Time to bid you ‘Adieu’!

Rodin-Farewell-DeKalb-School-Watch-TwoAfter three and a half years of reporting and moderating for DeKalb School Watch Two, we have decided that it is time for us to move along. We realize that while many of you will miss us, many will also cheer our exodus. We don’t worry about it. We feel that we have done our very best to expose what we could regarding the corruption and graft in the school district.

The 700+ DeKalb School Watch Two blog posts will remain for anyone wishing to read about DeKalb schools from January 2012 through June 30 2015. The same is true for the original DSW which began in 2008-09. We are going to devote our time to our own work, our own families, travel and fun. We sincerely hope the new superintendent is ready, willing and able to make the changes that must occur in order to truly provide a quality education to each and every child in DeKalb.  Time will tell and hopefully you will each take part in the process.

These ten 2-letter words from William Johnsen tell you where your leadership storyˡ begins and ends:

If it is to be, it is up to me.

This statement is the key to assuming leadership, enabling collaboration, building critical mass, seeking consensus and, ultimately, to attaining transformational change. You can do this.

Best wishes to each and every one of you. And thank you for your years of participation in the blog. We have truly enjoyed ‘meeting’ and knowing you all.


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"
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38 Responses to Time to bid you ‘Adieu’!

  1. BB says:

    Thanks for the informative reporting over the years. After five years of teaching in Dekalb, I couldn’t take the incompetency anymore, and will be starting in Gwinnett this August. Your blog gave me information that directly affected me way before the county ever did. Thank you for you time , passion, and dedication.

  2. Didn’t agree with much of what you espoused, but did appreciate your thoughtfulness and concern for the what is best for the children and citizens of DeKalb.

  3. magadams says:

    Thank you so much, DeKalb School Watch! I have not always agreed with you, but I have so appreciated the forum you’ve created and the commitment to honesty and integrity in our leadership. You have done our community a great service. You’ve earned you keep. Now go relax a bit.

  4. Mary Hoyt says:

    What!!!!!! No!!!!!!!! I understand your decision. It’s been emotionally exhausting work and time-consuming work, I”m sure. I so appreciate what you’ve done here and hope that the legacy of the ways you’ve facilitated many to become more aware/engaged citizens will live long on beyond the life of this blog. Peace to you, Mary.

  5. LHSMama says:

    Happy trails and many, many thanks!

  6. former dekalb parent says:

    You will be missed, and I hope that someone else picks up the “Watch” and it continues to be a place where regular citizens can share information for the good of the Children…..Unfortunately, I am not confident that the right changes will be made. Enjoy your life.

  7. DecaturMax says:

    Thank you for all you service to the Dekalb community!

  8. Thanks everyone! We hope that someone does pick up the torch – and we hope that the school district creates their own very transparent interactive blog to nip problems and questions in the bud. It would be a great start to the new school year with the new superintendent!

  9. sawyerbrown68 says:

    I am terribly sorry you are closing down the blog. I am grateful you stood a good watch over the school district even when we did not agree. I hope some other group of citizens will pick up the task.

    If health is one of your reasons for leaving, I wish you healing and peace.

    Best wishes in your future pursuits,

    Sawyer Brown

  10. thedeal2 says:

    This is a sad day! Any day when an honest, open forum has to shut down is a sad day, especially in DeKalb. I know this has been time-consuming and stressful, so you do deserve time with your families, and they deserve to have you back. Yes, hopefully someone or a group of people will pick up the torch, and I hope you will make yourselves available for advice to them!

  11. Thank you Sawyer – thankfully, our health is fine – mental health might be in jeopardy if we continue though. 😉

    In all seriousness. It’s simply just ‘time’ for us to move along. We really don’t have the energy or desire to follow the new superintendent, but we wish him well. We are concerned that we may simply be in for another round at the merry-go-round if he doesn’t make serious changes, and we hope that he will. Time will tell, and we are just not willing to spend any more time focused on the school district. We really do hope that younger, fresher parents take over where we left off (DSW3? – Tres DSW? The all new, here for you, DSW?). And yes, we are always up for discussions – just send us an email. We’ll check them from time to time.


