October 7, 2013 DeKalb County School Board Meetings

If you can’t attend in person, tune in to Comcast Channel 24 or stream the following meetings live online at PDS.com

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following meetings on
Monday,October 7, 2013:

5:45 PM Citizen Comments @ 5:45 PM
(email MARGARET C. FRANCOIS @ MARGARET_C_FRANCOIS@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us to request a time slot.)

B. SPEAKERS
1. Margaret Paynich
2. Deidre Pierce
3. Sujad Quinn
4. Amy Trocchi
5. Carrie Staines
6. Melanie Darby
7. Thomas Benefield
8. Tanya Graham
9. State Senator Gail Davenport
10. Sandi Morris
11. Mayra Maldonado
12. Veronica Watts
13. Tom Keating
14. Sierra Wilson
15. David Runyon
16. David Schutten
17. Debra Greenwood
18. Jennie McCorvey Fleming
19. Timothy DeBardelaben

DEKALB BOARD OF EDUCATION WORK SESSION
Monday, October 7, 2013 @ 2:00pm

7:00 PM Business Meeting: (UPDATED Oct 6, 4:20 pm)

C. CONSENT AGENDA

1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Interim Superintendent

2. Approval of Monthly Financial Report
Presented by: Dr. Michael J. Bell, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance

3. Approval of the Human Resources Monthly Report
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, Division of
Human Resources

4. International Teacher Services Agreement
Presented By: Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, Division of
Human Resources

5. Career and Technical Education Catalog Discount Bid Extensions FY 2013-14
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

6. Instructional Resources for Development and Delivery of CCGPS Curriculum and
Units of Study
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

7. Purchase of Professional and Technical Services to support Teacher Content Development and Improve Student Learning in K-12 Mathematics
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& and Instruction

8. Purchase of Explore Learning: Online Supplemental Resource to Improve Student
Learning in Math and Science
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

9. 2013 – 2014 STEM Implementation Initiative
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

10. Approve Amendments for the Contracts of (3) Conversion Charter Schools: Chesnut Charter Elementary, Smoke Rise Charter Elementary, and Chamblee Charter High
Presented by: Dr. Alice A. Thompson, Interim Deputy Superintendent, Division of
School Leadership & Operational Support

11. CrossPointe Software Annual Maintenance
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information
Technology

12. Renewal of Discovery Education License for All Elementary
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information
Technology

13. PATS/Human Resources Portal Annual Maintenance Renewal
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information
Technology

14. Student Information System Solution RFP 14-11
Presented by: Mr. Gary L. Brantley, Chief Information Officer, Division of Information
Technology

15. Renewal of Workers Compensation Administration Program
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

16. Approval of Student Catastrophic Insurance Coverage
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs

17. SPLOST PROJECTS

a. SPLOST III Project: Martin Luther King, Jr. High School Furniture, Fixtures and
Equipment (FF&E) Purchase
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of
Operations

b. SPLOST III Project: Southwest DeKalb High School Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment
(FF&E) Purchase
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

c. SPLOST III Project: Cedar Grove High School Renovations Contract Award
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

18. COMMUNITY PROJECT DONATIONS

a. Druid Hills Dugout Club Donation Approval
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

b. Laurel Ridge Elementary School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Donation Approval
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

19. Extension of Contract with McKenna, Long & Aldridge, LLP for Installation of
Governance Evaluation & Accountability Systems
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Interim Superintendent

D. ACTION ITEMS

1. Recovery of One Work Calendar Reduction Day for Professional Learning in Support of the Bridge Initiative
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Interim Superintendent and
Dr. Tekshia Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, Division of
Human Resources

2. Approval of Second Amendment to the Employment Contract Between Michael L. Thurmond and the DeKalb County Board of Education
Presented by: Dr. Melvin Johnson, Board Chair

3. Request to Waive Board Policy on Policy Adoption, Descriptor Code BDC
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

4. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Descriptor Code IHA – Grading Systems
Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
& Instruction

5. Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies: Descriptor Code EEE – Wellness Program
Presented by: Mr. Stephen M. Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)

F. ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. Teachers Advisory Council Meeting, 2:00pm, Thursday, October 10, 2013,
Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex,
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

