Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools

Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools (PGCS) is a new educational group representing “schools throughout Region 1 of the DCSD (Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody clusters as well as Tapestry, PATH, and Oakcliff Theme School.)”
I’m always happy to see community involvement in education. Interestingly, PGCS is already not without controversy. Meetings with PGCS officers at Peachtree Charter Middle School and Chamblee Charter High School have been characterized as hostile.

I have a question for the PGCS. One of the stated purposes of the PGCS is to make “joint statements and resolutions”. What is your position on the building additions at CCHS and DHS versus a new Doraville cluster?

In the meantime, let me know your thoughts and questions.

Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools – Statement of Purpose
Provide educational events for parents at large and in particular leaders of PTA/PTSA Boards, School Councils, and School Foundations of schools throughout Region 1 of the DCSD (Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody clusters as well as Tapestry, PATH, and Oakcliff Theme School.)

Focus educational opportunities on helping parents to understand policy issues affecting schools in the DeKalb County School District.

Provide a forum for parents in Region 1 clusters of the DCSD to hear from DCSD leadership and School Board Members, and interact with those leaders.

Increase knowledge of activities, successful practices, and issues affecting schools throughout our clusters.

Create a forum for working on issues of shared interest amongst schools within Region 1.

Provide a forum to produce joint statements and resolutions as needed with support from our clusters and/or schools from across our clusters.

Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools – Officers

  • Dave Bearse – President (Legislative Affairs)
  • Amy Holmes-Chavez – President Elect (Meetings & Events)
  • Andrew Ziffer – Vice President, Dunwoody Cluster
  • Rebekah Morris – Vice President, Cross Keys Cluster
  • Randy Faigin David – Vice President, Chamblee Cluster
  • Ashley Doolittle – Communications Chair
  • Sheila Gillispie – Recording Secretary
  • Jocelyn Warren – Parliamentarian

Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools – First Event
The Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools invites parents and community members to our FIRST event!
Tuesday, March 28th, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Sequoyah Middle School, 3456 Aztec Road, Doraville, GA 30340
**Spanish language pre-session from 5:45-6:30 p.m.
Come hear about about plans for school building expansions and new facilities in DeKalb.
Featured speakers and questions/answers with Sherry Johnson, Region 1 Interim Regional Superintendent, Daniel Drake, Executive Director for Operations, and parents who can answer your questions about their experiences with Construction Advisory Committees.
Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools serves Region 1 (Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody) along with our sister Councils in other DeKalb regions. In addition to our main speakers, our events share school innovations. Our 3/28 spring event will include brief information on Sequoyah Middle School’s debate team.

Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools – Concerns
While they present themselves as a group for the public, they are not. They have a closed Facebook page and will not let me join despite their stated purpose. They have never reached out to me and they don’t return my phone calls or emails. Something isn’t right here.

136 responses to “Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools

  1. Great points Scott, and all the more reason to invite active participation from schools with an engaged parent community who have lots of years ahead in the system, like MES (shameless plug, I know). Engage, welcome and include us, we’re a large school with a broad, active community of amazing families! As you said, we will all be better for it as our younger children move through the system with children from other area schools PGC is hoping to interact more closely with.

  2. Allyson Gevertz, Co-Founder of Parent Councils United and panelist at the first PGCS meeting has never seen a group of leaders build bridges the way PGCS has. She writes in an open letter

