandchildren of former board members. And so it goes. When I hear incredibly smart parents making cogent arguments for potential changes - it just makes me sad. You all are so much smarter than the people you are trying to lobby and your integrity presumes there is someone, somewhere, at some level in DCSS who wants to do the right thing and is capable of doing it. Show me that person. Not Mrs. Tyson. She doesn’t have the experience, education or wisdom to steer this ship. Not the BOE, because when a couple new board members asked the right questions Monday night they were effectively shouted down by others. It was reasonable for Nancy Jester to ask if laptops for Title One schools was a useful expenditure – especially since they go missing constantly! It was reasonable for her to want to see the data to ensure the purchase would improve achievement. The board members who cut her question off are probably related to the creeper who is stole the laptops from Henderson Middle. I’m (sorta) serious.

Cerebration said...

Clarification on the transfers - no one is suggesting removing transfers legally allowed by law (AYP, homeless, etc) - but there are literally hundreds of transfers in a variety of schools by letter of "special permission" from the superintendent. These are mostly children of employees of DCSS who somehow have been granted carte blanche to choose whatever school they wish.

Anonymous said...

Cross Keys is a needs improvement school already struggling with a large non-English speaking population, yet there are students at the school whose home schools are in other parts of Dekalb and who travel an hour or more to come to Cross Keys. Why? Who approved these transfers? Are these students counted as part of the zone population? Also, students are in the school for half a day to attend the technology classes and in some other school for the other half the day. How are these students counted? Add to that students who do not live in Dekalb, but attend Cross Keys, since there is no real verification of residency. Since I know about these issues, I question the accuracy of any numbers for student enrollment coming from the county for any school.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Why do people post utter garbage?

There are 38 students at Cross Keys are who non-resident students. Those are most likely students in the Technical School that is open to students from all over DCSS.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

i don't really think we have to worry about NCLB transfers for too much longer. LHS really did not meet AYP last year -- the numbers were really fudged so it was shown as making AYP and the transfers were negotiated. In the next few years, the numbers work their way up so that by 2014 the school must have 100% passage of all students to meet AYP (this includes students with disabilities and students who don't speak English). So all schools will fail and there won't be a receiving school on the list. I say, do this in steps -- step 1: close the schools with empty hallways that are only 1/3 full; step 2: move those kids into schools that make sense for those kids to attend and do something productive with all empty properties -- thou shall not be allowed to allow the empty properties to become blight -- they must be used productively -- at the very least razed to the ground and used as parks and fields; (3) thou must start enforcing residency requirements at the schools -- take note of the City of Decatur -- use a pi and pay a 25% commission to anyone they catch who isn't a legal resident (or something else just as creative) -- anyone wanting in to a DCSS school from another county or city school system pays tuition just like City of Decatur, anyone claiming homeless status under the statute gets a pi tail for a while to make sure they really are homeless, verify the residency of the kids and don't just put up with the cheating; (4) discontinue the practice of allowing anyone with any ties to DCSS to choose any school for their child -- -- you can send your child to your home school -- if you teach in a different school -- they can go there but can't take advantage of an AYP or magnet program transfer if you are in the home school from somewhere else... enforce the rules.... no special deals for bus drivers or sam moss or central office employees -- see what the home populations look like and then evaluate them for overcrowding; (6) keep feeder schools together -- no need to split up elementary schools -- okay to split a middle school but keep the elementary school in tack and seek to minimize travel time so kids can walk and new drivers can minimize driving distance for safety and fuel savings and energy efficiency for middle school and high school.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the consultants are aware of the nuances of DCSS --of how important and dissimilar the elementary schools are -- I think they are used to places and districts where there is much more parity between elementary schools and the high schools are the "biggie" -- many people would be much calmer if the reality was more pariety between the offerings of all the schools. If the adminstration took the time between the "closing" phase of step 1 and the "redistriting" phase of step 3 or step 4 to implement the suggestions of the "lost" Dr. Brown audit showing how overpaid the central office was, which has now snowballed and nultiplied (e.g. if the central office could be returned to what it should have looked like had those suggestions been implemented) and if all the offerings at each elementary school been the same (ala the Kittredge model -- 18 or 20 kids per class, art, music -insturmental and chorus, pe, foreign language, gifted and iep available as needed with compacting and specialists for 4th and 5th grade for core subjectis, you might have a willingness by the parents to move beween elementary schools so long as the local high school was able to offer the right advanced subjects for college admissions for those who are college bound and alternatives for career tech track folks for the non-college bound. This system does not exist currently in DCSS but I think the consultant are probably used to workign in systems that have more homogneiety in the offerings.

Anonymous said...

fyi -- Hendersons' current 8th grade class has been an NCLB receipient class twice -- once in 6th grade and again for 8th grade. The class was promissed that the NCLB kids would be required to return to their home schools for high school. I believe that there could be as many as 250 kids in this class on NCLB transfers. There are license plates that pull into the school from other counties -- don't know how those kids are there -- could be divorces with one parent living in district -- maybe not. Residency needs to be verified! PS-- there have been some pretty bad fights in the 8th grade in the locker room during gym and there has been gang activity -- my son has had a terrific 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know a good way to insist upon a staff audit? The idea is to figure out a way to make the upper level staff (maybe also principals) reapply for the jobs in some objective fashion -- e.g. the gifted coordinator should be checked for gifted certification; principals should have x number of years of teaching experience and x number of years as an assistnat principal and if they are in a title 1 school x number of years dealing with those issues; the instructor of curriculum should have those credentials times 2; if you are doing some other "line" job (purchsing or transportation or marketing or pr or the camera) you should have x number of years of experience in that particular field -- as would happen in the business world if you were hiring for a real world corpoearation (paul should get this but it might cross over into micro managing) -- my though is that there are too many overpaid friends and family and if there is some objective way to paid this picture it would make it really clear and be easier for Ms. Tyson to address the issue).

