Under-Performing Principals Reassigned

Question: Can we systematically weed out our lowest performing principals?

The DeKalb County School District serves nearly 102,000 students, 137 schools and centers, and 15,500 employees. If we can agree that some principals are better than others, is it possible to fairly and accurately implement a systemic evaluation system? DeKalb Schools says “Yes We Can”.

What’s the plan?
The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has developed its own data-driven process to evaluate the school house principals’ consistent academic progress of its students. This process has culminated in the reassignment of numerous principals.

The principal evaluation process rates the leaders of all DCSD schools using five indicators. All principals meeting these requirements have officially been reassigned and have the ability to apply for other non-principal positions within the district.

  1. The principal has served more than three years (before July 1, 2013).
  2. The school’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score was less than 60 in 2016.
  3. The school’s average CCRPI score for 2014-2016 is less than the 2014 score (the school has lower test scores than the first measurement year).
  4. The school did not outperform the “Beating the Odds” designation.
  5. The school did not exit the state’s “focus” or “primary” designation from 2014 to 2016.
Update from Superintendent Stephen Green (May 13 @ 4:45pm) – Criterion #5 only applies to schools that were already on the focus or priority list. If they were on the list during the indicated time frame and then demonstrated the kind of growth/improvement to exit the list, then they would be removed from DCSD SBL Reorganization consideration. If they were not already on the list in the first place, then that criterion is not applicable.

School Based Leadership (SBL) Reorganization
9 principals met these requirements this year. Therefore, the elementary schools that will receive new leadership include: Dresden, Rock Chapel, Panola Way, Oak View, International School Center, Shadow Rock, Stoneview, Flat Rock and Snapfinger.

DCSD will begin the search immediately to find a highly-qualified leader to serve at those campuses impacted by the reorganization through a pool of high-performing assistant principals, traditional applicants, and through its Leadership Training program.

Superintendent Stephen Green

Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

“Leadership at the school level is often the most significant factor in a school’s ability to raise the bar on achievement. We have the supports in place for schools to do better. Now with this new measurement tool, we will ensure more effective leaders at every campus,” said Superintendent R. Stephen Green. “Oftentimes, turnover is a by-product of turnaround. This component of the system provides a safeguard to ensure schools avoid stagnant achievement levels. We thank the current principals for their service.” –Stephen Green

Marlon Walker AJC

By: Marlon A. Walker – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
DeKalb Schools’ reassigned principals mostly return to teaching, retire

Four principals removed from their seats at DeKalb County elementary schools in May by Superintendent Steve Green will become teachers at different schools in the district.

Three others accepted new administrative positions. Two others retired.

Green said he was reassigning nine principals with hopes that new leadership would lead to better student outcomes.

District officials said former principals Ledra Jemison, Ethan Suber, Dominique Terrell and Karen Williams accepted teacher contracts. Michael Williamson became an instructional technology manager, Zack Phillips will be a coordinator in the early childhood division and Rodney Mallory will be an assistant principal.

Terry Segovis and Sylvia Pilson retired from the school district.

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99 responses to “Under-Performing Principals Reassigned

  1. Lisa Martin

    Panola Way ES has never been designated as Focus or Priority by the GADOE; therefore , the Princupal did not meet all five requirements , but was reassigned nonetheless.

  2. Stan Jester

    Interesting. Panola Way ES has been perpetually failing as indicated by CCRPI scores, but I don’t see them on the latest Focus or Priority list. I’ll seek clarity on that Monday.

  3. A. Peterman

    Ms. Jester…going by back to DeKalbSchoolsWatch days, you have been sharp and not the type to fall for foolishness and lip service; you quoted R. Stephen as, “[having] the supports in place for schools to do better…”

    NO support whatsoever has been provided to struggling schools…check the facts. Ask about Horizon Schools and the forced allocation of all Title I funds to PL to pay for it…

  4. Agreed. What supports have been provided to the failing schools? Lip service alone with an iron fist is not enough to raise performance. Support is needed for administrators to succeed and not be the fall guy to satisfy constituents.

  5. Stan Jester

    I don’t speak for Dr. Green and he doesn’t speak for me. I thought it would be nice to include his thoughts on this.

    Wrap Around Services
    The DeKalb Schools budget has increased by 30% over the last 4 years. Among all the new employees and departments, DeKalb Schools has created a Student Support and Intervention Division to provide “Wrap Around Services” to address the diverse needs of students and families. That includes:

    · Giving stipends and signing bonuses to attract and retain talented, motivated teachers
    · Appropriating $1.9 million for literacy and mathematics initiatives
    · Spending $750K for the 10 Horizon schools to partner with Discovery Education
    · Spending $398K to partner with IIRP(International Institute for Restorative Practices) to reduce the number of suspensions

    Discovery Education – Intensive & Focused Instructional Development & Support for the 10 Horizon Elementary Schools
    The goal of this partnership with Discovery Education as one of the implementation and support strategies for the 10 Horizon schools is to enhance leadership, teaching, and student learning, with the outcomes to be measured by on-going formative assessments (e.g., Benchmarks), changes in teacher and leader practices, and the EOG Milestones Assessment.

  6. A. Peterman

    Sir…you may really want to talk to the Horizon teachers and staff…their perspective on the receipt of services and support may differ from what you believe your funding provided…

  7. A. Peterman

    Also…if “wrap-around services” were provided and Discovery Ed was paid to support 16-17 efforts, how can one determine success or failure if you haven’t gotten 16-17 state assessment results to determine success or lack thereof?

  8. Stan Jester

    Peterman, I hear you. Most of these programs are less than a year old and I can’t personally vouch for them. The Superintendent has a clear directive from the board to turn around these failing schools. The senior administration insists these are the programs they need. I can’t tour the school district and assess the delivery of the programs for myself. I can, however, assess the efficacy after a given time period. I assure you that if these programs are not successful, I will hold the Superintendent accountable.

