Friday, January 20, 2012

Hello? Is anyone paying attention?

This is such bad news! While our board and system leaders were busy and distracted, millions of dollars went zipping by - un-captured.

Read the latest at the AJC:

DeKalb misses Race to Top deadline; new deadline could have consequences if missed

The DeKalb County school system has to do some hiring – and in a hurry.

School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson was notified Wednesday that the school system has until Feb. 28 to make 15 hires, mostly teaching coaches to help low-income students struggling with math, science and other subjects.

If the system misses the deadline, Atkinson has been warned, there could escalating consequences. The most extreme: loss of the district’s $34 million, four-year federal Race to the Top grant.

In 2009, DeKalb and 25 other local school districts were collectively awarded $200 million through Race to the Top, an education reform program created by the Obama administration.

In exchange, the school districts had to agree to certain initiatives, such as creating turn-around plans for their lowest-performing schools, and to certain deadlines.

DeKalb school officials agreed to but missed a deadline to have the 15 new hires on board by the start of the current school year last August. Their main jobs involved working with students and parents at four of the county’s most economically and academically challenged schools: Freedom Middle School, McNair Middle School, Towers High School and Clarkston High School.

Read the rest at the link above. Please, I beg of you, complain! People in these schools need to demand more for their children from our leadership.


Anonymous said...

DeKalb has 222 Instructional Coaches and Coordinators on the payroll costing over $18,000,000 a year.

Dr. A could easily shift 15 of them to these schools tomorrow.

Coaches - 165:
DeKalb Schools spends almost $13,000,000 on salary and benefits for 165 “coaches” who never teach a single child.

State Salary and Travel audit – sort for Instructional Specialists (not the P-8 – they actually teach children), Literacy Coach, and Graduation Specialist (also known as Graduation Coaches).

Since Title 1 is only funding around $4,000,000 of this then the conclusion is that the other $9,000,000 is coming from the General Fund which pays teachers in the classroom.

There are also 57 Instructional Coordinators (called Instructional Supervisors on the salary and travel audit). We are spending around $5,500,000 a year for them ($98,000 each) in salary and benefits.

Please don't let them "hire" or "promote" 15 more employees to be these coaches.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that Walter Woods actually tried to blame this on the "hiring of the new superintendent".

Is he for real?????

Whose job was it to do these simple things by August?

In exchange, the school districts had to agree to certain initiatives, such as creating turn-around plans for their lowest-performing schools, and to certain deadlines.

DeKalb school officials agreed to but missed a deadline to have the 15 new hires on board by the start of the current school year last August.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tyson was the superintendent in August. She should have been on top of this. Dr. Atkinson is now stuck cleaning up the mess.

Anonymous said...

The need to reassign one of those extra Parent Center employees as well.

From the AJC article:
"Towers is in line to hire six of the 15, including a math coach, an English/language arts/literacy coach, a science coach and a social studies coach.

The school also is slated to hire a parent outreach coordinator, whose job will be to improve parent involvement. In addition, the school is to bring in a credit recovery teacher, whose job will be to try to stem the dropout rate by monitoring daily the academic progress of lagging students who are trying to get back on track to graduation."

This is ridiculous. Not one of these people teach a student.

Why don't they send in one of the 79 Parent Center personnel they have? We have scores of Parent Center personnel over what the other systems have.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Atkinson & Walter Woods ain't worth a damn. This woman looks too much like Beverly Hall to me. All of her appointments are very similar to Beverly Hall's. I've learned that APS Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Burbridge is working two days a week for Dekalb County Schools. Are you kidding me? He's the CFO for the most corrupt school system in history. Here's hoping that Cunningham, Walker and Bowens will get to the bottom of this.

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping that Cunningham, Walker and Bowens will get to the bottom of this.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha that is so dang funny!

thanks for the belly laugh!

Anonymous said...

How is it that hiring a new superintendent prevented the staff and board from making sure they followed up with the RTTT money, however, hiring a new superintendent didn't even cause a hiccup in the long, drawn out discussions about those hideous cell towers?

Anonymous said...

I am not convinced that this money wouldn't be better spent paying down the debt for our children. The people that need to be hired aren't going to work with the children and therefore don't have much value to me. More administrative types is the last thing DCSS needs.

Sorry I am tired of money being spent for the sake of spending it. We seem to forget that the race to the top dollars are really tax payer dollars. More money does not need to be spent in education. Proper spending needs to take place.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Tyson needs to resign immediately. She should have been all over this. She was the leader and the buck stops with her. Once again Dr. Atkinson has to clean up a mess in another aisle. She is going to need a lot of mops. She needs to ask Tyson to resign. This is too big an error to forgive. We were paying her way to much for the ball to be dropped.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe we have 222 instructional coaches and coordinators on the payroll. I've been a classroom teacher in DeKalb for five years and I've met exactly ONE of these coaches/coordinators, ONE time, several years ago, and it was a "Hi/Goodbye" scenario. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

There are instructional coaches. There are individuals in the Dept. of Professional Learning. Much of the professional learning is now handled at the schools. There are also on-line classes. There are the Parent Centers. Can't at least one of these be shifted to Towers High School?
Please take the time to look at the individuals that we have in some of these jobs. Can't they be changed from county based to school based.

Anonymous said...

DCSS could win TRTTB (The Race To The Bottom) without even one more hire.

Maybe Dr Walker has some second cousins?

The whole thing seem to me to be a waste of money. But so is the Fed Dept of Education

Anonymous said...

Tyson was busy making sure that the friends and family did not lose there jobs when they did the lay offs. All the admin. that are educators send them back to the schools.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how a teaching coach differs from an instructional coach? Please tell me that DCSS is not getting money to employ more people outside a classroom to "help" teachers figure out creative ways to get students deficient in reading and math to acquire these skills in a warehoused setting while avoiding the obvious: intensive small group or inidivual instruction.

Anonymous said...

" Please tell me that DCSS is not getting money to employ more people outside a classroom to "help" teachers figure out creative ways to get students deficient in reading and math to acquire these skills in a warehoused setting"

Well - yes. That is what Race to the Top is all about. They pretend teachers have optimal manageable class sizes. They just need additional support to help them differentiate those small classes.

With 222 Instructional Coaches and Coordinators ALREADY on the payroll costing over $18,000,000 a year, Dr. Atkinson needs to be shifting 15 of those people into these jobs - not promoting personnel. If she wants to promote 15 personnel, she needs to shift 15 of the current Coaches and Coordinators back to the classroom.

Teaching coaches and Instructional coaches are the same. DCSS has Literacy coaches, Graduation coaches, Intervention/Prevention Coaches ($79,000 each in salary and benefits and they are not certified educators or social workers - Frankie Callaway's daughter is one of these coaches), ELL coaches, Instructional Change coaches, Language Arts coaches, Math coaches....

That's all the titles I've found. I'm sure there are more somewhere.

Title 1 is only paying around $4,000,000 for the coaches while they cost $13,000,000 a year. That means local taxes are footing the bill for these non-teaching employees for the other $9,000,000. That $9,000,000 is money taken out of the classroom for non-teaching employees.

Dr. Atkinson and the BOE need to hear from taxpayers/parents regarding the excessive number of coaches and coordinators who do not teach the children.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Dr. B moved to oversee RTTT?

Anonymous said...

Look at this. Sounds like DCSS is just wasting more money. Am I the only one that thinks this is a issue that is based in the home with cultural roots? At some point the responsible parties have to take responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Atkinson put on the hiring freeze. The schools have been begging to hire these positions for months, to no avail. Begging. The new administration won't let them hire any of the positions that were approvedby the previous administration. The state knew about it & gave 'em a chance to take care of it. This is the only way to force their hand. By the time they get the people in place, what good will it do now? Way to go, Dr. Atkinson. Way to support our lowest performing schools.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:34 I don't blame Atkinson, I blame the board, as there would be plenty of money to have smaller classes and more teachers and support, if money wasn't wasted on lawsuits and in the Palace, as the preliminary report shows and anyone who works in the system knows. The system is not about educating the children, but employment and until employees and parents realize that and work for a change in that way of thinking, things will continue to be the same and our tax dollars (which in reality is our money whether Federal, State or Local-this money did not come off a tree and is not free).

Anonymous said...

6:54 P.M. You are right on the money. Dr. Atkinson and her friends and family are completely over their heads...don't have a clue!!!!Dr. Beasley was on top of everything unti Atkinson put a FREEZE on ALL hiring, thus putting this program in the ditch. She refuses to address INSTRUCTION. Atkinson is a big BULLY, scaring everybody and overloading herself with security and outside consultants.....and I don't mean the salary and size consultants.

even less now.
What happened to Jester, McChesney & Speaks? Jester, where are all of your questions about the financial mess we are in now. Where is all of the money coming from for all 11 outside hired consultants? Where is the transparency?

Anonymous said...

