October 8, 2014 Board Meeting

The DeKalb Board of Education will hold the following public hearings and meetings on Wednesday, October 8, 2014: (These were originally scheduled for Monday, October 6, 2014.)


1:30pm
2nd Charter District Public Hearing
J. David Williamson Board Room, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083

2:00pm Work Session
Cabinet Room

5:45pm Community Input Session & 3rd Charter District Public Hearing
J. David Williamson Board Room

7:00pm Business Meeting

J. David Williamson Board Room

Attend the meetings in person or watch them streamed live at Comcast PDS 24. Meeting information and agendas can be accessed online by going to: www.dekalb.k12.ga.us, click on Leadership, go to eBoard Home Page and click on the date for the meeting agenda\information.

1. RECOGNITION

a. Bullying/Harassment/Hazing Awareness Month
b. National Farm to School Month
Presented by: Mr. Marshall D. Orson, Board Representative, District #2

2. SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT
a. Superintendent’s Graduation Rate Initiative
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent
b. Georgia Accrediting Commission Update
Presented by: Dr. Alice A. Thompson, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School
Leadership & Operational Support
c. Presentation ~ Margaret Harris Comprehensive School
Presented by: Dr. Cheryl L. Rhodes, Principal

C. CONSENT AGENDA
1. Approval of Minutes
Presented by: Mr. Michael L. Thurmond, Superintendent
2. Approval of Monthly Financial Report
Presented by: Dr. Michael J. Bell, Chief Financial Officer, Division of Finance
3. Approval of Monthly Human Resources Report
Presented by: Dr. Tekshia M. Ward-Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, Division of Human Resources
4. Conversion Charter Amendments: Kingsley Elementary School 1st Charter Contract Amendment, Peachtree Charter Middle School 1st Charter Contract Amendment, Chesnut Elementary School 2nd Charter Contract Amendment, Smoke Rise Elementary School 2nd Charter Contract Amendment
Presented by Dr. José Boza, Director, Leadership Development & Charter Schools, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support
5. Renewal of Workers’ Compensation Administration Program
Presented by: Mr. Ronald B. Ramsey, Chief Legal Officer, Division of Legal Affairs
6. Bid #14-163 for Catalog Discount – Musical Instruments and Equipment
Presented by: Ms. Stacy E. Stepney, Director, PreK-12 Program, Division of Curriculum & Instruction
7. Career, Technical & Agricultural Education (CTAE) Department Purchases to Vendors Exceeding $100,000
Presented by: Dr. Delmas L. Watkins, Director, Career Technical & Agricultural Education, Division of Curriculum & Instruction
8. SPLOST Projects
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
a. SPLOST IV Project: Subregion 3B: Redan ES, Champion MS, Stone Mountain MS, Clarkston HS, East Campus, and Pine Ridge ES – Capital Renewal, ADA, and Code Requirements Design Contract Award
b. SPLOST IV Project: Subregion 4B: Bob Mathis ES, Panola Way ES, Browns Mills ES, and Rainbow ES – Capital Renewal, ADA, and Code Requirements Design Contract Award
c. SPLOST IV Project: Approval of HVAC Instrumentation and Controls for New Fernbank Elementary School
d. SPLOST IV Project: Approval of HVAC Instrumentation and Controls for New Peachcrest Elementary School
e. SPLOST IV Project: Approval of HVAC Instrumentation and Controls for Redan High School Addition
9. Business Services
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
a. State of Georgia SW Natural Gas Contract No.: SWC99999-SPD-ES40199411-01 Approval
10. Fleet Services
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations
a. Monthly School Bus Inspection Contract Extension (RFP 13-456)
b. School Bus Bond Purchase
11. Justification for and Approval of Emergency HVAC Purchases
Presented by: Mr. Joshua L. Williams, Chief Operations Officer, Division of Operations

D. ACTION ITEM
1. Adoption of the resolution approving the DeKalb County School District’s Charter System Petition
Presented by: Mr. Trenton Arnold, Region 3 Superintendent, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support