Anonymous said...

If you're interested Michelle Merrill did a nice write up called "Fail" in the Best High Schools Edition of Atlanta Magazine (recently releesed --2 DeKalb Schools made the list --Chamblee for language arts and Lakeside for Math/Science -- interestingly DSA did not make the list for fine arts -- but it would probably combine with a number of schools (Cross Keys/Chamblee/Lakeside to become a North Springs "top all round" shcol"). It's an interesting read on what a disaster CRCT testing has become (she's not so predisposed to the RT3 either)--it paints a pretty ugly picture of lost childhood as we prepare little robots for the test and not for real life. Go Micehlle!

Anonymous said...

Why was the post about Cross Keys garbage? You state "There are 38 students at Cross Keys are who non-resident students. Those are most likely students in the Technical School that is open to students from all over DCSS." The words most likely here are key. The original post was asking questions and questioning the veracity of county numbers, not attacking Cross Keys. I'd like to know the answers and would like to know how the county verifies residency, since that concern has been raised by several other posts.

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to note that if this plan goes through as presented there are some true losers, really the only true losers and those are the families redistricted out of Tucker and Lakeside and into Clarkston.

Clarkston and Freedom are schools in desperate need of a good plan. Neglected by the school system because it is beyond a difficult challenge. Tremendous school climate issues.

The students being moved to Clarkston are the big losers in this.

Now the hard question -- does it matter. If we have 10,000 empty seats with many in schools like Freedom and Clarkston, do we have an obligation to fill them?

Anonymous said...

ARe there few enough students at Clarkston that it would make sense to close Clarkston and merge it into Cross Keys since they seem to know what to do with these kids? (I'm just asking here).

Anonymous said...

I think Dan Drake and the consultants only consider students that have disclosed a true out of residence address to be "outside the resident area" students. They have no way of knowing which students are using a fake address or the address of a grandparent or aunt to attend a popular school.

I think this is what the Cross Keys writer was alluding to. I know for a fact this happens in my school area.

Anonymous said...

If you fill an empty seat with a "free and reduced lunch", the school system gets paid Title 1 money.
Now figure that into the equation as to why DCSS doesn't provide capacity numbers or nonresident numbers (say Clayton) or non-disttrict numbers.
When a student comes in from Clayton, they automatically sign them up for "free and reduced"--qualified for it or not, whether they asked for it or not.

Lakeside will be a Title 1 school (over 40%?) if this redistricting plan goes thru.

There's a lot of money (er fraud) at stake in this plan. They will not let go easily.

Anonymous said...

Clarkston received a big grant to restructure. I think it is in year 5 of needs Improvement. In addition, construction has begun on a very, very nice and large renovation. So I do not think DCSS would (or should) consider closing Clarkston.

However, they really need a wonderful administration that can work to bring the many ethnic groups together as a community school. I'm not sure that the new and inexperienced principal can do that. She has a tough job and I wish her luck.

Anonymous said...

@9:13 That is not how Title I works. YOu have to have a certain percentage of FRL students.

And the Title I money does not follow the NCLB transfer students.

Anonymous said...

Just found out Henderson Mill elementary will go from non-Title 1 to Title 1 if they lose students to Hawthorne.
The study should have included a criterion that no school would be "districted" into Title 1 status.
It's really lawsuit material and from that would lead a Federal inquiry into Title 1 fraud--the numbers of nonqualifiers would astound--and then arrests.

Do this DCSS and the Feds will be here soon.

Anonymous said...

I have had the understanding for some time that Henderson Mill was overcrowded, so I don't understand how moving some of the kids from Henderson Mill to Hawthorne in order to help with the overcrowding issue, and by the way it becomes Title I, could be considered fraud. Where else would they go? They can't go to Evansdale because they have to take some of the population from very overcrowded Pleasantdale. Maybe there could/would be some investigation, but would could it possibly turn up>

Anonymous said...

Do you know how to calculate a %?
I said "free and reduced"--same as FFR.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:13 - I actually can see how Lakeside could become a title I school. There are a lot of apartments in the Pleasantdale district, and they go to Lakeside. Having said that, what about the changes would affect the Lakeside numbers re: Title I? I'm not sure there is a significant change in the population of Lakeside. Most of the changes are happening at the elementary school level.

jjslider13 said...

Cere could you please remove the inflamatory comment by Anon 7:40. The man named in the post is a respectable wonderful person and his original post was his opinion. It takes alot of courage to post your name. Something most of us do not have. Me included. Thank you

Anonymous said...

@9:33. A school does not qualify for Title I funds unless 40% of the students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch (FRL) program. And yes I know exactly how to calculate a percentage.

But you said that a school gets title I funds for "filling a seat" with a student enrolled in the FRL program. Not true at all. All they get funds to pay for the student's meals. This is not the same as receiving Title I funds.

Anonymous said...

"If the adminstration took the time between the "closing" phase of step 1 and the "redistriting" phase of step 3 or step 4 to implement the suggestions of the "lost" Dr. Brown audit showing how overpaid the central office was..."

How the heck do you "lose" a $341,000 audit? Everyone knows it's still there - if DCSS HR was such a butterfingers, why aren't the BOE members having Ms. Tyson ask the consultants Ernst and Young for the audit and the summary they presented to the BOE. Ernst and Young was the product of the merger of 2 of the "Big 8" accounting firms so they have the resources to archive and retrieve.

Does anyone think DCSS "lost" this audit? It's not been that long since the audit was conducted - this blog was talking about it less than 5 years after it was paid for and performed.