    Open letter to the leaders of Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools:
    March 24, 2017
    Dear PGCS leaders,
    Congratulations on launching a new and improved parent council! You have accomplished a feat that eluded your predecessors and stumped surrounding parent councils for years. You have collaborated with your neighbors to form a community of interest around the schools of Dunwoody, Chamblee, Doraville, and Brookhaven.
    As a DeKalb parent leader, I have been vocal about bridge-building. I have encouraged emerging leaders to think outside the needs of their own schools and clusters. Using myself as an example, I have said it takes years of engaging on a larger scale to become practiced at addressing big-picture issues. I attended numerous regional parent council events and county-wide meetings to indoctrinate myself to the world beyond “my” schools and “my” cluster. Yet somehow, miraculously, you have proven that years of county-wide education is not a pre-requisite for understanding broader needs. You have taught me what really matters.
    I did not attend all of your organizational meetings over the last year, but I visited and observed periodically. What I learned from you at those meetings has deeply impacted me. It sounds simple, but it requires more “thought” from the heart than from the head. You walked out of your office buildings, stepped out of your cars, rolled up your sleeves and communicated with your neighbors. No complicated outreach policy, no research on the role of poverty in American education, no lip-service to the needs of Spanish-speakers, no advocating on behalf of “them.” You went, in person, to the schools in your own cluster, as well as the schools near your cluster. Instead of looking out your office building window at the Cary Reynolds attendance zone, you walked to the school and spoke with the people there. After years of regularly whizzing by Dresden Elementary on your way to take your kids to Dynamo, you stopped at the school and engaged the families there. On your way to your favorite Buford Highway restaurant, you stopped at Hightower Elementary or Cross Keys High School and talked to the stakeholders there. You were not inhibited by language barriers and you did not stop with a one-time, check-the-box contact. You built real relationships.
    In all my years as a public education advocate, I have never seen a group of leaders build bridges the way you have. You implicitly understood that all parents want the best possible education for their children and that your North DeKalb cities could only be as strong as your weakest link. Education impacts every aspect of life, from economic development to physical safety. Your vision for a healthy, vibrant North DeKalb is brilliant and far-sighted. Your inner-cluster and inter-cluster collaboration is a model for all DeKalb.
    On Tuesday evening, you will officially launch Peachtree Gateway with your inaugural event: a panel discussion on Construction Advisory Committees at Sequoyah Middle School. Your topic, location, and agenda once again demonstrate your passion and purpose. In the epicenter of Region 1 overcrowding, with the help of Spanish translators, you will offer a bridge between the school district and the community. You will show Region 1 parents their role in shaping the future of North DeKalb by bringing transparency and facts to the table so they can form knowledgeable opinions. How incredibly empowering! Thank you for your hard work leading up to this launch. You are an inspiration. On a personal note, thank you for teaching me the power of walking through the doorway of a drive-by school.
    Allyson Gevertz, DeKalb Parent (admiring from Region 2)
  3. Chad Peterson

    Scott: As you describe it, it’s very hard to object. However, Stan’s original focus was on the “joint statements and resolutions” as one of the goals. The organization should be very clear that it represents a very particular viewpoint within District 1. Having watched this debate, that’s how it looks to me at least. I don’t see an issue with having a magnet parent on the board, but not being able to find one person that represents the mainstream MES/Dunwoody viewpoint? That seems strange to me, if the goal is to make statements and resolutions that are authoritative for District 1.
    As someone considering DeKalb County schools for their children, I hope that the goal is as you say, because an organization like that does seems to be needed. I appreciate your wife’s efforts and hope to make it on Tuesday.

  4. Bill Armstrong

    Stan, thanks for posting Allyson’s letter. I share her sentiments, this group does far more than I do, it’s just the 1st meeting, but the efforts to reach this point – I admire as well. Some may dismiss this concept of “bridge-building” but I do not. There has been much infighting in the system for years, this past fall was very bad in some cases. But much of it is driven by a lack of understanding of people who really don’t live that far from us. So we post on blogs, shoot out emails, even show up at meetings, sometimes accusing “them,” armed with less than full facts, or at the least guilty of confirmation bias.
    Time to move on, past that. Sure, you have individuals you take issue with, maybe they have thought the same of you. I suspect some of that will never go away. But I’ve already witnessed in person at Chamblee Cluster School Council meetings that common ground & cordial/polite discourse & exchange can occur between those who battled, at least strongly & passionately disagreed, in the past. After all we are neighbors. In a short matter of 3/4 months or so, relations are improving., in fact it could be said that in person they weren’t that bad after all.
    This group seeks to bring together an even broader area, a new venue to engage, I bet many for the first time. Dismissing them, before you’ve heard them – now, or they’ve had an opportunity to listen to you, that would be unfortunate. Hands are being extended across the table, heck, they’re coming around the table, at least shake them back. It might actually . . . . work. That can’t be bad. Isn’t that what people say they want? At least most.

