A re-post of our own 2020 Vision: For Dr. Green’s consideration

The following was originally posted February 7, 2011. It was a collaborative effort written by a professional writer/DeKalb parent who culled the opinions of a few dozen highly involved parents and community members. It exemplifies the wishes and dreams of many in this county, for a school district that places educating children as Job 1. We hope that someone shares this with Dr. Green and he takes to heart these specific wishes and overall hope for a quality education our children.

Add your own thoughts in the comments!

“Without a vision, the people perish…”

And so will the future of public education in DeKalb County if we don’t see radical change. Bloggers –parents, teachers and students – demand those in charge either lead or get out of the way. We are tired of the blaming, the excuses, the diversion tactics. It is still possible to educate children within a public system – but it requires skilled leadership and a sense of mission – a sense of purpose; a clear vision we have not had in this district in easily 20 years. In the past, we have blamed the old boys’ network, the federal court case, M to M, Dr. Brown – when the real culprit behind all of this has been an abject failure of leadership. How is it Fulton and Gwinnett have not become the public school embarrassments DeKalb has? Because when challenges emerged, demographics shifted and the feds made new rules, these counties adapted. They are not perfect: but they installed capable leadership and communicated a clear mission: educate kids. Let us do likewise.

The consequences of failing in this mission are grave. We polled our regular bloggers, contributors and consultants asking their input on a vision for our schools. Herewith, our own 2020 vision:

  • A trained, experienced superintendent who possesses the utmost integrity and character, who can guide DeKalb Schools in a way that develops teachers, staff and students; a leader not heretofore connected to this school system, who will end cronyism and nepotism, who can restore trust and is dedicated to putting student learning first; a leader qualified to re-structure a Central Office to serve children first.
  • A chief financial officer of the utmost integrity and character who is trustworthy and transparent in overseeing wise expenditures of the people’s money.
  • Board of Education members who adhere to codified ethical and legal standards; who are themselves educated; who are engaged in the mission of student learning; whose family members are not employed by the DeKalb County School System.
  • The completion of a thorough, outside forensic audit of the budget, all SPLOST expenditures and financial practices of the school system.
  • A re-configuring of the pay scale to redirect monies to classroom teachers from the Central Office personnel.
  • A qualified, skilled principal in every school, gifted at harnessing the power of teachers and parents to work in harmony for the development of every child; empowered principals who can remove inadequate teachers and staff.
  • A system of schools that offer an equitable course of study in a safe, clean and welcoming environment – no matter where you live.
  • A qualified teacher in every classroom, each encouraged to seek national certification, and each supported by the network of resources – including student teachers – available at area colleges.
  • Aligned feeder patterns that afford vertical planning time for all teachers to eliminate educational gaps as children move from elementary to middle school to high school.
  • A philosophy that encourages children to “advance when ready:” a nimble school environment that can meet the needs of early readers and those demonstrating unusual early facility, allowing them to move on to new academic challenges instead of marking time.
  • A system of schools sized to maximize collection of state and federal funding.


Elementary Vision:

  • A safe, clean environment with appropriate resources in every classroom – from teaching tools to tissues.
  • Individualized learning support for struggling students that begins in Kindergarten.
  • Small learning groups to support solid reading and math skills.
  • An exploration of “looping” to allow a teacher to stay with a group two or even three years to focus on building on known strengths and addressing known deficits.
  • Refashioned art, music, PE and foreign language instruction for all students that builds on and is integrated into the core learning curriculum.
  • Technology: Wi-fi, SmartBoards, laptops, Kindles, iPads and/or other identified resources – plus the teacher training that ensures technology will be utilized to extend learning.
  • Fully-equipped science labs.
  • A quality program to meet the needs of gifted learners.
  • Recess every day.
  • A magnet program that begins in the upper elementary years – after children begin to demonstrate certain proficiencies – to address the needs of the top five-percent of students.
  • After-school programs that address learning struggles, while providing other life-enhancing and wellness activities.


Middle School Vision:

  • A place where children are known by the adults around them – where they are supported in academic pursuits and extra-curriculars.
  • A clean, safe environment, where adults are trained to develop students and coach them into better choices and behaviors; where intransigent students are removed in deference to the entire school community.
  • Refashioned art, music, PE and foreign language instruction for all students that builds on and is integrated into the core learning curriculum.
  • Technology: Wi-fi, SmartBoards, laptops, Kindles, iPads and other identified resources – plus the teacher training that ensure resources will be utilized to extend learning.
  • Fully-equipped science labs.
  • A quality program to meet the needs of gifted learners.
  • A full complement of sports, academic competitions (including science, debate, Hi-Q, chess, engineering) leadership and musical opportunities – with qualified adult leadership – to develop students’ gifts and talents.
  • Intra-mural programs to promote cooperation and play.


