Moving the Magnet and the Middle School In Chamblee

More classroom space is needed at Chamblee Charter High School. On Monday, the school district proposed the possibility of closing Chamblee Middle School and moving the High Achievers Magnet Program from Chamblee Charter High School.

Can we have a healthy and constructive discussion about this?

Close Chamblee Middle School

DeKalb Schools administration threatened the Chamblee community with this option on Monday.

At the board meeting, I asked Dan Drake, interim Chief Operating Officer (COO), about the viability of this option. He said they haven’t done any research into this option.

This doesn’t appear to be a viable option for the same reason the school district isn’t considering a satellite campus instead of the Lakeside High School (LHS) building additions.

I suspect, the administration is using this option as a scare tactic to get the Chamblee community on board with the GO bond and building additions at the high school.

MOVE CHAMBLEE CHARTER HS MAGNET

DeKalb Schools administration presented this alternative to building additions at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). This alternative is driven more by the board than the administration.

Can we have a cordial dialogue about “moving the magnet from CCHS”? I’m an advocate for keeping the magnet at Chamblee and would like to hear more from those who would like to move it. These are the discussion points as I see them:

Move the magnet – You can’t “move” the magnet. What you can do is shut it down at CCHS and open up another somewhere else. Some of the students will go to the new one, but very few of the teachers will go.

Magnet success – Many people, including district school board members, believe the successes at Chamblee Charter HS are a result of something the school district is doing for CCHS that they are not doing for the other magnets. However, the success of the CCHS magnet program is a function of Chamblee and not the school district.

Distance – Moving the magnet from CCHS to the new Cross Key HS will severely increase the distance for many students. The board members I have talked to don’t think that distance is consequential. I don’t think most of the students from Doraville, Chamblee or Dunwoody will follow the magnet down there. This is taking the magnet away from them.

Teachers – The idea of moving the magnet is to fill those open spots at CCHS with resident students, so CCHS will still need teachers. I don’t anticipate most of those teachers will want to move.

Magnet is Unfair – I hate that the magnet program picks winners and losers. I think adding magnet programs is the solution, not completely destroying the program. I’m not a fan of the attitude, “If I can’t have one then nobody can have one”.

I’d like to know your thoughts. –Stan

137 responses to “Moving the Magnet and the Middle School In Chamblee

  1. CCHS is having difficulty growing the CTAE program, and there are often problems with the staff. I doubt that they could adequately run a magnet program in addition to the CTAE program.

  2. Why aren’t you working on more magnet programs and school facilities? Does Gwinnet have more than one? You have an Arts Magnet why not do something different for StEM and then keep Chamblee general Magnet where it is? Why is Dekalb behind other counties in a StEM magnet program

  3. I’d like to have a discussion about how the board and the district plans on staffing the existing schools with credentialed teachers before we discuss any of this hot mess….

  4. I am more upset about the possible closing of Chamblee MS than the moving of the Magnet program neighborhood kids come first. Move the Magnet, I don’t care! But closing our neighborhood MS and making our kids travel to Sequoyah MS in not a viable option!

  5. When would they close CMS? My family will move before we ship our children out of their neighborhood to attend Middle school

  6. Lose the Magnet

    Stan – You talk about “we need to add more magnet spaces.” But where are they? Why do you and all the other magnet parents continue to give this lip service, but provide no real solutions? My vote for our next county school board representative will be someone who can actually come up with a solution. You’re little blog is nice, but I have yet to see you come up with ANY MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION to address this problem. And yes, if one family can’t have the magnet, then NO ONE SHOULD. It is a broken system and needs to be repaired. Either everyone who makes the cuts gets that option or NO ONE should. Sure, you can dismiss my opinion as “If I can’t have it then no one else does.” But how about addressing the current issue of the existing magnet parents, “I got mine and if you don’t get it, then too bad.”

    Step up to the plate Stan and offer up a solution, here. Because what we have right now is complete and utter bullshit.

  7. Stan y’all are skating on thin ice with this. You already ignore this side of your district, so now you’re trying to move our kids out of our own neighborhood schools? Awesome. When do we get to elect a new BOE member for our region?

  8. I agree 100% with Lose the Magnet

    While you’re at it why don’t you inform everyone how you’re handling your side of 285 and acting like this side of 285 is the red headed step kid. You know we pay more in taxes. Hey Stan hows it going with replacing the modular classrooms over here covered in mold? #priorities

  9. This is NOT Stan’s doing. This is Dr. Greene and the rest of the Board giving the “middle finger” to our region. They have NEVER cared for our side of town. Stan is one against the rest! It is time to take the power away from county schools. Screw DeKalb!

  10. @LoseTheMagnet, The board wants to put a magnet at the new Cross Keys High School. We should open one there in addition to having the Chamblee Charter HS magnet. We should build a Doraville High School with a magnet program there too. How about that for solutions?

  11. With all due respect “enough” I’m a very involved parent on the other side of 285 and have attempted to get Stan involved in maybe shedding light on what’s going on only for him to completely ignore us‍♀️

    Stan may be against it and use his blog to say so, but actions speak louder than words…..

    But I agree. DeKalb sucks.

  12. @Mamabear, I’m confused. What is your perception of where I stand on this?

  13. Lose the Magnet

    @Stan Jester – Good start, but you still don’t have a solution to the elementary and middle school dilemma. By the time kids reach high school, lots of families have either a) moved to another region or b) transferred to private schools to get the education that was so inferior in the earlier grades vs. the magnet program. What is the solution there?

    Please develop a proposal and get your fellow board members to come on board and support increasing the magnet numbers until “no child is left behind” who qualifies for the program. Everyone pays taxes. Time to eliminate the haves from the have not via a silly lottery system, which is clearly rigged to benefit some and not others.

  14. It sounds as though the proposal is for a hard date to move the program. I think you should consider a softer transition. Let the students currently in the Middle and High school programs graduate from CCHS since it’s the schools they know to be part of the program. There are programs and after school activities they have committed to, school pride and friends they have made. Changing schools in middle and high school is hard, sometimes triggering or increasing anxiety and mental health issues, I don’t think you want considering the current climate for student safety. The move isn’t giving parents a fair choice to to avoid some of that. You could add the Magnet program to Sequoyah and Cross Keys and run them together. Any new 6th grader to the program would then follow the path to Sequoyah and Cross Keys. If the distance at that point doesn’t work they at least know that BEFORE entering their kids into the lottery just to be uprooted! That might also allow an easier transition for the teachers that want to remain teaching within the program.

  15. @stanjester as long as it doesn’t affect your side of town it’s a bunch of words on a blog. We’ve been asking to have our modular classrooms replaced for going on four years now due to mold and guess who got modular classrooms replaced before us? Just sayin…. The Chamblee cluster seems to get the short end of the stick regardless. I’ve yet to see anything positive proposed over on this side. You literally throw tantrums on your blog about adding 1000 additional seats to Dunwoody but you don’t seem to care that a school built for 400 children will be smacked with around 1000 this upcoming school year. Which means we now get blessed with another assistant principal so she can help manage the insanity. So again, please inform the other board members that they need to focus on fixing what’s broken before they use the funds to ship our kids to schools outside of our own neighborhoods. And maybe see if y’all could use some of that money to bring credentialed teachers into our schools. I know I go against the popular vote here by calling you to do your actual job, but I’ve watched this hot mess take place for far too long to care about what others think. You included.

  16. Where are the other BOE Members? If nothing else, they could set up a blog or Facebook Page so that residents in their individual districts coud also have a venue to express their concerns. That is not to say that this site does not value the views of everyone. I know that I have disagreed with things said at times on this blog. But if the other BOE members had public sites, then we all could hear how they feel about the many issues confronting our school district.
    Even if you don’t have a student in a school, the quality of schools and education impacts all of us
    I feel that part of the problem is it is hard for the community to trust the DCSS. What are the real advances that have been made in student achievement? There is always so much “mess” going on that real prgoress for all of our students seems to get lost. How have the 7 regions improved outcomes for students? How have all the programs that have been implemented helped our students?
    When people see the way that the MAG study was handled and plans to bring consultants in at high salaries, it is hard to trust. I work in special education. I don’t think that there are enough strong options that are inclusive for special education students. But I also feel that Magnet Schools and strong CTAE Programs, are programs that can provide more choices for students. As for a hiring and keeping qualified staff when you have an HR department that cannot keep a leader for any period of time it is hard to make positive changes in hiring and employment issues.

  17. @ShanaSmith, there’s no hard date to move the program. I don’t think the administration is interested in moving the magnet program. This is all driven by the board. I have had numerous discussions with board members and my post outlines most of the discussions.

    We have numerous elementary, middle and high schools getting built. We could relatively easily add a magnet program to a cluster.