E. OTHER\BOARD COMMENTS (2 minutes each)
F. ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. Teacher Advisory Committee Meeting, 2:00pm, Thursday, October 9, 2014, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
2. SPLOST Oversight Committee Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, October 9, 2014, Conference Room, Sam Moss Service Center, 1780 Montreal Road, Tucker
3. School Closed in observation of Columbus Day ~ Monday, October 13, 2014 Teacher Work Day & Staff Development Day\Administrative Offices Open
4. New Teacher Mixer, 4:00pm, Tuesday, October 14, 2014, Tucker High School, 5036 LaVista Road, Tucker
5. DeKalb Council of PTAs Fall Dinner & Meeting, 6:00pm, Thursday, October 16, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
6. Educational Support Professional Advisory Committee Meeting, 10:00am, Thursday, October 23, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
7. District-wide Parent Engagement Workshop, 8:00am, Saturday, October 25, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
8. District-wide Administrators Academy, 8:30am, Tuesday, October 28, 2014, Auditorium, Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain
9. DeKalb Board of Education Work Session (2pm), Community Input Session & 2nd Charter District Public Hearing (5:45pm) and Business Meeting (7pm), Monday, November 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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There will be an opportunity for public comments at the public hearing. Sign-up is on a first-come, first-served basis, on-site the day of the meeting just prior to each hearing. There will be 2 public hearings ~ one at 1:30pm and one at 6pm (immediately following the regular citizen input session). Sign-up for the 1:30pm hearing will be 12:15pm – 1:15pm, and 4:45pm – 5:45pm for the 6pm hearing.

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37 Responses to October 8, 2014 Board Meeting

  1. TeacherK says:

    They have been having the sign-ups for citizen comments from 4:30 – 5:30 for the past couple of meetings. No public notice of the change, of course.

  2. They did have it very large on the photo slider at the home page of the school system’s website. They also tweeted it on Twitter, and probably posted in on Facebook, but we didn’t see that. Also didn’t see it in the AJC, but it could have been there. We aren’t sure why they changed the date – possibly due to something important that wasn’t ready to present. But the meetings should be set in stone. This is only one day a month – and citizens are expecting it on the first Monday or whatever was on the approved schedule at the beginning of the year. They should meet the deadlines set on the calendar – they should not treat these meetings as if they are flexible. Now it is on a Wednesday night when many people go to church for dinner and services. Not great.

  3. These are the speakers listed for the public hearing about the charter application.

    1. Vanita Chavis-Banks
    2. Dr. Merrill White
    3. Robert Stephens
    4. Jenny Shulman
    5. Chuck Logan
    6. Loreen Booker-Brown

    There is room for more – make sure you sign up if you have something to say on the subject.
    Email the board secretary, MARGARET C. FRANCOIS at margaret_c_francois@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

  4. Does anyone know if the Smoke Rise ES rebuild has shown up on any SPLOST lists, yet?

  5. Stan Jester says:

    SPLOST – Capital Improvement Monthly Updates

    Smoke Rise ES
    Rebuild will use the prototypical design for a 600-seat elementary school. Construction is scheduled to start May 2017 and be completed in July 2018.

    They have already started “Preconstruction Services”. If you email the school council, they should be on top of it and should be able to answer all your questions.

  6. howdy1942 says:

    This meeting is really much ado about nothing. Mr. Arnold will propose that the school board approve the resolution supporting the petition for the Dekalb Charter and it will pass. All of the comments, questions, or issues raised at those so-called “community” meetings as well as any made at this school board meeting will not matter. The only unknown is whether there will be any questions asked by the board or any discussion. I expect this to be another “rubber stamp” accompanying by endless “praise” for all the hard work.

    I have already let my legislators know my thoughts – this is a bureaucratic nightmare that fixes all control in the Dekalb County administration and leaves only the menial task to any potential charter. It is merely window dressing to maintain and prop up the status quo. I attended the meeting at Lakeside and there were a lot of questions and little support, if any, voiced for this Dekalb Charter petition. And based on what I have read in the Dekalb Neighbor, there was even less support at Dunwoody.

    @DSW – it will be very interesting to see if Mr. John Coleman shows up! Given his attendance record, I really wonder why he even bothered to interview for an appointment to the school board.

    As was pointed out by another commenter on this blog, there were 10 questions at Mr. Thurmond’s “State of the School System” address regarding the cityhood movements and their impact on schools. I’ve attended virtually all of the meetings that have been held by the Lakeside and Tucker cityhood movements and, by far, the great majority of questions have been about schools. I’ve heard very few questions at these meetings about other issues, such as police protection. The issues that concern both movements relate to schools and have been expressed by parents from both areas. This is not just about politics. And this school board, this superintendent, and this administration have all been very wrong to ignore the concerns of these areas. There is a tidal wave building that will eventually wash away this school board and administration.