2. DeKalb Council of PTAs Fall Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, October 10, 2013,
Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex,
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

3. Mandatory Work Reduction (Furlough) Day for 10 & 11 month employees,
Monday, October 14, 2013 (Schools Closed\Administrative Offices Open)

4. District-wide Administrators Academy (Elluminate Session), 9:30am, Tuesday,
October 15, 2013, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex,
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

5. Emory-LaVista Parent Council Meeting, 8:45am, Wednesday, October 16, 2013,
Harthorne Elementary School, Hawthorne Elementary School, 2535 Caladium Drive, NE, Atlanta

6. South DeKalb Parent Council Event, 10:00am, Saturday, October 19, 2013,
Towers High School, 3919 Brookcrest Circle, Decatur

7. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2:00pm; Cabinet Room), Community Input Meeting (5:45pm), and Business Meeting (7:00pm), Monday, November 4, 2013,
J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

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25 Responses to October 7, 2013 DeKalb County School Board Meetings

  1. whyaminotsurprised says:

    Does anyone have any explanation of what the 2 action items (waiving policy on policy adoption and amendment to grading systems) actual mean?

  2. concerned citizen says:

    It seems if we don’t find out ourselves what all their jargon means, everything gets rubber stamped and then BAM! more cars and such…

  3. Ella says:

    What is the status of the North Druid Hill’s property? I am very concerned.

    This property should never be sold.

  4. Teacher1 says:

    I just went to the website and looked at all the policies. The Grading Policy is of great concern to me. They are taking out the district wide grade policy for what is an A, B, etc and replacing it with a bunch of jargon.

    The excuse is that SACS says teachers should update grades and keep parents informed using the gradebook portal.

    Let’s hope implementation of the new gradebook (Infinite Campus, if they approve the purchase Monday is smoother than the debacle that was ESIS.

  5. murphey says:

    First, the current (3:00 pm Sunday) copy of the Agenda for tomorrow’s Business Meeting is different than what is posted above. Things have been added barely 24 hours before the work session tomorrow.

    This is my take on the proposed Action Items. Action Item #3 says they want to fast track Action Item #4 due to SACS concerns, even though they’ve known about SACS concerns for months and months. As I understand it, this means that they can take action on this without any public comment other than whatever happens between now and then.

    Action Item 4 completely wipes out the current contents of policy IHA, but that content remains in policy IHE, so perhaps that is OK.

    However, the proposed new IHA contains no specifics and I cannot see what value it might be to addressing SACS concerns. If anyone sees this differently or positively please post.

  6. Thanks Murphey. We have updated the agenda according to the new business agenda sent out by the board secretary Friday at 1:53 pm)

  7. And yes, this is interesting —

    3. Request to Waive Board Policy on Policy Adoption, Descriptor Code BDC
    Presented by: Dr. Kathleen S. Howe, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Curriculum
    & Instruction

  8. bettyandveronica1 says:

    Forsyth county uses infinite campus, my brother loves it. He is sent an email/alert when one of his kids misses/skips a class. He recd one while on bus. trip in china, he was able to deal with the teacher, ex wife and school all before jr. walked in the door at home that day. Never knew what hit him.

  9. dsw2contributor says:

    concerned citizen @October 6, 2013 at 11:16 AM: “It seems if we don’t find out ourselves what all their jargon means, everything gets rubber stamped and then BAM!”

    BAM! Thurmond’s contract gets extended!

    (That is item D.2 “Approval of Second Amendment to the Employment Contract Between Michael L. Thurmond and the DeKalb County Board of Education”)

  10. acheolus says:

    http://trombonechamp.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/beware-of-infinite-campus/
    This student blog has some good points about the dangers of Infitite Campus and privacy concerns.

  11. Kim says:

    acheolus: I’ve been aggressively supporting open source and “GPL”-type licensed products since the mid-90’s. This young person’s rant about Infinite Campus being proprietary doesn’t make much sense to me. The company wrote some software and went to market. He is basically saying that we all should have a right to everyone else’s intellectual property. That is a really bad idea. Those that release their software as “open source” are doing so for their own reasons and one of those is often to make money like anyone else. I didn’t see anything notable there otherwise but may overlooked it – it is late!

