Monday, September 29, 2014

Dunwoody Elementary School Organic Gardens
Harvesting Sweet Potatoes

Dunwoody Elementary School 2nd grade students planted sweet potatoes last spring in their organic gardens.  Students were a part of the planting process through the harvesting of the sweet potatoes. Over a 1,000 sweet potatoes were harvested this past week.  Parent volunteers made some yummy recipes to share with each classroom, for a well deserved treat!    

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dunwoody High School Council Responds
to "Dunwoody Crier" Headline

Several weeks ago the "Dunwoody Crier" published an article written by Elizabeth Jester concerning the expansion of Dunwoody High School's ESL population.  It was a good, positive article, with one exception - the title.  The title "Immigrants Fill Dunwoody High" had little relevance to the article itself.

Below is the response to the article by the Dunwoody High School Council which appears in this weeks Crier:

To the Editor:

Regarding the 9-10-14 cover story titled, “Immigrants fill Dunwoody High,” on behalf of the Dunwoody High School Council, I would like to have seen a headline that would have more accurately summarized the article content or moreover, accurately described the true nature of what fills Dunwoody High School. 

When the author, Liz Jester, was contacted about her title choice she explained to me that when she submitted her article it was titled, “Dunwoody Expands ESL Program to Meet Needs of Increasing International Population.”  This seems a more befitting summarization of the article content.

The author was unaware of the title change or the reasoning behind it. So to clarify a few points stated in the article, only 25 students of the 150 were enrolled at Dunwoody High School from the International Center at the beginning of the school year and many students in Dunwoody’s ESL program are citizens.

Click here to read the remainder of the response.

NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo and Dunwoody Cheerleaders Kick Off Chesnut Challenge Fundraiser for STEM

Chesnut Charter Elementary School’s new fundraiser, the Chesnut Challenge, kicked-off with a pep rally on Thursday, September 18th with surprise appearances by the Dunwoody High School cheerleaders, who wowed students, parents and faculty with amazing stunts and cheers written specifically for Chesnut, as well as by 8-time NBA All-Star, 4-time winner of NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and former Atlanta Hawk, Dikembe Mutombo. 

Mr. Mutombo has not only had an accomplished basketball career, but he also graduated from Georgetown University where he was on an academic scholarship, speaks 9 languages, and has won multiple honorary degrees, good citizenship awards and recognition for his humanitarian efforts. Since 1997, he has been Chairman and President of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is where Mr. Mutombo was born. Mr. Mutombo shared stories with the students, laughed with them and took their questions. The main message he delivered, however, was the tremendous importance of education. The 7’3” superstar reminded the students never to limit themselves – they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.

"We are extremely grateful for the time and unrivaled contributions that were made to our pep rally by Mr. Mutombo, as well as by the Dunwoody cheerleaders and their coach, Gayle Hard.  Their support of Chesnut and their confidence in our students’ success instill even more school spirit into our 450 students,” said Chesnut’s Principal, Veronica Williams.

The theme for this year’s Chesnut Challenge is “Stepping Up For STEM.” The funds raised will be directed toward Chesnut’s increased emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and will go toward Chesnut’s new STEM lab, including an interactive ActivTable and tablet PCs.

The Chesnut Challenge is the school’s first major fundraiser that is being produced entirely in-house by Chesnut parent volunteers. With previous fundraisers, outside fundraising companies kept up to 48 percent of the donations. With Chesnut volunteers producing this event, 100 percent of the tax-deductible donations will go back to the school – and toward STEM - through the Friends of Chesnut Foundation.

On October 2nd, after two weeks of the students raising donations to sponsor their participation in the Chesnut Challenge and winning prizes for their fundraising results, they will participate in the Chesnut Challenge – a funrun-style event in which they will jog, walk, skip and dance around a track. This event is also in keeping with Chesnut’s emphasis on wellness - tying into increased physical activity.

“For parent volunteers, the fact that 100 percent of the funds our children raise will go toward STEM at Chesnut motivated us to produce the fundraiser ourselves,” said Melissa Marion-Landais, Chair of the Chesnut Challenge. “A tremendous amount of work and time have been put into producing this fundraiser, but we stand behind the importance of STEM and support our administration and faculty’s efforts to become STEM certified.”

Community supporters interested in contributing to the Chesnut Challenge may contact Melissa Marion-Landais at

Dikembe Mutombo with Chesnut Principal Mrs. Williams

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DeKalb County Schools Class of 2014 ACT Scores

The Georgia Department of Education has released the school level ACT Scores.  The DOE is reporting only the Composite scores, no Subject scores as they have done in previous years. (Update:  GADOE replied that ACT only sent Composite scores).  Click here to view scores for all Georgia High Schools.

5 DeKalb County high schools (and only 2 “traditional” schools, Dunwoody and Lakeside) recorded scores higher than the Composite National Average of 21.0:
  • Chamblee
  • DeKalb Early College
  • DeKalb School of the Arts
  • Dunwoody
  • Lakeside

Click here to view the ACT National Readiness Report.

