Dr. Stephen Green’s first day as Superintendent of DeKalb Schools was in July 2015. He established the following goals for the ensuing 2015-16 school year:
- Develop and implement a board-approved academic curriculum.
- Continue to develop policies, processes, and programs that will sustain and further progress in the effort to regain full accreditation.
- Work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to gain support for the E-SPLOST V campaign.
- Engage with the broader DCSD community as a means of gathering data to better meet the educational needs of students in the district.
- Devise and deploy an action plan to relieve overcrowded schools in the Region I cluster.
Based on a mid-year self-evaluation, in January Dr. Green reported the following level of attainment of the stated goals:
- Curriculum—CIA (squared) team: Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Accountability—created a rigor-meter and found that while most teachers are using the available framework, much of the teaching and learning does not reach the synthesis and application level. Given that, a vendor has been selected to conduct a curriculum audit to determine next steps.
- Accreditation—Submitted a document for full accreditation on December 18, 2015. As such, full changes in staff appointments will take place on January 11, 2016. A decentralized structure is being implemented to push decision-making to the local and regional levels. According to Dr. Green, this should decrease turnaround time in decision-making.
- E-SPLOST V—The E-SPLOST vote will take place either in March or May 2016. This means that there will be a compressed schedule of engaging the community. SPLOST monies will assist in relieving overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster.
- Engaging the community—specific focus on the Cross Keys cluster—The superintendent developed immediate, short-term, and long-term goals to relieve overcrowding. He also regained trust and credibility in the area, and developed a relationship with MALDEF.
- Overcrowded schools—addressed above
The next steps of the evaluation process are to engage the school board and agree on conditions of the evaluation, including refinement of the timeline, goals, evidence (data), and documentation necessary to demonstrate the superintendent’s proficiency or lack thereof. All steps of the evaluation process must be completed by June 30, 2016.
I believe Dr. Green does not understand the depth of the mistrust people have for the school district. Also, some people, myself included, understand that while he is trustworthy, the executive committee and many other administration staff have not earned any trust among stakeholders who remember how they have treated us, and teachers, in the past.
It will take much longer than one or two school years for trust to be rebuilt. It will also take many more staff changes with new people brought in to replace the current friends and family.