Dr. Lewis used the audit in 2005 to justify a "raise" for BOE member Zepora Robert's daughter. It's stated in the BOE minutes that HR had the audit. Even if HR destroyed it, why can't the BOE have Ms. Tyson obtain it from Ernst and Young?
The traces are still on the BOE meeting notes and in the AJC archives. Wouldn't we all like to know who the 2,500 non-teaching positions are that were over paid by $15,000,000 a year? It would be interesting to compare their over payments from then to the over payments now. I'll bet they have grown tremendously. It's this kind of behavior that upsets parents/taxpayers when Ms. Tyson is shuttering schools and redistricting students.

It's understandable Ms. Tyson would try to protect her colleagues in the Central Office from unemployment, but parents are trying to get a decent education for their children and taxpayers are working as many hours as they can to make their mortgage payments and pay the ever increasing tax bills DCSS keeps presenting them.

Email the BOE (maybe the new members will be interested in getting the leverage to do something about the admin and support over payments that are draining the classroom of resources) and ask them to look into obtaining this audit taxpayers paid for and making it public.

Cerebration said...

Offensive comment above was removed. That's a rule around here - we don't call out people by name (unless it's to compliment them!) or unless they are a public figure and/or part of the school system or related agency. Anything we do publish should be strictly factual - do not use name-calling.

That said, I will go ahead and repost the link to the Dunwoody Talk blogpost on the subject of redistricting. I always enjoy that blog -

Cerebration said...

Also check out what our friend at South DeKalb blog has to say about the redistricting plan -

Very balanced thinking.

Anonymous said...

We need more laws -- DCSS should be prohbited from allowing the buidlings from being abandoned eyesores -- they must eithger be sold or razed and turned into pretty parks.
Next: I think that if the DHHS & LHS feeder schools want to accomplish any tinkering with the plan, they may be best off if they come up with some simple plan that can be uniformly presented to the BOE and Ms. Tyson in a unified fashion by all of the affected communities in a cohesive effort that they can all agree with so that it becomes a "no brainer" on the receiving end (note the comment on the south dekalb blog about the Fernbank effort and they haven't caught wind of the other efforts afoot) --it will probably work best if its simple and unified. Dunwoody gets what it wants because it is so coheisive and unified. Just my three cents.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody is about as unified North and South Korea.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Austin and Vanderlyn contingency is quiet on the boards; they got exactly what they wanted... exclusive (in the true sense of the word) rather than inclusive elementary schools. Let the other 3 Dunwoody elementary schools absorb the apartment dwellers, ESL, racially diverse and economically disadvantaged populations. They don't care if it's fair (which it's not), as long as it's someone else's problem and not theirs.

And if Dunwoody can't take on all of V & A's cast offs, apparently we can just open a trap door and they will fall through into Chamblee.

This is why I am wary of the "Dunwoody Charter" school system proposal, because what it really amounts to is a Vanderlyn & Austin monarchy. Separate and not equal is a sad mantra to be chanting in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

"Now - as I look at these maps - it appears that the same tactic is being used for Clarkston (land of the refugees). Bear in mind that the board recently approved the daughter of a DCSS official as Clarkston's new principal - someone with minimal experience as an AP - none as a principal - mere weeks after approving a policy against nepotism. Now, it appears as if they are going to great lengths in this new plan to park ALL refugees at Clarkston (removing them from Tucker and Druid Hills) along the same lines as Cross Keys immigrants."

The school system is intentionally placing the large immigrant population in one school, just as they placed the Buford Highway Latino population in a few schools with the most ridiculous, shamefully drawn school distirct in Georgia.

But because the immigrant population has no champions, and the Buford Highway cooridor has no champion (even though the latino American Association headquartered on Buford Highway should be), this BOE is going to get away with this.

It's shameful, and it's galling in how open and purposedly the BOE and Central Office is doing it. They know there will be know fuss, so even in the year 2011 with a black president, DeKalb County GA is segregating its immigrant and Latino student populations.

P.S. Do you think Sarah Copelin-Wood even knows we have Latino and immigrant student popualtions?? Or Jay?? And if want the best free comedy in merica, ask Paul Womack about how DCSS serves its immigrant and Latino student populations

Anonymous said...

No one wants to hear it, but if re-districting goes through, and i believe it should, it needs to be put on a rotation to be done at least every 10 years, but preferably 8. Gwinnett goes through it every five, and that's a bit too much.

But let's face it, the population changes in DeKalb very regularly. It wasn't very long ago that the Stonecrest area was farms and open space. That area exploded, but with the mortgage crisis, the explosion stopped in its tracks.

There is no guarantee that when you buy a house, you're school district is set for life. Decatur has gone through it. Their residents freaked when Westchester Elem. was closed, and when they added a 4th/5th academy. And it all worked out...pretty darn well too. Somehow in Gwinnett they manage.

All I'm saying is if re-districting goes through, it needs to happen again in 2018, 2020, or even 2016.

Anon said...

Anon 5:25 and anyone else who doesn't realize this, this plan is just Part I or a multi-part, multi-year plan that will be presented in full in August 2011.

You can expect far more changes in that plan, with enlarged/new schools, more closures, and more consolidations which will of course lead to more redistricting.

In the plan presented on Monday night, the consultants began that process by recommending potential sites for a new large elementary school in the McNair area.

They said that in August when they come back with their new plan, they will have recommendations for each and every empty building.

Cerebration said...

Two things: DCSS currently has more Hispanic students than white. Add the immigrant students from all over the world and whites are far out-numbered. However, the mantra is often "white/black" with these enormous groups overlooked. These students total well over 12,000 children. Sadly, I see no Hispanics or immigrants in leadership roles in DCSS anywhere. These students desperately need a voice on the inside (what would they do without Kim?)

Second, Anon you are exactly right. This plan must be enormous and somewhat painful and executed in phases. These consultants are calm, professional and tenacious. I am impressed at how they don't seem to get rattled with all of the immature, fractured criticism they have encountered. They just calmly continue to march on and work it out. I hope they will continue to guide the system through this process - and then I agree - the system needs to commit to addressing attendance every 5-8 years. The history of gerry-mandering in order to appease certain groups must end. It's the only way to get our schools in balance so that we aren't so out of whack as to the equity of services. We've made a horrible mess of that and it will be uncomfortable to fix, but it must be fixed.

