New DeKalb Charter School Opening this fall

We have been informed that a new charter school was approved by the DeKalb school board last year and is scheduled to open in August. The school, DeKalb Preparatory Academy, will open at first for K-4 and will add a grade a year to eventually serve K-8. They are currently accepting applications, which can be downloaded from their website.

The school will use the Paragon curriculum from Mosaica. They have a solid, qualified, small board of directors in place and a corporate curriculum leadership plan. Below is the description from their website:

Mosaica Education’s Paragon© Curriculum combines the rigor of classical education with the relevance required by contemporary society. Students learn about character, ethics, empathy and self-esteem implicitly by studying the world’s great heroes, both canonical and unsung, and by stepping into the shoes of great historical figures, both real and imaginary. Paragon looks to the past to prepare students to become the architects of tomorrow.

The school will be housed at the recently closed Glen Haven Elementary School at 1402 Austin Drive, Decatur, GA 30032.

Click this link for the school’s website and to download an application.

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49 Responses to New DeKalb Charter School Opening this fall

  1. Miss Management says:

    Good news. If they can work within their allotted budget, which is no more or less than any other “regular” school in DeKalb – then more power to them! I say, sign up!

  2. liveoak says:

    It would be interesting to know how much Dekalb Schools will or has paid to the Mosaica company and what role they will play in the school’s management.

  3. Dunwoody Mom says:

    After the debacle with the Fulton Science and Math Academy, I hope this serves as a wakeup call that more oversight is needed with these start-up charters. Forensic audits (not audits done by the schools themselves) should be a part of every charter that receives public money and well as all school systems.

  4. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    How many of DeKalb’s theme schools and start-up charter schools reside south of Memorial Drive? I can think of PATH Academy north of Memorial, but that’s it.

  5. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    This has been an issue we have reported on before. So many people have left their neighborhood schools for theme, magnet, choice or charter that it has left neighborhood schools severely underpopulated and has required the school board to close several. That’s why we wish great success for this charter. If they can utilize a formerly shuttered school AND deliver a quality education to at least 500-600 students, then we would fully endorse such a creative effort.

    Read our report on the subject at the ‘old’ DSW blog:

  6. Ned says:

    ICS and the Museum School are both north of Memorial

  7. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    True. This is new. The Museum School was new this year. The International Community School was finally given the closed Medlock Elementary building to use. One of the few really good decisions made by this board in recent years. (BTW, I want to make sure that you all know that a documentary is in the works about this school!)

  8. educator90 says:

    If charter schools are subjected to forensic audits, than so should every school and school system. Our public school system is no better at handling money. They just have the power to raise taxes to cover the short falls.

  9. Ned says:

    Not new at all. ICS has always been north of Memorial, for 10 years. Not by a lot, but north of it.

  10. Weary worker says:

    Robert Shaw Theme is north of Memorial and ITP. Chamblee HIgh is a charter and I think there is a theme school in the Doraville area.

  11. justwatch says:

    Chamblee is not a start up. Oakcliff Theme is north of I 20

  12. murphey says:

    Oakcliff Theme School is north of I-285.

    There are 5 conversion charter schools: Chamblee Charter High School, Peachtree Charter Middle School, Kingsley Elementary, Chesnut Elementary and Smoke Rise Elementary.

    I know that the Chamblee, Peachtree, Kingsley and Chesnut are north of Memorial Drive. I’m sorry to say I’m ignorant about Smoke Rise but think it’s north of Memorial Drive.

    There are 7 start up charter schools listed on the DCSD website: DeKalb Academy of Technology and the Environment, DeKalb PATH Academy (located near Oglethorpe University), DeKalb Preparatory Academy, International Community School (Avondale and Stone Mountain), Leadership Preparatory Academy, The Museum School of Avondale Estates, Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence, and Gateway to College Academy.

    I guess these 7 start up charters got the $12,520,121 that is shown as “Previously Unbudgeted Fixed Costs” in the Budget Summary page of the DCSD website (

  13. dekalbite2 says:

    Yes, but both are DeKalb charters. They are totally under the control of the DCSS administration.

  14. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Yes. It was a shocking revelation about the way Marcus Turk was apparently keeping the books. He only budgeted for a certain number of students for these charter schools, but most had more students enrolled. Now, Dr. Atkinson has budgeted these schools with an expectation of full enrollment. If fewer than the program’s capacity enroll, there should be a surplus in this line item. We’d still like to see the per student cost for these schools. Some are no more costly than a regular school (even less) but some are seriously over the top. The most recent data we have shows Destiny Academy spends almost $14,000 per student. That said, the school system’s magnets are also very much out of line with per pupil expense. Kittredge had a cost of over $11,000 per student. DSA was even more. (A regular student costs the system around $7-8,000). We’re just advocating for a better balance.