  18. @MamaBear. I understood what you are saying. You are frustrated and feel neglected by me, the board and administration. I’m not at my computer. Give me some time to put a thoughtful response together.

  19. Those options are so inadequate that I have a feeling that someone in Dekalb administration or on the board is trying to deliberately destroy education system in Chamblee community. Having lottery Magnet is unfair already,
    but now John and Tom, who live in a walking distance to school have to go to different schools: Tom has to spend 30 min. to get to school (taking into account traffic), just because he wasn’t lucky enough to get into Magnet. Does it sound fair to Tom? John is OK. He is a lucky one to stay and walk to school as before. So WHO is that person, who is trying to bring feud to Chamblee community: to divide people and push their agenda. Chamblee community has to stand up together and file a law suit against the county school system if they keep pushing their insane reforms! KEEP CHAMBLEE MIDDLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD! FAIR EDUCATION POSSIBILITY FOR EVERY STUDENT IN THE COMMUNITY!

  20. Let’s Figure This Out Together

    Stan, what is the realistic path forward to a decision here? Is it the referendum on the bond? I hate that all of this is getting stirred back up again, for what appears to be a diversion from the mismanagement of resources. Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson with SPLOST V that it is ridiculous to approve any additional funding without a detailed roadmap for every penny as opposed to writing another blank check to DCSD.

    In terms of the magnet program, I completely agree we should create more magnet opportunity and not ‘sour grapes’ pull the plug because it’s not ‘fair’ in its current state – so childish and short-sighted!! But before we even get to that, it sounds like we need info to make decisions. For this to even be a discussion DCSD has a responsibility to spell out to voters what “move the magnet” means – from restaffing to building out space, and every dollar associated with it as well as the potential impact to students’ education (pros/cons). As you’ve stated @Stan the magnet program isn’t a lego piece you pick up and move – it is students and teachers. @Stan what can you tell us about those teachers’ contracts – are they contracted for the school or tied to the magnet program (e.g. they work for the magnet and move wherever the program moves automatically)? Or are they tied to the school (CMS/CCHS) and will teach the population at that school whether that be redistricted students or resident magnet students that choose neighborhood school over magnet? @Stan has anyone ever done a Survey Monkey of existing Middle & High magnet students in Chamblee to see how many would opt to stay at CMS/CCHS if the program moved? Without that information this is an exercise in futility. This all seems ridiculous and a threat. I would like to see DCSD’s proposed plan for the logistics of ‘moving the magnet’ and the very specific (not options) list of projects to be funded by proposed bond. How do we get to that information? What are next steps in this process so we can all stay focused on the best possible solution as opposed to fighting each other out of fear?

  21. @Let’s Figure This Out Together – I have kids going into CCHS and already in CMS. I would definitely go private if this changed happened.

  22. Jimmy Demer

    I am a Chamblee teacher of fifteen years, and a parent of a current student. Here are my (hopefully) healthy and constructive responses to some of the points in your piece:

    First, if “the administration is using this option as a scare tactic to get the Chamblee community on board,” as you suggested, this is completely unacceptable. A DCSS board member thinks that the administration he governs uses “scare tactics” to get things done? To many CCHS stakeholders, DCSS administration has zero credibility, for reasons exactly of this sort. How about some transparency?

    In all of the points made in your piece about these various options, the objective is never mentioned. What will be achieved — for student learning — if the CCHS magnet program is moved?

    You mentioned that DeKalb’s COO hasn’t “done any research” into this option. I can’t tell from your article, but was the COO making or supporting a proposal without doing any research? If so, this response furthers the opinions of many that DCSS does stuff just to appear to be doing stuff, which is odd, because they’re also constantly telling teachers about “research-based methods” and “best practices.”

    re “Magnet Success”: I have no hard data on this point, but many CCHS stakeholders believe much of the student success at CCHS is that we have a hybrid population of magnet and resident students. The impression is that having a population of high achievers at the school raises the bar for all. Indeed, resident students are allowed to take a small number of “magnet” classes, and a majority of “magnet” classes are double-coded so any student can take the class.

    The general sense among CCHS teachers is that we can solve problems and create the best learning environment possible if DCSS administration avoids imposing its will on the school. Unlike DCSS, CCHS stakeholders have created a long-term plan for making CCHS a radically learning-centered environment: our charter. DCSS tends to come up with “important” and “required” (and endless) tasks for teachers to do, but then abandons them after a year or so.

    As for teachers staying at CCHS or following a magnet program somewhere else, many teachers at CCHS are more concerned that we have leadership at the school that believes in a teacher-driven approach. Our charter, which was supported overwhelmingly by teachers and parents, supports a bottom-up approach rather than DCSS’s top-down approach. The current principal was a CCHS teacher for many years before becoming an admin, and is supported overwhelmingly by the current teaching staff, unlike DCSS’s prior choice for CCHS principal.

    Stan, I appreciate that you make an effort to engage in some straight-talk with the community about these issues. But it would be really great if the DCSS board and administration worked harder to gain the trust of teachers and community. In Chamblee, especially after the terrible debacle of the prior principal, DCSS is not trusted. Because of that, any time a DCSS proposal comes our way, we are inclined — without even knowing the facts — that it’s a thoughtless and pointless one that will not better learning in any way.

  23. Sigh. All dumb ideas. All ‘inside the box’. At the DSW blogs we advocated for years to convert the old Briarcliff site into a science/high-achiever magnet as well as a vo-tech campus and school of the arts. Set it up as if it’s a small college-like campus. There’s plenty of room and students could choose to make this their high school. And believe it or not – high achievers love vo-tech courses. Engineering types love to work on cars and technology. Science types love to learn about hands-on application of jobs in science. Creatives love to learn about hair and make-up for productions. Not enough room there you say? Today, there are about 600 kids in each of these types of schools for a total of 1800. There is far more land at the old Briarcliff site (as well as a football stadium, a public park and school district tennis courts) than there is at Lakeside – and there are 2,400 students attending that can of sardines! Give kids an option. Stop making all schools the same old cookie-cutter high school of the last 100 years.

  24. As a magnet parent, I would have to say that we would go back to our home school should the magnet be moved. The transportation issues are not feasible and for most parents who work, location often drives the choices that we make. However, the idea of moving Chamblee Middle to the Sequoyah location is also ludicrous… for the very same reason. The transportation issues will become untenable for students in the Chamblee neighborhood.

    Is this the precursor to the redistricting question? The fact is, something HAS to change in Region 1. The schools are bursting at the seams and right now, no one seems to have a logical solution.

  25. Oh wait – I just re-read this, “Dan Drake, interim Chief Operating Officer (COO)” … well, there’s your problem!

    Also – as we’ve also said for years on the blog – Dunwoody is a city. Chamblee is a city. Doraville is a city. Avondale Estates is a city. Clarkston is a city. Tucker is a city. Stonecrest is a city. Stone Mountain is a city. Brookhaven is a city. Lithonia is a city. Each one has plenty of residents and property tax bases to run their own school district. I can’t remember what became of the effort to allow for new school districts in Georgia, but I would revisit that. My little hometown in Ohio only has 24,000 residents and have for years run their own exceptional school district. Small, city-run school districts are very common and successful in the north and mid-west. A big-district break-up would do wonders for most of the students in DeKalb.

  26. @stanjester I’m way beyond feeling neglected and frustrated. You’re just the cherry on top of the shit sundae I have been fed since stepping foot into DeKalb county…. Yea at first it was just about my kid, but then it was obvious it was bigger than one child. I’m over here literally trying save teachers from being fired for protecting our kids, while fighting with the superintendent for making police reports against his teachers disappear. Teachers of the year are being tossed into modular classrooms with mold thus making them peace out on us and go where they’re welcomed with a classroom and open arms. Who can blame them? I don’t. You know what really sucks about this entire magnet conversation? Kids who are extremely intelligent not being allowed to move freely around DeKalb because of dual language immersion. Not being able to even apply to the lottery due to dual language immersion. Why? Because these kids I fight for are Dyslexic. So please when you’re over here making your decisions based off of little to no data, think about the kids stuck in these schools with no option because of their learning disabilities. Think about the parents who are already fighting tooth and nail to make sure their kids are granted access to FAPE. I’m so done with it being black and white. When we have administration telling parents their kids need to leave our school and go to Dunwoody “because he’s not making progress here and there is nothing we can do about it” you’ve got bigger issues to deal with. The entire BOE needs to come sit in on some of our five hour IEP meetings to really grasp what these flippant decisions really do to ALL of the kids. And you NEED to listen when a parent tells you a principal is out of line. But hey, I’ve copied you on the emails. I know you know what’s going on but by all means please keep focusing on infrastructure…..

