Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kudos to Oak Grove and Vanderlyn

DeKalb County's Oak Grove and Vanderlyn Elementary Schools are among 13 schools in Georgia named among the Top 10 percent in achievement.

Each school will receive a $1,000 check from Georgia Natural Gas to use as the school wishes.

"These schools are showing that excellence can be achieved when they focus on providing a world-class education for their students," State School Superintendent John Barge said in a statement.

United Healthcare is also a sponsor for the 2011 Schools of Excellence program. 

Schools are chosen from each Congressional District in the following categories:

  • Schools that are in the top 10 percent in Georgia as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.
  • Schools that demonstrated greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.

 1. Oglethorpe Point Elementary, Glynn County
 2. Westside Elementary, Lowndes County
 3. Peeples Elementary, Fayette County
 4. Oak Grove Elementary, DeKalb County
 5. Morningside Elementary, Atlanta Public Schools
 6. Vanderlyn Elementary, DeKalb County
 7. Shiloh Point Elementary, Forsyth County
 8. Alexander II Magnet, Bibb County
 9. Vickery Creek Elementary, Forsyth County
10. Stevens Creek Elementary, Columbia County
11. Jones Elementary, Bremen City 
12 Savannah Arts Academy, Savannah-Chatham County
13. Holly Springs Elementary, Douglas County


Anonymous said...

Congratulations GNG, you've figured out that kids from affluent neighborhoods more often than not have the higher grades.

Just like CRCT scores--this is a measure of socioeconomic status, not of teachers' and schools' ability

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting "opinion" article published recently in the New York Times.

Anonymous said...

The Oak Grove and Vanderlyn teachers are hardworking and dedicated, and the families are involved. Congratulations to Oak Grove and Vanderlyn!

Cerebration said...

I don't think it's the 'affluence' as in the actual dollars spent as Title 1 is given to lower income schools in order to bring (PTA) spending in balance. I think it's more how middle and upper class families live and behave. These groups value teachers, ensure that homework is completed and tutors are used if necessary. But even beyond that, there is much more learning taking place in these homes -- parents read with children all the time, make trips to the store, gas station, and other places, opportunities for children to learn (guess how many gallons of gas the car will take? How many apples are in a dozen? etc...) It's a middle class culture of daily involvement with their children - sports, lessons, family outings and vacations... all provide a major boost to a child's learning and knowledge base of the world.

Cerebration said...

Teachers can't make up for bad family interaction and poor parenting skills. Parent Centers can't do it either. As far as I can tell, Parent Centers focus on access to computers and homework help, but not parenting skills. Poor families need help and support in how to parent. The reasons our Title 1 schools perform so much more poorly than schools like Oak Grove and Vanderlyn are much deeper and more complicated than 'affluence'. Some beautiful families with good parenting skills exist in lower socio-economic groups. Poverty is no excuse for poor parenting. Good parenting can be taught.

Paula Caldarella said...

What the...?? DCSS is going to suspend ALL band activities because of a few bad apples? Wow...unbelievable.

"The alleged hazing in Florida A&M University's band has led to the suspension of all marching band activities in DeKalb County high schools.

School system officials announced Wednesday afternoon that they are suspending all marching band activities pending an investigation of "possible inappropriate activities" among band members, alumni advisors, band directors and others.

System spokesman Walter Woods said officials started asking questions at Southwest DeKalb High School because of connections to alleged hazing incidents at FAMU. Robert Champion, the FAMU band member who died, and another member, Bria Shante Hunter, who was injured, graduated from Southwest DeKalb. Two of three FAMU bamd members charged with injuring Hunter also hailed from the high school."

Anonymous said...

True, poverty is no excuse. The point was that awards like this and CRCT scores incorrectly and unfairly characterize schools that more often than not are in less affluent areas as being of lesser quality and having poorer teachers, when we know that is not the case.
Affluence correlates with education, and we both know that kids with more educated parents tend to better in school.

Paula Caldarella said...

Affluence correlates with education, and we both know that kids with more educated parents tend to better in school.

So, these students and schools should not be recognized for their hard work because they are not at the "poverty level"?

Anonymous said...

This is not an "I'd I win, you lose" proposition. The students, teachers and parents all deserve credit for this honor.

Congratulations to all!

Cerebration said...

