Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dual Accreditation Begins This Fall for
DeKalb County High Schools
Update from Dunwoody City Council Member Terry Nall

This is why my quest for dual accreditation for all DeKalb County high schools was so important. We cannot risk all of our accreditation on SACS alone. Our graduating students must graduate from an accredited high school. Dual accreditation (a second accreditation via Georgia Accrediting Commission) provides this safety net. Our school board approved dual accreditation beginning this Fall. I hope all of the school councils keep tabs on the progress at their respective high schools.
Terry Nall
Dunwoody City Council Member (At Large)
Cell: (404) 915-6693

Accreditation agency keeps DeKalb at “warned” level
By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The DeKalb County School District has made “material progress” addressing the concerns of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but the organization did not restore full accreditation after a recent monitoring visit.

SACS will keep DeKalb’s accreditation at the “warned” level, a couple of notches below full accreditation, says a July 2 report by the organization that DeKalb released Friday.

Click here to read the remainder of the AJC article.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kingsley Charter Elementary School
Open House and Fast Pass Registration

The Kingsley office will be open from 9am - 2pm from July 21-24 and July 28-Aug 1st.  Parents may bring in registration documents and proof of residency during these hours.  By providing this "Fast Pass" service to you, the long lines at Open House, scheduled for August 8th, will hopefully be diminished.  We would like to dedicate August 8th as a day to meet your child's teacher. As an incentive to register early, you can find out who your child's teacher will be for the 2014-15 school year.

All parents who receive a fast pass are still strongly encouraged to attend Open House, as there are still many items to take care of with your classroom teacher. Our goal for fast pass is to decrease the wait time experienced during Open House.

Documents needed for returning students to register:

  • Proof of residence:  Mortgage statement or signed lease of residence with parent name listed
  • Recent (within the past 30 days) utility bill with parents name listed (cannot accept phone or cable bill)

**If you are a NEW student to Kingsley, please visit DeKalb County's website HERE for documents need to register.  Parents, if you know of a NEW student coming to Kingsley next year, please encourage them to preregister so we have an accurate number of students and staff BEFORE school starts!!

On August 8th, please be prepared to sign up for volunteer opportunities in the classroom and to shop for brand new Kingsley spirit wear.   Gently used school uniforms will also be on sale.  An eblast will be sent prior to registration with all the volunteer opportunities needed throughout the 2014-15 school year!

Also, remember to support the Kingsley Charter Council.  Your donations have helped provide iPads for technology integration for our 4th and 5th grade classes, and have provided support for our 3-year writing program plan.  The students of Kingsley thank you for your investment in their future.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Primrose School of Dunwoody Family of the Month
The Hill Family

Meet Our Family of the Month

A Trusted Partnership with Parents

Primrose School of Dunwoody selects the Hill family as the Family of the Month for July!
The Hill family shares their Primrose experience:
“We are the Hill Family (Brad, Kristi, Ford and Gray).  We have been part of Primrose for over four years, having started at Primrose Smyrna and then joining Primrose Dunwoody two years ago.  Ford, 4.5, is in Preschool 2 and loves coming to school every day.  His favorite part of Primrose is the special events, from holiday parties to the Spring Fling to Inflatables Day.  Ford begs us to bring a book to school each day, and we are very pleased knowing that he is encouraged to read so much at school, even when he brings the longest book he owns!  Gray, 15 months, is in the Infant class and lights up when he enters the school each day.   The Infant room teachers have been wonderful, as they have worked very diligently with Gray on learning to eat table foods, in addition to sitting up, crawling, and talking.  We have been very happy with the Primrose curriculum and feel confident that our little boys are in the best environment possible!”

Congratulations to the Hill family!
To learn more about our Trusted Partnership with Parents, stop by our school campus at 5050 Nandina Lane in Dunwoody, visit or call 770.396.8266 to schedule a tour.

Primrose School of Dunwoody Teacher of the Month
Ms. Fernandez

Get to Know the Apple of Our Eye

Celebrating Teachers All Year Long!