  27. The Board is not interested in Districts 1 & 2 except to dilute what is perceived as white privilege. The money generated in our districts goes to support programs and resources in underperforming school which are mostly in the other districts. The problem is the schools up here are overcrowded and theirs aren’t. We need more schools. I do not support loans and bonds unless the DCSD is building more schools. But the way, bussing any students across I-85 anywhere between Gwinnett Co and Atlanta is a borro le Plan. Every board member voting for that plan should be required to drive it everyday for a week during school times and practice times and evening meeting times to experience how absurd it is.

  28. Stan Jester

    The $250 million GO Bond will be a referendum on the March ballot. If approved it will be an additional 1 mill on your property taxes for the next 15 years.

    Why? – Why are these two options out there? More classroom space is needed at Chamblee Charter HS. By either moving Chamblee MS to Sequoyah MS and/or moving the magnet, that will create more classroom space for resident students. I’ll update my article to be more clear.

    I don’t think the administration has any intention of moving Chamblee MS to Sequoyah. The interim COO is saying it’s on the table … as a way to garner more votes for the GO bond.

    @MamaBear,
    Chamblee doesn’t have a monopoly on horrendous building conditions. The Superintendent doesn’t consult me when deciding which trailers to replace. Send an email to me at stanjester@gmail.com if you believe the trailers are having mold issues.

    The Chamblee Charter HS governing board opposes the building additions. The Dunwoody High School Council welcomes the 1000 seat building additions. Much of my DHS building additions conversations are trying to understand the insane logic the DHS Council is imploring such that they believe adding a 1000 seats is a good idea.

    You lost me on the school built for 400 children getting smacked around.

    Like I said, I hear your frustration and pain. Please remember that DeKalb Schools is a $2 billion / year government entity with 120+ schools and over 15,000 employees, so I can’t fight every battle on every front.

  29. Making “threats” to get what the Superintendent wants only proves he can’t make a good “case” for his decisions. It is also not list on me, or anyone else in tune toDeKalb happenings that Dr. Greene is under investigation!! Crawford Lewis 2.0!

  30. Ah – but in the end, Crawford got off scot-free with a super nice pension. Say, are the Popes still in jail? They took the whole hit as they were never DeKalb crony insiders. Yes, this school district is very corrupt and very broken – and has been for a few decades. Like I’ve been saying for years, the only way to fix it is to break this $2 Billion, 100,000 student, 15,000 employee monster up into 5 or 6 smaller districts. Yeah, there may still be corruption, but you will spot it faster, it won’t be able graft so much money and resources and there will be nowhere for non-performing, budget-draining employees to hide. Stop arguing the plans set before you – they aren’t viable options, they only serve as a distraction for leadership to do as they please while everyone’s debating. Step aside and focus on a new way. And make it happen.

  31. Lose the Magnet

    Its time for us to create city school systems. The county is corrupt, the county is incompetent, and the county is unmanageable. Its time to blow up this whole God forsaken shit hole of a school system and start over. What was once a jewel in the state system 30 years ago, is now one of the absolute worse school districts in the state. So, congratulations folks – we’re sending our kids to one of the worst schools systems in the worst education states in the country. Why do we put up with this?

    And let me just show how @Let’sJustFigureThisOut takes exactly the point of view of all magnet parents, the people that are already “in.” The philosophy is….”Well, it would be nice if we could add some more magnet seats, but that’s not really the issue – the issue is DON’T YOU DARE TAKE MY PRECIOUS MAGNET PROGRAM AWAY!!!!!!” So close minded. Its why things will never change for this dump of a school system.

  32. Love the idea of transitioning to a 8th-12th magnet at the new site of the Cross Keys HS. In some ways may/may not help the issues of limited parking, limited space for facilities. Important to transition rather than hard move. A new technology school will draw teachers. I don’t see the need to move out the magnets completely from CCHS and CMS for those teachers and students wanting that option closer to home schools. Just reduce the scale. It may make School Choice confusing the first few years, but after a few years trend will develop. Is the real question why Wadsworth magnet cluster isn’t growing and thriving? Well, Memorial buses bring students to the Kittredge cluster schools, there isn’t a similar option for getting students to the Wadsworth cluster from the Lakeside, Tucker, Druid Hills, Chamblee, Dunwoody regions.

  33. Let’s Figure This Out Together

    @losethemagnet you are correct I want the best possible education for my children and all of the kiddos in our community- and will always advocate for that. No need for us to spend more energy on that as I am hopeful that we all share that purpose. I totally agree about city schools and will gladly be a part of any efforts in that direction. However, that is a long and costly legal battle so in the meantime let’s focus on the issues at hand.

    @Stan few questions:
    -can you please explain further your comment about the board driving the move the magnet idea – who specifically? Why, what is their intention?
    -what are current capacity/enrollment numbers at CCHS? What does the % over capacity trend line look like?
    -in dealing with overcrowding at CKHS how many CKHS students have been moved to CCHS and/or are planned?

  34. Stan Jester

    Driving the magnet idea – I don’t think the administration wants to move the magnet. They are reluctant to bring it up and were reticent to even consider it on the table at the presentation. All the board members I’ve talked to want to move the magnet and want it on the table … for all the reasons I mentioned in my post.

    Talk to them one on one and report back how the conversation goes. Email is not as effective as one on one conversations.

    Chamblee Charter High School
    Current Enrollment – 1,722
    Current Capacity – 1,723

    Chamblee Cluster 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2019/01/8816/

    Fall 2016 – Redistrict approximately 232 students from Cross Keys HS to Chamblee HS
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/03/6282/

    When the new Cross Keys HS is built, the Cross Keys and Chamblee cluster attendance zones will be completely redrawn.

  35. If teachers/schools are truly differentiating Instruction there is no need for the Magnet program. As a parent of “gifted” students and a school using the “push in” model, I see my children’s needs not being met. I see the same with my dyslexic child. It is time we “track” all our students. Especially for math, reading and writing. And for anyone opposed to this method, news flash, this is exactly how the Magnet program operates! Basically ability grouping kids. Can you imagine how much teachers and students could accomplish if they didn’t need to try to meet such varying needs!! Struggling children would get the needed reparative instruction And students at or above could be pushed further faster!

  36. Magnet/No Magnet

    Agree that “differentiating” would eliminate need for magnet — provide instruction at all levels at all schools! Remediate for those needing help — provide added rigor for ANY child meeting “magnet/high” requirements. Incentivize/Recruit gifted-certified teachers for every school. My eldest was one of the “lucky” ones winning lottery in 4th and is now a rising 9th gr heading to CCHS. Youngest has been Magnet waitlisted 4th-6th and is headed to Peachtree. I wasn’t worried since she’d supposedly be on a “high” team, but am hearing rumors that Peachtree is dissolving the high teams!? If that’s true… what does her curriculum look like? Sigh.

  37. What school in Dekalb uses the push-in model? My child starts Kindergarten in the fall, but it sounded like our elementary pulls the gifted students out of the class.

    Not getting state dollars that are available due to an unwillingness to redistrict will make things more expensive. Can’t say I know enough to say its worth it.

  38. Hello William. I’m familiar with the Advanced Content Model of gifted services, I assume that’s what push-in model means. More and more elementary schools have been going to the Advanced Content Model. I’m not sure who all has transitioned to that model to date.

    Anybody who would like more information on the Advanced Content Model for gifted services can check out this presentation:
    https://filecabinet3.eschoolview.com/18509E62-1C71-458D-A31E-AF4636F3663C/Advanced%20Content%20Gifted%20Model.pdf

  39. Most DeKalb schools use the push in model now. I would check with your school specifically It’s a cheaper route in education. This is why dekalb wants classroom teachers. With gifted endorsement This way they can claim children are being serviced. Difficult for one teacher to do it all. Not because they aren’t awesome, but rather they aren’t given enough time and resources.

  40. Stan Jester

    Advanced Content Model is also an effective way to drive down class size.

  41. Lose The Magnet

    And again, @letsfigurethisout, I’m calling your bluff. When you start advocating for magnet for all that qualify, then your opinion will carry some weight. In the meantime, you are acting like the typical magnet parent, completely ignoring the needs of those, unlike your precious magnet children. Guess what, there are a bunch out there that score equally or better than your kid, have as good or better grades as your kid, and whose families pay the same tax rate as your household. But for the grace of God go you, and I’m betting you’d have a bit more urgency if your family was the one on the outside looking in. In other words, you’re a hypocrite.

  42. Lose The Magnet

    @magnet/nomagnet – You should probably look for alternative options for middle school. Wait until you see the difference in what your child receives vs. what your magnet child receives. Its night and day.

