Hispanic and English Learner Graduation Rates

Where should Hispanic and English Language Learners go to high school for the best chance to graduate?

Should Doraville have its own cluster?

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One of the main goals of breaking up the Doraville area and current Cross Keys cluster seems to be motivated by race and socio economics.

Many people and some foundations recommend divvying up the elementary schools in the Doraville area and Cross Keys cluster, which are heavily populated by hispanics and english language learners, and spreading them across all the various clusters in North DeKalb.

Where should Hispanic and English Language Learners go to high school for the best chance to graduate? According to the GaDOE 4 Year Cohort 2016 Graduation Rates, the answer is Cross Keys High School. I can only surmise that whatever is going on with the Hispanic and English Learner populations at LHS, DHS and CCHS will be exacerbated by increasing the capacity at those schools.

School Graduation Rate – English Learners
Cross Keys High School 56.8%
Dunwoody High School 31.0%
Lakeside High School 26.3%
Chamblee Charter High School Too Few Students
School Graduation Rate – Hispanics
Cross Keys High School 70.2%
Lakeside High School 62.5%
Chamblee Charter High School 59.5%
Dunwoody High School 57.6%

Thai (a commenter on this blog) observed, “Keeping Pleasantdale in LHS will not help the Pleasantdale kids, keeping Hightower in DHS will not help the Hightower kids, and putting Cary Reynolds into Chamblee Charter HS won’t help the Cary Reynolds kids. Those three schools all have lower graduation rates than CKHS for the Hispanic and English Learner subgroup. These kids are better off going to a new HS that can emulate CKHS. It is better for EVERYONE if Sagamore goes back to LHS and Pleasantdale goes to a new Doraville HS.”

From a comment below, “From the data presented above, it looks like there is a “secret sauce” at Cross Keys.
• Does anyone know what that recipe is?
• Can that recipe be duplicated at the other schools? ”

What are your thoughts on this?

40 responses to “Hispanic and English Learner Graduation Rates

  1. The fact that these kids are all grouped together is not the race problem. They actually do quite well and if you ever met them you would be very impressed with their positive attitudes. The race problem stems from the fact that since these mostly Hispanic kids are all grouped together, it allows the leaders of the system to blatantly discriminate against them in spending. Stan – how about doing a budget comparison. How much has been spent on Cross Keys (the only high school still without an auditorium) vs other high schools? Band uniforms? Football and other sporting equipment? Books? Media? …. They have received millions less than others and millions less than they were due. However, they still outperform many other more highly financed schools. Why? Character. Tenacity. Appreciation. Kindness. Smarts. And teachers who care.

  2. Dear Stan,
    I understand that Chamblee cluster folks have been asking DCSD Academic personnel about the plans to address the academic impact of the E-SPLOST-V changes and still haven’t gotten any response except “trust us, we are working on it.” During the entire Secondary Schools Facility Planning and Feasibility Study not a word was said about the academic advantages or disadvantages of any option. Operations was driving the effort.

    From the data presented above, it looks like there is a “secret sauce” at Cross Keys. Does anyone know what that recipe is? Can that recipe be duplicated at the other schools? These are not rhetorical questions.

    What parent would want their child removed from a school where they have slightly better than even odds of graduating, into a school where those odds are basically cut in half? They would at least want assurance that the “secret sauce” can and will be transferred with their child. Yet DCSD has been silent on this concern.

    Further, even though the graduation rate for English Learners at Cross Keys is significantly higher than at the other schools, I hope no one is happy at a 56.8% graduation rate.

    What are the District’s plans to increase this graduation rate? This is a hard question. It is extremely remarkable that a student who has limited English proficiency upon entering high school is able to increase that proficiency within just 4 years while passing a rigorous set of classes. This is why nearly 40% of students fail to graduate.

    Thank you for bringing academics into the picture. Until and unless the District can make a strong case that their plan increases academic advantages for all students, the BOE vote on the E-SPLOST-V plan should be delayed.

  3. The school district has neglected CCHS when it comes to SPLOST expenditures (over crowding, new schools, renovations, auditorium, track). Otherwise the district is formulaic for everything else. There is a district wide replacement schedule for band uniforms and equipment, athletic uniforms and equipment, books, media … etc …

  4. Mr Jester

    Do you have the graduation rate for Special Education Students in various schools?

