Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dunwoody Elementary School's Laura Fleury-Bell
Nominated as "STAR" Teacher

Laura Fleury-Bell Art Teacher at Dunwoody Elementary School has been nominated as 2015 "STAR" Teacher!  She was nominated for making great strides in the Visual and/ or Performing Arts by enhancing instruction through her professional and personal endeavors.  She will be honored at the High Museum of Art on May 15th.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chesnut Charter Elementary's Ecology Club Students
Go "Coco for Collards"

This March, Chesnut Charter Elementary School’s 4th and 5th grade Ecology Club members harvested collard greens, clearing all the decaying plant parts to the compost pile. The students divided their harvest into bags to which they attached a hand-written “coconut collard greens” recipe for delivery to their teachers.

Pictured: School Counselor Betty Sule looks on as Chesnut students Sofia Renals and Madison Hummel cook up a small batch of Coconut Collards. Student Jordan Wade awaits his turn to taste.  Recipe below.

Coconut Greens
  • One bunch greens (like collards, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, bok choi)
  • One tablespoon coconut oil
  • Salt
Chop greens into 2″ squares. Heat coconut oil in skillet on medium heat. Toss greens in skillet for 5 to 10 minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kingsley Charter Elementary Names Teacher of the Year and
Professional Staff Member of the Year

Kingsley Charter Elementary is proud to announce that Ms. Kimberly Henard has been chosen our Teacher of the Year and Mr. Charles Prayor, is our Professional Staff Member of the year.

They are surrounded by Mr. Brent McBride, Principal and Mrs. Laura Baez, Assistant Principal.
Also pictured are our other outstanding nominees: (L to R) Ms. Plyne, Ms. Bennett, Ms. Glenn and Mrs. Salamone. Not pictured, Ms. Irving.
We applaud these members of the Kingsley Charter family and thank them and all the others who put students first each and everyday.
Also, Kingsley's Kindergarten Round-up is scheduled for Thursday, April 30th from 3-5pm.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Austin Elementary School Replacement Update

Courtesy of Stan Jester's DeKalb School Fact Checker.

Cynthia Brictson and Michael Thurmond were on hand at the Austin Elementary School Council meeting Wednesday where John Jambro, Director of Design & Construction, delivered an Austin Replacement School Update.

Two things are perfectly clear;  1)  The school district does not know what to do with the students during the rebuild.  2)  The community would like a school with a capacity of 750 students and not a prototypical school with 900 students.

To that end, the district is currently performing a feasibility study to determine if renovation is a viable option.  The output of the feasibility study will include
  • Renovation and addition cost model
  • Conceptual building plan
  • Determination of a suitable location for a possible facility expansion
Click here to view the Austin Elementary Replace School  Update Powerpoint Presentation.

All DeKalb County High Schools Receive Highest Approval Rating from Georgia Accrediting Commission

Many thanks to Dunwoody Councilman Terry Nall for all of his efforts to promote and ensure that this additional accreditation by the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) was acted upon by DCSD.  

To be honest I don't trust Mark Elgart and SACS any further than I could throw him.  This additional accreditation is comforting to have in my opinion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Congratulations to the DeKalb Schools Governor's Honors Finalists

The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students who will be rising juniors and seniors during the program.  The program offers instruction that is significantly different from the typical high school classroom.  It is designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment necessary to become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.

GHP is held in mid-summer (mid-June to mid-July) as a residential educational experience on a college or university campus.  Students attend classes in the mornings and afternoons in specific areas of study, and they participate in a wide variety of social and instructional opportunities every evening.  Meals and rooms are provided by the program with the only required costs to the students being travel expenses to and from the interviews, a few basic supplies for classes and dorm rooms, and spending money as desired during the program.

Click here to view the entire list of GHP Finalists.