Primrose School of Dunwoody selects Ms. Hernandez as the Teacher of the Month for July!
Ms. Hernandez shares her Primrose experience:
“Hello! I was born in Mexico and I have been living in the United States for 23 years. I lived in Texas for 9 years and then I moved to Georgia. I have been in Georgia for the last 13 years. I have 3 beautiful children: Carmen (19), Isaac (16) and Karina (12).
I have been working with children for over 10 years and I have been at the Primrose School of Dunwoody for nearly 7 years. I love working in the Prekindergarten classroom. I enjoy watching the children grow in every area of the curriculum and seeing them progress towards Kindergarten. They make me smile every day.
Thank you, Primrose, for giving me the opportunity to see all the children grow and to be a part of their life.”

Congratulations to Ms. Hernandez!
To learn more about the great teachers at Primrose School of Dunwoody, stop by our school campus at 5050 Nandina Lane in Dunwoody.  To schedule a tour, visit or call 770.396.8266.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DeKalb County Schools/State of GA EOCT Scores

The Georgia Department of Education has released the District Level EOCT scores.  The school-level results will be released no later than July 30th.  

This is the final year for the EOCT, which will be replaced by the Georgia Milestones Assesment EOC's next school year.  Good luck to the students taking the EOC's in December - taking a test which has not yet even been created!!!  

Note:  GPS Geometry and Math II will not be part of the Georgia Milestones Assessment program.

Dunwoody High School Freshman Bridge
Registration & Agenda

All incoming Dunwoody High School 9th graders, class of 2018 Wildcats, are invited to attend our freshmen orientation on Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.
 · Get to know your way around the school
 · Meet new friends
 · Set academic goals
 · Learn fun facts about former Wildcats
 · Learn all about that “Wildcat Pride” 

**Lunch will be provided**

RSVP at if your student plans to attend Summer Bridge.

Agenda for Freshman Bridge:

8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Administrative Welcome - Students will report to the Auditorium.

8:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. All parents of students attending summer bridge will report to the cafeteria for registration* (Parents must bring proof of residency: current lease, mortgage, Georgia Power or gas bill. Parents can also buy spirit wear, pay PTSO dues, lock, etc.)

*Rising freshmen not attending summer bridge will register for school on August 7th from 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.

8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Breakout sessions

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Lunch (students)- Cafeteria

12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. Presentation (Herff Jones Rep)- Auditorium

12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Spirit Video- Auditorium

1:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Coaches/Sponsors/schedules- Auditorium

2:00 p.m.  Parents return to pick up students from Auditorium Lobby.   

***Spirit Wear will also be available to purchase in the auditorium lobby after the Summer Bridge Program.

***Locks will be purchased during summer bridge, but locker assignments will occur on the first day of school during homeroom.

Welcome Class of 2018!

Please forward to any families with rising 9th graders

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Peachtree Charter Middle School Items of Interest
Registration & Volunteer Sign Up

1.  Rising 6th Grade Families, click here to signup for PCMS eNews.

2.  Click here for information on the Summer Bridge for Rising 6th Grade Students.

3.  Volunteers are needed for registration: 
    6th Grade Registration - Thursday, July 31
    7th & 8th Grade Registration - Wednesday, August 6

    Click on the links below to sign up.

    6th Grade Registration Day, 7/31:

    Help us Post 6th Grade Registration Payments, 8/1:

    7th & 8th Grade Registration Day, 8/6:

    Help Post 7th and 8th Grade Registration Payments, 8/7:

    Any questions? Contact Registration Co-Chairs: Jenny Troha, or Wendy Reinstein,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dunwoody High School Men's Lacrosse Names Michael Sopko As Head Coach

The Dunwoody High School Men's Lacrosse team announced today that Michael Sopko has been named Head Coach. From the Press Release:

"Michael comes to us with a long history of success as both a player and coach. Michael has spent the past two years as Head Lacrosse Coach at Chattahoochee High School and in both years they qualified for the State Playoffs making it as far as the Quarterfinals in 2013." 