  43. Lose The Magnet

    The Push In Model is completely bogus. It results in kids that need servicing getting pseudo-servicing. My “gifted” non-magnet chosen child had 7th and 8th grade social studies and science classes with kids that were clearly not gifted. In fact, I wonder if some were even high achievers. The push in model allows the school to mix and match classes. And on the resident side of Chamblee Middle, that’s exactly what they do. No class is made up of 100% gifted kids. In fact, many have all types. As long as you have some gifted kids in there and it is taught by a gifted teacher, it can be claimed as a “gifted/high achiever” class. The result are classes with substantial discipline problems by kids who aren’t interested in learning. So, while the “let’s just make sure everyone is gifted/high achieving is put in the same class” in theory is great, in practice, its not happening.

    Its completely bogus.

  44. @Lose the Magnet. Next year, the first of AP’s German immersion kids will hit CMS. Because they will be taught German and Social Studies in German, thus making those class sizes smaller, are suggesting that we get rid of that program also? Granted, the only skin I have in this game is I pay property taxes in DCSD. I can’t see why you say get rid of one thing, but yet it is ok to keep another?

    This, is about the county throwing ideas and seeing what sticks, just like spaghetti. As I have stated before the county is using our kids as chess pieces and that flat bullying parents to get their (DCSD’s) way.

    No one is asking why didn’t the SPLOST Oversight Committee do their job and alert the School Board that either 1) money was running out or 2) the county is not giving us what we need to see the real financials of what is going on.

    Also, I haven’t seen where any School Board members have attended any SPLOST oversight committee meetings or ask any questions about them at Board meetings.

    I can remember when I was trying to get the front of Cross Keys High School cleaned up so that you could actually see the beautiful mural from North Druid Hills and actually see that there was a school there, Dan Drake met with me and said, that he had funds in SPLOST IV to take care of it. Dan used SPLOST as an open checkbook to fix knee jerk reactions.

  45. Keeping the Magnet is How the county keeps us divided. They have successfully divided us into 4 groups:
    Resident magnets, non-resident magnets, resident non-magnets, and non-resident non-magnets. This is brilliant! Never will they have to worry about parents banning together demanding change.

  46. Gifted/Resident/Magnet

    DCSD uses the mixed model of gifted education in the middle schools. This model mixes gifted students with the general education population not necessarily the high achievers. Differentiating for these populations can and do present multiple problems. Gifted students are not necessarily high achievers. This designation is applied to raw intelligence and the “ability” to learn concepts easily applying information in unusual and/or creative ways. Gifted students may or may not be high achievers. Achievement is not a prerequisite to being labeled “gifted”. High achievers are easier to identify, just look at grades and test scores. In years past, middle school students were “tracked” into gifted, high achiever, general, and exceptional education groups with the later two being grouped together in “collaborative, co-taught classes”. Tracking is no longer practiced in Dekalb except in the magnet programs.

  47. I agree I have been observing this process for awhile now.

    This blog does are really great job of pointing out what is wrong and that is fine. However it is always “everyone else” in Dekalb and on BOE doing a horrible job. And the only solution offered revolves around the repeated troupe of build a new Doraville school and move those other kids there or somewhere as long as the North Dunwoody families stay unbothered solution is narrow and dated. This may not be the intention but that is how it comes across.
    Dekalb needs new innovative, positive, decision makers on the BOE who can assess what is wrong offer well thought out inclusive solutions. People who are invested in the whole system excelling and succeeding. We as involved parents have to do our part to put those type of people in place with our votes.

  48. Thanks for the information.

    How long has tracking not been practiced in Dekalb?

  49. Stan Jester

    Nicole. I am a change agent. I focus on the issues that need my attention. You’ll notice that you never read in the newspaper, “All planes landed safely today”

    I don’t apologize for wanting Dunwoody, Chamblee, Doraville, and Brookhaven to have their own clusters. Please do not refer to our babies as “those kids”.

    I’m open to suggestions. Adding 1,000 seats to Dunwoody High School every year is not a scalable solution. If this is the solution you like, please tell me why. Nobody has ever told me why adding a 1,000 seats to DHS is a good idea.

  50. I for one hope Stan runs again. He’s the only reason we get any information at all. Information is power. Without the information, we wouldn’t know what was going on and the administration would use that against us. Open your eyes. Do you even understand how the school district works? I am not in the magnet but it is the only one in north DeKalb. Take a look at south DeKalb, they have many more. Take a way the magnet and it is just more discrimination against north DeKalb. It won’t do anything to stop overcrowding in north DeKalb. It just shifts that overcrowding a little bit more to Lakeside and Dunwoody. They don’t have any room. If you get rid of the magnet, you can push some of DHS into CCHS. I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t really address the fact that we need another high school in the area. I think that was something Mr. Jester said was needed all along.
    @Nicole, I don’t know you. You clearly need to go to a board meeting. Are you aware who controls DeKalb? The entire population of north DeKalb could go on a hunger strike in protest for the dozens and dozens of discriminatory actions the school district takes against this area. The result would be that 4 of the school board members would be happy to see that. The majority would love nothing better than to see north DeKalb elect another wimpy representative that kept their constituents in the dark.

  51. Lynn King,

    What makes you think the SPLOST Advisory Committee has been told what is going on?

  52. Kirk D Lunde

    @Mamabear,

    I can see you are frustrated with Stan because he has not fixed the issues at your school. Hate to tell you this, but it isn’t his place to fix them. When SACS put the district on probation, they castrated the BOE. In order to maintain full accreditation, the BOE is forbidden from doing the kinds of things you want Stan to do. Your best bet is through a school, or cluster council and working with your regional superintendent.

    Stop laughing.

    I am being serious.

    Really. Stop laughing.

    I know it sounds hopeless, but that is the system we have to work with.

    Getting Marlon to write a story or someone at a TV station to do a story is the most effective way to get results. In order to do that, your story has to get the attention of an editor and be of interest to people outside your school.
    Mold in trailers? Not a story.
    Teachers abusing students? Maybe.
    The superintendent making police reports disappear? Sounds like a story to me. Go with that one.

  53. Regarding moving the magnet…

    My son was number 460something on the waiting list going into 4th grade. However, I have watched neighborhood families carpool for 8 years.

    The distance isn’t an insurmountable issue.

    Move it to the new Brookhaven H.S., students have been coming from a lot farther Dunwoody to Brookhaven for years. If Dunwoody parents want their kids in the magnet program, they will figure it out.

    Has anyone been inside Sequoyah MS or Carry Reynolds ES? They are in truly horrifying condition. I haven’t seen too much discussion about that anywhere, or about how Dresden ES has 20 trailers.

    There will be redistricting. The administration has failed to produce any viable options that don’t include a $265 million bond and I pray voters don’t approve that.

    There will be redistricting. If I lived in Dunwoody or Chamblee, I would be working to make sure the schools nearest me are rebuilt and made into the kind of palaces the district has been building in south DeKalb for decades. Then, it wouldn’t matter if my children went to Sequoyah MS or Brookhaven HS. Those schools would be better than the current ones.

    There will be redistricting. To oppose it is to declare NIMBY. It doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on solutions that are not practical when there are thousands of open seats in the district.

    One thing the administration doesn’t want to talk about is how much money is lost each year due to schools that are not at capacity. Stan can explain this better than I, but the state reimburses better , to a point, when schools are run efficiently.

    Finally, because I am a broken record, what is the plan for Avondale HS? Why set aside money to buy land when the district owns more than 24 acres in Avondale?

  54. @Kirk- Just by looking at the lack of meeting minutes I am guessing that speaks volumes.

    https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/e-splost-advisory-committee/

    Look when the last time minutes were posted.

  55. @Kirk you’re comments are right. The only thing I would add is moving the magnet south and east of I-85, takes away the only magnet program in the area. The placement of these programs isn’t exactly fair. There’s a big hole if you move that one. If they build a Doraville high school, that would be a better location for the magnet in the north area and they could make it bigger. That’s the real problem with programs. I do agree with everything else you said. We need to get on with redistricting.

  56. Stan Jester

    I’m quite certain that most of the 88 students from Dunwoody and the 74 students (non-resident attendee matrix) from Tucker wouldn’t make the trek thereby exacerbating the overcrowding issues at those home schools.

  57. Lose The Magnet

    @Lynn King – The German program at Ashford Park is yet another boneheaded program that is only going to make matters worse at Chamblee Middle School. Now you’ll have three different student populations within the 4 walls of CMS. You’ll have residents, magnets, and now German immersion kids. That school is so divided already with the two groups and now you are going to add a third group. Does really well for the social atmosphere at that place. And for what? A language that is spoken in exactly 3 countries?

    The non-resident attendee matrix shows that 633 kids go to Chamblee High that otherwise wouldn’t go there, but for the magnet program. The solution here is relatively easy if people would just think about the big picture and be open to changing a program that is well past its useful life.

