Monday, December 5, 2016

DeKalb Schools HOPE Eligibility for 2015-2016

Congratulations to Dunwoody High School which had the highest percentage of HOPE eligible students among traditional schools in DeKalb County! #42 in State Wide Percentage.

Source:  Georgia Office of Student Achievement:  https://gosa.georgia.gov/sites/gosa.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/Hope_Eligible_2016_DEC_1st_2016.csv

 School Name
Number of Graduates
Number of HOPE Eligible Students
HOPE Eligible Percentage
DeKalb School of the Arts
63
59
93.65
Dekalb Early College Academy
54
34
62.96
Dunwoody High School
321
200
62.31
Chamblee Charter High School
266
162
60.9
Lakeside High School
383
230
60.05
Arabia Mountain High School  
280
157
56.07
Druid Hills High School
252
114
45.24
Tucker High School
358
148
41.34
Cross Keys High School
211
86
40.76
Clarkston High School
260
94
36.15
All Schools
5,292
1,900
35.9
Stone Mountain High School
173
57
32.95
Redan High School
206
67
32.52
Columbia High School
231
60
25.97
Southwest DeKalb High School
265
67
25.28
Towers High School
194
46
23.71
Stephenson High School
332
74
22.29
Miller Grove High School
256
57
22.27
Lithonia High School
260
55
21.15
Cedar Grove High School
185
39
21.08
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School
308
60
19.48
McNair High School
139
26
18.71
Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence
96
5
5.21
Elizabeth Andrews High School
190
3
1.58
DeKalb Alternative School      

Dunwoody High School Chorus Spirit Night
Friday, December 9th, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm @ O'Brians Tavern


Thursday, December 1, 2016

E-SPLOST V - Project List
Updated to Include New Elementary School in Doraville
No Change in High School Capacity Additions

The agenda for the December 5th Board of Education Meeting has been posted:  https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=4054&MID=50239

An updated E-SPLOST V project list is included in the agenda: https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4054&AID=771723&MID=50239

An additional elementary school for the Cross Keys HS cluster has been added to the list (or shall we say, "re-added") and a new facility for Indian Creek Elementary School.  No change to the plans for the MS and HS additions:

Requested Action

It is requested that the Board of Education approve the 2017-2022 E-SPLOST project list, as outlined in the attached Proposed 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List document, dated December 5, 2016.

Details

Following the May 24, 2016 approval of the 2017-2022 E-SPLOST referendum by DeKalb voters (by more than a 71% vote) and extensive stakeholder engagement process, district staff presented the Superintendent’s proposed E-SPLOST project list to the Board of Education as a “first read” for its review and input on November 7, 2016. Highlighted below are a few modifications to the proposed project list as originally presented on November 7, 2016:
  • The E-SPLOST revenue projections for 2017-2022 were revised upward from $500 million to $530 million.  With the Board’s approval of the final percentage distribution between DCSD, City Schools of Decatur, and Atlanta Public Schools, we now know one of the previous unknowns, which allowed staff and the District’s Bond Financial Advisors to review and update our initial projections with less uncertainty.
  • Thus, the total funding allocation for category two has increased from $261 million to $291million, with $260 million in E-SPLOST revenues and $31 million in GA DOE reimbursements, allowing for the construction of three new elementary schools: two new elementary schools in the Cross Keys Cluster (i.e. John Lewis Elementary School and new elementary school for Cross Keys North) and the tear-down/re-build of Indian Creek Elementary School.
  • The last revision was a slight change in the $14.54 million artificial turf installation initiative for all high schools.  We have removed Cross Keys HS from this list, as the $84.8 million new high school construction of Cross Keys High School will include a new artificial turf football/soccer field. We have recommended these funds to be used to install artificial turf at both Druid Hills High School and Druid Hills Middle School. Currently, both schools serve the athletics program for Druid Hills High School due to the fact that the football/soccer field and track at the high school campus do not meet the specification requirements of the National Federation of High School Sports.
The Board’s approval will allow staff to immediately initiate the next steps in its detailed process to prepare for the implementation of the District’s 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Program. This process includes the development a cost loaded schedule over the next several months in support of the final Board-approved project list and bond financing to accelerate key projects within the program. Staff will immediately begin its procurement process to hire qualified professional design firms to initiate the formal design process for major construction projects. The Board will be asked to adopt a Bond Resolution at its February 2017 Board meeting and funding will be made available to accelerate the program in late February.  At the March 2017 Board meeting, staff will present a comprehensive program schedule to include a full list of projects, budgets, and anticipated start and finish dates. 