@ 12:16 Anyone coming into the position of Superintendent could not imagine what a mess that they would walk into. She needed to get control, which is what she is doing.

What people should be upset about is that our budget of 1 Billion dollars to run the school and the money that is wasted should be plenty to have smaller class sizes and provide all children with a better education.

Again, it's not about the education with any of Lewis' cronies including Dr. Beasley or with many of the board members, and until this changes, losing the Race from the Top dollars should not be what the people are upset about. They should be upset about the constant waste of the money that they send to the district, state, Federal government, and through SPLOST that DCSS gets and misspends.

To me, Dr. A needed to suspend everything, until she is able to get control of what is going on. It is her neck on the line and too many underhanded things have been done in the past at the palace and would continue if she didn't put a stop to everything.

Anonymous said...

I want a raise and my step increase after 3 years of not getting one. Dr. A. does not have a good tract record with managing money. Just don't mess with mine. Never thought I would have said I feel insecure without Turk, but I do, he was tough but he knew finance. Bet he was tougher on her about abuses than he was on CLewis because of the court case, and she kicked him under the bus. Be careful Mr. A, we are looking now. We teach, you don't. We can't delagate our work...why can you? Bottom line , we need a BOARD who is fically
responsible...where are you MR. Wommack?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dr. Beasley. was and is over it but his hands have been tied since the new BOSS" came in. She thinks all administratore in DeKalb are dumb and incompetent and only uses her newly hired family and friends and numerous outsider, expensive consultants. Bottom line, this northern lady thinks we are stupid in ths south. She does not need all of that added security and she ought to be able to drive schools by now without security. Come on Lady!!
a driver and security. Are you fraid of you parents, teachers and other employees? Get real lady be gone soon!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dr. Beasley. was and is over it but his hands have been tied since the new BOSS" came in. She thinks all administratore in DeKalb are dumb and incompetent and only uses her newly hired family and friends and numerous outsider, expensive consultants. Bottom line, this northern lady thinks we are stupid in ths south. She does not need all of that added security and she ought to be able to drive schools by now without security. Come on Lady!!
a driver and security. Are you fraid of you parents, teachers and other employees? Get real lady be gone soon!

Anonymous said...

The hires should have been done long before Atkinson came in, face it folks. And if Beasley was over instruction, he could have played his hand at this point. Ultimately, this one rests with the board, the ENTIRE board, even those members whom I support. They piddly-fiddled around hiring a super and tied the hands of the previous administration.

On the other hand, we have, now, two women who are making superintendent salaries, we are paying costs for two individuals apiece for the 5 positions that Atkinson filled, while we're still paying the salaries of those previously in those positions. Why on earth wasn't someone on top of this.

ALL of the ADMINISTRATORS at the central office (particularly Tyson and Atkinson) and EVERY BOARD MEMBER should be hanging their head in shame. The public, and particularly the kids at these schools, deserve sincere apologies.

Really, how is this getting any better? how? show me just one glimpse of hope that the system can recover. I'm !#$@ skeptical that it is possible with the current leadership (e.g., board and admin.).


Anonymous said...

Sounds like one of the Friends and Family is running scared! I'm a parent born and bred in this county and I'm laughing in your face at your pitiful attempts to stir parents like me up against her! Ha Ha Ha! I hope she fires EVERYONE at the central office. I will dance on your graves! Everyone in the central office and everyone on the Northside thinks parents down here are stupid sheep. Well the joke is one you, because we see you leeches clear as day and it is OUR children you are hurting! Fire everyone at the Palace Dr.A! The parents will love you for it!

Anonymous said...

Oh the irony...1500 administrators yet DCSS may lose $34 million of federal funds. Thank you Tom Bowen and Gene Walker for enabling the bloat, thank you Ramona Tyson, Bob Moseley and all of the other clueless admin's.

Actually, this one has to be on Tyson more than anyone else, as she's head of administration.

"The state letter comes just days after a report commissioned by Atkinson found that the school system is top-heavy and could stand to shed 300 administrative jobs.

The report, released Wednesday, said DeKalb schools have 1,499 employees in the central office, too many for a system its size. The consultant, Virginia-based Management Advisory Group, recommended that DeKalb slim down to 1,162 administrative slots."

Anonymous said...

Look at the time the article was posted on the AJC--Friday afternoon at 6:02 pm--Bad News Dump Time. It's under everyone's radar so that our dumb, short memory spans won't hold it through Monday morning's morale charge as we sign in to receive less money than we made five years ago.

They're at it again. I bet there's a lot of bad news that we don't even know about.

Huh...definitely not in time for Maureen Downey to post on Get Schooled. She usually goes into quietus on the weekends.

Walter Woods, you're definitely not a spinmeister, not by a long shot. It's deja vu all over again.

Anonymous said...

The Central Office has already started - trying to blame everything from the past administration on Dr. A.

Is anyone surprised?

Dr. A. eeds to cut as much as possible at the Central Office as quickly as she can before they undermine her. And all of those directors, coordinators and coaches are little power centers with allegiance to the specific person in "Upper Management" who hired or promoted them.. It will take a while but many if not most of them need to be sent back to teach children. If they are teaching, they'll have their hands full and won't have time to cause mischief.

DeKalb has long been about politics - who has the biggest salary and title and who has the most power. This has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the DCSS has been screwed up for many years. Dr. A can not work a miracle over night. However, she need to start getting rid of folks at the top to the bottom. It is only fair she bring in new people, look what the current ones are not doing (nothing). The board is an issue within itself.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:55 am,

This is not a Norhside/ Southside issue. There are students of all races in every school in the system that need help. Somehow the number of instructional support and parent center people have gotten out of hand. It seems like these individuals would have to have teaching certification to be in these jobs. The manner in which these coaches have been used does not appear to be successful. A different plan needs to be devised. Why can't some of these people be assigned to the positions that need to be hired? If teachers need to be hired, they need to be people that will actually be in the schools working with students.
Jobs in the school house should not be frozen. The demands of all staff in the school house are great regardless of your position, you are on the front line.
I hope that someone in the administration will look at the specialist, coaches and coordinators already in place and use them to fill the RTTT requirement.
Use the money that would have gone to those 15 people to support positions needed in the school. It takes almost and act of congress now to get a job, even a teaching job approved. This is not fair to the students that need a teacher. I think that we are again getting to a place that people are frighten.
I know that people on this site like to criticize, principals, AP's , counselors etc in schools. Most of you have no idea of the demands and pressures of all school staff people. Just as in every area there are good and bad people. If we keep putting Northside against Soutside, neither side is going to win. We have got to start thinking of the entire school system as one and all children as needing our support.

Anonymous said...

" The most extreme: loss of the district’s $34 million, four-year federal Race to the Top grant."

This $34 million will not change anything. The restrictions on using the money are extremely limiting. It will just be used to pay high level administrators (like Beasley) to "administer" RTTT and more unneeded "coaches". It cannot be used for regular teacher salaries or classroom necessities likes textbooks. Once again we will build the central office while ignoring the school house.

I don't understand why we even applied for this grant! Many area school districts did not apply because they knew the restrictions on the $$ weren't worth it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 9:14

They just wanted the money.

Speaking of money, I noticed another film crew parked in front of the old Jim Cherry center. How much does DCSS make for this, and where does the money go?

Where does the cell tower money go?

The stimulus money from a couple of years ago, where did it go?
Well, I know much of it went for that wonderful bargain of a package-for-profit curriculum--America's Choice...hah.

And some current and former employees surely profited off all that money paid to America's Choice and recklessly spent by hastily trained coaches bought from DCSS.

The Money Pit, And this one ain't funny.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:14 I agree. Federal money always has many strings and rarely can be used for real needs. We don't need any more coaches, we need AWESOME teachers and smaller class sizes. Federal money cannot be used to pay for teaching positions. Also, what happens when the federal money is gone? Will these positions be dissolved or will the tax payers be on the hook to continue to pay for these jobs.

Public education is not for creating jobs that re-elect the same corrupt school board members in order to keep their jobs. Public education is supposed to educate our kids. It's not doing that right now, but shoot the jobs that it's created is amazing.

The amount of money that schools have isn't the problem, it's the way they choose to spend what they have. Also new text books aren't the answer. Newer text books do not mean better.

Anonymous said...

I've been told that DCSS now has a system where teachers can get a student's academic history, to see where they have been strong and where they haven't been. For instance, if a science teacher sees that the student scores in the 20th percentile for reading he/she might approach that student differently, or try to get reading help for them.

However, getting this individualized data ain't easy. The teacher has to learn about a new database, find their students, get reports, get updates, etc., etc.

Why couldn't one of these RTTT teaching coaches do the legwork and help the teachers use the data to help their students?

I generally agree that $$ should be spent IN the classroom, not for support staff, but I think it makes sense here to give the teachers some support. Some teachers aren't that technologically savvy but they know their subject matter and are good at teaching. Why shouldn't they get some help?

Anonymous said...

