Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Congratulations to the Dunwoody Cluster 2018 Georgia Student Technology Competition Winners

The Georgia Student Technology Competition is an annual event produced by the Georgia Educational Technology Consortium. The Georgia Student Technology Competition is the highest level of student technology competition in Georgia. This competition is open to all 3rd-12th grade students residing in the state of Georgia.  The main goal of the competition is to challenge students to become leaders in a digital age.

Special congratulations to Nia Elekwachi and Milan McKinney of Chesnut Elementary as they have placed at the state competition 2 years in a row!

Click on the folllowing link for a list of all DCSD GASTC winners:  

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 2nd Annual Celebrating Teachers Awards

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is once again proud to announce it 2nd annual new community recognition program – the AJC Celebrating Teachers Awards!

We believe the very best of our teachers are worth honoring and giving them the recognition they deserve. It will be a moment of significant pride for the honoree, their family and school.

Ten honorees will be chosen based on how he/she went above and beyond to educate, inspire and encourage students during the 2017-18 academic school year. Grade levels K-12 are eligible. Please complete the below nomination form by May 27, 2018. Winners will be honored at an awards event later in the year. Click here for official rules.

Click on the following link to access the nomination form:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BCVH6QH

DeKalb County School District Board of Education Meeting Agenda Item: FIRST READ ~ Amendment to the Bylaws & Policies; Board Policy BH: Board Code of Ethics

The explanation given for this item per DCSD Legal Representative Jennifer Hackemayer at Monday's BOE meeting:  During a recent Board of Education Retreat it was pointed out that a Board of Education member cannot be forced to apologize.  So, if a BOE member exhibits behavior that the rest of the BOE members finds egregious enough to sanction him/her for, that BOE does not have to apologize for said behavior???  Wow, what level of narcissism is this?

An “interesting” item on the BOE Agenda for Monday, May 14th.  First Read on revisions to the Board of Education Ethics Policy. 

The first requested revision is innocuous on its face:

Currently, if a Board member in good faith believes another Board member has violated the Board Code of Ethics, he/she can request that the Board Chair convene an Executive Session to discuss possible disciplinary action against the subject of the complaint. Board Policy BH requires the Board Chair to provide “ten calendar days’ notice of such an Executive Session” to all Board members. The revision would allow less than ten days’ notice to all Board members if the subject of the complaint agrees to a shorter time period.

However, the second requested revision is just disturbing and unacceptable:

In addition, the last page of this policy is being revised by removing “require” and replacing it with “ask for” in number three of the section outlining the actions the Board can take against the subject of the complaint. The revised language reads as follows: “Ask for a public apology by the Board member.”

If this revision of the Ethics Policy is approved by the Board of Education, a Board Member who has faced disciplinary action would not be required to apologize.  But yet, we have sitting board members who insist that teachers and principals apologize for their behavior.  Unbelievable!!!!    

It appears that the Board of Education does not want to hold themselves to the same standards that they and the school district require of teachers and school house administrators. 

Also, despite numerous requests from parents and other stakeholders, this Board of Education has failed to provide needed protection for parents who face abuse, harassment and bullying from sitting Board of Education Members.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Dunwoody High School Math Team - GCTM State Math Tournament - Class 6A Winners

From left to right:  Sam Mahle, Cade Lautenbacher,
Nathan Stefanik, Alex Eldridge

On April 28th, the math team traveled to Middle Georgia State University in Macon to compete in the GCTM State Mathematics Tournament, an invitation-only tournament featuring the top teams in the state.  

The team of Alex Eldridge, Cade Lautenbacher, Nathan Stefanik, and Sam Mahle came away with the trophy for class 6A winner!  

Alex and Cade earned individual awards for 9th and 10th place in the state, respectively.  Zain Salim was invited to participate as an individual to try out for the Georgia ARML (American Regions Mathematics League) team.  Zain and Cade both earned spots on that team which will compete at UGA in early June against an international field.  

Congratulations to the math team for an outstanding finish to a breakout year.

Monday, April 30, 2018

5 Dunwoody High Students Recognized as "2018 Georgia Scholars"

Congratulations to the 5 Dunwoody High School students that have been recognized as "2018 Georgia Scholars":

  • Alex Buhl
  • Caitlin Howie
  • Jackson Kuller
  • Seth May
  • Emma McClure

Click at the following link for a complete list of "2018 Georgia Scholars":

April 30, 2018 – Graduating seniors from across Georgia – 208 in total – have been recognized as 2018 Georgia Scholars, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today.