  9. The problem is not in stipends, training nor leadership.. the solution is in helping the environment in which the schools are located… we are going to continue to see a stagnant growth this endless cycle.. it’s like we are in a hamster ball

  10. A. Peterman

    I’ll say this and leave it alone…Dresden, Rock Chapel, Shadow Rock, and International Center were not Horizon Schools and did not receive Discovery Ed support or any other suppprt; and International Center?…Really?…Principal Segovis is a district treasure…he was already unfairly denoted by Atkinson during her ridiculous, by short, rein…

  11. Stan Jester

    Goes back to the original question… can we fairly and accurately determine who the principals are that need to be replaced.?

  12. A. Peterman

    No…what is the drive to replace Principals? The communities are in shambles…just look at the police blotter for the surrounding areas of each school…getting rid of Principals doesn’t change the home life of the students….

  13. Stan Jester

    DeKalb has 137 schools and principals. I think we can agree some principals are better than others. I don’t believe these children can’t learn. I’m not inclined to blame everything on the police blotter.

  14. A. Peterman

    Mr. Jester…I see Dr. Green’s highly-compensated PR team has been at it; saw dispariging article that they sent to AJC. We’ve already established, based on the criteria, that Panola Way reassignment may have been in error,; the Flat Rock Principal may have been removed in error as well…that gentleman’s hard work got that school off of the Focus/Priority list. The five reassignment criteria touted by Dr. Green and shared with the public does not apply to at least two of the reassigned Principals.

  15. A. Peterman

    Every child CAN learn…not blaming police blotter, just having the courage to look at something else; like you said some Principals are better than others and most of the good ones are working hard trying to turn around “perpetually failing schools,” as you put it.

  16. Yes, the Flat Rock principal was removed in error. He believe in us when the DCSD didn’t? Test scores for this year are not available yet, so you remove him before the results are in. What about the others that are lower than Flat Rock or better yet on a list?
    How do I get information concerning the “Beating the Odds”?

  17. Flat Rock Elementary is most definitely not on the focus list due to Dr. Philips hard work and strategic placement of teachers in critical grade levels. We have made major improvements every year was that not enough? Let`s not forget that this was the first year that students took the Milestone test online. Is it really the principals fault that students only had a week to practice online prior to testing. Dr. Phillips had teachers offering morning, specials, and afternoon tutorial to students for three months prior to Milestone testing. He also had mock test given on a scantron so that coaches could get students results back in a timely manner and could work in cohesion with the teacher to address those weak areas. Does that sound like a principal who doesn’t`t care? He`s constantly using data to gauge how teachers instruct the student. He even has 1st year teachers whose students have aced their MAP assessment. Flat Rock has made considerable progress every year and Dr. Phillips has been constantly offering PL trainings to ensure that teachers are using research-based,innovative, and technological ways to propel students for greatness. This move is going to halt the progress the school has made in the past three years.

  18. Stan Jester you please come tour some of these schools in Region 4 and tell me if you don`t think the demographics play a role in the classroom learning environment. It`s funny because they don`t have any programs in Region 4 like they do in Region 5 and the other privileged counties. A lot of students don`t even have a roof over their head and food to eat except at school. Is this also the principals fault? Nope I think that`s sad that you have a superintendent who has more resources available to these privileged schools than he does to the students who really need it most. Stop blaming the principals and start at the top. Dr. Green sets these schools up for failure. In kindergarten there`s over 24 students in a class and no para. How effective can one teacher be alone? Is that the principals fault too? Please miss me with your uninformed synopsis of Region 4, you stick to your more privileged schools.

  19. Stan Jester you please come tour some of these schools in Region 4 and tell me if you don`t think the demographics play a role in the classroom learning environment. It`s funny because they don`t have any programs in Region 4 like they do in Region 5 and the other privileged counties. A lot of students don`t even have a roof over their head and food to eat except at school. Is this also the principals fault? Nope I think that`s sad that you have a superintendent who has more resources available to these privileged schools than he does to the students who really need it most. Stop blaming the principals and start at the top. Dr. Green sets these schools up for failure. In kindergarten there`s over 24 students in a class and no para. How effective can one teacher be alone? Is that the principals fault too? Please miss me with your uninformed synopsis of Region 4, you stick to your more privileged schools.

  20. Community Organizer

    I don’t think the fact of where these schools are can be ignored. Underperforming communities create underperforming schools. Nothing exists in a vacuum. We can’t expect to give every student the same test when they don’t have the same background, exposure, parental support, etc. If these students and schools are ever going to succeed they need smaller teacher to student ratios, mandatory parental involvement, social services in the schools, and perhaps even longer school days. NONE of which is controlled by the principals, who are simply being used as scapegoats.

  21. WE'RE OUT DEKALB

    Yes, check Panola Way. My family and I are out of DeKalb. Dr. Green can not fairly assess principals. There is more to school leadership than the moving target of data from the Governor’s office. Dr. Green and Governor Deal, both have hidden agendas and it is has nothing to do with student achievement. It is about themselves. Pay close attention to the nonsense that the board members continue to support. His highly paid PR team is a joke making a mockery of principals Dr. Green has not supported. Take the attention off of them with non-instructional and non-school supportive highly paid salaries. Timing is wrong for this foolishness as my children end the school year in DeKalb. We’re out. Dr. Green will not make a mockery of our tax dollars as he has done with unsupported principals.

  22. Cindy Smith

    International Student Center, along with the other alternative schools in DeKalb, were removed from the Priority/Focus GaDOE designation as they no longer fit the criteria. ISC’s principal, Dr. Terry Segovis, does not fit the five criteria for the DeKalb principal removal process. Please bring this to the appropriate person’s attention.

  23. International Student Center, along with the other alternative schools in DeKalb, were removed from the Priority/Focus GaDOE designation as they no longer fit the criteria. ISC’s principal, Dr. Terry Segovis, does not fit the five criteria for the DeKalb principal removal process. Please bring this to the appropriate person’s attention.

  24. On the Scene with Dr. Green….PROPAGANDA!!!!

  25. …”Reassigned” … to where?

  26. Stan Jester

    Cere, I believe all the principals were tenured teachers. Teachers in Georgia, as you know, are tenured after 3 years and have some amount of protection. When teachers are promoted to principal, apparently they hold onto those protections.

    Rhino, Propaganda … I don’t understand. What is being promoted?

