Saturday, July 2, 2011

IMPORTANT: School Choice and Millage Rate meetings next week

There are several important meetings scheduled to take place next week. First we have a series of community meetings regarding school choice. Parents of students in schools that did not make AYP will be very interested in these -

Public School Choice Community Meetings

Tuesday, July 12, 2011—6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Wednesday, July 13, 2011—6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Thursday, July 14, 2011—6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Administrative and Instructional Complex—Auditorium
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

For additional information, contact Dr. Linda Crowley at 678.676.0309 or Dr. Cleophas Jones at 678.676.0381
or click here.

Also -


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following Public Hearings on the Millage Rate:

6pm Tuesday, July 5, 2011
12:00noon Monday, July 11, 2011
6:00pm Monday, July 11, 2011

J. David Williamson Board Room
DeKalb County School System's Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain

Meeting information can be accessed online by going to:, click on Board of Education and Meeting Information.

[We at the blog try to keep meeting information up to date on our "Mark Your Calendar" page, accessible from the right side panel of the home page.]


FieldsGrove said...

Where can I find a list of which schools did or did not make AYP for 2010-2011?

Cerebration said...

Copy and paste this link to more information -

There, you will find a presentation and a letter from Ms. Tyson. One of the slides in the presentation says,

It is anticipated that the Georgia Dept.
of Education will release the 2000 –
2010 AYP Report between July 5, 2010
and July 16, 2010

However, this is subject to change . . .

Anonymous said...

I wish they would present some data regarding the performance of students who switch schools.

Parents need to know that yes, moving to a better-performing school can be of great benefit to a kid who sincerely wants to learn. But if your child skips class and doesn't do the assigned work now, that is not going to change.

I have seen so many kids transfer to my school (which did make AYP) and fail miserably. The expectations are higher--sorry, but they are. Parents should think about what is really going on and not use a transfer as the solution when the school was not the problem!

themommy said...

Another thing to keep in mind, is that if parents opt for a transfer, their child loses access to the tutoring that is an option that is available for students whose schools haven't made AYP for a certain number of years (two or three). If you have a child who is significasntly behind, this may be a better option than transferring.

Cerebration said...

I'd opt for the tutoring. I think a good tutor can make an enormous difference. In fact, I would wage a bet that the students who do the best - even at the "high achieving" schools - do well because they use a tutor. The A+ Learning Center in Tucker is always jammed...

September said...

I agree. When your child is having trouble in school, a good tutor can make all the difference. I'm not sure the school-based tutoring is all that helpful. A one-on-one experience is much more productive.

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough, remaining in the home school and taking advantage of tutoring has not been emphasized as much as the transfer option. When I worked at a non-AYP school, there was very little mention of tutoring. Not even sure where/how it was inplemented.

Of course the home school has to take care of the logistics, training, and so on for tutoring. Encouraging kids to leave is much easier.

There should be some criteria for transferring--at least a 2.0 GPA, perhaps? If not, a student should be required to actively participate in tutoring at the home school for at least one year before being offered a transfer.

I taught one young man this year who was 18 and in the tenth grade. I asked him why he transferred and he said he wanted some new people to hang with.

teacher said...

Do AYP transfer students get to go to schools if the new school that they are attending does not make AYP?

Anon said...

you can be a "sending" school if you don't make ayp for 2 years in a row. You can be a "receiving" school if you have failed one year but made it the other year. In the case of Lakeside, they technically "failed" but they "tinkered" with some numbers of some of the subgroups (or one or two of the subgroups) last year and, voila, a passing school. Another "trick" is to really look at the subgroups. A school like Lakeside may be doing really well for one subgroup but failing miserably for another -- but it seems to be doing "great" if you look at the "overall" picture of things. I think you should only be allowed to transfer if you are part of a failing subgroup and then should have to transfer into an environment where that subgroup is actually passing. Right now, there is a huge disconnect. Also, no one is tracking just how many kids at schools like Lakeside and Dunwoody are "doing great" because they have outside tutors being paid for by parents -- I know an inordinate number of teens in this category. The numbers are skewed without this information.