Not only has Coach Sopko been named head coach he has also agreed to a teaching position at Dunwoody HS.  

"In even better news, Michael has also agreed to become a teacher at Dunwoody High School as well.....In 2013, he was nominated for Chattahoochee High School’s Teacher of the Year.
Click here to read the entire Press Release from the Dunwoody High School Men's Lacrosse program. 

Cross Keys Foundation's Little Free Library Program
Needs Books

The Cross Keys Foundation’s Little Free Library program is always in need of new and gently-used children’s books. In order to meet the needs of all literacy levels, we stock the Libraries with:

• Board books for babies and toddlers
• Picture books with a few words
• Story books
• Early reader chapter books
• Chapter books serving students in grades 3-8
• Non-fiction

If you would like to donate books, please click here to contact the LFL Warehouse Manager to make arrangements to drop off your donation.

Dunwoody High School Items of Interest
Freshman Bridge & Back to School Breakfast


1.  Rising 9th Grade Families, click here to signup for DHSNews.

2.   Email to register for Freshman Summer Bridge for Rising 9th Grade Students on Thursday, July 31st.

3.  Volunteers are needed for back to school breakfast on August 4th. Click here to sign up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dunwoody School Cluster CRCT Scores

The school level CRCT scores have been released by the GA Dept. of Education.  This is the final year for the CRCT, which will be replaced in the 2014-2015 school year with the Georgia Milestones, End-of-Grade tests. According to the GA DOE, "The new testing system is one consistent program across grades 3-12, rather than a series of  individual tests. It will include open-ended questions to better gauge students’ content mastery and, with some exceptions for special education students with specific testing accommodations, will be administered entirely online by the fifth year of implementation."

Click on the "Click Here to Read More" tab below to view the Dunwoody Cluster CRCT Scores.

Update:  Stan Jester has posted on his blog the rankings of the 83 DCSS elementary schools by combined CRCT scores.  Vanderlyn and Austin are 3rd and 4th respectively, right on the heels of the magnet progams at Wadsworth and Kittredge.  Dunwoody ES ranks 8th; Chesnut 19th; Kingsley 33rd; Hightower 37th; Click here to view Stan's rankings.

Click here to view all CRCT scores via the GA DOE website.

Click here to view the 2012-2013 Dunwoody Cluster CRCT scores.

Click here to download the CRCT Score Presentation presented on the next page.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dunwoody School Cluster Personnel Losses as of 6-17-14

Today is the July meeting of the DeKalb Board of Education.  

At 2:00 the Work Session commences in the J. David Williamson Board Room. Click here for the Agenda. At 5:45, there will be the Community Input Session, followed by the 3rd Millage Rate Hearing.  At 7:00, the Business Meeting begins.  Click here to view that agenda.

This month's Human Resources report also begins to reflect the resignation of teachers and other staff members.  Click here to view the July HR Report.  As you can see from the page below, through June 16, 2014, there have been 490 teacher resignations.  In reviewing the report, I have noticed a couple of teachers that have left and are not listed.  Not surprising, though....

I have summarized below the Dunwoody school cluster personnel losses as listed on the report through 6/17/14. I was sad to see Lorraine Connor, long-time Social Studies teacher at PCMS, on the list - another excellent teacher gone.

Primrose School of Dunwoody Students Celebrate
Fourth of July

In anticipation of Independence Day, some of our nation’s youngest and brightest are showing their patriotic pride and sharing their own thoughts on citizenship and patriotism. Primrose School of Dunwoody’s students commemorated the Fourth of July at their annual Red, White and Blue Celebration on Thursday, July 3rd. Not only did students have fun parading around with hand-made patriotic arts and crafts, but they have been engaged in classroom activities teaching the importance of citizenship and patriotism.
Students learn about teamwork, cooperation and following rules as “citizens” of the school and classroom.  They also learn about citizenship through activities and books.  The citizenship program is part of Primrose Schools Balanced Learning® System which blends academics, play and character development.
As another way to celebrate patriotic pride and our country’s independence, students were asked to share their perspective on citizenship:
“What does it mean to be a good citizen?”

