2017 DeKalb Graduation Rates By High School & Demographic

DeKalb School graduation rate climbed nearly 4 percentage points in 2017 to 74%.

Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT)
This is the third year that students shall no longer be required to earn a passing score on the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) to earn a high school diploma. Note the huge increase in the graduation rate from 2014 to 2015 when the GHSGT was eliminated from the requirements to graduate.

2017 Graduation Requirements
The following courses require students to take the Georgia Milestones End-of-Course (EOC) Test to earn credit for the course and count for 20% of the student’s final grade.

9th Grade Lit/Comp     American Lit/Comp     Coordinate Algebra
Analytic Geometry Biology Physical Science
U.S. History Economics

Hispanic Graduation Rates
The Hispanic population continues to struggle at Chamblee Charter HS (55.9%) and Dunwoody HS (55.4%).

Class of 2017 –Major Graduation Gains
Cedar Grove High School –from 72% (2016) to 83% (2017)
Clarkston High School –from 59% (2016) to 72% (2017)
Dunwoody High School –from 80% (2016) to 86% (2017)
Lakeside High School –from 78% (2016) to 83% (2017)
McNair High School –from 58% (2016) to 62% (2017)
Miller Grove High School –from 70% (2016) to 79% (2017)

2017 DeKalb Graduation Rates By High School & Demographic

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GA DOE – DCSD – 2017 Four-Year Graduation Rate by Subgroup

Grad % 4-year Cohort Rate
REGION SCHOOL 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017% Asian Black Hispanic White

DeKalb County 60.2% 70.3% 7128.0% 5014.0% 74.0% 73.3% 73.4% 63.6% 89.0%

3 DeKalb Early College 97.4% 100.0% 97.7% 96.5% 100.0% 100.0%
4 Arabia Mountain 96.9% 98.3% 97.2% 99.2% 99.0% 99.0%
2 DeKalb School of the Arts 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 98.4% 98.7% 100.0% 96.4%

1 Dunwoody HS 73.6% 78.6% 77.9% 79.7% 85.7% 97.6% 85.1% 55.4% 96.0%

2 Tucker HS 65.9% 68.6% 86.9% 90.4% 85.1% 73.6% 88.0% 80.0% 89.2%

5 Cedar Grove HS 65.0% 72.5% 76.7% 72.3% 83.5% 83.1%
2 Lakeside HS 72.4% 77.4% 80.2% 77.7% 83.4% 97.0% 83.6% 65.8% 93.5%

1 Chamblee HS 84.4% 83.5% 85.7% 85.8% 81.9% 78.1% 86.2% 55.9% 89.1%

3 Redan HS 72.8% 79.9% 81.4% 80.9% 81.5% 80.9%
3 Stephenson HS 63.8% 71.9% 73.2% 78.4% 80.0% 80.2%
4 Miller Grove HS 60.2% 59.5% 79.6% 70.3% 79.5% 80.7%
2 Druid Hills HS 73.2% 75.9% 79.0% 81.2% 79.2% 65.1% 78.4% 68.4% 92.8%

4 Destiny Academy 36.8% 58.3% 75.5% 77.7% 79.0% 79.0%
4 Lithonia HS 57.5% 67.2% 72.3% 75.1% 76.9% 76.6%
4 Martin Luther King HS 73.6% 65.4% 73.6% 69.7% 74.4% 75.3%
4 Southwest DeKalb HS 74.7% 66.2% 72.7% 80.1% 74.2% 73.9%
3 Clarkston HS 53.8% 51.9% 65.1% 59.4% 72.3% 64.0% 75.4% 90.0%
5 Columbia HS 62.3% 61.7% 75.8% 66.8% 70.5% 70.8%
3 Stone Mountain HS 62.3% 59.4% 66.9% 63.3% 68.8% 81.3% 70.2% 66.7%
1 Cross Keys HS 43.5% 47.2% 55.8% 73.8% 68.7% 78.9% 76.9% 66.8%
5 Towers HS 44.1% 53.7% 70.1% 67.0% 68.3% 69.1%
5 McNair HS 46.6% 52.4% 59.2% 58.0% 62.3% 62.1%
5 Elizabeth Andrews HS 10.9% 9.3% 17.9% 11.1% 11.5% 9.3% 11.8%
5 DeKalb Alternative 1.2% 4.2% 11.5% 14.6% 2.6% 3.2%

39 responses to “2017 DeKalb Graduation Rates By High School & Demographic

  1. chamblee getting screwed

    As predicted, the Hispanics coming over from Cross Keys have significantly impacted Chamblee High academics and graduation rates. Overall Chamblee down four points. It will get worse in the coming years. Compare CCHS graduation rates for Hispanics to Cross keys – 10 point difference – and you will see the unintended consequences of the social engineering that is being driven by DeKalb County.

  2. DCSDumpsterFire

    Wow, the Hispanic graduation rates are HORRIBLE. When I see these numbers, it makes you think that there needs to be some serious acculturation needed. Tucker and Clarkston have the only acceptable graduation rates. What are they doing that others aren’t? For all that’s said about how great Cross Keys is from some people, it’s numbers are pretty mediocre.

