Big called meeting tomorrow morning!


The DeKalb Board of Education will hold a called meeting at 10:00am, Tuesday, January 21, 2014, in the J. David Williamson Board Room, in the Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain
Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

Meeting information can be accessed online by going to:, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information.

It is requested that the Board of Education adopt the January 21, 2014 called meeting meeting agenda.

1. Warren Technical School Culinary Arts Team ~ Ms. Carla Jones, Principal
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent

1. Results of the AdvancED Monitoring Review Team’s December 8-10, 2013 Site Visit
Presented by: Dr. Mark Elgart, CEO, AdvancED

2. Remarks by The Honorable Nathan Deal, Governor of Georgia

1. Chamblee Charter High School Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, 10:00am, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, Chamblee Charter High School, 3688 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Chamblee

2. Region IV School Flexibility Options Community Meeting, 6:30pm, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, Lithonia High School, 2440 Phillips Road, Lithonia

3. Auxiliary Advisory Council Meeting, 10:00am, Thursday, January 23, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

4. SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, January 23, 2014, Sam Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker

5. Region II School Flexibility Options Community Meeting, 6:30pm, Thursday, January 23, 2014, Lakeside High School, 3801 Briarcliff Road, NE, Atlanta

6. 15th Annual District-Wide Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, 9:00am, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Tucker High School, 5036 LaVista Road, Tucker

7. Region III School Flexibility Options Community Meeting, 6:30pm, Tuesday, January 28, 2014, Stephenson High School, 701 Stephenson Road, Stone Mountain

8. Region I School Flexibility Options Community Meeting, 6:30pm, Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Dunwoody High School, 5035 Vermack Road, Dunwoody

9. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2pm), Community Input Session (5:45pm) & Business Meeting (7pm), Monday, February 3, 2014, Cabinet Room & J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain

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55 Responses to Big called meeting tomorrow morning!

  1. dsw2contributor says:

    My guess is that, if SACS was going to be fully restoring DCS’s accreditation tomorrow morning, then the news of that would have already leaked out.

    Also, check out the CrossRoads News’ choice of headline and their article about tomorrow’s meeting: “DeKalb to get SACS update on accreditation” (January 20, 2014)

  2. dsw2contributor says:

    On the other hand, if the accreditation is restored tomorrow, then everyone needs to thank Ramona Tyson for that success – she personally briefed every DCS employee that SACS chose to interview before those interviews started.

  3. acheolus says:

    Has next year’s calendar been decided yet?

  4. Word Wall says:

    I move to lower classroom size to 28, restore Social Security equity to teachers, and freeze all salaries above $99,000….

  5. acheolus says:

    All classrooms, even those deemed unimportant by those trying to count the classroom sizes of ‘real’ teachers…..

  6. howdy1942 says:

    Given that the findings will be presented at a called meeting of the school board, that Governor Deal will be in attendance and will be speaking, and given the big buildup, I’m convinced that Dekalb will taken off probation and my bet is that full accreditation will be restored. Governor Deal is running against the State School Superintendent and he needs to trumpet what he did to improve schools, especially in Dekalb. All of the school board is running and rest assured that they have worked closely with SACS to insure the review team sees only what the board wanted them to see and meet only with the board’s chosen and well-rehearsed interviewees. Also, Thurmond’s reputation and any future political ambitions are at stake so he has most likely done the biggest lobbying effort of his life. Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if SACS had not been threatened with being replaced as an accrediting agency for all secondary schools as well as many of the State’s colleges. Expect many glorious speeches from the Governor, every member of the board, and especially Thurmond. Expect Tyson to be praised profusely.

    Were it otherwise, the findings would have been mailed, a brief announcement made by SACS, and a comment by a spokesman from the Governor. After all, he appointed the current board and there is just no way it was going to fail.

    Trouble is, all of us on this blog know the truth and that truth will ultimately prevail – it always does! By the way, I want very badly for our accreditation to be fully restored but I want it to be earned and the decision to be respected and accepted by a broad segment of the population across all of Dekalb.

  7. howdy1942 says:

    And one more note, the Dekalb delegation, with few exceptions, does not want the cityhood movements to to proceed any further nor does it want the amendment to lift the limitation in the number of school districts to be brought up in the Legislature. They have also most likely lobbied SACS heavily! Bottom line, SACS could not have reached any other conclusion. Clayton never came close to having this kind of political clout!

