DeKalb County District Goes Wireless from Border to Border

Our wireless news has attracted national attention! Let us know how it’s going at your schools — word is, the wireless is up and running and there is no more waiting for computers in the labs >>>

From T.H.E. Journal

After nearly a year of work, a Georgia school district with about 99,000 students has succeeded in going “100 percent wireless” in its 136 locations. The $4.5 million project at DeKalb County School District was put in place to support a number of wireless initiatives. The current hardware infrastructure supports 38,000 computers.

In 2011 voters passed a 60-month one-cent special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) to cover the expense of capital improvements, including building improvements, new schools, classroom additions, technology, and transportation needs.

On the technology front, in addition to providing wireless access for all classrooms, the district has been using the SPLOST funding to update hardware, provide interactive white boards, improve IT infrastructure, distribute digital content, and upgrade telecommunications infrastructure.

“District-wide wireless access allows us to maximize our investment in computers and smart boards,” said Melvin Johnson, chair of the county’s board of education. “We will be a more efficient school system as a result of this achievement, and our students will have access to more information and even greater opportunities to learn.”

Added Superintendent Michael Thurmond, “Achieving this major milestone brings us into the 21st century of technology and provides unprecedented access to information for our students… No longer must students take turns in a computer lab or rely solely on hard-wired technology. With this achievement, technology-based learning becomes part of the everyday classroom experience, broadening communication and learning across classrooms and schools for all of our students, teachers and administrators.”

Read more at http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/01/08/dekalb-county-district-goes-wireless-from-border-to-border.aspx#6MlJZz6m5vchTXRY.99

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53 Responses to DeKalb County District Goes Wireless from Border to Border

  1. midvaledad says:

    I wonder how Superintendent Thurmond thinks having wireless leads to no longer taking turns in computer labs. The 38,000 computers reported are not all in classrooms. That number includes all the computers in all of the buildings. It isn’t as if every student has a computer.

  2. Mildred says:

    I know of two classrooms in a local high school that are not wireless.

  3. teachermom says:

    We have laptop carts but they are hard to get and the computers on them are not running right. I still don’t have even a hard wired connectivity in my room for my student computers because the IT people keep closing my ticket without coming out to fix them. People in trailers are still having issues. The HARDWARE needs to be addressed. The whole operation seems to be held together by duct tape and bubble gum but, otherwise, thanks so much for the wireless.

  4. Wi-fi is great if you have working computers. Wait, I bet everyone in the Palace has those.

  5. Dekalbite2 says:

    Lots of network with little to nothing to hang off of it has always been the problem.

    38,000 computers, but remember that DeKalb at least 9,000 or more of those that are dedicated to adults. Students are not allowed to use them. They cannot touch any of the teacher computers or any adult computer. Next factor in the thousands in the Media Center. Students can only use them in the Media Center which is now short staffed since so many Media personnel were cut. Students have some access before and after school and at lunch or if their teacher lets them out of class. This does nothing for classroom access.

    Ask teachers about the access to the computer labs (the ones with 30 in elementary school when the class sizes are actually bigger and the ones in high school that have 34 but the class sizes are bigger than 34). Ask teachers if the carts are easy to locate, push to their room, give out to students, get all of the laptop computers working, collect them and then take the carts back.

    Hardware, software and student access has never been competently addressed. Why have a great big expensive network with little to nothing hanging off of it? That would be like investing in and building a superhighway and then having few cars and many of them in disrepair. Would this be an efficient transportation system?

  6. Disgusted in DeKalb says:

    This reeks of a PR move, plain and simple.

  7. What ever happened to the laptop or tablet idea that Atkinson touted? She and the board CUT textbook funding due to the plan to load electronic books on tablets for students. Seems now we have no books and no tablets… millions that were never spent – in order to ‘balance’ the budget.

  8. @Disgusted: Can you tell us why? Do you not have wireless or access at your school or your child’s/community’s school? We would really like to hear reports – especially from teachers. Are you getting the technology you need? Are you getting what is reported to news sources? Are our buildings fully wireless? Do you have computers and tablets and smart boards that can access the internet? Are you able to integrate this technology in your lessons yet? Will you be able to soon? Are you being trained? Do you feel competent using a smart board? Please share. Please also share either the name of your school, your cluster or your main board rep’s name.