  15. murphey says:

    I thought charter schools just received the same per pupil $$ as regular schools, and it was up to the charter schools to find extra $$ if it was needed. I support charter schools but not if they get more $$. I thought the point of charter schools was that they could get waivers from state or county policies and then deliver better academic results. There is NO way they should also get more $$.

  16. Concerned DeKalb Mom says:

    I asked the question because my sense has always been that choice was more available in some areas of DeKalb than others. I may have been incorrect in that understanding.

    I think there is a big difference, though, between a start-up charter school and a conversion charter school, and there is a difference between charter schools and magnets and theme schools, in particular in their cultures and structure–and yes, they all receive funds from the county. But that’s a different conversation, I think. My question was just concerning all the locations…especially considering that the county no longer supports transportation to those schools…is “choice” really an option anymore if parts of the county have no real access to these options?

  17. Public School Teacher says:

    Catch a clue, folks.
    According the the most comprehensive study of charter schools done to date:
    Only 17% of charter schools do ANY BETTER AT ALL that comparable public schools. 37% have WORSE results than comparable public schools. The remaining 47% HAVE ABOUT THE SAME RESULTS as the public schools.
    Why do people (corporate interests perhaps?) continue to perpetuate the myth that charters are the answer to supposed education woes?

    The data is just NOT there!

  18. justwatch says:

    The most choice really is in the Southern end of the county. While the cultures may be different at start up charters, magnets and themes, if a parents goal is to get their child out of the neighborhood school, then the goal itself is often what becomes important, not what the choice is.

  19. Dunwoody Mom says:

    This charter schoool “thing” is just a fad. A “fad” for which the taxpayers are paying BIG money to for-profit companies whose primary goal is to make money, not educate children. What happens to these students when these companies have squeezed all the money they can out of running these schools and have moved on to the next big money-maker?

  20. Public School Teacher says:

    More on Charter Schools:

    Another story of waste/misuse/abuse of public money by charter schools. (Not to mention what they are doing to students….)

  21. Ned says:

    Within the sub-category of “start-up” charters there is a world of difference between those started by parents and a community and those sponsored by an outside corporate entity.

    Please identify, for example, the “for-profit company” collecting the “BIG money” at the International Community School.

    Alternatively, please paint with a narrower brush.

  22. wiserthanmyself says:

    A thorough, government report from 2010 on the effectiveness of charter schools is at Like many things, it’s not all good or all bad. However, one sentence from the exec summary (p xvii) is important: “In our exploratory analysis, for example, we found that study charter schools serving more low income or low achieving students had statistically significant positive effects on math test scores, while charter schools serving more advantaged students—those with higher income and prior achievement—had significant negative effects on math test scores.”

    One size does not fit all and the effects are different at different grade levels. This, too: “On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress.” Like anything else, success depends on the who, what, and where of the charter. But it’s not hard to see why they are appealing, given the mess DCSS is in.

  23. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    From an article posted in the Decatur Patch last month,
    Principal Michael Daly says,

    The tuitionfree, public charter school will serve grades K through 4, adding a grade per year up to 8th grade.

    DeKalb Prep will offer a rigorous college preparatory education utilizing the internationally‐acclaimed Mosaica® Education model and Paragon® Curriculum, which allows students to acquire superior academic skills as well as the critical thinking and collaborative learning that are necessary to thrive in college and beyond in the 21st century.

    The Academy, with its 7 ½ hour extended day and 192 day calendar, will provide significantly more time on task for students to master skills and to internalize rigorous content and make it their own.

  24. Ned says:

    Which are you arguing:
    a./ that all charters are Gulen charters?
    b./that because these charters have done this therefore all charters are suspect?
    c./ that we would have to look far to find “waste/misuse/abuse of public money” by mainline public school systems?

  25. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    I don’t think it’s a fad at all. Education is one of the last, reliable multi-billion dollar businesses. Lots of heavy hitters are getting involved. Watch for charters and corporate schools to increase in the future. Especially in a system like DeKalb where parents are desperately seeking an escape from what they see as failing neighborhood schools and a corrupt central office with a financially reckless board of education.

  26. bettyandveronica1 says:

    here’s more interesting info from Gwinnett: take a look at PAGE 3 & 4, very interesting. I think what I like about this is it takes into consideration the county costs as well, not just the school system. Someone needs to hire their Director of Finance if we are ever to get out of our own soup. But, alas, we probably can’t afford him/her.

