Friday, January 19, 2018

Reporter News: "DeKalb school board member target of complaint alleging threat"

In the category of "you knew this was only a matter of time".  Region 1 Board of Education Member Stan Jester is being called to task for his behavior.  I applaud Allegra for her courage in coming forward and I hope others who have been the focus of Stan's harassment and bullying will come forward to support Allegra. 

The former co-chair of the Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation has filed a complaint against DeKalb Board of Education member Stan Jester, saying she felt threatened by him during a recent meeting with him and other school administrators.

Allegra Johnson, a longtime school volunteer, filed the complaint with the DeKalb County School District on Jan. 5. She resigned her post last month as co-chair of the foundation, citing her concerns about Jester’s behavior toward her that included him saying he would “come after her” and calling her a “bully.”

DeKalb school board member target of complaint alleging threat

The former co-chair of the Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation has filed a complaint against DeKalb Board of Education member Stan Jester, saying she felt threatened by him during a recent meeting with him and other school administrators. Allegra Johnson, a longtime school volunteer, filed the complaint with the DeKalb County School District on Jan.

Dunwoody School Cluster "Meet and Greet", Wednesday, January 24th



Wednesday, January 24th, 6:30pm
Dunwoody High School Media Center
Parents and the community are invited to meet our Dunwoody School Cluster Leadership.  Meet the DeKalb County School District Regional Superintendent and the Regional Cabinet that supports our Dunwoody Cluster schools.  Meet our Principals from Dunwoody High, Peachtree Middle, Austin, Chesnut, Dunwoody Elementary, Hightower, Kingsley, and Vanderlyn.
Get to Know the Team!
  • Meet your Dunwoody Cluster Principals 
  • Learn more about our local schools and new efforts to strengthen collaboration amongst schools in the Dunwoody Cluster 
  • Meet Ms. Sherry Johnson - newly named Regional Superintendent - and her Region 1 Team
  • Meet the parent leaders who serve our Dunwoody schools
Sponsored by Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools: Your Region 1 Parent Council, serving the Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody clusters.  

Follow us on Facebook for info about Region 1 schools.  www.facebook.com/peachtreegatewaycouncil

Thursday, January 18, 2018

**Rescheduled Due to Winter Weather - Note New Date: Chesnut Elementary To Host Prospective Parents Night Thursday February 8, 2018 @ 6:00 pm


Due to the winter weather, and planned DeKalb schools closing, Chesnut Elementary will reschedule Prospective Parents Night.

The new date will be Thursday, February 8th, at 6:00 p.m. in the school Media Center.

Parents of rising Pre-K students, Kindergarteners, as well as any parents interested in learning more about Chesnut Elementary, are invited to attend.

You will have the opportunity to meet our principal, assistant principal, and faculty members. This is a great opportunity to learn more about our wonderful school. (Adults only please).

The school address: 4576 N. Peachtree Rd, Dunwoody, GA 30338
The school website: www.chesnutelementary.com

Friday, January 12, 2018

**Meeting Rescheduled to Saturday, January 13th **
Agenda for the January 8, 2017 DeKalb County School Board of Education Meeting

Notes from the Work Session:

**Michael Irwin has been elected the new Board Chairman replacing Melvin Johnson. Marshall Orson as vice-chair.
**All members present with exception of Joyce Morley, who joined by phone.
**Upon taking the Ethics Oath, Stan Jester asks if the oath is not superseded by State of Federal Law
**Stan Jester tells Dr. Greene he doesn't want the legal budget to get out of hand.  
**Jim McMahan points out that that DCSD is almost 50% thru the school year and running well behind the projected legal costs.
**HR report:  DCSD is 99% staffed.  19 open special education positions; 2 Principal openings; 12 nurse positions unfilled.  19 recommendations from recent job fair.
**Vickie Turner:  34 teacher resignations since last meeting.  Why? 
**Marshall Orson makes comment state retirement system incentives teacher retirement in middle of school year.  Needs to work with state to work with timing of retirement incentives.
**Dr. Green requests Board of Education to approve new positions for Knox Phillips and Stacy Stepney. These are internal promotions. Promotions praised by Vickie Turner.  
**2018-2020 Calendar - Inclement weather days build into calendars.  After a bit of discussion item was approved for consent agenda.
**Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation Donation for Ipads - no discussion or objections - will be moved to tonight's consent agenda.
**Donations for Tucker Middle School - no objections - will be moved to tonight's consent agenda.
**Denton's (law firm) for legal services.  DCSD used for annexation issues that contracted ended 12/31/17; wants additional funds to help with legislative issues as well as any annexation issues that may come up.  McMahan has problems with use for legislative lobbying issues.  Dr. Morley speaks - not sure what she's asking.  Stan Jester asks if Denton's has specific goals.  Dr. Green responds that their goals are DCSD's goals.  Jester asks if Lobbyist (Denton) works for BOE or Administration?  Dr. Green - they work for the BOEs agenda.  Jester doesn't know what the accomplishments are of Denton (and prior group they rolled into). Marshall Orson relayed thoughts on process of hiring and engaging lobbyists.  Lobbyists/BOE need a strategic vision prior to the legislative session.  McMahan makes statement that payment to Denton does not show up on finance report.  Wants a clear engagement process with Denton going forward.
Item will be moved to consent agenda.  Melvin Johnson makes point that many years the DeKalb legislators wanted the school system to have lobbyists - all other school systems employed lobbyists.  Morley agrees with lobbyists, just wants to be informed of their efforts.

Work Session at 2:00 pm, followed by Community Input Session at 4:00 and Business Meeting at 5:00.  The meeting can be viewed via PDS-24 on your local cable provider or you can stream live on your computer:  http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/pds-tv24/.



A few items of note:

1.  Agenda Item D.2 is the “Affirmation of Board Policy, Descriptor Codes BH and BHA and Affirmation of Board Norms”.  
Board of Education members publicly swear to comply with Policy and Board Norms. 


2.  Agenda Item F.6. – Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation Donation Approval for Peachtree Charter Middle School.

As you may recall, this item was deferred from the December Board of Education meeting at the request of Board of Education member Stan Jester.  He had not “completed his due diligence.”  Why does the purchase of 80 iPads require "due diligence" from a Board Member? The DCSD Legal Office had already reviewed the item.  






Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dunwoody Crier: "DeLido Wants to Have Fewer People" - What Effect On Local Schools?

From The Crier article:
The board of the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association heard Sunday of plans submitted to the city for a recomposition of the DeLido Apartments at Chamblee Dunwoody and North Shallowford roads.
An attorney from Troutman Sanders and Sue Mied of Madison Property Management became perhaps the first visitors to the DHA to seek to reduce the number of people living in their development.
Click on the following link to read the remainder of the article:  http://www.thecrier.net/news/article_ad13ade8-f597-11e7-8d49-935f585ebf0f.html
Would the "recomposition" of the 4 bedroom apartments into one and two bedroom apartments  have an effect on the local school population? 

According to the October, 2017 DeKalb County Schools Resident Attendee Map:  http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/planning/2017/student-north.pdfthere are currently 21 elementary school students (school feeder is Dunwoody Elementary), 5 middle school students and 8 high school students) in residence at the DeLido Apartments.  


Monday, January 8, 2018

Chamblee Charter High School Tour Schedule


All interested parents/guardians and potential students are invited to attend a tour of CCHS to learn more about the many academic and extracurricular opportunities available at CCHS.  Tours are scheduled for the following dates:  

Friday, January 12, 2018 at 9:00 am
Friday, January 26, 2018 at 9:00 am
Friday, February 9, 2018 at 9:00 am

All interested parents/guardians and prospective students are invited.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

DeKalb County School District Updated School Capacity Data

As of December 19, 2017, DCSD has updated their school capacity data.

To view the chart with the new capacity data, click on the following link:
http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/planning/2017/capacity-summary.pdf

To view the capacity details of each DCSD facility click on the following link:
http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/planning/2017/full-report.pdf

The updated data for Region 1 schools is presented below:



As you can see from the chart, within the Dunwoody cluster,  there was a slight increase in school capacity at Austin ES, Chesnut ES, Vanderlyn ES , and  Dunwoody HS.   Dunwoody Elementary (an adjustment of 116), Hightower Elementary, Kingsley Elementary and Peachtree Charter Middle School recorded decreases, albeit slight, in their capacity data.