Through the Georgia Scholar program, the Georgia Department of Education identifies and honors high school seniors who have achieved excellence in school and community life. Students eligible for Georgia Scholar recognition are high school seniors who exhibit excellence in all phases of school life, in community activities, and in the home.

Georgia Scholars are students who have carried exemplary course loads during their four years of high school; who performed excellently in all courses; who successfully participated in interscholastic events at their schools and in their communities; and who have assumed active roles in extracurricular activities sponsored by their schools. Each Georgia Scholar receives a seal for his or her diploma.

“Students receiving the Georgia Scholar recognition are truly well-rounded,” Superintendent Woods said. “They’ve engaged in extracurriculars, worked hard in a broad range of academic subjects, served their communities and grown as leaders. A true education encompasses more than just the traditional ‘core’ subjects, and these students exemplify that.”

The program is coordinated by GaDOE’s Excellence Recognition office and through local coordinators in each public school system and private schools throughout the state. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

**Updated with Official Announcement ***Peachtree Charter Middle School Principal Reassigned for Next School Year

According to Audra at "The Aha Connection", PCMS Principal Brian Heptinstall will apparently be leaving PCMS at the end of this school year:   

I was contacted by a very reliable source yesterday that told me PCMS Principal, Brian Scott Heptinstall, will be re-assigned next year.  

Read more at the following link:  http://myemail.constantcontact.com/PCMS-Principal-Re-Assigned---Top-Rooftop-Dining---5-Apps-Parents-Should-Know-About-and-more.html?soid=1102708875754&aid=MW1uyi0RnSQ

Mr. Heptinstall is the longest serving principal in the Dunwoody Cluster, having been at PCMS since, if I remember correctly, 2007.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Cross Keys High School Location - My Thoughts

At the April 16, 2018 DeKalb County School Board of Education meeting, the BOE voted by a 4-3 margin to build the new Cross Keys HS (CKHS) facility on the former Briarcliff High School property.  Is the former Briarcliff HS (BHS) property the best location for the new CKHS?  That remains to be seen. 

Few in Dunwoody will care about my thoughts with regards to the CKHS rebuild project, however as someone who has been affiliated with DCSD in some way, as a student, alumna, parent and community stakeholder, since 1964, I do have some thoughts.  

I am sure many of my views will conflict with views of other CKHS stakeholders and I am fine with that.  New schools and decisions where to place them have always been troublesome for any school district and there will always be people that question those decisions.  

At the end of the day, the CKHS community will have a new state of the art high school – a facility that is long overdue for this community. 

Anyone acting “surprised” by the decision to build the new CKHS has not been paying attention.  This location was literally spelled out in the ESPLOST V project list:

  • The new CKHS will located on the site that previously housed BHS. 
  • Despite the decreased student population, BHS community was devastated by its closing.  BHS closed in 1987 with its remaining students redistricted to Druid Hills HS.
  • Has the surrounding community been repopulated with young families? 
  • Many people over the years have advocated for the re-use of this property, but now that it is a reality, there is a bit of complaining. I do not get it- maybe it’s just those individuals that complain about everything DCSD does?

  • There are legitimate worries about Traffic in this are.  However, traffic issues are not new to this area and existed when Briarcliff HS and later DSA occupied the property.  N. Druid Hills is a major route to many other parts of the metro area, (see Highway 78 to Stone Mountain, Emory Univ/Hospital, among others).
  • Some complain about having to cross I-85 to get to the new high school.  Really?  I’ve never understood this argument.  Most of those complaining about this would have no problem with their child “crossing I-85” to attend a Magnet school.  
  • Budget for CKHS rebuild is:  $84,800,000.00
  • Could DCSD purchase land in the current CKHS geographical area and also build a proper HS for $84 million? Doubtful.  The rebuild of Chamblee HS cost $80 million on its current site (plus the accumulation of a small apartment complex next door to the school).
  • Would it have been fiscally responsible for DCSD to ignore land that it already owned when searching for a site for CKHS?

There is a question of the new CKHS facility being located outside of the current CKHS attendance zone.

Question:  Does anyone believe that in 5 to 10 years Buford Highway area is going to “look like” it does now?  