  5. Students With Disability – Is one of the subgroups in the GaDOE 4 Year Cohort 2016 Graduation Rates.

  6. I am sorry, but this screams of continued attempts to segregate the “non-English” speakers. Let’s be real, CKHS is 97% non-English speaking, the graduation rates are obviously going to be higher there than in other schools where the population is significantly lower. I think it speaks volumes how well they are doing and how hard they are working to graduate. Especially with the fact the CK Cluster has been grossly ignored for years and years. You would be lucky to have these students in your schools. How about people stop hiding behind academics, let’s speak to the truth of property values and discrimination. There is no magic formula, it’s called hard work. They don’t need to stay grouped together, with their own demographic to be successful. In fact, I find the comment that you chose to use from Thai disturbing, and I can’t believe you decided to add it to your blog. I guess because a new Doraville HS was mentioned you were in, despite it’s questionable overtones to keep “those kids” together. People also act like these kids jump from elementary school to High School. It seems many have forgotten about Middle School, in my opinion some of the most crucial years in a child’s education and where most change needs to take place. These hard-working children deserve to go to the school closest to them, period. They are not going to affect the academics of the school because of their race. Unless schools let that happen and I don’t believe that would be the case.
    I think as always the issue comes down to money. The idea of redistricting for some is the big issue, hidden behind over-crowding and “test scores”. It is time to redistrict and it should have been done years ago. Enough is enough. All our children deserve incredible educations and they should get it, at the schools closest to them. I am confident that if many of your children were being bussed upwards of 10 miles away to MS or HS you would be up in arms. However, as long as its predominately Hispanic/Latino children its fine with many of you. Enough is enough. Keep in mind most of these children are citizens, not undocumented, but actual citizens, deserving the same options for education, resources, and opportunities. Please stop treating them as if they don’t matter. Please stop putting your property values above core values. Our children will all be fine, it’s the parents who are obviously struggling…

  7. Let’s also keep in mind that Doraville is not anywhere close to CKHS, you have to go through much of Doraville, Chamblee, and Brookhaven to get there. Ashford Park is very close to CKHS yet districted for CCHS, hmmm. Doraville HS is clearly not an option for now, there are other needs to be addressed. And yes, Doraville is ignored yet again, but I am much more concerned with the condition of the elementary schools, and Sequoyah MS already in Doraville vs. the rallying cry for a HS. Let’s get the priorities in order please.

  8. Sagamore Parent

    Give the Cross Keys high school all the money it needs for its special educational needs and hire counselers to ensure they all graduate. Give them all the money they want to rebuild exactly where it is now. Build them a new combo middle school while you’re at it. Give them new parking decks, pools, playgrounds, band uniforms, computer labs, mega gyms. We don’t care. Just don’t move Sagamore, Oak Grove, or Hawthorne kids away from their neighborhoods by strategically relocating Cross Keys in a place that justifies breaking up communities. Forcing Cross Keys kids to cross that insane I85 intersection isn’t good for them either. How will sitting in traffic to go to a school less equipped to handle their students’ needs help their graduation rates?

  9. Why build at Briarcliff site? Because that is where the current available, already DCSD-owned land is. I live in the Sagamore district and am not crazy about my kids starting school at a new Middle and High School. However, I do have a student in the Chamblee Middle School magnet program, and I happily bus my child from a satellite location at Coralwood to Chamblee every day – along with 2 other busloads of children from our neighborhood. Busing across I-85 doesn’t seem to bother them too much. Let’s be real…I see very little walking/biking to Lakeside High School from the Sagamore district.

  10. Dear Anon,

    You mentioned the importance of middle school. I agree!

    DCSD’s plan keeps students in two separate middle schools, Sequoyah MS and Chamblee MS, creating the first ever “dual feeder” high school at Chamblee Charter High School.

    2015 CCRPI data show that 48% of Sequoyah MS 8th graders are reading on grade level and 83% of Chamblee MS 8th graders are reading on grade level. 2016 End of Grade scores show that 17% of Sequoyah MS 8th graders score proficient or above on English/Language Arts and 73% of Chamblee MS 8th graders score at proficient or above. 51% of Sequoyah MS students are Limited English Proficient while 4$ of Chamblee MS students are Limited English Proficient.

    Combining these two groups of students into a cohesive 9th grade class at CCHS will be a challenge. I am NOT saying that Sequoyah MS students should be kept out of CCHS because their scores are low. What I AM saying is that DCSD has not acknowledged this challenge nor taken ownership of this challenge. I suspect that part of the strong reaction by Chamblee parents is that they expect that DCSD will just bus those students to CCHS and say “good luck!”

    As you say,all our children deserve incredible educations. But CCHS has zero experience with a large population of students who do not read on grade level and who are not proficient in English.

    And even when resources are “provided,” that doesn’t mean that the resources reach the students. CCHS became a Title 1 Targeted Assistance school this year. Yes, that brings money. But as of today, the DCSD employment system still shows that the 3 requisitions for Title 1 teachers at CCHS are still open. Almost half of the year is gone and the Title 1 funds are sitting in an account somewhere. Students who had extra academic help with Title 1 funds at Cross Keys don’t have these resources at CCHS, which isn’t good for anyone.

