Monday, April 27, 2015

DeKalb County School System Superintendent Search Update

Thoughts and Prayers Go Out to the Lakeside High School Community

This is just so sad and tragic.  My prayers go out to Ms. O'Brien's family and the Lakeside community.

DeKalb County teacher killed in accident

Posted: Apr 25, 2015 10:19 PM EDT Updated: Apr 27, 2015 6:11 AM EDT
By Mandy Milligan


A DeKalb County high school teacher was killed Saturday when her car collided with a car carrying two of her students who were headed to the school's prom. 

According to Decatur police, authorities responded to the car accident on Scott Boulevard at Ridley Circle at about 6 p.m.

Police said Leah O'Brien, 33, was killed in the crash. Her 8-year-old daughter was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

O'Brien, a teacher at Lakeside High School in DeKalb County, was supposed to be a chaperone at the prom.

Students told CBS46 News they're mourning the death of the teacher, and they're also praying for the young man who was behind the wheel of the car that crashed into O'Brien's car.

Read more at:

View video at:

Kingsley Charter Elementary Announces Kindergarten Round-Up
Thursday, April 30, 2015 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chesnut Charter Elementary to Host Kindergarten Round Up
Thursday, May 7th, 8:15 am to 10:00 am

Chesnut Charter Elementary School will be hosting Kindergarten Round Up on Thursday May 7th.
Kindergarten Round Up provides a chance for rising kindergarten students to meet the teachers and experience Chesnut for the first time. 
For parents, there will be a panel discussion with current parents ready to talk about the school and the kindergarten experience, as well as to answer questions.  Sign in is at 8:15 AM and the program will begin promptly at 8:30 AM, ending approximately at 10 AM.   RSVP to Mr. Long Tran at

Dunwoody High School Robotics Team Places 3rd at World Championships!!!

DHS Robotics Team 1264B

Congratulations to Dunwoody Robotics Team 1264B for their World Championship victory in their division playoffs!! 1264B went on to play other division champions to end up in 3rd place out of 450 qualifying teams!

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is the ultimate STEM activity for middle school and high school students (ages 11-18).

Each year, an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, use the VEX Robotics Design System to build innovative robots designed to score the most points possible in qualification matches, elimination matches and Skills Challenges. In addition to having a great time and building amazing robots, through their participation in the VEX Robotics Competition and their work within their team, students will learn many academic and life skills.

Click here for more information about the competition from "Robotics Tomorrow" Magazine.

photos courtesy of @DHSRobotics1264

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

10 DeKalb County High Schools Selected for Washington Post's
"Most Challeging High Schools"

How does the America’s Most Challenging High Schools list work?

We take the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and divide by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June. I call this formula the Challenge Index. With a few exceptions, public schools that achieved a ratio of at least 1.00, meaning they had as many tests in 2014 as they had graduates, were put on the national list. We rank the schools in order of ratio....

Click here for State of Georgia rankings.

Click here for National rankings.

Click here for FAQ concerning the selection criteria.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Are Conversion Charter Schools Doomed in DeKalb County?

Chamblee Charter High School has now joined other Conversion Charter schools (Peachtree MS, Kingsley ES, Chesnut ES) in requesting a Charter Term Extension due to the new rules the State BOE has put into place regarding Charter Schools.

Based on the Superintendent Michael Thurmond’s treatment of the Druid Hills Charter Cluster request, it is my best guess that DCSS will not grant conversion charters the autonomy the State BOE now requires.  And unless, the State BOE changes course, they will not approve a Charter School petition without the new rules now in place.  The State BOE continues to offer delays for School System Autonomy contracts, so who knows.

Below is an update from Chamblee HS on their charter petition:

CCHS submitted a renewal petition in October 2014.  However, the State Board of Education approved new charter school rules and guidelines shortly after the petition was submitted.  These new rules and guidelines became effective immediately and impacted key charter issues such as substantive autonomy, governance board training and revealed differences between DCSD and the State. 
CCHS has requested a charter term extension of one year, to allow the District and CCHS to further collaborate and plan for the substantive autonomy sought by CCHS, in accordance with the new State Board of Education Rules and Guidelines.  DCSD has formally approved the charter extension. and we are awaiting State approval of this extension at their May meeting. 
What does this mean to CCHS?