How many of the older apartment complexes that would potentially house CKHS students will be in existence in the years to come? If developers and the City of Brookhaven have their way, not many. Brookhaven, and to a smaller extent Chamblee, have never met a townhome developer they do not like. I do not believe we will recognize Buford Highway in the years to come. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

DeKalb County School District 2018 Advanced Placement Honor Schools

State School Superintendent Richard Woods has named 685 Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools for 2018:  http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=604

Below are the AP Honor Roll Schools for the DeKalb County School District.

Dunwoody HS, Chamblee Charter HS, Druid Hills HS and Lakeside HS lead DCSD with 4 AP Honor Awards. 


AP Challenge Schools (56 named in 2018) are schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies).

AP Access and Support Schools (69 named in 2018) are schools with at least 30 percent of AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African-American and/or Hispanic and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.

AP Merit Schools (67 named in 2018) are schools with at least 20 percent of the total student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher.

AP STEM Schools (213 named in 2018) are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science A)

AP STEM Achievement Schools (146 named in 2018) are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of exam scores on AP math and science exams earning scores of 3 or higher.

AP Humanities Schools (134 named in 2018) are schools with students testing in the following AP courses: at least one ELA course, two social sciences courses, one fine arts course and one world language course.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dunwoody High School Council - Summary of March 29th Meeting - Discussion of Trailers for Next School Year

Reporter News: "Brookhaven Apartments Eyed for New High School, City Official Says"

A new Cross Keys High School could be coming to Buford Highway in Brookhaven, a city official says, but DeKalb School officials are being tight-lipped about the possibility.

Brookhaven Councilmember Joe Gebbia confirmed rumors that the DeKalb County School District is looking at property in Brookhaven and along Buford Highway to build a new Cross Keys High School.

“That’s a possibility, and they have the right of eminent domain,” Gebbia said. While he said he does not know of any specific properties being looked at, he said Superintendent Stephen Green has said the district is looking at land adjacent to the current Cross Keys High School, located at 1626 North Druid Hills Road.

Brookhaven apartments eyed for new high school, city official says

A new Cross Keys High School could be coming to Buford Highway in Brookhaven, a city official says, but DeKalb School officials are being tight-lipped about the possibility. Brookhaven Councilmember Joe Gebbia confirmed rumors that the DeKalb County School District is looking at property in Brookhaven and along Buford Highway to build a new Cross [...]
So, if the new Cross Keys HS is ultimately built on Buford Highway property that currently houses apartments, there is a significant chance many more students will be forced move out of the CKHS cluster.

Are Dan Drake and his staff planning to re-adjust the future enrollment projections for Cross Keys cluster? Will a 2,500 seat High School facility really be necessary?  If so, then there certainly doesn't appear to be a need for additional classrooms at Chamblee High????   Can the timeframe for the addition at Dunwoody HS be moved up?  

Note, before I get another nasty email abaout Dunwoody "privilege":  The only reason I'm advocating an accelerated timeline for the Dunwoody HS addition over the Chamblee HS addition is because the Dunwoody cluster is the only cluster that recorded a significant FTE increase and is expecting another increase next fall:

Still lots of moving parts here.  I still maintain that DCSD should put a hold on that addition at Chamblee.     

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

DeKalb County Schools to Initiate Metal Detector Pilot Program in 5 High Schools

At Monday's Board of Education Meeting, DCSD requested approval for a pilot program for metal detectors in 5 high schools.  Gary Brantley, Chief Information Officer, heavily emphasized that this was a pilot program and that the school district understands this will not be the total answer to weapons in school.

There was a good discussion on this among the board members - in my opinion.  While most seemed in favor of the pilot program, there was several questions.  Again, this is a pilot program for DCSD and I'm sure answers/solutions will become apparent as the program takes shape.  

1.  Will/How many extra school based personnel will be needed to supervise the metal detectors and "wand" any students/visitors that set off the detector?
2.  There would only be 4 metal detectors per pilot school.  What is the procedure for other doors not covered by metal detectors?
3.  These high schools have trailers.  What if a student/visitor bypasses the metal detectors on their way to a trailer?

You can view the entire BOE agenda item, at the following link, item #C-7:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dunwoody High School's VEX Robotics Team Is Headed to the Worlds!

Dunwoody's VEX Robotics team 1264D is heading to Worlds!

Team members Seth May, Benjamin Shifrin, Andrew Sonnier, Sophie Zhang, Gabe Green, Roma Joshi and Shriya Gupta competed in the Georgia VEX High School Robotics State Championship and were one 16 teams in the state to earn a ticket to Worlds after eliminations.  