    Again, the District has failed to make a case that this reclustering has academic advantages for all students or that it has a solid plan to make sure that the reclustering will provide the “incredible education” that all students deserve.

  11. Russell Carleton

    Using the above-linked document, if we want secret sauce, then perhaps we should ask Tucker HS (83.9 percent graduation rate for Hispanic students) or Druid Hills HS (also 83.9 percent). For English-learners, Tucker is at 83 percent while DHHS is at 50 percent.

  12. Sagamore Parent

    Jim, you are different than me because you simply let your kids take the bus, meaning they probably don’t do many activities before and after school. The Briarcliff location is a horrible one for our family! My high school, middle school, and elementary school-aged kids are very involved with after school activities. I pick up all three of them from school everyday after they are done doing cross country, cheerleading, stem club, garden club, girl scouts, piano, and swimming. Their friends have similar schedules. This isn’t as simple as letting them hop on a bus and not caring whether they get home at 3:00 or 5:00. There have been many days where I have stuck in traffic taking two of my children to Dynamo, and my Lakeside high schooler walked home. I carpool them everywhere in addition to holding a part time job. It only takes me 10 minutes to get to Lakeside, pick her up, and get back home at 5:30. But it would take me 45 minutes to do the same trip if I had to go to a school next to Target at rush hour. So let’s get real. Sagamore parents love their children and want them to do after-school activities each day. They would have to pick up their children from the Briarcliff location at rush hour if their kids were to be involved at that school, and this is unacceptable when there is a neighborhood school two minutes away that was built for the Sagamore neighborhood. Sagamore kids and parents’ schedules are already beyond jammed packed. Relocating their school next to Target for diversity reasons would add another hour of traffic to our day and make all of their after-school involvement almost impossible. This location is not good for Lakeside kids, and it’s not good for Cross Keys kids either. The Cross Keys high school is fine where it is, and it would be fine up in Doraville. It’s not fine next to one of the busiest intersections in the southeast.

  13. Bill Armstrong

    Cere! So nice to see you here! I still exist – but little time to post here, the AJC or elsewhere. But based on recent & developing current events in DeKalb- when I see a void not being filled by others, or if something is directed to me – I’ll post when I can. Otherwise – reading closely.

    Bill Armstrong aka “Chamblee Dad”

  14. Wasn’t my intention to come off as racist if anyone sees it that way. There are schools with significant Hispanic populations where those students do well. There are others where they do very pooly. What are we getting when we combine Sequoyah and Chamblee Middle School?

    here is a list of schools with >30% Hispanic population and >1000 students, organized by the size of the school they attend. I had to marry the graduation rate file with the diversity statistics on the same website and a few schools probably got left of because they weren’t spelled exactly alike on both list. Since school size is an interest, that is how i organized it here (i do admit that correlation doesn’t = causation, but is intestesting none the less).

    School Name-Reporting Label-Graduation Rate-Hispanic Student Poputlation-Total Student Population
    Calhoun High School English Learners 94.4 34.61% 1043
    Calhoun High School Hispanic 97.3 34.61% 1043
    West Hall High School English Learners 87.5 48.00% 1123
    West Hall High School Hispanic 91.3 48.00% 1123
    East Hall High School English Learners 90.5 52.77% 1156
    East Hall High School Hispanic 93.6 52.77% 1156
    Chestatee High School English Learners 77.8 47.51% 1265
    Chestatee High School Hispanic 90.5 47.51% 1265
    Southeast Whitfield County High School English Learners 63.6 65.26% 1330
    Southeast Whitfield County High School Hispanic 89.6 65.26% 1330
    Cross Keys High School English Learners 56.8 87.33% 1405
    Cross Keys High School Hispanic 70.2 87.33% 1405
    Riverwood International Charter School English Learners 65.5 37.39% 1546
    Riverwood International Charter School Hispanic 74.4 37.39% 1546
    Rome High School English Learners Too Few Students 30.85% 1786
    Rome High School Hispanic 93.5 30.85% 1786
    Forest Park High School English Learners 47.3 42.98% 1810
    Forest Park High School Hispanic 60.5 42.98% 1810
    Dalton High School English Learners 75.8 66.73% 1993
    Dalton High School Hispanic 89.4 66.73% 1993
    Osborne High School English Learners 57.3 62.82% 2071
    Osborne High School Hispanic 66.9 62.82% 2071
    Gainesville High School English Learners 56.5 57.34% 2098
    Gainesville High School Hispanic 74 57.34% 2098
    Central Gwinnett High School English Learners 59.5 31.59% 2175
    Central Gwinnett High School Hispanic 79.6 31.59% 2175
    Pebblebrook High School English Learners 49.3 31.67% 2488
    Pebblebrook High School Hispanic 60.1 31.67% 2488
    Discovery High School English Learners 35 43.92% 2646
    Discovery High School Hispanic 64.5 43.92% 2646
    Duluth High School English Learners 37.7 31.26% 2719
    Duluth High School Hispanic 62.5 31.26% 2719
    Campbell High School English Learners 53.8 34.12% 2781
    Campbell High School Hispanic 66.5 34.12% 2781
    Berkmar High School English Learners 37.8 59.71% 2879
    Berkmar High School Hispanic 63.8 59.71% 2879
    Meadowcreek High School English Learners 49.5 67.46% 3251
    Meadowcreek High School Hispanic 70.1 67.46% 3251
    Norcross High School English Learners 34 46.32% 3793
    Norcross High School Hispanic 60.7 46.32% 3793