  8. concernedmome30329 says:

    More than just clout, I think Deal needs to take the Win for removing the Board. It isn’t about Barge and the other guy (who pose no real threat) but about Jason Carter, who poses a bit more of a threat, but not really much of one

    I will say that Thurmond would want all the pomp and circumstance even if DCSS is even just being moved to advisement. He has that kind of ego.

  9. dsw2contributor says:

    concernedmome30329 said “I think Deal needs to take the Win for removing the Board.”

    I disagree. There is no ‘Win’ here.

    Compare Gov. Deal’s bungling of DCS to how Gov. Perdue masterfully handled the APS cheating scandal. Gov. Deal seems content to let the educational bureaucrats drive out the elected board and now he will (apparently) join those educational bureaucrats this morning as they all celebrate their sweeping of DCS’s problems under the rug.

    Gov. Perdue let the APS bureaucrats hang themselves with their own “blue ribbon panel investigation”. When that bogus “blue ribbon panel” cleared APS, Gov. Perdue said that’s bull—- and he immediately launched his own state investigation of APS, using GBI Investigators and state prosecutors. That investigation led to prosecutions and APS is a whole new system, able to invest a stunning $154 million in the brand-new North Atlanta High in Buckhead.

    It breaks my heart to think of the direction Dekalb County could have been headed if Gov. Deal had simply followed Gov. Perdue’s lead.

  10. DCSD FOR DUMMIES says:

    This is bullshhhh and we all know it. DeKalb has not funded the classrooms first. I will never be a supporter of this system until things change. I realize that it may never change.

  11. disenchantedindekalb says:

    Principals have been asked to attend this mornings board meeting. I predict full accreditation announcement.

  12. Mark your calendars for another important upcoming meeting:

    SPLOST IV Oversight Committee Meeting

    The next SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting will be
    this Thursday, January 23 at 6 pm at the Sam Moss Service Center
    1780 Montreal Rd, Tucker, GA 30084).

    SPLOST Committee Meetings are open to the public. For more information about the SPLOST Oversight Committee, including meeting agendas and minutes, please visit the website >>

  13. I can confirm what disenchantedindekalb said – Principals were told to attend this meeting and they expect to be there for the full day, instead of running their schools.

    Anyone keeping track of how many instruction days their DCS Principal misses because they are called away from their school? It would be a great topic for DSW.

  14. Meeting has convened and is being streamed live here and broadcast on PDS24. Erwin and Coleman absent. Mayfield late.

  15. Thurmond introducing principal of Warren Tech, Carla Jones. She talks about the Culinary Arts program at Warren Tech. WT is a bridge for special needs young adults 16-21 to learn job skills via work-based learning. Brought the culinary team. (Won 3rd place in state competition and won Iron Chef DeKalb PTAs as well as Jr. League.) Head chef Ryan speaks of his experience as a professional chef and cites the tv programs he has worked on – has been teacher of the year (2013) and Le Cordon Bleu Hall of Fame. Met the WT students at Le Cordon Bleu. Was introduced to Carla and has been teaching WT since. Says he’s very blessed. Introduces his students – they prepared a meal for attendees to have in the lobby after the meeting.

  16. Thurmond now presents Mark Elgart. Has gotten to know him in 11 months. Worked to lift the veil of probation and improve the quality of education in DeKalb.

  17. Governor Deal just arrived, while Elgart was already talking.

  18. Elgart: Findings of most recent review of Dec, 2013. The intent of the process is a continuous improvement process. Helping districts identify and take action in areas of needed improvement so that students benefit. Not an investigative, legal process. Designed to help support your efforts in serving supporting and guiding students – about the students only. Period.

    A year ago this system was failing. 3 areas leading determinations: 1- Governing body failed to effectively govern. 2 – System financial mismanagement and finacial uncertainty. No real idea of fiscal. 3 – Failed to improve student achievement.

    A year ago closer to losing .. New board, new superintendent. Worked to stabilize. Repurpose and refocus its energy. We worked close with leadership over past year to begin a process of continuous improvement – that’s not over. Problems were not created overnight and won’t be solved anytime soon.

    Says system gathered info for self analysis – did an outstanding job of providing an accurate analysis of where you’re at. We then reviewed every piece of evidence and worked with officials. You identified staff and stakeholders. We gathered additional evidence and spent 30 day analyzing.

    This morning – you have the results.

