Important upcoming meetings

Restore DeKalb: Putting Children First, Maintain Accreditation & Local Control

Learn the information in the SACS report and Grand Jury Investigation to include:
· Why was DeKalb County Board of Education placed on probation?
· What are the top five violations in the SACS report?
· What are the five major charges alleged in the Grand Jury Investigation?

Learn what you are not being told at the Information and Education Town Hall Meeting at Sanford Realty Company, 4183 Snapfinger Woods Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30035 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm.

1) February 16, 2012: Information & Education Meeting

2) February 23, 2012: Questions & Answers Meeting

Where Do We Go From Here & Why?
Organized by Citizens for Transparency, Education, Ethics and Accountability
Contact Person: Viola Davis with Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter at 770-256-0034, Joel Edwards with WORC and King Ridge Homeowners Association at 404-966-1121 or Willie Pringle with WORC and a Southwest DeKalb High School Parent at 678-451-9333.

Email: RestoreDeKalb@gmail.com
Future Website: http://www.RestoreDeKalb.org

Please download the flyer and pass it on to your friends and family: http://www.scribd.com/doc/125043723/Restore-DeKalb-Maintain-Accreditation-and-Local-Controlhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/125043723/Restore-DeKalb-Maintain-Accreditation-and-Local-Control

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Marshall Orson is also speaking on what’s going on on **Feb 19 at Emory Presbyterian Church 1866 North Decatur Rd. at 7pm

**Please note: This date has been corrected. The actual date of the meeting is FEB 19th – NOT the 16th as we had mistakenly posted earlier!

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Want to meet the new super in person?

DeKalb Interim Superintendent Speaks Feb. 20th

The next Emory LaVista Parent Council (ELPC ) meeting will be on Wednesday, February 20th at Oak Grove Elementary School. Hospitality begins at 8:45 a.m. followed by the program at 9:15 a.m. Our new Interim Superintendent, Michael Thurmond, will join us. Other speakers will include David Schutten (Executive Director, Organization of DeKalb Educators), Rep. Scott Holcomb (House District 81), and Dr. Howard Grant (Executive Director, Atlanta School Board). Please mark your calendar now and plan to attend this event which is open to all parents!!

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NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS

In accordance with SPLOST IV and the 2011 10-year master facility plan, the DeKalb County School District proposes to phase-out 12 instructional facilities over the next five years: Austin Elementary Facility, Avondale High Facility, Clifton Elementary Facility, DESA/Terry Mill Facility, Fernbank Elementary Facility, Meadowview Elementary Facility, Midway Elementary Facility, Ronald McNair Middle Facility, Pleasantdale Elementary Facility, Rockbridge Elementary Facility, Smoke Rise Elementary Facility and Wadsworth Elementary Facility. These schools will be replaced by the construction of new facilities and repurposing existing facilities in the out years.

Public hearings will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26 at the DCSD Administrative and Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain.

Any attendance lines adjustments for any receiving schools and their adjacent schools in order to accommodate the relocated students within each school’s capacity limits will be discussed the year prior to phase out. Fernbank Elementary is presently scheduled to occupy Avondale Middle during the construction period.

CLICK HERE to download the DCSS 10 year master plan.

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Of course, follow our countdown calendar to the hearing with the State Board of Ed at the top right of the home page of the blog currently scheduled for Feb 21.

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Check our Upcoming Meetings page under the Meetings & Events tab at the top of the blog. Please send us your meeting announcements and we will add them.

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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26 Responses to Important upcoming meetings

  1. Marshall Orson says:

    The Town Hall I am hosting takes place on Tuesday February 19th at Emory Presbyterian. We will discuss critical issues facing the DeKalb County School District including accreditation, leadership and reform ideas. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm. Q

  2. howdy1942 says:

    DSW – Thank you for this post. I attended the Lakeside City Alliance meeting and I sense and new spirit in our county, one that wants and expects change, and one that is determined to see change.

  3. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Meanwhile at the state capital, GA HB115 is up and running. Check it out. http://legiscan.com/GA/text/HB115 Click on the HB115 Detail to read. It changes the current law to state the hearing will be 10-90 days after probation status (from 30) and makes it known that only members who were on the board at the time of status change should be suspended. In short, it gives a lot of wobble room. And no real relief for the taxpayer.

  4. thedeal2 says:

    This was forwarded to me this morning. Yet another meeting, this time for the Lakeside cluster. There are too many competing efforts going on here. I predict all of these efforts will cancel each other out.

