Friday, February 4, 2011

Enormous capacity imbalances - is south DeKalb overbuilt?

We have some very talented bloggers.  Recently, our resident Map Goddess spent a good bit of time plotting DeKalb County high schools on a Google map and then drawing a 1.5 mile octagon around each one.  The resulting graphic is very interesting—as you can see, the schools in north DeKalb are evenly spaced out, while several in south DeKalb actually overlap—and Arabia isn't even included! (Go ahead and imagine one more high school 6 miles south of Miller Grove and Lithonia High Schools and about 6 miles east of MLK—waaaaaay down in the southeastern corner of DeKalb—27.5 miles from Dunwoody HS.)

This graphic illustrates why balancing needs to push southward, as this is where the empty seats are. Worse, there are still additions slated to be built to MLK and Miller Grove with SPLOST 3 funding—funding that may need to be reevaluated and reassigned to perhaps fixing some of our older, needy middle schools as well as perhaps providing an auditorium for Cross Keys—the only high school without and not scheduled to receive one.

There is data accompanying the pins on the map. It is highlighted below, but click here to access the map yourself.

Chamblee High School
Utilization: 108% Educational Adequacy: 33 Technology Readiness: 78 Met AYP 2010: Y

Cross Keys High School
Utilization: 79% Educational Adequacy: 88 (highest high school in county) Technology Readiness: 90 Met AYP 2010: N

Dunwoody High School
Utilization: 120% Educational Adequacy: 81 Technology Readiness: 97 Met AYP 2010: Y

Druid Hills High School
Utilization: 108% Educational Adequacy: 73 Technology Readiness: 68 Met AYP 2010: N

Lakeside High School
Utilization: 137% Educational Adequacy: 22 Technology Readiness: 74 Met AYP 2010: Y

Tucker High School
Utilization: 107% Educational Adequacy: 82 Technology Readiness: 100 (highest high school in county) Met AYP 2010: Y

Redan High School
Utilization: 114% Educational Adequacy: 80 Technology Readiness: 78 Met AYP 2010: N

Stephenson High School
Utilization: 100% Educational Adequacy: 81 Technology Readiness: 73 Met AYP 2010: N

Stone Mountain High School
Utilization: 99% Educational Adequacy: 58 Technology Readiness: 74 Met AYP 2010: N
Stone Mountain

Cedar Grove High School
Utilization: 92% Educational Adequacy: 86 Technology Readiness: 67 Met AYP 2010: N

Lithonia High School
Utilization: 103% Educational Adequacy: 73 Technology Readiness: 72 Met AYP 2010: N

Martin Luther King Jr High School
Utilization: 146% (highest high school in county) Educational Adequacy: 67 Technology Readiness: 74 Met AYP 2010: N

Miller Grove High School
Utilization: 102% Educational Adequacy: 92 Technology Readiness: 93 Met AYP 2010: N

Southwest Dekalb High School
Utilization: 130% Educational Adequacy: 55 Technology Readiness: 73 Met AYP 2010: N

Avondale High School
Utilization: 81% Educational Adequacy: 45 (lowest high school in county) Technology Readiness: 59 Met AYP 2010: N

Clarkston High School
Utilization: 82% Educational Adequacy: 54 Technology Readiness: 79 Met AYP 2010: N

Columbia High School
Utilization: 82% Educational Adequacy: 68 Technology Readiness: 58 Met AYP 2010: N

McNair High School
Utilization: 62% (lowest high school in county) Educational Adequacy: 65 Technology Readiness: 73 Met AYP 2010: N

Towers High School
Utilization: 77% Educational Adequacy: 61 Technology Readiness: 55 (lowest high school in county) Met AYP 2010: N


For similar maps with corresponding data for MS and ES, click these links -

Middle schools


Anonymous said...

Looking at the middle schools...Chamblee and Peachtree are both newer schools, both built within the past 7 in the world are their educational adequacy scores so low?

Anonymous said...

Cere, Cross Keys made AYP in 2010, per the Georgia DOE site. I think they made it after summer re-tests or something.

Very compelling maps.

Anonymous said...

Is there any possible way the Map Goddess could add Arabia Mountain High School? I'm a techno-idiot or I'd do it myself.

It would also be eye-opening to highlight the high school magnet programs. Chamblee is in the north, but Columbia, Southwest DeKalb, and Arabia Mountain are all way south.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous data source and representation.

Should be be looking at middle school enrollments to give us a demographic snapshot of future high school enrollments?

Anonymous said...

Someone who knows the politics please tell me why Arabia Mt. High is so untouchable? It was pitched to the public to relieve overcrowding. Then they changed it without explanation.