  27. The RISE & FALL of the Dekalb County School District doesn’t start at the school level, especially not with the school principals. The FALL of the DCSD started at the top……the DISTRICT OFFICE. We ALL know the HISTORY. Using the “selected” school principals as the “sacrificial lambs” is appalling and a disgrace. By the looks of it, it seems as though we are STILL enacting actions the will continue to reduce the district to SHAME. Are WE still not ready to RISE again? Speak up and speak out teachers, parents, students, committee members, & so forth and STOP allowing PROPAGANDA to dictate aspects of OUR LIVES.

  28. Stan Jester

    Rhino, Would you agree that Dr. Green started at the top with the dismissals and reassignments? Then focused on the Regional Superintendents and their cabinets. Now he is focused on principals. There are 137 schools and centers. I’m confident DeKalb isn’t the Lake Woebegone of education where all the principals are above average.

  29. The removal of the principal from Flat Rock was definitely an error. It’s disappointing how these decisions are made by those in charge that have no idea as to what goes on on the inside of our school on a daily basis. There are other underlying factors that no one seems to take into consideration, care about, or even address. Removing Dr. Phillips will definitely have a negative impact on Flat Rock. Student achievement has increased more than it ever has since he has been there. If anything, this decision will have an opposite effect on student growth because so many of us are so hurt and discouraged about this. The same way we see our students as more than a test score, our principal Dr. Phillips is more than just an CCRPI score to us and our students. The facts need to be reevaluated because this unrealistic formula was NOT implemented fairly for our principal Dr. Phillips at Flat Rock.

  30. If Dr. Green was TRULY “On the Scene,” the illogical “principal evaluation checklist” (which needs reassessment from an external independent source) would’ve been substantiated with a holistic trajectories approach.

  31. Stan Jester

    My understanding is that trajectory was considered. Can you give me an example?

  32. DisgustedwithDCSD

    No Stan Jester…all of DCSD’s principals are not above average…but neither is the school board, the superintendent, the regional superintendents, or the leadership cabinet…so to start cutting principals with this BOGUS, and obviously wrong, formula is a slap in the face for the hard work that goes on at the school level every single day. The funny thing is, Dr. Green has never even been a principal and neither has one of the Regional Superintendents…so how DARE DeKalb use this ineffective method to “improve” some of these schools? If we are to improve schools, it starts with a plan…not showing up 9 days before school is out with a written script for the staff and letters to parents saying that the principal is “not the right fit for the school” and then a day later, publish an article in the local paper saying the principals will not return to the principalship. How mean and disrespectful can you get? If this was “the plan”, it should have been handled differently!!! Point blank period! I’m disgusted…I’m distrustful…I’m leery of what else is to come in this district…and I feel sorry for principals like Segovis who did what he could with what he had! Are we even aware that it’s called the International Center for a reason?!?!? His students don’t even speak English!!! I’m in disbelief…Stan if you approved and supported this mess, you are just as bad as Green…and watch out for Karma!

  33. Hi!! I was just reviewing the priority and focus schools list and did not see the International Student Center on it. Can you confirm this? If this is true wouldn’t it mean that this school DID NOT meet 5/5 criteria listed above? Also, these students are refugees and they are just learning the English language. Some of this kids have never received any formal education. How are the requirements/standards for them the same as other schools? It is a speciality school …just doesn’t make sense to me (I am in the healthcare field but just seems obvious that they would be measured differently). I also saw that Atlanta School for the Deaf is on that list. Again this doesn’t make sense to me? And AASD is a fantastic school!

  34. Stan Jester

    The board started with replacing the Superintendent. Then the superintendent came in and started with the senior administration and then the Regional Superintendent cabinets. He’s moved on to the principals. As much as these principals may be beloved by their community, the Superintendent seems to believe that a better job can be done. The number one goal is academic achievement.

  35. Check the facts to see how many underperforming schools that have not shown the growth that Flat Rock has, in which the principals were not removed, and Flat Rock was commended for all their hard work in coming off the Focus list. If Dr. Green and the Board felt that it was time for changes, ok, but don’t put false information out there that isn’t true for everyone when the data shows differently. And be fair and consistent with your decisions! Why were some consistently underperforming schools principals left untouched if this was your rubric for making these decisions?

  36. Love the discourse, but accuracy is important. All of the regional superintendents are former Prnicipals and were in place when Green arrived so I’m not sure what he initial up-top restructuring that you refer to is Mr. Jester; if you’re talking about the micro-cabinet foolishness, Region IV has received less support since the establishment of the them. It unbelievable to me that Dr. Green has spent no time fixing the operational mess in HR (oh yeah, HCM), transportation, and facilities. You and your colleagues on the board hired him, so blind support, tinged with accepted lies, is okay.

  37. I would add that a cursory glance of the GADOE website indicates that Trump-like “alternative facts” were used to “reassign” at least two Principals: Panola Way has never been deemed Focus or Priority and thus was never in play with criteria 5; Flat Rock exited the Focus/Priority lost under the leadership of the “reassigned” Principal and again does not meet criteria 5. Why all the pretense with criteria if Dr. Green and his team can’t apply their own criteria correctly?

  38. DisgustedwithDCSD

    T.Leak…you are right, accuracy is imperative…and Region 1’s interim Regional Superintendent has never been a principal…fact…

  39. Stan Jester

    I’m seeking clarity on Indicator #5. We have gone through a couple people as head of Human Resources since Green arrived.

  40. If it’s the belief of the Superintendent and the Board that removing the principal is the solution, then try reassigning some of those principals in the higher performing schools to these underperforming schools and let’s see if there will be a different end result. Let’s see how many would even be up for the challenge and if they would even endure the challenges as long as some of these teachers and principals have.

  41. Wow! Great point NHW…I’ve said that for years…I’m sure the Principal at Wadsworth or Kittredge could fix Flat Rock, Oak View, or Panola Way. Mr. Jester, please be accurate, it’s Human Capital Management (another unnecessary change made by your guy), not Human Resources. Maybe Dr. Leo Brown preferred that name; by the way, where is Dr. Brown. Oh yeah, “reassigned.”

