Friday, December 28, 2012

CrossRoadNews: State Summons DeKalb School Board
 To Suspension Hearing

DeKalb School Board members have a date to tell state officials why they should keep their seats.

The state Board of Education summoned the board members to a Jan. 17 hearing at 1 p.m. “regarding whether the state board should recommend to the governor that he suspend the members of the DeKalb County BOE.”

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More Craziness from the DeKalb Board of Education

It's like the nightmare we can't wake up from....

An excerpt from Don McChesney's blog post "Board Chair Elections. This Should Be Interesting":

The street network tells me that Ms. Edler has been holding meetings with the new board members at her house trying to assure that Ms. Edler is chair and Marshall Orson vice chair. Dr. Walker has sent out an email saying that he would like support for returning as chair. I have heard rumblings that Mr. Cunningham is also going to throw his hat in the ring. If any of these folks become chair or vice chair it will be a disaster for the Board.

Click here to read the remainder of Don's post.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

From the Archives: Lynn Deutsch, DCSS parent, speaks at BOE Meeting

I have resurrected a post from June of 2010.  Why are we still saying the same things of the DeKalb BOE as we were 2.5 years ago?  Again, what took SACS so long???

I have known Lynn Deutsch for a very long time.  She is truly one of my heroes.  I have never met a parent more engaged and informed about education in our community, our county and our state.  Last evening she spoke at the DCSS Board of Education meeting.  I borrowed her words from DeKalb School Watch blog.  The BOE meeting will also be replayed on PDS-24 at scheduled times during the next few weeks.  If you have never tuned into or attended a BOE meeting, this might be a good time to start.  For those of us with children in the DCSS it is crucial that things begin to turn around NOW.  Kudos to Lynn for her words.

"Good Evening. I am Lynn Deutsch, a DeKalb County parent and taxpayer. Like so many others, I am beyond frustrated with the current situation in DeKalb.

As Board Members, whether or not you believe you created this mess, you are responsible for turning this around. Right now, among both interested observers and the general public, the DeKalb County School System has no credibility.

First, you must order a forensic audit. Hopefully, this thorough examination of the system’s contracts, expenses, purchases, and much more will uncover nothing more than routine day to day operational expenditures. However, as many of you have stated to the media, major changes occurred without your knowledge. This Forensic Audit will give you a much clearer picture of how a billion dollars a year is being spent and afford you the opportunity to offer a transparent view of the finances of this school system to the taxpayers. In addition, having this done before a new superintendent is in place, offers that person some protections because any wrong doings or errors will be corrected before they assume their new job.

Second, you need to act like the indictments are a big deal. They are. Regardless of the outcome of the case, this is a real black eye to our school system and a reflection of, if nothing else, pure sloppiness in how things were getting done. This matters. It will impact the school system for months, and perhaps years to come. From the seriousness of possibly having accreditation impacted to the loss of potential donations from foundations, this is a mess that will linger. Get this system in order and get it in order now.

Third, you need to adopt a new P Card policy. At most governmental institutions, misusing a P card once may be grounds for firing, even if the misuse is accidental. Misusing multiple times, would certainly be grounds for dismissal. It is my understanding that the current policy in DeKalb is to remove the P card from the user for a set period of time. Enough said. 

Fourth, I am greatly concerned that we remain a top heavy, inefficient bureaucratic organization. Concerned, but not surprised. It is time for you to change the Reduction in Force Policy. It seems to me, after sitting in budget hearings where there were many concerns expressed about cutting low hanging fruit, this is exactly what happened. In a few months when all the dust settles and school begins, I expect that there will be a continually growing outrage. Do you think you should have kept the core subject coordinators’ positions in math, science, reading and social studies? Have you looked at test scores in this system recently?

Fifth, speaking of test scores, our next superintendent should be someone with a proven track record of improving student achievement. We need an outsider who can come in and put a sharp eye to the challenges and barriers to student achievement in DeKalb and then come up with a plan to address them. From AYP status to SAT and AP test scores, DeKalb’s data shows there is a problem. Find the very best person to lead this system and help DeKalb students achieve more. 

Do not let the children of DeKalb down. Their futures are in your very hands. Shape this system up now by shaking it up. Do what is necessary to make sure that we head back in the right direction.
Petition: Governor Nathan Deal and Georgia State Board of Education: Review SACS findings, if accurate REPLACE the Dekalb County School Board

Click here to sign the petition.

Click here to read the SACS report.

By law, the GA Board of Education must hold a hearing within the 30 days after the "Accredited Probation" standing was issued to DeKalb Schools.  We hope that hearing is sooner than later.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DCSD Region 1 School Organization Community Meeting
Dunwoody High School,  Wednesday, January 16, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 19, 2012 – Every five years, school districts across the state submit a list of schools to participate in the state capital outlay program. The DeKalb district is completing an application for funding that requires a list of its schools, and the DeKalb County “Proposed School Organization” meets the state requirements. It is not a redistricting plan. In January, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) planning staff will revise its briefing to focus the community's understanding on DeKalb's list of schools and minimize any discussion of boundary changes. This list of schools will incorporate the new schools added under the SPLOST IV capital program.