    I had to laugh at the comments by that teacher who said they her principal holds a mandatory staff meeting on a Monday of every month and every teacher is expected to voice only positive comments and I fully understand her “enjoyment” of those meetings. Perhaps that principal ought to encourage teachers to be honest in their feelings, to voice both positive and negative issues, and to propose solutions to the latter.

  7. teachermom says:

    At our school the principal asked us all to focus on “positive” things. He kept using that word even though we had some not so positive things happening. I believe that Thurmond has sent word down to focus on the positive or something to that effect. It was just forced seeming and totally whitewashed any concerns we might have had.

  8. You are seeing the light Howdy. Sadly. We really do wish that all things were glowing and positive, and the days at DCSS were full of sunshine and butterflies, but they are not. That is, unless you are being paid over $300,000 a year to say so!

    On the subject of John Coleman – check out our post on his direct, insider connection, via his wife, to the Governor and the light will go on for you …

    Oh the connections, they are more tangled than ever
    Posted on July 25, 2013

  9. We are not even sure that Coleman actually applied for appointment to the school board. If he did apply, it was probably because his wife nudged him. Coleman’s connection with Governor Let’s-Make-A-Deal is that his wife worked for Deal. Coleman wasn’t even bright enough to realize that he was an appointee in a position that typically was elected. So, Deal disenfranchised everyone in District 1 and, instead of stepping up to the job, meeting his constituents, asking for their concerns, understanding their interests and asking how he could be helpful, Coleman did nothing. We assume that he is still cashing his monthly check from DCS. Such a shame! We are aware of some truly excellent, highly qualified people whose names are well-known who applied to represent District 1 on the school board. They weren’t even interviewed. It’s bad enough to be disenfranchised, but the governor gave the job to one of his know-nothing-do-nothing insiders. Remember that when you go to the polls in November!

  10. DecaturMax says:

    It is just plain gut wrenching to see the plummeting SAT scores for Dekalb schools. The AJC article today shows each high schools scores with last years scores. Class size and teacher attrition are killing us and the charter district’s continued waivers will continue this slide for years to come. Dekalb’s traditionally high scoring non-magnet schools score so low compared to a few years ago that it is just scary. National test numbers don’t lie. We are in a free fall and “the band played on”. Why would someone moving to Atlanta with kids come to Dekalb?….. maybe for the cheap property values. I am sure Mr Thurmond will say something good about a few scores at Magnet schools and ignore these horrendous numbers.

  11. Concerned Dekalb Mom says:

    I can’t get behind the pay wall…could someone post the scores?

  12. @concerned Dekalb Mom all you have to do is purchase a subscription, daily delivery is $181 yr. for 7 days, with all the coupons ( Publix’s isn’t taking copies or digital cell phone or I pad ones anymore, just originals.) you can get it for under $125 yr at various festivals. Then you get on line access for free.

  13. Go to the Georgia Department of Education. The scores are posted here.

    A word of warning, though. We pay at lot of money to the employees at GaDOE. So, it is distressing that they do such a poor job of providing scores and other information to the taxpaying public. This morning, they were asking for a user name and password to see SAT scores. That got fixed. But, the tables with the scores have NO totals. You want to know the total average score for your school? Get out a calculator. There is NO way to download to Excel or a CSV file. So, you can’t sort anything to make sense of it. That’s a BIG problem when ALL Georgia high schools are listed alphabetically. NO way to sort by county. Want to compare high schools in DeKalb County? Here’s a list:

    Arabia Mountain High School – Academy of Engineering, Medicine and Environmental Studies
    Cedar Grove
    Chamblee Charter
    Clarkston
    Columbia
    Cross Keys
    DeKalb Alternative Night School
    Dekalb Early College Academy
    DeKalb School of the Arts
    DeKalb Transition School
    Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence
    Druid Hills
    Dunwoody
    Elizabeth Andrews
    Gateway to College Academy
    Lakeside
    Lithonia
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    McNair
    Miller Grove
    Redan
    Southwest DeKalb
    Stephenson
    Stone Mountain
    Towers
    Tucker

    To get a list of schools in other counties, go here. Then click on the county you want and when that comes up, click on the tab that says, “Schools.”

    Are you hoping to compare the past several years performance for the same school? You will have to go to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and click on “Report Card” then look for K-12 Schools and select the school you are interested in — year by year by year.

    Are you beginning to get a sense that NO one wants taxpayers to delve very deeply into school performance — least of all Governor Let’s-Make-A-Deal and State Superintendent Barge?