“To take care of our country.” - Abby

“To take care of the animals in the wild.” - Keegan

“Friendship.” - Ella

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Primrose School of Dunwoody Summer Camper
Visit Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Fernbank: Jr. Summer Campers-  Jacob Daniel and Caroline 

The summer campers at the Primrose School of Dunwoody visited the Fernbank Museum of Natural History as part of their weekly camp theme, "Midnight at the Museum."  During this week the students have been exploring Egyptian Hieroglyphics, dinosaur skeletons, mementos from major events in history, etc. on their trips to local museums and more!

To learn more about Camp Primrose and the other great programs at the Primrose School of Dunwoody, stop by our school campus at 5050 Nandina Lane in Dunwoody, contact us online or call 770.396.8266 to schedule a tour.

Primrose School of Dunwoody Summer Campers
Create Medieval Market

 Liam O. at the Medieval Market

The summer campers at the Primrose School of Dunwoody created their very own Medieval Market as part of their weekly camp theme, "Medieval Times." During this week the students have learned about kings, queens, knights, and castles! They took virtual tours of castles, created their own coat of arms, designed crown jewels, and explored what it would have been like to be king, queen, princess or perhaps a brave knight!

Charles and Joshua welcome you to the Medieval Market

To learn more about Camp Primrose and the other great programs at the Primrose School of Dunwoody, stop by our school campus at 5050 Nandina Lane in Dunwoody, contact us online or call 770.396.8266 to schedule a tour.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

DeKalb County Schools CRCT Results

The Georgia Department of Education has released the system-level CRCT results. The school-level results are due to be released no later than July 10th.

Below are 2 charts outlining DeKalb School District's results of the final version of the CRCT.  The CRCT is scheduled to be replaced next year by the new Georgia Milestones EOG (End of Grade tests). 

I have put together 2 different charts to illustrate DCSD scores.  The 1st chart below illustrates the comparison of scores for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school year by same grade, i.e. comparing 3rd grade vs 3rd grade.

The charts may also be viewed via Google, click here to view.

UPDATE:  Stan Jester has put together a post which shows DCSD ranked at the bottom of each Grade/Subject in the Atlanta Metro Area.  Click here to view Stan's post.

The 2nd chart compares the scores for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school year by previous year vs current year grade, i.e. comparing this year’s 4th grade student scores to last year’s 3rd grade student scores.  Note:  There is no previous year’s score for 3rd Grade as the CRCT is not given to K, 1st or 2nd Grade Students.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dunwoody High School 2014 End of Year Video

Thanks to John Heneghan for the posting on his site.

As usual, a phenomenal job by the Academy of Mass Communication students and their teacher, Mrs. Williams-Bryant.

Friday, June 20, 2014

24% of DeKalb County School Seniors Did Not Graduate
But, Hey, Superintendent Thurmond Says Everything is Good!

Article Courtesy of CrossRoads News.

In May, when DeKalb School Board members released diplomas to the Class of 2014, they didn’t have any for 1,456 students, or 24 percent of the class.

Those seniors, who marched up to podiums in cap and gowns with their 4,498 classmates who received high school diplomas, were just picking up certificates of attendance.

The seniors who failed to graduate could fill Druid Hills High, which had an enrollment of 1,459 during the 2013-2014 school year, or populate Browns Mill Elementary School – which had 687 students – more than twice.

The 2014 class of nongraduates was even larger than 2012, the year that caused an uproar in the county. That year, 1,194 seniors did not graduate.