  15. Bill Armstrong

    Interesting #s. I’m not sure whose position this helps/hurts but as a N. GA hillbilly – who graduated from Dalton High School in 1982 – I am not surprised by their success, I’m proud of it. It is one of the grandfathered city schools that always excelled (well – I’d like to think so) – failure was never an option. So as the Hispanic populations incrementally grew there – they were brought into the fold, from basically 0% in 1982 to 67% in 2016 (still amazes me some), now the school is designed to serve them. And serve them it does.

    SW Whitfield is a county school, SW of Dalton, with very similar #s. The same histories/explanations basically hold for the other N. Ga. schools, Hall County (Chestatee and Gainesville City), as well as Calhoun. Of course these schools are essentially cluster-sized in their own towns/counties & not Gerrymandered to lump groups of Hispanics together, the whites elsewhere. NOTE: Hall County – West, East & Chestatee – all essentially the same %s & #s across the board – well done.

    So does that mean pushing as many Hispanics as possible into a new Doraville cluster will better serve them rather than some more even distribution? In a system of almost 100K with the geographic spread that leads to so much opportunity to draw & redraw lines to serve many goals – good, bad, neutral? It is interesting to ask, but based on #s like these alone? What is it Twain said about statistics?

  16. I think it means spending the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t before pushing an option.

  17. Briarcliff Magnet Center

    Thai, your input sheds a lot of light on the situation. Our school planners area are constantly telling us that plan B benefits the Hispanic population, when it probably won’t do them any good. Hispanics obviously do best at their local school specially equipped for ESOL needs. It is no secret – our unelected school planners have a diversity agenda. Their problem is, a lot of Hispanics moved when apartment complexes disappeared or raised their rent in Lakeside recently. Consequently, our school planners scrambled to find a way to rediversify Lakeside. They came up with plan B that mixed Hispanic Cross Keys kids, white Chamblee kids, and white Lakeside kids together at the Briarcliff location. It diversified Lakeside by subtracting white kids in the south while keeping the more diverse kids in the north. But this plan is unpopular as hell because of the traffic next to I-85. When Lakeside parents complain about this extra traffic, school-plan marketers either (1) ignore them (2) tell Lakeside parents that they don’t understand all these small complicated problems in other regions (3) imply that these parents are racists who do not care about the Hispanic problems at Cross Keys. This effectively shuts up a lot of the Lakesdie parents. When parents persist with their complaints, the school plan marketers just tell them wouldn’t be happy with any plan, or that a plan that would satisfy them just wouldn’t be practical. People with the traditional civics mentality believe that if they just tell politicians how they feel, then their plans will change. Obviously things don’t work like they did in the 1950s. Maybe the key is to convince these unelected school planners that this plan just won’t achieve their diversity goals. All I can say is they’re going to see some serious white flight on this one. Not because the whites here are racist. But because the traffic at the Briarcliff school location makes it practically impossible for parents to enroll multiple kids in multiple schools in multiple extracurricular activities. How is Dick going to get to Dynamo at 4:00 and Jane get to gymnastics at 5:30 when mom has to fight an hour of traffic crossing over I-85? How would Dick be able to do anything when he gets home after 5:00 pm after sitting on the bus for two hours? Now I realize that our 75 year old school planner in Marietta could care less about Dicks Dyanmo practice in Decatur. But the mistake our planner makes is thinking Dick’s mom doesn’t care either. He figures that moms will just quit Junior’s extracurricular activities when it just gets too hard or that they will somehow hire uber to do all the driving. Consequently, once this plan is put into action, a large portion of parents will yank their kids out of these CK schools and enroll them in private schools with locations and dismissal times that are a hell of a lot more accommodating. There goes the white portion of the diversity ratio. Also our school planners haven’t factored in all the new development that will soon occur in the CK region which will relocate a lot of the Hispanic population. The diversity ratio in these areas is in a constant state of flux. Unfortunately, once a new shiny school is built at Briarcliff, a permanent school is built for a temporary diversity ratio – in literally the worst location. Unfortunately, we need to recognize upper middle class problems. Parents will not fight traffic so their kids can attend an inferior school which makes enrollment in extracurriculars practically impossible. They might be willing to put up with this crappy school location if the extracurricular activity was wrapped into the school, like if the art school or magnet school was there. But I’m just telling everyone that a permanent problem is being created to solve a temporary one. People will flee to lily white private schools permanently, and this isn’t going to achieve our unelected school planner’s diversity agenda. We will be stuck with an unused state of the art school that forces people to sit in hours of traffic.

