Friday, February 26, 2016

Georgia Tech's Women in Engineering Visit Chesnut Elementary


On Thursday, Chesnut's entire third grade was visited by volunteers from Georgia Tech's Women in Engineering. Eight Tech students and a teacher taught a lesson on professional engineers, focusing on aeronautical engineering.



Explaining that spaceships require shock absorbers to safely reenter the earth's atmosphere, they challenged the girls and boys to create a spaceship (represented by a Dixie cup) with two astronauts in the cabin (represented by marshmallows) that needs to be able to hit the earth (represented by the classroom floor) without the astronauts falling out. As Ms. Smith exclaimed, "they had a blast!"


Through Georgia Tech's College of Engineering (CoE) Champions program, Georgia Tech's Women in Engineering students seek to be role models for younger students and inspire them to see themselves as future engineering majors.

Congratulations to the DeKalb Schools Named 2016 AP Honor Schools

excerpts from the GADOE press release:

State School Superintendent Richard Woods named 272 Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools. These schools are part of an AP program in Georgia that is earning accolades: Georgia is 13th in the nation for the percentage of students earning the highest AP exam scores (3, 4, and 5) and tied for third in the nation in one-year percentage point growth in the percentage of public school graduates scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on at least one of the exams.

AP courses and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP courses are one of several ways Georgia students can access college-level learning opportunities while in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams are often eligible to receive college credit.

School
AP Challenge
AP Access/AP Support
AP Merit
AP STEM
AP STEM Achievement
AP Humanities
Arabia Mountain High School
 
 
 
X
 
 
Cedar Grove High School
 
 
 
X
 
 
Chamblee Charter HS
 
 
X
X
X
X
Clarkston High School
 
 
 
X
 
 
Cross Keys High School
 
 
 
 
 
X
DeKalb Early College
 
X
 
 
 
 
DeKalb School of the Arts
X
X
X
 
 
 
Druid Hills High School
 
 
 
X
 
X
Dunwoody High School
 
 
X
X
 
X
Elizabeth Andrews HS
X
 
 
 
 
 
Lakeside High School
 
 
X
X
X
X
Lithonia High School
 
 
 
X
 
 
Southwest DeKalb HS
 
X
 
 
 
X
Tucker High School
 
 
 
X
 
X

  • AP Challenge Schools are schools with enrollments of 900 or fewer students and students testing in four of the core areas (English, math, science, and social studies). 
  • ·     AP Access and Support Schools are schools with at least 30 percent of their AP exams taken by students who identified themselves as African-American and/or Hispanic, and 30 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher. 
  • ·     AP Merit Schools are schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least 50 percent of all AP exams earning scores of 3 or higher. 
  • ·     AP STEM Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science). 
  • ·     AP STEM Achievement Schools are schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses, and at least 40 percent of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of 3 or higher. 
  • ·     AP Humanities Schools are schools with students testing in all of the following AP courses: at least one ELA course, two social sciences courses, one fine arts course and one world language course. 
 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dunwoody Elementary Welcomes Ambassador Andrew Young and
Columbia Elementary School "Boys to Bow Ties" Step Team


In celebration of Black History Month, Dunwoody Elementary has embraced the national theme by focusing on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  As a part of our celebration, Ambassador Andrew Young spoke to the student body on February 19.


Dunwoody Elementary students were also treated to an impressive performance by the step team from Columbia Elementary School, "Boys to Bow Ties".

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce names Wesleyan Student Claire McKeon for 2016 STAR Award

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has named Wesleyan student, Clare McKeon, the 2016 STAR student for Wesleyan School.
 
 
 
The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 58th year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Department of Education. The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is a local sponsor of the STAR program.
 
Clare is Wesleyan's 16th recipient of this honor. She has selected Joe Tamel, her Honors World Literature and Composition and AP English Literature teacher, as Wesleyan's STAR teacher who has had the greatest influence on her academic life.
 
Clare has been offered admission to Furman University and Villanova University. She awaits decisions from Brown University, Clemson University, and Dartmouth University. Clare is a four-year member of both the swimming and track teams. She invests in the lives of others through the Hand-in-Hand mentoring program for lower school students and SALSA, Students Advocating Life without Substance Abuse. Beyond Wesleyan, she serves as principal dancer and soloist for the Academy of Ballet.
 
Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 25,000 exemplary students as well as the teachers they have selected. To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score in a single sitting on the three-part SAT taken through the November test date of their senior year and be in the top 10% or among the top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. Students and their teachers are honored by receiving special recognition in their communities from more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses

Thursday, February 18, 2016

High School Graduate Outcomes Report from GOSA

One of the many data reports provided by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) is the "High School Graduate Outcomes" report.