  42. Wadsworth – 200 -students
    Kittredge – 200 students
    Flat Rock – 1000 students
    Oak view – 850 students
    Panola Way – 975 students
    Stoneview – 950 students

    TAKE THAT FOR DATA!

  43. Not to mention the 200 at Wadsworth and Kittredge are all gifted and snatched from neighborhood schools.

  44. NHW…they wouldn’t survive at Flat Rock! My challenge to Dr. Green and DCSD board members is to truly come and remain “On the Scene” @ THE ROCK and discover the passion, dedication, discipline, & perseverance Dr. Zack Phillips and his TEAM (faculty & staff) display on a daily basis; truly get down in the trenches. Once you discover ONE FULL DAY @ THE ROCK, you’d give EVERYONE a pay raise and Dr. Phillips the respect he truly deserves. In addition, an apology would be extended to all the teachers who worked really hard to improve student achievement in the last three years & getting off the Focus list for being slapped in the face with false statements being released about the lack of student achievement.

  45. Mr. Jester you stated that DCSD has 137 schools; why not have Dr. Green provide the board a complete listing of how every school stands with regard to the 5 criteria? You’d probably be surprised and then we’d have to find out why these particular schools/Principals were chosen; and it’s already been established that three chosen by Dr. Green and his team don’t even fit their own criteria. ACCOUNTABILITY PLEASE!

  46. By the way, these are FACTUAL charges NOT emotional, Stan Jester. I’m NOT going to let you think for one second that YOU are receiving these messages because “we are so in love with our leaders.” As you know, you are speaking to highly educated people. So please spare me the emotional charge behind our requests, comments, or statements. Speak FACTS, logics, and TRUTH; anything other than that will continue to destroy DCSD!!!!

  47. This is in regards to Flat Rock Elementary and Dr. Phillips.
    The given descriptor of “The school did not exit the state’s “focus” or “primary” designation from 2014 to 2016.” does not apply to this building and leader. I’ve attached the link to the GA DOE list of 2015 Focus Schools- Flat Rock doesn’t appear. Flat Rock was removed from the Focus list under the leadership of Dr. Phillips.
    https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Accountability/Documents/Focus,%20Priority,%20Rewards/2015%20Focus%20Schools%2009.01.15.pdf
    Another descriptor is “The school’s average CCRPI score for 2014-2016 is less than the 2014 score (the school has lower test scores than the first measurement year).” Using this formula Flat Rock does fall short. But, let’s go back a bit further than 2014, let’s look at what Dr. Phillips inherited with the CCRPI scores for 2012 (which were received from SY 2011-2012, under our prior principal):
    2012: 49.9
    2013: 52.3
    2014: 59
    2015: 59.4
    2016: 55.3
    The incredible gains in 2014 are actually working against Dr. Phillips by using the above-mentioned formula. Let’s also acknowledge that the average CCRPI for GA Elementary Schools dropped 4.3 points from 2015 to 2016. Using the DCSD formula, schools shouldn’t strive for big gains, because those can eventually be used against them.
    It gets tiresome hearing that the DCSD leadership is “here” for our students, teachers and leaders, yet those of us in the trenches don’t see that. Holding a Superintendent’s Cabinet Meeting in the building doesn’t qualify as being “here”. Hosting an On The Scene with Dr. Green evening meeting doesn’t qualify as being “here”. Dr. Phillips taught us that if you’re going to come with a complaint, you’d better bring a solution and it’s a charge I’ve taken to heart. These are the things that would qualify as being “here” for the Flat Rock community:
    1) Removing the class size waiver
    2) Giving additional points for para-professionals in Kindergarten
    3) Allowing your “at risk” schools to go below the minimum class size numbers
    4) Sending DSCD leadership personnel into the buildings on a consistent basis to get a true understanding of the instruction happening and the building’s climate. At the end of the school year every teacher should have spoken to our Regional Superintendent on numerous occasions.
    5) Providing additional, permanent wrap-around services to the school (counselors, psychologist that are not just there for testing students in the RTI process, and social workers).
    Flat Rock’s community does not agree with the removal of Dr. Phillips and implore DCSD’s leadership and the BOE to reconsider this decision.

  48. Stan Jester

    “@ THE ROCK discover the passion, dedication, discipline, & perseverance ” … not exactly objective. I’m looking into Indicator #5. I asked Dr. Green to assess the performance of leadership at all schools. Obviously, these indicators may not apply. The board has made it perfectly clear that addressing the schools on the OSD list are a top priority. I believe that’s why this particular set of reassignments is more publicized.

  49. Plying politics? I appreciate the truth Mr. Jester.

  50. @T. Leak,
    FYI, Kittredge has 482 students, not the 200 you list. Wadsworth actually has only 191 students. Both of these schools only house 4th – 6th grades, so comparing enrollment with PK-5 schools doesn’t make sense to me.

    And what’s the point of listing these enrollment numbers? Region 1 has 3 other elementary schools with over 1000 students that aren’t on this list. Regions 2, 3, and 5 also have one elementary school with more than 900 students that didn’t make the list.

  51. “Playing” that is…since you mentioned OSD, only four of the nine schools “were” on that now-defunct list…

  52. [Stan Jester]….that’s some of what was used to get off the Focus List & raise student achievement…check the data, talk about the DATA, report accurate data & get your data and formulas correct…it’s amazing that you focused on passion, dedication, discipline & perseverance

  53. I hear you Anonymous…I appreciate your points…since you mentioned the north side, is the difference between a school on the north side with 900-1000 students and a school in the south side Principal leadership? Like mentioned before, bring some north side Principals to the south side to fix the failing schools. I’m being sarcastic of course, it’s not Principals on the north side or the Principals on the south side that makes the difference…it’s about the community, home environment, parental involvement. etc.

  54. Does the supt. not know that the students at ISC are non-English speakers? Yet we test them to death on material that they have no clue about. Please reinstate Dr. Segovis, who is a real, live person working with refugees and wonderful, caring teachers and staff. Dr. Green has made a very poor decision. As always, I’m afraid, we look at this string of huge egos in our supts over the years. There are about 900 refugees at ISC, hanging on by their toenails for survival. Shame, shame, horrible shame on the supt. and his minions. Using test scores to fire the Principal – is that stupid, or what, Stan? Stan, if you can help, please do it now.

