Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chamblee Middle School - ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Chamblee Middle School accepts the ALS Chillin for Charity Ice Bucket challenge from Peachtree Charter Middle School and, in turn, Chamblee Middle challenges Chamblee High School.

The most recent figures have the funds raised via the Ice Bucket Challenge at $22 million!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Support Dunwoody High School Academy of Finance Students
As they Build "Businesses" & Raise Funds

It’s that time of year when the Dunwoody High School Academy of Finance students establish their “businesses” as part of the AOF curriculum and in turn raise funds  for the annual trip to New York City.  Below are a few of the student “businesses” that I am aware of.  Please support these students!

Twitter: @dwoodcakepops 
Instagram:  dwoodcakepops 

Chasing Pavements (Painting Dunwoody addresses):  
Twitter: @cpdunwoody

Fine Wining (Hand Painted Wine Glasses):  
Twitter: @Fine_Wining
Instagram: Fine_Wining

Dunwoody Mom Company (Dunwoody Mom T-shirt):  
Twitter: @dunwoodymomco

About the Dunwoody High School Academy of Finance:

“We have over 180 juniors and seniors enrolled in the Academy for the 2014-2015 school year.  This is a two year program that exposes students to personal finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, corporate finance, macroeconomics and international business.  It is a "mini" MBA and is a great stepping stone for majoring in business in college as well as providing unbelievable experiences for the students.  They are exposed to many different real life topics and compete in a number of business competitions.  It sets the student apart from others in their college and job search process.”

Click here to read further info on the Dunwoody HS Academy of Finance.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Mr. Collins, Longtime Mentor, Gets Surprise Braves Experience"

This is a follow-up story about Dunwoody resident, Art Collins and his relationship with the young man he mentored, Ashton Jordan.  The initial story is recounted in “Mondays with Mr. Collins.

Photo Courtesy Bob Andres - AJC.COM
By Helena Oliviero - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When Ashton Jordan asked his longtime mentor, Art Collins, for a ride to Turner Field on Wednesday afternoon, Collins didn’t hesitate. Collins, always there for Ashton, was happy to drive Ashton to the ballpark for a community service project.

But Ashton didn’t need a ride on this recent afternoon. There was no community service project.

Instead, Ashton and his mother, Dee Jordan, orchestrated a surprise for Collins — a VIP Braves experience, complete with a behind-the-scenes private tour, watching batting practice on the field, and primo, terrace-level seats for the game.

It was the Jordan family’s way of honoring a man they call “Mr. Collins,” a 79-year-old man who has given them so much.

"We knew that if we could pull this off, it would be perfect,” Ashton said. “We wanted to do something special before I go off to college.”

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dunwoody High School "Chillin' For Charity" Challenge

Dunwoody High School was challenged by Lambert High School in the "Chillin for Charity" contest.  Dunwoody High School's charity is ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Dunwoody High School participants were Coach Brown, Coach Friedlander, Mr. Fortenberry and Principal Mr. McFerrin.

Peachtree Charter Middle've been challenged...

Interesting note:  "In 2013, the national ALS Association received $1.4 million in donations between July 29 and August 14. This year, they've received $7.6 million in donations during the same time period, as of Thursday afternoon."

Click here to read more about the Ice Bucket Challenge to benefit ALS.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kingsley Charter Elementary Welcomes Back Teachers
New Year, New Energy!

Kingsley Charter Elementary School had a great welcome back treat as teachers returned to work. Staff was greeted by a fan tunnel of parents and students. The school is excited for the upcoming year. The motto "New Year, New Energy" inspired the warm welcome.

Wednesday, August 6, 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.

Dunwoody High School & Peachtree Charter Middle School
End of Course Test Scores

The GA Dept. of Education has released the Spring EOCT Test Scores.  As announced earlier, the EOCT will be replaced by the Georgia Milestones EOC Tests beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.  

As Dunwoody High School follows the 4x4 Block Schedule, scores are listed for both 2013 - 2014 school semesters.  

Click here to view all Spring 2014 EOCT scores.