For each graduating class from 2007 to 2014, this interactive dashboard shows:
  • The number of graduates;
  • Where students enrolled in college/universities;
  • The percentage of students working in Georgia;
  • The top in-state and out-of-state colleges/universities by enrollment;
  • The percentage of students who complete a degree or certificate;
  • The highest degree earned after five years; and
  • The percentage of students requiring remediation at Georgia public colleges in English and math.
Click on the following link to access the dashboard:   https://hsgrad.gosa.ga.gov/.

On the left side of the page, you can select, school district, school, and school year to view each year's report. 

Below is the data for the Dunwoody High School Class of 2014. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Peachtree Charter Middle School: "School Project Helps Community's Neediest"

A really nice article from the AJC:



Friday, February 12, 2016

DeKalb School Superintendent Dr. Green Responds to Legislation To
Reduce DeKalb School Funding


Representative Tom Taylor (Dunwoody) has introduced legislation in the GA House (House Bill 969) which would reduce the funding to DeKalb Schools by about $56 million:http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/legislation-targets-dekalb-school-funding/nqNhp/.

This legislation was discussed in this earlier article http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/legislation-would-cut-dekalb-school-funding/nqB9f/.
 
The measure does not apply to any other school district other than DeKalb and it offers no property tax relief. Many believe, as I do, that this legislation is a retaliatory move against the school district (i.e. our children's education) for Dr. Green's decision not to participate in the Doraville TAD:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/news-and-events/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/12/Sup.-Statement-Doraville-TAD.-12-15-15FINAL.pdf.

Sen. Fran Millar, R-Atlanta, said he’d like the DeKalb school system to be more responsive to issues like a proposal to support the redevelopment of the torn-down General Motors factory in Doraville. DeKalb Superintendent Steve Green has said he won’t participate financially in the mixed-use project.

You can read Dr. Green's response to Maureen Downey of the AJC: http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2016/02/11/dekalb-schools-fire-back-at-legislation-cutting-its-funding-by-56-million-politics-over-pupils/

The decision not to participate in the Doraville TAD is a decision that I, and many others, support.  Despite "assurances" from a school board member, a DeKalb BOC member, local and state legislators that TAD will be beneficial to the school district, I have seen no specific data that supports this, just "pie in the sky" numbers. The TAD may be a great deal for Doraville and DeKalb County, but it should not involve school district funds.

To this point, everything that I have seen and heard leads me to believe Dr. Green is nothing, if not, honorable in his attempts to bring about the needed change within DeKalb schools.  He has an enormous task and to be distracted by this game-playing by politicians takes away his focus on the education of our children.  I hope that the continued interference by Senator Fran Millar (Austin ES "issue" and his involvement in the reduction of funding legislation) and Rep. Taylor does not bring negative consequences to our schools in Dunwoody. 

I support the Independent School District legislation that Rep. Taylor has  authored.  However, it might be best if another legislator takes over the responsibility for fighting this battle. I believe this stunt makes Taylor "damaged goods" and could hurt the continuing battle for ISD's. 

While I believe at some point this funding legislation is the right thing to do (when the school district is on a solid footing, financially and academically), doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is never right.  Even at that time, there should be a "phased-in" type of approach in order to cause the least amount of distress to the school district, i.e. the children.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DeKalb Schools Staff Recommended Redistricting Plan
to Address Cross Keys Cluster Overcrowding

The DeKalb County School District has released its staff recommended short-term redistricting plan to relieve overcrowding within the Cross Keys cluster.  This plan, or any plan, will not do much for the over-crowding issue...new schools will need to be built and currently unutilized DCSD property put back into service.

While 232 students are anticipated to move to Chamblee from Cross Keys, the number of trailers at Cross Keys grows from 15 to 22 by the 2017-2018 school year and no only 2 trailers (corrected) are anticipated for use at Chamblee.  I'm sure that will be a point of discussion. 



Redistricting Options Recommended:

A = Redistrict 61 Woodward ES students to Fernbank ES
B = Redistrict 269 Montclair ES students to Fernbank ES
C = Redistrict 394 Montclair ES students to for ISC School (new K-5 school)
D = Redistrict 444 Dresden ES students to Montclair ES
E = Redistrict 301 Cary Reynolds ES students to Dresden ES
F = Redistrict 232 Cross Keys High students to Chamblee Charter High

And lest Dunwoody school stakeholders do not view themselves part of this conversation, the school district WILL be looking to redistrict Region 1, Region 2 and Clarkston Cluster.