Just this morning I was wondering aloud with some others as to whether there was a SW DeKalb connection to the hazing at FLA A&M. I saw BJ Bernstein on the news last night talking about her client, also a SW DEKalb grad who was brutally beaten as a "hazing" activity at A&M. Seems quite a few SW DeKalb grads get full rides to this college and the band culture there is quite violent. One has to wonder if the SW kids are good kids stumbling into a horrible college culture - or if perhaps some of these students are responsible for bringing that culture to Florida. I'm glad to see the leadership at least checking into it.

Anonymous said...

No, the staff and faculty at the schools that never get awards because they aren't starting from the same start line should get some credit and respect. Is that so hard an idea to accept?

Anonymous said...

Here's a video posted by the SW DeKalb drum majors in 08
B - U Ride the MARTA bus

How about these SW 'dancers'?

Cerebration said...

Regardless, it's very true. Students from more affluent backgrounds with well-educated parents generally tend to do better in school. Education is valued and teachers are supported by these parents. This allows teachers to do the best job possible and they rise to the challenge.

That said, Anon, many schools with challenges are recognized and appreciated for their efforts as well. It's not a either/or situation. But when the honor of the award goes to the highest performing schools, you give the award to the highest performing school. Would you rather they skip over these schools and ignore them because they're 'affluent' and just give the award to someone else?

Cerebration said...

The state publishes a list of the most improved Title 1 schools - deeming them "Distinguished". We also reported that on this blog.

Here's the link to the list -- each of these schools got $15,000 for their effort!

Anonymous said...

WTF??? Walter Woods has got to be kidding! A big thanks to the "thug band elements" that have fornicated over the rest of the hard working and dedicated staff and musicians at the other DeKalb high schools.

Punish them all...what an YOURIN poor example of leadership from the top!

Welcome to DCSS. Ready, Fire, Aim

Hang em all and let God sort them out!

Gird your loins DCSS, the civil proceedings can be expected!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @2:25 We get the frustration that the entire DeKalb band program is being hung out to dry.

And you are right, "they" all have been adjudicated and executed. Good, bad, and indifferent, all of the high school band programs have been lumped into a single class action suit if you will.

We do not understand the punishing of all! This tactic solves nothing.

We are outraged over the You Tube

"B*tch you ride the Marta Bus"

Words can not begin to describe our individual and collectivee disgust!

We thought drum majors were supposed to be the best of the best the leaders, the role models. Guess we were wrong.

Or if they are the best of the best and our role models, God save us because there's not a superintendent out there that can
solve this problem. This goes way, way beyond the school house!

There they are, all swagged up in their SWD drum major uniforms and
delivering this video! Shame on them, shame on their parents!

BD and JB

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point. An award like this says school A is better than school B at the same time it rightly awards the school A students for their work, and in so doing it says the teachers at school B are not as good as the teachers at school A. I guarantee you that if you switched the kids at Vanderlyn with the kids at Indian Creek, you would not see Vanderlyn getting this award, and it would be no fault of the teachers. And by that, I don't mean to fault--or credit--either group of kids for their choice of parents.

Gayle said...

@Anonymous 3:25 pm
"And by that, I don't mean to fault--or credit--either group of kids for their choice of parents"

Kids don't choose their parents or vice versa. Regardless of income, raising a child is tough. Raising one to make good choices in school and out of school is tough. Just because you're affluent doesn't mean you don't spend many, many hours with your child. The housework doesn't always get done, you rush after work to take your child where/she needs to be, and you fall asleep reading to your son or daughter you're often so tired at the end of the day. This gives your child a better chance to succeed in school and life, but there's still no guarantee at the end of high school or college.

Raising a child who is successful in school is almost always difficult. Affluent parents do not have a corner on the market when it comes to this. They may know more what to do, but it's the "doing" that takes the time and energy. The "doing" took years and years for these parents just like it does for all committed parents. Paying attention in class, doing their homework and studying for tests also took a lot of work on the part of the children. Being successful is generally hard work.

Maybe this is a small reward for the tremendous effort put forth by all concerned.

Anonymous said...

We'll see how professional Dekalb's new PR department is handling the band FUBAR.

This will be Atkinson's first big test and she'll be up against some powerful fraternities.

Anonymous said...

Question - why were these 13 schools selected as "Schools of Excellence" for being in the top 10% when there are 1000+ schools in Georgia? Doesnt that equate to top ~1%?

13/1000? = ~1%?

Anonymous said...