Within the Chamblee cluster, no schools saw a decrease in capacity with the new recalculation of facility capacity.  

Within the Cross Keys cluster, John E. Lewis and Sequoyah MS saw an upward adjustment downward in their school capacity.  All other schools within the cluster saw an adjustment upward in their school capacity.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Throwback Thursday: September 2010 - DeKalb Board of Education Members Reprimanded for Their Behavior


"We expect members of the Board to comport themselves in a manner that reflects well on the Board of Education and sets an example for our students at all times". 


Let's take a little trip back in time....


The following reprimand was issued to former DCSD BOE Member Zephora Roberts at the September 7th, 2010 DeKalb County Board of Education Meeting:





The following reprimand was issued to former DCSD BOE Member Sarah Copelin-Wood at the September 13, 2010 Board of Education Meeting: 



There is also this comment from the SACS report of December 2012.  This report outlines the decision behind placing DCSD on Academic Probation:  https://www.scribd.com/document/117843407/SACS-Public-Report-on-DeKalb-County-School-System-2012-Probation



Question:  Do these same standards apply to District 1 Board of Education member Stan Jester and his blog posts? Or do we allow BOE members to refer to students as "alt-left morons", (one can find the false accusations and massive over-reaction to the DHS Cheerleading "non-story" without resorting to juvenile name-calling), or to berate parents, community members, teachers and school staff?  Or allow lies and rumors propogated on his blog to spread unchecked?

From the DeKalb County School District Board of Education Handbook: http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/board-of-education/board-member-handbook-(2016-2017).pdf



Dr. Green, are you accepting of a sitting Board of Education member attacking DCSD employees? Will you support and stand up for your employees or will you be silent?  

From the DeKalb County School District Board of Education Handbook:
http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/board-of-education/board-member-handbook-(2016-2017).pdf




As for Stan Jester's fellow Board of Education members, will you stand by and say nothing?  By allowing Stan's behavior to go unchecked, you are complicit in his behavior.  

A previous BOE member, Sarah Copelin-Wood, was reprimanded for just the type of behavior that Stan is cultivating on his blog - publically criticizing school district employees.  District 1 constituents are appalled at the recent attack on PCMS teachers, administrators and parent volunteers.  

I do not have a "horse in this race", other than to support those in my community who have been/are victims of Stan Jester's bullying tactics.  A few thoughts.  Stan Jester is not up for re-election until 2020.  Are the constituents of District 1, especially those in the Dunwoody school cluster, willing to put up with his behavior for 3 more years?  The options are few, but they do exist:


1.  Form a grass-roots effort to demand his resignation from the Board of Education;
2.  Put forth the effort needed to initiate a recall effort.

Three years is a long time to keep looking over your shoulder, afraid you may be the next individual to incur Stan's bullying and harassment.  

It's up to you as the stakeholders...Stan works for you.  Something he blatantly chooses to ignore.  

Monday, January 1, 2018

Governors Office of Student Achievement
DCSD Region 1 Schools that "Beat the Odds"



On December 21, 2017,  the Governors Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) released the 2017 Beating the Odds results.

The following DCSD Region 1 schools were awarded the"Beating the Odds" designation:

Dunwoody Cluster

Austin Elementary School
Chesnut Elementary School
Kingsley Elementary School
Vanderlyn Elementary
Dunwoody High School

Chamblee Cluster
Ashford Park Elementary School
Kittredge Magnet School

Cross Keys Cluster
John Robert Lewis Elementary School
Cross Keys High School

Beating the Odds is a statistical analysis that compares a school’s actual performance on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) with the performance of schools with similar characteristics across the state.  For further information on "Schools Like Mine", click on the following link: https://schoolslikemine.gosa.ga.gov/.

Schools that perform higher than similar schools are considered “Beating the Odds.” 