Insider said...

Chamblee & Peachtree were built using different, lesser standards than are currently used. Since they don't measure up to today's standards (instead of the standards under which they were built) they score poorly.

Anonymous said...

The Chamblee MS/HS Educational Adequacy scores are switched - it's the HS which has a 33.

Anonymous said...

Don't know the capacity numbers at these schools...but some of the Rock Chapel kids would be moved from their school with 98 educational adequacy rating to Pine Ridge with a rating of 52...I hope the 2020 Vision report has some sort of improvement in place for Pine Ridge.

Insider said...

The same thing that happened with Chamblee MS & Peachtree MS also happened with Pine Ridge. Different and lesser standards were in place when it was built. Therefore it scored poorly compared to today's standards.

Anonymous said...

Many of the new school building are of poor quality and workmanship. It's really a shame when you think of the money that was spent building the school to have things falling apart, a few years after they are built.

Ella Smith said...

Great work.

The conditions of the new buildings may actually be a reason that the school system filed the big law suit. However the money spent in attorney fees may have corrected most of the problems.

However, I am shocked at the number of high schools there are in the south side of the county. The problem was definitely in planning in South DeKalb. It looks like to me one of the high schools in South DeKalb may need to be closed to put the high schools at capacity verses shifting from the Northside of the county. The high school problem is too many high schools in the south side of the county very close together. It looks like the southside of the county was overbuild and due to lack of performance now many students from the southside are coming to the north which is impacting the attendance areas in the northside of the county due to the AYP transfer students. I do believe the students in the southside of the county need adequate and quality instruction. However, I feel the problem is more that all the administrators we have have not went into these schools to make sure adequate progress is being made. Data must be checked in these school. Benchmark testing must be analyzed and if the teachers are not making progress then these teachers need to be replaced. I do believe this is possible. However, the school board and adminstrators must demand it and follow through. It is time to stop listening to excuses. It is time that these students have the same quality of instruction. It is time that if any student in DeKalb makes the choice not to properly prepare for standard test given to all students in the county that these students are failed. We do not need to continue to lower the standards so the students can be successful. We need high standards at every school in DeKalb County. The students in many cases are traveling to schools that have higher standards for students than their home school. This needs to be a thing of the past in DeKalb County.

Anonymous said...


It would be interesting to have someone research and post the SPLOST dollars that have spent on each high school renovation--including all of the change orders. People would be surprised as to the amount of money that has been spent to overbuild and renovate many of these high schools. Arabia Mountain High School (AMHS) should be included in the discussion. How can DeKalb administrators keep ignoring the fact that they "changed the rules" during the game with the opening of AMHS. If this new redistricting plan is supposed to be "county wide," then all high schools should be included. Also, since less money was allocated and spent on Cross Key's "total" renovation, some of the newly found $30 million SPLOST dollars should be used to add an auditorium. The DCSS Board of Education and administration continues to treat us as if they are growing mushrooms. They keep us in the dark and cover us with manure.

Anonymous said...

Gene Walker "protects" Arabia Mountain HS and made a speech about this during one of the BOE meetings this summer. He was defending the decision not to use the tons of empty seats at AHS for the school choice transfer students. I am paraphrasing loosely, but he said it was a very "special" and historic area and needed special treatment.

No Duh said...

Checking the BOE meeting agenda for Monday night.

BOE Policy for Attendance that was pulled for further consideration during the January meeting has not made it back onto the agenda.

So, we're going to see the Superintendent's recommendations for the number and size of our schools, but there is no definitive BOE policy outlining where our teachers and central office staff can send their own children. And we KNOW there are thousands of these children in the system.

I am praying for Ms. Tyson to make good strong recommendations and that she stay strong throughout this process. She does, however, need to make the BOE see how important it is to the overall plan to have a BOE Policy that addresses the current staff's school choice perk.

Anonymous said...

The data pretty much reminds me of the County Bond issues. The $340 million, libraries, parks, infrastructure Bond issue was about 90% spent
(or mis- spent)in South DeKalb. The same is true for the $100 million green space bond issue. Then there is the untold millions of development bonds, none of which seems to find its way to North DeKalb. And the dismal results seem to equal those of the school system.

On Wall Street, they say cut your losses. But here there is no choice except to keep throwing money down rat holes.

Anonymous said...