  55. Mr. Jester,

    If the ICS is going to be judged by test scores, then all of the centers should be judged by test scores. If the unique challenges these students face is not consided, then all centers should be evaulated in the same way.
    The test scores for some of the centers are reported with the home school scores. The growth of those students is not evaluated in their actual setting, even though they spend the entire day at the center not at the home school. Some students never set foot in their home schools except to be tested.
    If the desire is that people trust and respect the measures that are being used, then everyone has to be judged by the same measure.

  56. Stan Jester

    CCRPI isn’t all test scores. “Beating the Odds” is a statistical analysis that compares a school’s actual performance on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) with the performance of schools with similar characteristics across the state. Schools that perform higher than similar schools are considered “Beating the Odds.”

    These schools were performing lower than a majority of other comparable schools across the state.

  57. What is so bothersome is how we have some unrealistic expectations of leaders who are being led by individuals who couldn’t even accomplish these goals themselves. The variables that we cannot control may never change, but the same way teachers are expected to differentiate instruction to fit the needs of our students, somebody, somewhere needs to reevaluate how we measure the effectiveness of our leaders.

  58. “Cere, I believe all the principals were tenured teachers. Teachers in Georgia, as you know, are tenured after 3 years and have some amount of protection. When teachers are promoted to principal, apparently they hold onto those protections.”

    Mr. Jester,
    Here’s a link to the correct information.
    http://www.pageinc.org/page/LegalFAQ
    Do administrators have tenure?
    No, except for those administrators who had acquired tenure prior to April 7, 1995, when administrative tenure was eliminated.
    So, administrators who have been in their positions for 22 years have tenure.

  59. There is not a comparable school to ISC in the state! Will someone, somewhere please come to the school and spend just a few hours there? I fear the answer is “no.”

  60. Stephen Green, Superintendent, DeKalb Schools

    sent via email
    Criterion #5 only applies to schools that were already on the focus or priority list. If they were on the list during the indicated time frame and then demonstrated the kind of growth/improvement to exit the list, then they would be removed from DCSD SBL Reorganization consideration.

    If they were not already on the list in the first place, then that criterion is not applicable.

  61. Hey, remember that if you feel passionately about this then you need to contact ALL of the BOE members. Just because you have stated a strong argument here doesn’t mean that the other BOE members have seen it.

  62. Just Sayin'

    Seems like we’re changing requirements on the fly; quote from release above: “School Based Leadership (SBL) Reorganizat…9 principals met all 5 requirements this year. Therefore, the elementary schools that will receive new leadership include: Dresden, Rock Chapel, Panola Way, Oak View, International School Center, Shadow Rock, Stoneview, Flat Rock and Snapfinger.

    Rationale was not that some met 4 criterion, some me 5 criterion…9 MET ALL FIVE CRITERION.

  63. Stan Jester

    This isn’t the school district’s announcement, it is my communication to the public about what is going on. The lack of clarity on Criterion #5 is on me. I’ve edited my article for clarity.

  64. Just Sayin'

    Not on you Sir…AJC article makes clear reference to five crieterion being met as the justification for reassignment of Principals…

  65. Stan Jester

    I sat down with Superintendent Green for an hour to go over a number of things including these criterion. I didn’t pick up on that nuance and messed up that part of my article. The district’s message was, “The SBL process rates the leaders of all DCSD schools using five indicators”. The AJC didn’t mess it up as bad as I did.

  66. The International Student Center did NOT receive adequate support from the District Office. Region 1 has an Interim Asst. Superintendent, Interim Coordinator, and Interim Secretary.This has been an ongoing issue for over a year. How can an Interim Regional Superintendent that has never led a school be of support to The Student International Center. Dr. Segovis did not receive adequate support and does not fit the criteria as set forth by Dr. Green. So, why was he reassigned?

  67. Stan Jester

    Don’t forget about the board meeting on Monday. Robert R. Freeman Administrative Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

    2:00 PMeboard link icon Work Session Agenda
    5:30 PM – Public Budget Input Hearing
    5:45 PM – Public Comment
    7:00 PMeboard link icon Business Meeting Agenda

  68. I do believe that if the principal of Kittredge magnet school moved to one of these schools, student performance would increase to an acceptable level within a year. This is K-5 we are talking about, not very high content classes. Similar to the low HS graduation rates across the district, I am saddened we can’t do better for our students. Something needs to change.

  69. “Criterion #5 only applies to schools that were already on the focus or priority list. If they were on the list during the indicated time frame and then demonstrated the kind of growth/improvement to exit the list, then they would be removed from DCSD SBL Reorganization consideration.”

    Dr. Green,
    Flat Rock Elementary meets your above statement. Flat Rock was removed from the Focus list in 2015. Based on your statement, Flat Rock and Dr. Phillips should be removed from the SBL Reorganization consideration.

  70. Wasn’t Dr. Segovia district principal of the year in 2013? Would like more clarification on how he dropped so much in performance in just 4 years? His reassignment is hard to understand.

  71. Just saying

    @T.Leak, you are correct it does take community, parent involvement etc… but I like your idea of bringing high performing principals from the northside to the low performing schools on the southside. After all, according to the superintendent “Leadership at the school level is often the most significant factor in a school’s ability to raise the bar on achievement” What say you Stan?

  72. “What say you Stan?” Interesting….Well, Stan is and has always been more involved with the “Dunwoody area.” Based on his past comments, involvement, & blogs, I don’t believe low performing schools is his area of speciality. What say you Stan? Ruby Payne, we need your assistance!!!!!

  73. Dear Stan,

    I do not agree with what has been done. But I do appreciate your willingness to share information with us. I know that this takes extra time on your part. This blog is one of the few ways that people can express their opinions. School system members should be free to openly express their views without worrying about it.
    I do not feel that staff has an honest way to voice their opinion. I am concerned that things like fraternity afflications and friendship with the Region Superintendent saves some principals.
    I have lost track of the number of times I have heard a certain principal brag about Dr. Green being his fraternity brother.