Anonymous said...

@ Jan 7 8:49 post:

Clarkston HS and Freedom MS have less than 600 empty seats now. Yes, that's a lot but not enough to close the schools.

Cerebration said...

Think of it this way - if you bought a house that was built in the 1950s and the previous owners had never fixed a darn thing or updated the electricity or plumbing - you would have a lot more work to do than if you bought a similar home that the owners had kept updated and well-maintained.

DCSS has a BIG project to do to bring ALL schools up to standards, balance enrollments and bring equity to every school in the system. No more can they simply attend to the needs of the most vocal. The time has come to pay the piper and once and for all, offer a decent education to each and every child in the school system.

Anonymous said...

Question. To those concerned about clustering of groups into single schools. Don't many of these folks live in very close geographic proximity? Doesn't it make some sense to create attend ance lines by area? Are you saying we should not do this and instead increase busing, and thus costs?

Also, and I really am asking because I'm not well informed about needs of these groups, could there be some benefits? If a school has a large population that needs ESL, these costs are consolidated, but if they are dispersed, then so are costs. At least at the elementary level, do schools that have high ESL needs also offer foreign language to the other kids? From what I have seen they don't because of competing cost needs at the local school house. Are there efficiencies that can be created, with a concomitant commitment to quality education of course, if needs for services are consolidated that would allow additional equity of other services to other kids as well?

Teaching Science in DCSS said...

School redistricting is as old as segregated neighborhoods in the US: just plug "school redistricting" into Google and you'll see it's nationwide. States with significant black or immigrant populations seem particularly overrepresented in the hits that come up. Like Arizona.

I agree with your posters who note the neglect of any population other than African-American by many community leaders. It's appalling how few teachers bother to learn any Spanish at all, even if almost all of their students, year after year, are Hispanic. The walls are covered with Black History posters, so they clearly understand the importance of pride in one's culture. Yet they can't bother to honor their students by bridging the language gap just a little. One teacher told me "Why should we? It's not required."

Hispanic and African students, in general, are well-behaved in school. Their issues are often language skills and non-membership in the middle class, even in their countries of origin. They come from cultures that emphasize respect for elders and are accustomed to being seen, not heard. Then, after years of being seen, not heard, they drop out. It's a very different cultural style than that of African-Americans, and in DCSS, it's often the latter group who are teaching in the immigrant-populated schools. Take a look sometime at the ethnic "districting" of teachers, North to South County.

Redistricting will not solve DCSS's problems. Culling the incompetents and the lazy from DCSS Administration and teaching staff, would. Ask teachers whether their principal does a good job--we know the score here. Require teachers who aren't doing a good job, to improve, and give them effective help to do so. If all of the local schools performed at an acceptable level, redistricting would not be called for.

Anonymous said...

Both of the consultants proposals are too ambitious and fail to address the critical issue of educational equivalency. Here is my alternative proposal:

1) Consolidate the very small elementary schools so that DCSS receives the state funding and teaching resources that the schools do not currently receive;

2) Tweak the middle and high school feeder patterns only where needed due to any overcrowding caused by number 1 above;

3) Change Dunwoody elementary to a K-5 school and adjust lines accordingly;

Before we make major changes to other areas and feeder patterns the county must have a serious discussion/analysis of educational programs and opportunities in our schools, especially in our high schools. Block scheduling vs no block; IB, high achiever, gifted, performing arts, science/math magnets, AP, Fernbank Science Center.

I don't think a decision can be made on consolidating the existing magnets until this discussion takes place.

I am on the fence about closing Avondale high and middle schools. I suspect if magnets are not cosolidated that they will use these scools as a location for nclb school choice students.

Anonymous said...

oops "scools" should be schools. Darn, I wish there was a spell correct on this.

Anonymous said...

A quarter of DCSS elementary schools have 450 or less students. This can't be addressed by simply closing a few schools.

Anonymous said...

"Sadly, I see no Hispanics or immigrants in leadership roles in DCSS anywhere."

This is worthy of a seperate post.

Halford, Brown and especially Lewis virtually IGNORED the system's Hispanic and immigrant population.

All of the Central Office administrators in place now who have been in place for years, Bob Moseley, Alice Thompson, Ron Ramsey, Marcus Turk, etc. are COMPLICIT in ignoring the Hispanic population.

Sequoyah Middle is an example, a aging facility with pathetically maintained grounds. They actually had a Hispanic principal for a short time, but he resigned due to some poor choices he made.

The Board of Education is also COMPLICIT in their failure with addressing Hispanic and immigrant students and families.

It is absurb that DCSS fails with the recruiting of Hispanic teachers and principals and even some administrators.

Our highly paid HR Dept. head Jamie Wilson, a former principal with virtually no human resources experience, is fairly new.

The Fulton County school system makes sure their parent resource center is staffed with Spanish speaking employees, and a good number of their staff speak other languages too, and Fulton has a student population as diverse as DeKalb's, with a fair share of immigrants.

Let's see if Jamie steps up and recruits Hispanic teachers and principals. Gwinnett has does an admirably job with their Hispanic population. But DCSS is about black and white students, while maintaining a black administration, and everyone else be dammed.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand that this whole process has a large amount of tentacles and will take years to actually determine whether it was successful or not. By then, Ms. Tyson, the one making the recommendation to the BOE, will be drawing her pension and volunteering for New Birth.

Until I see significant change at the Central Office. We're talking resignations of all of CLew's leadership team and extreme cuts in the "so-called" Office of Improvement, this system is NOT going to change. Ms. Tyson you said it, EVERYONE MUST SACRIFICE!