  19. 11 required actions you had to resolve. Of those, the team noted that you completed 8 and 3 remain in progress. That’s further along than we expected, given the short tenure of board and super. You even identified areas where additional steps need to be taken to sustain efforts and build on actions.

    Besides the 3 actions in need of more work, there are now 3 more.

    This journey is a 2-3 year journey – you are at the beginning. Evaluate the sustainability.

    Governing body: Team commends them in stablizing and normalizing. But note that an election will be held. Challenge is community to pay close attention to those who opt to participate in election. Elect people to continue … focus on needs of students – not adults. All students, not just those in my district/neighborhood. It is the resp of the community.

    Superintendent is providing strong leadership: Must continue.

    Based on evidence, financial perf – you have reversed trend of depletion of resources. May end with slight surplus. Remain disciplined and focus. Resources from the board room to the classroom. For students to be successful.

    Student performance: Just beginning. System years ago had great reputation. Those who say this effort had nothing to do with student performance are wrong – this has everything to do with student performance. Looking for sustained improved performance over time. That’s how to evaluate if staffs efforts are having proper impact.

  20. Elgart goes over actions one by one.

    Policy BAB – concerned about this. Understand that you not only adopt for present but for future boards to understand. Sustain future governance.

    Collective board actions — completed.
    Action 3 – Segregation of duties – in progress.
    Policies have some gray areas and some conflicts.
    Must keep duties separate – board and administration.
    4- Fiscally responsible practices. Adopt budgets that can be met.Completed. But concerned about sustainabiltiy.
    5- Chain of command – completed.
    6 – Assessment system – in progress. Critical.
    7 – Change mgmt process for new initiatives – completed – must monitor.
    8 – Internal audit of technology – completed. Continue with further audits – ensure that tech is modernized, equitably distributed and supported.
    9- Programs/resources – completed.
    10 – Parent portal – completed. Access for all students.
    11 – Restablish strategic planning – completed.

  21. New actions

    Establish and sustain board’s ability to ensure good governance. Concerned about election. How do you lay the proper foundation in policy, culture and expectation for new boards to continue?

    Develop and implement plans to monitor, develop and sustain system’s new initiatives for improvement. Real monitoring. Seek to realize expected outcome. Staff must do and report to board.

    Adapt system’s technology plan – effective and equitable technology plan … Equitable – every child must have the very best. You have financial means – financially you should be set better than anyone else in Georgia or perhaps the country.

  22. System put on “Accredited – WARNED” status.

  23. Acknowledge the progress the system has made. Change in early 2013 .. Team made recommendation to place the system on Accredited Warned for 2013. Big move. A year ago closer to losing. Even 6 months ago … Even though you may have wanted greater movement – you should be proud of how much movement you’ve made. More time is needed to sustain the efforts that have been started.

    Another team will visit in May and then every 6-8 months until you are fully accredited.

    Commends superintendent for discipline focus and leadership. Commends board members for service to community. Thanks community for support.

    This journey is not over – it’s just beginning.

    Strong Leadership
    Disciplined Efforts
    Focus on Students

  24. First Question from Thurmond – “Did you say we were no longer on accredited probation?”

    Elgart – “I did”

    Standing Ovation

    Elgart – “Mr. Thurmond, Keep it that way.”

  25. disenchantedindekalb says:

    Congrats, DeKalb, you should be so proud!

  26. Thurmond introduces Governor Nathan Deal:

    You’ve come a long way in a year’s time. A year ago, we were all in uncharted waters. I was hearing from high school students, parents, and all of you heard those concerns. Some would say I should not have been as bold as I was in the actions I took. I thank the entire board for everything you’ve done and I esp thank the superintendent.

    Had the support of almost all of the DeKalb delegation. I was pleasantly surprised — over 400 DeKalb residents stepped up. Speaks volumes for concerns, interest and support the board will have. Thanks the committee for screening the applicants. And thank those who went through the interview process.

    Congratulations. Good news is not just good news for you – it’s for the children and parents of those children.

  27. hopespringseternal says:

    That awkward exchange just now between Thurmond and The King just confirms several things about who is really running the system. Thurmond jokingly refers to wearing an ankle monitor but that he’s happy to have it removed, and The King (Elgart) inferring that he must leave it on. What terrible things to say on several levels: (1) that vis-a-vis student achievement Thurmond didn’t hear a word Elgart said; (2) that SACS plans to continue running the school district; and (3) the subservient role Thurmond placed himself in (and the optics accompanying that placement).