I've watched northern school systems work with real teacher's unions to negotiate fair teacher contracts, manage to pay their teachers a reasonable living wage, provide good working conditions for both teachers and students, and make sure that the resources are there to provide a quality education for students. I'm not impressed with what is going on here right now.

Let's give Dr. A a chance to work through the problems she inherited. We didn't get into this situation overnight and we won't get out of it by tomorrow. What can this community do to make this situation better?

Anonymous said...

@ 12:49 That kind of help wouldn't be necessary if class sizes were smaller. Also getting that kind of help would mean that the coach would mean that the person was competent. My next question, is what kind of salary should one checking on student records make? Right now, more than a teacher in DCSS, which hardly seems fair or a good use of funds. I am sure that there is a cheaper and better way of getting teachers this data. Shoot with all of the extra employees we have, we could put them to use doing something like this. Hiring more people isn't the answer.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 12:07 -

The current filming at Jim Cherry is for "Teen Wolf", an MTV series. They filmed there last year, too. Earlier this fall/end of summer, there was a foreign-language movie filming there for 2-3 weeks (Korean or Thai, I believe).

I do not know how much DCSS is paid for this filming, but I know that the going rate for using houses or condos to film is $1000/day. If DCSS is getting substantially less than this, a bad deal was struck.

"Teen Wolf" spent about three months filming at Jim Cherry last year, on and off, and I expect this year would be similar. They also film in Covington and downtown Atlanta, as well as in Washington state.

Anonymous said...

Somehow the number of instructional support and parent center people have gotten out of hand.
Well there it is again if you’re a friend of the AKA administrator (and this is not Dr. A the Superintendent) but the other Dr. A. at the Central Office, some of these coaches are not worth a dime. They will hide out in corners/rooms so they will not be found or hide out in their teacher friends and/or administrator friend’s office. So send them back into the classroom just because they have letters behind their names does not mean good teaching techniques are given.
I know that people on this site like to criticize, principals, AP's , counselors etc in schools. Most of you have no idea of the demands and pressures of all school staff people.
Yes a lot of people criticize the principals, AP’s, counselors because so many of them are not doing what their job descriptions requires. It should be what is in the best interest of the children and it is definitely Not Happening at some of the schools especially with some of females in charge. Some of the counselors spend more time talking/texting on their personal cell phones. Please note they are not discussing the students or parents. They’re talking about personal unacceptable information totally unrelated to public schools.
A great majority of the Central Office staff do not have people skills. They will greet you in the most obnoxious ways. This is not professional! Many times when you go to see a particular person in the Central Office, they (he/she) are unavailable and you’re told “Make an appointment!” This is unacceptable!

Sorry for the lengthy concerns!

Kim Gokce said...

Just to add to the off-topic knowledgebase ... the film set high school at the former Briarcliff High School site is known as Beacon Hills High School. I snapped a shot of its beautiful sign a couple of weeks ago for fun:

Based on the fresh mulch and nice landscaping plants, I would like to include this movie company in the next grounds maintenance bid. We can't even get pine straw in quality or quantity for our school grounds.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 3:42 ... you are absolutely right about too many of our administrative employees. Communication, in general, is a grave weakness I've seen in the ranks of leadership and in the system's community relations efforts (or lack thereof).

For example, today was the DeKalb County Public Schools "Choice Expo" ... how many of you knew about that? I made the trek out to Stonecrest in hail storms to check it out. Wow!

There were nearly forty programs/schools represented, cheerleaders, principals, PTAs, etc. - a true cornucopia of choice. Based on what I observed, few parents in the County either knew about this Expo or understood what is being offered. I may be able to post more observations, pics, and reference info on my experience today - right now, it's too much to process.

Megan Hayes-Golding said...

Anonymous (@12:49pm) said...
> I've been told that DCSS now has a system where teachers can get a student's
> academic history, to see where they have been strong and where they haven't
> been. For instance, if a science teacher sees that the student scores in the
> 20th percentile for reading he/she might approach that student differently, or
> try to get reading help for them.

Yes we do have such a system, called IDMS (and to a lesser extent, eSIS). It's actually kinda easy to use. We, the teachers, have been trained on it. The instructional coaches at my school did the training. Also, like most web databases, a username, password, and 2 brain cells are all you need to "learn" to access the data. There's a goldmine in there.

Anonymous said...

@9:14 a.m.

Correct the money is limited....but limited on how the particular school system wrote their grant...within the federal government guidelines. With that being said, the money did not have to be earmarked for instructional coaches. For example, the money could be used for technology or training. I'm not sure if they money could be used for additional teachers....but I do know that district rather not use the money for things that they will have to continue to fund once the money is gone.

Anonymous said...


"I cannot believe we have 222 instructional coaches and coordinators on the payroll. I've been a classroom teacher in DeKalb for five years and I've met exactly ONE of these coaches/coordinators, ONE time, several years ago, and it was a "Hi/Goodbye" scenario. Unbelievable."

Are you at a non-Title I school?...because they do not have instructional coaches. You mean that you never attended any training sessions...because then you would have seen these "invisible people". Teaching 5-years - you must be either at the high school or elementary level. You are right...unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

@ Megan Hayes-golding

The trouble with the current DCSS IDMS is that it only has data that comes from standardized testing which does not tell the particular skills a student is missing (e.g. multiplying with double digits, division with a remainder). In schools with a high turnover (i.e. many of my students are new to the school) - the very schools that have so many problems with student achievement - student assessments are not complete since these students are there in the fall for teachers to teach, but they were not there in the spring when the tests occurred.

It points the teacher in the right direction, but it is not very specific.

If you want a really powerful system, you need Benchmark testing. Benchmark testing should have 10 or less preset questions that test the concepts taught. As a very basic example, you should be able to teach your students double digit multiplication, and then let them spend 10 minutes in a computer lab or on laptops (that actually work) taking a 10 problem assessment on double digit multiplication. This information should be delivered to your desktop within minutes of the students taking the assessment. If almost all of the students understand double digit multiplication, then you move on and remediate only the 1 or 2 that don't understand it. If most of your class cannot pass the assessment, then your want to reteach the concept.

A really good assessment system tests your students at the beginning of the school year on all of the concepts they SHOULD have learned in the grade level they just completed. If 40% of your students are 2 grade levels below in reading or math, then this should be addressed by your administrator and rather than the unrealistic expectation that you somehow will teach them 2 years of content mastery in 1 year.

Guess what - the Schoolnet/eSis system was purchased at GREAT cost to do just this. DCSS paid $11,000,000 for this system with the commitment that this would be the functions it performed. In addition, many more tax[ayer dollars were spent on highly paid personnel to implement this system.

DCSS MIS could never get it to work the way it is designed to work, and there is not enough access for students to computers for this system to work. In meetings Ms. Tyson was warned of these problems when she recommended Schoolnet/eSis to the Board. Her promotion to head of Business Operations was predicated on the purchase of this Student Data Management System.

DeKalb needs a really topnotch Student Data Management System. Hopefully, the new MIS head can get this to be a reality.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Calloway and Mr. Calloway should be receiving their baby son's Transfer Papers from Idlewood. This young man is RUDE and feels as though he is entitled to not speak to people, not teach our children, not to come to work, and overall do as he pleases.Thanks to the scared administrators at Idlewood who continue to promote this type of behavior. The calloway who use to be an assistant principal at Pine Ridge was transferred to Wynnbrooke because he was not competent. The daughter from what were all know cannot pass the GACE and is sitting idly as a preventive specialist on her computer ALL day. Some times, she acts in a manner of being an administrator (LOL) but cannot pass her own test (GACE) to teach in the classroom but can tell teachers what to do. (This is really funny) Something is wrong with these pictures of the dynasty family kids in Dekalb. I think all of them should just work for their parents.

Anonymous said...

The posts about Idlewood are concerning. This is an elementary school, pretty sure Title I, with significant ESOL populations - many from the Clarkson area with many refugee families. The school was on its way up, so I'm assuming that there has been turnover in administrators given the recent posts. Schools like this, particularly at the elementary level, provide necessary foundational tools to students. I hope the powers that be are reading this blog and understand that this situation must be remedied.

Nope, not a teacher or parent at this school, but care about it...and these kids.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Baby Calloway is rude, unprofessional, and attends work when he feels like coming. A teacher responsibility, which is to teach, is an understatement for baby Calloway! He teaches fifth grade so guess how Idlewood’s scores are going to look this year??? Shame on you DCSS! Please do not blame the children. Blame the principal who recommended that he be hired at Idlewood. Shame on you DCSS! The administrators are scared to say anything because of AKA mama Calloway. Many teachers are discussing the problem,unfair treatment coming from the coward Need Improvement administrators at Idlewood. Shame on you DCSS! Teachers are upset but cannot confront the administrators about this situation. So please not only get help for baby Calloway but also for the three so-called administrators at Idlewood. Shame on you DCSS for hiring these people as administrators!

Anonymous said...

