Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Building S.P.A.C.E.S Master Planning Initiative

Click on the following link to view the entire presentation:  http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/building-spaces/informational-meeting-presentation.pdf

Click the following link to view the Facility Data: http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/building-spaces/building-spaces-handout.pdf

2 slides that outline the recommended solutions:



DeKalb County Schools Class of 2016 SAT Scores - "Old" Test

The Georgia Department of Education has released the Class of 2016 SAT scores.  These are scores based on the "old" SAT test.  According to the College Board, the test scores for district and school level for the "new" SAT are not being released due to the number of students who participated (or my assumption lack of number of students who participated??).  Click on the following link to view the press release from Georgia Department of Education:  http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=474

15 DeKalb County High Schools saw an increase in scores over 2015.

6 DeKalb Schools had combined scores higher than National and State of Georgia SAT scores: DeKalb School of the Arts (State ranking= 9th), Chamblee Charter HS (State ranking = #18), Dunwoody HS (State ranking =#24), Lakeside HS (State ranking = #47), DeKalb Early College Academy (State ranking = #61) and Druid Hills HS (State ranking = #80).

Dunwoody High School's combined score (1610) was higher than National and State of Georgia SAT Scores.  Dunwoody High School recorded the highest SAT score of any traditional high school in DCSD with a combined score of 1610 - an increase from the 2015 combined score of 1550. Dunwoody also improved scores in Reading (527 in 2015 to 549 in 2016), Math (507 in 2015 to 521 in 2016), Writing (516 in 2016 to 540 in 2016). 

High School
Test
Takers
Critical Reading Mean
Math
Mean
Writing
Mean
2016 SAT Combined Scores
2015 Combined Scores
(+/-) (2015 vs 2016)
DeKalb School of the Arts
59
585
540
545
1670
1722
-52
Chamblee Charter HS
246
556
553
538
1647
1663
-16
Dunwoody HS
238
549
521
540
1610
1550
60
Lakeside HS 
309
522
516
509
1547
1560
-13
DeKalb Early College
57
516
512
485
1513
1450
63
Druid Hills HS
174
503
491
491
1485
1400
85
Nationwide
1,637,589
494
508
482
1484
1490
-6
State of Georgia
65,473
493
490
476
1459
1450
9
Arabia Mountain HS 
266
474
453
449
1376
1341
35
Tucker HS
275
448
450
434
1332
1309
23
Southwest Dekalb HS
175
443
428
432
1303
1297
6
Cross Keys HS
105
428
444
421
1293
1271
22
Stephenson HS 
225
434
430
412
1276
1250
26
Redan HS
91
424
412
408
1244
1240
4
Stone Mountain HS
106
410
419
397
1226
1209
17
Columbia HS
141
420
396
404
1220
1166
54
Lithonia HS
136
411
397
393
1201
1197
4
Miller Grove HS
164
406
400
395
1201
1209
-8
Cedar Grove HS
102
396
402
384
1182
1181
1
Martin Luther King JR HS
179
401
387
385
1173
1180
-7
McNair HS
60
392
376
386
1154
1150
4
Clarkston HS
175
382
392
360
1134
1140
-6
Towers HS
109
375
378
365
1118
1168
-50

Friday, September 23, 2016

Dunwoody High School 2016 Homecoming Parade
Homecoming Queen and King

Congratulations to Gloria Duenas and Patrick Clinch who were voted Homecoming Queen and King. 

Photo courtsey of Dunwoody HS Newsletter.
A few pictures from the Dunwoody High School Homecoming Parade

The pictures below are via the Dunwoody HS Twitter Account: @TSMcFerrinV.

The Aha! Connection also posted a slideshow of pictures from the parade. Click on the following link to view those pictures:  http://www.theahaconnection.com/dunwoody-homecoming-parade-slideshow/


DHS Senior Homecoming Court
 
 
 
Senior Class Float

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dunwoody School Cluster: Recommendation on DeKalb County Schools Secondary School Planning & Feasibility Options

 
Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
 
There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about three options that have been presented by Dekalb County School System to deal with the growing student population in our middle and high schools.  A recommendation has been requested from the school councils at Dunwoody High and Peachtree Middle.  If you are busy and don't want to read the full justification, please click the link below to an online survey and select Option B. 
 
 
(Note there are links within the survey with lots of specific information about each option.)
 
Why Option B?
 