  9. Word Wall says:

    Off topic, but Hooper Alexander caught fire and burned last night. That is what happens when you leave abandoned school buildings all over the county –blighting the community you are supposed to serve. Those who said the Board shouldn’t sell property in a “down market” should drive down to Memorial and Carter Road to see the result….an easy million down the toiley

  10. Fred in DeKalb says:

    Isn’t the district going wireless a step in to providing greater access? We read about some districts around the country with BYOD policies. While not every child may have a device that can connect to the wireless yet, the infrastructure is in place to allow this.

  11. dekalbite2 says:

    “Isn’t the district going wireless a step in to providing greater access?”

    Not really. The county has spent literally hundreds of millions on technology yet students still do not have the access they need. Starting with SPLOST II where almost all of the money was spent on the network, the mantra has always been – we’ll get the network infrastructure in place first. Well, that was 10 years ago and the tune is still the same. Those superhighways keep getting built with little to run on them

    It would be great to hear from teachers telling us if they and their students have abundant access to working and up to date technology and software that meets their students’ needs.

  12. midvaledad says:

    One of the reasons DCSD has spent millions with not much to show is before Dr. Brantley arrived, the IT department was lead by incompetent Friends and Family.

  13. Do you mean Ramona Tyson?

  14. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @dekalbite2,
    “The county has spent literally hundreds of millions on technology yet students still do not have the access they need.”

    I’m not sure if it was hundreds on millions, especially since $30M was allocated to technology in SPLOST III and just under $40M in SLPOST IV. I seem to recall the old Media One (now Comcast) worked with DeKalb in providing the initial network for the school district.

    The obvious point everyone should remember is that technology is rapidly changing. Computers purchased during SPLOST II should have been refreshed by now. No one should expect those computers to still be in use.

    I never recall a situation or promise that there would be a one to one ratio of computers to students. Let’s not confused providing wireless access to full technology access. There is a difference.

  15. Actually, Dr. Atkinson DID try to implement the one to one laptop or tablet program. It’s why the board deleted the book budget – they were going to buy laptops and electronic books instead — except that no one ever bought anything…

    DeKalb County Schools superintendent lays out plans to go digital

    s part of a mission to advance the DeKalb County School District’s use of technology, Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said more than 8,200 middle school students will transition from using textbooks to using Lenovo netbooks next school year.

    “No longer will our students be saddled by heavy backpacks,” she said as she made the announcement during her State of the System address last week.

    Students from Cedar Grove, Chamblee, Lithonia, Peachtree, Redan, Stone Mountain and Tucker middle schools will receive the digital devices loaded with information from all their textbooks in the fall. By the fall of 2014, the superintendent plans to have all middle and high school students transitioned to using netbooks.

    Teachers and administrators must keep up with students’ growing use of technology, Atkinson said.

    “The fact is that our children have an intellectual complexity that demands that we change our educational approach,” she added.

    Atkinson said teachers will also get laptops to use as a tool to digitally access information to share with their students. She added the district plans to have 100 percent of its facilities wireless by next fall.

    “Currently, only 38 percent of our district is wireless,” she said. “Thanks to funds allocated for technology by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax — better known as SPLOST — we have scheduled an incredibly aggressive plan to get every single one of our facilities wireless by August of 2013.”

    Plus – most of the money for technology in the past went into the central office and the William Bryant Center (due to Ramona Tyson’s usurping the tech budget for her department when she finally got control as interim super). I remember Paul Womack saying we had an tech infrastructure that other systems dreamed of. It wasn’t true – but it sounded good.

  16. howdy1942 says:

    @Fred – let’s look at what Mr. Thurmond said:

    “No longer must students take turns in a computer lab or rely solely on hard-wired technology. With this achievement, technology-based learning becomes part of the everyday classroom experience, broadening communication and learning across classrooms and schools for all of our students, teachers and administrators.”

    Once again, Mr. Thurmond’s mouth apparently got ahead of the facts. His statement is very clear – no student will have to take turns using a computer. Would you explain just what he meant? There are 38,000 computers and 99,000 students. That implies sharing. OK, let’s take out half the students and say they are in grades 1 – 6 and don’t need a computer (I don’t think that’s true). In that case, there would be 44,500 students and, with 38,000 computers, someone would have to share or take turns.

