UPDATE: Everything You Want to Know About DCSS and GAC / Town Hall Meeting 10 AM Saturday, June 15, 2013

Restore Dekalb Logo

“We are Restore DeKalb and we have scheduled a town hall meeting for Saturday, June 15, 2013 (TOMORROW) at Sanford Realty Company Conference Room at 4183 Snapfinger Woods Drive from 10 AM- 12 PM. The Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) will give a presentation and answer questions from the public concerning a second or ‘safety net’ accreditation.

“Please join us!

“Before the town hall meeting, please take a few minutes to visit the Georgia Accrediting Commission website and learn more about GAC.  Robert Boyd with the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) will give a presentation and answer questions from the public concerning a ‘second’ or ‘safety net’ accreditation.

“We will provide critical information on serious issues that parents, homeowners, taxpayers and voters want addressed. Learn where we are with DeKalb’s accreditation to include:

“(1)  What has DeKalb County School System accomplished to-date to ‘restore’ full accreditation?

“(2)  Should DeKalb County School System have a second accrediting agency (Dual Accreditation) to provide a ‘safety net’ for our high school students?

“(3)  What are the plans to improve graduation rates for DeKalb County schools?

“(4)  Where does the school district stand on the issue of cell towers on school grounds?

“Please click here to view the 2012 graduation rates for DeKalb County School System compared to Metro Atlanta school systems as well as for individual DeKalb County public high schools.

“Ramona Howell Tyson will represent DeKalb County School System.

“In 2012, 3505 DCSS seniors did not graduate according to the data provided by the Georgia Department of Education. We must address the fact that more than 68% of our schools did not have a graduation rate equal to or above the state level. We also must remember that the Crossroads Newspaper reported 1,194 seniors did not graduate in 2012.  Why?  What was the source of their information?  What specific plans, procedures and policies did DCSS enact for the Class of 2013 and those following to correct this crisis?

“Please read the article published July 7, 2012 by Crossroads Newspaper by Jennifer Ffrench Parker and Carla Parker titled, ‘1,194 Seniors fail to graduate,’ that caused a major outrage in DeKalb.

“We dedicate our town hall meeting to one of our ‘Foot Soldiers for Justice’ – Gregory K. Davis who died during citizen comments to the Board of Education on Monday, June 3, 2013.  Please read Crossroads Newspaper article titled, ‘DeKalb bus mechanic remembered for standing up for co-workers, children‘ and the Restore DeKalb article titled, ‘Greg Davis – A Foot Soldier for Justice.’

“Please contact Viola Davis at 770-256-0034 for further information or email restoredekalb@gmail.com.  See you on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 10 AM at Sanford Realty Company Conference Room at 4183 Snapfinger Woods Drive!”

About dekalbschoolwatch

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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51 Responses to UPDATE: Everything You Want to Know About DCSS and GAC / Town Hall Meeting 10 AM Saturday, June 15, 2013

  1. TracyW says:

    One of the reasons that so many students do not graduate is the insistence on the “higher math” classes that most people who are not going to college to study the sciences or engineering will never ever ever need. Our kids all need to be taking personal finance and classes that will benefit them in a trade. Construction math, not calculus.

    Add to that, they were raised on TV and video games and are poor (if at all) readers. Many come from parents who do not read well (if at all) and they have no expectations that they can improve their lot.

    More practical and interesting “hands on” classes will keep them in school. Not everyone needs to go to college, so not everyone should be forced onto a college track. Knowledge is power, but only if it’s in an area where you can apply it. Learn to cut stair stringers – that will confound many calculus students! Let’s get back to basics before we hit the kids with the higher levels.

    You can outsource engineering, architecture, computer science, and many other customer service applications, but not auto mechanics, house painting, or HVAC, or electrical.

    Let me poke the race card a second – when is the last time you saw any black construction workers? Or white construction workers? Are all the workers Hispanic now? Why is there a shortage of trained, competent brickmasons, carpenters, painters, rockers, roofers? Are we trying to teach all of our children to be geeks instead of teaching them that a trade is a long term career?

