Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Public Input Workshops - Updated Schedule

The schedule of Public Input Workshops has changed due to school closings this week. Basically everything moves forward one week. All meetings begin at 6:30 pm.

Tuesday, January 18 Miller Grove HS
Wednesday, January 19 Druid Hills MS
Thursday, January 20 Chamblee HS

Tuesday January 25 McNair HS
Wednesday, January 26 Bethune MS
Thursday, January 27 Stone Mountain MS

The Dekalb School Board is scheduled to review the proposals on January 31st. Now is the time to write the Dekalb School Board and express your opinion.

Here are the email addresses:

Mr. Thomas Bowen, Chair -
Mr. Paul Womack, Vice Chair -
Ms. Sarah Copelin-Wood, Board Member -
Mr. Jay Cunningham, Board Member -
Ms. Donna Edler, Board Member -
Ms. Nancy Jester, Board Member -
Mr. Don McChesney, Board Member -
Dr. Pam Speaks, Board Member -
Dr. Eugene Walker, Board Member -

Ms. Ramona Tyson, Interim Superintendent -


The rest of the schedule changed as well:

Superintendents Recommendation to BOE:
Mon., 2/7; 6pm BOE Mtg.

Public Hearings:
Tue., 3/1
Thur., 3/3

Final Vote by BOE: Monday, 3/7


Anonymous said...

The changed the rest of the schedule as well (You might want to change your original post.)

Superintendents Recommendation to BOE:
Mon., 2/7; 6pm BOE Mtg.

Public Hearings:
Tue., 3/1
Thur., 3/3
Final Vote by BOE: Monday, 3/7

Anonymous said...

So we have to wait one more week (until March 7th) for the BoE to announce, errrh, I mean to vote on the plan they've already decided on???

Anonymous said...

Why aren't these called charettes?
It sounds much more sophisticated as better befits DCSS.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the redistricting proposals shoved "The Demand" right off the front page (or the web page or whatever is more accurate to call it in this day and time.) I guess that Ramona's raise won't get the outcry it would have, as parents reserve their outrage to oppose the proposed attendance zone changes. While Central Office personnel may be criminally incompetent when it comes to educating children, they certainly are strategic.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else notice that the county website changed the inclement weather policy? Originally, it said no make-up days and teachers would have to make up any missed days to complete their contract. Now, there is a much longer explanation and it seems to be hinting at adding days to the end of the school year if more than four days are missed. Do a Google search and see how they changed the policy (look for the archived version of the site), did they think no one would notice?

Cerebration said...

You know what Obama just said? He was talking about Christina Green - the little girl who was killed in the Tucson rampage. He said we need to make sure that we all live up to our children's expectations.

How true.

Anonymous said...

Why bother adding days to the end of the school year. Once CRCT is completed, from what I can tell, instruction has as well. From the state comments on testing, I also wonder why we do testing so early in the schedule in Dekalb. Why not push it later and have more instructional days leading up to it.

Does anyone else sense that once the CRCT is done, instruction ebbs significantly? I'd also say that once the fall semester is over, EVERYTHING is geared to the test. But what do I know? I look at what is brought home from school and all the "worksheets" are CRCT practice sheets.

Had a long chat with my kid in elem. school and asked what they do all day.....feel bad, sounds boring. Very little critical thinking exercises, primarily read the book and do a worksheet, read the book, do a worksheet. What does everyone else hear? My experience with kids is that they learn by doing. You want to learn moon phases....make a model and demonstrate the pictures using a light and a rubber orb... We really take a very limited approach in the "normal" classroom.

Anonymous said...

Cere at 9:19,

Amen. And at the same time, so depressing that we're in such an uphill battle, in the public school system, to live up to our children's expectations. This school system/BOE, and its machinations, are the only truly impactful detractors, to my family, in what is otherwise a great place to live, the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. Such a shame, and waste of opportunity.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:24 your account is dead on. Sad but true. Public schools fail to realize something that every private school that I have visited understands. Preparing kids for the tests means, getting kids involved in deep thinking and understanding of ideas, engaging kids, getting them to question and find answers. Worksheets and rote work do not get good test results, teaching kids how to critical think and gain a deep understanding of what the material is, gets that, not test prep books, not computer syms of tests, etc

Remember teaching in Chicago, where I just taught the kids and didn't go all of the reviews and mindless work with the kids and they came out with the best scores, even though I had the "low achievers."

Anonymous said...

@ 10:49 - how do we change this??? Honestly, this to me is MUCH more important than redistricting. I try to do these exercises with my kids at home, and send them to educational camps etc., on the weekends and in the summer. But, my incredibly bright 4th grader is very bored, and it is starting to show. Thus my questions. And, honestly, I cannot imagine what it is like for the student who does not do well on tests....forcing test-format practices on a student who already resents this type of study.

What is the administration doing to free teachers to teach creatively in the classroom and to hire teachers willing to do this. Really, it can all be fun, even when worksheets are included. Fractions and fruit! Reading and putting on class plays (even just in class), language arts and Jeopardy. Worksheets don't cut it for kids. There's no excuse for having elementary students spending more than 3 full days testing (I was furious to hear that benchmark testing took full class periods of testing out of a kid's day). This time could be so much more usefully spent.