Patrick Clinch -Dunwoody High School
Kyra Perry - Dunwoody High School
Dana Phillips - DeKalb School of the Arts
Rebecca Theune - DeKalb School of the Arts

Sharadindu Biswas - Alternate - Chamblee Charter High School

Ricardo Hartley - DeKalb School of the Arts
Angeliq Brock - Alternate - DeKalb School of the Arts

Fernanda Carlosama - Tucker High School
Olivia Plumb - Dunwoody High School

Elise Holland - Dunwoody High School
Caroline Kim - Chamblee Charter High School
Kathleen Kish - Dunwoody High School
Yadana Myo - Chamblee Charter High School
Yalini Senthil Kumar - Chamblee Charter High School
Bruce Lasher, Alternate - Chamblee Charter High School

Chenthuran Abeyakaran - Chamblee Charter High School
Rishi Chakraborty - Lakeside High School
Matthew Desoutter - Dunwoody High School
Ashik Najib - Chamblee Charter High School
Advaith Sekharan - Lakeside High School
Vaibhav Vasudevan - Chamblee Charter High School
Muiz Wani - Chamblee Charter High School

Kathryn Allen - Dunwoody High School (French Horn)
Matthew Lindsey - Columbia High School (Trumpet)

Autumn Hinze - Druid Hills High School
Jannifer Hong - Tucker High School
Philip Lechner - Lakeside High School
Alec Reinhardt - Lakeside High School

Kayla Puni - Dunwoody High School
Kayleigh Nortje (Alternate) - Dunwoody High School

Jennifer Guzdial - Lakeside High School
Yifan Liang - Lakeside High School
Thomas Pelham - Druid Hills High School
Yarden Tsfoni - Dunwoody High School
Anne Yates (Alternate) - Dunwoody High School

Jeremy Teissler - Dunwoody High School 

Chloe Chappell - Druid Hills High School
Olivia Edwards - Dunwoody High School

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dunwoody Elementary Singers Perform at District IV LGPE Festival

Dunwoody Singers performed at the District IV Large Group Performance Evaluation Festival - March 9, 2015.  Our group performed beautifully and received the following score from the judges:  Superior, Excellent, Excellent!  These are some of the best scores you can receive from the judges.  We were also the only elementary school performing in District IV as this event is mostly for middle and high school choral groups.

Dunwoody Elementary 4th/5th Grade Orchestra Receive Superior Ratings at Orchestra Festival!

Dunwoody Elementary School 4th Grade Orchestra

Dunwoody Elementary's  4th and 5th Grade String Orchestras, under the direction of Natia Esartia, participated in the DISTRICT IV, LGPE Orchestra Festival.  It was hosted by Lakeside High School on March 4th and 5th.  Both groups were scored Superior by all three judges, earning them an overall Superior Rating. 

Dunwoody Elementary 5th Grade Orchestra

DES is one of only two elementary schools in DeKalb County that prepares students for this event every year.  Having an overall superior rating is a big accomplishment by the students and we are very proud of them. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dunwoody School Cluster School Climate Ratings

Click here to view Dunwoody Cluster School Climate Reports. 

Click here to access all School Climate Ratings.

Click here to acess the online CCRPI Reports with updated School Climate Reports.

From the GADOE Press Release:

March 16, 2015 – The Georgia Department of Education today released its first School Climate Star Ratings. The 2014 ratings are based on survey results and data from the 2013-2014 school year.

School climate refers to the quality and character of school life – the “culture” of a school. A sustainable, positive school climate fosters youth development and student learning, which are essential elements for academic success, career-skill improvement and overall quality of life. The School Climate Star Rating helps determine whether a school is on the right path to school improvement.

“Research has shown us that school climate has a strong impact on student achievement,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “The data used to develop the 2014 Star Ratings proves this once again. If your school has a positive climate, it’s giving students the environment they need to learn. You’ll likely see high achievement there – or a school that’s on the right track toward high achievement.”  

Each school in Georgia received a 1-5 star ratings, with five stars representing an excellent school climate, and one star representing a school climate most in need of improvement. School Climate Star Ratings are an informational tool for schools, administrators, and parents; they do not affect the school’s College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score.

Interpretations of the star ratings are below; this information can also be found in the School Climate Law.
'5-star' schools ranked excellent according to the school climate index;
'4-star' schools ranked above average according to the school climate index;
'3-star' schools ranked average according to the school climate index;
'2-star' schools ranked below satisfactory according to the school climate index, or
'1-star' schools ranked unsatisfactory according to the school climate index. 