  5. Bill Armstrong

    Chad. “The organization should be very clear that it represents a very particular viewpoint within District 1.” What is that? as I don’t see it anywhere. Are you assuming by reading the names?
    What if you show up & there is no mention of the past debate on Options A & B or the like, but rather speakers & a Q&A on the CACs? I would hope you be pleased (perhaps pleasantly surprised), rather than some here who might be disappointed they didn’t get more to complain about. No, if you’re looking for a venue to argue the December vote, this isn’t it.
    Also, “the mainstream MES/Dunwoody viewpoint” that seems rather dismissive, and narrow-minded, in that I don’t think that Dunwoody &/or MES are as monolithic as some seem to think, or hope. So if we’re not debating the Avs.B, which this body does not intend to, then I’m not sure what that means. What about engaging & sharing the CCHS, CMS, AP, MES, HH, Kitt. DHS, PCMS, AES, KES, VES, CES, DES, HT, CK, SMS, CRES, DES, MES, WES, JL, Tap. PATH OTS etc. viewpoints? While we might find we have much to learn from different viewpoints, we’ll also learn that many are the same.
    “I hope that the goal is as you say, because an organization like that does seems to be needed.” Yes, and this actually might be just that.

  6. Bill Armstrong

    @Enough. “I don’t know everything about CK, but then again I’m so busy working at my children’s school in our cluster I don’t have the time. If others are doing the same I would guess they don’t understand my community as well.”
    Well, what if this group could help overcome that?

  7. Chad Peterson

    Bill, it seems to me to represent Option B supporters. But feel free to correct my assumption there by pointing out the Option A supporters. I will say that you are correct that I’m not the person to be giving opinions on Dunwoody/North Brookhaven opinions, but I still think they were majority Option A folks.
    I honestly don’t care about the CACs. If I had a child at the effected schools, I think I would be very interested. I’m interested in seeing Sequoya Middle School. I’m interested in meeting the other people in District 1. I actually feel strongly that Sherry Johnson and to a lesser extent, other county staff should make themselves available to parents and taxpayers in District 1 periodically. I would assume that any questions that I might have, that Dan and Sherry would try to answer those questions. This to me seems like something the group should try to facilitate. And per Facebook, it’s on their list “Provide a forum for parents in Region 1 clusters of the DCSD to hear from DCSD leadership and School Board Members, and interact with those leaders.”
    It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if you want to relitigate last fall, Sherry/Dan aren’t the right people. But my point remains. If this group is looking to build bridges within District 1, that’s a great idea. Since I do think it’s a great idea, I think the group should focus on their first 4 missions and leave joint statements to others. Using your “bridge” to advocate for your preferred option isn’t how you actually build bridges to others.

  8. Nancy Jester

    What “literal” “violence” do you attribute to this blog?
    All: I respect the grassroots efforts to start a new advocacy and education group. Good on you. I do see that the leadership seems unified in a certain vision for education in the area. I think that fact is driving scepticism, the questioning of intentions, and general discomfort.
    One thing that I think contributes to the discord is something that hasn’t been explicitly stated. The Peachtree group tacitly believes that their efforts are best focused outwardly to “building bridges” and pushing for certain changes. Also, embedded in the group is a desire to be seen as the gatekeeper to the administration.
    Alternatively, there are parents and taxpayers that are happy with the constitution of their current school community. They don’t harbor ill will towards others. They don’t mind supporting other communities with their efforts to try to improve and enhance their community. They are dedicated and hard working in their children’s schools. I think the “bridge” language is, to use Kim’s word, a dog whistle indicating there something wrong with opposing tumultuous change that affects one’s children and beloved community. People choose to live in certain places for a host of reasons. It is rational that once they choose a community, they rationally expect that it persists. Folks with this view are painted, in subtle and overt ways, as less neighborly, less kind spirited, etc. It is reasonable, moral, and all together fitting, that many parents, community members, and taxpayers prefer stability and continuity. To earnestly believe that is in the best interests of your child, your family, your school, and your community is not a position that should be dismissed or mischaracterized. It is not mean spirited. It is not irrational. It is a legitimate and thoughtful position.
    None of the language that I have seen about the Peachtree group seems to recognize that deep, abiding affection as a positive and admirable quality and position. Making sure that vision is equally represented in every facet of the group would be bridge building to the more continuity seeking segment of our community. If this isn’t done, the group may very well be dismissed as just another faction.