  3. Only 9 out of 24 high schools have enough Hispanic students to calculate a separate Hispanic graduation rate. With the exception of Elizabeth Andrews HS, all of these schools are in Regions 1, 2, and 3. All considered “northside” schools by some of our BOE members.

    Food for thought.

    No excuses, but Chamblee Charter High School went from having 181 Hispanic students in the 2015-16 school year to having 410 Hispanic students in the 2016-17 school year. That’s a very big instant increase, something that is very difficult to manage.

    Most of the increase in Hispanic students came from redistricted Cross Keys students, who left a school that was 87% Hispanic to become a minority. CCHS staff trained in ESOL techniques and tried hard to hire bilingual staff, but it looks like the result wasn’t positive for the school as a whole or for the redistricted students. The Hispanic graduation rate at Cross Keys was about 10% higher than at CCHS.

    I’m confident that this can improve at CCHS, but it will take time. If it was easy then there wouldn’t be a gap in the Hispanic graduation rate.

    And by all means ask Tucker what they do to get such a high Hispanic graduation rate. But consider the context, since Hispanic students make up only about 10% of the Tucker population.

  4. Bill Armstrong

    Anonymous. You’re spot on, you saved me some typing, other than to say I agree – you’re not the only one. “I’m confident that this can improve at CCHS, but it will take time. If it was easy then there wouldn’t be a gap in the Hispanic graduation rate.” I agree, even with a change in principals, things are looking up.

  5. chamblee getting screwed

    Bill – Don’t fool yourself. jury is definitely still out on new principal

  6. What you also see in the data is that white students are doing well across the northern schools (lakeside, tucker, druid hills, chamblee, and dunwoody) with gradation rates increasing for all those schools.

    Some change overall in the Hispanic graduation among those schools with the exception of druid hills where it’s dropped by over 15%. Many of these schools have had a not so small Hispanic population for a while now, I don’t think lack of time to adapt is an issue. And if you weigh this data for the Hispanic student population across these 5 schools, graduation rates have decreased overall (even with druid hills taken out of the equation).

  7. Also, I would like to add some insight. When I taught in the Northlake Area for 15+ years, most Hispanic parents had an adult in the household that could also speak English. I see that as a huge positive because parents could communicate with their student in both English and Spanish. Also, when you saw the students in the hall, they spoke more English than they did Spanish.

    My eyes have been dramatically opened this past summer when I volunteered with the Dresden Foundation to help mentor elementary students in English and English grammar. (BTW – If you are not volunteering at an elementary school feeder in the Cross Keys Cluster, YOU SHOULD! They need it and here is why). These students, whenever they had a break, would go right back and speak in Spanish. They never used English outside of the four wall setting. Whenever they went to the bathroom or went outside, they spoke in Spanish. It is hard to learn a language when you only use it during school hours and never outside on the playground, at home, or on the weekends.

    Think about it this way. Would your child get better at tennis, football, soccer, etc, if they only practiced it when it came time to play a match?

    Starting at the elementary level and working with these students as volunteers is the only way that we can increase the Hispanic graduation rate at any school. Waiting until Middle and definitely waiting til High School is way too late.

  8. Are we examining what the high performing schools are doing to address the needs of Hispanics. One of things I noticed is that best practices and effective programs are not implemented across the board. One school could have an effective tutoring in school and after school utilizing teachers and honor students to tutor low performing students and could have Saturday tutoriasl available. It really has a lot to do with a rigorous curriculum for all along with remediation and interventions in place to address the needs of all students. We must be clear about the stereotypes that we may have. Hispanics students and all students can think critically. Perhaps if we want our under performing students to rise to the occasion, we must present them with articles at higher reading levels that they can began to annotate, mark, question learn to read. Not saying this is the case, but if we continue to provide watered down instruction-everyday their reading level will remain the same. These students need a little of both worlds at level reading and above.

  9. Bill Armstrong, surprised but glad that we agree. Chamblee Charter is doing its best. But I give no credit to the District for any success that CCHS has had.

    A well run District that truly cared that students’ needs were met – academic, social, etc. – would have asked CCHS what help they needed with this sudden increase and change in its population, and would have provided advice and resources so that redistricted students would at least have the same supports that they had at Cross Keys.

    Dreaming even more, a well run District would have considered the academic impact of the redistricting and E-SPLOST-V plans as part of that planning effort. Along with the reality of having enough seats for Region 1 high school students, they would have looked at academic data to see evaluate the options, so as to maximize positive changes and minimize negative changes on academics, and put resources in place to minimize the negative impacts.

    Did any of that happen? Nope.

    Instead, children are moved around like whack-a-moles. Region 1 high schools will be at 99.2% utilization after all of the E-SPLOST-V money is spent. Region 1 is physically surrounded by Region 2 schools. And guess what – Region 2 high schools will be at 99.6% utilization.