    1. Blow up the magnet program and stop all this excess transportation across the county and government picking winners and losers (Stan, your support of this government being in control of picking winners and losers is that of a card carrying liberal – hopefully your opponent realizes that in the next election).
    2. Build a Doraville High School
    3. Offer the same magnet services at each high school that only the “chosen ones” get at CCHS so that no child who qualifies is left behind.
    4. Redistrict with a significant portion of the new Doraville High being made up of Lakeside, Doraville, Dunwoody, and some Chamblee kids and the new Brookhaven high being made up of some Chamblee and Lakeside and Druid Hills kids.

    No new additions, no crazy busing, and no headaches of renovations that will disrupt learning. Plus, kids will ALL get magnet services and we will stop this haves and have nots mentality that is destroying our communities and sending many away to privates/other locations.

    This bending over backwards for 600 over -coddled magnet kids in a county that is close to 100,000 is absolute insanity.

  58. @LTM overly dramatic language aside, there are some solid points made. I am supportive of #2-4 (which I believe addresses point #1 by removing access downsides without foolishly discarding effective elements).

    Sooooo….how do we move forward?
    It appears to me that no one wants the CCHS addition – so let that be sacrificed for step 1 – balancing the splost budget. Is there anyone who disagrees (I’m open to all POV’s here)?

    Since we’re all looking at redistricting with new CKHS then there’s no need for the CCHS as long as between the two schools there is capacity for projected enrollment – where the magnet goes is not a battle we need to fight right now, and merely distracts us from making cohesive decisions.

    But we are still back to where does the money come from for the Doraville HS? Are we back to new CKHS OR Doraville? I definitely do not support the bond – IMO it is throwing good money after bad!

    @Stan – what is the Arts School? Is it existing? New building? New program? Where?

  59. @Lose The Magnet. You state that “The non-resident attendee matrix shows that 633 kids go to Chamblee High” Well if you take, the 160 that go from KMS to CMS every year until high school that is a total of 640 kids if you take 160 x’s 4. Once students are tagged going to KMS, they are all tagged out of district. What I have been trying to get for years from the county is this… How many magnet kids are ACTUALLY, CCHS resident kids that the county changes to “out of district” when they hit the magnet program? We all know that many DHS and LHS students go back to their home schools after CMS. Yes, some stay but some do go back…..

    Also, how many of those students are not magnet at all and are there because their parents work in the cluster? Sorry, but if their parent works in the cluster they need to stay. DCSD doesn’t pay enough and teachers who work in the cluster and have their kids in the cluster put more time in extracurricular acitivities for the students. What about how many are tagged “homeless” and can go to CCHS. How about the ones that are there for hardships and what about the ones that are there that just flat out lie about where they live to get into the school? That equates into the “non-resident” kids that go to CCHS.

    Until we have the actual number of CCHS residents that are in the magnet program, how can we say throw the magnet out? IF the majority are resident students, do you think they would leave then what? We haven’t fixed anything, except keep overcrowding in our schools.

  60. Stan,
    I disagree. Tucker parents will get their kids to the magnet program regardless of where it is. I have a friend who changed jobs to get her son to Wadsworth every day. She LOVED the school.

  61. HP,

    I would support the building of a Doraville HS funded by a bond.

    I do not support the building of three unneeded elementary schools funded by a bond. These are clearly political favors intended to win votes for the bond.

    Please, read through the documents presented by the administration and see the extra things they want to do with a property tax increase to pay for a G. O. Bond. I am against most of what is presented in the options, but decide for yourselves.

  62. @Kirk,
    You’ve got it right. They are proposing a GO bond that is almost 2.5 times the amount required to fix the E-SPLOST cost overruns!!

    They have not made any attempt to show why these particular elementary schools, and the other GO bond projects that have never been mentioned before, are what is most needed . They haven’t made any attempt to continue the “fiction” that community input is valued.

    Instead, they have strategically selected a project in every district as an incentive for BOE members and the public to support paying more taxes.

  63. Lose the Magnet

    @Lynn King – the matrix indicates each school in where the non residents come from. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the residents of Chamblee are not included in that number.

    Please tell me how you can answer the question – how about the child that scores well enough to get into magnet, desperately wants to go to magnet, and pay taxes yet is NOT allowed to go to magnet because his/her name was not drawn out of the magic hat? How exactly is that fair? And what would you do to remedy it? Or do you just want to continue to give a middle finger to those families?

  64. @Lose the Magnet… I am trying to figure out what matrix you are looking at. If you could please send it to me I would greatly appreciate it. As I stated in my prior comment if you take the 160 kids that come from KMS and multiply that by 4 you get 640. Unfortunately, the county does not differentiate who lives in the CCHS cluster and who does not. They are all counted as “non-resident” kids at KMS.

    I am saying, yes, there are some magnet kids in the magnet program that are not from CCHS cluster, I want to know exactly how many? All 633 are not in the magnet.

    With all the problems that are in DCSD, you are doing exactly what the county wants you to do. Focus on the easiest thing. The administrators do not want to make any hard decisions; they are gambling on the parents’ infighting to get their way. And right now it looks like the county will win.

    All I am suggesting is look at the county as a whole and see all the problems going on with it, not just the one facet of all of the issues.

    As for this comment… “Please tell me how you can answer the question – how about the child that scores well enough to get into magnet, desperately wants to go to magnet, and pay taxes yet is NOT allowed to go to magnet because his/her name was not drawn out of the magic hat? How exactly is that fair? And what would you do to remedy it? Or do you just want to continue to give a middle finger to those families?”

    Just like Kirk stated earlier, you do what you have to do what is best for your child, and for our family, we had to do that. Vacations postponed, driving around 15+-year-old cars, not going out to eat, or even move. You make sacrifices if you feel that your home school is not what you think your child needs.

    DCSD is trying to put everyone in the same square box, and that is not needed. How many principals still use the tag line “Every student will go to college,” or something to that effect or they recently got rid of that tag line… That is wrong… Students have different passions and college may not be their thing, but if all they hear is college this and you need that college, you start to tune parents and educators out. We are doing the kids a disservice by not having votech classes at every school or not even funding the ones we have correctly.

    I will close with this. Please open this link. https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/building-spaces/
    Look under the data tab.

    This was originally put out in June 2015, for us to vote for SPLOST V in June 2016. At that time Chamblee’s enrollment was 2328. As of the recent FTE in October 2018, Chamblee’s enrollment is 1722. So in 4 years, CCHS’s enrollment has actually dropped by 606. So if overcrowding was not a problem in 2015, why is it all of a sudden a problem and the magnet needs to go, if the enrollment has gone down by that many students?

    No one was complaining in 2015, or 2016 not about overcrowding and not about the magnet…

  65. Lynn,
    the data that DCSD posted on the Building Spaces link is misleading.

    Even though the DCSD chart put the number “2328” in the “Enrollment” column for CCHS, if you click on the link you will see that 2328 was the projected enrollment for the year 2022.

    As we know now, the projections were all way too high!!!

    CCHS has never had more students than the 1722 that you mention.

    In fact, in December 2018 DCSD revised the CCHS enrollment projections. See http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/applications/operations/planning/capacity/chamblee-hs.pdf.

    ** Now they project 551 fewer students at CCHS in the year 2022.

    So in 2 years the enrollment projections changed by 500 students. How can anyone do a good job with a forecast that is this bad?

  66. concerned citizen

    Before any other actions, we need Green out of the picture entirely. Why can’t the Board simply show him the door? The Board needs to get over themselves and make Stan Jester the Superintendent, not the “interim”! We have to get the area supts. out, too, and all their assistants. Has anybody ever seen such a mess as DeKalb Schools? If we didn’t have this courageous blog, how much worse it would be. I’ve seen some terrible things, terrible things…

  67. Double Jeopardy

    I am a tax paying citizen of DeKalb and I also work in the school district. The board’s make-up is very interesting and most of the board members side with Dr. Green which somewhat ties the hands of those in opposition. From what I’ve observed, Stan and one other board member are the only two who seem to “Get It” and wants the best for everyone on all sides of this district. They are the only two board members who openly voice their opposition to many of Dr. Green’s proposals while everyone else votes with him. So please, give Stan a break. I am grateful that he and the one other board member actually advocate for all of the stakeholders. At least we have two board members trying. I think we will see a difference when there is a new superintendent and I hope that the board members will not allow the current superintendent to assist with the selection of a new leader. Since Dr. Green stated that he resigned as of June 2020, I wish there was a way that we could pay out his contact and put him on his merry way NOW! Until then, we’ll continue to see our tax paying dollars making little difference.

  68. lost revenue

    From the presentation, it seems like the district is not getting funding due to some middle and high schools not at capacity. Before approving a GO bond, I’d like to see a plan that would attempt to fill the open seats and recoup the funding.

  69. concerned citizen

    What are the middle and high schools not at capacity? I’d like to know why there are board members who are not speaking up and thinking for themselves? It’s very, very sad and clear and just plain wrong for these same people to continue to be allowed to place an entire school system in constant chaos.