A Timeline of the Desegration of the DeKalb County School District



As I was doing some research on another subject, I came across this very detailed timeline of the school desegregation saga within the DeKalb County School District. 

I was surprised to learn that were many "versions" of the Majority to Minority (M-to-M) program and the program actually began when I was a student:

"DeKalb’s “Majority-to-Minority” (M-to-M) program allowed students who were members of the majority racial group at their home school to transfer to a school in which their group was in the minority. It had been the primary tool for school desegregation since it had been implemented in 1972."

As a student, I never realized this program existed, most likely as the article states, the program was poorly advertised. 

And about those trailers and the creation of Junior High Schools, later Middle Schools....

Some efforts to improve conditions at the schools were made more complicated by the court decisions. The swelling student population necessitated the use of trailers as temporary classrooms at many schools, and plans were being drawn up for the construction of new buildings. But due to the earlier ruling in the Redan II case, the DCSS was obligated to consider the desegregative effect of all its decisions concerning facilities. Requests for new trailers had to be approved by the Biracial Committee.[61] 

In October of 1987, Superintendent Robert Freeman unveiled a six-year plan for reorganization of the county’s schools and construction of new facilities. The chief features of the plan included the construction of 11 new schools, the consolidation of high school attendance zones, and the creation of junior high schools (most of which would be housed in former high school facilities.)

After reading this timeline, I would argue that the courts bear some responsibility in the negative experience of desegregation in DCSS with their ever-changing mandates for the district. 

Anyway, for those interested in the history of DCSD, this article is an interesting review of that time period. https://jmarcuspatton.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/six-moving-targets-at-once-school-desegregation-in-dekalb-county-georgia/#comments

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

DeKalb County School District Policy AD- School Attendance Areas
Revised August 5, 2013

There are suggestions floating around that DCSD should cluster schools around city boundaries. I really think it's just a view of a few in Dunwoody, led by those who desperately want Hightower ES moved out of the Dunwoody cluster. Hightower ES is closer to PCMS and DHS than it is to Sequoyah MS and CKHS, thus the district is following its own Policy.  Or maybe the district should take a "split-feeder" approach with Hightower?  Those families in the Hightower ES cluster that live closest PCMS vs those families that live closest to SMS? Of course that would exacerbate the overcrowding at SMS and provide little relief to PCMS/DHS.

There are 2 problems with the approach of creating school clusters around city boundaries:
  1. The DCSD BOE policy does not contain language which allows for the alignment of school clusters within city boundaries.
  2. Most of the school clusters are not contained within city boundaries as can be noted below by the municipalities, or lack thereof, of each high school.
 
 
For example, Montgomery Elementary is located in Brookhaven.  Would that community support a realignment to the Cross Keys HS cluster?  The City of Chamblee has 3 schools within its boundaries, Huntley Hills ES, Chamblee MS and Chamblee HS.  How would that work? 

Here is DCSD Board Policy with regards to School Attendance Areas:

An attendance area shall be established and maintained for each school in the DeKalb County School District, with the exception of certain district-wide schools. The attendance area shall relate to the neighborhoods surrounding and in which the school is located. Students must attend the school serving the attendance area where they reside unless an exception is provided by law or Board policy.