    So if Dan Drake isn’t spot on with his 2022 projections, and Region 1 growth continues, where will the students go? There will be little room for trailers anymore after the additions. And redistricting Region 1 high school kids to Region 2 high schools isn’t an option, unless you redistrict Region 2 high schools too. That sounds like a bad idea to me.

  10. kind.educator

    Let’s be honest here: The county is not putting too much effort towards the English Learners. The county’s ELL Department has been without a director since the 3rd week of August. The International Center’s principal was appointed as a 1-year interim, who by the way, doesn’t have experience working with ESOL students.

    The county’s diversity should be seen as positive, but at the county level, it sure doesn’t look like it. The same way there is a Success Facilitator (“Graduation Coach”) from the ELL Department at Cross Keys HS, there should be one as well at Chamblee HS and Dunwoody HS. The same goes in relation to sheltered classes.

  11. I’m with you, Anonymous. Ms. Cohen and Mr. Gokce (sp?) thought that by just throwing a few hundred of the Cross Keys into Chamblee, they would magically be lifted up and up. Instead those kids are now in a school where most of their community doesn’t go, in a school that is playing catch up on how to serve these kids, Chamblee is trying to welcome them but, again, with little help from the district, they are starting behind the 8-ball. This is a perfect case of “be careful what you wish for”. Chamblee wasn’t some magical place sprinkled with fairy dust. It had a formula that worked for the students who were there, good, bad, and otherwise. Now that the school population has changed considerably for no good reason, the resources and efforts are more fractured, and that is going to negatively impact everyone. Every group has suffered because of the social engineering brought to Chamblee because of the threat of lawsuits from Cross Keys. I would like to say I’m surprised, but this is classic DeKalb. They play a zero sum game. You give to some, you have to take away from others. DeKalb doesn’t understand the concept of lifting everyone up.

  12. Per DCSD Newsflash: DeKalb has decided to extend the 20 minutes to Nov. 1 – Nov. 30 (Oct 31 will be regular hours).

  13. It should be noted, the district only started tracking students who left three years ago. Increases in the cohort graduation rates were to be expected as the tracking added years. Next year’s graduation rates will be the test.

    The same thing is true for the Hispanic students who transferred to CCHS. The first year’s graduation rate is the baseline. It will increase for the next three years.

  14. Bill Armstrong

    Screwed: jury still out on the principal – fully agree – only a few weeks, but it’s not bad so far = in DeKalb I’ll take as a “positive.” We’re all watching closely. I have no complaints either.

    Anonymous: Agree again – the efforts are those of the school itself, staff & parents. And the kids. Not the District. At least not yet.

    And your domino effect – pushing kids south from region to region – agree, tough on all. And with north-central-south politics – those types of moves get messy.

    To all: As a parent of both a Magnet & resident student in Chamblee cluster – we are all fully aware: lingering in the background of all this, agree or not, is the Magnet program itself. Move it fully out of region, or return the kids back to home schools (even if decent # are from Region 1) – would free up a lot of room. Reform Nancy Creek, realign with Montgomery & Huntley Hills, halls 7C & 8C open up in CMS, etc.

    Not saying I agree, I can see both sides, especially against: “brain drain” for whole system (more gong private than already do), impact on “reputation” (perceived value of diploma), drop in test scores & AP classes, etc.

    But it keeps coming up for a reason: it addresses a lot of it. Oh yeah, impact on topic at hand? Graduation rates. Go down? Sure.

  15. Bill,
    How can it be OK to move the Magnet program out of Region 1? The High Achiever Magnet Program at Chamblee is the ONLY high school School Choice program that DCSD offers in Region 1.

    How can it be OK for the District to plan for all Region 1 and 2 high schools to be at 99-100% utilization, and then use that as a reason to move the Magnet program out of Chamblee? They had the choice to add a new high school, which would keep, and maybe even expand School Choice options in Region 1, but they decided not to do that.

    Instead, they will spend $175M for about 3800 high school seats, with all of the schools at 99-100% utilization upon completion.

    If we just go along with that, we are saying that we are fine with DCSD jam-packing our schools with teenagers on undersized campuses, and that we are fine with these students lacking School Choice options that students in all other regions have.

    You mention that reasons not to move the Magnet program out of Chamblee include “brain drain,” impact on “reputation,” drop in test scores & AP classes, drop in graduation rate, etc.

    These are things to consider, of course. But a bigger issue is equity. Don’t Region 1 students deserve equity?

    It’s like the saying that has driven me crazy for years: “the magnet kids can teach themselves, or they can help their peers.” No! Magnet kids need an appropriate education, same as all others.

    For the record, Region 2 has IB programs at Tucker HS and Druid Hills HS, plus DeKalb School of the Arts.

    Region 3 has DeKalb Early College.

    Region 4 has the High Achiever Magnet program at Southwest DeKalb HS, the IB program at Martin Luther King, Jr. HS, plus the Magnet and Career Pathways programs at Arabia Mountain HS are located in Region 4.

    Region 5 has the Math, Science, and Technology Magnet program at Columbia HS.

    The District has a responsibility to all students. No one but Region 1 stakeholders will look out for Region 1 schools. So let’s be diligent, and not just go along to get along.