Click here to view the State of Georgia ACT Report.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dunwoody High School Student Joseph (Max) Noto Selected as National Merit Semifinalist

Congratulations to Dunwoody High School student Joseph (Max) Noto on being selected as a National Merit Semifinalist! 

About 1.4 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dunwoody High's Paige McKnight Signs with Georgetown

article and photo courtesy of DeKalb County Schools

Paige McKnight is following in the footsteps of her mother to play college volleyball at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. in 2015.

The senior from Dunwoody has been a big part of the Lady Wildcats’ success the past two seasons including the school’s first ever Final Four appearance (Class 5A) in 2014 and the climb to the No. 2 ranking in Class 5A this season with a 21-3 record.

McKnight has 1,175 assists in her career including her first three years of play through the 24 matches this season and 841 kills while also chalking up 666 digs, 302 aces and 110.5 blocks.

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chesnut Walkers Encouraged by Kaiser Permanente's Mascot "Doc Broc"

 Kaiser Permanente's Doc Broc surprises the Chesnut walkers!
DUNWOODY -- On Wednesday September 3rd, Kaiser Permanente's mascot "Doc Broc" was on hand to greet more than half the student body of Chesnut Charter Elementary School at the first Walk to School Day of the school year. Kaiser’s wellness champion, who encourages healthy eating habits and plenty of exercise, surprised the children and their parents. Chesnut’s Wellness Action Team, part of the Parent Teacher Council, is committed to promoting healthy habits and environment. Chesnut is proud to support Walk to School, part of the Safe Routes to School program, and looks forward to walking with students worldwide on October 8th as a part of Safe Routes to School's International Walk to School Day.

Doc Broc poses with (l-r) Isabel and Madelyn Ramo.
Isabel is in Pre-k and Madelyn is in first grade at Chesnut

Parent volunteers and Doc Broc

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A New Tradition Begins Tonight!
"The Golden Spike Award" Goes to the Winner of the Dunwoody v Chamblee Football Game

Update:  Dunwoody Wildcats win the initial "Golden Spike" Award with a 19-12 victory over the Chamblee Bulldogs.

I absolutely love this idea!   What a wonderful and creative way to celebrate the "rivalry" between the 2 schools.  

A Few Items of Interest Around Dunwoody and DeKalb

A few items that may interest you. (click on the highlighted topic to read further).

Dunwoody HS Gridiron Club Fundraiser:
Dunwoody Wildcat Gridiron Club is having a tailgate fundraiser on Friday, September 5th from 5pm-7pm at the DHS Vs Chamblee game. Tailgate will be at 3641 Pierce Drive NE - on the far side of Chamblee school where all the parking is. Game time is 7:30pm. Come early and choose from two great food trucks - Hail Caeser or Mighty Meatball. Tickets are $10 per person and includes an entree and drink. Dunwoody Gridiron club will be selling tickets during lunch next week in the front hall Tuesday through Friday. Power 96.1 radio station will be at our Pep Rally and at the tailgate. We're looking forward to another great Friday night!   

Dunwoody High School Softball Team Car Wash Fundraiser; Saturday, September 6th @ 10:00 – Burger King @ Georgetown.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Update: Georgia Milestones Assessment System Waivers:
- Promotion & Retention for Grades 1,3,5,8
- EOC Test Scores Will Not be a 20% of Student Grade

One of my biggest concerns surrounding the new Georgia Milestones Assessment System is the speed with which the GA Department of Education is implementing the new system.  While the GADOE is proceeding with the new assessment system, waivers were granted at the August 21st Georgia Board of Education meeting for the following items:
  1. Promotion and Retention Requirements for Grades 1,3,5 and 8
  2. Requirement that End of Course Test Scores contribute to 20% of a students final course grade.
From the waiver request.  Click here to read the entire waiver request.

Georgia Milestones is a new assessment program that includes end of grade measures at the elementary and middle school levels (grades 3 – 8) and end of course measures at the high school level. Given the 2014-2015 school year marks the first operational administration of the new program, there is significant technical work that must be completed, including, but not limited to, setting the achievement expectations (i.e., cut scores), prior to releasing scores. A waiver of the student promotion and retention requirements, set forth in Rule 160-4-2-.11 PROMOTION, PLACEMENT, AND RETENTION, sections (3)(a), (3)(b), (3)(c), for reading in grades 3, 5, and 8 and mathematics in grades 5 and 8 is requested as results cannot be issued until the necessary technical work is completed. Additionally, a waiver of the requirement that the end of course measures contribute to the final course grade, as stipulated in Rule 160-4-2-.13 STATEWIDE PASSING SCORE, sections (2)(d), (2)(e), (2)(f), is requested. The waiver is requested for the 2014-2015 school year, through July 31, 2015. The necessary technical work will be completed during the summer months of 2015, with results being released in fall 2015.

Click here to view the latest Georgia Milestones Assessment presentation.