How will adding 750 seats to Lakeside High School improve their School Climate Star Rating and academic achievement?
School Climate Star Rating
The National School Climate Center defines school climate as “the quality and character of school life” . Research has found that schools with positive school climates tend to have better test scores and graduation rates; in contrast, schools with negative school climates as a result of unsafe or hostile environments tend to have lower academic performance. 
Lakeside HS is Below Satisfactory
The Ga DOE recently released the 2016 School Climate Star Ratings. Lakeside High School (LHS) received a 2 out 5 stars which is considered below satisfactory according to the school climate index. Dresden ES and Lakeside HS were the only two schools out of the Lakeside, Cross Keys, Chamblee and Dunwoody clusters to score below average ratings.
The benefits of having smaller schools have been researched and written about ad nauseam. They show that smaller schools tend to be safer and are generally better places for students to learn. Graduation rates are generally higher, greater teacher satisfaction, small schools are more flexible, there is less one size fits all, etc…
Lakeside High School (LHS) is currently squeezzing 2,184 students into a building with a capacity of 1,756 students. Enrollment is expected to grow to 2,619 students (863 students over current capacity) by year 2022. Last month the board approved constructing a 750-seat, 38-classroom, two-story addition extending the current footprint and bringing the new capacity to 2,500 seats. The project will also include
- Kitchen extension (1,546 sq/ft)
- Cafeteria extension (2,025 sq/ft)
- New media center addition (4,391 sq/ft)
- 3 story employee parking garage (100 spaces)
- 138 additional student outdoor parking spaces
Increasing the capacity at LHS from 1,756 students to 2,500 students is a 30% increase in capacity. The conceptual plans for LHS increase the kitchen by 27% and the cafeteria by 19%. The media center space is expected to be expanded by 40%. Adding a garage and paving over all the green spaces in front will extend parking by 36%.
Guideline for Educational Facility Site Selection
The GA DOE Guideline for Educational Facility Site Selection applies to the existing sites on which a new educational facility will be constructed. In accordance with these guidelines, the minimum useable acreage requirements of the State Board of Education are 20 acres plus one acre for each 100 students in FTE for High School Facilities.
The Lakeside HS School Assessment Report says the site was originally constructed in 1965, has a total area of 33.3 acres. If the new capacity for LHS is 2,500 students, then the total site acreage for this high school should be at least 45 acres.
Not A Scalable Solution
If we add 750 seats, LHS is projected to be over capacity before the next E-SPLOST. In the November FAQ, the administration said “Our buildings will be designed so that, if warranted, we can add additional building capacity to accommodate future student capacity”. We can’t add 750 seats to LHS every 5 years. This is not a scalable solution.
Lakeside HS Cluster Positions
To sum up the various positions, nobody wants to be redistricted to Cross Keys or a new Doraville cluster.
• Sagamore ES position – Sagamore doesn’t want to be redistricted to Cross Keys
• Briarlake ES Position – Briarlake doesn’t want split feeders to Cross Keys
• Oake Grove ES – Oak Grove supports the 750 seat addition but doesn’t say why. They do however have a litany of concerns with the plan.
• Lakeside Cluster Summit Position – Aside from Jim McMahan and Randy Faigin David, I’m not aware of anybody else that is a part of this group. The cluster summit advocates for whatever option redistricts the fewest students out of the cluster.
Who’s Getting Redistricted Out of Lakeside High School
In addition to the proposed 750 seat addition to Lakeside HS, the school district has announced it’s intention to redistrict 250 students currently attending LHS to the new Brookhaven High School cluster.
Sources have indicated that school district officials may target certain elementary schools for redistricting on the basis of socio-economics and demographics. Various sources have previously indicated that the school district intended to redistrict Sagamore ES, but I have since learned that other schools are being considered.
 Thapa, Amrit, Jonathan Cohen, Shawn Guffey, and Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro. 2013. “A Review of School Climate Research.” Review of Educational Research 83(3): 357-385.