1.      When representatives from PCMS, DHS, and elementary schools throughout our cluster met to discuss these options, we were all still learning about the options, but there was a unifying ideal of keeping our Dunwoody kids at Dunwoody High School.  Options A & C send roughly 30% of the kids currently zoned to DHS to either a new Sequoyah High School in Doraville or to Chamblee HS.  No decisions have been made at this time as to where those kids will come from, but the process would surely not be a fun one for our community.  Option B keeps our attendance zone intact.
 
2.      Option B comes  with a $23,000,000 investment in Dunwoody High School.  Options A & C come with $0 for schools in the Dunwoody cluster.  (Note that there are other pockets of eSPLOST money that could go to our schools, but this is the only category being discussed by the school system at this time.)  DHS is full of amazing teachers, kids, and parents who make the DHS community great, but aspects of the facility are limiting.  As a Council last year we realized the toil involved in getting even small investments in our school.  Throughout the year we pushed to get an adequate supply of functioning lockers for the kids, signage on the front of the school with our name on it, and more than one functioning copier in the school for teachers.  Progress was made, but the journey shed light on the difficulty involved in getting things done.  This option presents a unique opportunity for a significant portion of eSPLOST money to be dedicated to our cluster.  This investment will be a long term improvement to DHS, helping our growing student population for years to come.
 
3.      Does this mean 600 more kids at DHS? NO, it does not.  The projection is that in 2022, with the increasing student population in our attendance zone, DHS population will be 2,093 students.  Today there are 1,826 students.  The problem is that our capacity is only about 1,500 students.  The improvements will increase the school capacity to 2,100 students, eliminating the need for trailers, floating teachers, and addressing long-standing facility limitations.
 
4.      What about parking?  The open retention pond in the parking area can be buried and paved over, substantially improving the parking situation, even with more kids.  We are pushing for this to be a priority.
 
5.      What is the proposed variation that impacts PCMS?  The problem with all of the options presented is that they send a significant number of middle school kids out of Dunwoody.  The variation proposes that PCMS also receive an addition to handle the extra capacity there, taking the same approach as the high school.
 
6.      What about the budget?  Option B is $7,000,000 under budget.  Option A is $77,000,000 over budget.  Option C is $54,000,000 over budget.  The school system seems confident that they can find more money for other options but ultimately that is going to take from other things in the school system. 
 
A summarized list of pros/cons from a Dunwoody perspective (along with room for comment) has been posted here:
 
 
Stepping back from the details of this issue for a moment, all of these options have some good aspects for Dunwoody and the impact for Dunwoody is less with any of them than what much Dekalb County Schools will see.  We are also ultimately at the hands of the final superintendent recommendation and School Board approval.  Our community will continue to make our schools great regardless of the option selected, but it is the opinion of the DHS and PCMS School Councils that the benefits of this modified Option B far outweigh those of the other options.
 
Please don't forget to go back to the link at the top and complete the survey.
 
Chad Griffith, DHS Council Chair
On behalf of DHS Council
 
Allegra Johnson, PCMS Foundation Chair
On behalf of PCMS Foundation

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Children's Community Basketball League Returns to Wesleyan School
League Is Open to Non-Wesleyan Students

 
 
Wesleyan School’s community basketball league is making a return this fall.

The annual league is an opportunity for kindergarten through fourth grade boys and girls to learn the fundamentals of basketball in a fun, safe, and encouraging environment.  Each year hundreds of students, both those who attend Wesleyan and those who attend other schools, join the league consisting of children from Peachtree Corners, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Norcross, Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta, Suwanee and Duluth.
 
“For the community, the league allows children to learn basketball skills, develop teamwork abilities, and play in a safe, nurturing environment regardless of where they attend school,” said Kelly Weatherly, Director of Auxiliary Programs and Outreach. “For our current families, the league serves as part of our commitment to offer a convenient, 12-month experience rather than having to take your children to another league across town.”
 