  12. Joint Education Committees to Hold Series of Listening Sessions
    Across the State
    ATLANTA


    House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman (Duluth) today announced that the House and Senate Education committees will hold a series of listening sessions throughout the state to gain feedback from the public about important issues related to education.

    These first three listening sessions will be held on the following dates:

    — October 1st, 2013 at The Center for Performing and Visual Arts in Newnan
    — October 8th, 2013 at the Health and Natural Sciences Auditorium at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega
    Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at Georgia Gwinnett College in the Library in Building L, 3rd floor for the Superintendent and Board Meetings, and in the Student Center LVIS room for the listening sessions.

    The agenda for the meetings will be as follows: the day will start with a meeting comprised of local superintendents from 3:00-4:00 PM, local board of education members from 4:15-5:15 PM, followed by the listening sessions from 6:30-9:00 PM for superintendents, board of education members, teachers, parents, and other members of the community.
    The public is encouraged to attend all meetings.

    The Gwinnett event details:
    WHEN:Thursday, October 10, 2013
    3:00-9:00 PM
    WHERE:Georgia Gwinnett College
    Library, Building L, 3rd floor

    Superintendent and Board Meetings
    Student Center LVIS Room

    Listening Sessions
    1000 University Center Lane
    Lawrenceville, GA 30043

  13. I find myself shaking my head that no matter what kind of ‘change’ is initiated, it always simply returns more of the same. Repackaged. Reiterated. Regurgitated. Rejected. Reassigned. Repackaged. Reiterated. Regurgitated. Rejected. Reassigned. … you get the point.

    For example, in relation to our new ‘strategic plan’ initiative, I direct you to the current posted videos at the PDS online homepage. There, you will be treated to Dr. Atkinson’s “Musical video highlighting the Superintendent’s five goals for achieving Victory in Every Classroom.” I guess that will remain until Thurmond posts a video promo of his strategic plan. This all follows, of course, Tyson’s Strategic Plan and 2020 Vision and Lewis’ “Premier DeKalb” strategic plans. All of this strategizing has only benefited consultants as far as I can tell.

    Sigh. It’s all so … repetitive.

  14. Kim says:

    The “Strategic Plan” road show comes to Cross Keys HS on Tuesday, Oct 29, 6:00pm. For some reason, this event is not being promoted anywhere. I barely could get a confirmation that it is happening at all. See you all there in the cafetorium!

  15. ====================
    INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM
    ====================

    To: DeKalb County School District Employees
    From: Mr. Michael Thurmond, Interim Superintendent
    Subject: Elimination of One (1) Additional WCRD for Employees
    Date: 4 October 2013

    Interim Superintendent, Michael Thurmond, will propose during the DeKalb County Board of Education (herein BOE) monthly meeting scheduled for Monday, October 7, 2013, that the BOE amend the FY 2013-14 school calendar to “Restore one additional work calendar day for all employees for the 2013-2014 school year.”

    The DeKalb County School District (herein DCSD) has been granted permission by the Georgia Department of Education to utilize a portion of our Race to the Top (RT3) grant to provide professional learning to designated groups of employees. Federal funding appropriated through RT3 is designed to encourage and reward states that create conditions for educational reform and innovation and increased student growth and achievement.

    May 22, 2014 has been identified as an additional work calendar day for 10 & 11 month employees to participate in professional learning and April 7, 2014 for 12 month employees. More information will be forthcoming from the Division of Curriculum and Instruction regarding the scope and content of the professional learning activities to support RT3 goals and objectives.

    This investment represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to encourage and foster professional growth and development among all employees. These additional professional learning opportunities will help “BRIDGE” the gap between under-performance and excellence as well as contribute to improved outcomes for all DCSD stakeholders.

    The proposed amended 2013-2014 school year calendar will contain the following features and revisions:
    ** Teachers will work a total of 186 days;
    ** Of the 186 days, 177 will be designated as student (instructional) days;
    ** Teachers will have 9 planning and professional development days (1 of which is reserved for parent-teacher conferences);
    ** The last school day for students will remain May 20, 2014;
    ** The last day for 10 month employees (teachers) will be amended to May 22, 2014; and
    ** The proposed additional Professional Learning Day for 10 month and 11 month employees is May 22, 2014 and April 7, 2014 for 12 month employees.