Those of you defending Atkinson will be surprised when the truth comes out. Talk to anyone at the state and they'll tell you what's going on. They've been watching what she's been doing and waiting to see if she was willing to honor the agreements made with the federal government. Apparently she holds herself above them too. When they take away the funding, it may not just be future funding. They may go after the funds that the county has been using for two years. Too bad she's been hiring all of those consultants. Their salaries could offset paying back that debt.

Passionate... said...

To comply with the grant and not lose the monies for DCSS, transferring 15 effective teaching coaches from AIC would not be difficult by extended deadline given to Dr. A. Tyson and Beasley dropped the ball in August. DCSS has lost monies before, let's hope we don't lose monies again.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone is defending Atkinson. Seriously, we have two individuals being paid to act as supers right now. I'm seeing nothing.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:01

Dr. Atkinson is contending with a Board who has many relatives and friends in highly paid non teaching positions. How easy do you think it is for her to make the changes necessary? Walker has already been complaining as well as other BOE members. The entrenched Central Office administrators will fight for their jobs (even as they have presided over declining student achievement) and undermine her efforts to clean house. Many non-teaching personnel owe allegiance to one power center or another. They are busy trying to figure out how who has the power. DeKalb should not make the mistake that was made with Dr. Brown. When he got to the business of sending administrators back to the schools and rightsizing the salaries of 2,500 non-teaching personnel, he was fired.

See this quote last year from school BOE member Lynn Cherry Grant regarding the missing 2004 Ernst and Young Compensation audit:
"Ernst & Young delivered a report later that year calling for new job titles and pay scales across the board.
Those specific recommendations were never put into effect, officials now say, but they’re not entirely sure why. They suggested the school board chose not to proceed but could not produce evidence of such a decision.
Grant said it’s quite possible the matter slipped through the cracks. “Those days were a very turbulent time,” Grant said.
Grant also recalls that some other board members were upset about some of the consultant’s findings.
“Everybody had a sacred cow,” she said. “If you had a relative or best friend or somebody you went to church with … then you were not very happy to hear they were being overpaid by $5,000.”
Grant said she could only speculate today how those matters might have been resolved. But of one thing she is certain.
“Never dismiss the power of politics. I learned that on the board of education.”"

That seems to be happening this time around as well. The BOE long been known as a jobs program for friends and family. The players change but their methods don't.

Anonymous said...

As in football, Atkinson throws a lot of missed hell marys. She is always on the defensive. Then she put back on her little pit bull helmit and go and fight the State Dept. How dumb can you be. She is about 10 pts below Tyson. As a matter of fact , she reminds me of Newt!!!!!! How in the hell can you screw up a 35 million dollar RTTT grant? Did Jester tell her to sped the money out over the entire county? Wow, all I cn say is God, please let this Atkinson women move on, NOW! She is so-oooo over her head. Eleven paid consultants to advise her? Come on, yall! WATCH THE MONEY! DEMAND TRANSPARENCY!!! OKAY! Cox would have been so much better1 HVE YOU CHECKED HER SUCCESS OUT LATELY???

Cynical in Chamblee said...

According to Kim G. regarding the DCSS School Choice Expo... "Communication, in general, is a grave weakness" DeKalb. I agree. There was no mention of this event on the DCSS web site. This event should have been in the top as a banner or at least in the news/press release section. Furthermore, these new communications people have only managed to post six press releases since Oct. 11, 2011. That is one and a half per month. I recall the talented group that was fired by Tyson and Co. created an average of five or six press releases per week. What are these new people getting paid to do?

Anonymous said...

Dam,now I see why Atkinson benched Turk! She is playing in the money pot. Ok, DA James, here comes another Grand Jury Indictment. We have had enough of Family & Friends. Did Atkinson try to throw the Board under the BUS to gain complete control. Well somebody better start using some checks & balences. Hello!

Anonymous said...

The county sent every school a flier for every student to take home. If parents weren't aware, blame it on the school failing to distribute it to the teachers, the teacher not sending it home, or the student not giving it to the parent or parental apathy.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:18
"How in the hell can you screw up a 35 million dollar RTTT grant? "

That's a good question since Tyson was superintendent in August and missed the deadline.

Do you actually read the AJC article?

Anonymous said...

Simple- remember who was over The Office of School Improvement in August?? Hint - she's not there any more. That's how the deadline was missed. And with Beasley at the helm of RTTT, don't expect much better.

Anonymous said...

God help us we are in big trouble. All these people making all this money and they let this happen. This makes me sick.

Anonymous said...


You're right. DCSS did waste the money, time, and paper in actually printing brochures (can't remember if this one included color or if that was limitied to touting Arabia Mountain). Someone please tell me why DCSS couldn't have posted this information on the website and asked for the different news stations and radio stations to make announcements?

Anonymous said...

@Megan Hayes-Golding

"This goldmine" of student data can be utilized only when DCSS does the right thing with it. First, there is no reason why the teacher should have to (ore even could) wade through this information (especially when some of us high school teachers teach more than 140 students). Second, this information must inform curricula offerings and class schedules. I don't care how good a teacher you are, you cannot teach to the standards (or whatever the newest edu-term is) and remediate 10 to 15 students at the same time.

Once, DCCSS creates classes that benefit students (smaller classes, more offerings, remedial reading classes) not personnel (using funds to employ people outside the building), then we really can use information to teach-not warehouse-students.

Anonymous said...


Most of those choice programs, with the exception of some of the vo-tech programs. start up charter schools and conversion charter schools, only can exist because of additional per student monies being spent on each of those programs.

While it is impressive, all that choice continues to hurt the vast majority of students in the system because funds used for those special programs aren't used for the other 90,000 students.

Other school systems, with similar populations and far better achievement outcomes aren't spending all this money on choice. Perhaps that should tell us something.

Anonymous said...

Surely DCSS's problem is not having too few people on the payroll. Days ago the County found that it had 300 unnecessary employees, yet someone now wants to hire 15 more employees. Why would anyone add more people to an already bloated bureaucracy?

Anonymous said...

School choice?

ES: Really does not make sense for 4th or 5th graders----too late!

MS: Really does not make sense for 6th graders----too late!

HS: Really does not make sense for 11th or 12th graders----too late!

Brochures on these grades are a waste!

By the way, how does a multi-children family manages transportation to multi-theme and out of cluster schools? Most families in Dekalb do not have at least 1-stay at home parents.


Anonymous said...

Absurb to think that any teacher can use the eSIS or IDMS "gold mine" to teach a class of 30 10th grade students when 15-20 of these kids have 6th grade skills or background knowledge?

Come on, people! If that were possible, these students would have caught up in the 7th, 8th, or 9th grade!


Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:15

The use of data assessment should start in the primary grades, AND must include small group instruction for student that need remediation. Redirecting resources that are being spent on admin and support back to the classrooms is where the "gold" lies.

Continuing to pass these students along and pretend they can read, write and compute is why DCSS has such low student achievement. Teachers are directed to pass these students in order to pump up the graduation rate which degrades the value of all diplomas.

Anonymous said...

Not to continue to beat a dead horse, but communication is a big problem in the DCSS. Just as we communicate via the internet on this wonderful blog, an event site, upcoming meeting,etc could be added to the DCSS site. If parents, knew a regular and set place for communications, it would be helpful.
Even very good responsible children, forget to bring information home. In a high school students change classes and many have sports or clubs after school. Bringing home a form on school choice is not the top of their list.
We have a brand new superintendent level hire in charge of communications. Put the information on the radio, internet, special mention at board meetings, ad's in local papers and so on and so on,
If the event was important enough to be held, then make sure that the information is passed on by different sources and ways of communication.
The Deputy Superintendents are some of the individuals that have administrative assistants, making more money than most teachers. If we are going to be honest and transparent, then the qualifications for these jobs must also be posted. Why should this person make more money than a secretary in a school or a teacher?
How is the salary level determined?Our school secretary also is the book keeper, the insurance coordinator, puts in work orders, deals with parents, students, community and many other duties. This person has an associate's degree. She is also pleasant and professional. I cannot say this for some of the administrative support for the senior cabinet members.
If the study is going to be honest, it has to be honest about all areas. Again, I do not mean everyone, but I wish that honest, anonymous feedback could be given from the schools on how they are treated by the county level administrative staff. It would be very helpful.

Cerebration said...

Speaking of dead horses, once again, I will advocate for DCSS to start their own blog. (This is about the 100th time I've mentioned this.) Blogs can be tightly moderated or they could even just have posts with no comments if they're too afraid of responding to comments.

BTW - as someone raised in Catholic schools by nuns, I truly enjoyed the typo above about the 'hell Mary' - can't stop giggling -- thanks for the chuckle!

Kim Gokce said...

Regarding the dissemination of "Choice" info via student handouts, how does this reach families like mine with zero chiltern in the system = broken model.