The league runs from November 5 through February 4 and is run by Wesleyan coaches with assistance from the school’s Varsity and Junior Varsity basketball players. Additional information and registration form can be found at the following link:    http://www.wesleyanschool.org/academics/lower-school/extracurricular-activities/index.aspx.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pros and Cons of Dekalb School Secondary School Options
a Dunwoody Perspective
**Updated With Cross Keys Foundation Position Paper & Chamblee Charter HS Position Paper**

The Cross Keys Foundation has responded with their position paper.  It is quite impressive in its depth and recommendations - but I would expect nothing less from Kim Gokce.  Click the following link to read the Cross Foundation position paper: https://crosskeysfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SecondarySchoolsStudyPosition_publish.pdf

The Chamblee Charter High cluster response can be found at the following link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2tjJvUjR_LmZnA0V1BKNDloWjg/view

The following chart was put together by the Dunwoody High School School Council to review some of the pros and cons of each of the 3 Options currently under consideration to assist in alleviating the overcrowding in the Middle School and High Schools in Northern DeKalb.  This is a starting point for discussions between all of the school councils, elementary as well, as Superintendent Green has requested, from each Middle School and High School council, a joint letter conveying their opinions.  

(Note from me:  I know of at least 1 elementary school (not in Dunwoody cluster) which has taken a different view of these options than those of the other schools in their cluster.  Will their voice be heard?  Probably not.  This is why I believe elementary schools should have their own voice in this process - maybe the largest voice as the choices made now do not really come into a reality until many of the elementary school children are in MS and HS.)

If you have not already, please take a few minutes to complete the DCSD Secondary Schools Survey.  The Survey is open to community members, so take the time to let DCSD know your thoughts and opinions. 

Click on the following link to access the survey:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdmomF29DlfNrO1O9EoOqPReXAeb6s-3Q5wGEBUdkBWIlpkvQ/formResponse
 

Friday, September 9, 2016

DeKalb Neighbor: "DeKalb County Officials Ready Recommendations To Address Overcrowding in Area Schools"



Brent Barron, DeKalb Neighbor:

The DeKalb County School District is nearly ready to present recommendations on options to address overcrowding based on ongoing engagement with the public.

County officials recently wrapped up a third round of public meetings for the secondary school facility planning and feasibility study for area middle and high schools, according to DeKalb County School District Spokesman Quinn Hudson.

The third round of public engagement was targeted at presenting specific options to address overcrowding. These options were based on feedback from five regional steering committee meetings.

Click the following link to read the remainder of the article: http://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/dekalb/education/dekalb-county-officials-readying-recommendations-to-address-overcrowding-in-area/article_a77069da-75f5-11e6-98aa-7f5c2bd04a48.html

This comment from the article made me pause a bit: 

DeKalb County School District Superintendent Stephen Green said they are asking for our school councils from the middle and high schools within each cluster to come together and develop a joint letter, with signatures of the school council chairs, [...] detailing their viewpoints on the three options or another option they may propose.

Why just opinions from Middle School and High School school councils?  I would have assumed that elementary school council opinions would be welcome as these options will affect the children that are currently in elementary school.

DeKalb BOE Region 1 Representative Stan Jester has a new post on his blog reviewing the situation at the DeKalb School of the Arts and DeKalb Elementary Schools of the arts.: http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/09/6779/

Thursday, September 1, 2016

ArtsBridge Foundation Announces Dunwoody High & Chamblee Charter High Chosen to Particiate in 2017 Shuler Hensley Awards

Article courtesy of broadwayworld.com/Atlanta/:

Click on the following link to read the entire article:  http://www.broadwayworld.com/atlanta/article/ArtsBridge-Announces-High-Schools-Participating-in-2017-Shuler-Awards-20160831#

This week ArtsBridge Foundation announced the names of 75 schools from 28 counties who will participate in the 2017 Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards - Shuler Hensley Awards.

This year-long professional development program, which culminates in a televised awards show and showcases the next generation of Georgia's musical theatre talent, will be presented at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on April 20, 2017. Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) will air the awards show live on its nine-station statewide television network.

"This is the largest number of schools we've ever had participate." states Natalie Barrow, Director of Arts Education and Community Outreach, ArtsBridge Foundation. "Our media partner GPB is helping us raise our visibility across the state, so we are able to reach more high school theatre programs and provide more opportunities for students and schools to participate."

About the Shuler Awards: 

CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE

Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards – Shuler Hensley Awards celebrate excellence in high school musical theater. The Awards are named in honor of actor/singer and Georgia native, Shuler Hensley, winner of the prestigious Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award. The program embodies a spirit of camaraderie and celebration for the arts in high schools across Georgia. Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre provides a beautiful, state-of-the-art home for the Shuler Awards. The Shulers are a part of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards – The Jimmy Nederlander Awards.