  16. Bill Armstrong

    Anonymous. I agree with most of your points, and I’m not saying it’s “OK” – just it’s been considered by the system – often, and it was an option they threw out this time. The Magnet programs will always have a target on them for the reason you mention – “equity.” I’m not saying I agree. But it’s a political reality. This was more under Lewis & his immediate successors, things look “safer” under Green, but I’m taking nothing for granted.

    There has been talk before of merging the magnets into one in a more central location, that could come back again.

    This is somewhat similar to the Montessori programs, like ours at Huntley Hills – they’ve tried before to get rid of them. Long ago by merging into a single one at Briar Vista which it was pretty clear to me was step one is dumping the whole thing. We “won” & got them to leave them alone – mainly by proving it wouldn’t save them $$ – their stated reason. But at the last meeting Bob Moseley point blank told me they’d be back – based on “equity.” This was when Nancy Creek was split based on the infamous “demographer’s report.”

    And they did come back after Montessori – next time as part of the big “budget crisis” closing/merger/redistricting deal. At that time they ultimately agreed to let it stay so long as the schools “paid for it” using their “points.” And again we did.

    So just saying – you & I might agree not a good idea – but some do. So good reason to tuck away for future reference.

  17. Anonymous – Do you know what I’d like to do and would strongly advocate for? Blow the magnet up. BLOW IT UP.
    Talk about an unfair, unequal system – the magnet is it. Why are some students chosen and others, who have as high, or in many cases, higher scores and grades, don’t get access to it because their name isn’t drawn out of a hat? How is that fair? The ironic thing is that Kittredge Magnet tells these kids that they are smarter and better than other students, expanding the ever expanding heads of KMS students. They get to Chamblee Middle School, where they are cornered off in their own special section, away from the “resident” kids for academic classes (and remember there are still resident kids who are gifted and qualify for magnet but haven’t won the magic ticket yet), and they only have to mix with the “lower class” residents for the non academic “electives” (band, chorus, PE, etc.). They are continued to be told how “smart and gifted” they are and meanwhile the resident kids, again some of whom are gifted, are told “why can’t you be more like the magnet kids?” The result – a social dumpster fire. Middle school is hard enough already, but Dekalb County manages to exacerbate it ten fold. Magnet kids tell resident kids they are “stupid.” Resident kids tell magnet kids they are “nerds.” Gifted/High Achieving kids on the resident side are shortchanged in larger classes, with less effective teachers, and those classes may even be expanded with non high achievers and discipline problems. The resident gifted/high achieving kids who haven’t won the lottery are the ones to whom the county is not providing the proper services. Want to have your eyes opened? Find out how many kids at Chamblee who were gifted/high achievers on the resident side actually moved on to Chamblee High School. The private schools reap a bounty from non-magnet Chamblee resident kids who are gifted/high achievers. We saw it with our child’s class last year. It is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the county before someone calls them on it with a lawsuit that shows how objectively unfair the lottery system is. Blow it up. Let each school provide the SAME SERVICES to all who qualify vs. a questionable lottery (which is obviously rigged in many cases) in which the county picks winners and losers.

  18. Bill Armstrong

    RunAmok. As I said to Anonymous I am fully aware of this as an issue. And while I’m not necessarily in agreement with your idea of blowing it up – please hear me out. As I do fully agree that for many – but not all Magnet students, especially those that get in via the initial Kittredge 4th grade lottery, there is a culture issue. As I have said I have both a resident – now in 10th & a Magnet – now in 8th. My “resident” (seems weird even using that phrase) wasn’t eligible for lottery going into to 4th, but like a few in our neighborhood, did get eligible going into to 6th. But As I bet you know – hard to do – even with good #. I know a few but not too many – never got in. And since they’ve been through it they tend not to have the issues some of the 4th grade “winners” have.
    And that is a sincere belief that they got in because they are “smarter” than many who did not, even those they knew from their home school. I remember one time when a group was at our house for my Magnet son’s birthday – this was in 5th grade I think – and I got tired of hearing some of the condescending crap coming out of their mouths, I told them “you know there are kids in your home school, I bet many that you know, who scored higher than you, some probably much higher than some of you, but didn’t get in through the lottery.” The look on their eyes for many was that they had never been told that. I must have been from Mars.
    Why not? In many cases – the parents. Some of these kids have been told they are brilliant geniuses since very young, by their parents – sometimes teachers too. And they usually are smart – although maybe not geniuses. Well for most, certainly not geniuses. They do test well.
    It’s funny, some get told they are great in just about everything, even things they are not. My son told me about recess football games when some of these kids would insist on being quarterback even when they were incapable of throwing the ball 15 feet, and would then blame their receivers for not catching balls nowhere near them.
    We try to keep my son level-headed – and since his sister didn’t get in he is more aware of this distinction, or really the lack thereof. And he has never been mister 99.9%, and he knows it. And it is also correct that even when they leave an all Magnet school & get to CMS, the 7C & 8C halls are treated more “special” they often take different field trips than the residents, etc. And the awards nights can be infuriating to attend. True, as a rule they generally do meet the high expectations placed on them, but also true so would many residents, many designated gifted. Also true that some of their parents do some great school projects – Kittredge quality indeed! Some Ga. Tech quality.
    There is occasional talk of integrating them more with the “As & Bs” but it really hasn’t happened. I think it should. Not sure of some of the Magnets parents agree though.
    So all that said, I do get where you’re coming from. I struggle with it. Over the past few years when I’ve been asked by other parents who are considering the lottery, or have already gotten in, how our experience was a Kittredge, I often found myself hesitating & then: “well . . . I think my son really benefited from much of what he was provided, even if certainly far from the “smartest” – but the culture, from some of the teachers, parents & kids, it was sometimes off-putting at times, to be polite.
    I do know of many eligible kids in Chamblee that don’t get in. And the answer “it’s one of the few things going well in DeKalb, the system brags about, etc. – if anything we should expand it.” Well easier said than done – $$$$$.
    There I said it. And many that know me know I have before.