  74. Barbara Fountain

    I feel the buck stops with EXPERIENCED QUALIFIED teachers and I don’t feel that is in place at a lot of the elementary schools where the learning begins and sets the stage for success!!

  75. Nancy Jester

    I have long believed that DCSD had a principal problem. I also believe that it is exceedingly clear that DCSD has a Central Office problem. I do not see any improvements in the Central Office but I do see bloating.

    I don’t know if the principals are on this list are the best place to start. The very well may be. Children in poverty with little support can achieve and perform well. I think the question we should ask regarding this is “are there other school districts that have similar social-economic and demographic challenges, yet they achieve more for their most challenged students?” The answer is YES!

    If the principals that are being moved are under-performing, I support their reassignment. We can’t keep doing the same thing. But I do know this: all of the principals that are being removed are African-American with only one white principal, Dr. Terry Segovis. His removal seems like a political move to prevent the complaint that only African-American principals are being transferred. That is sad. From what I know of Dr. Segovis, he is competent. He is responsible for the placement of many of the best principals within District 1. It is sad to see the District use him as a pawn.

  76. Reassigning and demoting are two different things! If it’s believed that the principals in these higher performing regions are the main reason that the schools are successful, then they should have been reassigned to these lower performing schools a long time ago! This is not anything new and it disappoints me that we are pretending that there aren’t other important factors that have a greater impact on the success of these schools! No one said that our children cannot learn, my argument here is that Flat Rock isn’t even getting the credit for all of the hard work and progress the students, teachers and the principal have put in in order to improve our student achievement! The data needs to be reevaluated and the decision to demote should be revised!

  77. I totally agree with you last sentence. We worked hard and will continue to provide and give our all to the students at Flat Rock. Dr. Phillips removal is heart breaking not only for the staff but “his babies” are the ones that are going to suffer. This was a bad decision and I’m afraid that when transfer papers come around next year there will be a high turn over at Flat Rock. Shame on you Dr. Green!

  78. This is in regards to Flat Rock Elementary and Dr. Phillips.
    The given descriptor of “The school did not exit the state’s “focus” or “primary” designation from 2014 to 2016.” does not apply to this building and leader. I’ve attached the link to the GA DOE list of 2015 Focus Schools- Flat Rock doesn’t appear. Flat Rock was removed from the Focus list under the leadership of Dr. Phillips.
    https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Accountability/Documents/Focus,%20Priority,%20Rewards/2015%20Focus%20Schools%2009.01.15.pdf
    Another descriptor is “The school’s average CCRPI score for 2014-2016 is less than the 2014 score (the school has lower test scores than the first measurement year).” Using this formula Flat Rock does fall short. But, let’s go back a bit further than 2014, let’s look at what Dr. Phillips inherited with the CCRPI scores for 2012 (which were received from SY 2011-2012, under our prior principal):
    2012: 49.9
    2013: 52.3
    2014: 59
    2015: 59.4
    2016: 55.3
    The incredible gains in 2014 are actually working against Dr. Phillips by using the above-mentioned formula. Let’s also acknowledge that the average CCRPI for GA Elementary Schools dropped 4.3 points from 2015 to 2016. Using the DCSD formula, schools shouldn’t strive for big gains, because those can eventually be used against them when there’s a dip in the scores.
    It gets tiresome hearing that the DCSD leadership is “here” for our students, teachers and leaders, yet those of us in the trenches don’t see that. Holding a Superintendent’s Cabinet Meeting in the building doesn’t qualify as being “here”. Hosting an On The Scene with Dr. Green evening meeting doesn’t qualify as being “here”. Dr. Phillips taught us that if you’re going to come with a complaint, you’d better bring a solution and it’s a charge I’ve taken to heart. These are the things that would qualify as being “here” for the Flat Rock community:
    1) Removing the class size waiver
    2) Giving additional points for para-professionals in Kindergarten
    3) Allowing your “at risk” schools to go below the minimum class size numbers
    4) Sending DSCD leadership personnel into the buildings on a consistent basis to get a true understanding of the instruction happening and the building’s climate. At the end of the school year every teacher should have spoken to our Regional Superintendent on numerous occasions.
    5) Providing additional, permanent wrap-around services to the school (counselors, psychologist that are not just there for testing students in the RTI process, and social workers).
    Flat Rock’s community does not agree with the removal of Dr. Phillips and implore DCSD’s leadership and the BOE to reconsider this decision.

  79. sent via Facebook
    I was wondering why teacher input and school climate is not taken into account.

  80. sent via Facebook
    This is all very interesting. Just because a school is high performing does NOT mean the Principal is doing a good or even adequate job. It takes a special person to work in the low performing schools with so many outside factors. I don’t know anything about the schools you mentioned or the leadership, but I do know that not one person from county office has reached out to any of our boards, PTA, School Council or Foundation to follow up on the leadership at our school. I sometimes feel that because we are a high performing school it all gets “brushed under the rug,” until the day something really bad happens…

  81. Russell Carleton

    Are the indicators of progress growth-based? I see the “Beating the Odds” indicator is adjusted at the school level, I assume mostly for FRPL percentage, but are the indicators also indexed at the child level? If you have a kid who comes into fourth grade reading at the first grade level, and comes out reading at the third grade level, the school/teacher has somehow brought him/her up two grade levels, but she/he is not yet “proficient.”

  82. I wonder how easy it will be to fill these vacated positions. The school climates seem challenging for even a seasoned administrator.

  83. kind.educator

    Many people in the county are unaware of the purpose of the International Student Center. Here are some facts:
    – 100% of students are refugee/immigrants English Language Learners newcomers to USA, some even entering the school the first day of standardized testing, so they must be tested.
    – The students are 13-20 years old, with less than 6 years of education in their home countries, which means there are many students that have never been in school before, but are place in the 7th or 8th grades.
    – The students have less than 2 years to be ready to pass the 8th grade Milestones tests, even when research says that it takes an ESOL student 7-10 years to reach grade level norms.
    – The students are making significant gains in the ACCESS test (language acquisition test), as well as with the MAP tests.
    – Half of the students at the ISC are in the Intensive English program, which means that the funding allocated for those students stay in their homeschool.