Cerebration said...

As far as I'm aware, the tutoring is provided by outside vendors. The state provides a long list of approved vendors - like Sylvan, etc. All the school has to do is organize the students with the contracts I think.... You're right - it's not emphasized, so it's hard to know how it's accessed. But I would really push for this for my child.

themommy said...

And actually, to not make AYP now, you have to miss the same subject for two years in a row. So, a school can miss the mark one year in ELA and the next in math and they still will be considered as making AYP.

In terms of Lakeside, I believe it was the State DOE that did the tinkering. I think that Kathy Cox was embarrassed at the high percentage of high schools that missed the percentages needed and since she was planning her exit strategy, the tinkering happened. She was trying desperately to convince the outside world that things were going great in GA! (I could be wrong, but that is my sense.)

Cerebration said...

But she is --- Smarter than a 5th Grader!!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me if this means that the cell tower issue will not be on the July 11 agenda? If they are having a millage hearing at 6 p.m. the same day, does that mean the regular public meeting will not take place?

themommy said...

No. The regular meeting will be held the same night. Because there is no millage rate increase, they probably aren't expecting many people to come out for the hearing, which is required by the state each year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks themommy. Do you know how to get a preliminary agenda for the July 11 meeting? Before the June meeting took place, our PTA sent an email letting us know about the possible cell tower vote. It was stated that they had a preliminary agenda that had been handed out at the meeting prior to that one. Well, I went to the June meeting and they did not hand out a preliminary meeting agenda for July. Or, at least I did not see one anywhere. So, if they hand these out at meetings, why are they not online? Shouldn't they let us know a little sooner than 24 hours before a meeting whether or not they plan to cover a topic so we can prepare for it if the issue concerns us? Also, do you know how one would go about sumbitting an Open Records Request? I thought I saw a link to an online form on this site somewhere, but I can't find it now. Thank you!

Cerebration said...

I try to post the agendas on the meetings page as soon as I get them (linked by Mark Your Calendar on the right side panel of the home page). Sadly, they usually don't arrive until the day before the meeting. If anyone has a preliminary agenda, please send it to

Also, the board secretary who sends out the announcements is Margaret Francois. You can email her here:

The Open Records Generator can be found at the link with that name under Our Favorite Links on the right side panel of the home page (there are a lot of good links there, BTW). Or copy and paste it from below:

Cerebration said...

BTW - I just don't see how the board can agree to the cell tower thing. There's no way for this to be equitable. They are in essence, asking a few neighborhoods to live with an eyesore that could possibly deflate their property values while putting the profits into the main pot for all to share. The home school PTA s get a one-time donation, however, Medlock is closed, so who gets their money? Also, if they place a cell tower on a vacant property, will that prevent them from ever being able to sell that property or convert it to greenspace? (Churches and schools are the only places exempt from zoning laws against cell towers.)

Cerebration said...

Also, they will be having a personnel meeting at 4 pm tomorrow before the millage rate meeting. (How on earth can anyone work a regular job on top of serving on the board?)


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting at 4:00pm, Tuesday, July 5, 2011, in the Cabinet Room at the DeKalb County School System's Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain. The called meeting will adjourn to executive session in the Cabinet Room for the purpose of discussing personnel and legal matters.

The meeting agenda is attached and information can be accessed online by going to:, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information.


Thomas E. Bowen, Chair
DeKalb Board of Education

Cerebration said...

In addition to the AYP transfers, the HB251 transfers will be available (at one point they were not...) The deadline is fast approaching (JULY 8th) - so act now if interested...

Here's the link to more "choice" info --

School Choice

House Bill 251 Open Enrollment will be available June 20, 2011 through July 8, 2011.

House Bill 251 lottery will be held on July 18, 2011 in the Auditiorium at the DeKalb Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

Anonymous said...

I do not think they have published a list of which schools made or did not make AYP. The school systems get to include summer school retake scores and sometimes this changes the final tally.

I think it was the school system that recalculated Dunwoody. Same thing for Chamblee. The latest list of AYP data is the September 2010 list on the DCSS website. Go to "Test Scores" page.