As the data is presented, Kittredge Magnet School is an example of one of the flaws of the “Schools Like Mine” data.


  • Kittredge is a 100% choice school.  All students are accepted into Kittredge based on good grades and high test scores.   
  • Museum School is a charter school. Peachcrest Elementary and Avondale Elementary school zones are The Museum Schools primary attendance zone and the schools weights its admission lottery to students who economically disadvantaged.   
  • Braelinn Elementary is a typical public neighborhood school located in Fayette County. 
  • Westside Elementary School is a typical public neighborhood school located in Marietta, GA.  Westside is also a Title 1 school. 
  • Atlanta Classical Academy an open-enrollment, liberal arts public charter school located in Atlanta, GA. 

So, exactly how is Kittredge “like” these schools?  It appears that the GADOE needs to modify their analysis.  Schools that have no academic criteria for entrance should not be compared against schools that do require academic criteria for entrance. 

It is important to note that schools that “Beat the Odds” may still have low CCRPI scores and/or gaps in performance. Each year, between 40-49% of schools will “Beat the Odds” regardless of statewide performance changes from the prior year because the analysis compares all schools’ performance within the same school year.

The following school characteristics are included in the calculation:
  • Percentage of economically disadvantaged students,
  • Percentage of English language learners,
  • Percentage of students with disabilities,
  • Percentage of students in each race/ethnicity,
  • School size,
  • Student mobility, and
  • School type (Elementary, Middle, High, and schools that span grade clusters).
For further information and to view all BTO schools, click on the following link:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Chamblee Charter High First DeKalb County School in Advanced Placement Capstone Program


Courtesy DeKalb County School District:

Students at Chamblee Charter High School will soon know how to gather information, work as a team, and write at a scholarly level thanks to their participation in a prestigious diploma program.

Students at Chamblee Charter High School will be the first in DeKalb County School District (DCSD) to take advantage of the comprehensive Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone Program.

“I am proud to officially announce the selection of Chamblee Charter High School as the first school in DeKalb County to offer the prestigious AP Capstone Program,” said Chamblee Charter High School principal Rebecca Braaten. “Beginning next year, we will be among approximately 1,100 schools worldwide and 44 in Georgia to offer the program.”

AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program designed to teach students how to conduct independent research, work as an enterprising team and write at the college grad-student level.

By combining the courses AP Seminar and AP Research, the curriculum features students investigating real-world issues, gathering and analyzing information, and creating evidence-based arguments. Students also learn how to conduct research with the overall goal of producing and defending a scholarly, academic thesis.

More than 400 colleges and universities have voiced support and appreciation for the AP Capstone program.

For further information on how the AP Capstone program works click on the following link:  https://advancesinap.collegeboard.org/ap-capstone/how-ap-capstone-works

Friday, December 15, 2017

Pictures from Groundbreaking of the New Austin Elementary School

Austin ES Groundbreaking

Explore this photo album by dekalb schools on Flickr!

Reporter: Dunwoody Study Looks at Replacing 1,900 Apartments
How Would This Affect Dunwoody Cluster Schools?

Dunwoody study looks at replacing 1,900 apartments with mixed uses

A city study broadly recommending the replacement of some older apartment complexes - home to nearly 1,900 households - with mixed-use projects was reviewed at a Dec. 5 meeting. The study of the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area includes apartment complexes that the city once controversially targeted for replacement with a sports complex.
Disclaimers from the article: 

McLeod said no developers have approached the city yet about redeveloping any property in the study area.
At the Dec. 5 meeting, Councilmember Terry Nall tried to quell some fears that the city wants to redevelop the area.
“Let me make it clear,” he said, “the city is not a developer. This is the development guide plan,” Nall said.

My comments:  I understand the need for future planning for our city.  I support this. However, I am uncomfortable with the erasure of diversity that these plans would bring to Dunwoody.  I believe in and support the diversity of our public schools. 

I hope the City of Dunwoody would insist on the retention of affordable housing.

Note to developers and City of Dunwoody officials…. do not be Brookhaven and insult my (and others) intelligence by maintaining that a $300,000 town home is “affordable housing”.