  70. http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2019/02/8967/

    From an earlier post on this blog. Basically, could close a High School in Regions 3,5,6,7 and still come ahead on capacity numbers. For those regions, anyhow.

  71. dekalbteacher

    Double Jeopardy,

    What makes you think much of anything change with Green’s departure? So many of the people making six-figure salaries and poor decisions pre-date Green. Others are related to board members or members of the same organizations. Those few not part of the Dekalb machine will go along with whatever necessary to protect their jobs and inflated incomes.

    Until the state intervenes, which would require mass numbers of teachers and parents and citizens to do more than blog or complain to like-minded people or settle for the best of bad outcomes , I see only logos and mediocre pre-packaged initiatives changing.

    I would love to be proven wrong.

  72. Double Jeopardy,

    I am sure there is a way to buy out Green’s contract. The questions are, how much will it cost and would it be worth the price.

  73. Double Jeopardy

    @dekalbteacher,
    If you will review your information, you will notice that many of the top heavy executives that predated Dr. Green are no longer in the district office. Many of the people in which you speak of have either retired or moved on to other districts. Yes, there are a couple of folks have moved up the chain of command but if you really, really look, you will see that many of the “people left behind” are no longer at the palace. Think aboutspecific people and ask yourself where is Dr. this or that…..GONE. I can think of at least 20 or more. Dr. Beasley took several, a few went to Atlanta, some to Augusta and other places or retirement. If you remember, Dr. Green created additional positions at the palace then hired and/or brought in a lot of his own people many of which who are also gone. Mr. Thurmond streamlined and attempted to push the money back into the reserves and/or the schoolhouse however, Dr. Green has constantly created additional positions (ex. Coordinator 3 positions) which huge salaries and now we are back to heavy and wasted a lot our our tax paying dollars! Look at how much was spent on that so called pep rally that all employees were made to attend. Look at how much money was spent on “I love Dekalb” billboards. Huge waste of time and money. I didn’t think the pep rally did much to boost teacher morale and a bill board does not encourage people to love Dekalb!

  74. DSW2Contributor

    Tragic news – former school board member Jim McMahan was killed in an jet ski collision on Lake Wedowee in Alabama this morning:
    https://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb-school-board-member-killed-collision-alabama-lake/dkZSErPLEy2Q0Gv2eHlg9J/

  75. Magnet hating person, you have got to chill out. I don’t know if you think that magnet kids are shuttled from class to class in Teslas where they sit on state of the art sensory chairs while being spoon fed organic meals with spa music on, but you are overly paranoid about what the magnet is and isn’t. News flash – magnet students still live in DeKalb, they still get screwed over by bad administrative decisions, they are still treated like prisoners in terms of freedom and rules, their program is used as a pawn annually, and the major benefit they get is…being around more above average kids. That’s it. There are similar populations of certified gifted in some Dunwoody schools as in some of the blended magnet schools like CMS.

    I’ve had kids in the magnet and not in the magnet at the same time. Plenty of people leave the magnet for bullying, anxiety, and life balance because of distance and transportation. It is absolutely not a silver bullet of education; this is DeKalb. The magnet program is still subject to all of the stupid stuff DeKalb does. It is not insulated from it.

    Your solution to bring magnet to every school is impossible because the only reason the magnet program exists is because of the concentration of gifted kids. There is NO MAGNET FUNDING. The classes are not smaller. There are no more APs offered at CCHS than LHS. At one time maybe the program attracted a higher level of teacher but THIS IS DEKALB. You can only keep amazing teachers for so long, regardless of the program. I think your impression of the magnet program is either very outdated or just delusional.

    If the magnet program needed one change, it would be to take it back to its original roots. The magnet program should be there for very bright kids who have few or no peers at their home school. Eligibility for the magnet program should be based on the percentage of gifted students at your home school. If your school already has 55% gifted, you don’t need magnet – you already live in it. If your school has 8% gifted, you need a more challenging environment and should be eligible for a way out. The magnet program does not need to be expanded to pull every above average kid out of their schools because that would be creating a program for 20,000 kids. That is logistically stupid.

    The magnet program is a savior for kids who come from really bad environments. It is nothing more than a status symbol for kids who came from schools where the populations are properly served and have high concentrations of gifted and parent involvement.

  76. Magnet/No Magnet

    I am selfishly a fan of Magnet program because I have 1 in it… and 1 I’ve been trying for 3 yrs to get selected. In a perfect world, we’d have reasonably challenging programs for gifted kids at every school, but this is DeKalb! I have seen the Magnet content and rigor my son got at Kittredge, CMS, and I hope, at CCHS. My daughter’s experience at our home elem has been basic at best, and I’m kind of freaking out as we are weeks away from Peachtree. So, feasible or ot, if the maget gets disilve, something has to be done at every school to step things up. A lost cause for my kids, but hoping things change for future northside kids kids

  77. Lose the Magnet

    @magnet/no magnet – yes, wouldn’t that be nice if the kids that qualified for magnet actually got those services! Perhaps you can feel a bit of the frustration that so many have who don’t win the lucky ticket. You think its bad now – wait until middle school. It may be different at Peachtree, but at Chamblee middle, the divide is HUGE between what the magnet kids get and what “great unwashed” resident kids get – even those that qualify for gifted. They mix gifted/high achiever in with general population to fill out the class sizes which results in huge discipline issues and a classroom that is often devoid of substantial learning.

    Can we really not do better than screwing all these kids on the wait list that deserve to have those services?

    @Lynn King – the matrix is up in Stan’s replies about halfway in this thread. All 633 come from somewhere else.
    https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/planning/2018/hs-matrix-2018.pdf

    To be clear, I’ve said I want to lose the magnet in ITS CURRENT FORM. It is ridiculous that so many get substandard services WHO QUALIFY FOR THE DAMN PROGRAM!

    And no one wants to do anything about it.

    If you’re hell bent on keeping the magnet program then let’s do this – Let’s create multiple NORTH DEKALB MAGNET PROGRAMS at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Put them in multiple schools at each grade level. Have a STEM magnet program, an ARTS magnet program, a LANGUAGE/INTERNATIONAL magnet program. But let’s stop catering to the 600 lucky souls who happen to win the lottery and service EVERY KID WHO QUALIFIES! Stop with this one magnet program idea at all three levels in North Dekalb that results in divisiveness among parents and students and a lot of people being pissed off.

    Wouldn’t it be nice not to lose the brain drain to St. Pius, Marist, Wesleya, OLA, St. Martin’s, Holy Innocents, etc. etc. (as well as the families that move to North Fulton or East Cobb) every single year from kids and parents who are so fed up that they are willing to pay $20K+ in tuition or go through the hassle and expense of putting their house up for sale, finding a new house, moving etc. just because our schools can’t offer the services needed?

  78. @AnnT, I’d like to commend you on your comments. One has a skewed view of K-12 education if their primary lens is that of DeKalb, other metro Atlanta school districts and the many good privates’ schools in this area. A public school attempting to be all things to all children (and all parents) is challenging, regardless of where one goes to school. When you consider the number of services that DeKalb offers compared to many of the other over 100 school districts in this state, the district looks very good. Could things be done better? Of course, they can but don’t discount the fact that many move from other parts of the state because of the services DeKalb provides that their home school districts do not. I know that is the case for many families of special needs students.

    Could you imagine living in a rural GA school district, where the property owners are on the school board yet send their children to private schools? They keep the property tax rate as low as possible, ensuring the schools are not funded properly. Could you imagine this same school district only offering 1-2 AP courses (if any) with few options for dual enrollment? Their graduates compete with metro ATL students for access to UGA, Ga. State and other schools in the state. That is where some of the ‘anti-Atlanta’ sentiment comes from as it is more challenging for their children to compete.

    Specific to magnets, Chamblee High School exists because of the magnet program. By that I mean Chamblee was scheduled to be closed in the late eighties due to low enrollment but the principal at that time proposed a high school pathway for students coming out of Kittredge and Browns Mill. Much of the great reputation Chamblee has developed over the ensuing years, partly due to the magnet program. As you said, the program should be a savior for those coming from less than ideal academic environments not a status symbol for some.

    I am of the opinion that if the resident population is exceeding the capacity of Chamblee and surrounding schools attendance zones, the magnet program should be moved to a more centralized location, i.e. Avondale. It may need to be a school that does not offer athletics or at least football. Would DeKalb parents go for something like that? This should be followed by strategic redistricting. This can help with the enrollment balancing that is desperately needed in the district.

  79. Ann T,

    I hate to tell you, but magnet classes are smaller. At Kittredge, the max class size is 22. Other elementaries have 30+ for 4th and 5th grade.

    Also, the magnet schools don’t have as many students with disabilities. The last time I checked, Kittredge had 6, total.

    Yes. The magnet program creates haves and have nots. Yes. Some of us resent that.