  2. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Honestly, and i am good and African American….honest answer… one third of the African American young men want to be entertainers, the girls, both Caucasian and African American want to be their dancers. Another third want to be some type of baller, basketball, baseball, football, but they can’t get good grades or score high enough to get admitted to a college so they too become entertainers. The South side schools introduce the kids to Steppin, but you step in college, see above, soooooo then the girls turn these Steppin skills into dance skills….now I have kids and I am African American so thumbs me down all you want but this is somebodys truth I see day in and day out.

  3. Embarrassed Employee says:

    And yes, HS has become the new college. I watched PreK become the new kindergarten, kindergarten became second grade….it’s too much….allow students to experience and LOVE school again. Let kindergarten babies take a nap. Teachers are rushing to make sure they cover all the standards all the while we are losing the students.

  4. Stan Jester says:

    High School Mathmatics Requirements
    High School students need 4 mathematics credits to graduate high school. Ga DOE Rule 160-4-2-.20 lists about 30 different state funded math courses a high school may offer. Most high schools offer at least a dozen of those from Mathematics Support I (remedial math) to AP Calculus.

    Career Readiness
    Career readiness is a high priority for the current DeKalb Schools administration. With a $3 million dollar grant from the Department of Technical and Adult Education, DCSS will attempt to replicate the Rockdale Career Academy which offers a wide variety of “Career Pathways” from emergency medical technicians to law enforcement.

  5. September says:

    We routinely blame high schools because some students are poorly prepared for the curriculum they are expected to master. This problem can’t be fixed in high school. By then, it’s too late. This process starts in elementary school. There is no magic. It takes hard work to build the basic skills that students need to be successful in high school.

    The solution is not a simple one. We need to teach the skills. Parents need to understand what the expectations are and how well their child is doing based on those expectations. By the time a student reaches high school, parents, the student, and the school counselor should be able to make a realistic college or career goal. Reading and math skills, motivation, and personal interests are all a part of making that decision.

    I see no reason why every student should be expected to take college prep classes. Our community needs people with good technical skills. Why not offer the opportunity to learn them while in high school? The option might give some students a reason to work hard and stay in school. We offer joint enrollment to students who are on track to go to college. We could offer the same option for students to learn technical skills.

  6. concernedmom30329 says:

    I have no idea where to put this, but can we ever just fire someone in DCSS? Do you think other school systems would put up from this from a teacher?

    Many years ago, a board member told me that DCSS gets sued by teachers who have done really grievous things and still want to keep their jobs. In discussing this issue with board members from across the metro area, he discovered that this didn’t happen in other systems. Wonder why?


  7. Confused Former Teacher says:

    Finding it very hard to take Dekalb County Schools serious this guy has a history, but others are punished and banished after one incident.Guess its truly about who you know

  8. concerned citizen says:

    I see no reason for any second chances with students, Confused. This has nothing to do about who you know!
    I’d like to know what happened to the two teachers at _______ (name of high school escapes my mind) who faught at school in front of students with the principal’s and assistant principal’s knowing this fight was going to happen. Let’s talk about this!

  9. Confused Former Teacher says:

    I think both teachers were let go. Concern trust me in Dekalb it is about who you know, just like the two principals at MG who fought and were never terminated or demoted.

  10. acheolus says:

    It absolutely about who you know! F&F rule the roost here in DeKalb!

    Unfortunately, these “career pathways” are only a reason to deprive students of a more wholistic education. With the speed of technology and the evolution of global commerce, it becomes more important for a student to leave high school with a flexible, problem solving mind; one that can assimilate new information and infer an outcome. The standards based classroom has been hijacked by educrats who are bent on having students know a specific set of facts and skills which are not always transferable. At least in the Great Works movement there were lively discussions about ethics and other broad based ideas in the classroom, and students had time in their schedules to learn how to cook, balance a checkbook, draw, play music, or develop a healthy exercise routine. This time has been taken up with extra math classes (even if you have 4 credits of math before your senior year, you are still strongly persuaded to take a fifth one), extra reading courses, or computer classes that only cover what most current students knew before the fifth grade. There is a big lie about Microsoft Certification going on right now in our schools, for example, and courses that have no bearing in high school, like future teacher training, are comtributing to the decline of our students’ ability to figure things out on their own. True intelligence isn’t about memorization, it’s about the understanding and assimilation of new ideas, and the synthesis of those ideas into a global awareness.