    Remember that when you vote in November! Your vote really counts. DeKalb County has already blown it as far as the school board is concerned, with the exception of Stan Jester. But, he’s only one person. You still have a chance to get rid of Governor Let’s-Make-A-Deal and never, ever return Barge to any elected or appointed office. Barge is a certified teacher; send him back to the classroom where he can wallow among the “fruits” of his undistinguished tenure as state school superintendent.

  14. Concerned Dekalb Mom says:

    @Another Comment…with all due respect, I know how to purchase a subscription. The writing and newspaper production at the AJC is of such poor quality overall (certainly some exceptions, but overall) that I gave up several years ago. Yes, I understand all the reasons why it’s bad…but if the reporting was better, I’d buy the subscription.

  15. deecab2badd says:

    Good news: If you go to the article on the Get Schooled blog, you can access the SAT data for every school in the state without being blocked by the paywall.

    http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2014/10/07/georgia-sees-flat-sat-scores-dekalb-sees-drop-anyone-see-cause-for-concern/

  16. deecab2bad says:

    Or, for the cost of renting an in-law suite in a house just over the county line from Tucker, you can send your child to a school with SAT scores better than Chamblee, Dunwoody, Lakeside, Druid Hills, Tucker, or Arabia Mountain. Just don’t let the parking monitors catch you dropping off your kid while you are driving a car with DeKalb plates.

    Pitiful.

  17. Soooo true deecab! I just had a long chat with a PTA mom from Gwinnett. They are really watching. They are very well aware that there are literally hundreds of ‘cheaters’ from DeKalb, enrolling their kids using all kinds of tricks in the better schools in Gwinnett. Be very careful if you are doing this. And think of what you are doing to your child – making them feel like an illegal – a cheater – a leper of sorts… that’s very bad for the psyche.

  18. The Fact Checker has just posted a “lucid, intelligent, and well thought-out” assessment and notes on the DeKalb Schools charter application, sent to them by a concerned parent.

    Read the whole post here >>

    DeKalb Schools’ District Charter Petition

  19. DecaturMax says:

    Wow. It is funny that the goals mentioned would take a charter district to address. I did not see anything about funding for the LSGT. How much money will they get to distribute toward the goals mentioned. Without funding they are powerless …..like the Dekalb Ethics commission has been.

    Most concerning is the LSGT. ….
    The LSGT (Local School Governance Team) which is the supposed local control in the Dekalb charter district proposal. On top of having just 2 of 9 voting members voted in by the community, the principal appoints 4 and is on the board. The remaining 2 are teachers that have a vested interest in maintaining a healthy relationship with their boss. Let’s not forget that getting on the bad side of the administration has historically caused a teachers evaluations ratings to go down or even get them put on a Professional Development Plan.

    It looks like the principal controls 5 of 9 votes and has a huge influence over 7 of 9. Should you get something through this local control committee that is unpopular with the principal, the cluster or central office can just override it or investigate/ stall it until it dies. This is a travesty! It is just plain insulting.

  20. thedeal2 says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Administration person talks and talks. A certain predictable subset of the board agrees with that person and chastises anyone who dares to say anything negative and then a smaller subset (who will lose the vote) brings up very good points and questions that are basically ignored or mocked. Today it is Trenton Arnold doing the talking for the administration regarding the charter system petition. Orson, McMahan, and Mayfield are wanting more time now that the school system actually presented a document worth reviewing. The Love Doctor, Karen Carter, Thurmond, and the Chairman want to cut off those questions and vote. We’ve seen it before, and we will see it again.

  21. Mickey pulled the charter proposal!

  22. d says:

    One note about the SAT scores – the scores were for the class of 2014 – the class that Dr. Atkinson had paid for every student to take the test thus the 45% boost in number of students who took the test. I bet this time next year, when we are looking at a normal year, people will be talking about the “DeKalb miracle.”

  23. Bucky Rogers says:

    D is totally right. We knew our scores would plummet once every child was forced to take the SAT during a regular school day.

  24. howdy1942 says:

    Did John Coleman make it to this meeting?

  25. Yes! Coleman showed up! Jim McMahan ran the meeting – Johnson was away on an emergency. Dr. Morely was absent on medical leave.

    The video has been posted at PDS online – you can watch the meeting here >>

    http://view.earthchannel.com/PlayerController.aspx?&PGD=dekalbschga&eID=206

    Yes, John Coleman suggested they table the proposal due to citizen concerns. But then Thurmond asked to table it because that is what Melvin Johnson had asked him to do, since Melvin couldn’t be there as his mother passed away during an earlier meeting. So apparently, it was doomed to be tabled – regardless.