Click here to view all Winter 2013 EOCT scores.

Note: Mathematics II and Geometry results are not comparable to prior years. These tests will not be part of the Milestones program.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Primrose School of Dunwoody Feature Article:
"Bring Out the Natural Scientist in Your Child"

The first three years of a child’s life are consumed by a desire to explore and experiment with objects. The well-known developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget, called young children “natural scientists,” a fitting term given their natural inclination to explore the world around them to understand how it works. The better parents, care givers and early educators understand these tendencies, the more proactive they can be in providing safe environments in which children can explore, experiment and learn without interference.
From the moment babies enter the world, their curiosity sparks a need to observe and classify objects and actions. Their brains actually change as a result of the new things they learn and as they continue to grow and explore, new discoveries help children enrich, modify, reorganize – and sometimes replace – their initial theories with quite different ideas. This type of hands-on learning explains why a child may scrutinize a new object in an effort to figure out how it works or experiment with sound and movement as he learns how to use his body to communicate.
“We know children need safe environments where they can experiment freely and take risks without the fear of being told, ‘That’s not how you’re supposed to do that,’” says Gloria Julius, Ed. D., vice president of education and professional development at Primrose Schools. “When we support a child’s natural tendencies to try things out, we are cheering them on to discover and tackle new challenges. By acknowledging their efforts, we help them build determination and confidence in their own abilities.”

Dr. Julius recommends these fun and safe activities to encourage children to explore and investigate in their world:
  • Give your newborn colorful objects to examine by looking, feeling, tasting and smelling.
  • Talk to your baby, providing a play-by-play of everything he does. Researchers believe that this commentary helps babies organize and understand the world around them.
  • Fill a large, shallow bowl with water and provide your baby with simple scooping tools for endless exploration and fun. You can do this in the bathtub as well.
  • Fill a large bowl or shallow tub with dry beans, rice or sand. Your infant or toddler will enjoy sifting this material through her fingers, picking it up and pouring it out. Be sure to keep a close eye on your little one to make sure she doesn’t try to eat any of it.
  • Make “cloud dough” with flour and cooking oil (8 parts flour: 1 part oil). It feels powdery like flour one moment and then moldable like damp sand the next. It’s easy to make and the unique texture will amuse your child to no end. (For gluten-free cloud dough, replace the flour with rice flour.)
The crib, the playroom, the bathtub and the backyard are all excellent laboratories for young children. Encouraging children to use their natural tendency to learn, through play and exploration, provides them with the opportunity to investigate topics that interest them in more depth and will help them develop into well-rounded, creative learners. By providing a supportive and fun environment, parents, caregivers and early educators can help children explore and deepen their conceptual understanding of the world around them, which is critical to early childhood development.

Primrose Schools is a national family of accredited, early education and care schools serving children, parents and local communities with a purposeful, balanced approach to nurturing Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts®. To learn about Primrose School of Dunwoody, stop by our school campus at 5050 Nandina Lane in Dunwoody, visit www.PrimroseDunwoody or call 770.396.8266. For more parenting tips, visit our 360 Parenting blog at

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tom McFerrin To Lead Dunwoody High as New Principal

Staff / LaTria Garnigan / Tom McFerrin begins the 2014-15 
school year as principal of Dunwoody High School

Article courtesy of the Dunwoody Neighbor:

by LaTria Garnigan

Having grown up in Dunwoody, it seems only fitting that Tom McFerrin will now lead his alma mater of Dunwoody High School as principal.