    I talked with one of my teacher friends tonight – she has one computer in her classroom! That supports the other comments on this blog that create doubt in the superintendent’s statement. As I have pointed out, wireless access is much less difficult to install than wired access. That is one reason that wireless has become so dominant in the corporate world. In wireless access, you simply need to take the router out of the box, follow a few simple instructions and your work is done. Even if you want to install a router in every classroom, which I seriously doubt, then it can be done. It isn’t rocket science. In fact, if the school system had bought that many routers, then I’m sure that the vendor would have been happy to have come out and set them up. I’ll bet that even Thurmond, or Melvin Johnson, or even Ramona Tyson could install one!

    OK, Fred I’ll give you some credit – if this statement is true, then some progress has been made. But let’s not get carried away with what the superintendent says, which also doesn’t seem to be exactly correct.

  17. midvaledad says:

    @DSW,
    It is not polite to point fingers. I was trying to be polite.
    BTW, you are correct.

    @howdy1942,
    You are unaware of bandwidth. Supporting dozens of devices at the same time requires more bandwidth than what you can get from a router purchased at Best Buy.

    There are also technical considerations which are school specific. If you have a large AC unit on the roof or the phone “junction box” (which is really a closet) they create magnetic fields which interfere with WiFi.

    Finally, to state Ramona Tyson can take something out of a box and follow a few simple instructions is to give her credit for significantly more competence than she has displayed in her various positions within the Palace.

    Sorry @DSW, I know that wasn’t respectful, but it was truthful.

  18. Dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW
    Let’s take out 9,000 computers from the 38,000 since they are computers for the adults only. Now we’re down to around 28,000. Then there are computer labs that are dedicated to certain teachers in high school. Most of the computer labs are dedicated to only a few teachers – e.g. The business ed teachers teach in the computer labs all day so all of those computers are out. Other labs are dedicated as well. Students have very little access.

  19. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @Dekalbite2,
    When have citizens said they wanted a one to one relationship between computers and students along with requesting that be it be paid for through SPLOST collections? It would cost significantly more than the technology dollars allocated through SPLOSTs thus far, especially when you consider the constant evolutions in technology. I also hope you are not suggesting that employees don’t need technology to effectively perform their jobs.

    In my opinion, the future direction is BYOD along with seeking partnerships with organizations to provide subsidized technology for low income families. This is what I am seeing at some school districts around the country.

  20. Dekalbite2 says:

    @ Fred
    It is hundreds of millions and that’s just the last decade. Over $12,000,000 year for I IT employees is $120,000,000. $30,000,000 to $40,000,000 on SPLOST II, III and IV. In addition so another $100,000,000+. Does anyone know if eSis and School et was funded out of the General Fund? That cost $11,000,00. Title 1 funds also ends up paying in part for technology.

    Why do other school systems have student access to working technology while our students don’t?

    Why spend those millions for an expensive network with little to hang off it that benefits the direct instruction of students? Parents in more affluent schos have given up in the county and put in their own technology. They want their kids to have access like the other metro systems. Why don’t you go into the classrooms of some schools and ask the teacher?

  21. I’m curious about the active, or smart boards – aka Promethean Boards. Mr. Brantley just requested nine million dollars to install a couple thousand more – saying this would put a board in every classroom. (21st Century Classroom Technology (SPLOST IV)) He said we currently have about 4,000 boards. (Which, if you do the math, cost about $18 million more, for a guesstimate total of around $27 million for the active boards systemwide.)

    Executive Summary
    An active board is a white board that is interactive and includes a pen and intuitive multi – user, multi – touch functionality. DeKalb County School District teaching staff uses this tool to foster a true collaborative learning experience.

    The DeKalb County School District currently has 6,158 classrooms. During SPLOST III, DeKalb County School District outfitted approximately 4,219 classrooms with Interactive Boards (IAB); which is considered to be Phase I of the 21st Century Classroom Interactive Board Project. The district will now begin the process of completing Phase II of the 21st Century Interactive Board Project, pending Board approval. The district currently has approximately 1,939 classrooms and an additional 305 trailers that need to be completed during Phase II.