    They can put the best principal in the world in the ISC, and still the students will not pass the standardized tests; therefore the CCRPI scores will be forever low!

    Dr. Segovis have made enormous positive changes at the ISC, including hiring on-site social workers and counselors that assist with the students’ emotional issues, since many of them suffer from diverse forms of PTSD. At the same time, he has made significant connections with the refugee community and agencies, as well as with diverse community services that provide wrap-around services to serve the students in an holistic way.

  84. Stan Jester

    So, back to the original question … Can we objectively and accurately assess the effectiveness of our principals and teachers?

    What’s the plan?

    First, what is the goal of our principals and teachers? – For the sake of this discussion, let’s boil it down to “academic achievement”. Obviously, academic achievement means different things to different people. So, it’s already tough measuring a moving goal.

    Second, how do we measure the ability of our principals and teachers to reach those goals?
    There are hundreds of various data points we can look at including: standardized testing, student growth, administrator evaluations, teacher evals, parent and student feedback, etc … each one with the caveat of the student’s circumstances.

    Perhaps we could look at this a different way. Without looking at the academic scores, student growth, feedback, and evaluations, … I can say that programs with waiting lists are successful. If it has a waiting list and it doesn’t cost anything extra, I can evaluate it with only one indicator. Just a thought.

  85. Thank you, Kind E, for your totally on-point remarks. This is one kind of nutty decision re Dr. Segovis at ISC. How in this world do these beautiful children and beautiful teachers deserve this treatment? He must be reinstated by everything right in this world. Dr. Green, please look at these comments about Dr. Segovis, come over to the school, and check things out with the children, staff, and faculty. One hundred percent of the population is following his guidance as the BEST principal in DeKalb.

  86. Stan Jester

    “It takes a carpenter to build a barn, but any jackass can knock it down.”

    I hear you about Dr. Segovis. I don’t necessarily disagree with you. But we are still left with the bigger question … what’s the plan. If not this plan, then what? Are we going to give up on objectively evaluating principals and teachers? “Come check it out” isn’t objective or a scalable solution.

  87. Stan,
    Would you be willing to ask the Administration to reveal the LKES scores for these “underperforming principals,” or at least what quartile of DCSD Principal LKES that scores of these “underperforming principals” are in?

    I am wondering why a low LKES score was not one of the criteria used to remove these principals, since it is GaDOE required and covers school achievement as well as the other tasks that are required to be a good principal. The criteria you state are very “school” oriented rather than “leader” oriented.

    On the one hand, DCSD developed a process to remove principals rather than shuffle them around. This is a good thing. What seems to be at issue here is the criteria they used.

    It is very strange that a principal’s LKES score wasn’t one of the criteria. LKES stands for Leader Keys Effectiveness System, a GaDOE requirement. It is a very detailed assessment that gives great weight to student achievement but also considers the community evaluation and other leadership strengths that a good principal needs to have. The four areas of LKES are:

    1 – LEADER ASSESSMENT ON PERFORMANCE STANDARDS (30%). Principals are assessed in 7 domains:
    1 – Instructional Leadership
    2 – School Climate
    3 – Planning and Assessment
    4 – Organizational Management
    5 – Human Resources Management
    6 – Teacher/Staff Evaluation
    7 – Professionalism
    8 – Communication and Community Relations

    2 -STUDENT GROWTH (40%)

    3 – CCRPI SCHOOL CLIMATE RATING (10%)

    4 – COMBINATION OF ADDITIONAL DATA (20%)
    1 – Achievement Gap Reduction
    2 – Beating the Odds
    3 – CCRPI Data

    For example, the International Student Center had a 5 Star School Climate Rating. All of the other schools had a 1 or 2 Star School Climate Rating.

    None of the schools “Beat the Odds.”

    More info on this is at http://www.gadoe.org/School-Improvement/Teacher-and-Leader-Effectiveness/Pages/Leader-Keys-Effectiveness-System.aspx

  88. Stan Jester

    Good question. I’d also like to know why LKES wasn’t used. We don’t have access to employee evaluations.

  89. kind.educator

    Stan,
    Thanks for answering questions posted here.
    I have two more questions regarding the International Center:
    1. If the ISC was taken out from the focus or priority list by the GADOE because of the nature of the school, why was this not taken into consideration by the district?
    2. Since the ISC is the only school in the state (and even in the southeast) that serves the unique population of students they educate, to which school(s) they were compared regarding “beating the odds”?

  90. Stan Jester

    Frankly, all I know is in the article. I didn’t go through how each principal failed each indicator (or wasn’t applicable). I’m pretty sure each indicator was deliberate. It’s possible that the indicators were gamed to get Segovis out … but that would be next to impossible to prove.

    Beating the odds – That’s a score the state gives the school. I don’t know who else is in the cohort with ISC. You might be able to ask somebody at the DOE.

  91. Hi! Ms Jester – I appreciate your candor regarding ISC and the principal. Stan, thanks again for all your hard work and for taking the time to address these concerns and for providing a forum for discussion and debate. A few questions:
    1. Can you provide the name of the school in GA that is comparable to ISC (it sounds like this is necessary when meeting the criteria above in evaluating school performance)
    2. Does the money for a student who attends ISC go to ISC or the home school?? Can you check on that and see where the funding is allocated? I would assume ISC but wanted to confirm.
    3. Is the teacher to student ratio the same at this school as it is at others? Is there paraprofessional support to address the many specialized needs? Does this school receive monies for additional counselors and outreach support that can go into their community?
    4. Ideas for evaluation of schools/students/leaders:
    -school climate-very good indicator on happiness of staff . If staff members are happy generally students are happy and you have better outcomes. I know that in nursing homes if the staff is happy and paid well, patients are better served/treated. I know this from experience.
    -pre and post test for language acquisition (measure how much language was acquired by the student)
    -emotional growth-there are stages of emotional growth that an immigrant/refugee goes through. Maybe see what stage they are in when they arrive and then what stage they are in when they leave the center (i.e.cultural adjustment, cultural shock…). Counseling can be provided by teachers and school counselors on how to adjust. You can measure this through a survey maybe. Immigrants/refugees often times go through a silent period …are they talking now? This would be a good indicator of how well (in my opinion) they are assimilating into this country.
    -checklist regarding outreach. Did the center do an adequate job of outreach and helping the student assimilate into the country? Maybe a survey is completed by the student and teacher. Maybe something ranking their experience at the school and transition into this country. It sounds like from some of Posts that the principal from this school was reaching out to the community and trying to provide resources to these children.