    I also resent the fact that Kittredge is getting $6 million in SPLOST V renovations. This is a school that got major renovations in the mid 1990s. Yet, other, older schools are getting squat. The FCA score dropped 30 points from 2011 to 2016. No other school dropped more than 4 points.

    Haves and have nots.
    The magnet programs are haves, most of the rest of the schools are have nots.

  80. Look at Stan’s article about class sizes: http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2017/05/7233/. Kittredge’s average class size is 10th in the county and plenty of other elementary schools that aren’t magnet averaged 20 per class and lower for the same grades Kittredge has. Kittredge doesn’t have limits because it is magnet. Its class sizes are determined by the same things as every other school. They do not get extra teachers because they are magnet.

    I don’t know much about the building conditions but I don’t think it has to do with magnet. Kittredge isn’t as bad as some elementary schools in terms of condition but it definitely is not near the top. There is enough inconsistency about how the school system decides what to improve and what not to improve and I don’t see signs that magnets are favored. It has to do with politics and connections. Fernbank got a relatively new addition torn down and a rebuild while HMES sits untouched. The magnet arts school gets ignored. Austin Elementary is awful. I don’t see a pattern with magnets getting the best buildings.

  81. Stan Jester

    Facility Condition Assessments (FCA) – According to the school district, these 16 facilities are in the worst shape. Henderson Mill ES is the school in the worst shape as you might expect. The FCA scores are in parenthesis.

    1. Henderson Mill ES (28.83)
    2. Cary Reynolds ES (30.53 )
    3. Kittredge Magnet (33.05 )
    4. Toney ES (34.49 )
    5. Livsey ES (35.66 )
    6. Dresden ES (37.22 )
    7. DHST-South (37.68)
    8. Champion Theme MS (38.01 )
    9. Stoneview ES (39.34)
    10. Briar Vista ES (39.57)
    11. Rock Chapel ES (40.43 )
    12. E. L. Miller ES (42.38)
    13. Salem MS (45.05)
    14. Kingsley ES (46.05)
    15. Hawthorne ES (46.23)
    16. Fairington ES (46.68)

  82. Lose the Magnet

    @Ann T – You really don’t know what you are talking about. Out of your diatribe, you make one coherent point that I agree with – if the magnet is truly for people who come from bad environments, then the argument should be to place it in the part of the county that has those issues. But wait, there is already one down there? How is the wait list for Wadsworth? How does it compare to Kittredge? Unless you’ve had a kids in NORTH DEKALB and can see the difference between what a magnet 4th grader receives at Kittredge vs. what a similar gifted child receives at (Ashford Park/Montgomery/Huntley Hills/Dunwoody/etc. etc.) then you have no idea. Unless you’ve seen what a 7th grader receives in the magnet program at Chamblee Middle School vs. the ones “on the other side of the wall” in the resident side or the ones at Peachtree Middle, then please don’t make yourself look foolish.

    @John T – if you believe we have it “very good” in Dekalb, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you. Steven Green may want you for a reference, or at give you a part in the “I Love Dekalb” advertising campaign.

    @Kirk I didn’t know that Kittredge is getting money in the SPLOST renovations while Montgomery, Huntley Hills, and Ashford Park are all older buildings with MANY MORE PROBLEMS. I don’t know what this list is that Stan put up, but qualitatively, those buildings are well past their useful age. Ashford Park was built in 1955. Montgomery in 1963. Huntley Hills in 1964. The county means to tell me that they don’t have issues? Ashford Park could retire right now if it were a human being. Schools are not meant to last that long. But oh, we must cater to the 480 precious little ones at Kittredge….

  83. Stan Jester

    Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Initiative
    The link contains the scores and reports for the Facility Condition Assessment (FCA), Facility Educational Adequacy Assessment (FEAA), the capacity and enrollment for the next seven years for the schools.
    https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/building-spaces/#tab-b6766642745cf064a10

  84. Let’s entertain the idea that the middle and high school magnet program gets phased out or relocated. What school zones would you expect to shift into the newly vacant seats? Parts of Dunwoody or Crosskeys or a mixture?

  85. Lose the Magnet,

    My point was that Kittredge’s score was fabricated to pour more money into the magnet program. In SPLOST IV, Wadsworth got a new school. Kittredge can’t be left behind, can it? Capital projects are 80% political. If the south side of the county gets something, the north side needs it. At least that is the perception with the exception of Cross Keys. They have gotten nothing until now.

    There is no wait list for Wadsworth. In fact, they are begging for students to apply.

    I agree with your points about the difference in quality. The magnet program is not in the same league as the rest of the schools.

    Ann T,

    Just look at the 4th and 5th grade columns to compare class sizes. Don’t look at the averages which include K, 1st, and 2nd. Only Wadsworth and Kelly Lake have smaller classes than Kittredge.

  86. Stan,

    Are you aware the district brought Parsons back last year to redo the FCA scores and school capacities? The new capacities and predicted enrollments are posted here. https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/operations/planning/

    I was unaware of the new FCA scores until the presentation at the Committee of the Whole.

    My point is, your link is outdated. However, the district is incapable of sharing current information with stakeholders.
    _____________

    I am “shocked” to find gambling in this casino!

    Oh. Sorry.
    What I meant to write was even though Stoneview ES has gotten more maintenance, deferred maintenance, and preventive maintenance than any other school (by a wide margin), and is scheduled to get a new parking lot, the FCA score went down between 2016 and 2018. These things are political.

  87. @Ann T- the Magnet has limits to number of students it takes. Public schools take anyone in district that comes through the door.
    Magnet has ability requirements- see above about taking anyone!!!
    Facility conditions- trailers at Kittredge??? Nope, bc the have attendance limits they can control. So until your children are sitting in a moldy trailer with no bathroom then the playing field is far from “fair”
    Congratulations, y’all have done what county wants. Argue amount yourselves about the wrong things.
    @Kirk L- you are correct NIMBY!!! Of course I don’t want CMS closed and my kids redistricted. Why should I stand for that? So the Magnet kids can stay? BS!! I will not stand quietly and watch them close a great middle school IN my neighborhood only to bus my kids out of their hood! Nope. SMS is already overcrowded and in poor condition, and I suppose to go there?
    Neighborhood first!!

  88. Enough,

    You missed the part where I wrote “There will be redistricting.” Why is it acceptable for SMS to be 1965 original when other people’s children are going there, but not when your children are?

    If the administration wants stakeholders to approve a bond, it should address the 1960s schools that have never been updated. All of the schools built in the 1960s. Schools that have already had major updates need not apply.

  89. I NEVER said it was ok!!! We are fighting our own battles over here, I simply cannot fight others’ battles as well. Perfect example of why county school don’t work. If it were city schools we would all be working together. Better.
    Ok so you redistrict. How does one redistrict Doraville/Chamblee/Dunwoody/Brookhaven?? Why shouldn’t parents fight to stay on a school where we have personally invested time and money to make the schools better

    Can you imagine if DeKalb had to actually teach all the kids that really lived in district? Thank goodness many can and do send kids to private. Interesting, their tax $$ stays with the school yet DeKalb has NO $$. BS. A fish smells at the head!!!

  90. Wow Stan, I should have stayed on vacation. Thanks for your willingness to take this discussion on. I’m a firm believer of expanding programs to meet student needs and that needs to be the core of our mission. A ping pong ball should not determine the level of instruction a student receives and I told this to Dr. Greene at a forum early in his tenure. I really feel we need to look at regional options to satisfy all levels of need from Magnet to Spec Ed. I feel it would actually incur cost savings if programs were consolidated within districts where acceptable transportation times could be met. As a public school parent I realize that I am open to redistributing for my child but it must be reasonable. All this being said I will vote no unless a complete audit of DCSD occurs. I personally like the idea of bonds for school improvements but not on top of a previously open ended SPLOST which I also voted no on. Additionally, as a member of the CCHS CAC, DCSD has not involved us one bit in the addition process indicating to me their total lack of concern for our input.

  91. It has been a week since the Administration, in the person of Dan Drake, presented the E-SPLOST Program Budget and GO Bonds plan.

    But is there any notice about this on the DCSD website?

    Are there any tweets about this? Any emails?

    OF COURSE NOT!!

    It’s part of the plan. When there’s a very complex problem, and a boneheaded and complex solution that involves citizens paying higher taxes for District mistakes, part of the Administration’s strategy appears to be not to publicize this until the last moment.

    Further, schedule the “public comment” input for the first 6 weeks of school to minimize input from stressed families adjusting to the new school year.

    It’s just so predictable. Be as un-transparent as possible and create as short a time span as possible for the community to weigh in.

    If not for Stan’s blog, there would be almost zero awareness of the Administration’s plan to recover from their E-SPLOST bungling by telling us to just send them more money.

