Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Response To: "Solving Problems on Paper, Not in the Real World"

To the author of the "Solving Problems on Paper, Not in the Real World" post:
Thank you for sharing so many facts about the Building SPACES initiative.  Your information and links are helpful for the community to see.  The Facility Education Adequacy Assessment (FEAA), which includes capacity determinations, is an important part of the SPLOST V planning process. However, it is only one small part of the process.  Dr. Green has made it clear that community input is the most important component of the process.  
When you stated that DCSD is wrong to "address overcapacity issues on paper and not in the real world," it sounded like perhaps you have not attended one of the SPLOST V input sessions or heard Dr. Green speak on this topic.  After attending community meetings and hearing Dr. Green address the issue of overcrowding, it is clear to me that he is unequivocally dedicated to addressing the real world problems created by DeKalb's overcrowded schools.  He is not basing his words on data from the Capacity Determination Guide, he is basing it on the visceral reaction he had when he toured Cross Keys area schools over the summer.  He said he found the overcrowding so unacceptable that, on his first day on the job, he asked for a reworked, fast-tracked plan to address it.  He scheduled community meetings in Cross Keys, spoke to the residents, listened to their feedback, and is currently reworking the plan based on that input.  He has never, once, said that his plan (or any other facility planning) will be based solely on FEAA numbers.  He has been clear that community input is vital and that he values stakeholder feedback at every stage of the process.
The attached document shows the timeline for stakeholder engagement for SPLOST V.   It shows that DCSD is at the beginning stages of collecting input on SPLOST V.  They just finished a round of community engagement sessions, and there will be another round on January.  I asked Dr. Green if the January meetings would be the time that the community would see his plan for SPLOST V (perhaps along with plans to address related issues, such as redistricting and the flexibility decision).  He said that it wouldn't be "his plan," but perhaps some ideas for plans that could be modified based on that round of community feedback.  Similarly, when I attended a facilities walk-through at my child's school, I asked the MGT evaluator whether the community would have a chance to give feedback on the MGT assessment (given that the SPLOST IV facilities report was not entirely accurate).  She said that not only would the community be given an opportunity to give feedback on the assessment, but the MGT report would not be given to DCSD until the school had been able to evaluate whether the assessment accurately reflected the issues/numbers/data/problems identified by the school.  These examples, along with the many other examples I hear daily, illustrate the fact that Dr. Green is listening.  Customer service is a top priority for him and stakeholder input is truly valued.  
I hope that in your next blog post, you will identify yourself.  I ask that you continue to share data--it's important for parents to have access to that information.  However, I hope that you will acknowledge that DCSD is under new leadership, and our new leader is clearly looking beyond "paper" and seeking to solve DeKalb's problems with "real world" solutions.  

Allyson Gevertz
DeKalb County Parent

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