    Read the Executive Summary here

    +++

    SO — our question is — Teachers who currently have an active board in your classroom (and there are 4,000 of you), please tell us how they are working for you.

    Are they fun to use? Do they enhance your lessons? Are there teaching-specific websites you use that enhance the use of the board? Do you feel competent using it or do you need more training? Would it enhance the lessons if students had tablets to use in tandem with the active board lesson? We will soon have 6,000 of these in total – we would like to know more about how they get used in daily instruction — teachers, please share.

  22. On another techie note, the school district is now offering an APP for your phones and tablets —

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    The DeKalb County School District has new smartphone apps that offer calendars, phone numbers, addresses and other basic information to users of the two most popular mobile operating systems.

    The app, available free for phones running the Apple and Android operating systems, includes news, a tip line and a district directory.

    Get it online at the iTunes and Google Play stores.

  23. Dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW
    Regarding the interactive boards…..”Which, if you do the math, cost about $18 million more, for a guesstimate total of around $27 million for the active boards systemwide”

    Fred says we have a little less than $40,000,000 for the next 5 years for Technology from SPLOST IV. So does this mean half of the SPLOST IV money goes for the interactive boards. Then the computers will have to be refreshed (old one replaced with a new one). So if it’s a one for one trade in the refresh there will be no more access for students for the next five years than there has been in the last five years.

    Do you think they will let students have their textbooks back? After all, taxpayers were told a one to one laptop initiative precluded the need for textbooks since they would be online for students. Now no textbooks and no e-books and no additional access for students. What are they thinking? Who made these plans?

    Here is the Technology Plan DeKalb made(see link below). Is it being followed? Access for students was supposed to be the one to one laptop initiative. That is in the state approved DeKalb Tech Plan. Thurmond eliminated that and eliminated that expense. Although he also eliminated students’ access to technology and in the process their access to textbooks as well – do you think he overlooked/forgot the fact that textbooks hadn’t been ordered for students because Atkinson had planned a on one to one laptop initiative?

    From the Tech Plan the state approved and Thurmond is supposed to follow:
    “. Students
    • Students will be involved in authentic learning activities characterized by individual effort and group collaboration, real-world problems, and interdisciplinary curricula with the use of technology as an essential component.
    • Students will demonstrate skills relative to information retrieval, management, and synthesis from a variety of sources through teacher-made assignments.
    • Students will have daily access to computers, handheld and other technical devices.
    • Students will have the opportunity to utilize textbooks in an electronic format.

    ……….
    Classroom/Administrative Technology
    The most common needs identified were:
    • Updated desktop and laptop computers
    • Updated printing technology and solutions
    • Updated office automation tools such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, etc.
    • Increased access to computers for all students
    • Increased access to mobile technology for students
    • Mobile devices for administrators to perform classroom observations and teacher
    evaluations with data stored for later retrieval”

    Read the entire Tech Plan:
    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/management-information-systems/tech-plan.pdf

  24. I wasn’t clear — the first batch of active boards was paid for with SPLOST III money.

    Also – None of us is clear about textbook and/or electronic book spending — we have tried to discuss it in the past —

    The textbook mystery continues… and gets even weirder

    As far as we can tell — money was NOT spent on textbooks and was instead earmarked for eBooks for devices (student tablets) per Atkinson’s plans. In the end though, NO money was spent. (Perhaps this was another budget adjustment made by Thurmond to balance the books…) We simply don’t know what became of the textbook budget for 2013.

  25. howdy1942 says:

    First, I’m well aware of bandwidth considerations as well as the importance of locating routers. I”m not talking about those you buy at Best Buy, but those you would buy from vendors such as Cisco and Juniper as well as others. IEEE 802.11n is the most recent standard that has become widely available and, at speeds up to 500 Mbps, that should be sufficient for a classroom. I’ve set up dozens of these networks. But all of that is not important – normally people from whom you acquire these routers would, at the volumes we are talking about in Dekalb County, install them for us. @midvaledad, your comment about Ramona did make me laugh! We need some humor!