  9. Under Represented

    “People choose to live in certain places for a host of reasons. It is rational that once they choose a community, they rationally expect that it persists. Folks with this view are painted, in subtle and overt ways, as less neighborly, less kind spirited, etc.”. Yes, Nancy, I absolutely agree, however your statement is true of “Option A” supporters as well as the supporters of other options. Folks with the rational view of expecting their community to persist, and who support options other than A are painted as “naive,” are called snowflakes, are dismissed as less Dunwoody, and are subject to comments like building a wall in Dunwoody and redrawing the city lines at North Peachtree. I’ve seen someone called a butt munch (which is disgusting), and a Chamblee elementary school spoken about as a lesser school. So please do consider that and I hope that you can put the shoe on the other foot and respect how all your constituents might feel. (This response has nothing to do with the Peachtree Gateway group, and for that I apologize for not staying on subject. I felt compelled to add on to Nancy’s statement).

  10. Nancy’s statement is DEAD ON. Thank you for posting, Nancy. Maybe some will read it and actually take it to heart.

  11. Under Represented

    Someone did read it and took it to heart.

  12. Nancy Jester

    I see your statement as not an “add-on” but a separate and stand alone statement. Thank you for your insight.
    I haven’t called for border adjustments. I have see the snowflake label thrown around and have seen comments that call people trolls and worse. I have seen it suggested that violence has “literally” been caused by this blog with no substantiation. That’s quite a charge.
    I will affirmatively state that in my discussions regarding the eSPLOST referendum as a whole, and the subsequent decision as to how to proceed, I have quite clearly stated that the advocacy for certain choices was and is naive. I will give the evidence for my claim that my “a posterior” position was correct.
    (1) Voting in support of the eSPLOST without a clearly defined project was naive. It created the circumstances for all this unpleasantness. It is bad policy, and naive to support such a policy on the “hope” that the resources will be properly allocated. And keep in mind, Austin ES from eSPLOST 4 has yet to break ground. We now know that the project timelines for eSPLOST 5 put the building in the Dunwoody cluster many years into the future. As, I have stated before, large district superintendents have an average tenure of about 3 years. When a new superintendent inevitability comes in a few years, what will become of any of this? Because nothing was codified within the eSPLOST referendum itself, all bets are off with what will really happen then. All could be changed by a recommendation of the new superintendent and a vote of the board. I think that makes supporting this strategy naive.
    (2) Speaking exclusively about the DHS renovations, supporters of adding seats clearly told me that they were supporting this because (a) they had to take the addition in order to get what they wanted in improvements to the common spaces and (b) they were nervous they would get redistributed out of DHS. (As an aside, as I stated above, people rationally want their community to persist. Naturally, with the fear of change that could affect them, their children, and community, they very rationally decided against “bridge building” They decided that their best chance of not being redistricted was to support a megaschool despite the affects it would have on their neighbors. They did this out of individual concern not out of concern for others. I am not criticizing that. That is a rational position. )
    Here’s where the naivete came into play. First I warned that the promises of all the improvements to the common spaces would not occur. History proved me correct. Before the ink was dry on the letter supporting the addition, the dollar figure that the district stated it would spend on DHS went down by millions. Then the plans were revealed that showed minimum improvements to common areas. What’s worse is these plans were dated months before the school council chimed in supporting the addition. They were being played all along. I called it, I told them, and I was correct. That proves that naivete was a factor here.
    Regarding redistributed, that was a dog whistle from the school district to create a rift they could exploit. They had no plans for redistricting any time soon. They did need people to act out of fear. It worked. The fact is that no redistricting plan could be drawn up to remove parts of the city from DHS and be congruent with written board policy. Now, the improvements are planned to come online years from now. No one negotiating for the additions got any written agreement that redistricting would not occur. There is nothing to prevent DCSD from moving Montgomery ES into DHS, Kingsley to Tucker, and Idlewood to the under utilised Stone Mountain HS. Seems crazy, right? Well, if the school district gets smacked by the state for the fact that there are over 4000 empty seats south of HWY 78, a whole lotto people could get moved around. The state has a carrot and a stick to make something like that a possibility. Still, it seems unlikely. Point is, redistricting is on the table still because no written agreement occurred, we are likely to see more superintendents come and go, and the district has the right to redistrict any time they want. I stated that the redistricting fear was placed simply to divide and conquer. I was right. Naivete was a factor.
    If you don’t like the word naive, substitute another that means that I told people what was really going to happen, they ignored me, and the facts proved me correct. I’m open to using another word but naive came to mind and seemed accurate.
    I think these divisions are ridiculous. I don’t believe DHS, CCHS, or LHS should be made into megaschools I do believe that CKHS deserves a rebuild. I believe Doraville deserves a high school. I believe that the school district should have been and should be now acquiring land for another school that will eventually be needed in the perimeter. Even the Board of Commissioners held these views, and issued a resolution on this matter. The BOC represents the whole county and is particularly in tune with the wishes of the entire community: parents, senior citizens, residents without children, business owners, etc.
    As for bridge building, the county government will be hit hard with the massive infrastructure improvements that will be needed to accommodate the school construction. The district has shown little desire to discuss these impacts. Food for thought.