  26. Just Wondering says:

    http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/GRS%5CGRSWeb-App.nsf/A97E6786B146165985257A4100582D83/$file/2012-GRS-Employee-Handbook.pdf

    ‘Gwinnett County Public Schools withdrew from the federal government Social Security retirement plan in 1983, upon the request of the Gwinnett County Public School employees. The School District provides a replacement retirement plan called the Gwinnett Retirement System. The objective of the Plan is to “hold in trust and soundly invest all funds contributed to the Plan in order to provide defined retirement and long term disability benefits for all covered employees”.

    A section of the proposed Charter Plan refers to employee retention, I copied a some information from the Gwinnett County Schools GRS Plan.

    How will DeKalb retain its school staff or attract new staff?

    Not talking about the TSA Contributions will not make it go away.

  27. Imagine the boost in morale if our administration would simply pledge to “hold in trust and soundly invest all funds contributed to the Plan in order to provide defined retirement and long term disability benefits for all covered employees”.

    Did Alvin Wilbanks suggest this when he was the featured speaker at DekaLb’s ‘Leadership’ gathering?

    Does DeKalb provide a similar retirement handbook for employees to keep?

  28. Thad gave a recognition to Wadsworth school for high achievers for being a National Blue Ribbon School. Only one of 12 in the state.

    [school population: 239 students]
    Download our most recent school by school enrollment data here:
    Data sheet as of 9/5/2014
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/enrollment-byschoolbygrade-p2.xlsx

  29. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – It is good to know that Mr. Coleman was in attendance. With Dr. Morley and Melvin Johnson away, it now becomes very clear as to why Mr. Thurmond pulled the charter resolution from the agenda – he didn’t have the votes! I don’t think that Orson, McMahan, Coleman, or Mr. Mayfield would have voted for this resolution and it would have failed on a 4-3 vote had Mr. Thurmond pursued this matter – he needs Johnson and Morley. That is only a matter of time – they will attend and this resolution will be passed.

    Given the comments by all the commenters at that meeting, it is difficult to understand why any rational person would proceed with this proposal. At the Lakeside meeting, there were many questions but few answers and there was a lot of concern voiced. It doesn’t seem to me like the proposal for the Dekalb charter fits the definition of a charter system. Charters are, by definition, independently managed and accountable. Clearly, the Dekalb charter proposal doesn’t do that. The Druid Hills proposal fit the definition of a charter and that is the one that should have been approved. If the Druid Hills charter did not pass the muster of the school board, then the one proposed Wednesday night certainly should not have passed the muster.

    The Dekalb County School System needs broader support for its proposal and not the significant opposition that has been voiced for its current proposal. I’m surprised that after listening to the lack of support I have heard that Mr. Arnold would even proceed with this proposal, unless he was just simply told to make the proposal. If the DCSS continues to pursue this matter, there will be substantial opposition when it comes before the State Board of Education. At best, the Dekalb Delegation will be divided.

    We desperately need a new superintendent in the DCSS who will listen to the people and work to achieve consensus and support. That can be done, but we need to start with selecting a superintendent with the experience and ability to do that.

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  31. @howdy: Right on! Melvin knew it wouldn’t pass too – that’s why he instructed Thurmond to table it. However, why then would John Coleman make a move to table it as well? Coleman could and should have been a NO vote. What is he doing? There was a quorum. They should have voted. And they should have voted it down – it’s a terrible plan, poorly written and lacking in vision. We are counting the days until Stan can warm that seat.

  32. Thurmond: Due to the ‘low unemployment rate’ we have had a low graduation rate in recent years. Introduced Ms. Bricston for a plan to improve graduation rates system wide. She made a presentation. Very excited about the coming release of the new graduation numbers. Bricston credits Thurmond’s 90 day plan for having this goal as well as his “Bridge Initiative” for developing the plan. Historical data shows 2012: 57% (state avg: 70%), 2013: 60% (state avg 72%), 2014 not yet available. 2012: Calculations made by dividing graduates by number registered as seniors. Calculations changed in 2013 – calculated 9th grade cohorts over 4 years. (Gee, she could have written this blog – we’ve been trying to educate people on these calculations for years.) Complex calculation. We are expecting significant improvement. Due to graduation initiative strategies for 2013-14 – central office analyzing data, aligning resources and employing best practices to support HS principals and creating a principal training program designed to increase the accuracy of collecting data. (Aha! All the credit goes to the central office…and the fact that the data collection was wrong.)