    Second, @Fred, I don’t think anyone in the County has talked about a one-to-one relationship in computers. But I think that’s what Thurmond said when he stated that no student will have to go to a computer lab and take turns using a computer. I appreciate the fact that wireless access is available to our students – that is a step forward. In a recent issue of Business week, there is a very good article about the use of tablet computers in the classroom. The school is in Connecticut and apparently this program has been very successful. I understand that was contemplated in Dekalb by Dr. Atkinson but I also understand that it was never begun. Now would be a good time to begin and also use them to load textbooks. Regardless, we could more effectively use the wireless access that we now have.

  26. Dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW

    I see now. SPLOST III paid for the first batch, so you are saying $27,000,000 in all.

    So if Mr. Brantley asked for $9,000,000 for additional boards that would be around 25% of the SPLOST IV Technology budget being spent on interactive boards. So how much is the network going to cost – do they want millions more for that? They must be refreshing existing computers as well. That is millions. The point is – DeKalb taxpayers have invested hundreds of millions in technology dollars in the last decade, and yet students still have scant access. The ebooks which were to take the place of the textbooks was axed by Thurmond with no thought to providing textbooks for students to take home and use as a learning resource.

    This is a problem with administering benchmark tests. When there are not enough computer access for students to take benchmark tests online, students have to use the “bubble in” pencil and paper method rather than use a computer to take the 30 minute test and have the results delivered that same day to the teacher’s computer.

    Are teachers still having to administer benchmark tests? Do students still have to “bubble in” with pencil and paper? Do teachers still have to scan in the answer sheets? Do teachers get the results immediately or does it still take weeks?

    What happened to the e-books for kids? This was to come from SPLOST dollars (thus shifting the textbook money that usually comes from the General Fund) back into the General Fund. Where did the SPLOST IV money for e-books for students go? Did someone decide they wanted it for a pet project, or did they have to use it for the wireless network. How ironic if it went for a wireless network but then there was no money for devices to use with the wireless network.

    Where is the list of proposed technology expenditures for SPLOST IV? It can’t be the Technology Plan because they aren’t following that.

    The construction list is available showing what construction is going on with SPLOST IV dollars. Why is there no posted Technology initiatives proposed and the expenditures attached to them for SPLOST IV dollars? This is almost $40,000,000 and the taxpayers have no access to what is planned for this money and how much each initiative costs.

    Does that make sense from a transparency stand point that taxpayers should see the plan of how Thurmond has earmarked those tech SPLOST IV $40,000,000 and how much each earmark is going to cost?

  27. Fred in DeKalb says:

    @howdy1942,
    I am not a spokesperson for Thurmond, If he suggested there will be a one to one ratio of computers to students at this time, he was obviously incorrect. I don’t know the context of that statement. If it was said as part of a blended approach of BYOD and school technology going forward, he is correct in that the infrastructure will be in place to support it.

  28. Dekalbite2 says:

    My error:
    “What happened to the e-books for kids? This was to come from SPLOST dollars (thus shifting the textbook money that usually comes from the General Fund) back into the General Fund. Where did the SPLOST IV money for e-books for students go? ”

    Should read:
    What happened to the e-books for kids? This was to come from SPLOST dollars (thus shifting the textbook money that usually comes from the SPLOST) back into the SPLOST fund where it could be used for the one to one e-book initiative.

    Where did the SPLOST IV money for e-books for students go? What was it appropriated for? Since it was SPLOST money it couldn’t have ended up in our reserve funds. The SPLOST money was earmarked for the e-book initiative for more student access. Who decided the money was no longer going to be used for student access (which is definitely needed)? What did that money go for? These are questions that need to be answered.

  29. concerned citizen says:

    My school has no textbooks, some very old computers at the school, no tech person available, no computers in my classroom, I have a laptop but not a computer or a whiteboard, and I’m far from the only one at my school. I wish Thurmond would close his piehole before uttering such lies about our great technology. Has he ever visited any classrooms in the system? Has he to date talked with any teachers? I don’t think so because the system that we need to be in the running for producing competent students IS NOT in place, no matter what Thurmond says. It’s so sad that he is allowed to lie, and worse, that some people believe him. Just go to the schools and see what a state we’re in.

  30. @Fred: I am not a spokesperson for Thurmond,….. [However] ….. If he suggested there will be a one to one ratio of computers to students at this time, he was obviously incorrect. I don’t know the context of that statement. If it was said as part of a blended approach of BYOD and school technology going forward, he is correct in that the infrastructure will be in place to support it.