  13. Under Represented

    I don’t condone the violence comment. One person made that comment and clearly it stuck in your craw — as it should! I sometimes agree with Kim. Not all the time. I too found it offensive. Do you condone all the comments you didn’t touch on, such as saying HHES in a weak link, calling a man a butt munch and marginalizing an entire community east of North Peachtree? I hear what you are saying about the superintendent and question why we have a central office if we are not to hold any trust in them. There wasn’t a popular vote for the options. Feedback was given. Some individuals wrote letters. Some school councils wrote letters. People felt passionately. The BOE vote is over. It’s time to build bridges. I don’t agree that Stan incites violence. I can say that I really appreciated this blog when it was just the facts. I believe it’s too editorialized now (with a smattering of “just the facts” in between). At least for me it is. As I see it, sometimes the editorializing (starting with the titles of some of the blog posts) incite some people’s passions and ugly comments are made. I know I for one look at people differently and wonder if they’re one of the other anonymous commentators who say such marginalizing and ugly comments when I go to Murphy Candler for an innocent game of baseball.

  14. I think Nancy Jester’s point about the Peachtree Gateway Council having ‘a desire to be seen as the gatekeeper to the administration’ is a key point. They are savvy about using the Parent Council United structure that is described on the DCSD website (
    DCSD considers the Peachtree Gateway Council, as the successor of the Dunwoody-Chamblee Parents Council, the official mouthpiece for Region 1. That’s a lot of power. If you have concerns then join up. Be inside the tent rather than outside. Those who have not already been active in the Peachtree Gateway Council should become active.
    I agree that there is no ‘official’ Peachtree Gateway Council viewpoint about the impending mega-high schools in Region 1, although the folks whose names I recognize are big supporters of the District’s plan to mega-size our Region 1 high schools. That’s not something I can agree with.
    I am trying to have a ‘wait and see’ attitude about the meeting on Tuesday. Let’s all bring our best questions and our best behavior to the meeting on Tuesday and see what emerges.

  15. Nancy Jester

    I don’t condone a lot of things said on this blog and others. I am quite sure I haven’t caught every comment either. Like I said above, any talk about changing city borders is silly. Most of the epithets on both sides amuse me. That is especially true of the ones I think are directed at me. Remember when the term “nasty woman” was used in the national election? Remember all the folks who embraced it and used that phrase to their advantage?
    I speculate lots of the outrageous statements we see on both sides are hyperbole and just a reflection of frustration now real animus. People disagree. They are passionate. I think it’s better to get it out in a blog comment than have a silent, below the surface tension that erupts. To silence dissent or pretend it isn’t there isn’t going to make it better or dissolve the problems. If people are forced to move their dissent underground, everyone loses.
    I get called every name in the book, all the time, sometimes in very public ways. Even so, I don’t go out in public wondering if someone that I’m talking to throws rhetorical bombs my way, secretly wishes something bad for me, or some other form of ugliness. I have a thick skin but I honestly believe that even the folks that don’t agree with me and call me names, don’t really wish me harm. It’s just hyperbole combines with frustration. No biggie.
    The “literal” “violence” comment was just an outlier for me. It’s not name calling, it’s an accusation. Call Stan anything, read, or don’t read his blog, disagree with him, dislike him, debate him, yell at him, that accusation was wrong. Thanks for speaking on that.
    As far as the tone of his blog, I’ll say this. He offers facts and editorial comment. It is his blog. He puts tons of facts out there that would otherwise not be available. He gives you his opinion. He allows others to give their opinions. Stan can be irreverent and loves to use humor. His intent isn’t to undermine or subvert. That charge reminds me of how authoritarian states label authors and journalists. It’s a slippery slope from label to censorship and worse. Just ask Andrei Sakharov and Alexander Ginzburg. Ginzburg was arrested for agitation and propaganda that didn’t fit the government’s preferred narrative.
    No one has to read his blog or the vast amounts of information that he puts out there on his blog and other parts of his website. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

  16. Underrepresented

    (Fixed the misspelling of my moniker — thanks!). I respect all you’ve said above. I “get it” that it’s his blog and Stan can do and say whatever he wants, but think maybe a new tag line should be considered. It’s not always “JUST the facts, ma’am.” The vast majority of people I know take exception to that. (Thought I’d add in vast “majority” since it seems some of the fine people on this blog like to make that generalization.). Might I suggest “Just some facts, ma’am and plenty of opinion too?”
    Have a nice weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather.