One more thing, where is that 2004 Ernst and Young audit? Can we please see the entire report? Also, we need a totally new forensic audit on the Central Office combine it with the 2004 report, I think we'll find some huge cost savings and more dollars available for OUR kids teachers and schools not the Palace.

Anonymous said...

RE: the lack of Hispanic teachers/principals:

I completely understand that it would be a great advantage to these kids who are make up so much of the DCSS population.

But since when do we recruit/hire based on ethnicity? Some ethical and probably legal issues here.

Anonymous said...

'scuse typo in last post.

Anonymous said...

We really do need an audit on the central office salaries. It goes way beyond the folks you mentioned above. The Finance Dept needs to be audited alone under Marcus Turk. It is still going on..hiring of friends. The payroll div just hired another person from the state (just as the Finance Director said he would)when he had a qualified person on staff. Three people from the Payroll Dept recently retired leaving them short-handed. Only one person knows how to run the payroll.Lets hope she doesnt get sick or leaves the system. Turk or the Finance Director does not know how to process payroll. She has worked in the payroll dept for years but Turk refused to hire her because she didn't have a degree. Instead he allowed the finance director to hire his former state employee who just sits there, untrained while this qualified, non-degreed employee runs the dept. I work in the system and it continues those who do work get screwed while those who make the decisions get their friends, family or former employees hired.

Anonymous said...

"But since when do we recruit/hire based on ethnicity? Some ethical and probably legal issues here."

1) Schools with a large Hispanic population should at least have some Spanish speaking teachers and parent resource center staff.

2) Any large organization should be diverse, especially when the population it serves is diverse. DCSS is an overwhelmingly black administration, with some caucasians sprinkled in.

With the school system's Hispanic population hitting ten percent and increasing, along with a growing immigrant population, there at least needs to be strategies in place to provide outreach to those populations. Some more Hispanic teachers and principals is a clear need.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed "run by blacks," but that's not the real story. It is, in fact, run by a black mafia. And nobody wants to talk openly and honestly about the implications of this fact.

Ella Smith said...

I am affected by the redictricting. I live off Lavista on the side were Lakeside is located. My son will be a senior last year and I have been told he will be grandfathered into the high school he is now attending. However, the new plan has me districted into Druid Hill's district. My husband thought that they might have crossed the road on purpose here by request just to be mean to me. I hope this is not true. However, they did come across Lavista in this one area which was strange instead of making LaVista the line for Druid Hills.

Redistricting has to be done. However, I do hate to see the old Lakeside High School district divided before Henderson become a part of the district. The Lakeside District has deep roots and truely is a community school. For instance my husband was raised on the street he now lives. Many come back to raise their children here due to the Lakeside High School tradition. There is much pride. It is the community that makes Lakeside strong. It is not the school itself. The parents push their children to be successful and this is why they are in the Lakeside District.

By moving some of these parents to Druid Hills you are strengthening Druid Hills academically. Apparently some other students have been zoned out of the Druid Hills area also ion other areas. Some parents in the Fernbank\Druid Hills may be happy to have a strong high school at Druid Hill and by drawing these line they make just get what they want. Lakeside will be weakened some and Druid Hills may strengthened academically.

I am not totally upset about being in the Druid Hill's district. However, the lines should be drawn at major lines like Lavista or Clairmont regardless. I believe this is the issue Sagamore has had for along time.

Ella Smith said...

a senior next year

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Elementary has been " quiet " because we say "bring it on!" ... We are happy to have a job even if it means a paycut every year.... don't care where the kids live

Sent from iPhone

Anonymous said...

It is not illegal to specifically address the Hispanic population for recruting purposes, i.e. job fairs, outreach to colleges with significan Hispanic students, etc.

However it is illegal to either have a quota for hiring or to consider ethniciy when hiring. Hiring must be on merit.

Anonymous said...

I'm a resident of DeKalb County for 57 years. As a baby boomer and being a student in DCSS in the 50'd & 60's, they changed our schools in elementary and again in high school. My children went to DCSS schools in the 80's & 90's, and their schools were changed twice. I have also taught in the school system for 30+ years, being transferred, having my school moved, and dealing with students who's school assignments were changed. The end result......we all have done fine. No major issues. For that matter, children always adjust wonderfully, unless their parents have tainted their attitudes with negativism. It's time for DCSS to look at serious changes with long term vision. Work at being a part of the solution, and not part of the problem, and try to be positive.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post -- I just think that they really should not split the underlying elementary feeder school -- go ahead and adjust the homes feeding into the elementary -- choose a middle school and let the elmeentary feed into one middle school. Then let that elementary population stay together for high school. On the other hand, I don't have a problem splitting the middle school -- I think it would be okay to go back to split feeders into DHHS, Tucker and LHS so that each elementary feeds into the closest middle school and again re-feeds into the closest high school to save on busing and fuel and to facilitate walkers and new drivers. I think it is important not to split the underlying elemetary feeding in at the middle and high school level because it is critical that the parents really know each other for many reasons-- not the least of which is the "eyes in the back of your head" syndrome whereby my kids never knew how I knew so much. It is so important that the parents have the network to get information on what's going on with the kids -- both pro and con. From the "what grade did your kid get on the assignment or test" to the "when is the project due" to the party scene. We have kids doing things that they shouldn't be doing -- alcohol and drugs and the parents need to know one another so the kids can be watched. If you split the elementaries, then it is much more likely that the parents won't be able to have those eyes watching out back. (In case you're unaware, 2 years ago, a sophomore at LHS overdosed on heroine and was Dead on Arrival at the hospital-- last year about 4 freshman were sent to ER from drinking too much -- it's a problem -- we need to really know one another and confront the issues to begin to do something about it -- the private schools actually confront these issues head on). This is one of my really big issues with the transfers coming in from all over -- it's not the problems that they may be bringing it's that in order to really watch what is going on and to patrol, you really need to know one another and to know the kids and that's really hard to do with very high turn over and long travel distances. That, to me, is one of the most important aspects of the neighborhood school (the problems I've mentioned were all with neighborhood kids).