The following chart is taken from data supplied by the Planning Department of the DeKalb County School District.  I hope I have correctly identified the affected apartment complexes and their feeder elementary schools.


Apartment Complex
Elementary School Feeder
# of students potentially displaced


 ES
MS
HS
Dunwoody Glen
Hightower
254
114
119
Lacota
Hightower
54
33
43
Peachtree Place North
Kingsley
166
73
79
Dunwoody Village
Chesnut
97
47
66

  • Overcrowding at Peachtree Charter MS and Dunwoody HS would be reduced, though not alleviated.
  • The enrollment at Chesnut Elementary and Kingsley Elementary would be so low that neither of these schools would be viable as stand-alone schools without redistricting.
  • The enrollment at Hightower, while lower than its current capacity level, would still be viable as a stand-alone school.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

DeKalb County School System Online Calendar Survey

In accordance with board policy AEA, the Calendar Committee is charged with developing calendar options for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 and submitting the calendar recommendations to Superintendent, Dr. R. Stephen Green.  Through Dr. R. Stephen Green, the Calendar Committee will make a recommendation to the DeKalb County Board of Education on January 8, 2018 for consideration and approval. 

Click on the following link to access the survey:

https://dekalb.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4SMojpY0UE8deGF

The DeKalb County School District’s Calendar Committee is exploring calendar options to align with other similarly sized districts in close geographic proximity.  Both calendars include the following attributes:

·       180 days of instruction for students

·       190 teacher days including one evening workday comprised of parent-teacher conferences (2 per semester)

·       5 teacher workdays before the first day of school  

·       Holidays for all – Labor Day, Martin L. King, Jr. Day, and President’s Day

·       Thanksgiving break – one week in November

·       Spring Break – one week coinciding with most metro area districts 

·       Last day of school for students - fourth week of May   

2018-2019

The recommendation for the 2018-2019 school year is a calendar similar to the current school year’s calendar.  The recommendation includes the following:      

·       Pre-planning Week – July 30 – August 3, 2018

·       First Day of School – August 6, 2018     

·       Last Day of School for Students – May 23, 2019      

The major differences are the end of first semester for students, the beginning of second semester for students, and the designated Spring Break.  Although there are several possibilities for the fall mini break, the committee will consider the testing schedules and feedback from the survey.

2019-2020

The recommendation for the 2019-2020 school year is a calendar similar to the current school year’s calendar.  The recommendation includes the following:      


·       Pre-planning Week – July 29 – August 2, 2019

·       First Day of School – August 5, 2019     

·       Last Day of School for Students – May 21, 2020      


The major differences are the end of first semester for students and the beginning of second semester for students.  Although there are several possibilities for the fall mini break, the committee will consider the testing schedules and feedback from the survey.

Please complete the short survey about the calendar options.  This is not a vote but rather an opportunity to receive input from all stakeholders.  In order to ensure that your responses are recorded, select the DONE button at the end of the survey. Please complete the survey only once. Thank you in advance for providing valuable feedback.

Dunwoody High School Principal Briefs Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce

DHS principal briefs Chamber members

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Stan Jester Delays Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation Donation for the Purchase of Ipads for STEM Instruction

One of the agenda items on the DeKalb County School System Board of Education (BOE) Meeting of December 4, 2017 was the approval of a donation of $23,520 from the Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation for the purchase of iPads for use in STEM instruction. 



To my surprise, Stan Jester requested that the agenda item be delayed until the December Board of Education meeting…something about (paraphrasing)…”due diligence”…”not all of my questions have been answered”, etc.  However, Stan did not share what his questions are, though Dr. Greene seemed to know of Stan’s “questions”. 

The item was reviewed by DCSD Legal staff.



I presume that if there was an issue with the donation, the item would not have been placed on the BOE agenda.  Is that an incorrect assumption?

In the many, many years that I have been a consistent scrutinizer of the BOE meetings, I cannot recall a BOE member requesting a delay in voting on a donation to a school, either from an outside source or via the schools foundation.