Automated communication tools and media fall from the sky like manna and I had to trip over a piece of paper with the expo info by pure chance. Meanwhile, every private school within a hundred miles of my house publishes events and advertisements in local newspapers and online media ... *si gh*... I feel a blog post coming on like an urge to vomit ... Don't want to but can't stop it...

Kim Gokce said...

Hell, Mary, throw the ball! Lol. Thx from me, too.

Cerebration said...

oh - FWIW - we had posted the following announcement on the tab at the top called "Meetings & Announcements" --

The system will hold its fifth annual "School Choice Expo" Jan. 21.
Parents will be able to browse displays and ask teachers and administrators about the alternatives. Options include charter schools, magnet programs and transfers from failing schools as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.

The expo is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mall at Stonecrest, 2929 Turner Hill Rd., Lithonia.

Anonymous said...

Parents are plenty resourceful if they really want to make public school work for their families. Not one choice program in DeKalb has openings after school starts.

Plenty of DeKalb families use the theme schools and charters from Day 1.

What should matter to you is why these programs are needed -- it isn't because they add value, but it is because people find their community schools unacceptable.

No other metro system offers as much choice at the elementary school level than does DeKalb. In the meantime, though, at your neighborhood elementary school, art, music and PE may not be guaranteed, something that you also don't find at any other metro system.

No other metro system offers as much choice as DeKalb does period but, perhaps with the exception of Atlanta and Clayton, do parents have to worry if anything beyond the basics are going to be offered at their school.

Some of this has to do with high school size, but it also drain of funding all these extras.

Wait until your child wants to take AP physics and is told that they have to go to Fernbank after school, providing their own transportation, to take it. That simply doesn't happen in other systems. (Of course, no other system is funding Fernbank either.)

Anonymous said...

@11:16 p.m.

Ms. Cherry Grant should know, as she too was relative. May have done a good job, but still a relative (if that is everyone's concern).

Anonymous said...

We tried to offer AP Physics at Lakeside but the class didn't have enough interest and fewer than 8 students signed up for it. In other words, the class didn't "make."

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your comment about the Expo. That's what I wanted to say. Also, parents were making comments about it in other blogs.

People never take responsibility. Instead, it is always someone else's fault.

Anonymous said...

As any parent knows, if a child is unable to take AP physics in high school, the world will end leaving that child's future severely compromised.

On the other hand, only children, with access to a personal car, can take AP Physics at an adjoining school.

Anonymous said...

No one is thinking that the majority of students who benefit from school choice are those with responsible parents---actually more than responsible---parents with the means to provide transportation and fees/donations.

My single mother with 2 part time job at Waffle House (near a Marta station) and at Walmart (near a bus stop) can't take me my school choice and dress me nice enough to fit in without ridicule.

Who benefits from these choices, exactly?

Cerebration said...

So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Are those neighborhood schools suffering and "bad" due to the years of flight (white and otherwise...)? Does the fact that DeKalb offers so many choices in fact, encourage people to abandon their neighborhood schools, thereby making them 'worse'?

Read our post on the subject - there are literally thousands of students attending these choice or theme schools who would otherwise be in a neighborhood school:

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

Anonymous said...

That is why this system needs SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITIES. This will place students in the correct area of interest before they are in college. AP Physics will be apart of their curriculum. Sometimes the student can use it as a college credit.

Anonymous said...

""""We tried to offer AP Physics at Lakeside but the class didn't have enough interest and fewer than 8 students signed up for it. In other words, the class didn't "make.""""

Don't the Lakeside students take

1 AP class in 9th grade?

2 more AP classes in 10th grade?

3 more AP classes in 11th grade?

4 more AP classes in 12th grade?

....for a possible total of 10 AP classes in 4 years of high school?

Maybe the AP Physics just 1 too many?

Cynical in Chamblee said...

Anonymous 12:36 am wrote . . .
"The county sent every school a flier for every student to take home. "
After being a P.T.A. volunteer in DeKalb for almost 20 years, most responsible adults know that sending home flyers with children is not an effective method of communication. Especially in the middle and high schools where the students have graduated from their weekly courier envelopes. A couple of the newspapers did pick up on a small announcement, but something that is so important to the families in DeKalb should have been featured on the DCSS web site with bells and whistles! Again, what are the "new" PR people doing and/or thinking?

Cerebration said...

Also, it would be literally a piece of cake to send out email newsletters via Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Or text notifications - or tweets --

Easy Peasy!! And Green!!

Anonymous said...

There are several administrators in the county who write and send out memos like the one from Druid Hills. I work with one who graduated from UGA and is now an assistant principal and cannot function if you sent him out in the rain. He was a good ole boy and was liked by a female area director.As a fact, most of the administrators who were recommended by this former area superintendent are super incompetent. Keep in mind, this female AP at Druid Hills is a good reason why Dr. Adkinson should not give them any more autonomy. It is difficult to work with some of these female AKA administrators especially if you refuse to stay in a box.Dr. Atkinson, is making a huge mistake if she allows administrators any more control especially with the money. They cannot balance a budget with the amount they have so watch out Dr. Adkinson. Many of these female administrators should take courses on being an effective leader, how to manage a school even if people are not in your sorority, and most of all, how to improve test scores, how to conduct fair evaluations, and how to mentor other effectively. Under CLEW, we had a surge of incompetent females from a certain sorority (AKA) to rise to the top regardless and this county has been in mess since their unfair promotions by CLEW, Calloway, Berry, Debra White, Fannie Tart, and others from this organization. Poll the number of AKA's in administrative positions and this will support the sorority plan of unfair practices that have surfaced in the county office.
Interviews on PATS are fake, most of these sorority sisters (AKA) promote each other for principal ships and assistant principals positions. Donot waste your time interviewing if you are not an AKA.

Anonymous said...

Many of these female administrators should take courses on being an effective leader, how to manage a school even if people are not in your sorority, and most of all, how to improve test scores, how to conduct fair evaluations, and how to mentor other effectively. Under CLEW, we had a surge of incompetent females from a certain sorority (AKA) to rise to the top regardless and this county has been in mess since their unfair promotions

WELL SAID, DITTO, and you hit the nail right on the head. It's a mess and I am sure the AKA females are send AKA email blast. But something needs to Stop immediately for improvement to take place.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, losing out on RTTT would be a blessing.

Anonymous said...

So funny 2:50 PM. I was going to post the exact same thing. Many school districts opted not to join RTT. As a parent, who admittedly has above average children, all the testing is slowly pushing us out of public school.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. Please take a minute (or an hour) to look over Dekalb's plan for the $34 million RT3 funds.

It's pretty boring read until it gets down to a few crucial parts. Names the leadership committee (those who should know about what is happening with this money at all times). Talks about how they need more personnel to implement this program (apparently we don't have enough butts now) and the fact that in fy2014 there will be a giant step up in pay for our teachers. If you take a look at the program, they are fundamentally transforming our teachers jobs. Merit pay and bonuses are on the way for those are stepping up. If you are a bland teacher with no real love for your job, your time has come. This is good!

take a look: skip to page 50 for Dekalb's narrative.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:45
Do you really think DeKalb can implement all that?

If so, I have a bridge to sell you.

Cerebration said...

How very enlightening! Thanks for sharing that RTTT link!

The DeKalb County School System (DCSS) has established a Race to the Top (RT3) Accountability Team which represents senior leadership from virtually every division of the district: Interim Superintendent, Deputy Chief Superintendent for Operations, Interim Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Chief of Staff, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Area Assistant Superintendents, Executive Director of Office of School Improvement, Executive Director of Management Information Systems, Director Employment Services, Audit Director, Director of High School Transformation, Director of Professional Learning, Director of Research and Evaluation, Director of Finance, Director of Elementary School Teaching and Learning, Director of Middle School Teaching and Learning, Director of High School Teaching and Learning, and LAS Principals.

And not a one of them was "accountable" to ensure that staffing was in place by the deadline.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

The Hell Mary poster has got to be Zepora "I'm gonna slug you" Roberts. Who else would use a football analogy and mess it up?

I love it how Atkinson is getting blamed for the bloated leadership staff. If the BOE had let Tyson clear the decks for Atkinson, this years contracts would have never been signed. So CLew's Crew got an extra year and Atkinson has to rebuild the Palace Guard. How else you expect her to do that?

Regarding PR, Walter Woods has not done a stellar job to this point. However, the folks that have been running PR for just under a year was contracted out. Jeff Dickerson along with another group handled PR, when the PR group got rif'd last spring. Wasn't Philandra Guilroy, Former BOE Chair Francis Edward's daughter, the only one left standing?

Tyson was Super in August, the buck stops with her. She should resign immediately for the RTTT "oversight". To be in charge of an operation and to have this happen TWICE on her watch. Once involving state funds, which Fran Millar got back for DCSS and now this. This is an example of very poor leadership. Time to hold the past leaders accountable, thank them for their service and show them all the door.