Please congratulate our team members on their consistent efforts throughout this season that enabled them to receive an award at every tournament they entered this school year!  Way to go, RoboWildcats!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

On Common Ground News: "Austin Elementary, Dunwoody Elementary & Kingsley Elementary Team up for "Pinwheels for Parkland"

From the article:  

Today (March 12), three DeKalb County School District (DCSD) elementary schools sent pinwheels to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Under the leadership of Austin Elementary principal Ann Culbreath, students at Austin, Kingsley and Dunwoody Elementary schools will deliver 3,500 pinwheels with artwork and uplifting messages to the Florida school.

Three DeKalb schools team up for Pinwheels for Parkland - On Common Ground News

Today (March 12), three DeKalb County School District (DCSD) elementary schools sent pinwheels to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Under the leadership of Austin Elementary principal Ann Culbreath, students at Austin, Kingsley and Dunwoody Elementary schools will deliver 3,500 pinwheels with artwork and uplifting messages to the Florida school.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DeKalb County Board of Education Candidates for Districts 2, 4 and 6

On the ballot for the May 22nd Special Election will be candidates for DeKalb County Board of Education Districts 2, 4 and 6. 

Current District 2 Board of Education Representative Marshall Orson is running for re-election.  He has an opponent in Candace McKinley.

Current Board of Education representative Jim McMahan (District 4) is not running for re-election. He will be replaced by long-time community activitist Allyson Gevertz who is running unopposed.

Melvin Johnson (District 6) is also not running for re-election.  There are 2 candidates for his seat:  Diijon Dacosta and Lance Hammonds.  

Election for District 1 (Stan Jester), 3 (Michael Irwin), 5 (Vickie Turner) and 7 (Joyce Morley), will be held in 2020.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Peachtree Charter Middle School Science Bowl Winners 2nd Place in State Competition

courtesy PCMS news...

Congratulations to Peachtree Science Bowl Team One for winning 2nd Place in the State Competition in Savannah, on Saturday, 2/24. They went down to the wire with the same team they defeated last year, but lost in a last second heart-breaker.
We should all be very proud of our 8th graders, pictured left: Prathmesh Joshi, Piranavaskanthan Abeyakaran, Manas Gangwar, and Aadi Jangi.
The future looks bright with our other team members: Yooseong Wu, Reece Herman, Sai Varshith Paluru, Pratyush Chakraborty, Nikhil Anoop, Michael Nahmias, Rishit Gangwar, and Aritra Bhattacharya. Great year for everyone!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Peachtree Charter Math Team Takes First Place!

The Peachtree Math Team consisting of (left to right) Piranavaskanthan Abeyakaran, Yooseong Wang, Reece Herman, and Prathmesh Joshi with Mr. David Herman;  won first place at the chapter Mathcounts competition. 

Special congratulations go to Piranavaskanthan and Pratmesh. Not only did they win the team competition, they also won first and second place in the individual test. Abhiti Kahre qualified for the state competition, having the third highest score of the Peachtree Math Team. 

They will move on to the state competition on March 19th. The competition will take place at Saint Luke's Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Aha! Connection Camp Guide

It's never too early to begin researching summer camps for your child.  The Aha! Connection has many opportunies already listed and the list is updated continuously.

Click on the following link to view camp links:  https://www.theahaconnection.com/category/camps/

Also, this summer offering at Agnes Scott was brought to my attention over the weekend.  If you are a middle school or high school student interested in learning Chinese or Turkish, this STARTALK program could be for you:  https://www.agnesscott.edu/agnesengage/summeratagnes/programs/georgia-startalk-program.html.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dunwoody High School Star Student and Star Teacher

via DHS news:

We are proud to announce Alex Joshua Eldridge  and Mrs. Mary Dee Sturken as the 2018 STAR STUDENT and 2018 STAR TEACHER.   

Photograph courtesy of Priscilla Coles, Principal, Dunwoody High School

Alex was selected based on having the highest SAT Score on a single test date from the Class of 2018. 

Mrs.  Sturken was selected by Alex for having made the most significant contribution to Alex's scholastic development.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Dunwoody High School Student Elizabeth Cowan Earns Highest Composite Score on the ACT Test
**Updated With Board of Education Recognition

Congratulations to Elizabeth!!

The DeKalb County School Board of Education recognized Elizabeth at the 2-12-18 BOE Meeting:

According to the letter from the ACT, only one-tenth of 1% of all test takers earn the top score!!