  11. acheolus says:

    Holistic, not wholistic….. Sorry!

  12. Confused Former Teacher says:

    Agreed acheolus….. You must have realized that any time we talk about F&F people become very defensive. There are always 2 sides to a story and trust me concerned Dekalb’s always isn’t the truth. Hearing the story about the fight from several people at the school, it was more about one teacher trying to get the other teacher fired.

  13. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    I don’t understand the problems you have with “Career Pathways”. Today, the only purpose for high school is to create college undergrads. In college, the only purpose for undergrads is to create grad students. The main purpose for grad students and the university is research. Most people going to college don’t want this path.

    While the holistic approach is great for many people, it doesn’t work for many others. Why can’t we have an educational path for electricians, carpenters, mechantics, etc …

    I understand what you are saying about problem solving versus specific, sometimes useless, skills education. I lost you on the rest of it, like Microsoft Certifications. I’d like to hear more about your problems with all of this.

  14. frustrated dekalb teacher says:

    I teach in the southern part of DeKalb. My hs has a huge building for career tech which is being grossly underused; also, two admins. got into a fight two years ago in front of students; one repeatedly called the other a “m&^*er-f*&^er” and boldly and repeatedly announced “I’m from da westside!” – he is still in our school. it is truly about who you know and/or who you are related to. Meanwhile, the career tech rooms just sit there being used minimally; the computer classes were put in rooms with outside windows so you know the computer rooms have been broken into more than once. Who plans this stuff?
    And the math requirements? I’m tired of seeing broken-hearted students not graduate just because they can’t do math they will never use anyway. That’s just stupid and cruel; and DeKalb’s “rigor” is nothing to be proud of.

  15. sam123 says:

    THere are over 600 jobs posted on PATS. How are they going to be filled!

  16. September says:

    I think that anyone who has worked with students knows that everyone is different. Some students are really solid math students. They might even be better at the subject than their teachers. Others show an aptitude for languages, art or music. It’s wonderful to imagine that every child can be successful in every field of study, but it isn’t realistic.

    I’ve seen motivated students overcome huge obstacles. It is very rewarding to work with these young people because they are willing to work very hard to achieve their goals. I also have known students who really want to leave school and go to work. Whatever their reason, they know that will not be attending college. Sometimes, this decision is made very early in high school.

    Students who are not planning on college should not be relegated to a lifetime working for minimum wage. We fail these students when we don’t provide them with real skills that will help them qualify for a good job. Why insist that a student struggle with the intricacies of classic literature and Algebra II, when they really need to be able to write a good business letter, read a contract, or manage business finances?

    A student who graduates with good grades and a technical diploma can always go to a community college and take classes that may lead to a college degree. The student who drops out will not have the same opportunity. High quality technical programs make a huge difference in the lives of many of our students.

  17. Stan Jester says:

    DCSD Budget
    Reference docs:
    Individual budgets for all schools
    FY ’14 proposed budget
    2017 Forecasted Enrollment

    The proposed FY ’14 budget references a lot of .xls docs. I have posted all the individual school budgets above. Each details the number and types of teachers in each school’s budget along with discretionary spending details.

    Riddle me this Batman. If you look at the enrollment forecast and compare that to the school budgets, why are school with decreasing enrollment getting larger budgets? Why do schools with increasing populations have smaller teacher budgets? These schools have class size caps, so the school district can’t screw us any more than they already are with class size. How does this incorporate the furlough day teachers are getting back?

    I noticed many of the schools with decreasing enrollment are failing schools. Perhaps this is part of Thurmond’s lift from the bottom strategy. It still doesn’t explain reducing the budget for schools with exploding populations.