    LOL – you are not a spokesperson for Thurmond? Certainly, no one else would try so hard to re-state the man’s actual statements! How funny, ‘Fred’.

  31. @DeKalbite — this was an Atkinson initiative (the E-Books) – and I think the money was from the general operating budget (they put a stop on textbooks so that E-books could be ordered – but never ordered anything at all!)

    Again I quote from local news reports — December, 2012

    DeKalb County Schools superintendent lays out plans to go digital


    As part of a mission to advance the DeKalb County School District’s use of technology, Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said more than 8,200 middle school students will transition from using textbooks to using Lenovo netbooks next school year.

    “No longer will our students be saddled by heavy backpacks,” she said as she made the announcement during her State of the System address last week.

    Students from Cedar Grove, Chamblee, Lithonia, Peachtree, Redan, Stone Mountain and Tucker middle schools will receive the digital devices loaded with information from all their textbooks in the fall. By the fall of 2014, the superintendent plans to have all middle and high school students transitioned to using netbooks.

    Teachers and administrators must keep up with students’ growing use of technology, Atkinson said.

    “The fact is that our children have an intellectual complexity that demands that we change our educational approach,” she added.

    Atkinson said teachers will also get laptops to use as a tool to digitally access information to share with their students. She added the district plans to have 100 percent of its facilities wireless by next fall.

    “Currently, only 38 percent of our district is wireless,” she said. “Thanks to funds allocated for technology by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax — better known as SPLOST — we have scheduled an incredibly aggressive plan to get every single one of our facilities wireless by August of 2013.”

    Another district initiative is to have all classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards by the end of the next calendar year.

    +++

    We followed months later with a video taken by a concerned parent at Tucker High School. Apparently, there was a vast shortage of textbooks in the fall of 2013!!

    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/a-sunday-morning-textbook-chat/

  32. From the blog post about textbooks and the questioning at a parent meeting:

    Sarah: I’d like to know more about this Pilot Textbook Program
    Answer: Uh, the Pilot Test, Test, Textbook Program is basically designed to ensure that students don’t have a lot of movement in the building.. the question is, was, how does the new pilot for the textbook, what’s the purpose of it, why we are rolling this (?) out. Pretty much it’s to ensure that there’s less movement in the hallway, uh obviously in order to get this textbook, that textbook, the student would have to constantly go to their locker. So it’s to cut back on that also the stress of having all of the extra books, um that students would have to carry around and we’re living in a technology society so it’s getting students used to using technology to access their books with a textbook online.

    Sarah: So are there access codes or online copies of these texts that we can use at home?
    Answer: Yes.
    Sarah: Well, I don’t know if anyone else is having trouble but..
    Answer: Are you having trouble logging on? Dr. A…
    Sarah: No, not logging on, we have not been given any code. None are available for us.
    Answer: Ok. (Asks the other woman if she knows anything – Sarah asks the question again. Says she asked 6 teachers, and got 6 different responses. None mentioned the pilot textbook program.)
    New Answer: Ok, um. What you’re looking at is, the textbook is considered a resource. But access is (??). And we realize too that the county has purchased, because of the new math, the CCCGS math, we rolled out the first one last year, and you all (??) the geometry this year. So there are books available for those courses. And that’s um, why, to answer your question, I really need to check on that because I know that they can access those books. They can get those books. We’ll make sure we will get an answer tomorrow. I have a meeting today with Dr. Pringle who is our area superintendent and we talked about textbooks. So I’m not sure if we’re not going to issue them cause I (trails off)…

    Sarah: I called the secretary at the central office and she didn’t know anything either.
    New Answer: First of all, did anyone tell you that if you requested a book, you could be issued a book? If a parent requests a book, they can have that.

    +++

    DSW Note: Never does anyone define, introduce or explain what in the heck the “Pilot Textbook Program” actually is! What is it?

  33. Of course, Atkinson did spent about $5 million on materials (lots of books) for the Success For All program! As far as we know, these were never used. (Do they take returns?) Atkinson, as we all know, now works for Success for All – and as Maureen stated on her AJC blog, at least attained “Success for One”!!