You want teachers to be held accountable? Give them the ability (and the requirement) to be creative in the classroom. Beasley, this isn't working. Tyson, find someone who can dig their hands in and get kids to thinking - not puking inane knowledge. Trust me, these kids are ALL capable, give them the chance and the motivation to THINK and they will.

Anonymous said...

I think this circles back to the fact that we don't have principals who have had many years in the classroom, we dont' have adminstrators who have had many years as principal and as teachers and we dont' have someon in charge of instrctuion and school improvement who has many, many, many years of classroom experience and years as a principal experience. The inexperience in the classroom shows up in the way the classes are conducted. The more expereinced the principal and the supervisor, the better the training withing the enterprise, the better the eduacation for the child. The is a reason other systems emphasize experience.

Anonymous said...

The problem that I see in DCSS is that first their are many. One large one is that the decision makers for school policy, discipline, how standards and material are taught, have very few years of experience. Teaching for 2, 3, 5 years does not make a teacher good at the craft of teaching. Even after 15 years of teaching, I had so much to learn, so much I wanted to learn, but no out let for my needs of learning, as anything that I knew could not be used/done openly in class and was against DCSS policy.

I grade papers turned in on time. No, according to DCSS, I have to document trying to get work from students 3 times and then get permission for a zero to be given-fat chance that is going to happen.

I believe in teaching material in depth and making sure that children truly understand why they are doing what they are doing in math. In DCSS we have a week if we are lucky to teach long division to children who haven't mastered multiplication-how much is really learned from what I am teaching? At this point information is being shoveled in.

I believe that you teach everyone the way that you would a gifted student, encourage them to think deeply, question, and find answers to their questions. This is not promoted in DCSS.

The only way that I see change happening in DCSS, and in public schools in general is for parents like yourself who see their children wasting their time and being bored to tears is to work and develop charter schools. I know I personally would love to start a true charter school, a school were expectations were high for parents, teachers, and all staff. A place were life long learning was a given and students were taught that learning is fun and exciting and not the memorization of facts.

If you leave your child's education up to the public school system, I fear the your child will be turned off by school by eighth grade, if not sooner and go through the motions to get the grades that you expect, but not enjoy learning and definitely won't see any value in it.

Also, I would have your child read quality non-fiction books like The Real George Washington, The Real Benjamin Franklin, The Real Thomas Jefferson, The Greatest Stories Never told series, and other non-fiction like this that shows your child in depth what was happening and going on in the periods of time that are glossed over and taught in a politically correct manner, as not to offend anyone. Take your child to Kennesaw Mountain, Andersonville, and other Civil War site sprinkled throughout the state for weekend day trips or even a family vacation.
Make history and learning come to life at home.

I grew up right outside of Philadelphia. I have been to the Philadelphia sites more times than I can count, as I was a child of the '80s and my dad was often laid off from the mill and we could do those things for free or next to nothing. These visits, along with a family vacation to Washington D.C. are the memories that I have and sparks to being a life long learner.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, any parent who allows their child to sit and play video games and watch countless t.v. programs is just as bad as the public education that most children receive. These activities too allow a child's brain to go unused and not critically think. These activities have been scientifically shown to alter a child's brain. Get your kids involved in cooking and doubling a recipe or cutting a recipe in half or quarters or a third. Get your child to help you decide how much paint you will need to paint a room. Allow your children to make mistakes (safe ones of course) and learn from the decisions that they have made. Encourage active thinking, so that your child will be able to be a leader in today's society.

I have reconnected with friends from high school and we are constantly commenting on how stupid people are and by stupid we mean that they don't think. I believe that not being able to think is becoming an epidemic in society. Not sure if it's planned, but it's definitely happening at an alarming rate all over the country.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:36 our entire administration lacks time in the classroom-This is the biggest problem in DCSS. How can you make decisions that effect thousands of kids with a handful of years of teaching/classroom time yourself. A teacher doesn't get good at the craft of teaching until about year 10 or so, and only get better with longer classroom time, until they get burned out, and then it is time for them to leave.

Anonymous said...

Then isn't this the change that we should be reflecting on, and calling for, and screaming about?

I understand the frustration about student numbers and redistricting, etc., I really do (have been there). But, really, it is the total lack of comment (and commitment) to doing something to EDUCATE the kids that has me in an uproar.

I'm one of the folks who supports IB, specifically IB PYP. Parents all over the county should be trying to implement this program. It promotes love of learning. It requires integration of concepts across curriculum. It promotes international understanding. The BIG ONE? It is reviewed, regularly, by an external committee to ensure that the program requirements are being met. Does it involve assessment? Yes, but applicable assessment, not inane memorization.

I am glad a few seem to understand that this is the meat of the problem in our system. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone else is worried about school lines, friends, and traditions. I just want my kids to be challenged and to learn to love learning. (I'm doin' all I can at home, believe me, but what about those parents who cannot, or don't know that they need to - these are the kids suffering).

Anonymous said...

Oops. The IB PYP thing is important because it involves oversight that our own administration is incapable of. If our system would do this, then there would be no need. Trust me, I know it is not an end all.

Why do the numbers in IB shrink in high school? Pretty clear, it requires a commitment (big) to community service as a component. NoTE: we don't have a central office IB coordinator wasting money; like the gifted coordinator, these folks were let go last year. We kept the productive central office folks, the ones who are successful at improving our schools.

Unknown said...
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