  19. Bill, excellent post. Some Magnet parents, and some Magnet teachers, feed the arrogance of their children. That’s not healthy for the children.

    I do have a question. When you say “easier said than done – $$$$$” about expanding the Magnet program – what do you mean?

    From where I sit, the only additional expense I see for the Magnet program is the cost of transportation from the hubs to Kittredge, Chamblee Middle, and Chamblee Charter HS.

    At the high school level, Magnet students rarely have “pure” Magnet classes, as resident or charter students who are gifted are often added to classrooms to make sure the class size isn’t too small. Perhaps there are extra costs for the “pure” elementary model at Kittredge, or the “pure” middle school teams at Chamblee Middle, but at the high school there are no artificial barriers. So I wonder how it costs any more to educate a Magnet student.

  20. Bill Armstrong

    Anonymous. Yes at CCHS the kids are certainly blended in much more & I do think it benefits residents “gifted, high-achievers & not” as well as Magnets, for many reasons – I’d say access to AP classes would be part of a list of benefits. And there are more – some I’d say intangible.

    I’d say access to potential “Non-resident” homecoming dates for my daughter would be another!

    But the $$ behind the Magnet portion of the HS – I’m not sure how you’d accurately carve out & calculate for that same reason. That said, getting a grip on the budget of CCHS in general, as a Charter, can be a bit daunting. I’m not going to claim knowledge I don’t have.

    As for Kittredge I think the locked-in class sizes & other benefits still do cost more, but I’d say the last time the budget mess was going on I’m pretty sure they got points taken away, just as we did at Huntley Hills for Montessori, but I could be wrong. So they could be leaner & meaner. But maybe restored by now, in whole or in part?

    Are you trying to give me homework!?

    I’ll concede it’s been a pretty long time since I dug thru the budget to look at school-by-school costs, esp. by student – but I have in the past, had printed copies in huge binder clips. We used it to partly make our case – “we don’t cost as much as you say we do.” Anybody can grab current version of the data regarding this & put up here please knock yourself out.

    I will add that Kittredge is certainly not hurting for PTA $$ – I certainly never gave them a single boxtop, when HHES is Title 1 & can use every penny it can get.

    Back to your Q. about the cost of the current Magnet Program, per student, classroom space, general operating budget, etc., especially at Kittredge & some at CMS, I know it used to be more in comparison to most other schools, even taking transportation out of it. But perhaps now it’s less than it used to be – I’d think so. Maybe the same – but I’d doubt that.

    But the real question at hand – expanding the program? the cost of doing that? I bet would be more. But I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. I can look closer when I have some time.

    Of course all this is separate from the equity issues, from whatever angle you take.

    I will close by saying that I’m always happy to engage with people that care about DeKalb schools & will do so with some civility. So thanks to you & RunAmok & others here.

  21. chamblee getting screwed

    My kids were in the magnet. They deserved it. Sorry if you aren’t lucky enough to win the lottery. It’s called life. It ain’t fair.

  22. Bill, I have also spent a lot of time with DCSD budgets. What I find makes me furious. But I have never been successful in getting a positive response. I applaud you for being successful with keeping the Montessori program at Huntley Hills.

    But it’s probably time for me to get another hobby.

  23. Stan,
    Can you tell us what my our post was deleted from 10/22/17,:re: all of the turmoil,fights, skipping classes by students and overall dysfunction in Stoneview Elementary, that was reported to us by concerned taxpaying citizens in this county? There are far worse post. Why is it when a group of people expose the truth..guilty people try to shut them up? We thought you were different Stan…There are other outlets

  24. Eric, I believe the comment you are referring to is still there. You can see it here.

  25. Bill Armstrong

    Screwed. “They deserved it.” Did you mean to say they qualified to be in the lottery?

    Or are you really saying they deserved to win the lottery? Meaning that you are saying they deserved to win the lottery over others who also qualified but did not win?