    Dear Lakeside Cluster Principals, PTA Presidents & School Council Chairs,

    In light of everything going on in the DeKalb County School District, we thought it would be prudent to activate the parent and community leaders in the Lakeside Cluster (Lakeside, Henderson Middle & the Elementary feeder schools) in order to take actions that best support the schools in our cluster. Our mission is to work together to make sure the integrity of the schools in our cluster is preserved and, ideally, enhanced. Please join us from 6 – 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27th at Henderson Middle School in the Media Center for our initial Lakeside Cluster Leadership Group meeting. If you are not able to attend, please try to find another leader in your school community to represent your school. Following are just some of the initial thoughts we had on items to discuss or explore:

    1. “Stop the Exodus”– It seems like many communities with economic resources are looking for ways out of our school system. Ultimately, most of us think this will not be good for the Lakeside Cluster or the County. We would like to contact local and state political leaders to engage their help in stopping the exodus.

    2. Explore charter status–This doesn’t mean we are in favor of charter status for the Lakeside cluster, but we want to learn what it means, what we would need to do to pursue this, and discuss whether or not this is a direction we want to go.

    4. Reach out to South DeKalb leaders—we feel that in order for DeKalb to truly succeed, we need to work to unite the north & south ends of the county. We would like to reach out to the leaders in South DeKalb and figure out ways that we can work together for the benefit of all the children in the county.

    5. Cityhood movement–keep track of this movement and its impact on our cluster in terms of the school system and education.

    6. Alternate Accreditation–apparently the Dunwoody cluster is looking in to being accredited by an agency other than SACS. Is this something we want to consider for the Lakeside cluster?As you can see, there is a lot to discuss. Please bring any other thoughts and ideas you have as well. We look forward to seeing you on the 27th!

    Initial Committee Members,
    Lisa Brown–Henderson and Lakeside (formerly Briarlake)
    Ellen Schwartz—Henderson and Kittredge (formerly Henderson Mill)
    Stephanie Hart—Sagamore Hills
    Kim Speece–Henderson and Sagamore Hills
    Laura Morse–Henderson and Henderson Mill
    Angie Thurmond–Lakeside (formerly Evansdale)
    Allyson Gevertz—Henderson & Oak Grove
    Randy Faigin David–Briarlake, Kittredge, Henderson and Lakeside

  5. Yes, apparently there has been a change made to HB115 stating that the Governor can only remove Board members who were serving on the Board when the system was put on probation.

    Deleted language: This Code section shall apply to all local board of education members, regardless of when they were elected or appointed.

    New language: For purposes of this Code section, an eligible member of a local board of education shall mean a board member who was serving on the local board at the time the accrediting agency placed the local school system or school on the level of accreditation immediately preceding loss of accreditation.”

    That leaves Orson, McMahan and Johnson protected from removal.

    It also now states, “If it is determined that it is more likely than not that the local board of education member’s continued service on the local board of education improves the ability of the local school system or school to retain or reattain its accreditation, the member shall be immediately reinstated; [To our eye, this portion protects Nancy Jester.] otherwise, the member shall be permanently removed, and the temporary replacement member shall become a permanent member and serve out the remainder of the term of the removed member or until the next general election which is at least six months after the member was permanently removed, whichever is sooner. [To our eye, this portion goes after the rest.]

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  6. In other Legislative news: Keep your eye on the Parent Trigger bill. We are attempting to pass one in Georgia – HB 123
    Parent and Teacher Empowerment Act.

    In California, this has been the law for so long that it’s simply part of how they ‘do business’ out there. Read this letter from Parent Revolution”…

    The New Normal

    Yesterday – Tuesday, February 12 – the parents of 24th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles achieved an unprecedented victory.

    The Los Angeles Unified School District Board voted unanimously to accept the parent’s petition to put into action a “restart model” for their children’s chronically failing school.

    The LAUSD Board vote was not only unanimous, it was so uncontroversial that they put it on their “consent calendar” – one giant list of uncontroversial items the Board approves as a group with one easy vote. It was unprecedented – and it was historic.

    And yesterday was the day Parent Trigger became normal.

    In four years, Parent Revolution has invented an idea the critics said would never work…managed to pass it into law for every parent in California…battled powerful and entrenched and special interests…trained hundreds of parents in organizing… won a series of must-win court cases…and spread this movement across the nation.

    Yesterday, we made this idea normal. …

    Sincerely,

    Ben Austin
    Executive Director

  7. Hundreds Turn Out for Lakeside Cityhood Meeting

    Several hundred residents turned out for the first public meeting of the Lakeside City Alliance on Wednesday night, and the vast majority said they supported a new movement that might lead to the newest municipality in northern DeKalb County as early as fall 2014.