The staff briefing in January will clarify that a list of schools is all that is needed to begin the state application process. The list of schools does not require any information about boundary lines. Consequently, the proposed school organization is not a redistricting plan but a list of school facilities the district expects to operate in the out years. This list is used to determine the state's award for capital project funding. DCSD staff will update the current list of 2007-12 schools to show SPLOST IV new school buildings and any decommissioned buildings out to the years 2016-17. The briefing will underscore that the Board of Education need only approve a list of schools so that the district meets state processing deadlines in order to qualify for funding. Any discussion about boundaries, if needed, would take place sometime in the future and under a separate, detailed public process per district policy.  The public information meetings about the 2016-17 list of schools will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the following dates:

Region 5: January 8, 2013 McNair High
Region 3: January 9, 2013 Redan High
Region 4: January 10, 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. High
Region 2: January 15, 2013 Tucker High

Region 1: January 16, 2013 Dunwoody High
District-wide: January 17, 2013 DCSD Administrative and Instructional Complex

Thursday, December 20, 2012

City of Dunwoody:
Peachtree Charter Middle School
New Track On Schedule

City of Dunwoody officials are working cooperatively with the DeKalb County Board of Education, school officials and their project management team to keep the school’s outdoor track construction project accelerating forward.
Environmental permitting will be completed, allowing for the project to commence construction on schedule during the summer of 2013.
The City understands the importance of this track project to PCMS students, families, and faculty.
The track project is a much-anticipated improvement for Peachtree Charter Middle School and the City looks forward to watching our students go for gold on their new track.
Peachtree Charter Middle School Competition Cheer Squad
Earns a Grand Champion Title…again!

PCMS cheerleaders took FIRST PLACE in the Middle School Cheer Division at the FCC State Championship held at the Gwinnett Arena, as well as the FCC State Championship Cheerleading GRAND CHAMPIONS!

Congratulations to the PCMS Competition Cheer Squad for taking their SECOND Grand Champion Title! Their first title was earned earlier at the Inferno Spirit Cheer and Dance competition in November.

A special thanks goes to our wonderful coach, Ava Moore and congratulations to all of our cheerleaders: Alyssa Sullivan, Annie Wall, Ariana Cohen, Ashton Harbin, Belle Schindler, Christy Holloway, Elyse Connor, Emily Christensen, Emma Sheehan, Erin Zeigler, Ginna Feiman, Holley Leech, Jessica Gibson, Lauren Callihan, Maddie Srochi, Meaghan Pressnall, Molly Taptich, Naomi Mitchell, Olivia Milam, Sarah Wagner, Savannah Maddux and Taylor Pressnall.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chesnut Charter Elementary News
New Track and Robotics Competition

Chesnut Foundation to Build Track at School

Chesnut has won a $5000 grant from the GA Department of Public Health that will be used to build a walking/running crushed granite track in the lower field of the school. In addition, the new grant will provide new materials for our Farm-to-School school-wide nutrition lessons. This will be a wonderful addition for the Chesnut community.

Chesnut Robotics Team Brings Home Trophy

Chesnut's robotics team, the CougarBots, have brought home a trophy in their very first year in competition. Our team won the award for Best Presentation for their proposal to create marked walking paths around our neighborhood that could be used as a way to help seniors be more comfortable while getting good exercise. (This idea has even been presented to the City of Dunwoody for consideration.)

The team narrowly missed advancing to the next round of competition due to a last-minute robot malfunction, but they earned excellent experience and showed wonderful team spirit during some challenging times at the competition. The Chesnut community can be very proud of the CougarBots' results and experience.

We thank Mrs. Kara Grant, Mrs. Stacia Brown, and our Northside Hospital Partners-in-Education for helping to make the CougarBots' first year a success!

Monday, December 17, 2012

DeKalb County School District Placed on Probation

Update from Fran Millar's Facebook post:

I with other members of the DeKalb delegation will be meeting with Governor's office on this matter after the holidays. I need to review the entire report since ONLY the media was invited to the press conference

Further to the suspension below, the State Board is required to to conduct a hearing in not less than10 days nor more than 30 days and recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all eligible members of the local board. I will monitor the State Board to make sure the law is followed.

Click here to read the entire SACS report.  Thanks to Maureen Downey of Get Schooled/AJC for providing the document on her blog.

Ok, Governor Deal, the ball is on your court.....

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dunwoody High Math Team News

Congratulations to our Mathematician of the Week David Heavern and to our JV Mathematician of the Week Parul Rai!