I know I'm dreaming, the opposite will happen now that the new BOE chair is Gene Walker. I wonder how many people know that an accused sexual harasser, that the state had to settle out of court for, is now the BOE Chair of DCSS. What an shining example for the children.

Anonymous said...

"I love it how Atkinson is getting blamed for the bloated leadership staff. If the BOE had let Tyson clear the decks for Atkinson, this years contracts would have never been signed."

Totally agree. Tyson was just 'babysitting". She gave contracts to all of the Upper Management personnel. Now Atkinson is stuck with shedding these employees that have not produced results.

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't Philandra Guilroy, Former BOE Chair Francis Edward's daughter, the only one left standing?"

See BOE minutes from April 20, 2005 BOE meeting.

"Mr. Tim Freeman, Associate Superintendent of Administrative Services, recommended that the Board approve the appointment of Philandrea Guillory, a relative of a board member, as Director of the Public, Press and Partner Relations Department. A motion was made by Ms. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Roberts and carried with a unanimous vote.

There being no further business, Mrs. Edwards called for a motion to adjourn. On motion by Ms. Andrews, seconded by Ms. Roberts, and by a unanimous vote, the meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m."

Tim Freeman, son of former superintendent robert Freeman, recommended Philandrea Guillory, daughter of the then chair of the Board of Education, be promoted to Director of the Public, Press and Partner Relations Department (salary with benefits - $130,000 a year from $79,000 - 2004 compensation per state salary and travel audit).

Philandrea Guillory's mother Francis Edwards voted on her daughter's $50,000 a year pay raise.

Taxpayers are currently paying Ms. Guillory $138,000 a year in salary and benefits.

No wonder Maureen Downey says:
" Dr. Atkinson will never have better cover for making the hard decisions than today’s grim economic climate. If she cannot do it now, it will never, ever happen in DeKalb."

Anonymous said...

Communication in DCSS is embarrassingly bad. The system- wide teachers of the year, awarded in August, were never even posted on the website. Other systems sent out press releases. DCSS cannot celebrate or recognize the successes of the the students or the teachers.

Anonymous said...

This nepotism and unethical mess has to stop but when? I do realize that it has been going on for a long time but it is being pulled from under the rug at this time. Who will be the brave leader to stop the hiring of sorrority and fraternity, sons/daughters, God-parent(Tucker-n-Jamie Wilson, BOE members children/nieces/nephews? Will it be the Dekalb DA to stop it? He exposed alot of the mess so lets finish what was started!

Anonymous said...

And again, it must be asked, how deep is the relationship between the board members and SACS. A news story like this should provide clear evidence that the system is not functioning properly in the realm of providing assistance to its children or meeting fiduciary requirements.

Where oh where has my little board gone, oh where oh where can it be???

Anonymous said...

@ Jan 18 6:35. That is exactly what is happening. It is my understanding that some instructional coaches already received notice that they will be moved into these required positions effective tomorrow once they meet with HR. No notice, just report to HR tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

As a Towers parent I will be pissed as hell if the post above me is true! The best teacher in our school is teaching DOLA now and you are saying she will be replaced with a leech from the Palace?! Hell no. I will not stand for this. I have never been to a board meeting and don't know that any Towers parents ever have been. But we will damn well be at the next one raising holy hell about them moving THE BEST TEACHER IN OUR SCHOOL to a rich kid school on the Northside. They were threatening to do that at the beginning of the year and students threatened to riot and parents got in Principal Baker's face over this. Finally the counselors said Sensei was not leaving Towers, but they were keeping her in DOLA. Fine, she is still at our school looking after our kids. But now they will replace her from somebody from the county?! HELL NO. We will be at that Board meeting raising hell. Count on it! The rich schools get the best of everything and we are left with the dirty dregs! BUT THEY ARE NOT GETTING OUR BEST TEACHER! Not this time.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:32 I am glad that you are fired up and want to keep your best teacher. The key to your activism for the kids is the kids and adults not becoming violent-NO RIOTS!!!! You see, those wanting to make a point have to do so in a nonviolent way, so that they are taken seriously. I understand the frustration parents and kids are feeling, but violence will not help their cause.

Towers parent said...

I was spitting mad when I wrote that. Still am, but I realize only Towers parents will understand that post. So I'll try to make it clearer. And I'll have to cut this post up since it's too long. The "credit recovery teacher /coach" is the grant's "fast track teacher" aka the DOLA teacher. This is going to run off our excellent DOLA teacher at Towers. As a Tower's parent, I don't want one of those useless leeches at the Palace replacing the best teacher we have in our school! Sensei was the Japanese teacher at Towers for years and always had my highest respect! The students love her too, but she impressed me with her ability to motivate those kids do the hard work and master a hard subject and still have them love her for it. It's amazing how she controls those kids. My eldest had her for a teacher and even when I had to get on him constantly to do his homework, he'd always get hers done first, because he didn't want her to get mad at him or kick him out of Anime Club.

Every time I've visited Towers there has been a food fight in the lunchroom. Every Time. Students are in the halls skipping classes at all times of the day. I have seen and heard students with my own ears saying to teachers, "I'm not doing this work and you can't make me!" But Sensei gets her students to do their work and behave, and have them smiling about it! I saw the Dola kids during the last 2 years too, taught by subs and teachers with a free period. Those kids weren't doing a lick of work. They played games all day, failed their classes and the subs didn't even care. Sensei started teaching DOLA too this year and turned those DOLA kids around. She was the first person to get them tutoring, which apparently none of the subbing teachers had ever thought to do! But before Christmas, the rumor was Towers was shutting down the Japanese program and Sensei was leaving for Lakeside or the International school. The kids were furious. Northside schools get the best of everything that matters.

continued said...

Yes I've read the whining here over Towers' new roof WHICH LEAKS and pours down water in the halls when it rains, and my kids complain about constantly, and the auditorium which never gets used and nobody gives a rats ass about! But when it comes to things that MATTER, like excellent teachers, the rich schools get it all and we are left with the dirty crumbs! Now they were going to steal our excellent teacher too. Sensei has gotten some Towers students scholarships to go to Tokyo in some years! Children who might live their whole life in the same neighborhood they were born in have now been on the other side of the planet! And now the county was going to give her to a rich kid school! The students were furious. The parents were furious. Finally the counselors told us that Sensei was staying at Towers. She'd stay as the new full time DOLA teacher to increase graduation rates and still host the Anime club.

That club is a powerful motivator. All the "good" kids belong to it, including mine and they police each other and make sure nobody is acting like knuckleheads, because they don't want club privileges cut off. They do tons of cool stuff like field trips and going to Japanese restaurants together and all kinds of projects and pizza parties where they watch Japanese cartoons and read Japanese comic books. If they start acting up in school, Sensei cuts back on meetings and the kids hate it. Peer pressure is the most powerful motivator there is. So those kids straighten up quick. So we were happy to learn Sensei would still be at Towers. But if the central office sends someone else to take over Credit Recovery aka DOLA, then I know they will be moving Sensei to a rich school. And I'll be furious that we lost our best teacher and the DOLA classes will probably slide right back into the mess it was before she started herding those cats. Lose-lose all around, story of our life at Towers, where we always end up on bottom and every good thing gets taken away from us. But Towers parents are not going down without a fight over this! I guarantee you that!!

Anonymous said...

Many new roofs leak. The district has done a very poor job of making contractors come back and fix jobs that they didn't do correctly. Smoke Rise roof never leaked until it was changed. Narvey Harris has leaked since it was built 11 years ago. There are others, I am sure.

You see, the board and administration don't make the contractors hired accountable for shoddy work that they do. Instead, shoddy works, earns them more contracts and more money. Could you run your home like that? I know I couldn't, and the money that they are spending should be spent carefully and not wasted time and time again.

I feel your pain and understand the frustration, but you need to know that this is not just Towers. It's all over the district. Those in charge have only cared about lining their pockets and others' pockets with money (higher salaries) and nothing more.

During the three years that I taught in DCSS, I watched the good teachers leave (retire or quit) midway through year 3, I had had enough and quit. I listen to parents in my own neighborhood complain about teachers talking down to kids, making fun of them, and not teaching, and nothing is done. I live in the North Druid Hills High School district, which is supposed to be good. I can't send my child to school in it. I won't do it.

All of the kids in DeKalb deserve better than what they are getting. As I stated earlier. Those in charge wouldn't know an education if it slapped them in the face. I hope that Dr. Atkinson is better than that and we'll find out when contracts come out and who is staying and who is leaving. If many aren't given pink slips, than she is no better than those before her and all children in DeKalb are screwed.

Anonymous said...

No they don't try and get the contractors back and when ever a employee reported these problems no one would do anything. The problem is at the sam moss center. They have principals in charge of the building and they have no clue what is going own. That building is a waste of tax payer money, it needs a over-haul yesterday. No child in dekalb should have be in a school with a roof leak. This is just one problem what about the sewage back ups,roaches in the cafeteria,broken windows,snakes,rats,mildew,no heat/ac,the mud the children have to walk in to get to the trailers,play ground equipment not safe,broken trailer ramps and many more. The students in dekalb deserve better. Dr. A you need take those central office over-paid employees/admin salaries and put this money back into the schools. Lewis and many more have made a big mess and god help our children.