  28. Thurmond just acknowledged Ramona Tyson for her leading the accreditation effort.

  29. disenchantedindekalb says:

    This is all a really bad reality show. Bad on so many levels.

  30. If a transcript available, it would great if someone could count up the number of times Elgart referred to the upcoming November board election. I think I heard him repeatedly say that accreditation will be at risk if the community elects the wrong board.

    Meeting just adjourned.

  31. concernedmom30329 says:

    I gotta hand it to Elgart. I am guessing there was tremendous political pressure on him to restore full accreditation. Not only did he not do that, he only bumped DCSS up one step, not two. Interesting…

    And DSW2c… I think he is right. We need to elect a good, strong board.

  32. By the way, a group of Bus Drivers was protesting outside the palace.

  33. disenchantedindekalb says:

    Good for the bus drivers, wish there were more employees there.

  34. Dekalbite2 says:

    Until Mr. Thurmond can improves student achievement rates, we will not move forward. If DCSS continues to bleed teaching personnel and refuses to direct resources into the classroom, this cannot happen. These seem to be the two areas Elgart says he needs to concentrate on – improving student achievement and directing resources into the classroom. This is what Lewis, Tyson, Atkinson and Thurmond all stumbled on – raising student achievement levels by engaging teachers in the conversation and redirecting resources into the classroom. They don’t seem to know how to do this or they don’t seem to want to do this.

    “Student performance: Just beginning. System years ago had great reputation. Those who say this effort had nothing to do with student performance are wrong – this has everything to do with student performance. Looking for sustained improved performance over time. That’s how to evaluate if staffs efforts are having proper impact.”

    Mr. Thurmond has established no quantifiably measurable student achievement objectives or benchmarks for the $76,000,000 in non teaching staff programs he has developed as his Bridge Initiative. What data regarding student achievement can Mr. Thurmond show regarding the efforts of each initiative if he has established NO quantifiably measurable student achievement objectives or benchmarks for these programs and departments staffed with non teaching personnel?

    Taxpayers/need to continue to write, email and call SACS and Governor Deal regarding the student achievement rates of DeKalb County Schools. Remind them that the school system only exists to raise student achievement rates and we only pay school taxes to move students forward academically.

    Jason Carter should be a part of those emails. If he wants to run for governor, he needs to be forthcoming on exactly how he has supported initiatives that direct money into DeKalb classrooms in DeKalb and how he has supported efforts that have quantifiably measurable student achievement objectives such as the Druid Hills Cluster Charter.

  35. Stan Jester says:

    Video of Called Meeting with SACS review results and remarks from Governor Nathan Deal can be found here:

  36. acheolus says:

    Apparently a huge hoopla is going on in the AIC, with high-fives and catered lunches all around. This is 1% celebration at its finest-with the rest of us begging in the streets for textbooks and materials, and nothing but more money spent on useless programs to show for it.

  37. Tim McGaughey says:

    SACS has taken DeKalb Schools off of probation. Congratulations to all involved.

    A big part of the rating upgrade is the change of the School Board. Unfortunately, that vital change had to be forced onto DeKalb Schools by SACS and the Governor. Let’s hope that the current Board and Administration will not need correction from the outside.

  38. thedeal2 says:

    The refreshing light of exposure and embarrassment is now off the DeKalb County School District. Let the corruption and greed continue unabated.

  39. My takeaways from Elgart’s comments:

    The board and staff did complete 8 of the 11 required actions — mostly regarding governance and budgeting. They implemented a lot of policy. They moved us from virtual crisis into some form of homeostasis.

    We were apparently very close to losing accreditation a year ago. It doesn’t look like that will happen, but the remaining 3 actions as well as the additional 3 actions added today will take 2-3 years to fully implement. We are ‘on the road’, but not down it all that far.

    We have to be very careful with the budget – the board must ensure that the budget is adhered to. (You can always ‘make’ a budget, but if you don’t monitor spending, you will find the budget off the rails again.)

    We have to do better with equity (especially where technology is concerned) across all schools. We can’t have some students enjoying great access to technology while others have little access.

    Student achievement will be the measurement. All actions going forward should be taken with advancing student achievement in mind.

    Sustainability of the progress so far is key – we must continue to hold the progress and move forward. It is up to communities to elect new board members that will be fiscally responsible, have good governance and set up students for success (*all seven seats are up for election in November).

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