  8. Matthew Lewis says:

    Hello – your main page lists the wrong date for Marshall’s meeting. It is 2/19, not 2/16. I see a post where he corrected it, but it didn’t change on the main page.

  9. Thank you Matthew! Marshall also informed us of our wrong info! Here’s the correction:

    Marshall Orson is also speaking on what’s going on on **Feb 19 at Emory Presbyterian Church 1866 North Decatur Rd. at 7pm

    **Please note: This date has been corrected. The actual date of the meeting is FEB 19th – NOT the 16th as we had mistakenly posted earlier!

    Sorry for the mistake – we hope no one goes on the wrong day!!

  10. howdy1942 says:

    TheDeal2 – looks like that Henderson group may have a good idea. As was the case in the Lakeside City Alliance, any forum that brings people in our community to learn about ways and actions they can take to fix our ailing school system is very positive. Although I live in the Brockett area of Tucker, I also think that it makes sense to reach out to people who live in South Dekalb. They care about their children and want them to succeed in life. I think that the disenchantment and frustration with this school board is shared by more people throughout Dekalb.

    This school board should resign. I like Michael Thurmond, I voted for him in 2008, and I had hoped to vote for him again in 2014. However, I strongly believe that he should not be acting as “lawyer” for this school board, that he should not be their spokesman, and that he should focus on supporting our teachers and straightening out the financial mess that we have. He has no authority to speak for or make commitments for this board – they can simply not do them. He works FOR the board – he DOESN’T SUPERVISE the board. Eugene Walker should man up and represent the board before the State. If he has a plan – fine. If he doesn’t, that’s fine, too. I wish that for once he would think about someone other than himself!

  11. whyaminotsurprised says:

    Just fyi. I attended the Lakeside Alliance Meeting. They said multiple times – more than 10 – that they cannot and will not at this time attempt to do anything about the school situation. They cited a Georgia Constitutional change from the 1940s that cities cannot start their own school systems. Trying to get this to change is not on their radar, particularly as they don’t even have the boundaries set for their own idea; they don’t yet have a financial feasibility study done, and they haven’t confirmed which services they want to take over. The leader said “starting point” so many times I thought she had a verbal tic until I realized that people continued to ask again and again what cityhood would do for the schools, (among other repeated questions) even after this was asked and answered many times.

    There may still be several very good reasons to consider cityhood. They are very open at this time to feedback, and I encourage folks going to their website and learning more about it. Dekalb county has more problems than just schools. http://lakesidecityalliance.org/. Just be aware that it will take many years and a statewide constitutional change for the school system to become part of a city.

    For the folks who were against it, of the folks I spoke to, some are opposed to the idea on principle. Some believe it will increase their taxes (which we don’t know yet, they are currently looking for funding to see what is feasible and they state multiple times they will abandon the effort if property taxes must go up), and folks who lived in Tucker and have their own identity and don’t want to be ID’d w/ this area.

  12. NOTICE OF DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION CALLED MEETING

    The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting at 9:00am, Monday, February 18, 2013, in the Cabinet Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative Center at the DeKalb County School System’s Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain. The called meeting will adjourn to executive session for the purpose of discussing legal and personnel matters.

  13. info says:

    Is anyone else concerned about Dekalb’s not receiving Race to the Top Funds? According to WSB, Dekalb was one of many Georgia districts to apply and be turned down.

    Atkinson and the board approved Dekalb’s Leadership Academy (funded by RTT money) before the state approved it, so how do we know that Dekalb hasn’t already spent money it was hoping to collect?

    Apparently, Academic Data Coaches are still the best way to improve education at Title 1 Schools. There are two such job postings, one put up as recently as Wednesday.

    Dekalb teachers must be relieved to know that the system invests in its locksmiths. The starting salary for this recently advertised position is more than a starting teacher’s.

  14. Weary worker says:

    @info – As per Race to the Top do you have a link to this story? I know some staff who have invested a good bit of time in preparing for the program. Sort of off topic, I find it interesting that the president yesterday visited a preschool in DeKalb that was NOT a DCSD school but a Decatur City school. The Decatur system is the antithesis of DeKalb in many ways. I wonder if the visit stung some of the leaders of DeKalb. Some of the news coverage featured African American parents saying that they had moved to Decatur because the schools were so good. Ouch.

  15. info says:

    Weary,

    No link, but WSB aired the story Wed. night, and they put the story on the web yesterday. I think it was in the context of 25 other Georgia school districts.

    Some staff? We’ve all invested in RTT in some way-TKES, benchmarks, and SLOs. It’s unclear, though, how the fed’s rejecting Dekalb will impact us and how soon. Some of the RTT money we’ve been spending has come from the money the state received, according to the article.