  26. “Screwed” sums up the attitude of many (but not all) magnet parents, but even in a more extreme (as he/she always is) fashion. The prevailing attitude is “We got ours and sorry it didn’t work out for you, but we don’t think it should be changed.” I can tell you if the shoe were on the other foot, they would be screaming from the hilltops and/or have removed their kids from Dekalb County either via private school or moved to a different district.

    The choice is this – continue to have a divisive culture in Dekalb that permeates the middle and high school (Students AND parents) at the magnet level – especially at the schools where residents and magnet are mixed, the result being a toxic culture in the schools between resident and magnet as well as a school such as Chamblee High and/or Middle that feels very “transient” and lacks community since a large part of the population are not residents of the community….. or return everyone to their own school and run those schools as they should be with everyone who qualifies for gifted/high receiving those services. If we stay the status quo, you will continue to lose non magnet high achieving students and families. If we move to a “magnet within each school” model, sure there will be some upset parents, but my guess is that the collective brain drain of high achieving student on Dekalb Schools would be much less. Not to mention the benefits to the overcrowding that currently exists.

  27. Run Amok, I know this will sound critical, but please believe me that these are sincere questions. What would a “magnet within each school” model would look like?

    1. Who would set the standards for the “magnet within each school”? Would the same standards be used for all schools, regardless of their current academic performance?

    2. Would there be a limit on the number of magnet students? Could students apply each year?

    3. Would there be academic continuation requirements?

    4. When a student moved from elementary to middle school, and from middle to high school, would they automatically remain in the “magnet within each school”?

    5. How would “magnet within each school” classes look? What would be different?
    – would students have classes only with other magnet students?
    – would students have core classes only with other magnet students?
    – would magnet class sizes be any different than non-magnet classes?

    6. How would “magnet within each school” teachers be selected? What criteria would distinguish them from non-magnet teachers?

    7. How would the “magnet within each school” curriculum be different?

    With Kittredge, we have the extreme model where magnet students go to school only with other magnet students. The academic eligibility requirements are reasonably strenuous, although reduced from what they were when the magnet program began.

    At Chamblee Middle, the magnet students are on a special team, and take their core classes only with other magnet students. For specials (PE, orchestra, other “electives”) they mix with the great unwashed non-magnet students.

    At Chamblee Charter High School the magnet students must take all of their core classes at the “Magnet” or Advanced Placement level. Non-magnet students often sit beside the magnet students in the same classroom. This increases for the junior and senior years as many magnet students chose AP rather than Magnet, and so non-magnet students have to sit in the Magnet classrooms in order to “earn” the teacher. In the past, the District added extra “points,” or whatever was needed to keep Magnet classes small. They don’t do that anymore. So now there’s no automatic “small class size” advantage for magnet students.

    I think there are real advantages to the Kittredge model for elementary aged children, in that expectations are high across the board and the children learn study and organizational skills to help them achieve.

    I think there are real advantages to the CCHS model for high school aged children. No one “holds their hand” anymore, and they truly mix with every level of student in the halls, clubs, electives, and even core classes. I think that’s a good thing.

    The middle school model is a bit strange, I think. However, I have been told that at Peachtree Charter Middle School the gifted and/or high achieving students are segregated into teams, so segregating the magnet students at Chamblee Middle really isn’t that different. I wonder what other DCSD middle schools do, and whether someone at the District has looked at the options and evaluated them. My guess would be “not.”

    I think that there is absolutely no way that DCSD, which micromanages the local schools and says “No!” as often as it can, could ever tolerate a “magnet within each school” model. DCSD is uber-focused on the lowest achieving students, and seems to think that high achievers should be grateful for what they get. If high achievers decide to leave the school system, oh well.

    And the “toxic culture” you describe between resident and magnet, wouldn’t that spread like wildfire into every school if we had a “magnet within each school” system?

    And for the record, I have always pitied those magnet parents and students who think they are better than my kids. I have known a few with attitudes like that, but for the most part, the magnet kids I have known haven’t been arrogant. They are hard working and high achieving. They deserve to have their educational needs met, just the same as the low achievers or on-grade-level achievers.

  28. I think this would have been a nonissuse if KMS was supposed to go as it was initially set up. A teacher could only stay at KMS for 2 – 3 years tops, then they had to go back to their home school and take the creative ideas back to other students that could benefit from what they learned at KMS. No, as everything in DCSD they can make up the rules as they go. Teachers did not want to go back; they wanted to stay, so instead of putting their foot down (DCSD), DCSD allowed them to stay.

    I know many years ago, think 15, HMS use to have a math/science magnet that was in the school. If someone can chime in on why DCSD got rid of the magnet at HMS, please chime in. I can’t remember to save my life.

  29. Anonymous – I just have one question for you because in your e-mail, it doesn’t seem like you grasp the real problem. Here is my question:

    What should the tax paying parents of Dekalb County, whose students qualify for the magnet program, but whose names haven’t been drawn, do to ensure that their child gets the SAME services as the students who have won the lottery and received magnet placement?

    Right now, we have an inequitable (illegal?) system in place.