Click here to read the remainder of the story.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Congratulations to Primrose School of Dunwoody
Top Supporter of "Reach Out and Read"
Early Literacy Program

Amy Erickson
Executive Director, Reach Out and Read Georgia
(770) 401-6852

Atlanta, Georgia (June 16, 2014) –  Primrose School of Dunwoody has been recognized by Reach Out and Read Georgia as the top individual Primrose School supporter in FY14. In support of a challenge grant issued to Reach Out and Read Georgia by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Primrose School of Dunwoody awarded a check in the amount of $8,207.61 to Executive Director, Amy Erickson. The challenge grant was designed to encourage foundations, corporations, and the general public to join in the Georgia Grade Level Reading Campaign.  Earlier this spring, through an annual Book Fair and “Gently Used Book Drive”, the school donated over $1,400.00 in books which helped support several metro Atlanta area sites including Stone Mountain Pediatrics, We Care Pediatrics and Life Cycle Pediatrics.
(From left to right) Amy Erickson, Executive Director, Reach Out and Read Georgia, Cami Nail, Owner of Primrose School of Dunwoody and Barbara Newsome, Director, Primrose School of Dunwoody

Steve and Cami Nail are the franchise owners of the Primrose School of Dunwoody. Cami Nail, long time literacy champion, and local Reach Out and Read Georgia Advisory Board member, presented Erickson with the gift made possible through proceeds from their annual Spring Fling fundraiser and other charity events throughout the year. Parents, staff and children at Primrose School of Dunwoody selected Reach Out and Read Georgia as this years’ beneficiary in the spirit of making a difference with impoverished children in Georgia. The Spring Fling fundraisers are annual events designed to heighten awareness among Primrose parents and children about issues and challenges in the world around them.

Amy Erickson, Executive Director, Reach Out and Read Georgia, celebrating the joy of reading with the Primrose School of Dunwoody students
Visionary leader, Jo Kirchner, CEO of Primrose Schools, provides direction and innovative leadership to over 260 schools, in 17 states and 40 markets.  The Primrose Children’s Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Reach Out and Read National donating over $1.8M over the past eight years.  Primrose Schools across the nation host a Spring Fling fundraiser annual with 50% of proceeds going to support the work of the Foundation.  In markets where there is on the ground state leadership some of the Primrose Schools select their discretionary 50% amount to support Reach Out and Read state offices, like here in Georgia.
Reach Out and Read Georgia is also supported in part by The James M. Cox Foundation, The United Way of Greater Atlanta, The Arthur M. Blank Foundation, The Zeist Foundation, The Governor’s Office of Children and Families, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and other early education funders.  Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit school readiness initiative expanding its infrastructure – and school readiness intervention –throughout Georgia and is grateful for the support of all our partners. 
“We are incredibly grateful to Primrose Schools as a national partner and especially Primrose School of Dunwoody in Georgia for enthusiastically stepping up in support of Reach Out and Read’s early literacy efforts. Heightening awareness about the importance of language and fostering a love of reading and giving back are shared philosophies between our organizations. We are equally committed to improving outcomes for Georgia’s children.”  said Amy Erickson, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read Georgia.
Reach Out and Read’s model includes providing a new, age-appropriate book for each child to take home at every checkup from 6 months through 5 years. Along with the free book for every child, doctors and nurses offer guidance to parents about the importance of reading aloud with their children every day.
Currently, Reach Out and Read Georgia serves over 80,000 children in Georgia via 63 clinical locations in 28 counties, including four military bases: Fort Benning; Fort Stewart; Fort Gordon; and Robins Air Force Base.  Nationwide, Reach Out and Read doctors and nurses serve 4 million children and their families annually at 5,000 pediatric practices, hospitals, clinics, and health centers in all 50 states, with a focus on centers that serve low-income communities.   
What distinguishes Reach Out and Read from other interventions is that it has a large and growing evidence base. Since 1991, the Reach Out and Read model has been studied by academic investigators in a variety of settings, providing 15 peer-reviewed research studies on the effects of the program. The body of published research supporting the efficacy of the Reach Out and Read model is more extensive than for any other psychosocial intervention in general pediatrics.
In September, Reach Out and Read was named the 2013 recipient of The Library of Congress David M. Rubenstein Prize for the organization’s groundbreaking work advancing literacy. To learn more about Reach Out and Read, please visit
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Georgia Milestones Assessment System
More Questions/Concerns Than Answers