McFerrin graduated from the school in 1991 and went off to the University of Georgia where he studied broadcast journalism. After earning his journalism degree, he thought he might decide to teach the subject one day. So he returned to school and earned his master’s degree in education. He then took those skills he learned in college, returned to Dunwoody High as a teacher and created the Academy of Mass Communications in 2003

Click here to read the entire article.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chamblee Middle School Principal To Retire October 31st

"After 33 years with the DCSD, Ms. Jackson is calling it quits. I have mixed emotions about it, because I love Chamblee Middle School, my teachers, my parents, and our wonderful kids so very much. I cannot imagine my life without them. However, it's time for me to start this new chapter and journey in my life, and I am anxious and excited about that. I know that He has many things for me to experience and ways to grow spiritually. I have promised the foundation that I will still be available to serve on a committee or in whatever capacity they need me, so it's not like I am really gone. Our school council has already met with our area Superintendent, Ms. Cynthia Brictson, to discuss a suitable replacement for me. They will seek survey input from the community, teachers, and students in the principal search process. My hope is that my replacement will be found before I leave on 10/31/14; so that, he/she can shadow me for a few days. I am also saving everything to a flash drive that the new principal might need. If a suitable replacement is not found by the time I leave, then I have been assured that an interim principal will be placed here until an appropriate replacement can be found. Please also know that I have been blessed with three extraordinary Assistant Principals (Mr. Childs, Dr. Briggs, and Mrs. Cromer-Nunn) who are very capable of running this building in my absence. Between them, Mr. Trice, my extraordinary counseling department, and our awesome teachers, everything will be fine.
You have my commitment that I will do everything in my power to make sure that the transition from the "old" CMS principal to the "new" CMS principal will go smoothly for all CMS stakeholders. We have a good thing going here at CMS. We want our standard of excellence to continue. I am confident that will happen. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your principal since April 2006 and the opportunity to work with your incredible kids."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DeKalb County Schools Test Calendar 2014-2015

Seriously, is there any room for instruction, especially at the High School Level.  Are the Mid-Month EOC Assessments required by the GADOE or another one of Morcease Beasley's ideas?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dunwoody Schoool Cluster Student Growth Model Data

**Updated with Excel Spreadsheet containing Dunwoody Cluster Subgroup Data.**

I have created an Excel Spreadsheet which contains the school level data reported by subgroup.  Click here to view that spreadsheet. For some reason, the spreadsheet loads more efficiently via Google Chrone.  Reminder these results are from the 2012-2013 school year. 

The Georgia Department of Education today released its Student Growth Model, the metric that will help educators, parents, and other stakeholders better understand and analyze the progress students make year to year. 

The department is also releasing a web tool, located at, which will allow parents and members of the public to view visualized student-growth data.  Beware the bubbles!!!
  • Use the Search box to find your district, or click using the list provided. 
  • Click once on the model to choose the district.  
  • Double-Click twice on the district for a list of schools.
  • Use the Search box to find your school. 
  • Use the Pull Down options to enter data display options.
  • Toggle over the bubble to view data for the option chosen under "Perspective".

This data is based on the 2013 school year (CRCT for ES/MS Students and EOCT for HS students). Data reflecting 2014 school year student progress will be available in late fall. 

School and district growth scores are based on what are called “student growth percentiles.” Essentially, student growth percentiles are calculated for each student in each tested subject by comparing his or her standardized test scores at the end of one year to the performance of other students who had similar test scores to him or her in the past.

Schools and districts are given a “median growth percentile” that offers a sense of how much a typical student at the school grew in a year compared to his or her academic peers

The growth model uses two years of prior test data as pretest scores (one year is used when two years are not available). For example, growth percentiles for 5th-grade students on the 5th-grade CRCT are generated using 3rd and 4th grade CRCT results as priors.

To be honest, the amount of data is overwhelming.  Unless you love data, and I do not, you could spend hours reviewing and attempting to comprehend all of the data.  My assumptions could also be wrong. The massive amounts of documentation provided by the GADOE are many times unclear.

I used the AJC's tool to report the Dunwoody school cluster data.  Click here for the AJC database.   As time permits, I may summarize the data by subgroup.  

Click here to see Frequently Asked questions as provided by the GADOE.

Definition of "Academic Peer":  Academic peers are students enrolled in the same grade and content area or EOCT course statewide with similar prior academic achievement (academic history). In other words, they are students that had the same scores on prior state assessments. There are potentially thousands of academic peer groups – as many as there are prior score combinations. Students can be in different academic peer groups across subject areas and peer groups can change from year to year based on the most recent prior scores.

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.

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.

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.