My grandchildren live in a middle class neighborhood in south Dekalb and attend a "theme" school. Their parents make learning a priority over fun activities. They also incorporate learning in family activities. I was SHOCKED when I attended an open house with them and the focus was more on wearing the right color uniform shirts/blouses, socks and shoes; having your shirts/blouses tucked in; having a belt on; and CRAP that had little or nothing to do with learning. Reportedly parents were reluctant to pursue this with the high paid Area Superintendents because many of these principals are their friends and were placed by them. While there are some great administrators throughout the county, these "bad apples" need to be OUT! It appears that learning is not their priority. Looking good is.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Oak Grove for their achievement.
Congrats to Oak Grove for fighting for their children and giving them a better educational environment.
Congrats to Oak Grove for fighting furiously for not having any apartments in their attendance zone during redistricting earlier this year.
If you add one nearby apartment complex to your attendance zone, you will be seen like the rest of us. Working hard to educate the kids we have. Even if they are ELL, ESOL, low socio-economic and potential refugees.
Every DeKalb elementary school that touches your attendance boundary has numerous apartments within their attendance zone.
Congrats on your insularly student body and your awards.
I know it means a lot to be recognized as a school of excellence.
It is what it is.

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Anonymous, 6:11 PM

Question - why were these 13 schools selected as "Schools of Excellence" for being in the top 10% when there are 1000+ schools in Georgia?

The Georgia Schools of Excellence are honored in two categories. Qualifying schools are chosen from each Congressional District in the following categories:
- Top 10%: Schools that are in the top 10 percent in Georgia as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.
- Greatest Gains: Schools that demonstrated greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.

Here's where to find out more if you have any questions:

Achelous said...

Here's the e-mail band directors received today:


To: High School Principals & High School Band Directors
From: Ms. Kendra March, Deputy Superintendent, School Leadership and Operational Support
Through: Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson, Superintendent
Subject: Marching Band
Date: December 7, 2011

Please read the important information below from Ms. March and forward this information on to your Band Directors.

Effective immediately! ALL Marching Band activities must cease and desist, pending further investigation regarding possible inappropriate activity involving Band Directors, Advisors, Volunteers and Band students. 

If there is an after school band performance or practice scheduled within the next 30 days, you must receive approval from Ms. Kendra March, Deputy Superintendent in order to proceed. This does not apply to Band classes during the instructional day.

There will be a mandatory meeting for ALL High School Band Directors and High School Principals following the winter break.  The date and time with be forthcoming.

Kendra D. March
Deputy Superintendent, School Leadership and Operational Support

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 2:01pm

Truly disgusting video the SW DeKalb Drum Majors made. What did their mothers say about this? What woman would allow her son to participate in such degradation of women?

Anonymous said...

Did those students or the band director receive any consequences? The video has been common knowledge for quite some time among students and central office. Surely the students didn't have permission to use the uniforms for this purpose. Is there a way to have You Tube shut it down? It reflects poorly on DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

A new thread should be started to further discuss the blanket suspension of DCSS marching band activities.

With that being said, I am not a marching band parent, booster or volunteer yet I am livid!

What a slap in the face and kick in the groin to all of those people who have been avid supporters of the legitimate marching band programs with their time and pocketbook.

The hijacking of these programs thanks to SWD et. al, borders on criminal!

The words "Occupy Band Rooms" come to mind right now.

This suspension is madness. Punish the guilty, applaud and support the righteous and successful!

If I were a marching band parent, I would be moblizing the booster club to make and take a stand.

With all of the other issues this school system is dealing with, it appears they are throwing the band programs under the bus so the Palace Guards can claim they are taking action.

Taking action is not problem solving!

Gabriel blow your horn. It's time for the walls to come tumbling down!

concerned said...

Sinc nearly half of Vanderlyn was redistricted out of the school last year, should they not also be recognized?

You can't have it both ways. Shut up about being redistricted, all the schools, their teachers and specifically admin are equivelant, then oh, but clearly the school you must leave is higher achieving.

Cerebration said...

"Occupy Band Rooms" - that's a good one.

One has to wonder why the entire program is shut down countywide. Just how deep does the trouble go? Hopefully, we'll find out ASAP.

Paula Caldarella said...

@concerned you have a point, Perhaps some of the money should be shared with Dunwoody Elementary?

Anonymous said...

What? Where is Kittredge Magnet school in this?