Anonymous said...

to Anon 4:15 and others with similar thoughts: if you have hard evidence of how things in DCSS is or has been run a set forth in the your post, please go ahead and contact Sally Yates and/or the public fraud division of the FBI and launch a complaint. Believe it or not, this approach with the DeKalb DA did really make a difference a year ago -- let's try it again with the feds.... Thanks. Please make sure you have hard, real evidence and hard, real complaints but each person has a small piece of a large puzzle that an investigator would need to piece it all together and each person needs to bring their small piece of the puzzle to the surface to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

More comments here:

Mo Downey was nice not to call Fernbank parents insane as they are.

Kim Gokce said...

"Career Tech kids"

CK Career Tech (formerly DeKalb Tech North) serve Dunwoody HS, Chamblee HS, Tucker HS, Cross Keys HS, Druid Hills HS, Clarkston HS, Stone Mountain HS, and perhaps Redan HS (not sure on that one). All the students that come to CK for a tech course are enrolled in their home schools for the purposes of capacity. The CK enrollment does not double count these students.

Cere: "... without Kim ..."

Thanks for the generous words but I'm just the figurehead - there's a large and growing army of supporters making things happen at CK. And, there are the kids - so amazing! Yesterday, I spoke to Vy Tran, Class of 2011, about her full ride scholarship to Stanford University. When I suggested she should sit with a reporter I know to be profiled she said she thought it more important to talk about CK than herself ...

On the subject of lines being drawn around and isolating groups, yes it is the habit of just about every public school district but I try not to focus on it - too frustrating. The Cross Keys Foundation was formed to serve every kid that comes through our seven schools where ever the lines are drawn.

On the subject of under-representation of "latinos" in DCSS, to me this is a non-issue at the high school. The faculty and staff are very well equipped to teach the children and the children do not need to be taught in any language other than English at these grade levels. This is part of their story - they overcome the language limitations with flying colors.

In the K-5 grades, however, this is perhaps a bigger issue. Even with that said, Vy Tran mentioned above came here in the 4th grade from Vietnam with no English and is now the odds-on favorite for Valedictorian.

On the general angst re-districting has and will cause, we should learn from Heraclitus:

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."

Once upon a time there were high schools at Sequoyah, Henderson, Shamrock, etc. in DeKalb. Not a single school I attended in Fulton Co. is open today. All things change and that is all we can count upon.

Kim Gokce said...

CK Tech also serves Lakeside HS - left that one off ...

Anonymous said...

I've been going over stat after stat and I have a question. At Chamblee, in 2009, the "minorities" were 77.1% of the student population. In DCSS, the white population is only 10.7% of the student population.

My question, when does the minority become the majority and the majority become the minority?

Anonymous said...

The term "minority" refers to "not White".

If a single white student were in a high school, he/she would not be termed a "minority".

If you peel the layer, you will find that "minority" used to refer to just African-Americans whose ancestors were pre-Civil War slaves. Now because of our 20th century demographic realities ( Hispanics, Asians, and new Africans), the term refers to all non-Whites.

Ella Smith said...

As a member of the Lakeside community the new redistricting plan sucks to say the least.

I do understand that redistricting must be done. However, the first thing they said they looked at according to the ones who designed the plan is how close you are to the school and another thing they said they looked at is keeping the community together.

The problem is that Lakeside High School is a community. The old lines before Lakeside consolated with Henderson years ago was a strong community for years and this community has continued its strength by including the Henderson community into the Lakeside community. However, the old Lakeside roots run deep and these are some of the individuals who are being excluding in the redistricting and moved to Druid Hills.

This has nothing to do with if Druid Hills is a good school. It has to do with being part of a tradition that in many cases (like at my house) that has been taught to our children about the pride and traditional excellence about Lakeside High School.

Like at Fernbank, people buy houses and pay more than they are worth in the Lakeside School district. Now the school district comes along and says you are going to another school.

People are worried about their house values. Are they going to remain the same? People are worried about their children not having that traditional pride and excellent high school experience they had and know their children will get at Lakeside.

However, things have changed lately at Lakeside. There is a big problem with stealing at Lakeside in the last year right in classes. The student population is not the same as before. There are those who are also angry they they are paying through the noise for taxes to live where they live and bought their house to go to Lakeside and know they are being told they cannot go to their closest neighborhood high school because it is overcrowded. It is not overcrowded by neighborhood kids and this does bother many as they pay a great deal of money to live in the area they are now being told they will have to bus their children to high school 6 to 7 miles away verses being able to walk or ride a bike. I see the Lakeside communities concerns. But they actually are the same as Fernbanks concerns.

The difference is that in the future this change will make a big difference in the population of students at Druid Hills. However, this also may just cause more parents to choice pivate schools or charter schools verse community schools.

I live close to Lakeside and I believe I might even be redistricted to North Druid Hills. It is real hard to read those maps online. I am wondering if this is deliberate on someones part.

Anonymous said...

The ugly reality is that the Ferbank and HMS/LHS communities who are being redistricted due to "overcrowding" are not going to "quietly" accept DCSS's decision until they are convinced that the overcrowding situation is actually legitimate. The folks who attend these schools (Oak Grove too) all know with absolute certainty that the overcrowding is a result of transfers being allowed in without any regard for true capacity. The transfers are allowed for No Child Left Behind, even though the law limits transfers based on capacity. The county allows special permission transfers. The county fails to check to see if a child is really homeless or is just claiming to be homeless. The County lets staff at various levels of adminstration (bus drivers, central office, sam moss, etc) choose any school for their children; the county lets faculty in non-AYP making schools transfer their kids under NCLB to a receiving school even if they live out of county and out of that particiluar feeder pattern; and many of the parents at these schools are aware of cheaters,including "noisy" cheaters -- many of whom are alumni who feel entitled to go to the school -- particularly LHS because they went there and have an attachment to the school but don't live in the district. I've left off the politician's children... the list is probably even bigger. There is no checking of residency. A coach has been recruiting at Tucker and Dunwoody and somehow succeeding and obtaining his transfers. Unless and until the populations at the underlying schools are "stabilized" to see what the "home" population is supposed to look like -- the county has no business addressing overcrowding by tinkering with the current feeder patterns and attendance lines -- address undercrowding to bring the schools up to 450 -- yes -- but not overcrowding. You have got to understand what the school is supposed to really look like before you go tinkering with current lines.... this is where the frustration is at HMS/LHS I think -- much more so than any sense that DHHS is an inferior school to LHS (which I'm sure it isn't).