    Dr. Tinsley: Additional best practices: Layers of support for students. Post secondary transitional experts: Progress monitoring, meeting with parents, providing a touchstone… Personal contact with students not meeting. UGA provided support for awareness of post-secondary options. Senior conferences held in schools to identify early issues. Nearly 1000 students allowed to take credit recovery courses. Support for English learners. “Sometimes giants are not as strong and powerful as they seem. Sometimes the shepherd boy has a sling and a smooth rock in his pocket. Thank you.”

  33. Thurmond: We made significant progress last year – 3% improvement in a glacial improvement arena. We are expecting much more.

  34. Alice Thompson: Dual accreditation for 23 high schools. Will receive word on application in 2015. October 14: accrediting in-service meeting – for HS principals. Meeting begins at noon in board room. School visits will follow the last two weeks in Jan, 2015. GAC will visit 2 HSs per day. March the GAC will meet in Macon and will make a decision.

    High schools to be GAC accredited:

    Arabia
    Cedar Grove
    Chamblee Charter
    Clarkston
    Columbia
    Cross Keys
    DeKalb Alternative
    DeKalb Early College Academy
    DeKalb School of the Arts
    Druid Hills
    Dunwoody
    Elizabeth Andrews
    Lakeside
    Lithonia
    McNair
    Miller Grove
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Redan
    Southwest DeKalb
    Stephenson
    Stone Mountain
    Towers
    Tucker

    For more info: http://gac.coe.uga.edu/

  35. Thurmond visited Margaret Harris high school and invited Dr Rose to speak about the school. She brought parent, Amanda Copeland. Valued component of the continuum of special ed. DeKalb is one of the few remaining systems offering a self contained program for severe disabilities. Many are served in their home schools, but many are referred to M Harris. Serve children 3-21 Moderate, severe and profound cognitive intellectual disabilities – needing speech and language disorders, physical impairments health impairments, sensory, autism and traumatic brain injury.

    [school population: 65 students – many homebound – 10+ teachers plus a health staff – physical and occupational therapy and 4 nurses]

    Download our most recent school by school enrollment data here:
    August 22, 2014: https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/enrollment-byschoolbygrade.xlsx
    September 5, 2014: https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/enrollment-byschoolbygrade-p2.xlsx

    View online here >>
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZtxJzv2I7A1KH_dvD9ZqRh2Y80q-vp5LH_L4JG8eyU4/edit#gid=1033890253

  36. Essentially, not much was accomplished at this meeting. It was 1 hour and 3 minutes long. Of that, the first 30+ minutes was devoted to recognitions to bullying programs and farm to table foods, and later, over 20 minutes was devoted to Margaret Harris HS presentation, intro and comments about M Harris by Marshall Orson and Jim McMahan. There were no action items. The charter proposal will be online. Comments were due to the board by Friday which will be reviewed according to McMahan. Orson insists the public was ‘heard’ and the board will ‘adapt’. More info to come on when they will hold the vote (in the next few weeks).

    Takeaways:

    Credit is due to DeKalb for educating these profoundly compromised children, unlike other school districts which do not or do so in a less successful manner.

    About 5 minutes was spent in discussion with the student rep who asked for a more engaging way to talk about bullying (what they do now students just laugh off). Wants something more interesting.

    We are happy to hear the the plans for dual accreditation by adding GAC to SACS seem to be moving along and look like this idea will come to fruition.

  37. Charter district petition vote delayed in DeKalb
    By Ty Tagami
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    An application to convert the DeKalb County School District into a “charter” system was tabled Wednesday amid public criticism.

    The school board voted to remove the 49-page application from the evening’s agenda after a public hearing brought complaints from parents, teachers, a student and others. Most of the 11 speakers said the proposal to innovate improved service for low-income students and those who speak limited English was short on specifics. Some also worried about how the district would use requested waivers from state requirements that dictate maximum class sizes, minimum teacher pay, teacher credentials and other standards. The state granted some waivers during the recession when districts had financial reasons to cut teachers and increase class sizes, but a new law would eliminate waivers for districts that do not move to alter their governance by 2015. The law envisions pushing more decisions from the central office to the school level.

    DeKalb Superintendent Michael Thurmond asked that his district’s petition be withdrawn and addressed at a meeting to be called later this month. The charter petition is available on the district website: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us.

    +++

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/charter-district-petition-vote-delayed-in-dekalb/nhfPD/

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