@ Ella, Good data has to be used and right now there isn't good data to use. Until DCSS can get quality data on children than looking at data and using it is a futile point and another waste of time. This comes from a teacher who really believes in using data, and knows that it can be used to improve instruction and student performance. Teachers in DCSS, just don't have the type of data to do it correctly, so why bother.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody is looking at adding trails and bike paths, and connetions to schools is a big part of it. DCSS and the county MUST start working together. Better sidewalks, intersections, trails and bike paths to and around schools are no-brainers. The CDC is right here in our county, and a great resource for data, test studies, and possibly grants. But it only works if the county and school system work hand in hand. It's our tax dollars they are wasting.

Provide children with routes to school that reduce their dependency on parents automobile and government provided buses

Reduce roadway congestion, thereby saving energy and improving air

Provide more direct and safer travel routes for bicyclists and

Increase residents’ ability walk or bicycle to restaurants, shopping, entertainment, recreational facilities, and places of employment

Increase opportunities for recreation and exercise, thereby reducing the trend toward obesity

Sustain development and property values

Anonymous said...

Cere, could you please correct your original post? The Educational Adequacy scores are wrong. Chamblee High School has a 33, the second lowest. Lakeside has a 22.

Cerebration said...

Sure - I can correct the post, but the original writer will have to correct the maps.

Thanks - it really does take all of us to keep this blog as accurate as possible!

Anonymous said...

Hey citizen school leaders out there (The Marshall Orson's, the Faye Andresen's, the Amy Powers', the Kom Gokce's, the Ernest Brown's, etc.):

We all need to DEMAND that the BOE posts meeting minutes online again. They did so through July 2010, and just stopped. This is blatantly unethical, if not possibly illegal.

The Ramona Tyson-led Central Office is intentionally or unintentionally stonewalling parents and taxpayers by failing to post the meeting minutes of every BOE meeting.

C'mon Jeff Dickerson and Walter Woods, how come y'all are suppressing information instead of releasing it?

Ella, since you're such a big supporter of Tom Bowen, how 'bout calling him and asking him why, as leader of the Board of Education, he is allowing the Tyson Central Office to hide important information from the public.

We should not have to ask the DeKalb Delgation to help us with this, but we are.

This has to stop, right now.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:06

Obviously, they have the minutes since they are required by law to have them for public consumption. It would take less than a minute to upload the minutes. Why isn't this happening? What's Ms. Tyson and the BOE's reasons? By law, their votes are supposed to be recorded in these minutes and the discussion is supposed to be listed. Reading BOE minutes is how we found out about the 2004 audit stating DCSS was overpaying non-teaching personnel almost $15,000,000 a year and Lewis convinced the BOE to do nothing about it.

Jo Newman Russler said...

I'm confused as to why Chamblee Charter High's "Educational Adequacy" score of 33 and Lakeside High's score of 22 are not considered lower than Avondale's score of 45. New math or unconscious bias? The map is terrific, and coupled with the scoring results, should put to rest once and for all the argument the the north end of the county gets more resources. It says to me that instead of addressing the very real and difficult problems resulting in low-performing schools, DCSS and BOE threw money at them.

Ella Smith said...

Every week when I meet with my PLC Biology Team we use data to drive instruction. We all take the same test in Biology regardless of who is teaching the class so we can compare who mastered to standards and who did not. We also compare and see as teachers who got the material across and who did not. We discuss what the teachers did who got the best scores and try to taylor our teacher to get better results. This is what using data is all about.

We determined what we did horrible on the EOCT and realize we need to spend more time on this area and use different techniques to be more successful. Data should help drive instruction. I was hoping DeKalb teachers had the data to drive instruction also, but I guess I was wrong. I was told by school board members they did have access to data to drive instruction on a constant basis. I must have been misinformed.

Loretta said...

The Maps - the errors have been corrected (hopefully) and changes have been made to reflect Tyson's recommendations...

Cerebration said...

Thank you Loretta! Awesome maps!

2 boys mom said...

@Ella Smith- your team is on point. As a school counselor, it was difficult to help teachers to realize that "data is our friend". It helps to plan, teach, diagnose and reteach. The school board doesn't need access to the data, they wouldn't know what to do with it. Teachers need it to show that they are doing their job and are changing their instructional methods to truly teach content, not just to pass a test.

2 boys mom said...

@ella data...Im referring to the data that teachers get from students each day. 5-10 questions to check for prior knowledge of basic concepts, understanding of standards...not CRCT. Ive never worked in Dekalb so Im not sure if teachers have been trained on how to use data effectively (and painlessly :-)

Unknown said...

Cere or Loretta - Could someone remove the comment that Avondale HS has the lowest educational adequacy score(45). Lakeside is lowest (22) followed by Chamblee (33.) Thanks.