High School Vision:

  • A place where children are known by the adults around them – where they are supported in academic pursuits and extra-curriculars.
  • A clean, safe environment, where adults are trained to develop students and coach them into better choices and behaviors; where intransigent students are removed in deference to the entire school community.
  • Multi-track diplomas that recognize not every child will attend college – but every child needs a high school diploma. Vo-Tech and Career-Tech paths that will ensure students graduate prepared to support themselves and capable of functioning in society.
  • Courses of study for the brightest students, supported by the resources of area colleges and undergirded by IB, AP and nationally-recognized standards.
  • General-level classes that do not warehouse children – that are engaging and develop all students.
  • Mandatory Saturday school for failing students.
  • Meaningful and informed college counseling.
  • Technology: Wi-fi, SmartBoards, laptops, Kindles, iPads and other identified resources – plus the teacher training that ensure technology resources will be utilized to extend learning.
  • Parents Centers for all schools within a cluster that truly offer needed resources, especially to non-English speaking parents.
  • A full complement of sports, academic competitions (including science, debate, Hi-Q, chess, engineering) leadership and musical opportunities – with qualified adult leadership – to develop students’ gifts and talents.
  • Intra-mural programs to promote cooperation and play.
Advertisements

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
This entry was posted in Board of Education Meetings, Budget Cuts, Charter School, Common Core Curriculum, DeKalb County [GA] Board of Education, Georgia Independent Schools, Superintendent R. Stephen Green and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A re-post of our own 2020 Vision: For Dr. Green’s consideration

  1. concerned citizen says:

    This document says all the important things; but, again, I don’t have any confidence at all in DeKalb County administrators. Pretty soon, we’ll hear Green whining and complaining just as Thurmond did. Accomplishing nothing is where it’s at in DeKalb County Schools supt’s position. I think Green was a very poor choice based solely on his defense of his high-spending habits. The way he words his defense is scary and shows the poor quality of his thinking. We are in for it, again. Thank you, board, for sticking it to us one more time.

  2. sawyerbrown68 says:

    “A qualified, skilled principal in every school, gifted at harnessing the power of teachers and parents to work in harmony for the development of every child; empowered principals who can remove inadequate teachers and staff.”

    Has anyone looked at the staffing need for Lakeside High School recently on https://pats.dekalb.k12.ga.us ? Should the PTA and School Advisory Council use their advisory role to prevent the staffing mess that confronted Lakeside at the beginning of the last school year.

    It’s quite unusual that many of the open positions, posted just last week, were already common knowledge in the community because of announced departures, retirement notices, and unfortunate death of a teacher in April. What is HR doing?

    There is a concern that assistant principals are unable to work there and routinely ask for and receive lateral transfers after a short time in office. Is there a district leadership failure in staffing the school? Do they send below average assistant principals on purpose?

  3. Limiting Magnets to only the top 5% of High school students would limit so many. As many high school students mature over time. I was only a B student in High School yet was in the top 5% of my Engineering Class. I saw students who were at the top of their high school class not make it in Engineering School. The top 20% with potential should be eligible.

  4. @sawyerbrown: These are the jobs posted for Lakeside:

    LAKESIDE HIGH 5
    Counselor II High School – 1
    ROTC, Air Force Enlisted HS – 1
    Teacher, Family & Consumer HS – 1
    Teacher, Science – HS – 2

    BTW, lots of jobs posted on PATS right now!
    https://pats.dekalb.k12.ga.us/

  5. dekalbteacher says:

    Is every metro school district holding a job fair one month before school starts? Sawyerbrown comments on the late posting of jobs at Lakeside. Can anyone else speak to openings at other schools that never make it to PATS or make it to PATS weeks or months after the identified needs?

    Thurmond didn’t waste any time getting a new finance person and establishing a PR position for Quinn Hudson. Will Dr. Green sort out the teaching vacancies and HR issues first, or will he follow Thurmond’s salute-worthy ways?

  6. sawyerbrown68 says:

    A light examination on PATS can tell you if a position was posted in April, May, or June. Sensible managers tell us that a position ought to be posted for anyone who has died , does not sign a contract, or has filed for retirement within 2 weeks of the event. It seems to be the case for most schools.

    Check Arabia Mountain, Chamblee, Dekalb Art, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Tucker.

  7. Local Thinker says:

    I would add this:

    Career and college guidance is not happening for every student and not early enough. There are lots of “resources” available like GA 411 and these “plans” for middle and high school but they are rarely implemented. Maybe they are being implemented in Dunwoody or whatever, but not happening in South DeKalb.

    We need comprehensive college and career guidance for all students but especially middle school. We need to prepare middle school students to take high seriously from day 1 of 9th grade. they need to intrinsically understand the value of their education. the district needs to be honest about this shortfall and help find ways the community can supplement if they can’t properly staff school counselors.

    Also missing a focus on counseling vs discipline. This is a school culture issue. We should be helping students get to the root of their issues and help them solve them instead of detention, sitting at the VP’s office, in house suspension, out of school suspension or whatever outdated archaic discipline system we’ve got going on. this requires patience and caring for kids not labels and ignoring them.

Comments are closed.