A.            Alteration of School Attendance Areas

School attendance areas may need to be altered for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, population changes, capacity or operating efficiency concerns, change in the use of a school, closure of a school, and the opening of a new school. The Board, upon recommendation of the Superintendent, may alter school attendance areas. The Superintendent’s recommendations for alterations in school attendance areas shall be based on the following primary criteria:

1. Geographic proximity;
2. 
Instructional capacity; and
3. Projected enrollment.

When the primary criteria indicate more than one option for action, the options shall be evaluated on basis of one or more of the following:

1. Safety and traffic patterns;
2. Previous redistricting;
3. Intact neighborhoods;
4. Special programs, i.e., programs serving special needs students that require additional classroom space;
5. Condition of facility;
6. School feeder alignment;
7. Efficient and economical operations; or
8. Other criteria, to be publicly disclosed at or prior to a final decision by the Board.

The Superintendent shall develop a process for obtaining input from the community. In the case of school closures, the Board shall follow the procedures provided in state law regarding public hearings and comment. The Board, at its discretion, may accept, modify, or reject the recommendation of the Superintendent. The Board will base its final decision on the needs of all students in the District. The Board provides the Superintendent or his or her designee with the necessary authority to enact minor attendance area alterations that are consistent with the primary and secondary criteria listed above. Minor attendance area alteration are defined as a change in attendance area that involves the attendance line displaced no more than 1/8 of a mile from the Board approved attendance line and that involves a change of enrollment (positive or negative) of five or less (currently enrolled) students. The Superintendent shall notify the Board of any attendance area alterations.

B. Students Living in Areas Where Attendance Lines Are Altered

When attendance lines are altered, all students must attend the school serving their new attendance area, except that students rising into the highest grade available in an elementary school or middle school or rising into grades 11 or 12 in a high school will have the option of either continuing in their former school with no transportation provided by the District or attending the new home school with transportation provided under Policy ED. Students who choose the Board Policy AD: School Attendance option of remaining in their former school may later transfer to their new home school. Once the student has transferred to the new home school, the student cannot transfer back to the former school.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Edison Prep: UGA 2016 Early Action Musings
An Update of Our Popular 2014 Blog Post

November 25, 2016 By: Silvia and Brian Eufinger
 
Back in May 2014, we posted our original "All About UGA: Ruminations from the 2014 UGA Admissions Process" blog post, which has attracted more than 500% as many views as most of our other blog posts. Therefore, since UGA's Early Action Admits were released this past Friday, we wanted to update our original post with additional data and commentary.

UGA is a school of particular interest to many of our clients, so we continue to do deep dives into its admissions trends and maintain a repository of UGA admissions data. Below is some information that should be of interest to all families that may have students applying to UGA in the next few years.

1) The number of admits via Early Action continues to rise.
The table and graph below show interesting trends from 2012-2017. The number of EA admits has grown from 5,700 for the Class of 2012 to over 8,000 for the Class of 2017.
 
 
 
While 2014-2016 Early Action admits appear to be flat, that's only because the UGA press releases used vague notations of how many EA applicants were admitted: "Some 7,500/Almost 7,500/More Than 7,500." Early admits have grown by 41% in the past five years, while academic statistics such as average GPA/SAT/ACT/AP/IB have continued to grow simultaneously. This is a testament to the growing strength of the UGA applicant pool.

More specifically:
  • The average number of AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes of those accepted has steadily risen by about 0.5 AP classes each year, from 6 to 8.
  • The average ACT score has risen by about a half-point per year as well, both at the bottom end and the top end.
  • The average SAT has risen as well. (Hard to draw too many conclusions given the data available, e.g. average vs. median vs. middle 50%).
  • The GPA for the bottom 25% of admitted students has grown from 3.74 to 3.91, while the average GPA has risen to 4.03. (Note: UGA recalculates students' GPAs to count only core classes and adds extra points for AP/IB/DE classes.)
Full statistics for admitted students for both Early Action and Regular Decision from Nov. 2011 - Nov. 2016 is as follows:  
 
 
Note: For a high-res version of the above table, please click here.
 