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious, how will schools such as Redan HS, Miller Grove MS & HS,& Columbia HS be affected by the redistricting if at all? Will these changes affect the SID programs which are subject to school numbers?

Cerebration said...

This is all starting to get even more messy than I had envisioned. Sadly, if we had an administration we could trust, with a proven track record of fiscal responsibility, we would not have such push back. They are reaping what they have sown, IMO.

No trust. Too much bloat and favoritism at the top. Too much waste and abuse. There is no way people like this can sell a plan to people like the Lakeside, Druid Hills or Dunwoody crowds—especially while leaving Arabia off the table. They won't buy it - and they are all now fighting it very hard.

Check out Dunwoody's new petition -

Petition For Dunwoody Community Schools

Ramona - you have a lot of 'splainin' to do before these communities will follow any plan you put before them. Why have there been no changes or cutbacks to the bloated administration? Why are there people earning six figure salaries who also run businesses on the side - impossible if they were really devoted to DCSS.

Check out the updates on our post on this subject. How on earth can you expect hard-working parents to go along with painful plans put forth from leadership like we have now?

Ron Ramsey (with updates)

Ms Tyson and the BOE - you need to back up - cut out all special and administrative transfers (why did you remove this policy update from the last agenda?) assess spending - order another salary audit - cut the bloat from the top down before you dare ask communities to make sacrifices.

Sorry - even if your plans make perfect sense, as you can tell from the response, you have lost all credibility to sell it to the communities you serve.

Anonymous said...

Cere, can the petition have its own post so we can discuss?

Kim Gokce said...

No one has talked about this but isn't it most likely that the MGT recommendations only make sense as phase I of a multi-phased plan? Perhaps their recommendations would make more sense to more people if they could see the end state DCSS has in mind.

This has been my complaint from day one about Cross Keys ... I don't care about the intermediate steps - tell me what the desired state is and how you are going there. Seems it will be August or later before that curtain is pulled back.

I would hazard a guess that at least, in part, these current recommendations have behind them plans for additional closures. Moving students around now may be simply step one but that's just my speculation.

Cerebration said...

Oh - Kim - a "Vision"! I don't even see one described in the Vision 2020 Plan!

FWIW - the new post on the Dunwoody petition is up.

Anonymous said...

Kim,you bring up exactly what I and probably several other parents currently at Dekalb schools not CURRENTLY on the list are wondering. You are so right, I know I would feel so much better if I knew the vision (if one existed) Just because we are not named on a list this time, like you, I believe this redistricting is a multi-phased beast. So while they are for example not talking about closing Miller Grove High School, will they add on or finally open Arabia? Will Clarkston be redistricted to overcrowding and therefore affect other schools in the area (ie. an unexpected significant growth of ESOL students?) I just think it would be good to somehow try to help school communities in every area of the county to understand the dynamics and therefore hopefully not just think this only affects extreme north and south Dekalb, then look up suddenly in a year or two shocked by the impact or keep spending too many of our limited resources in fading areas?

Cerebration said...

This entire exercise is showing us that the county is just too darn big and not uniform. The "no more school districts" law was implemented back in the early 80s when we had around 70,000 students.

Since then - we've added nearly 30,000 students and if you can believe it, the following high schools have ceased to exist as high schools -


Cerebration said...

As far as a vision goes - Here is the link to the
Strategic Plan

Through the direction of the Superintendent [ ], the strategic plan is reviewed every two years with a complete revision every five to ten years.

To assure that the plan is congruent with current and future needs, the 2010 Strategic Planning Update Team composed of parents, teachers, administrators, auxiliary staff, business, and civic leaders, worked diligently to develop the updated strategic plan through a data-driven functional assessment process. The Hudson Strategic Group, Inc. served as external facilitators for the 2010 strategic plan update.

For more information please contact Dr. Sonja Alexander [ ], strategic planning chair, who serves as DeKalb County Schools' internal facilitator.

Mission Statement
The mission of the DeKalb County School System is to form a collaborative effort between home and school that maximizes students' social and academic potential preparing them to compete in a global society.

Vision Statement
"Setting the Standard for Educational Excellence"

Strategic Objectives
(measuring our success in accomplishing our mission)

improve student achievement
ensure quality personnel
enhance financial stability
provide a risk-free learning environment
increase effectiveness of educational initiatives
Value Propositions
(defining what our work produces that is of value to the community with specific Board of Education–identified priorities)

competent graduates, prepared for the workforce, college, citizenship
a highly motivated staff (teachers and non-teachers)
operational excellence
consistent, accurate communication
exceptional customer service
Strategic Planning Teams—Blueprint for Success
(organizing the work through a "change management process")

data analysis
access and equity
customer service
Strategic Initiatives
(major themes for improvement that impact the functionality of our schools and departments)

establish two-way communication protocol
establish systemic training for all employees
establish organized abandonment/adoption criteria
implement work-flow analysis to enable cross-functional collaboration


Cerebration said...

