Monday, February 27, 2017

Congratulations to the 17 DeKalb County High Schools Named
"2017 Advanced Placement Honor Schools"

Today, (February 27, 2017) State School Superintendent Richard Woods today named 674 Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools.  Click on the following link to view the Press Release from the GA Department of Education:  http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=509 

Congratulations go to the 17 DeKalb County School District High Schools who were named 2017 AP Honor Schools!

AP Challenge
AP Access/
AP Support
AP Merit
AP STEM
AP STEM Achievement
AP Humanities
Arabia Mountain High School
 
 
 
X
 
X
Cedar Grove High School      
X
   
Chamblee Charter High School
 
X
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
X
X
X
Druid Hills High School  
X
 
X
   
Dunwoody High School    
X
X
X
X
Lakeside High School    
X
X
X
X
Lithonia High School      
X
 
X
McNair High School
X
         
Redan High School          
X
Southwest DeKalb High School  
X
     
X
Stephenson High School          
X
Stone Mountain High School          
X
Tucker High School    
 
X
 
X

 

Chamblee High School Celebrates Its Centennial

News on the Chamblee High School Centennial Celebration via the City of Chamblee Newsletter (a very nice newsletter btw): http://www.chambleega.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/115


Friday, February 24, 2017

Why is DeKalb School Board of Education Member Stan Jester Posting Links to a Conspiracy Theory Website and Pro-Trump Blogger on His Blog?
DeKalb Superintendent Dr. Green & Family Are Now Receiving Death Threats

In his never ending quest to paint the DeKalb County School District in the worst possible light, District 1 Board of Education Member Stan Jester authors a post in which he questions whether the 2 Cross Keys High School teachers who resigned after accusations of harassing and bullying students post-election were fired because they were "Pro-Trump".

A few articles from valid news sources are provided below if you need a refresher on these incidents:

http://www.cbs46.com/story/33704494/teachers-at-cross-keys-high-school-accused-of-threatening-students-with-deportation

http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/investigated-cross-keys-teachers-resign/

This issue, of course, has been settled for several months.  The district followed all the established district protocols and performed their due diligence before allowing the teachers to resign rather than be terminated. 

On his blog, Stan posts links to 2 sources, WorldNetDaily and The Gateway Pundit, which accuse the school district of firing the teachers because they were "Pro-Trump".

WorldNetDaily is a notorious conspiracy theory website.   According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:  "WorldNetDaily is an online publication founded and run by Joseph Farah that claims to pursue truth, justice and liberty. But in fact, its pages are devoted to manipulative fear-mongering and outright fabrications designed to further the paranoid, gay-hating, conspiratorial and apocalyptic visions of Farah and his hand-picked contributors from the fringes of the far-right and fundamentalist worlds."

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/worldnetdaily

This is what our Board of Education member finds as "real news" worth reading. 
 
The Gateway Pundit is a Pro-Trump blog run by Jim Hoft.

If Stan wants to read Pro-Trump blogs, that's his personal right,  but do not quote it as a valid news organization in his role as a BOE member.  Just this week The Gateway Pundit blog accused, wrongly, Senator John McCain, a former POW and War Hero, of requesting donations from Russia.
The irony of using a "Pro-Trump" blog to accuse the school district of firing teachers because they are "Pro-Trump" is "silly season" indeed.

Both of these sites are wrong in their assertions of the case of the Cross Keys Teachers, and Stan knows this, but posted links to these sites.   Why?  What is Stan's end game?

Now, Dr. Green and his family are facing death threats due to the fallout from the WorldNetDaily article:

http://www.11alive.com/news/education/dekalb-superintendent-family-hit-with-death-threats/413591559

The students and stakeholders of District 1, as well as all of the students of DeKalb County deserve better representation.  I hope when the next Board of Education election rolls around that there will be citizens in our District that will run for this seat.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Austin Elementary School: Construction Advisory Committee
Call for Candidates


Austin Elementary School has announced a call for parent and community members who are interested in serving on the School Council’s Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) for a significant E-SPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) capital improvement project.

This committee serves to increase stakeholder and community engagement in the design, planning, and construction phases of the school’s E-SPLOST project.