School Climate Star Ratings are required by law; they also serve as a companion to the Department of Early Care and Learning’s Quality Rated program, which includes an assessment of the learning environment.

“Students cannot learn in environments that do not support them,” Superintendent Woods said. “Georgia is committed to measuring the quality of its learning climates, and this aligned approach helps us assess that quality from preschool all the way through 12th grade.”

So, DeKalb County Schools...What Are Your Plans for Retaining and Recruiting Quality Teachers? Gwinnett and Fulton Have Their Plans

Gwinnett County Schools plans on hiring 800 new Teachers:

Fulton County Schools has instituted a signing bonus program to attract new teachers:

DCSS what is YOUR plan? Or will DCSS continue to lose good, quality teachers to neighboring school systems and private schools?

Update:  Update from Stan Jester on DCSS 2014-2015 Employment Contracts.

Friday, March 13, 2015

DCSS Georgia High School Writing Test - Fall 2014 Results

from the GA DOE website:

Students in the eleventh grade participate in the Georgia High School Writing Test and must pass the GHSWT to earn a regular education diploma. Students are asked to produce a response to one on-demand persuasive writing prompt. The writing test requires students to produce a composition of no more than two pages on an assigned topic. The two-hour test administration includes 100 minutes of student writing time. The test is administered three times a year so that students have multiple opportunities to take the test before the end of the twelfth grade. The main administration of the GHSWT takes place in the fall of the eleventh grade year. Results of the GHSWT are used to identify students who may need additional instruction in academic content and skills considered essential for a high school diploma. 

GHSWT Fall 2014: 11th Grade First-time GPS Test Takers with Standard Administrations by School

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dunwoody High JV Academic Team Places 2nd in State Competition

photo courtesy of Georgia Academic Team Association.

The Dunwoody HS JV Academic team cruised to a 2nd place finish at the JV State tournament held Saturday, March 7th. They were bested only by Chattahoochee High School in the tournament and went 6-1 for the day. 

HR 4 - Independent School Districts Passes out of House Education Committee

Article from AJC:
11:51 p.m. March 9 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Dunwoody’s hopes for an independent school system were revived Monday when a state lawmaker made modest progress with a resolution that aims to end the near monopoly Georgia counties have on public education.
The House Education Committee approved Rep. Tom Taylor’s (R-Dunwoody) House Resolution 4, which calls for a constitutional amendment allowing cities to carve their own school districts out of county systems. The legislation has more stops in the committee process before a vote on the House floor that would send it to the Senate, and the deadline is Friday. A similar measure by Taylor stalled in the House last year after getting about as far.
In arguing for his proposal Monday, Taylor told lawmakers that DeKalb County is growing too big and has had, “to be frank, some serious malfeasance issues.” A bid-rigging scandal landed former school Superintendent Crawford Lewis in jail. New cities such as Dunwoody cannot have their own school systems because of a constitutional ban around the end of World War II. The handful of cities that already had their own systems, such as Decatur in DeKalb, were allowed to keep them.

Monday, March 2, 2015

DeKalb County Superintendent Search Committee Liaison Group Nominations

"The group will be led by the DeKalb County Board Chair and Vice Chair, and will include 16 other individuals. In order to create a liaison group that best represents all facets of DeKalb County, each board member was asked to submit a list of preferred representatives from their district. This way, each of the 7 districts will be amply represented. Further, Board Members were asked to provide a list of 2-3 business/organization members that could fill the remaining, at-large seats, and a subset of those nominations are being asked to be part of the liaison group."

Click here for further information concerning the Community Engagement Liaison Group.

Below are the nominees for the DCSS Superintendent Search Community Liaison Group. 

2 observations:  
  1. Both of the District 1 Nominees appear to be Dunwoody High School parents; I would have hoped a Chamblee High School feeder school resident parent would be placed on this committee to represent both District 1 High School Clusters.  
  2. The nomination of John Evans is disturbing and embarassing. This individual is a convicted felon. If Mr. Evans "best represents all facets of DeKalb County", we are all in more serious trouble than we knew. Melvin Johnson could not find a more qualified individual within his district to serve on this committee?