  12. Barbara Fountain says:

    So sad to read this…I have been with you all the way! I have emailed many news reporters asking why not do deep investigating into the system? As Richard Belcher told me last week…”someone has to step forward and be willing to spill the beans!” No one with backbone I guess. Thank you for all your hard work. I understand the mental drainage….I retired in 2000 from county as a teacher and have done what little I could since then! My heart aches for I was employed in’72 when it was really respected. Don’t have any hopes it will change with new “super”. Thank you again!

  13. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – First, thank you for your years of service to the Dekalb County community. You have provided a very important and constructive forum for our people to provide our thoughts and input as to the events that have been occurring in the Dekalb County School System. Your posts have also educated all of us as to what has been and is now happening in the school system. There are many administrators who are probably happy with your decision.

    My sincere hope is that some other party will step forward to take the reins of this blog. Dekalb School Watch has kept all of us informed as to what has led our school system on such a broad retreat from the lofty position that the DCSS once enjoyed and the many difficulties that we continue to face, especially in the governance and the administration of the school system. I sincerely hope that December 2012 was the bottom and that the new superintendent will take charge of his job rather than the other way around. Like others on this blog, I am very skeptical. Frankly, I believe that we should have found a much younger leader, one that can point to measurable accomplishments, and one that at least comes from an accredited system. I also think that we are providing a very excessive compensation package for what we are getting.

    Today, I read that the Aiken (SC) school system has just hired a new superintendent and he comes from Dorchester County (SC) where he was Director of Instruction. Under his watch, graduate rates increased a full 10 percentage points. Under his leadership in Beaufort County, seven of its schools were named among the “Excellent” schools in SC whereas before he came there were none. His Masters’ Degree is from the University of Wisconsin and his Doctorate is from the University of South Carolina. He is originally from New Jersey and graduated from The Citadel where he was on a football scholarship. In the classroom, he taught American History, Psychology, and Modern Literature. The Chairman of the Aiken County School System said she was “blown away” in their interview last Saturday and said that Dr. Alford is clearly a “mover and a shaker” who will get things done. Aiken is paying him a flat salary of $175,000. And, for those who may find it to be important, Dr. Alford is black. This blog earlier cited the final three candidates for the Charleston (SC) School System and their credentials blew me away. It just makes me wonder where Dekalb County was when all of this in Aiken and Charleston was happening and why we can’t seem to attract such talent.

    Maybe I just should have limited my remarks to a big thank you to the Dekalb School Watch, but my comments do serve to support your message that we can do far better for our kids than we are doing and, I hope that one day we will do better. I wish you every success and, again, please accept my sincere thanks for your selfless commitment to serving all of us an to making our school system better.

  14. EAV Mom says:

    Wow, really hate to see you go! Thanks so much for all you’ve done to share information about our school system. I know this has been a huge undertaking and your work has been most appreciated. This has been one of the few places I’ve found to get critically important information regarding our troubled system and your support will be surely missed!

  15. tucker insider says:

    Thanks DSW! You have done an exceptional job. I can’t count the numerous times you were a voice of reason, a filter of b.s., and a place for us teachers to know that we are not alone in trying to figure out how to teach and reach the students of DCSS. Best wishes to you!

  16. PolitiMom says:

    Thank you for you for taking the time to keep us informed and active. You will be missed!

  17. kirklunde says:

    Thank you DSW moderators for your time and dedication to the students and teachers in DeKalb County.

    Everybody can bookmark Stan Jester’s blog, http://factchecker.stanjester.com/ He is willing to post information and link sources which the district administration doesn’t.

    Be sure to sign up for notifications and watch next Monday. He is going to post something I wrote.

  18. concerned citizen says:

    Your leaving is a great loss for DeKalb County. Your wisdom and insight have been so supportive of teachers and students. I do understand your need to move on with the prospect of yet another reign of terror from yet another unqualified supt. in the works. Just reading the column today about Green and the other day about Thurmond from this nutty reporter makes me sick. Best wishes and kindest thoughts for your futures! Thank you for your magnificent efforts to straighten out a very, very bad school system, unfit for teachers and children.

  19. Thank you Kirk. Back at cha… we are all very grateful to you for the hard work you do to support good things in the school district as well as digging deep into the books and the data and keeping us all informed. Glad to hear you’ll be posting at Stan’s!