  18. Clearly there are issues on all sides. The immediate changes this year, moving students to other schools to alleviate grossly overcrowded schools was a quick fix for sure. It was not an ideal way to implement it, and I have no doubt there are teacher positions still needing to be filled. I think that applies to many positions in our schools, not just Title I positions, which I personally think is a long-term DCSS issue. I think as populations are more diversified and we move outside of just right now process and think future I think that the Hispanic/Latino population will continue to increase their scores in reading, math, and graduation rates. The children that are at our schools now will be parents later, 2nd generation families, and they will continue to recognize the importance of education. More resources need to be put forth in the early years of education, ES and MS in all schools. This isn’t just an English speaking vs. Non-English speaking issue, this is an issue of years of corruption, mis-management and gross under-funding of our schools by poor leadership.
    Although a two-feeder middle school is not ideal it can work with proper implementation. We have to begin to think outside the box for the benefit of all of our students. To say Chamblee is not currently prepared for an influx of ESOL students does not mean it cannot prepare and that it will not improve. Simple fact is that many of these students live nearby and should have already been attending those schools.
    I appreciate the statistics and I can appreciate concerns, but I think we have to realize these stats have hopefully improved since the previous year, and will continue to do so. I just do not think “keeping the Hispanics together” is the right course to take for our students as a whole.
    Briarcliff Magnet Center, many of your comments are bothersome and yes, sound racist. Your white-flight fear mongering is absurd. If the biggest problem these families have is getting their children to their after school programs they should be thanking their lucky stars. How do you think the CK Cluster parents currently feel, especially as they attempt to simply participate in school activities when their children’s MS or HS may be upwards of TEN miles away. If extracurricular activities are the reason people remove their children from a perfectly good school, get into a car and drive their children across town, through Atlanta traffic, to and from private schools, in morning rush hour, and after school rush hour, and…that’s your choice and nullifies your argument. I choose to drive my children to school everyday. We made the decision to apply to the magnet program years ago. Why, because the DCSB decided a gerrymandered CK Cluster was an appropriate school zone and that was not okay with me, we found a way for our children to attend the school closest to our home. We made that choice. Perhaps adding in an IB or STEM program to the renovated CKHS and MS will alleviate some those concerned with “white-flight”. That being said, those programs are not extra-curricular, they are school programs. And to say that the school is automatically inferior because there are Hispanic students is ridiculous. I guess that means all those children who will be redistricted to this school are also inferior and there is no chance of any school or student improvement. Sad. I also find it hard to believe that we will ever be stuck with an unused brand new school in this area.
    As I have mentioned and what I believe most of the argument boils down to redistricting and property values. Perhaps more time does need to be taken to implement all these changes properly, however not everyone is going to be happy then either.

  19. I support the correction of the high school restructuring via Option B (although predicated on overcrowding). Option B is the least expensive and is ethically sound. The other options that require a new school to be built is very expensive and concerns are that it does not conclude full capacity of such a large school over time (like Arabia Mountain). The future site of such a school has not been fully vetted and seeks to keep the same unethical attendance boundary lines.

  20. Briarcliff Magnet Center

    Anon said “How do you think the CK Cluster parents currently feel, especially as they attempt to simply participate in school activities when their children’s MS or HS may be upwards of TEN miles away”… News flash: we are moving the CK kids further, and through worse traffic, with the Briarcliff proposal. And once again, I’m called a racist for advocating my position. Unbelievable!

  21. The proposed plan is to Build a New Cross Keys HS (2,500 seat capacity) at Briarcliff site (or cost-neutral alternative site). Any ongoing land deal discussions West of 85 are confidential until they are completed.