  16. So here are some items that raised my eyebrow from the Financial Report presented at last night’s meeting:

    TOTAL LEGAL expenses: $1,128,208.24 (including court reporters and arbitrators)

    SUTHERLAND ASBILL BRENNAN LLP $649,900.49

    ALEXANDER & ASSOCIATES $306,950.37

    DREW ECKL & FARNHAM LLP $43,667.52

    FOLTZ MARTIN LLC $29,070.00

    WILSON MORTON & DOWNS LLC $14,074.00

    SMITH WELCH WEBB & WHITE LLC $6,399.99

    BALCH & BINGHAM LLP $2,858.82

    STEVEN LEIBEL PC $1,782.08 (personal injury atty)

    KING & SPALDING $1,216.47

    M&M COURT REPORTERS LLC $1,074.50

    ALSO >> JAMS INC $71,214.00 (arbitrators)

    +++

    FLEET purchases — (cars)
    ALLAN VIGIL FORD GOVT SALES $581,113.28 (26 cars total — $20,000-24,000 each)
    HARDY CHEVROLET $382,296.80 for service vehicles

    WADE FORD INC $255,652.00 (service vehicles) 3 total – $80k, $80k and $90k

    PRIORITY ONE CAR SPA LLC (??!) $5,048.00

    CONSTRUCTION —

    HJ RUSSELL & COMPANY $4,428,382.50
    of which invoices for $655,585.20, $816,529.50
    and $635,920.20 were for SW DeKalb
    the rest for Miller Grove

    TURNER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY $9,640,561.36 (Chamblee HS)

    WILLIAMS SCOTSMAN INC $1,169,533.77 (trailers)

    Board members:

    MARSHALL D ORSON $1,503.94
    JOYCE A MORLEY $394.78
    KAREN D WHEEL-CARTER $575.28
    MELVIN JOHNSON $633.23
    MICHAEL A ERWIN $367.08

    SUSAN E MCKOY $4,283.70 (school board members — training?)

    GEORGIA SCHOOL BOARDS ASSN INC $40,925.00

    Misc Interesting

    DICKERSON COMMUNICATIONS $36,000.00 (3 invoices @ $12k each)

    $470,580.09 to Apple Computers (anyone get one?)
    they are all labeled for School Leadership And Operational Support

    The RTTT funds paid the following:
    CURRICULUM DESIGNERS INC $55,334.25

    Operations paid DEKALB COUNTY REVENUE COLLECT $929,499.59
    as well as DEKALB COUNTY TAX COMMISSIONER $471,457.06

    YANCEYS MOBILE HOME MOVING INC $470,318.00

  17. PLUS
    $470,580.09 to Apple Computers (anyone get one?)

    they are all labeled for School Leadership And Operational Support

    And on that topic – here’s an interesting article —

    LA students get iPads, crack firewall, play games
    http://news.yahoo.com/la-students-ipads-crack-firewall-play-games-135158700.html

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Education officials in the nation’s second-largest school district are working to reboot a $1 billion plan to put an iPad in the hands of each of their 650,000 students after an embarrassing glitch emerged when the first round of tablets went out.
    Instead of solving math problems or doing English homework, as administrators envisioned, more than 300 Los Angeles Unified School District students promptly cracked the security settings and started tweeting, posting to Facebook and playing video games.

  18. Don McChesney has posted an update on several miscellaneous DCSS items. It’s very enlightening – click below to read it and get up to speed on several items:

    DEKALB ODDS AND ENDS. EDUCATION AND CITY-HOOD.
    http://blog.donfordekalb.com/2013/10/08/264/

    Thanks Don!!

  19. Here’s an inspiration for HR — if only we had a respectable private foundation supporting an HR department that was forward-thinking as well as organized and professional enough to aggressively seek out, hire and train the best principal leaders possible. Add to that, a culture of respect and reward that attracts the best and brightest. We are very far from any of these.