    The former DeKalb County school superintendent has landed a job promoting an educational program that she brought to the district at an expected cost of nearly $5 million. Cheryl Atkinson started last week with the Baltimore-based Success for All Foundation, whose program she researched for her doctoral thesis and then implemented in DeKalb. She also had brought it to Lorain, Ohio, where she was previously superintendent.

    DeKalb school board voted in May on Atkinson’s request to bring the reading program to 26 low-performing elementary schools, using federal grants.

    Atkinson left the DeKalb superintendent’s job early this month, halfway through her three-year contract, after negotiating a severance package of more than $114,000.

    Nancy Madden, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said Atkinson is director of district relations and will travel the country promoting the program. “She’s been aware of the research behind it since graduate school*** and has implemented it,” said Madden, a co-founder of the organization. She said Atkinson used Success for All early in her career as a principal in Virginia and Florida, and when Atkinson’s own children were struggling academically she moved them to a Success for All school.

    DeKalb apparently did not compel Success for All to compete for the business. Documents produced for the May 14 school board vote indicate it was a “sole source” contract, meaning the service is unique and does not have to be bid. The contract was for $4.6 million in the first year, plus about $100,000 for books.

    –from Maureen Downey, http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2013/02/28/cheryl-atkinson-takes-new-post-after-dekalb-success-for-at-least-one/

    *** Ha! So True! If you can stand to, feel free to read her dissertation on the subject – we have it in our files.
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/cheryl-atkinson-dissertation.pdf

  34. Coach says:

    I am a dekalb teacher. Just about every classroom in my school has an activ board and we love them. They bring education in the present. You can show movies, work problems, give power points all in one. All modern schools should have 1 in every class. It is money well spent. The computers wifi on the other. Hand is terrible. It barely connects a and is very slow. Also what exactly is the password, because I can connect, but it won’t actually load any pages.

  35. Dekalbite2 says:

    @Coach
    Good to know. Sounds like the interactive hoards are a project that is working. What reason are you given that the wifi is so slow? Are your students using laptops to access it?

  36. Around the Water Cooler says:

    “Just about every classroom in my school has an activ board and we love them.”

    Don’t know about most schools, but mine has 10+ trailers. Being part of the trailer population at a school means you don’t get much in the way of technology because the office is so afraid of vandalism and/or theft. The best I got was usually a choice from the worst of the overhead projectors from the media center and a CD player. I supplied a “retired” laptop from home for my students to use (though they couldn’t get online because the school doesn’t give out the wifi network password.) I borrowed a beat up projector from a neighbor and bought a cord from Radio Shack ($80) so I could project the computer screen onto the wall. Nothing like the interactive boards, but it was the best I could do.

  37. I did notice on the executive summary that it costs quite a lot more to install an active board in a trailer. Apparently due to wi-fi? The active boards in the building are apparently hard wired (?) — I think. I’m just assuming things from the summary.

    Traditional classrooms IAB-$2,892.00/each
    Trailer classrooms IAB (mobile)-$4,497.00/each

    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/Executive%20Summary_498692mlpn0rbghcvigwand1u3qf45.pdf

  38. Dekalbite2 says:

    @DSW
    “I did notice on the executive summary that it costs quite a lot more to install an active board in a trailer. Apparently due to wi-fi? The active boards in the building are apparently hard wired (?) — I think. I’m just assuming things from the summary.

    Vanderlyn has had active boards in their trailers for at least 7 years. Of course the parents installed them, not the school system.

  39. September says:

    Around the Water Cooler is correct. Promethean boards are not installed in trailers. This puts these teachers and students at a disadvantage. Trailers are supposed to be temporary, but many have been in place for more than a decade. More permanent modular buildings that can be secured would be a better choice. The instructional space would be nicer and you could have all technology that is used inside the school building.

    I wasn’t sure I needed the board when I got it. Now I can’t imagine teaching without it. As others have said, you can show video, create a flip chart to teach a concept, open a web page, read an eBook, and you can write on the board as you go. I’ve also used the student response system with the board. It is a quick way to find out how well the students understand a skill or concept. Students like these boards as well.

  40. @Around the Water Cooler = You Rock! What a dedicated teacher… I hope you get an active board soon!! Let us know if and when you do!

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