    Remove standardized testing that typical schools participate in . It is not fair for the ISC student and in my opinion is a waste of time. How could they pass a test if they don’t speak or read the language and never received or received very little formal education. If they are forced to be tested than take that information for what it is worth. Food for thought….language acquisition can take up to 7 years. Language is acquired much more easily in the young than the old (0-5 years of age)…this is the reason why I know little Spanish…I was taught in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade rather than pre-k. So think about the 20 year old Syrian refugee who has just entered this country.

    With regards to typical schools I think that each student should have an individual growth plan that follows them through their school career. Emotional growth/development (think impulse control/delayed gratification, work tolerance, sleep habits), communication/language development, and academics can all be measured and included. A student would be measured against themselves not another peer. I do believe standardized tests are beneficial but should not weigh as much with regards to how a school is measured. I think this data/information is important (to compare students to same age peers but I don’t think it allows you to realize the growth that has occurred within an individual student). I think that schools in the south rely too heavily on testing and sadly teach to the test. I think some colleges do this. Teaching to a test does not benefit a child (unless it is a test provided by the teacher…think old school learning….I think if a student knows they will be tested on content then attention for the subject matter is better and the storage of the information (into a filing cabinet in our brain is better). I am thinking spelling test, time table tests, reading a book and then answering questions, etc; not standardized tests). So I think a combination of both is good. I also think a typical school can be measured on parent involvement. I know this may sound difficult but maybe providing lower performing schools with outreach personnel that can go into the homes and bring parents to the schools to increase involvement. They can also provide parents with support and/or tools that they may need to help their child be successful in school. Schools that might need this can be provided with funding to help address parent involvement. I also think the climate of typical schools is very very important.

  92. ISC really doesn’t have any peer schools in Georgia. You can confirm this by checking out the SCHOOLS LIKE MINE website posted by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, at https://schoolslikemine.gosa.ga.gov/. You type in a school and it pulls up schools with similar characteristics like % ELL, % economically disadvantaged. It shows the CCRPI for these schools.

    Well, guess what? This system confirms that ISC doesn’t really have peer schools, and that while its CCRPI is below the schools that come closest to it, ISC has many more challenges. ISC has 100% ELL, and the schools in its “schools like mine” results have from 19% to 43% ELL, with most below 35%. That’s a significant difference!

    It’s true that the CCRPI for ISC is very low. But the other schools in its “schools like mine” group are mostly F’s too.

    The ONLY school in the “schools like mine” group that performs well is DeKalb PATH Academy, a charter school in DCSD, with a CCRPI = 82.5. That’s fantastic! Yet it still has “advantages” that ISC doesn’t have, such as only 35% ELL and a vastly more homogeneous student body that is 84% Hispanic. Also, ISC only gets 2 years with its students.

    I applaud DCSD for having ISC, even with its limitations. But I urge Dr. Green to re-think his decision to demote the ISC Principal based strictly on a set of criteria. ISC is extremely different from all other schools. How about using some judgement here?

    At the very least, the announcement that the ISC Principal is being demoted should be accompanied with a believable plan to improve ISC.

  93. Beating the Odds – There isn’t a cohort for Beating the Odds. It’s a regression model, so they throw data from all schools into the hopper and spit out an equation that predicts CCRPI based on a set of factors.

    The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) actually does the BTO analysis, and the link is http://gosa.georgia.gov/beating-odds-analysis.

  94. Personally, I believe principals and teachers should be reassigned about every 5 years. Change is hard! Regardless of the quantitative data, the qualitative data should be weighed. Too often it appear when a principal is making significant progress in a low performing school, he or she is removed (political reasons for the most part; e.g. Stephenson Middle School, 2-3 years ago and now ICS). Stakeholders are severely wounded when this occurs. They lose faith in the system (one reason there is an exodus to private school or another school system). Perhaps, the principals could have been place on a one year notice of their status. That would eliminate the element of surprise for stakeholders.

    I believe unfair practices and politics of the past lingered in the minds of most DCSD stakeholders that prevent most from accepting the need for change. Change is needed in most of the nine schools. Do you think moving a principal from a deem successful school can turnaround these schools? I think it is an option that should be explored.

    There are no easy answers or fixes for low performing schools. But, you must start somewhere!

  95. Chad Peterson

    These are state standards. Below 60, no improvement, not beating the odds, and didn’t get off state’s list. According to state officials, bringing in the appropriate leadership is all that it takes. We’ll see in three years where these schools are. So, there are plenty of easy answers, but we’ll see if those answers actually work.

    This is a very smart move on Dr. Green’s part, IMO. It either works and in which case he takes credit or it doesn’t, in which case he asks for more funding. I hope all these individuals get a real opportunity in their new roles. Most educators understand how difficult a job this is to improve low performing schools and aren’t going to sign up if they know it’s a career ender if you don’t succeed.

    Beating the Odds regression needs to be updated with median income in the attendance zone or include only data from schools with significant FRL to actually show you what the state wants it to. It’s a crude estimate but may give some inaccurate readings IMO.

  96. According to Marlon Walker at the AJC, “District officials said former principals Ledra Jemison, Ethan Suber, Dominique Terrell and Karen Williams accepted teacher contracts. Michael Williamson became an instructional technology manager, Zack Phillips will be a coordinator in the early childhood division and Rodney Mallory will be an assistant principal.

    Terry Segovis and Sylvia Pilson retired from the school district.”

  97. So happy for those who were able to retire and those who got promoted to “The Big House” but the 5 that are back in the classroom, now what? With their expertise and experience, how effective in the classroom? Will their presence help or harm? Will the receiving principal feel intimidated by their presence or welcome them as an asset to their building? Also, did they remain in Region 4?

  98. For better or for worse, they have tenure. As far as effective and helpful, now they are teachers like all the other teachers. I do not know specifically to where they were assigned.