And more on the plans for saving $
Comprehensive Restructuring Plan

On November 3, 2008, the Board of Education approved the Comprehensive Restructuring Plan (CRP) recommended by the Superintendent. The CRP includes two phases or levels and a total of sixteen elements that yield, at minimum, $25.7 million in savings. In Phase I of the plan (2008-09 academic year), the elements include a reduction of 217 central office positions through hiring freeze vacancies; elimination of part-time and non-essential positions; staff restructuring; reallocation of positions from general to federal funds and employees taking advantage of the Early Retirement Incentive Option.

Additionally, DeKalb County Schools will implement a modified Transportation Efficiency Plan: cut central office equipment, travel, and supplies budget; cut by 2% central office employees making $100,000 and above; rescind the $2.00 per student supplement to principals; and eliminate three programs.

In addition to the cost savings generated by the Comprehensive Restructuring Plan (CRP), the Board of Education voted on November 3, 2008 to rescind the step increase, which impacts 65% of the total staff for a cost savings of $7.5 million.

In planning for the 2009–2010 fiscal year, phase two of the Comprehensive Restructuring Plan (CRP) includes a one-day furlough on May 25, 2010 (during post planning) for all employees. This one-day furlough accounts for 0.5% of each employee's salary. Also included in the plan is outsourcing grounds keeping staff and a reduction in professional travel by 25%.

Though not listed as a cost savings, effective fiscal year 2009 and moving forward, employee attrition will be closely monitored and analyzed as a cost savings measure. Only those positions that are considered as an essential function for the effective operation of the school system will be replaced. Cost savings from attrition will be calculated on a quarterly basis.

Anonymous said...

Should administrators who live out of the county get to send their child to Lakeside or any other school on an Administrative transfer? That's happening now and the DCSS administration approved it. Apparently, that's what Ms. Tyson wants to continue - administrative and support personnel "picking" the schools in DCSS for their children.

Ms. Tyson only wants to end the practice of teachers bringing their children with them to the school they teach at - a practice used at every other metro system to keep teaching competitive and attractive.

DCSS has got to be the most anti-teacher and anti-classroom and anti-student system in the entire metro system. This is why we are the lowest achieving system - more of our schools failed to make AYP this past year than any other metro system - we are behind APS, Clayton, and all the other systems.

I'm retired, live in the Lakeside area, and have no children in the school system, but I know property values cannot hold with practices such as this. I have enough sense to know that property values are tied to the school system.

Ms. Tyson's actions are not attracting and retaining the best teachers for DeKalb. She is not redirecting money into the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Ok... I have heard enough.. I want to give you an example.. Food for thought was we would say.

Yes, I teach in DCSS. Before I had children, I would be at school by 7:15 to help my student who could come before school and stay late for the ones that could not come early.

Now that I do have a family, I can not do those things anymore. I live less than 1.5 miles from my home elementary school. I drop my kids off at their elementary school every morning by the time I get to my school the bell is about to ring for classes to start. No more early morning tutoring for my students.

At the end of the day, I have to rush out to pick my kids up from their after school program that ends at 5. No after school tutoring for my students. Before anybody out there jumps up and states where is the other parent. They work out of town Monday - Friday. They do pick up on Friday afternoon. What student wants to stay late on Friday afternoon for extra help. NONE. I have a tried.

I work in North DeKalb, I live in North DeKalb, my kids go to school in North DeKalb.

In my cluster the schools work real hard to make sure that things do not overlap. It does happen but we do the best that we can.

I can not tell you how many Science Fair Nights, Pizza Night, Movie Nights, I have missed because my school has something planned for the same night. That is not fair to my children.

I am just saying, if my kids were in my cluster, I could drop them off and be at my school in 5 - 10 minutes tops. Still early enough to tutor. Also, in the afternoon they could go to an after school program where I did not have to be there until 6.

For me it would be a win, win. My students would win and my family would win.

But, what is depressing is so many adminstrators in the Palace who send their kids to my school. Adminstators who do not even step foot in a classroom to help students daily.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson will consolidate and redistrict the schools. Parents will not win that fight.

She will not cut Central Office positions or reduce admin and support numbers nor will she eliminate their perks (such as the practice of admin and support personnel - even ones who live outside DeKalb - being able to pick the schools they send their children to).

She is short time in this position, and whether she stays in DeKalb or moves on, these admin and support upper level managers are her friends and supporters. How exactly do posters think she got her job - from her vast experience in education (2 years as a teacher in the 80s) or business acumen (4 years as an Educational Consultant at IBM in the 90s) or her Technology expertise when she ran the overstaffed and non-performing MIS Department?

Remember Ms. Tyson convinced the BOE to buy eSis and SchoolNet in 2007 for $11,000,000 and promised returns that were never met. Taxpayers STILL owe for systems that do not deliver what she promised yet she received her promotion from Dr. Lewis for finding these systems and convincing the BOE to buy them - it's a strange world.

The Educational world is small at the top, and connections are everything. The Georgia DOE is filled with very high ranking administrators who once worked for DeKalb. They in turn have connections with present DeKalb employees and DeKalb personnel wo have moved into the very lucrative Testing and Educational Programs industry. For example, America's Choice has ex-DeKalb employees as well.

Career opportunities would argue against Ms. Tyson making moves in DCSS that will adversely affect the present administration and support personnel left over from Crawford Lewis.

Posters don't seem to understand that the moves Ms. Tyson needs to make are truly career ending. Can we blame her if she sidesteps those moves?

Anonymous said...

that may be the biggest reason of all that we so need for the Governor and SACS to take the system over and let us start over again. Vouchers would help too.

Anonymous said...

This fun with numbers would be way more fun if the numbers weren't fiction. I know they are at least for one school, because of data I got from that very office in the fall.
The data in the Res/NonRes table are wrong, the North map is wrong about how many children belong in Elementary school, at least for the one school I know about, and who knows how many more. Even the attendance district is wrong because the office of planning went by a 'narrative' rather than the DCSS database on transportation.