2) Superscoring is still having an increased impact on SAT/ACT score averages. Just 4,777 students in Georgia got a single-day ACT score of 30 or higher last year, yet 30 was only the 25th percentile for those accepted into UGA via Early Action (meaning that 75% of students scored higher than this), and over 8,000 students were admitted via Early Action. How is this possible, especially given that not every high-scoring applicant even applies to UGA?

Yes, some students submitted an SAT score (though many fewer than normal, due to the tumultuous SAT switch for the Class of 2017), but a huge contributing factor is that UGA "superscores" both the ACT and SAT (combines the best section scores from different dates). It's a real game-changer. Savvy parents, counselors, and students understand the power of superscoring far better than they did back in 2012, driving average SAT/ACT scores at virtually all schools that superscore upwards. Also, remember that both parents and students tend to fib about their scores; fewer than 1,000 students earned a single-day 34, 35, or 36 last year in the entire state of Georgia (about 2-3 per county), and some of those weren't even students -- they were Edison Prep's own tutors taking the test to stay on top of their game!

3) Academic rigor continues to be far more important than extracurricular activities.
Back in April 2014, Senior Associate Director of UGA Admissions David Graves posted a quote on the UGA Blog that we still sincerely wish were included at the top of every UGA mailing: "When parents or students say that their schedule is already so busy with other activities that it is tough to handle challenging courses...instead of dropping rigorous courses, maybe an activity could be dropped."
We tell students daily that no one has ever been ever rejected for having too low of a "play practice score," but millions of applications are rejected each year for low GPA, low rigor, and/or low SAT/ACT scores. Activities matter if and once your core academic metrics are in the right ballpark. Fun Fact: 95% of students admitted to UGA in 2013 had at least one AP class. Avoiding that AP goose egg is crucial!

4) Applying via Early Action remains paramount.
As the bar graph above shows, a larger than ever number of students is admitted via Early Action. The UGA Admissions Blog goes to great lengths to explain to commenters that it is not easier or harder to be admitted EA vs. RD; it’s just a different timeline. As you can see in the table above, the academic stats for the full admitted pool vs. EA-only are relatively similar quantitatively, which just further strengthens the argument for applying early.

It is likely that if the statistically high-flying UGA Honors College applicants were removed from the rest of the EA pool, the resulting EA vs. RD stats would be near identical. What we can definitively state is that, by all means, unless you think that your statistics are so poor that you'll be rejected during Early Action, apply during Early Action. As the table above illustrates, approximately 2/3 of the total annual spots are already gobbled up via Early Action. Therefore, students should try to compete while a reasonable number of spots still remain. Doing so implies trying to finish up standardized testing by June of junior year at the latest so that students can apply via Early Action (though EA applicants are still allowed to submit the Sept. ACT score and the Oct. SAT score for Early Action).
 
5)...But couldn't I get rejected via Early Action? Historically, only 4-7% of Early Action applicants get rejected. About 1,000 got rejected this past week out of the 15,614. The vast, vast majority of EA applicants who are not admitted are deferred, not denied.  From 2012-2017, we've tutored 3,500+ students who applied to UGA and who hailed from over 90 high schools and over 25 Georgia counties. When comparing notes with our brain trust of 6-7 local college counselors, we realized that it has been several years since any of us has personally had a student rejected via Early Action, including students who had 0-2 APs, under a 3.3 UGA GPA, and/or lower than a 24 on the ACT. Furthermore, applying early is a relatively low-risk endeavor because any student who was close to gaining admission via EA who might benefit from having one extra semester of grades and/or a better SAT/ACT score would also be a strong enough applicant to at least get deferred. 