    Click to access FY2013_Work_Session_Schedules.pdf

  27. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Why is a charter tuition free? seems like there should be some financial investment on the part of the parents.

  28. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Charter schools are fully public schools.

  29. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    LOL – what you don’t know is that his name is Rick Cost – and he USED to work for DeKalb!! But obviously his heart is in Gwinnett…

    Rick Cost is the Chief Financial Officer for Gwinnett County Public Schools. He calls Lawrenceville home and has lived in Gwinnett County for 22 years. Rick is a member of the 12 Stone Church and has chosen to serve on the Engage Gwinnett Committee because he feels it is his civic duty as a member of the community to be actively involved in the future success of this county.

  30. Dunwoody Mom says:

    “Are charter schools public schools? They say they are. But what we now see is that they are public when it comes to collecting tax money, but not in most other respects.”

  31. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Well, true if you look at it that way. But as far as funding, they are fully funded by the taxpayers. Like any other school, they can choose to embellish their offerings with private contributions (like Fernbank ES does with several extra teachers funded by the PTA).

    Good article, BTW. Everyone should read it. Education Week publishes a lot of great articles. Click here to sign up for their free email newsletters.

    The charter movement is like anything though. It wouldn’t have happened if our schools had been providing a quality education for every child. Many people have become literally desperate to find a good school for their children in DeKalb.

  32. booksrkool says:

    This article about ALEC was more interesting. I took the liberty to look at the Education Task Force as of July 2011. For Georgia I saw Fran Miller, Jan Jones, Howard Maxwell, Greg Goggans, MIke Dudgeon, and David Casas. It appears that ALEC writes many of the proposed bills for the state legislators. Hmmm…I don’t like being manipulated. I think discipline will bring back manageable learning environments.

    I don’t like the idea of charter schools because it will take money away from public schools. For me, school choice means separating kids who will go to college and those that will go to technical schools. Please don’t think that one is better than the other. I love plumbers, truck drivers, nurses’ aids, and even air traffic controllers. All of these jobs are just as important as doctors, lawyers and teachers.

    However, eventually there WON’T be enough money to go around and then what?! Taxes are going to have to increase either locally, at the state level, and/or both! We are going to end up paying no matter what.

  33. curious says:

    I am really concerned about Mr. Turk’s creative budgeting. I know he was relieved of his duties — and may be still working for the school system, perhaps until his contract’s end? Anyway, I feel as if we haven’t been told the whole story. I spoke with Mr. McChesney at length last week, and he said that the board had no clue; the board members weren’t even given the information that would have alerted them to ask questions. It sounded as if they still don’t know the depth of the problem.

    What in the heck is going on? Mr. Turk’s gross incompetence verges on the criminal, in my opinion. He had certain fiduciary duties to the taxpayer that he breached. I really wonder what the whole story is . . .

  34. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    The charter schools don’t really take money away from other schools – unless DeKalb decides to give them extra funding. The kids enrolled in the charter schools get the same dollars from the state that the school system would get for them. You’re right that since they’re not at their home school, the money is not there for the home school – but then again, neither is the kid. In fact, if the charter ends up using a closed building, it’s a gain for the school system, as all the upkeep for the building is paid by the charter. At any rate, the school system doesn’t incur a cost for educating the child – not even transportation. And since public education is not for profit, there’s no loss to the system. ** caveat ** As long as due to so many students choosing the charter, we don’t end up funding very tiny public schools with their own principals and full staffs, when money could be saved by consolidating.

  35. Marney Mayo says:

    not sure if I want to wade into this string or not…but a few points

    I’m not sure why you picked Memorial drive as your divide for North/South in looking at choice as a large number of the choice programs are south of Ponce de Leon but within spitting distance north of Memorial. Including Museum School, DATE, Gateway, both ICS campuses (until next year). (Added to Destiny, Dekalb Leadership, and now to open Dekalb Prep that you already pointed out.) In theme you would add their only middle school… Champion, Robert Shaw, and I think there is one other (Bouie?). You have Wadsworth, DESA, DSA, Arabia as stand alones. In school programs include IB at Avondale and I think there is one other elementary, high achievers at Columbia middle and Southwest, montessori at Midway.

    So unless I’m counting wrong, all the start-ups but Path (and soon ICS) are south of Ponce de Leon…which pretty much matches where the parental desire to exit the assigned local schools is.
    For anyone who wants to argue that that the area between Ponce and Memorial should be considered good (North) schools for this exercise…I would respond that Clarkston(lowest of the low) and Avondale(lowest true graduation rate before closing) as the only two high schools physically in that geographic area.