    From the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Public Education Foundation

    Did you hear? 75 principals will change Chattanooga.

    Last week, Hamilton County Department of Education, Public Education Foundation, local foundations, businesses, and individuals came together to launch a comprehensive Leadership Pipeline to support aspiring, new, and veteran principals.

    Over $2 million has been pledged to support the five year initiative. Johnny Smith, Executive Director of the McKenzie Foundation and an early champion of this work put it best when he said, “The Leadership Pipeline is a true reflection of the “Chattanooga Way”. This is about harnessing the power of Chattanooga to make sure our principals and teachers get the support they need to educate all students.”

    The goal of the pipeline is to significantly change the system of principal selection and support within 5 years, moving the school district from one with principals who work in isolation to a district with 75 outstanding instructional leaders. These principals will inspire 3,000 teachers who in turn transform the future of 42,000 students, with a potential $620 million impact to the economy.
    http://www.75jobs.com/

  20. Oh — BTW — if anyone connected to the new ‘Strategic Plan’ would like some input, feel free to read our blog’s own “2020 Vision” written in February, 2011. Use it for free! Just, please, use it!

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/02/without-vision-people-perish.html

  21. bettyandveronica1 says:

    1) the young man’s rant on infinite campus: oh to be young and so idealistic.
    2) chamblee middle school just got it’s computer refresh, teachers only I think. other staff done a couple of years ago.

  22. So, in finally following up and with information received from a community member, we have some news to report on the legal fees as reported in this month’s Financial Report.

    The total for the legal fees on the vendor spends report was $1,147,233

    The vendor spends was run on Sept. 19, and the Financial Report was run at the end of August, but this is a million dollars in legal fees that were paid in Sept.

    Our blog contributor took all the fees they could find and arranged them by date. Almost $630,000 were billed before June 1, 2013. There is one invoice (# 9813613) that was from Nov. 2012 and was not entered until July 2013.

    What does this say about the way the district is being run? Where is the accountability?

    It is obvious that the district was not recording invoices that came in, not paying their bills to make the budget look good for SACS. The question remains, were these fees charged back to the FY2013 budget after ‘close out’ and after SACS reviews or are they being charged to the FY2014 budget (our current budget)?

    +++

    FURTHER: We simply cannot find where the legal fees are budgeted in the FY2014 budget, so we can’t figure out how much of the legal budget has been used up already. PLUS – we also cannot figure out from which budget the fees approved at this meeting for MLA will be paid. We also don’t recall a single board member asking a question about these budget line items. Does anyone – board, staff or superintendent – actually FOLLOW the budget throughout the year and keep tabs on where we are in spending for each allocated line item? We had always assumed they did, but we now think most likely they don’t.

    Bloggers: please download the Excel version of the 2014 budget and report to us how much is allocated for legal fees please. We’re just not seeing it.

    The budget can be found here: dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/dekalbcountyschooldistrictfy2014budgetproposal_050820131.xlsx

    Here it is in pdf form: https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/proposed-budget-2014.pdf

  23. Stan Jester says:

    FY 2014 Budget
    Legal fees come out of the bucket “School Board”. Under school board is a line item “PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SERVICES”. $12.8M was budgeted last year and $6.9M is budgeted for this FY. The break down of “School Board” as well as other line items can be found here (Note this is the original proposed budget. The passed one is slightly different):
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/wp-content/assets/DCSDProposedBudgetForms/1XXGeneralFund/

    Specifically, here is the “School Board” spreadsheet which says legal fees.

    During the MLA Extension discussion
    Thurmond said “First of all, not legal services. You used the term legal services. We didn’t hire [MLA] for legal services.”

    Yet, if you look at the vendor spend report for last year, MLA was charged to legal services.

  24. Tim DeBardelaben says:

    I am also interested in future plans for Briarcliff High School. This is to valuable of an asset just to allow to turn into a liability. Do believe the main reason the old board closed this school other than some other school was the value of the land and how much they could make under the table. This will make excellent location to open a Career Academy like the Lt. Governor proposed.

  25. @Tim: At one time there was a proposal to create a military academy in DeKalb – Briarcliff could be a good location for something like this.

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