6) If you are deferred via Early Action, write the essays!
Ironically, the Early Action applicants who get deferred who were *painfully* closest to getting in are also often those who are most likely to lose hope. They may not even bother filling out the essays that are required to complete the application for Regular Decision. Write the essays! It's a small task. As Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take!"
 
7) Closing Thoughts:
Remember that while SAT/ACT is important (the second strongest factor), a high GPA combined with a rigorous curriculum will always be the single most important factor for admission. Keep up that GPA! Additionally, if UGA is on your student's list, we'd highly encourage you to regularly read the UGA Admissions Blog regularly. UGA has one of the most responsive and high-touch blogs of any college admissions blog in America; David Graves does an amazing job.
 
Questions?
Feel free to email us with questions at edison@edisonprep.com or call us at 404-333-8573! 

Note: The immense amount of longitudinal data that went into this blog post is sourced at our UGA Statistics Repository Page

My Concerns With Board of Education Representative Stan Jester

It’s no secret that DeKalb BOE Region 1 (Chamblee/Dunwoody cluster) Board Member Stan Jester supports a separate Doraville HS.  He and his fellow supporters of “Option A” have often pointed to Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman as a solid ally in that endeavor.  Heck, what community would not desire a brand new, $100 million modern high school for their students?

A little background on my reasons for this post:

On November 16th, Rebekah Morris updated her blog post to include an updated position from Mayor Pittman:  https://georgianeducator.org/2016/11/13/no-new-elementary-school-for-cross-keys-and-more/.

From the updated post, you can read the email exchange between Mayor Pittman and Ms. Rebekah Morris. Mayor Pittman’s priority AT THIS TIME is improving the conditions at current Doraville elementary schools and working toward a new Doraville ES (which were part of the early plans submitted by DCSD). Nowhere in the email exchange does Mayor Pittman disavow her support for a Doraville high school – it is just not her #1 priority AT THIS TIME.

Later in the afternoon of November 16th, Stan Jester posted an entry on his blog, http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/11/6873/ entitled “Doraville Mayor on WABE:  I would love a high school in Doraville”. 

What was his purpose?  Was his post an attempt to embarrass Mayor Pittman because she reassessed the situation and believed the priority should be a new elementary school? Was the post an attempt to round up the “usual suspects” on his blog to denounce and harass Mayor Pittman?  It seems many who posted on his blog failed to read that this interview was done in 2015.  To assail someone, in this case Mayor Pittman, because they reassessed their priorities is ludicrous. 

Previously, Mr. Jester posted a letter on his blog that the Kingsley Elementary and Chesnut Elementary school councils submitted to all members of the DeKalb Board of Education.  The letter was to make sure the concerns of these 2 often forgotten schools in Dunwoody were being properly communicated to the school district.  Mr. Jester titled the blog post “Chesnut ES and Kingsley ES Not A Fan of Their School Board Rep” http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/11/6857/. 

The letter from the Kingsley and Chesnut ES school councils was in no way a personal attack on Mr. Jester, but one would never know that from the title of the blog post.  Mr. Jester showed a lack of concern for those he was elected to represent by posting this letter on his blog.  Upon receiving the letter, Mr. Jester should have reached out to the Kingsley and Chesnut communities and discussed their concerns privately. His actions have exacerbated the tensions within the Dunwoody school cluster which have never been very cordial, at least at the elementary school level.

For some, Mayor Pittman becomes the enemy, along with Kim Gokce and the Dunwoody HS, PCMS, Kingsley and Chesnut school councils, because they support, for their own different and valid reasons, Option B.  

I was a big fan of Stan Jester's wife, Nancy Jester, during her tenure on the BOE. I will always be grateful for her "unmasking" of the financial malfeasance taking place within DCSD.  I cannot say the same about Mr. Jester’s tenure on the BOE to this point. 