  20. Many thanks to everyone for your kind, supportive comments.

  21. We don’t agree with Richard Belcher on much because previous experience has shown that he works hand-in-glove with DeKalb County Schools administration. However, we do agree that “someone has to be willing to step forward and spill the beans.” We would never tell Richard Belcher (or any other Atlanta metro reporter) anything that required keeping the informant’s name and job title confidential. The news media are directly connected to DCS. That is why we obtained and paid for (from our personal funds) a Post Office Box that could be accessed by only the two senior DSW editors. Ditto for access to DSW email and for moderating comments for the DSW blog — only the two senior DSW editors had access. Keeping a tight leash on access meant we could guarantee confidentiality.

    What we know is that there are lower-level employees — the ones who really do the work; perhaps even teachers or schoolhouse administrators — at DCS who, if the feds ever decide to look, will be accused and possibly convicted of wrongdoing when they were just keeping their head down and doing as directed. There is no such thing as parole or early release from federal prison. These lower-level employees were the ones we had hoped would come forward to us with documentation (for self-preservation) and let us contact the authorities so we could protect the confidentiality and identities of these lower-level employees. With the closing of DSW it looks like that train has left the station. So sad.

    There is a caboose to that train, however. A month or two ago we paid for another six months for the P.O. Box. It will be available and checked a while longer. If documentation is sent to us, we will personally take it to the appropriate federal authorities. There is no one we trust at the state or local level, except possibly the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). However, the GBI’s involvement must be requested, officially, by someone at the state or local level. It is a vicious circle.

  22. Teachermom says:

    You will be missed! Thank You for providing this forum! Teachers feel like they are operating in the dark in Dekalb with no money and no support. The information shared here really helped me see the bigger picture of why, for example, there is no language arts textbooks (lack of instructional leadership). I experienced many aha moments reading this blog. I felt some small power over the totally uncaring administration when I could raise my voice on here and say “Hey, SOMEONE, this is not RIGHT!” And get lots of thumbs up and discussion. I’ll miss that. I do believe this blog was used by those who have power to take the pulse of us worker bees and parents and community members who really CARE about the kids. Thanks again and best wishes for new adventures. You all planted some seeds. It ain’t over yet.

  23. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – maybe we could all chip in and buy you some psychiatric care or, at least, some drugs (prescribed, that is), to retain you sanity. {:-)

    I agree with you – I had also hoped that some employee in the administration would come forward and take advantage of the anonymous platform you provided to provide some information. Apparently, those on up the chain keep a tight leash on their subordinates. However, I remain optimistic that someday, one day, the truth about the Dekalb County governance and administration will see daylight. It doesn’t take but one slip by one person one time. At first it got into the Dekalb Government and the Atlanta Public School System, the AJC was relentless. Just ask Burrell Ellis, Elaine Boyer, and members of the current Commission. Perhaps Governor Deal did the previous Board a big favor by removing them. That got them out of the spotlight. Except for Nancy Jester and Pamela Speaks, I think their was fertile ground to plow. Anyway, I simply believe that the hammer will eventually fall and, the longer that fall is in coming, the harder it will fall.

    I’m sure that you may already know this, but my understanding is that half of the current school board will stand for election in 2016 and the remainder in 2018 to get it back on schedule. Am I correct?

    Take care of yourselves and, remember, I’ll be more than happy to contribute to mental health therapy for you!!

  24. weary worker says:

    I have never commented on the blog but have read it and been encouraged by it and the comments others have made Thank you says so very little for all that you have done to shed light on the broken system of Dekalb County Schools. You have kept us informed and have had our backs for all these years. You have been a shinning light for us out here in the trenches,those of us working without a net or support from our “leaders”. There are so many of us who work for the system that have good hearts and want the best for the students of Dekalb. We have been let down many times but you all have been out there fighting for us and the students of Dekalb. I know you have made sacrifices and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for you efforts to make things better for all.

  25. LostInTheMixx says:

    While I was talked about in a negative way on this website, and the whole truth was never told I enjoyed reading about alot of things that were going on in Dekalb, this was truly source for people who needed to know what was going on in Dekalb, and someone should continue to pick it up…. I truly wish though someone will continue it because we need to know what’s going on. I also wish someone could have dug deeper into 2 former employees AP and AM, who have moved on to new positions outside the county.