    Have a happy Father’s Day Weekend!


  18. Legal Eagle says:

    Thanks for the update. I hope there is a good turnout tomorrow of concerned DeKalb citizens. It’s not necessary to have children in school to be concerned about the state of the DeKalb County School System. For example, the value of your house (perhaps your largest single investment) and the crime rate in DeKalb are affected by DeKalb’s public schools. I see Ramona is going to be there to make excuses for DeKalb County School District and for not doing her job.

  19. Stan Jester says:

    System-Wide School Scheduling Efficiency
    In the FY ’14 proposed budget is a brand new line item System-Wide School Scheduling Efficiency.xls which will allegedly generate $9.2M in revenue. Where did this line item come from and exactly how will this generate $9.2M ??

  20. ShooShee says:

    I once visited a Maxwell Tech in Gwinnett with a couple of former board members. The work being done there was impressive. [And of course, Gwinnett’s Science and Math Tech just won one of the top billings for high school success in US News.] The auto tech teacher enlightened us to the fact that he actually does teach algebra, geometry and trig. The students just don’t realize they are learning algebra, geometry and trig, because it is hands-on, real world math use. When he tells them they just ‘did trig’ they are amazed and their feeling of competence rises. In addition, this school works hard to teach these kids real world skills – like manners and interviewing. They actually hold formal dinners so the kids can learn how to properly use formal utensils and engage in proper table conversation. We were so impressed! Dr Lewis, after years of promising to expand vo-tech offerings, and never actually acting on those promises, was replaced with Johnny Brown, who actually told me to my face that tech schools were ‘racist’ and ‘tracked’ too many black students. Well, I told him to tell that to the thousands of majority white students who attend tech school and then are scooped up in careers after graduation from high school in Ohio. My own sister graduated from tech high school in horticulture, then went on to Ohio State to a degree in landscape architecture – entering the program ahead of her peers in plant knowledge. This DeKalb distortion of WEB DeBois thinking has harmed so many young African-American students. We can focus on the top 10% while simultaneously preparing the rest for a successful career and life as responsible citizens. We can educate all of our students well and prepare them for lives as successful family and community members.

  21. concerned teacher says:

    Now teachers and janitors at my school have been told that floors will not be stripped and waxed this summer because there are not supplies to strip and wax the floors. Is this happening throughout the county?

  22. Righto Sam123. Oddly, there are about 100 listings for parapros!! And they just cut paras the last two years — cut back at least 200. What on earth is going on? Can those who were riffed reapply? Would they want to? This is so weird.

  23. teachermom says:

    I notice in the budget spreadsheets that some of the specials teachers are listed in fraction. Like it is broken down or spread among several part time teachers, with percentages like 17 percent and then some are 33 percent.any idea why it’s broken out like that?

  24. Confused Former Teacher says:

    Is your school on the south side……..really disappointed with the direction that Dekalb is headed as a whole. Wondering where Dekalb will be in 5 yrs with Mr. Thurmond in charge, very curious.

  25. Dr Moore says:

    Have you lost your minds Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Lakeside, Tucker & Chamblee and you as well SWD. Education along with a few $$ does not make you smart ask Bernie M.

  26. Disagree, Dr. Moore. Check out Pam Speaks voting record. She voted against the direction of the last board consistently and was consistently out-voted. She voted no to hiring Dr Atkinson – who turned out to be a disaster – and who was hired by extreme manipulation by those ‘in power’ on the board. She also spoke out on the racist remarks she heard regarding hiring the super – or for that matter – anyone other than an African-American. The problems in our school system still exist in the school leadership. This board and Thurmond have not done much at all to make changes there. We’re in for much, much more of the same. Don’t kid yourself.

  27. Did anyone attend this meeting? If so, could you please add your report to the comments? Thanks!

  28. acheolus says:

    Dr. Moore, that is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen posted on this blog.

  29. concerned citizen says:

    Dr. Moore, please reveal yourself and what’s going on in your head. I confess I don’t understand.