The School Council will select five members to the CAC, not including the principal, who will be an ex-officio member. A minimum of two members will be School Council members. This selection will take place in an open meeting of the School Council. All CAC members must complete a Conflict of Interest form at the initial CAC training conducted by the District. These forms must be completed by all CAC members prior to the first meeting. Access the form by visiting the District's E_SPLOST V site: http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/e-splost/

Participation in the CAC may require a 1-3 year commitment. In extenuating circumstances, a capital improvement project may require up to 5 years to complete. The number of CAC meetings will be set by the CAC membership under guidance from the Council.

The deadline to apply for the Austin Elementary School Construction Advisory Committee is March 19th.

Click on the link below to indicate your interest in serving on a committee:

CAC Call for Candidates Application Form 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where Does DCSD Stand With Regards to Advanced Placement Classes?


At last weeks meeting the DeKalb County School Board of Education voted to fund 1 AP exam for all DCSD students for the May 2017 AP Exam period.  The Georgia Department of Education has previously approved financing 1 AP Exam for each student enrolled in the Free & Reduced Lunch Program.   

Quick Note:  Gwinnett County pays for all additional AP exams for students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. (State DOE pays for 1).
 
In my view, this is a worthy expenditure of our school district funds.  A few of the Board members asked pertinent questions: 
  1. How many DCSD students are exposed to AP classes?
  2. How many teachers are qualified to teach AP classes?
  3. Is DCSD seeing an academic payoff with regards to offering AP classes?
 
I put together a chart of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 AP Exam data provided by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement.  It is a mixed bag for DCSD, but I believe, with a small amount of effort the District could be on the upswing with regards to AP classes.
 

School Name
Number of Students (2015)
Number of Students (2016)
2016 vs 2015
Number of Tests Taken (2015)
Number of Tests Taken (2016)
2016 vs 2015
# of Tests Scoring 3 or Higher (2015)
# of Tests Scoring 3 or Higher (2016)
2015 vs 2016
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School
173
88
-85
213
106
-107
9
2
-7
Miller Grove High School
110
85
-25
122
96
-26
16
19
3
Cedar Grove High School
186
192
6
257
247
-10
11
14
3
Redan High School
88
63
-25
98
74
-24
1
4
3
Lithonia High School
152
120
-32
191
152
-39
22
20
-2
Stone Mountain High School
98
109
11
124
149
25
26
21
-5
Dekalb Early College Academy
26
28
2
27
37
10
11
25
14
DeKalb School of the Arts
146
152
6
255
257
2
177
174
-3
Stephenson High School
277
257
-20
341
332
-9
41
36
-5
Arabia Mountain High School  
238
298
60
315
365
50
86
72
-14
Elizabeth Andrews High School
16
12
-4
16
13
-3
0
0
0
DeKalb High School of Technology-South
3
5
2
 
 
0
 
 
0
Tucker High School
385
375
-10
571
601
30
112
136
24
Columbia High School
116
136
20
154
184
30
29
14
-15
Druid Hills High School
338
325
-13
551
509
-42
251
246
-5
Lakeside High School
674
689
15
1,155
1,284
129
672
756
84
McNair High School
58
100
42
72
133
61
0
1
1
Clarkston High School
141
168
27
188
238
50
20
27
7
Cross Keys High School
177
214
37
244
290
46
58
87
29
Towers High School
128
89
-39
160
123
-37
3
5
2
Chamblee Charter High School
490
521
31
1,075
1,183
108
788
853
65
Dunwoody High School
510
546
36
975
1,192
217
652
838
186
Southwest DeKalb High School
263
263
0
371
323
-48
123
132
9
Totals
4,793
4,835
42
7,475
7,888
413
3,108
3,482
374

 
In summary,
  1. There were 42 more students taking AP exams in 2016 vs 2015.
  2. There were 413 more AP tests taken in 2016 vs 2015.
  3. There were 374 more AP tests where students scored a 3 or higher.  However, almost half of that increase was from Dunwoody HS students.

There are still areas within DCSD where there is a disproportionate number of students not taking AP classes.  What steps can the district take to insure all students have access to AP classes? 

A few of my thoughts are below.  This is not a difficult problem to solve in my opinion, it just takes a willingness on the part of DCSD:
  1. Employ teachers qualified to teach AP courses and assign them as roving instructors in geographically located high schools.
  2. Use the modern technology that DCSD has spent many millions of dollars on and have a qualified DCSD teacher “televise” courses to multiple school classes.
  3. DCSD pay for students to take online AP courses.