    Don’t know that I want to try to address for the umteenth time the charter school cost issues. I will say that ones that aren’t working do have a process by which they can be terminated…as will Savannah Gateway to College next week, without press or fanfair I expect. see the following item on the state’s agenda:

  36. booksrkool says:

    Ok, but since you said that the state gives the charter the funding then where are they (the state) getting this money from? The state has not been giving the school systems 100% of what they are supposed to get because we (the state of Georgia) are broke .

    I checked Alecia Morgan’s website and she stated that if HB 1162 is passed then the state would come up with a tax to fully find them or least partially fund charter schools. My question remains why can’t they do that for the public schools?
    My spider sense tells me something isn’t right…
    Thanks for your explanation.

  37. Public School Teacher says:

    Thank you , Ned. Perfect example of a straw man fallacy. I was arguing none of the above, but then you know that don’t you.

    Anyone truly interested in the funding and effectiveness of charters, please check out the study I reference in previous post ( called the CREDO study and available here: Again this is the most compressive study done to date on charters. They found that most charters do NO BETTER AT all, and in many cases WORSE than traditional, already in place, public schools!)

    Also, this article:

    An excellent discussion of how the charter system “works”.

  38. dekalbite2 says:

    “What in the heck is going on? Mr. Turk’s gross incompetence verges on the criminal, in my opinion. He had certain fiduciary duties to the taxpayer that he breached. I really wonder what the whole story is .”

    Did Mr. Turk report Dr. Lewis’s personal use of the county P-card to his immediate supervisor Ms. Tyson? Did Mr. Turk or Ms. Tyson (if Mr. Turk reported this to her) report Dr. Lewis’s personal use of the county P-card to Mr. Ramsey, the head of Internal Affairs? If Mr. Turk did report Dr. Lewis’s use of the county P-card to Ms. Tyson, did she in turn report this to Mr. Ramsey, head of Internal Affairs? If Mr. Ramsey knew that Dr. Lewis used taxpayers dollars for personal expenditures, what action(s) did he take?

    According to Dr. Lewis’s indictment, Mr. Turk advised Dr. Lewis that he was using the P-card illegally (see indictment below). Did Mr. Turk follow the chain of command and established procedures that protect taxpayer money and give this information to his immediate supervisor Ms. Tyson or report this to Mr. Ramsey? If Mr. Turk followed the proper chain of command, did Ms. Tyson and/or Mr. Ramsey take the steps they should have to protect taxpayer dollars from being used illegally?

    From the indictment:
    “For example, on June 17, 2008, CRAWFORD LEWIS called Marcus Turk, CFO of
    DCSS and stated to Turk that he was going on vacation and was short on funds. He asked if he could use the P-Card to pay for his hotel. Turk advised CRAWFORD LEWIS that such actions were illegal. The next day, Lewis repeated the same request and received the same response. Despite these warnings, CRAWFORD LEWIS used his DCSS P-Card to pay for a hotel room at The Lucayan in Freeport, Bahamas for Two Hundred Ninety-Five and Twenty cents ($295.20). (See Exhibi t DDD). No official business was conducted during this stay. ”

    Click to access Indictment-10CR2861.pdf

    Page 59

    There is a chain of command set up so school system employees do not use tax dollars for personal and illegal expenditures. Was the chain of command followed? If not, then why not and who did not follow the chain of command? These are questions the taxpayers need to have answered. It is our money, and we should have the “whole story”.

    Look at the

  39. Instead of spending $14K per student- how about we simply go back to basics- Let’s allow the teachers to teach the basics- as a product of the 60’s & 70’s- when the hottest rage was Pac Man, options such as creative writing, art classes, Required (not recommended) Reading – and the ability to choose real electives allowed for a well rounded individual. Dare I say that recess (kick ball, tether ball, softball) really helped wind one down from the stress of the day -and dare i say, helped eliminate the major problem of childhood obesity that we currently have.- Let our children be children- and allow them the opportunity to be taught, to learn, and to God forbid use their brains and imaginations-

    Equal Access and fairness is what simply must be allowed. If every student was given the same advantage and same resources, and teachers who are allowed to do their job- the need to support “charter/magnet/theme” would not be necessary. There is of course the hidden agenda to perpetuate this type of learning environment- I don’t understand things that seem so simplistic to me- Example- How many of you remember getting a list of 50 spelling words on Friday- having to write them with the definition, and then being tested on them the following Friday? Simple things such as this help build vocabulary, and is not rocket science. Is anyone else concerned that there are some children that can not tell time? Literally? If it is not on their cell phone , Student’s can not “read” a clock… (why do elementary or middle schoolers need cell phones?) Doesn’t that bother anyone? or is it just me???

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