Cerebration said...

Thank you SO much for the input on Towers. The teacher, Sensei sounds like someone worth fighting for! We are on your side here. Keep on being very vocal about the good things you want to protect at your schools!

Sandy Spruill said...

Re: Towers High School Teacher

Sensei is the Japanese word for "teacher." Will you tell us (DeKalb School Watch) the teacher's name, please? That way, we can try to help you make sure the teacher is not moved from Towers High School by DCSS.

If you do not want to publish the teacher's name openly in this blog, please e-mail it to us (DeKalb School Watch) at

You can trust us and you can be sure that we will maintain your confidence. We will work with you for the benefit of Towers High School and its students.

Anonymous said...

If Dr. A does not visibly try to change things this spring, and I mean even if she has to butt heads with the board publicly to show that she is trying to make things better for our kids, she will lose any public support that she has currently.

This district needs to change now, if our kids have any hope.

Cerebration said...

You are way smarter than me Sandy! We got the name - we'll do our best to help. I'm certain that Dr. A in no way wants to disrupt anything truly positive happening in any of our schools!

Anonymous said...

In case someone hasn't already told you, the Tower's Japanese and DOLA teacher is Ms. Kayoko Lewis. A very nice lady, (and no relation to the past superintendent). She taught at Lakeside before she went to Towers.

Anonymous said...

The principal at my son's school is not paying attention to how our CRCT scores will look in April. He is not being taught by his special EIP math teacher, Ms. Holt and his regular teachers cannot explain to parents why the EIP math teacher is not teaching the EIP students assigned to her class. She will not pick up the students.The EIP teacher is up in the front office answering the telephone, decorating the school, going over to Hambric Elementary to judge projects, coming to work late, and no one as an administrator is paying attention to what the teachers are saying about this EIP teacher.
The EIP math teacher has been allowed for years to roam the halls, model her clothes and do nothing from 9:00- until. Yet, she has a personal log that supports her not picking up the kids because she has duties to fulfill for the principal such as decorating the halls for programs, being a secretary in the front office, and who knows what else. EIP students have no grades from this EIP math teacher at Stone Mountain Elementary. The staff, I am told by my son's teachers have complained and complained and still to this date , the EIP math teacher has gotten worse in neglecting her duties. She goes on fieldtrips when she should be teaching EIP math classes. Last week, not one administrator could come up with a schedule for the EIP math teacher and she has not had a working schedule since school started.
Since August, my son has been to her EIP math class four times and none in 2012. Is anyone paying attention? The EIP math teacher is late to school everyday and when she finally comes, she positions herself in the front office all day doing nothing acting as an administrator.
How can administrators allow their friends to neglect students such as this? If you donot beleive the parents, ask any teacher at Stone Mountain Elementary about the missing EIP math teacher. Morale is low due to this teacher and how the administrators allow her to get away with this kind of behavior is something that Dr. Atkinson needs to look into.

Anonymous said...

As a parent, you all should contact the principal's boss and see why students are not being picked up, not having a working EIP math schedule. EIP falls under Title 1.
Donot allow the principal and her friend to shortchange students.
At the county office, the person over seeing Title 1 math should be able to see what her job description entails since her administrators donot seem to know or care. This is another case of a job without a description wasting money. Cannot believe this has been going on since August!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with getting help from Mr. Ken Bradshaw. Do not depend on those two to help in this situation. He and Mr. Horace Dunson will not do what is best for our children! They look out for the principal and will cover up for them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the teachers will continue to voice their opinion about the math EIP teacher at Stone Mountain Elementary who refuses to teach her EIP classes. She passes out volumes of paper packets on math problems that she has never taught.
The teachers are being pressured to teach and modify their lessons without any support from their administrators. Yet, they allow Ms. Holt walk around , judge presentations at other schools, decorate the lunchroom, bullentin boards, and anything that will keep her from actually working as a EIP teacher. This lady has not worked this entire year with EIP students. If we cannot get help from Ken Bradshaw, area director, then who can make this EIP teach our children?

Anonymous said...

Recently I went to the Idlewood Honor's Program. I am amazed how much this school has changed. I am not sure how a teacher can teach with the discipline the way it is? Some of the adults who I came in contact with had no public service manners. I was not a parent but I would have appreciated a greeting! So when the individual had a concern for this school, please note I saw it for myself and it is a MESS! Uncontrollable is the perfect way of putting it!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, the taxpayers can now see why teachers are against Dr. Adkinson giving these incompetent administrators more power to run their schools. As you can see, they are doing a poor job now, so imagine if they are giving any more power to hire or fire. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Dr. Adkinson will rethink this one over! It has been abused and will continue unless balances and checks from the central office with a new auditing company could run the operation. Other than this, when principals are giving more power, especially females, it is going to continue to be a cat fight like it is now in these schools.

Anonymous said...

Any update on the Towers Japanese/DOLA teacher?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there are three females at this school who cannot lead adults so how can they have teaching in Idlewood Elementary? I hope Dr. Atkinson would rethink about giving these administrators especially females more power. I know from observation they cannot lead my children. My children will definately not attend this school!
I hope the BOE members, Dr. Atkinson and the higher ups will read and get a lesson from this.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the female administrators that are now leading our schools on the south end of the county. Taxpayers, it is sad.
Idlewood is not alone, my dear. It is running rampant on the south end and the only saving grace is that they belong to the sisterhood organization of Calloway this is why they were Placed and can keep their jobs. AKA Sorority ROW Schools are what they're called on the south end of the county.

Anonymous said...

I know teachers from the Southside and Northside schools who are fed up with the Cat Fights, AKA mess, and female administrators who are bullies!

Anonymous said...

EIP is a model. It's not part of Title I.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear about the rude female principal at Kingsley, Dr. Smith? She does not care about the children who attend that school. A student got hurt with a broken arm at Kingsley and the principal did not call the paramedics only the parent. So figure this one the parent had to handle the problem. How stupid is this? Another female administrator not leading???

Anonymous said...

Kaboom,, does an incredible job with granting funds for playgrounds across the country. It is affilaited with the Home Depot, headquarted not too far from DeKalb.

If the Kaboom grant isn't used for the playground as intended, DCSS, Dr. Atkinson, and the Gene Walker Board of Ed. will be giving the proverbial middle finger to Kaboom, and good luck getting any more grants from this impeccable foundation.

Anonymous said...

Grand jury, please investigate! We are a hot mess!

Anonymous said...

@ 7:49 Does a broken arm warrant a call to an ambulance? We have nurses at each school, who should be able to make the call if an ambulance is needed or not.

Blaming female principals is just outrageous. As a teacher, the best principals that I have ever taught under were female, and both were black. The first was a magnificent woman, who was older, always wore a long fur coat and did double dutch with the girls. The other dealt with the parents and only let us know when the complaints were valid. Both had high standards for our teaching as well as student learning and most importantly there was discipline in the school. Both woman also had spent many years in the classroom.

The problem isn't male vs. female. It's that we have many principals that have very little teaching experience and they weren't very effective teachers to begin with. We also have principals in elementary schools, which do not understand what it takes to teach a child to read, as they have never taught elementary school. I feel the same for gym teachers being a principal. One has to understand the academics to really understand what the kids need.

Is there a problem with many female principals and there affiliation in sororities? Yes, but this is not all female principals in the county.

Does the county need a total over haul? Oh Yes, it does, but it's not going to happen with the current board, so don't hold your breath about it happening any time soon. Maybe a grand jury investigation would change this, but I am beginning to think that DeKalb is even more corrupt than I first imagined.

We need to stop painting female principals with a wide brush and keep to the facts.

Dekalb taxpayer said...

I agree with the previous poster. Unless my child was in a life-threatening situation, I would prefer to be called rather than the paramedics for a broken bone.

Anonymous said...

"We need to stop painting female principals with a wide brush and keep to the facts."

Anon 12:41, you are right: There are many fine female principals and AP's.

But all the other posters are right too: There are too many female principals and AP's on the Southside who are out of control with bringing their sorority affiliation into the workplace, even using sorority affiliation to secure and keep a job, even if they are not qualified for it.

It's this close to being out of control.

Hate to take away principals in the highest performing schools like Oak Grove Elem., but Supt. Atkinson needs to shake up the system and place the top principals in the lowest performing schools, many of which are in South DeKalb. There should be enough good AP’s in the system to keep the positive going in those top schools who would lose their principals.

It’s time for DCSS to stop doing what DCSS always does: Not firing poor principals but re-assigning them to made up paperwork jobs at the same salary. This time, fire the weak principals, or make them go back into the classroom! And enough with this sorority (mainly AKA's) hot steamin' mess.