  17. Nancy Jester

    I just came in from some yard work. Whew! It is pretty outside though. I understand and respect your thoughts on the “tag line”, even if I disagree with you, the vast majority, and the throngs of loyal opposition.
    My take – I think Stan posts that facts as he sees them. Then because it’s a blog anyone and everyone chimes in. Because it’s a blog, I assume commentary of all sorts will follow.
    The New York Times motto is: “All the news that’s fit to print.” That’s quite a statement. I read The Times and often find that I disagree with the perspectives offered in its news articles and it’s op-ed page. I don’t believe that, contained within any given New York Times edition, is “all the news fit to print” nor do I think they are trying to misrepresent themselves or cause confusion. I don’t really give that too much thought. I haven’t ever thought to write to the paper and suggest they modify it to “all the news that’s fit to print based on the liberal algorithm and sensitivities at play within the leadership of The NY Times.” I think that misses the point of the periodical. They stand by their motto and I stand by Stan’s. Exceptions, opinions, disagreements, hyperbole, frustrations, etc. – they are always in the mix in any worthy endeavor. That’s true of every blog, every newspaper, every news show, and every place where there is a free exchange of ideas.

  18. Underrepresented

    Yeah but he’s our BOE rep and although this is a personal blog and not a BOE blog, he is representing our district before the Board of Education. We rely on him to provide the facts, to be our conduit. Sure, we can choose not to read the blog, and that’s largely what I’ve decided. But to be our elected rep and to say you are providing the facts is, in my opinion, wrong. It can be easily fixed. I don’t need to read the NYT. I can read the WSJ, Washington Post or a myriad of other news sources. He is our one and only BOE rep. Don’t mask what are not facts as facts. Is that too much to expect?

  19. Underrepresented

    Nancy, don’t feel you need to respond. It’s clear that you are fiercely loyal and it’s very unlikely that you’d ever concede. There’s no scenario in which I envision you saying “Stan, read this. This is a good point that gave me pause for thought.” That’s okay. I sort of admire your loyalty.

  20. Nancy Jester

    I do not agree that he masks the facts. He puts them out there. Then he tells you what his opinion is. He allows everyone, regardless of their district, to tell him there opinions. There are no walls here.
    There is no requirement in representative government that Stan agrees with every constituent. In fact, it is rare that one agrees with every opinion of one’s elected officials. Stan represents the entirety of his district and he is tasked with doing what he believes to be right. He does so everyday. You don’t have to agree with him – such is the nature of representative government – but he does give you the courtesy of letting you know where he stands. Why are the others so timid in revealing their positions?
    Stan is your one board representative, that is true. Again, I reiterate, his obligation is to do what he believes is the right thing to do. He believes that one of the “right things to do” is to put forth copious amounts of information and give you his thoughts and allow you to give him yours. If the market place of news and blogs is rather thin, that does not place any special obligation on Stan nor is this his fault or burden. The question is, where are the other BOE members? Where is the school district with it’s well-staffed communication’s department? What about other news sources? Do we see our other elected officials the same – that we rely on them as the sole source of our information? Do we begrudge them when they put forth facts and their thoughts?
    You are right that it can easily be fixed. Blogs can be started for free and we are paying plenty of taxes to maintain the school district’s communication’s department. (The Chief Communications Officer, Ilene Houston-Stewart, makes almost $175,00/yr. There are a total of 12 people in the DCSD Communications Department. In addition they have contracts that outsource the graphic design work and a host of printing activities.)
    Stan works hard to create value for constituents, parents, and all of DeKalb County by posting resources, data, and facts on his website and blog. Recently, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, cited Stan’s website for some statewide data on millage rates. Now, that’s a tremendous compliment to the robust and useful data that can be found on Stan’s website. It’s also a critique of how few people in important positions put out the information people really want to read.
    I think the real lamentation that I am hearing, not just from you, but from all the critiques, is really a commentary on the lack of information and discourse from other BOE representatives, the district, and even the broader media.