  22. This is probably too far off in left field, but i’ll throw it out there anyway. I think it’s been mentioned elsewhere that we use to have 6-12 secondary schools? Is that a possibility? What if we converted Chamblee High School, Chamblee Middle School, and Sequoyah in 6-12 schools?
    -Montgomery and the portion of Dresden was zoned into CCHS this year can feed Chamblee Middle. That would be about 1284 kids into a school with 1240 capacity. Add a few trailers.
    -Huntley Hills, Kittredge, and the portion of Cary Reynolds that was zone into CCHS this year can feed Chamblee High. That would be 1911 kids into a school with 1810 capacity. Add a few trailers.
    -Sequoyah can serve the remaining portion of Cary Reynolds and Dresden. 1393 kids into a school with 1235 capacity.

    Take the $16.4 million that would’ve been used at the Chamblee site and add 150 seats to Sequoyah ($4.5 million?) and use to remaining $11.9 million to add seats to Cary Reynolds. Getting Central and South DeKalb to vote on a mileage rate increase will be difficult after they get their new elementary school, additions, and artificial turf. Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Lakeside will be too angry to vote yes if plan B goes through.

    This minimizes travel distance for all groups. Keeps the gains (in terms of desegregation)from when portions of Dresden and Cary Reynolds were zone into Chamblee High.

    -Do the same thing with Cross Keys. Use it as a 6-12 and use Woodward and JLewis as feeders. Add 300 seats ($9 million?).
    -Build a New 6-12 school with 1450 seats for Ashford Park and Montclair ($60 million?).

    This leaves $27.8 million from the original $96.8 allocated for cross keys. Move $14 million of that back to the Lakeside side because Sagamore won’t be in CKHS anymore. Use the remaining $13.8 million for Cary Reynolds.

    Good for traffic, less segregation than where we currently stand, smaller schools.

    Maybe operating costs goes up. But I think quality goes up.

  23. Briarcliff Magnet, I said your words sounded racist, not that you are racist. If you feel like you are being called a racist again, maybe you should be more mindful of what you have been writing. Just saying, since it sounds like this wasn’t the first time it has happened to you.
    As far as your “news flash”, with the much needed redistricting of the CK Cluster, as well as the building of the new HS at Briarcliff and hopefully the building of a new MS for Brookhaven at the CK location, bussing will no longer be an issue and these children will be able to attend the schools closest to them. As it should have always been. Allowing for parental involvement in their children’s schools, ability for more students to participate in after school programs, and creating a proper, reasonable school commute.
    Redistricting HAS TO HAPPEN. The CK Cluster is a gerrymandered school district, I look at it and I can’t believe it’s been acceptable for as long as it has as it reeks of illegality. People speak of neighborhood schools, how is your school in your neighborhood if you drive through up to 3 cities to get there? Just because many are Hispanic doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the same neighborhood schools.
    I personally don’t think Doraville needs it’s own HS and I don’t believe the population of the city can support it. The schools in the CK cluster are over-crowded due to bussing students from 3 cities up and down Buford Hwy, not because of the city of Doraville’s population, Doraville’s population is around 10,000 people, does that sound like a city that needs it’s own school? In the event the last minute push for the Doraville HS works out, where will said school go? Where is there affordable/acceptable land to buy and money to build the school going to come from? Is the school going to be built in a commercial/warehouse area? Super, parents love that, right? And Doraville’s city lines run beyond 285 and 85, would it be okay for the Doraville students to cross those busy highways and intersections with heavy traffic, but not yours?
    Ultimately, people are going to be unhappy with whatever option is chosen. I think option B works best as the most cost effective solution for our all of areas. There are other school issues that need to be addressed in many of our current elementary, middle, and high schools without building a yet unnecessary HS. Perhaps it’s time to think outside of the business as usual box that the DCSS has always done. Maybe there should have been some foresight when building new schools and additions and accounted for the continued growth in this area. I would like to see a collaboration if needed between Doraville and Chamblee to build a central HS. Chamblee HS could become a central MS, and the MS could be a 4-6 grade academy, junior high or whatever. Sequoyah MS could be torn down and a new larger, MUCH needed, Cary Reynold’s elementary could be built on that site. This could possibly address the split feeder MS issues, potential need for another ES, and alleviate the need for another HS, that too be honest is unnecessary and a waste of valuable money that could be used to improve our current schools and facilities. Like football fields, tracks, auditoriums, HVAC, etc. etc. Let’s think beyond keeping the Hispanics separate and protecting property values, and try to figure out a way to become inclusive of all students in our schools and make the students and schools the best they can be. It’s not going to be easy all the time, but if we start to include vs. separate, put people and our core values over property values, maybe just maybe we could create schools that can be the pride of DeKalb and Georgia. But these are just my personal positions and opinions.

  24. The path we are on now is WINNER TAKE ALL. Is there no room for compromise here?

    This started out as just a plan to make sure we have enough facilities to handle the overcrowding and growth for this region. A large part of the community wants to use this opportunity to address segregation too. And the plan they came up with runs into conflict with the other portion of the community that values their time; time with family and time to help out in the community.