  • CCHS will operate under its current charter for the 2015-16 school year
  • an updated renewal petition must be submitted by CCHS by August 14, 2015, if we want to continue as a conversion charter school beyond 2015-2016
  • CCHS parents and faculty must approve the updated renewal petition if we want to continue as a conversion charter school

Monday, April 13, 2015

Chamblee High School Presents the 10th Annual Kathryn Cox Memorial Run

The 5K event honors the life and memory of Kathryn Cox, a former Chamblee High School student who lost her life in an automobile accident in 2006.

The Cox Trot has become an annual event for local runners, and raises money for Donate Life Georgia, a non-profit community service organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation.

Click here to download registration information.

Dunwoody High Mens Tennis Team Caps An Undefeated Season

courtesy of Dunwoody High School Newsblast

Congratulations to our Wildcats Boys Varsity Tennis Team who capped an undefeated season Thursday with a 4-1 win over Decatur High School.  Led by Coach Charlie Meador, this brings the Varsity Boys regular season record to a perfect 15-0.  With season wins over state powerhouses including Lovett, St.Pius, Marist and Milton, the squad of 12 boys is a force to be reckoned with and looks forward to the play-off season.  Leading the team with winning records are Seniors Luke Bynum and Will Munger, Juniors JT Melton, Andrea Ubezio,  and Brandon Gita, and Freshmen Daniel Bynum  and Matthew Moussouri.  Also significantly contributing to the team's winning season are Senior Wilson Pu, Junior Paul Weinshenker, Sophomore Alex Bragg, and Freshmen Russell Heidbreder and Adam Drucker.  Be sure to come out and cheer on the Varsity Boys and Girls Tennis Wildcats during the post-season play!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Georgia Tech and University of Georgia High School Profiles

Georgia Tech publishes a comprehensive profile of each "sending" Georgia high school.  Below is the Dunwoody HS "profile" for Fall 2014 freshman class.  Click here to view additional high school profles.

UGA published the following for their "sending" high schools:

I was not able to locate the same level of data for the other colleges/universities in the State of Georgia.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Congratulations to Mrs. Dena Cartwright!
Chesnut Charter Elementary's 2014-2015 "Teacher of the Year!"

Chesnut Charter Elementary School is pleased to announce that Dena Cartwright, a third grade teacher, has been named the school’s 2014-15 “Teacher of the Year.” 
Mrs. Cartwright, originally from Princeton, Kentucky, began her teaching career in 1996 in the DeKalb County School System. After graduating from Western Kentucky University, she taught at Canby Lane Elementary, where she was grade chair and served on numerous committees. She has been a valued Chesnut third and second grade teacher for 15 years, and has served multiple times as grade chair, sits on various committees and has proudly provided sponsorship of clubs.
Although Mrs. Cartwright resides with her husband and sons in Johns Creek, her son Nate is currently a second grader at Chesnut, and Ben graduated Chesnut last May, and is a sixth grader at Peachtree Charter Middle School. Mrs. Cartwright commented, “I have had the privilege of working with so many wonderful staff members and parents at Chesnut over the years. Chesnut does not feel like just a place of work to me, it is an extension of family and a joy to be a part of each day. I couldn’t have asked for a better elementary school for my boys!”
Congratulations to Mrs. Cartwright - my youngest child was privileged to be taught by this wonderful teacher!