  21. Nancy Jester

    I appreciate that you think I’m loyal, I am. I concede that you are being ill-served by others in their lack of communication. Other elected officials have let you down and the school district has let you down, while costing you a pretty penny. I validate and defend your right to dislike what Stan posts, call him names, call me names, get frustrated, find things occasional useful, share ideas, take issue with tag lines, etc. At the end of the day, he at least gives you that opportunity and respect, along with a host of data sets and resources, which is more that any other BOE member, or the district currently does for you.

  22. chamblee getting screwed

    Underestimated – Stop. You’re making a fool of yourself. Go grab a cup of coffee with Bill and Gokce. You all can complain about hateful we all are and figure out a way to bring another 1000 students into our high schools.

  23. Underrepresented

    I wouldn’t follow other BOE reps. I’m from the Dunwoody-Chamblee-Brookhaven area. I trust that my rep will provide the facts and if he wants to give his opinion he will present it as such. I agree that he should not be the only source, but his “take” on things are not the facts. Alas, I think we’ve exhausted this argument. I will agree to disagree.
    One thing I do agree on is that there is value in, and Stan does us a great service, when he posts resources and data on his website. I appreciate statewide data on millage rates, and the like. It is wonderful that we have this transparency and it is not lost on me that it is a public service he’s providing when he shares this type of data. That’s how I came across the web site and the blog to begin with.

  24. Nancy Jester

    I think we are in the same page. I do think that you are stuck on a tag line. Should The New York Times change their motto? They offer opinion and have angles in their news stories. Is that consistent with “All the news that’s fit to print “? It isn’t really all the news and it isn’t just the news. Why get stuck on something like a tag line. They are ubiquitous and up for your interpretation. That’s Fair and Balanced.

  25. I am going to go back to either last September or October’s Board meeting where Dr. Green stated that he was going to work with School Councils on what is best for their schools. Then all of a sudden parents started requesting meetings with Dr. Green on their own. That is when thing changed from being School Council centered to Parent Council centered IMO.
    I remember when ELPC was started, it was mom’s that went to every school to help recruit other parents to join in. There were no bylaws to start with, there was no board of directors, it was totally organic in nature and evolved into what it is today. That piece of ELPC came later as the group grew. Honestly, if PGC started this way, there would not have been so much hostility as there is right now.
    PGC did not start that way. We did not even know who the members of the board were until I asked that question. When I asked about the Chamblee VP – I felt like I was attacked. I am sure there are a lot more people out there that would like to see a Chamblee VP (resident) and Chamblee VP (magnet) to me that is the fair thing to do.
    I am going to keep saying this because honestly, CHHS is going to be massively overcrowded and no room for future growth. I feel like CHHS is a done deal and they will start construction first because that is what the Superintendent has instructed his Board that he is going to do. DHS and LHS take a good look at HMS. This addition will open in the fall. It was built with 0% room for growth. How long before a trailer in on the property. Once your addition is built, where would you put a trailer? Parking lots, tennis courts, or athletic fields? Hopefully, you have enough time to change what is being done to your school as I feel CHHS will not.

  26. Underrepresented

    CGS, if it’s me you’re addressing, I never said you’re hateful. I’ll say it now though. You are hateful and THAT is a fact. I’ve only been respectful in presenting my position and sharing my concerns. Nancy do you feel otherwise?. There was no name calling and animosity until just now. Of course you elt it necessary to spew you venom.

  27. Nancy Jester

    I think you have been respectful to me and I have enjoyed the opportunity to dialogue. Maybe it will open some minds and lead to a better balance.

  28. chamblee getting screwed

    Underrepresented- excuse me, but where am I being hateful?

  29. Underrepresented

    Hateful doesn’t always mean racist. I am not accusing you of being hateful in a racist manner. Your comment is just hateful and misanthropic. Re-read it.

  30. chamblee getting screwed

    I did. No hate there. Quite frankly the word hateful is getting so overused and us d incorrectly that it is now devoid of meaning. Review the definition and then tell me if you are using it in the right context. You aren’t.

  31. Underrepresented

    Yup Oxford English Dictionary. Hateful: Arousing, deserving of, or filled with hatred.
    ‘that hateful arrogant woman’. Or are your posts just how you talk all day every day and you don’t realize you’re a modern day Archie Bunker. Leave me alone, stop and harping on me I took one day to respectfully share how I feel while you take almost every opportunity to beat people down if you don’t agree with them Thank you. I’m going to take your suggestion and make coffee plans with Gocke and Bill, and maybe you can get back to making plans to do whatever you do with Jim Bean and Jack Daniels.