Anonymous said...

Dr. A and the board just hired a COO and he has 27 years military experience! He is a retired US Army colonel, graduated from West Point, has a master's in public administration from Harvard.
He most recently was the COO for a 300 student PreK-8 school in DC.

We'll see. I hope he canstnd up to Walker and the rest of the establishment.

Anonymous said...

There are good and bad workers in every job. If the shoe fits wear it! For those female administrators who are doing an exceptional job,great! However, many female administrators are not prepared for the positions and need help! The sad thing many will not admit the inability to lead (weakness). So send them back into the classroom!

Cerebration said...

Stephen Wilkins went to Army War College. I think he'll have no problem with Walker and the rest of the establishment.

Dekalbparent said...


The clinic worker in many elementary schools is not a nurse. The clinic is often staffed by a para who has had some DCSS training courses(don't know about Kingsley).

There are nurses who work for DCSS, but they cover several schools and are available by phone to the clinic worker. (There are some exceptions - Coralwood has a nurse, and I assume other schools that have children with medical needs would be assigned a trained nurse.)

As to who should have made the decision about calling 911, I cannot say. Some parents would be fine with the decision the principal made and some would not.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:41
Thank Dekalbparent for the message:
The clinic worker in many elementary schools is not a nurse. The clinic is often staffed by a para who has had some DCSS training courses(don't know about Kingsley).

Anonymous said...

The Blogger who supported female principals must be talking about when the county had maybe only two female principals in the county.
The female AKA principals that are now PLACED in schools are not equipped to deal with the management of operating a solid school. They invent lies, call teachers into the office with, "She Said, "They Said" and other petty gossip.
This sorority mess with this AKA clique is out of control and Dr. Adkinson must put a stop to it.
Taxpayers, you must visit their offices and see how the frogs and ivy and boards are adorned in pink and green. Memos are sent out in stationery colors of their sorority. During their 100th birthday, during school hours, they held their own ceremony and observed members during school hours of this organization. All day long, they walk around addressing each other with Skee Wee and Soror. But behind doors, they fight and personally donot like each other but for the public is a fake sisterhood making women who are not competent of themselves dire to become a part of this clique. Taxpayers, when the public put CLEW on BLAST, some didnot listen. Please believe the BlOGGERS this time about this group of female principals that belong to this organization listed . It is soooooooooo true.... until it is beyond sickening!

Anonymous said...

@ 9:20 My point is that not all Black Female principals are sorority tooting, there are Black Female principals that do a good job, want the students in their school to be educated, and motivate teachers. Just because DCSS doesn't have many of them, doesn't mean that they aren't out there. Any new principals that Atkinson brings in for next year (G-d willing) deserve a fair shake from us, before we throw stones.

The principals that I mentioned weren't from DCSS, as I did not work under any.

Anonymous said...

To the BLOOGER, thanks for your opinion. But, we (teachers) still stand firm on what we have observed and the facts speak for themselves about the AKA female administrators in DCSS on the south end.
Take a poll vote on the sorority affiliation of AKA administrators within the county especially on the south end. You notice where most are PLACED.

Good luck in your search for finding one good AKA administrator in DCSS on the south end of the county. AKA's Thanks to Calloway, Debbie White, Berry, Mayfield, and of course, CLEW .
Cannot wait until the CRCT to see who Adkinison move. Or, let teachers transfer these lazy principals and make room for new leadership.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:25 I will stand with the teachers regarding the AKA mess and female administrators in DCSS South and North. This has gotten out of hand with CLIQUES! No leadership, No discipline, and so much Power Tripping personalities among these female administrators. Do not get me wrong there are some female administrators doing an excellent job. However, all those Rotten Apples must go! No on the job training and our children are suffering. Many of the awful administrators cannot run day to day operations of our schools. So yes, it will be interesting in May when the CRCT scores are returned. This is not a baseball game, “three strikes and you’re out!!!! Why waist taxpayers hard earned money with experimenting with some of the female administrators???? Thanks CLEW and company for selecting your friends and associates!

Anonymous said...

@ 10:51 Yes, the bad apples need to go, but if we want to have good apples apply, than we must be willing to give every new hire a fair chance. Good people will not apply, if parents and teachers are saying that all Black female administrators are clueless and can't do their job. I don't like or agree with that stereotype.

I realize and I understand the problem of many principals in our district, and the larger problem is hiring people with little teaching experience, on-line degrees, a lack of discipline within our schools, and poor administrators in the palace making important decisions.

I'd like for EVERYONE, teachers included, to be let go from the district and have to reapply for their job, as the district really needs to start all over again from the very beginning, there are so many bad apples throughout the district that have been hiding. However, I know this will not happen, and hope that we as a county can support any new people that Atkinson brings in until they have proven that they are not capable of doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

Now we can see why Dr. Atkinson has to shake some trees within DCSS--particularly at the TOP. All of the negative comments directed at her is a result of the shake up. Some ppl (at the top) don't like it and now want to throw stones at her. Don't worry about it Dr. Atkinson, but know this for certain...these ppl want to see you fail. In fact, they will set you up to fail--if you don't go with the program. They want to attack your management style, but won't remove the beam from their own eyes first. I suggested you change the culture. Do it like Elvis Presley said, "I DID IT MY WAY..." Heck, the district was mucked up when you came onboard--what do they expect? Business as usual. Please!

Anonymous said...

Is this the same retired colonel that Womack wanted as interim superintendent at one point?

Anonymous said...

What's the latest on the Public Budget Hearing held last night?

Anonymous said...

I doubt it... this guy is a minority and from Broad....

Anonymous said...

Check out his credentials! Harvard, West Point, and Army War College; has worked i nChicago and alexandria school systems; he speaks fluent Spanish, and has taught in college!!

Per the ajc: Wilkins, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was Chief of Human Capital Initiatives for the Alexandria City Public Schools in Alexandria, Va. and facilities director for the Chicago Public Schools. He will oversee areas including facilities and maintenance, transportation, school nutrition and construction.

Hopefully Dr. A will let him assist with the SROs too - he is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police!

Look out HR, transportation, SROs, and Facilities!! You may have met your match!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the typos - should have read: has worked in Chicago and Alexandria school systems

Got too excited that we might have found a keeper...hanging on to hope that someone cna right this ship

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is how are we quantifying "utilization" in our classrooms? Coaches NOT involved in the classroom is a waste of available resources.

It is an actual fact we have people that are inadequately prepared to teach in the classroom. If salaries are based on performance, the "bad apples" spoken of consistently throughout this blog will begin to be purged. I think DCSS should recruit proven outstanding teachers in core content areas, while requiring bad teachers to reapply. This issue is, what does a bad teacher look like, and how do we measure it?

As part of a "new culture" that is needed in the district, Dr. Atkinson must bring a top-down approach to teamwork and synergy throughout the organization. This will help to deflate egos that is a serious handicap we have if we are to be honest about it.

Administrators and the security staff MUST take responsibility for the discipline issues in their respective schools. Department heads MUST be responsible for leading by identifying who the stronger and weaker students are as soon as possible, and allocating resources where appropriate and needed. Principals should ensure those resources are in place to maximize success.

Anonymous said...

I hope his resume is all "real" -- almost seems too good to be true... he sounds amazing.

Anonymous said...

Well, I never usually comment on blogs. However, I felt compelled to add in my 2 cents for the first and probably last time. I wanted to address the blogger's suggestion that Dr. A. should move principals from high performing schools to low performing schools in order to improve student achievement. I think this has been done already, and I don't believe it has proven effective.

I am a teacher, and I have worked in a number of title 1, and low performing schools, or high achieving schools with a small portion of "at risk students". From my experience a principal that is adept at leading schools like Vanderlyn, Bouie, Austin Elem, Lakeside, Dunwoody Elemen, Narvie J. and Wynnbrooke are not necessarily suited to lead low performing schools. Teaching and leading at schools that have a lot of at risk students is grueling, mind numbing, sun up to sun down field work. It calls for fearless teachers and leaders that aren't afraid to make home visits to students' home, and walk the streets in neighborhoods that are not so pristine. It calls for hiring principals that have a "proven" track record of success (teaching and leading) in low performing populations. It means hiring principals that are willing to research and evaluate cutting edge curriculum reform programs and actually implement them. It will take leaders that are adept at motivating parents, faculty, and students. They will also have to know what to do when their efforts are failing. I would hope that Dr. A will take a long hard look at the teaching, and leadership background of all the county's principals before she moves them around. Do they possess the experience, and know how that it takes to turn around low performing schools? Have they done this before? Is there any proof that they will follow through on their plans for school improvement? Dr. A may have to look at and recruit principals from other states, and districts that have a proven track record of improved student achievement for "at risk" populations.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a band director and has been told that he has a job this coming school year (2012/2013) but probably won't the following year. What the heck? Does anyone know if there is a way he can take some accelerated courses to become an elementary school teacher?