  30. Kitty Woodhaven

    CGS-
    “At Chamblee Middle, the magnet students are on a special team, and take their core classes only with other magnet students. For specials (PE, orchestra, other “electives”) they mix with the great unwashed non-magnet students.”

    I’m not sure if this statement was meant to be snarky but I find this comment very offensive. Your kids might have been qualified and lucky to get into KMS but they didn’t deserve it anymore than any other qualified student.

  31. I am a parent of kids who have attended neighborhood, magnet, and private schools in DeKalb.

    Kittredge no longer gets points. None of the magnet or choice schools do. The only advantage is being isolated in one school with other kids who scored above x on a test. Is that an advantage? Yes. Do other large urban/suburban schools follow this exact model? Yes. Does DeKalb’s general state of crappiness make parents angrier than normal that a magnet program exists? Yes. My friends in other systems that are not as dysfunctional use magnet schools as an OPTION, not a LIFELINE. They choose the magnet for a specific reason, not for overall rescue. That is how it should be here. It is DCSD’s fault that neighborhood schools are failing; it isn’t the fault of the magnet program. While there are definitely schools that suffer “drain” from the magnet, there are some schools (like mine) that have such a low concentration of kids who score high that they receive zero gifted services and end up teaching other students or listening to discipline issues for the whole class period. The magnet is a lifeline for them. You cannot discount those and that is why the magnet program was created to begin with. The fact that it has morphed to be an elite place for kids who comes from schools that already boast of 50% gifted is wrong. I have long thought that those kids who come from schools with less than x% of gifted kids should get top priority for magnet. Kids who are already in a school with 50% gifted are getting plenty of advanced services and sit around other high achievers all day.

    CMS has shifted recently in that not all of the magnet students’ teachers are only teaching magnet kids. There seems to be more of a blend with former magnet teachers teaching resident, former mainstays in the magnet program are teaching multiple grades. They do sit in separate classes for core courses. I would guess this is because of the pace at which they move, particularly for math and German. For my magnet child’s honors night, there were at least two resident students who won as many awards as magnet kids, and a resident student was chosen to speak for the whole class. Resident kids are not ignored or pushed backwards. There are badly behaved magnet kids who have been kicked out of the program. They aren’t all treated like golden children.

    CCHS “magnet” program is simply an influx of high-achieving kids that help the entire school in terms of demand for AP classes. If the magnet program left, many AP classes would no longer be available at the school because the numbers simply wouldn’t be there. There are existing magnet kids who get locked out of AP classes already because of the tight staffing formulas. If 67 kids (magnet, resident, charter) request AP ABC and the max class is 30, there will be 7 kids who can’t take the class. They do not add a tiny class for kids whether they are magnet, resident, or Superman, nor do they like to operate at much less than the max.

    All to say that the magnet program as DeKalb runs it is not utopia. I understand it is a better atmosphere than other schools, including schools where my children have attended, but the failure of home schools is on DCSD, not the magnet program. Many other cities run magnet programs that don’t have 400 person waitlists because there is plenty to offer in the neighborhood schools. My godson didn’t want to go to the magnet school in their county because “it’s full of nerds”. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a choice in DeKalb instead of what we have now?

  32. Dear Kitty,
    my kids were part of the “great unwashed,” and were proud of it!

  33. Dear Run Amok,
    So if EVERYBODY can’t be served in a magnet program, then NOBODY should be served in a magnet program.

    So we should end the High Achiever’s Magnet Program because the demand is too high and not every qualified student gets in.

    Following this same principle, we should end the DeKalb School of the Arts and the DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts, because not all of those who audition are selected. We should end the Magnet programs at Arabia Mountain because not everybody gets in.

    We should end the International Baccalareate programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels since not everybody gets in.

    While we’re at it, let’s stop athletics too. Not everyone makes the football or basketball teams, so NO ONE should play unless EVERYONE can play.

    I want to believe that this is not your intent. Sometimes life is like that. We don’t always get the job we want, even though we are sure that we qualify. We don’t always get what we are sure we deserve.

    And we get over these disappointments. Let’s not make “not getting chosen for the magnet program” a Life Event for your child. Let’s focus on how to succeed where you are.

    Anna, has it right, however, that in DCSD that is easier said than done. Often the magnet program is a true LIFELINE, and those who don’t get in have very poor options at their local schools. Other students who don’t get into go private, taking their skills and talents, taking their parents’ financial and other contributions with them.

  34. Bill Armstrong

    Anonymous – yes – I have both a “great unwashed” & a “Magnerd” – proud of both!

    And Anna – to me – if you want to get an accurate read on the dynamic between those residents & magnets, especially 7&8th when it’s the worst, ask the students . . they live it. And it can be bad – which sucks, as middle school can be hard enough anyway. The blending together in HS many of us have mentioned here does make it better.

    “They do sit in separate classes for core courses.” Indeed – which means almost the entire day – including lunch. The vibe from the existence of the 7C & 8C hallways is real, from both “sides.” And I know the residents direct plenty the way of the magnets that is unwarranted – to us adults, not so much to them.