  30. concerned citizen says:

    If even one school does not have the floors thoroughly sparkling in time for school, I promise that I by myself will go to the supt’s office and raise hell like he (and the rest of his motley crew) have never seen. That is the very minimum thing that is required in the schools: that they are clean and shiny when the kids return. And they should be kept that way! Concerned Teacher, where did you hear this before I start freaking out right this minute! Appreciate it!

  31. While sparkling, clean and shiny floors would be a wonderful way to start the year, more pressing concerns would involve having qualified teachers in place to fill the current plethora of job openings, building administrators with sufficient resources to run their schools ( paper, sufficient textbooks, etc.), and central office personnel responsive to district needs, not the political landscape.

  32. concerned citizen says:

    I understand that all teaching positions are supposed to be filled by July 4. How? Yes, justwanttodomyjob, you are right, of course! But, there’s something so respectful about clean floors, and I just believe that clean is a minimum thing to do for human beings,

  33. concerned citizen says:

    I contacted Mr. Wilkins (over Maintenance ) directly about the cleanliness of the schools, and he told me everything would be done as normally to make the schools look their best and cleanest, including the floors throughout the schools., I stressed that cleanliness is critical, and he was very supportive.

  34. concerned citizen says:

    To Frustrated DeKalb Teacher: Your school sounds like hell on earth. Can you go to the area supt or supt and tell this story? If you’re not comfortable, contact DSW2 by email. I guarantee you they’ll let everyone know! What is this about two fighting teachers? You’re saying they weren’t fired?!!! As long as good teachers and people like you don’t talk, we’re doomed to more of this same horrible administrative behavior. If the teachers at your school got together and said, “NO MORE!” something would happen.

  35. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    So if the school custodians do not have the tools to do their job, what are they doing? Most custodians are 12 month employees, at our school they are cleaning the rooms thoroughly. Not sure if they are stripping and waxing, but the rooms are being cleaned thoroughly.

  36. How long will indicted DeKalb CEO Ellis stay on job?

    Judging by the excruciatingly slow process of the indictments and compulsively rescheduled “trial” of our former superintendent, Ellis has no reason to resign. It will take the DA decades to actually prosecute these fellows. Carry on Mr. CEO! No worries from the DA’s office.

    On another note – with the news of multiple indictments of our county CEO, Burrell Ellis, communities are pushing even harder for independence. Read the message that just went out from the Lakeside City Alliance:

    Friends and Neighbors,

    The announcement earlier today of the multiple indictments of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is disturbing and we can only hope that these allegations are not true. Irrespective of the outcome, it is clear that valuable county resources will be diverted in dealing with these issues. All DeKalb County residents will feel the impact of this event.


    This is but the latest incident that further supports the notion that more localized control and improved accountability of our governmental leaders should be explored.

    Support LCA’s feasibility study effort to determine if potential cityhood and more local control is a possibility for our community. Please click on the “Donate” button to support the study for cityhood!

    Lakeside City Alliance

  37. Confused Former Teacher says:

    I know for a fact 2 adminstrators fought at a school in South Dekalb County (Miller Grove) a few years ago and neither was fired or demoted. The teacher who was involved in the harlem shake video was made to resign, fearing that he would not receive a fair hearing at the tribunal because the Dekalb spokesman already told the news and the other media outlets he was fired 10 days before he was scheduled to have a “fair dismissal act” hearing.

  38. concerned citizen says:

    What about the other Lithonia teacher who fought with the Harlem shake guy? What actions have been taken, anyone, with the administrators who knew the fight was going down?

  39. Confused Former Teacher says:

    No one knows has heard anything about him, but according to a source at the school he was actually upset with the Harlem Shake guy who was also the basketball coach. The incident occured because he was actually working out one the players without the permission of the coach and that’s actually why the incident took place. The adminstrators did not know there would be a fight.

  40. Sir Quagmire says:

    Well Tucker High and Tucker Middle have freshly waxed flloors in the halls and classrooms. Maybe it is because they are hosting the administrators leadership conference Monday and Tuesday!

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