  26. Interesting comment, Lost. And represents pretty much why we give up. If you felt unfairly treated, you could have emailed us or sent a letter to our PO box to inform us and refute comments. As far as we can tell, you didn’t. Now you tell us you hope “somebody” (ie: ‘not you’) will investigate mystery people you refer to as AP and AM. We also tossed out our crystal ball, so we have no way of knowing what or whom you are talking about, much less, have an ability to “dig deeper.”


  27. @weary worker, and Teachermom: Thank you. We really did try to make things better for the teachers and the students in the classrooms of DeKalb by exposing the waste and and abuse of the funds sent to the district by the taxpayers with the stated intention of educating children.

  28. @howdy: Thanks, but it’s too little too late. We have already done gone mad!

  29. Murphey says:

    You have done an extraordinary public service and I thank you so much. Each of us must pick up our share of the load, and not depend on DSW any more. I hope you enjoy having a life again!!

  30. I had no idea and spent my time and energy hoping one of the news agencies would want to brings these problems to the light! I always wondered why they did all the reveals in Clayton County Schools but never did any with DeKalb. That should have opened my eyes! Just kept waiting and NOTHING! Well, you did a wonderful job keeping us informed and also gave us an outlet where we could vent our frustrations! Bless you for that!! We will miss you…enjoy your life!

  31. The only person, I could guess that Lost in the Mixx is, could be the Mistress of Crawford Lewis? is that a correct guess ? Audra Berry ? that is the person talked smack about. But when you sleep your way up, you have to expect it.

  32. dsw2contributor says:

    I presume that the ‘AP’ that LostInTheMixx referred to is Dr. Angela Pringle, who is now the Superintendent of the Richmond County School System.

  33. Kim says:

    Whatever else the legacy of DSW and DSW2 are, it will include credit for helping leverage a recalcitrant DCSD into meeting its commitment to Cross Keys HS in the SPLOST III renovation that was set to be tabled (again) six years ago. An entire generation of students were spared the conditions you saw at CKHS in 2009 thanks in no small part to coverage here at DSW. For a group that had no voice and no leverage, DSW provided that voice. In some ways, one can trace the creation of the Cross Keys Foundation to this blog as I was an early contributor inspired to action with encouragement from this blog and its founders. One could also argue that the current Superintendent’s Report on Cross Keys cluster overcrowding crisis presented on June 1 had it roots in many years of dialog here at DSW on this subject. On behalf of the approximately 8.500 young people of Buford Hwy in DeKalb Co who make up Cross Keys, thank you for your advocacy.

    “Where are our Men of abilities? Why do they not come forth to save their Country?”
    ― George Washington

  34. Thank you Kim. Cross Keys is one of our best efforts. The blogger, Cerebration, was happy to have helped you shed light on that situation so long ago. [ Friday, July 10, 2009, Why is Cross Keys STILL in Limbo? How Low Will They Go? ] And we continue to try to shed more light on the inequities endured by Cross Keys over the past couple of decades. It should be a big embarrassment for the Board, yet it just never seems to bubble to the top of their list of needs or support. Board members, superintendents, heads of construction, etc all wring their hands, “What to do? Should we sell it? Should we make it an arts school? A military academy? A vo-tech school?” In the end they don’t ever do much of anything. As a result of this incessant indecision, students at CKHS have never really fully enjoyed even half of what is due to them. We wish you and everyone at CKHS the very best, and we will always be here to support the efforts of the Foundation. Kudos to you – you are a true gem, Kim.

  35. Bucky Rogers says:

    While I understand why you need to move on, I am deeply sad that this blog is ending. I feel like there are virtually no other avenues to expose the corruption and incompetence that plague DeKalb County Schools. The students and teachers will be the worse for it. Thank you for your service over the last 3.5 years.

  36. Ella says:

    Thanks for all your efforts.

  37. deecab2bad says:

    I am so sad to see this blog being shut down. I completely understand the reasons — I find DeKalb to be exhausting, so it must have just worn you down completely to have been so deep into its decay and incompetency. I appreciate your leadership and commitment to keeping it running when Cerebration retired. The good news is that my younger child will no longer be enrolled in a DCSD school, and my older child has only 5 years to go. I’m shaking my head.

  38. dsw2contributor says:

    In case anyone is still reading, WABE’s Martha Dalton reported that Superintendent Stephen Green says that Special Education Department is “Under Reconstruction”:

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