  32. chamblee getting screwed

    Ok, look I am passionate about this and that passion may cross the line, so if I have offended anyone, I apologize to Kim, Bill, you, and anyone I might have offended. But I will not back down from my viewpoint that we are making a major mistake in creating mega schools and destroying our community schools. For that I do not apologize for. I do not apologize for my passion. But I do apologize if my passion has cross d the line and caused offense. I’ll try to be better.

  33. Underrepresented

    Thank you. I appreciate that. I do not discount your passion, and I, for one, listen to people like Lynn who communicate passionately without insulting. Sometimes I learn things.

  34. Hello,
    I would also like to thank Stan, Nancy and all the people that take the time to post here. Even if you do not agree with everything that is being said, it takes courage for Stan and Nancy to take the time to share information and express their feelings. I wish that all of the representatives would be as open as Stan and Nancy. No one is forced to accept their view points.
    What I hate is that over the years that we have lost so much trust in our BOE and County Government. Now in terms of building and trying to take care of the needs of the schools, we are in the midst of a storm. Our neighborhoods are growing. Our streets are crowded. Our schools are getting over crowded or they are alrady crowded.
    Years ago I wish our school system had worked with the government and begin making plans for the kind of growth that we are seeing now. Perhaps that would have allowed more time for all voices to at least be heard.
    “Even to me my children are not the only children in the world.” I heard this line in a movie on TCM. How true that should be for anyone in education. While we must fight with passion for our children, we still need to care about the best for all children. That is hard to do.
    The PGCS has not even had one meeting. It deserves a chance. With Ms Johnson there and Mr. Drake, at the very least it may be an opportunity to get some questions answered.
    I wish that all of the other Regions would be as vocal as Region I. Then perhaps there would be no need for a parent to video the awful conditions that were found in a school restroom. People may disagree with her methods, but people need a way to be heard.

  35. Lynn, you hit on an important point about the role of Peachtree Gateway Council vs. School Councils.
    PGC is the official Region 1 group for Parent Council United. PCU is endorsed by DCSD and is included on the DCSD website. PCU states that its Parent Councils (such as PGC for Region 1) “advocate for larger changes in the school system than parents and staff at one school can accomplish.” Their purpose is ” To inform To discuss To advocate.”
    I’m happy for the “Inform” and “Discuss” parts of their mission, but I am wary of the “Advocate” role.
    Since PCU proudly states on the DCSD website that it has no membership rolls, how does it determine what its “Advocacy” positions are? Are there votes? Who is invited to vote?
    Is it just the well-connected and potentially anonymous folks of PGC who create an “Advocacy” position? Why should DCSD assume that PGC Advocacy positions are supported by Region 1 stakeholders, School Councils, or anyone? School Councils are accountable to their school communities but PGC is accountable to NO ONE.
    The PGC folks are to be commended for setting up this meeting and getting high-powered DCSD folks like Ms. Johnson and Mr. Drake to attend. This is part of their “Inform” and “Discuss” roles.
    But I am not willing to concede to PGC the right to “Advocate” for Region 1 until and unless there is a fair and equitable process to determine a Region 1 “Advocacy” position.

  36. This blog was born from the constant stream of inaccurate data coming from the school administration 4 years ago. I spent hours every day monitoring and reporting on the factual accuracy of the data they were releasing.
    Since then we have had 3 superintendents and I’ve been elected to the board. The administration doesn’t release the constant stream of falsehoods anymore. I have expanded the scope of this blog to include gathering feedback from the public as well as provide my thoughts on governance and why I vote the way I do.
    The roots of this blog are still centered around some set of data and letting people know what’s going on. Take this PGCS post for example. The facts are there is a new education related group claiming to represent District 1 schools and cluster. They plan on having forums and making joint statements and resolutions for District 1. They are being marketed/supported by PCU and the school administration. I have collected as much information here as I can find about them.
    My thoughts are that they started last year, haven’t contacted me nor do they return my emails. I have a healthy amount of skepticism regarding their motives. In addition to informing people about this group and their upcoming event, I wanted to solicit feedback from the public.
    The comments here have been extremely helpful, thank you.