Someone forwarded me an email from the Druid Hills principal. It says the receiving schools are Arabia Mtn, DECA, Druid Hills and Chamblee. I don't see how they can possibly put more students at Chamblee. It is already very overcrowded and half the school is going to be demolished. This is a serious safety issue.

A school can be a receiving school if it is not in "Needs Improvement." Needs Improvement is 2 years of not making AYP in the same subject.

According to the Sept. 2010 data on the DCSS website, the following schools "could" be receiving schools:

Arabia Mtn, Chamblee, DECA, DSA, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Lakeside, and Tucker.

According to the chart Dunwoody and Tucker both failed to make AYP in 2008 and 2009 but made AYP in 2010. Because they are not Title I schools they can be receiving schools.

Anon said...

Dunwoody did not make AYP this year, at least that is what I am hearing and thus remains a Needs Improvement School. Probably the same thing happened at Tucker, etc. Dunwoody was not a receiving school in 2010 because it was NI.

Keep in mind that some schools will be on the list and actually have very few spaces.

What someone should be asking is why DSA isn't going to be a receiving school? There are literally hundreds of seats in the building now and the basic staff is already in place.

It is inappropriate to spend all that money to keep a building open and not consider utilizing that space.

The principal of DSA makes a similar salary to every other high school principal yet has less than a 1/3 of the students. DSA should be a receiving school.

The system has been forced to utilize Arabia Mt as a receiving school. It is time to do the same with DSA.

Dekalbparent said...

Also in the email from the Druid Hills principal was the fact that they are going to have three trailers. There may be more - it depends on how many kids they get (remember, they are getting some of the Avondale HS students as well as NCLB and HB 251. This doesn't seem to fit the intent of the law - overcrowd a school while leaving seats at others (especially Avondale HS - don't necessarily have to put them in DSA, but why not get teachers not needed at the under-enrolled schools and bring them and the students to Avondale?)

Three trailers doesn't sound like a lot, but all trailers have to be in the parking lot, because there is absolutely nowhere else to put them. There is very little parking there, and when they had trailers from 2009 - 2010, the faculty parking pretty much filled it up - students who has classes or internships or dual enrollment were out of luck.

Anon said...

Beasley said no more annexes. If Avondale had remained open, it couldn't be a receiving school since it hadn't made AYP in well, forever. So, no annex, no Avondale High option.

Using DSA is the logical, economically responsible thing to do as well as the ethical and morally right thing. Plenty of space, an existing infrastructure, etc.

Keep in mind that DSA doesn't have sports (nor does DECA). Parents may not like the choices, so they don't have to opt in. The system is not required to give popular choices, only choices. DCSS should study how Gwinnett does the chocie aspect, but of course, that would mean admitting that other systems do things right and better than we do.

Gayle said...

Look at this AJC article:

"Students in Kristen Drake's second grade class at DeKalb's Hightower Elementary School get computerized assignments tailored to their needs. Drake has designed more than 500 such assignments earning recognition from Microsoft’s Innovative Education Forum.Drake will share ideas with other finalists later this month and compete for a chance to attend the worldwide finals."

Kristen was a Milliken Educator Award winner a few years ago (named one of 100 best teachers in the U.S. - 2 per state.)

Kristen Drake is awesome. She should be teaching teachers her techniques. Experienced and effective. If you ever get a chance to spend the day with her, jump at the chance. You will not believe her classroom. What lucky students to have her.

Best of luck to Kristen as she goes into the finals.

Gayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Celebration: Thanks for the info. I know the cell tower thing sounds ridiculous, but are you aware that it was on consent agenda last month? We delivered a petition that brought up some legal issues related to the improper notification. From the way the agenda was worded, it looked to me like the cell towers are already a done deal and the board just needed to approve. See for yourself:

If so, this will be a big problem because that means they agreed to lease public space while in a closed door meeting without informing the public or inviting feedback. Our neighborhood will be outraged if that is the case!

EAV Mom said...

Has the list of receiving schools been released for those wanting to transfer? I can't seem to find that info anywhere.