I hope Mr. Jester can put aside his personal desires and animosities and remember that he was elected to work with and engage ALL schools within his Region, not just those schools which support HIS views. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Dunwoody & Chamblee Cluster Schools
FTE Enrollment by Ethnicity/Race and Gender

The Georgia Department of Education has released FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) Enrollment data for the October, 2016 data collection cycle.  FTE Enrollment data by Ethnicity/Race & Gender can be viewed from the GADOE site at the following link:  https://oraapp.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_ethnicsex_pub.entry_form.

FTE Student Enrollment by Grade Level data can be found at the following link:  https://oraapp.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fte_pack_enrollgrade.entry_form

A good primer on FTE data and its utilization can be found at the following link:
http://dcconference.gadoe.org/Documents/FY2017/Data%20Collection/FTE%20Overview%20and%20Update%20(Carl%20Garber).pdf





School
Gender
Ethic Hispanic
Indian
Asian
Black
Pacific
White
Multi
Austin Elementary    Female
18
*
85
*
*
215
15
Austin Elementary    Male
19
*
73
*
*
225
*
Austin Elementary Total
37
*
158
*
*
440
15
Chesnut Elementary    Female
53
*
30
68
*
72
*
Chesnut Elementary    Male
54
*
19
79
*
64
*
Chesnut Elementary Total
107
*
49
147
*
136
*
Dunwoody Elementary    Female
51
*
120
88
*
219
22
Dunwoody Elementary    Male
55
*
164
87
*
204
18
Dunwoody Elementary Total
106
*
284
175
*
423
40
Hightower Elementary    Female
339
*
17
20
*
*
*
Hightower Elementary    Male
321
*
18
30
*
*
*
Hightower Elementary Total
660
*
35
50
*
*
*
Kingsley Elementary    Female
132
*
*
20
*
75
*
Kingsley Elementary    Male
138
*
*
22
*
74
*
Kingsley Elementary Total
270
*
*
42
*
149
*
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vanderlyn Elementary
Female
18
*
131
*
*
151
*
Vanderlyn Elementary    Male
*
*
166
15
*
182
*
Vanderlyn Elementary
Total
*
*
297
*
*
333
*
 
Peachtree Charter Middle    Female
229
*
43
134
*
317
22
Peachtree Charter Middle    Male
267
*
57
115
*
347
25
Peachtree Charter Middle Total
496
*
100
249
*
664
47
Dunwoody High     Female
220
*
57
160
*
465
22
Dunwoody High    Male
243
*
70
134
*
442
18
Dunwoody High Total
463
*
127
294
*
907
40
Note:  "*" indicates there are less than 15 students in this category


 School
Gender
Ethic Hispanic
Indian
Asian
Black
Pacific
White
Multi
Ashford Park Elementary
Female
48
*
*
30
*
151
*
Ashford Park Elementary    Male
61
*
20
35
*
161
17
Ashford Park Elementary Total
109
*
20
65
*
312
17
Huntley Hills Elementary
   Female
106
*
33
77
*
77
*
Huntley Hills Elementary    Male
95
*
45
71
*
47
*
Huntley Hills Elementary Total
201
*
78
148
*
124
*
Kittredge Magnet    Female
15
*
34
29
*
142
22
Kittredge Magnet    Male
*
*
36
35
*
153
16
Kittredge Magnet
Total
15
*
70
64
*
295
38
Montgomery Elementary    Female
23
*
25
62
*
221
29
Montgomery Elementary    Male
25
*
32
43
*
235
28
Montgomery Elementary Total
48
*
57
105
*
456
57
 
Chamblee Middle     Female
77
*
57
114
*
214
18
Chamblee Middle     Male
84
*
53
141
*
191
*
Chamblee Middle  Total
161
*
110
255
*
405
18
Chamblee Charter HS    Female
203
*
90
284
*
231
24
Chamblee Charter HS    Male
224
*
89
229
*
247
20
Chamblee Charter HS Total
427
*
179
513
*
478
44
Note:  "*" indicates there are less than 15 students in this category