I have attempted over the last week or so to review what little information the Georgia Department of Education has released on the new Georgia Milestones Assessment System.  This is an ongoing "project" for me, though I am not quite sure why as my youngest child graduated in May.  Oh, well, something to do I guess!! Thanks go to a fellow DCSD parent for providing me with other sources of information, which I will share here. Click here to view then newest version of the Georgia Milestones Assessment Update.

So much more to ramble on about, but this is a start.

We all are aware that any time something new is rolled out there will be the requisite “hiccups”.  This is why I continue to be concerned at the speed at which the GADOE is rolling out this new assessment system.  At this writing, June 18th, there are still too many unanswered questions and decisions, both for students and teachers, for an assessment system that rolls out in 2 months.

Some Random thoughts: 

Spring 2014 Assessments.  How do you perform Benchmark Assessments for tests that have not yet been created?  Were these Assessments performed in Spring of 2014?

Where are the Benchmark Assessments for Economics and Physical Science?

How long will the be for the reporting of the Test Scores? Will the delay affect Georgia's NCLB Waiver? As it is now CCRPI results are released almost a full school year "after the fact". How will the score delays impact CCRPI, re-testing schedule, Teacher Evaluations (TKES)? 

Click here to read further information on the Student Growth Model. One of my questions is how does the Student Growth model identify and compare "like" students for comparison. This information can be found on Page 7.

Warning:  In my opinion, one must be a statistician or mathematician to fully grasp the Student Growth "calculation".  I am neither of these, so my head is spinning. Does education need to be this difficult? Seriously?

Well, I hope these resources are available soon.  It’s less than 6 months to EOC’s for High School students/teachers on a Block Schedule.  

The following are question on parent asked of the GADOE.  The GADOE answers are in red.

Dear Mr. Cardoza, 
Thank you for the recent Press Release on the Georgia Milestones.  I have 3 questions about the Georgia Milestones, which I hope you can help me with:

 1.    For high schools, will Georgia Milestones be tied to specific courses like the EOCTs are?  Will they be the same courses? YES, THEY WILL BE TIED TO COURSES LIKE THE CURRENT EOCT AND THE COURESES, AT LEAST FOR NOW, WILL BE THE SAME.

 2.    How does GaDOE plan to handle the effects of these new tests on the CCRPI?  Georgia Milestone scores will be utilized for CCRPI calculations in the same manner that CRCT and EOCT were used. 

Since the press release states that the testing change may mean initially lower scores on the new tests, year-to-year CCRPI scores may be difficult to compare. For instance, how will the “Progress” set of indicators for high school be calculated, since it uses current year and prior year scores? The progress component utilizes Student Growth Percentiles. SGPs can continue to be calculated during an assessment transition without interruption. CRCT and EOCT scores will be used as prior scores while Milestones will be used for current scores. Students will continue to be compared with academically-similar students from across the state. SGPs are not dependent on proficiency cut scores; as such, students will continue to demonstrate the full range of growth. 

Is a comparison between prior year EOCTs and current year Georgia Milestones scores valid?  No, Milestones is a new assessment system and cannot be compared directly to the old system (CRCT and EOCT).

Also, how will the EOCT Performance Targets for subgroups, which derive from EOCT scores, be adjusted?  New Performance Targets will be set based on the Georgia Milestones.

Will a new proficiency level be established for 2014-15 and then new performance targets for the future be developed? Yes.

 3.    For high schools on block schedules, will Georgia Milestone tests be administered in December 2014? YES, THE FIRST MILESTONES WILL BE GIVEN IN DECEMBER 2014 WHEN THE CURRENT EOCTs WOULD NORMALLY HAVE BEEN GIVEN.