Mandelbrot results
We also now have results from Round 2 of the Mandelbrot Mathematics Competition: In Round 2, Parker Hollander was our leading scorer, with strong supporting performances from Will Koval, Will Altman, Thomas Dellaert, Wesley Dixon, Penny Kahn, Jonathan Olson, and Andrew Weatherly.

After two rounds, DHS is now ranked 13th in the Southeast (up 2 places from Round 1), and our 2nd team moved up 7 places to 22nd. Individually, Will Koval and Parker Hollander are on the Leader Board, in 21st and 32nd place respectively overall.

Additionally, Andrew Weatherly, Jonathan Olson and John Riordan are ranked in the top 100, and in the top 150, we have Penny Kahn, Wesley Dixon, Craig Sturken, Thomas Dellaert, and Will Altman.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dunwoody High Students Selected for Honor Band

Auditions for Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) District IV Honor Band were held this past Saturday at Lithonia High School. DHS is proud to announce that the following 17 students earned positions in this year's Honor Band:

9th and 10th Grade Band

Olivia Plumb
Amy Minnoch
Aaron Martin
Katie Kish
Caroline Kish
John Hudson
Daniel Nixon
Joseph Nixon

11th and 12th Grade Band
Josh Klein
Taylor Haas
Scott Kayhan
Brendan Sexton
Conor Wheeler
Nate Galerstein
Oliver Ni
Josh Galerstein
Jonathan Krieck

Special kudos to Caroline Kish, Daniel Nixon, Nate Galerstein and Josh Galerstein for earning First Chairs in their sections. ALL of these students also qualify for the final auditions in January for the 2013 Georgia All-State Band. Please congratulate these students and on this incredible accomplishment.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dr. Cheryl L.H. Atkinson, Superintendent
Guiding Questions - Summary
Dunwoody High School – Region 1 Roundtable
Tucker High School - Region 2 Roundtable

Many of the same issues and comments from both Regions.  This comment from the Tucker roundtable sums it up for me:
·         We are all on the same team.
o   Parent concerns are not an attack on the District.

Click here to view the summary of the Region 1 Roundtable. 
Click here to view the summary of the Region 2 Roundtable.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dunwoody High School

Governor’s Honors Program Nominees

The Georgia Governor's Honors Program (GHP) is a six-week summer residential instructional program (four weeks in 2013) designed to provide intellectually gifted and artistically talented high school students challenging and enriching educational opportunities not usually available during the regular school year. Activities are designed to provide each participant with opportunities to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to become independent, life-long learners. The Georgia Governor's Honors Program is fully-funded by the Georgia General Assembly, and operates at no cost to the participant.

Congratulations to the 143 DeKalb County School students nominated for the Governor’s Honors program. Click here to view the DCSD Press Release and list of nominees.

Good luck to the following Dunwoody High School students as they prepare for their upcoming Governor’s Honors interviews:

Zachary BloombergMathematics
Kelly CarterSpanish
Sindy ChavezFrench
Elizabeth ClearyGerman
Jeanne DavisCommunicative Arts
Thomas DellaertMathematics
Bridget EiseleSpanish
Josh GalersteinMusic/Brass(Tuba)
Nate GalersteinMusic/Brass(Euphonium/Baritone)
Noah GoldsteinBiology
Mallory HarrisMathematics
Kristin IngramCommunicative Arts
Joshua KleinMusic/Brass(Trumpet)
Mary Elizabeth LeeMathematics
Kendall LowerySocial Studies
Aaron MartinMathematics
Sarah MontgomeryMusic/Woodwinds(Clarinet)
Joseph NotoMathematics
Saakya PeecharaCommunicative Arts
Robin SpratlingSpanish
Jacky ZhuMathematics

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chesnut Charter Elementary School
Robotics Tournament and New Track

Chesnut CougarBots To Compete on Saturday, Dec. 8th

This is the first year of competition for Chesnut's Robotics team, the CougarBots. They have been preparing -- building a robot, programming it, and creating their presentation -- for many months. They'll have a chance to put their robot and ideas to the test THIS weekend. Anyone can attend the competition to cheer them on!
  • Saturday, December 8 at Tucker High School, 9am - 5pm
Contact for details on when the CougarBots will be competing during the day -- or come at the end for the championship rounds -- if you'd like to stop by and see what it's all about!

A New Track Coming to Chesnut

Chesnut has been awarded another grant, bringing this year's total to $6400 so far! Our first grant paid the steep start-up costs of Chesnut's Technology Club and Lego Robotics team, and this new award will be used to.... build a walking/running crushed gravel track in the lower field. In addition, the new grant will provide new materials for our Farm-to-School school-wide nutrition lessons.  The new track and enhanced nutrition lessons are being supervised and overseen by Chesnut's Wellness Team. If you have any questions or would like to be involved in the work of this group, please contact