    Strange that there’s been no mention of this in the AJC or by Dekalb. Well, maybe not.

  16. Concernedmom30329 says:

    It is a different pot of RTTT money. There have been various RTTT competitions (for lack of a better word) for grants. GA has not been faring well.

    However,the initial grants were awarded several years ago. GA is struggling because of the teacher eval part and the state money may be in jeopardy if something doesn’t happen soon.

  17. dekalbite2 says:

    If we have no Race to the Top money, why were all those non teaching Data Coaches hired? I thought they were supposedly hired to satisfy the Race to the Top requirements. Who is paying their salaries?

  18. The February board meeting is on the PDS-TV24 feed right now if anyone is interested in watching: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/pds-tv24

  19. Concernedmom30329 says:

    Ok — one more time. RTTT is being allocated by the Feds through a series of competitive grants. In the most recent rounds, GA counties have not done well.
    The question facing not just DeKalb but the state is how to pay for things moving forward, once the initial RTTT grants run out.

  20. Here is the actual text of the report on RTTT so that you all have the correct info:

    Georgia schools shut out of Race to the Top funds

    Georgia school districts are failing a test in Washington, D.C.

    The federal government has handed out $400 million to U.S. school districts but an investigation by Channel 2’s Scott MacFarlane found the 25 Georgia school districts that applied failed to get even a penny.

    MacFarlane found their applications were among the lowest scores and had the harshest critiques from the feds.

    One superintendent told MacFarlane she’s disappointed Washington doesn’t realize how innovative Atlanta-area schools really are.

    “Four years ago we started Race to the Top,” President Barack Obama mentioned briefly during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

    An Education Department database obtained by MacFarlane found about 370 schools applied for the money, including 25 Georgia schools.

    MacFarlane found many Atlanta-area districts scored among the worst of the applicants, including the Gainesville school district, which among other things wanted federal money to buy iPad tablets for students.

    The federal government told Gainesville, “the logic behind the district’s reform proposal lacks coherence.”

    “You’ve got to be asking who gets to decide where my tax money is going and how are they doing it?” said Neal McCluskey, author of “Feds in the Classroom.”

    Gainesville’s superintendent told MacFarlane, “Georgia didn’t seem to be a priority” of the U.S. Education Department.

    The Education Department said DeKalb and Gwinnett schools were rejected in part because they didn’t fully show they’d use the money to improve graduation rates.

    “How does something like that happen?” MacFarlane asked Joel Packer, who is on the Committee for Education Funding.

    “Well, there’s a limited pot of money,” Packer responded. “There are 15,000 school districts, they didn’t all apply, but a large number did”

    Gov. Nathan Deal’s office told MacFarlane that Georgia did win a different batch of Race to the Top funds years ago and shared some of the money with Atlanta-area districts, DeKalb included.

    A DeKalb schools representative said the district applied for the Race to the Top money, “fully aware that it would be a highly competitive process.”

    MacFarlane has been asking the U.S. Education Department to explain why Georgia schools all failed so poorly, but so far he has gotten no response.

    http://bcove.me/e05ur1ug
    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/georgia-schools-shut-out-race-top-funds/nWNkZ/

  21. Local Lawmaker Plans Bill for a Dunwoody School System

    Acknowledging the long odds against him, state Rep. Tom Taylor plans to introduce a bill in the General Assembly that would create a Dunwoody school system.

    Talyor announced his plans this past Sunday night at a meeting of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association board of directors, according to the Reporter Newspapers.

    Taylor said the proposal faces “a huge uphill battle” because it calls for an amendment to Georgia’s constitution.

    His proposal would call for an amendment to the state Constitution, he said, and would be voted on during next year’s legislative session. If approved, the public would vote on the referendum later in the year.

  22. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Too bad he didn’t resign fully. He has no place on this board. $150K to more lawyers. Incredible. 3 months of governance training. This should have been administered a bit earlier in their careers. In fact, what the hell kind of training did they go thru when they got there? WTF? Fran Millar said the state could do this “training” in a more cost effective way, then in interest of spending less, that’s exactly where they should be getting their training. Unless the training isn’t possible for some time and they need emergency training…No duh.
    Please pull the plug, soon! I almost can’t take it anymore!!!

  23. Sickening. Absolutely sickening. So far – the ONLY thing this board has done since being placed on probation is to hire more and more lawyers!! I can’t believe how badly they don’t get it!!

    (And we leave Nancy and Pam off this accusation – they have both consistently voted NO to the nonsense!)

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