Good News! Michael Thurmond Proposes Pay Increases for DCSD Employees
My Suggestion To Board of Education Members

At yesterday's DeKalb School Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Michael Thurmond proposed the following pay increase for DCSD employees:

My suggestion to the Board of Education prior to your approval is this:  there should a caveat on the 2 percent increase to indicate this is for employees who make below say, a Director's level salary.  There are too many overpaid, non-teaching employees in the Central Office who should not be offered a salary increase while the district tries to recover financially.  If there are not going to be any personnel cuts in the Central Office, then a pay raise for many of those employees is not warranted... in my humble opinion. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dunwoody Cluster October, 2014 ITBS Scores

What is a national percentile rank (NPR) score?
A national percentile rank score compares the achievement of a student or a group of students to the achievement of a national sample of students who are in the same grade and who were tested at the same time of the year (fall, or spring). For example, if a student earned a percentile rank of 72 on the science test, it means she scored higher than 72 percent of the students in the group with which she is being compared.

Scores courtesy of DeKalb County School System.

State of Georgia High School Graduation Tests Waivers and Variances

House Bill 91 - Signed by Governor Deal

On Monday, March 30, 2015, Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 91 into law, thereby creating a new code section, O.C.G.A. § 20-2-281.1. This law became effective upon the Governor's signature.

This law provides that students shall no longer be required to earn a passing score on any graduation tests to earn a high school diploma.  The law also contains additional details and requirements regarding the ability of students no longer enrolled to petition the local board of education for a diploma for students whose sole reason for not receiving a high school diploma was due to not passing any part of the graduation tests.

Click here for further information.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Edison Prep: AP US History & AP World History Boot Camps

Edison Prep is holding its 4th annual AP US History and AP World History Bootcamps on Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19, 2015. Students enroll in one day or the other; identical material is presented each day. We know many juniors are taking the AP US History exam in mid-May and/or the SAT II US History Subject Test in either May or June. Similarly, many sophomores are taking the AP World History exam in mid-May and/or the SAT II World History Subject Test in June.

Edison Prep holds these bootcamps each year and flies in Mr. Gregory Hudson and Ms. Kelsey Hudson, both experienced AP History instructors, from out-of-state. Mr. Hudson and Ms. Hudson are two of the College Board's exam graders and their students perform outstandingly well on the exam each year. 

A PDF with more details is attached, or you can go to for past testimonials and additional information. 

To Sign Up: 
Students can hold their spot and enroll via the big yellow buttons at the bottom of these pages:
For the AP US History Bootcamp
For the AP World History Bootcamp:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dunwoody Elementary School's Laura Fleury-Bell
Nominated as "STAR" Teacher

Laura Fleury-Bell Art Teacher at Dunwoody Elementary School has been nominated as 2015 "STAR" Teacher!  She was nominated for making great strides in the Visual and/ or Performing Arts by enhancing instruction through her professional and personal endeavors.  She will be honored at the High Museum of Art on May 15th.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chesnut Charter Elementary's Ecology Club Students
Go "Coco for Collards"

This March, Chesnut Charter Elementary School’s 4th and 5th grade Ecology Club members harvested collard greens, clearing all the decaying plant parts to the compost pile. The students divided their harvest into bags to which they attached a hand-written “coconut collard greens” recipe for delivery to their teachers.

Pictured: School Counselor Betty Sule looks on as Chesnut students Sofia Renals and Madison Hummel cook up a small batch of Coconut Collards. Student Jordan Wade awaits his turn to taste.  Recipe below.

Coconut Greens
  • One bunch greens (like collards, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, bok choi)
  • One tablespoon coconut oil
  • Salt
Chop greens into 2″ squares. Heat coconut oil in skillet on medium heat. Toss greens in skillet for 5 to 10 minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kingsley Charter Elementary Names Teacher of the Year and
Professional Staff Member of the Year

Kingsley Charter Elementary is proud to announce that Ms. Kimberly Henard has been chosen our Teacher of the Year and Mr. Charles Prayor, is our Professional Staff Member of the year.

They are surrounded by Mr. Brent McBride, Principal and Mrs. Laura Baez, Assistant Principal.
Also pictured are our other outstanding nominees: (L to R) Ms. Plyne, Ms. Bennett, Ms. Glenn and Mrs. Salamone. Not pictured, Ms. Irving.
We applaud these members of the Kingsley Charter family and thank them and all the others who put students first each and everyday.
Also, Kingsley's Kindergarten Round-up is scheduled for Thursday, April 30th from 3-5pm.