  35. chamblee getting screwed

    Kitty – maybe read whose name was associated with the post instead of attributing it incorrectly. That was Anonymous that called the tesodentnkids the great unwashed.. I’ll wait for your apology.

  36. Anonymous – What a complete ignorant and unthoughtful statement. You and CGS need to get together and embrace the “life isn’t fair mantra.” I call bullshit on that. I pay taxes just like the magnet parents. My child should get the same EXACT services if he or she qualifies for the magnet program than he or she should be offered those services. If you can’t offer it to everyone that qualifies then it is ILLEGAL for you to offer to some but not to others. Dekalb County has created a divisive culture that creates a “haves” vs. “have nots” mentality. You win the lottery and you get the small classes and the better teachers. You lose the lottery and you get teachers like this one.http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-math-teacher-leave-was-fired-ohio-for-misconduct-abuse/zGlmUTAIhzzuy5HI4hmf1N/ Yes, this is par for the course on the quality of teachers on the resident side.

    Your analogy about basketball teams etc. is completely off base. Basketball teams and football teams are chosen by TALENT. Magnet programs, once you hit a certain (relatively average) score, are chosen RANDOMLY. If you put one kid on the basketball team and excluded one who had as much or more talent, that would be an issue. You clearly just don’t get it and represent the mentality of many of the magnet parents. “We got it and you didn’t. It’s a great program and sorry you can’t be in it, but life ain’t fair! But now that I’m in, don’t think of changing it.” The perception is your kids are the brilliant of the brilliant in Dekalb. The reality is that there are a number of resident kids who can run circles around some magnet kids, but just happen to be unlucky.

    Now Anna, you completely miss the mark as well. There is no mixture of teachers from the magnet to the resident side unless you are talking electives. No magnet teacher on the academic side teaches resident kids. That is completely untrue.

    Finally, Anna your dig that they don’t mix magnet and the gifted resident kids because the magnet moves too fast again is so typical of the mentality. First, its another false statement statement. There are many resident kids that are stronger than magnet kids in math. So, don’t even go there. But they can’t get the same type of small classes and individual attention because they weren’t chosen in the Willie Wonka magic lottery. Yes folks, that is what it has come to, your future in Dekalb is decided by whether your ping pong ball is chosen.

    Its this kind of ignorance and attitude by Anonymous and Anna and CGS are why people are leaving this pitiful excuse of a school system by the droves.

  37. Run Amok,
    I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clear. If this doesn’t work then I’ll resist trying to respond.

    My kids were NOT magnet kids. I completely agree with your statement “The reality is that there are a number of resident kids who can run circles around some magnet kids, but just happen to be unlucky.” They will do well despite not having a Magnet diploma.

    You write “You win the lottery and you get the small classes and the better teachers.” That simply isn’t true. Anna is correct when she states that Magnet programs no longer get extra teacher points to keep classes smaller. Magnet classes in the high schools can be too big too. As far as better teachers, at CCHS there are many fine teachers in the Magnet program and many fine teachers in the non-Magnet program. The converse is true too, that there are some teachers to avoid in both programs.

    You write “My child should get the same EXACT services if he or she qualifies for the Magnet program than he or she should be offered those services.”

    Just what do you think “the same EXACT services” are?

    Not all Magnet teachers are gifted certified, though most are. Not all Magnet teachers are great, though many are. Some Magnet teachers seemed to pile on the work, thinking that quantity was more important than quality. The discipline issues in Magnet classes, in high school anyway, are often more about cheating rather than acting out in class, but like any discipline issue it’s a problem and has got to be taken seriously.

    As I said, Magnet classes aren’t smaller anymore. Sometimes AP classes might be a bit smaller, but guess what – AP classes are open to everyone so your child can get this same EXACT service just like Magnet kids.

    And at CCHS anyway, non-Magnet students often sit side-by-side Magnet students in Magnet classes, so it would appear that they are getting the EXACT same services as non-Magnet kids.

    So just what EXACT services is your qualified but non-Magnet child missing out on?

    Since you aren’t happy with a random lottery if not all qualified students can be accepted, would you be happier if DCSD took all of the Magnet applicants, ranked them by MAP test score, and then just went down the list and picked the top ones? If you think that’s a better system then advocate for that.

    I like a little randomness in my life, and am trying to embrace it more. Sometimes the lemonade we make when we get lemons turns out to be wonderful.

  38. Kitty Woodhaven

    CGS, my apologies for misattributibg the “unwashed” comment to you.

    Run Amok, this year, CMS has one of the 8C math teachers teaching the upper level math class to both resident and magnet students. But the students are kept in separate classes.

  39. I think the only answer it to go back to tracking, instead of pulling kids out of resident schools to go to magnet schools. Gifted, high achievers, on grade and then kids who need extra help. At every school. It helps teachers not having to teach to a wild variety of ability levels and it helps the kids, especially those on both ends of the spectrum, get the attention they need. Lumping everyone of differing ability levels into one class is hard on the kids and hard on the teachers. The gifted kids are bored and not challenged and the kids who need extra help may not be getting the extra attention they need.

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