Click the following link to view tonight's agenda:  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/redistricting/wp-content/uploads/sites/58/2016/01/Round-2-Web-Agenda.pdf

Click the following link to view the DCSD Staff Presentation: http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/redistricting/wp-content/uploads/sites/58/2016/01/Redistricting_CrossKeys_Feb11v07.pdf

Click the following link to view maps highlighting the redistricting proposal:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/redistricting/wp-content/uploads/sites/58/2016/01/Combined_Maps_Web.pdf


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2015 Graduation Rates by Subgroup
Why Are There So Few "Students With Disabilities" At the "Choice" Schools?

The GA DOE has released the 2015 Graduation Rates by Subgroup data:  http://www.gadoe.org/CCRPI/Documents/2015/2015%204-Year%20Cohort%20Graduation%20Rate%20State%20District%20School%20by%20Subgroup.xlsx

The full CCRPI reports are not yet available.

Below is the data for DCSD Region 1 high schools.  You can view the data for all DCSD high schools at the following link:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw_Hnco-5lveZ1dIQUstX1l2cDQ/view?usp=sharing

As the data indicates, DCSD's biggest struggle is with graduation rates of Students With Disabilities (SWD) and English Language learners (LEP).

A few notes:
  • Dunwoody HS has the 2nd highest graduation rate of Students With Disabilities, 71%; Lakeside HS has the highest graduation rate of SWD at 75%.  The district graduation rate is 40.5%, a really, really unacceptable percentage.
  • 1 magnet school (DeKalb School of the Arts) appears to have few, if any, SWD's (these students don't have artistic talent?  Of course they do. Why aren't there any SWD at DSA?) 
  • 1 magnet/charter school (Arabia Mountain) also appears to have few, if any, SWD's (same question as with DSA).
  • Chamblee Charter has a graduation rate for SWD's at 31.6; (data does not differentiate between magnet and resident students).  What is the SWD enrollment for the Magnet program?
  • 8 DeKalb high schools have significant LEP (Limited English Proficient) student populations:  Elizabeth Andrews (20% Grad Rate), Tucker (56.1%), Druid Hills (56.6), Lakeside (37.8), Clarkston (52.9), Cross Keys (40.8), Towers (66.7), Dunwoody (50%).  Again, the "magnet/charter" high schools appear to have few, if any, LEP students. 
  • For those schools that have combined magnet/resident programs (Arabia Mountain (magnet/charter, non-resident school), Chamblee, Columbia, Southwest DeKalb), GADOE/DCSD do not differentiate the data by Magnet/resident student.  In the name of transparency, this needs to change.     
 
Graduation Class Size
Total Graduates
Graduation Rate
Dunwoody High School Grad Rate -ALL Students
403
314
77.9
Grad Rate -American Indian/Alaskan
 
 
Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Asian/Pacific Islander
 
 
90.9
Grad Rate -Black
 
 
79.8
Grad Rate -Economically Disadvantaged
 
 
61.5
Grad Rate -Hispanic
 
 
55.7
Grad Rate -Limited English Proficient
 
 
50.0
Grad Rate -Multi-Racial  
 
Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Students With Disability
 
 
71.1
Grad Rate -White  
 
87.0
Chamblee Charter High School Grad Rate -ALL Students
258
221
85.7
Grad Rate -American Indian/Alaskan
 
 
Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Asian/Pacific Islander
 
 
74.3
Grad Rate -Black  
 
90.0
Grad Rate -Economically Disadvantaged  
 
75.3
Grad Rate -Hispanic  
 
63.3
Grad Rate -Limited English Proficient
 
 
Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Multi-Racial
 
 
83.3
Grad Rate -Students With Disability
 
 
31.6
Grad Rate -White
 
 
94.3
Cross Keys High School Grad Rate -ALL Students
321
179
55.8
Grad Rate -American Indian/Alaskan
 
 
Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Asian/Pacific Islander
 
 
65.4
Grad Rate -Black
 
 
62.2
Grad Rate -Economically Disadvantaged
 
 
60.9
Grad Rate -Hispanic
 
 
54.4
Grad Rate -Limited English Proficient
 
 
40.8
Grad Rate -Multi-Racial
 
 
 Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Students With Disability
 
 
32.3
Grad Rate -White
 
 
58.3
All DeKalb High Schools
Grad Rate -ALL Students
7,115
5,046
70.9
Grad Rate -American Indian/Alaskan
 
 
Too Few Students
Grad Rate -Asian/Pacific Islander
 
 
65.3
Grad Rate -Black
 
 
71.3
Grad Rate -Economically Disadvantaged
 
 
67.1
Grad Rate -Hispanic
 
 
57.7
Grad Rate -Limited English Proficient
 
 
47.2
Grad Rate -Multi-Racial
 
 
76.6
Grad Rate -Students With Disability
 
 
40.7
Grad Rate -White
 
 
84.8
    (note: there can be overlap in subgroups)