    The challenge with building adequate facilities stems from the fact that we are poor, and the money that gets raised is getting spent on programs that are wasteful. How did we paint ourselves into a situation where artificial turf and band instruments take precedence over Cary Reynolds? This will make it harder to raise money in the future. Why should central (they getting a new ES at Indian Creek) and south DeKalb (they have capacity to last 100 years) vote for a mileage rate increase; what’s in it for them after this? Why should Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Druids Hills, or Lakeside (the areas that will carry the most burden from a mileage rate increase) vote for a tax increase after this setback? And what if this does impact property value, where then will the money come from for future projects?

    The challenge with desegregating our schools is due to the fact that the community has self segregated. There is affordable housing throughout Georgia, but everyone wants to concentrate in this area and build a community here. It’s the desire for familiarity of the first generation that leads to this, but at the same time they don’t want their kids to be isolated or trapped. I think this is understandable and should carry a lot of weight in our planning.

    Traffic is probably not as big of a concern for the Cross Keys community; and rightly so. Why should it be when you don’t have adequate facilities or funding for your schools. But it is important for the Dunwoody, Brookhaven, and Lakeside communities who are paying dearly to live here. They could’ve easily saved a 100k-2ook for the same house in a BETTER school district by moving to out further. Option B removes one of the main pillars that attracts people to this area.

    A good compromise would prevent further segregation and desegregate where the opportunity exists (and there are opportunities for this), AND seek to improve traffic where the opportunities exist. A tax increase is tolerable if people can see that it is well spent.

    Anon, you mentioned “thinking outside the box”. That is exactly what is needed here. How do we make the best use of our limited resources to reduce segregation, improve school quality, create communities, and improve traffic? I don’t think Option B gets us there, and although I support Option A, I can see why you are against it. I think the solution might be to go smaller, but not build a Doraville HS to segregate Chesnut, Hightower, and Pleasantdale. There has to be another way.

  25. Thai, interesting ideas. I don’t know how many parents would like their 6 graders attending school with 12 graders though. I know I wouldn’t and I just don’t think that’s going to go over with most parents. Sequoyah and Cary Reynold’s do not need renovations, they need full rebuilds. I think the cost of renovations would be a wasted Band-Aid on much bigger issues of school quality and safety.

  26. My plan frees up over 25 million for a rebuild of CRES. Asking central and south dekalb to vote on a tax increase AFTER they get their new elementary school, addition, and turf will be a challenge. Same with northern dekalb after what is about to go down. Maybe you don’t want to mix 6th and 12th graders, I’m ok with it (1-1)

  27. Anon,
    I think Sequoyah MS mainly needs fewer students, while I agree that Cary Reynolds ES needs a total rebuild.

    Sequoyah MS has a Facility Condition Assessment = 76.52 and a Facility Educational Adequacy Assessment = 67.85.

    Those aren’t bad scores, especially when compared to the average elementary school FCA = 57.

    I think Sequoyah’s problem now is that it is very overcrowded. It’s not nice and new but when I visited recently it was clean and bright. Of course, newer is better, but I think that the first order of business for Sequoyah MS is to reduce enrollment.

    The DCSD plan will move many, maybe half?, of Sequoyah’s students when Cross Keys HS is converted into a middle school. The remaining school, although not ideal, will probably feel so much better once the students and staff aren’t squeezed together or going in and out of the building to the trailers anymore.

    Cary Reynolds ES, on the other hand, has an FCA = 31.62 and FEAA = 51.43. And then on top of that, they have lots of trailers and only one small playground. I didn’t see a field for kickball or soccer or even field day.

    It’s sad to think that Cary Reynolds needs a total rebuild, yet that must be so far in the future that DCSD will spend $5-6 million on a roof and HVAC system. Sounds like throwing good money after bad, but the FCA report clearly shows that the CRES building is in sad shape.

  28. If DCSD does follow through with Option B (and I hope they don’t) Sequoyah will have 300+ seats (933 students and 1235 capacity). You can move the 5th grade here. Sequoyah can be 5-8 and CRES can be K-4. But I also agree that CRES needs a complete rebuild/renovation, or another school to relieve it. I can’t believe this fell off the list when it should’ve been one of the items at the very top.

  29. Anon is right. SMS is a pretty amazing facility. And it’s full of amazing kids and teachers. Even with sending some of our best to CMS and PATH, SMS continues to perform at a high level and offer unique developmental opportunities to the kids like Urban Debate League team that has taken over the city league by storm. The League has been so impressed by our young people and I’m proud to say we at CKF sponsor both the MS and HS teams.

    In any case, our advocacy position at CKF has been the CRES needs to be the subject of replacement with the “2nd new CK area ES.” That is still the right course of action and I believe it will happen.