I have to ask, is Stan's action in delaying this donation retaliation toward PCMS for thwarting the Jester’s attempt at a cheap, sleazy political stunt by allowing their young son to wear a "FNN" t-shirt on a tour of CNN studios? Given the recent behavior of both Nancy and Stan Jester towards those in the Dunwoody community that disagree with their views, particularly those views with regards to school expansion, I believe it is a fair question to ask.

The PCMS staff acted accordingly in requesting young Mr. Jester change his t-shirt.  His t-shirt violated the DCSD Dress Code as outlined in the DCSD Code of Conduct document.   


I hope I’m wrong and that there is a legitimate reason for Stan to delay the funding for these instructional materials.   

Monday, December 4, 2017

Matt Bartels Builds a Gazebo at Dunwoody High School for Eagle Scout Project

h/t Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall

This is well done and what an addition to the DHS landscape!!

Just from a personal observation, what an awesome venue for graduation pictures....standing under the "Wildcat Pride" sign in cap and gown, ala the Auburn University sign at Samford Park or the arch at UGA?  

Terry Nall on Twitter

Friday, December 1, 2017

2016 - 2017 DeKalb County School District Hope Eligible Students

As per data released by the Georgia Office of Student Achievement, the following chart outlines the Hope Eligible student data for DCSD:

Lakeside High School had the highest number of HOPE Eligible graduates at 281 with Dunwoody High School (243) and Chamblee Charter High School (174) coming in 2nd and 3rd (tied w/ Arabia Mtn) respectively.

Dunwoody High School had the 3rd highest percentage of HOPE Eligible graduates (68.64) behind significantly smaller senior class sizes at DeKalb School of the Arts and DeKalb Early College Academy.



Statewide, Dunwoody High School ranked 14th in the percentage of HOPE Eligible graduates.  DeKalb School of the Arts ranked 2nd, DeKalb Early College ranked 10th.





The entire HOPE Eligible data can be found at the following link:  https://gosa.georgia.gov/sites/gosa.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/Hope_Eligible_2017_DEC_1st_2017.csv

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

DeKalb County Schools - 2017 Single Statewide Accountability System Awards

Congratulations to the 15 DCSD schools named by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement as 2017 Single Statewide Accountability System Award (SSAS) winners.



As mandated by O.C.G.A 20-14-37 and State Board Rule 160-7-1-.01, GOSA develops award criteria under the Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) and presents them for approval to the State Board of Education. Awards are given to schools with high academic performance and/or high academic growth.

For the 2015, 2016, and 2017 awards, GOSA used College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) data from the three most recent school years to determine SSAS awards in two categories: Greatest Gains and Highest Performing.[1] Each award category has four tiers: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Among DCSD Region 1 schools, the winners are:  
  • Austin Elementary School - Highest Performing Award - Platinum
  • DeKalb PATH Academy Charter School - Greatest Gains Award - Silver
  • Dunwoody High School – Greatest Gains Award – Silver; Highest Performing Award - Bronze
  • Kittredge Magnet School – Greatest Gains Award – Gold; Highest Performing Award - Platinum
  • Vanderlyn Elementary School – Highest Performing Award - Gold

Greatest Gains schools exhibit high growth in student achievement by earning a three-year average CCRPI Progress Score in at least the 93rd percentile in the state. Additionally, schools must remain in the same CCRPI Single Score range, as displayed in Table 1 above, over the last three years and be excluded from the Georgia Department of Education’s (GaDOE) 2015 Priority or Focus School list. Table 2 below shows the Greatest Gains criteria by award tier.


Highest Performing schools exhibit high academic performance by earning a three-year average CCRPI Achievement Score in at least the 93rd percentile. In addition, the three-year average CCRPI Achievement Gap Score must be at or above the 75th percentile in the state to ensure the performance of the bottom 25% of a school’s students is not lagging. For the Platinum or Gold award tiers, schools must earn a CCRPI Single Score of 90.0 or above in all three years, while Silver and Bronze award winners must earn a minimum CCRPI Single Score of 80.0 for all three years.  Schools must also be excluded from the GaDOE’s 2015 Priority or Focus School list. Table 3 below shows the Highest Performing criteria by award tier.