    On the grade level configuration I have argued with DCSD for years that if they were going to leave our kids isoalted along BuHi that we should build two, K-8 academies at the current SMS and CKHS sites with a new HS in the middle. This would give families nine full years with one campus, staff, etc, to support the special needs/considerations.

    I was told that DCSD cannot (wouldn’t) support multiple formulations and that such an approach would forever create problems for curriculum and redistricting. I realize they were right but still prefer my vision. 🙂

  30. You cannnot use the SPLOST initiatives to impose diversity programs. Go for it – I know of 4 lawyers chomping at the bits to take this to court.

  31. The E-SPLOST related documentation doesn’t say anything about the initiatives being diversity programs. How would they connect those dots?

  32. There are at least two secondary school study presentations containing the “Guiding Principles Used To Develop Options”. The first bullet point says “Address overcrowding and linear shape of Cross Keys cluster”. I am sure the County chose their words carefully, so as not to use the actual word, “diversity”, but we all know what this guiding principal implies. Certainly geographic proximity is also part of that statement.

    I believe the rubber will really hit the road when it comes time to redraw attendance lines. Those lines are concrete and could be legally challenged if the racial or socioeconomic diversity goals are evident in how lines are drawn.

  33. Actual redistricting won’t happen until 12 months before a new school or building addition opens … that will be years from now.

  34. Yes, that is correct.

  35. For those that did not note the release last week of the 2016 College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) data here are the results for our area HSes from DeKalb, APS, and Fulton. As in the past four years, Cross Keys HS has ranked above schools that get much more respect for some reason. Just thought DeKalb stakeholders should see the data again in hopes of calming those with anxiety. CKHS has been a top performing HS in our area for a long time with no credit or support. Just think for a few minutes how much these kids and teachers accomplish routinely year in and year out in spite of all the obstacles. For all schools’ results AJC has a nice table based report at: http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/2016-georgia-ccrpi-find-your-school-score-here/0ko4zwzTnNs6LrIcztLy2N/

    1. DHS 93.4
    2. CCHS 87.5
    3. CKHS 81.9
    4. DHHS 80.6
    5. LHS 80.3
    6. NAHS 78.9
    7. THS 78.4

  36. Gokce – As much as you are trying to make it out as such, you are completely wrong about the reasons that people are against Option B. Its not about integrating Cross Keys into Chamblee. If Chamblee was as unwelcoming as you make it out to be, you wouldn’t have the plethora of diversity that already exists at the school. No, this is about numbers. Period. Its about taking a campus and building to 2400 which was only intended to house 1600. This is about quality of life. So, please stop with the holier than thou attitude that there is this anxiety about CKHS kids specifically and to put up stats to show how great they are. The anxiety lies in the numbers and from people being yanked from their community schools and thrust into another. Once you understand the issue, Gokce, maybe you can understand the POV from the “other side.” But if I have to read one more post from you about how great the CKHS kids are and how they are getting screwed, I might just puke. We get it. They are all wonderful kids. But you still don’t get the big picture here. That’s the problem.

  37. Run Amok: CK Kids are WONDERFUL! Now go puke yourself.

    The only anxiety I’m talking about is regarding the talk about falling test scores and falling property values from folks that have fear and little information.

    YOU go ahead with your holier than thou campaign – I’m here to inform.

    I’ll keep working with the CCHS community, DCSD leaders, and direct service organizations to CONTINUE to make it as smooth of a transition as possible because BOTH kids deserve it.

  38. Dekalb Inside Out

    Butt Munch, 80% of the comments today so far have come from you. Can you get your own blog and stop spamming this one?

  39. 80% meaning 8 out of 10? Good point. Only seem to be angry people left here. Maybe time to pull up stakes and move on. Which one of my post bothered you? They all seem to be on topic to me. Dunwoody School Council quoted in The Reporter, lastest CCRPI scores … what’s up Driveby DIO? No one new to insult today?

    Seems like anyone who dares show up here under their real name with any counter points gets slammed by you.

    I thought Stan was hosting a community dialog here that welcomed sharing but it seems the only points now are for insulting each other.

  40. Oh Gokce, put your big boy pants on here. You have caused a lot of the anonymity. Why? Because you tend to bad mouth anyone who does not agree with you as being against “your people” who you have I guess “adopted” (at least in your own mind). People don’t want to be labeled as a bigot or racist just because they disagree with what the county is doing. But you and your ilk (Cohen-Morris, etc.) are more than willing to call folks names who disagree with you. But that’s the card you all want to play. You don’t consider that people don’t want the sheer numbers that these kids are going to bring to their schools. They don’t want “supersize” schools. No, you live in your little bubble.
    Get over it.