    Board member Allyson Gevertz gave effusive thanks to Dan Drake for briefing them ahead of the Work Session, since it was such a complicated matter.

    Gee, it would have been nice if she had asked about how taxpayers would be informed. Especially those who don’t have students in DCSD schools.

  92. Enough,

    Redistricting has to be county-wide. Also, there needs to be at least one new high school somewhere north of I85.

    How would I redistrict? I would start with the high schools that have open seats and move students into them, opening up other seats, then continue working north. There needs to be split feeders for both elementary and middle schools. Other districts do this.

    Why shouldn’t parents fight to stay in the school they are invested in? Because that is the short view. Because that results in hundreds of millions of dollars in additions to schools that don’t have room for them. Because that is not in the best interest of all the students and stakeholders in the county. Because you are, in effect, asking everyone to pay more taxes so you can keep your children in the school you want. If we were coworkers, would you willingly pay higher healthcare premiums because I smoke and have high blood pressure and was unwilling to change my lifestyle?

    I get it. I really do. That is why I still advocate for Midvale even though my children are in college. The condition of Midvale and the quality of the school affects the property values in my neighborhood.

    I am against a bond if the only options are the ones presented last week. I may change my mind if the administration presents better options. Until then, I am going to continue to push for better options.

    Again, I encourage everyone to look over the documents and decide for themselves.

  93. Sigh. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these issues have languished in DeKalb schools for several decades. We have argued, fought and debated the very same issues. The district repairs only the squeakiest of wheels in the north end of the county. Sadly, DeKalb County School District has become nothing but a wealth transfer system – both in school spending and jobs. Enough money stays in the north (laughably called the ‘white’ end of the county) to keep people arguing among themselves and fighting over the scraps, while all of the administrative jobs, Title 1 and SPLOST spending and used in the south. The worst suffering is experienced by Hispanics (who actually make up a larger population than whites in the schools.) But this is not newsworthy – it’s ok to allow over-crowding and disrepair in mostly Hispanic schools. In fact, IT’S STILL OK TO DRAW A RIDICULOUS-LOOKING DISTRICT that targets and scoops up Hispanics to keep them together in these decrepit schools! The trick is to keep the magnet program at risk so that everyone is fighting about it and not really paying attention to the horrific big picture.

    Check out what school districts like Gwinnett can do because they are EDUCATION-focused and cater to the various student needs. Have a look at the The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology — https://www.gcpsk12.org/GSMST

    How about the Maxwell High School of Technology http://maxwellhs.weebly.com/ (also in Gwinnett) – that I visited years ago with my board rep, Bebe Joyner almost 20 years ago – after which we tried for YEARS to implement a similar program, but failed. Crawford Lewis always pretended to be interested . Johnny Brown told us that tech schools were ‘racist’ because he thought they ‘tracked’ black kids (apparently, he thought that unlike white and Hispanic kids, ALL black kids should go to college). Although we do still have the struggling DeKalb High School of Technology South (which is an independent school, unlike the DeKalb High School of Technology North, which is or was housed within the walls of Cross Keys).

    The School of Technology at Carver in Atlanta made the US News & World Report list.

    Do a search on “2019 Best Schools for STEM in Georgia” – Chamblee HS is the only DeKalb School in the bunch.

    These are the public high schools on that list >>
    Maxwell High School of Technology (Gwinnett)
    Northview High School (Fulton)
    Lambert High School (Forsyth)
    Johns Creek High School (Fulton)
    South Forsyth High School (Forsyth)
    Walton HS (Cobb)
    Alpharetta HS (Fulton)
    Milton HS (Fulton)
    Chattahoochee HS (Fulton)
    North Gwinnett HS (Gwinnett)
    Cambridge HS (Fulton)
    Kennesaw Mountain HS (Cobb)
    McIntosh HS (Fayette – one of the best districts in the state)
    Chamblee HS (DeKalb)
    Lassiter HS (Cobb)
    Wheeler HS (Cobb)
    Roswell HS (Fulton)
    Brookwood HS (Gwinnett)
    Decatur HS (Decatur)
    Peachtree HS (Gwinnett)
    Stars Mill HS (Fayette)
    Columbus HS (Muskogee)
    Pope HS (Cobb)
    North Oconee HS (Oconee)
    West Forsyth HS (Forsyth)

    The list goes on – but you get the idea. These are your kids people! My biggest regret is sticking it out in DeKalb … there are so many better options. The list above also includes a plethora of private options. Stop wasting energy ‘fighting’ for your kids. Just make your point with your money. Move out or just get out. My friends who gave up and sent their kids to private schools, today say it was the best thing they did for their children. I”m just sayin — sometimes the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.

  94. Time to leave Dekalb

    Kirk- I find it interest that you accuse me of being narrow minded and only advocating for my children when you even admit that you advocate for your school and your children aren’t even there ! We are all concerned, as we should be!
    Cere- I can tell you the north is NOT getting all the $$ or anything else. My children are sitting in mold infested trailers and NOTHING has been done to change. Our school is also filthy because our Principal holds no one accountable for doing their job. This also goes for bad teachers. The county moved a teacher from Dresden to our school with a history of “inappropriate touching!” Like anything else when regional superintendent was contacted her response was “it happens everywhere!” DeKalb just sucks! Period. Doesn’t matter if you are north, south east west, we are all getting screwed!

  95. Exactly what I meant “Time to leave … ” when I said, “Enough money stays in the north (laughably called the ‘white’ end of the county) to keep people arguing among themselves and fighting over the scraps…” The administration is baiting you. They drop just enough money to create a feeding frenzy and a cat fight. While they skip off the other way with their Title 1 money, jobs, pensions and ‘contracts’ of all varieties.

    Oh, and BTW, last time I checked – Arabia HS was still functioning as pretty much a private school. Is a (private-esque) DeKalb “Leadership Academy” charter school still functioning at New Birth? Is the district still paying rent to New Birth Baptist Church (home of the pedophile minister) for the Destiny charter school that was inside an old school building that the district sold to the church?

    http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-birth-christian-academy-to-close.html

  96. For example … https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-pulls-former-employee-consultant-contract/jhMcoNiQ1W9azcQmSSGbpO/

    “A controversial item was quietly pulled from the DeKalb County Board of Education’s meeting agenda over the weekend that would have paid a former employee $200 an hour to stay on as a paid consultant.

    Associate Superintendent Knox Phillips led the district’s office of accountability until June 30. His departure was not addressed by the district.”

    [FWIW – $200 an hour equates to $8,000 a week or $416,000 a year … but I digress.]

    … “You never want to lose good people,” board member Vickie B. Turner said. “We’re in the posture of restoring confidence from a community, internally with our stakeholders. It gives you a bit of a jolt when you lose senior-level staff … (who) impact outcomes. He’s been a valuable asset to the district.”

    Phillips is the sixth of nine top DeKalb County School District cabinet members to depart in the last year.

    Aside from Phillips’ former job, the district currently has four interim chiefs sitting in Superintendent Steve Green’s cabinet, including the division heads for operations, legal, technology, human resources. The chief communications position was eliminated.

    Some in the district have said it would be inappropriate for Green, who has announced plans to leave the district following the upcoming school year, to fill those posts.”

  97. Time to Leave DeKalb,

    I am sorry. Not sure how I accused you of anything since I don’t see your name in any earlier comments.

    Go ahead and advocate for your local school. How can I help you?

    It seems to me that people who don’t want their schools to be overcrowded, don’t want trailers or additions to their schools, don’t want magnet programs moved, and don’t want to be redistricted are missing the big picture. Some high schools are overcrowded and some are nearly half empty. Why build more classrooms when there are empty classrooms?

    What is the best way to address the overcrowding of high schools? I don’t believe adding classrooms to schools which don’t have room for more classrooms is the best solution. I believe county-wide redistricting and building at least one new high school are better long-term solutions.

    I don’t really care where the magnet program is, but to imply it is not any different from other schools is insulting. It is.

  98. concerned citizen

    Who says it is inappropriate for Green to fill the open positions? What about his own opening? I’m sure that’s inappropriate. too! In respect for Jim, can’t this Board get it together and elect a new Supt. NOW. Let the new supt. make decisions that will impact all of us.

  99. Dekalb's Product

    When will a new principal/ assistant principal, movements, retirements list be posted for the public?

  100. DeKalb School System will never get better because there are seven school board members, five of whom serve the southern half of the county. The myth that the southern part of the county is underserved, understaffed, and underfunded will never go away; it is the foundational lie that the central office must cling to in order to keep money and power where they want it. In reality, it is the half empty schools in south DeKalb that prevent the entire county from getting proper state funding.

    There will never be enough majority votes on the board to do anything that will improve anything in Regions 1 and 2 unless twice as much is spent on and done for regions 3-7. Ever.

    The only hope for a large-scale improvement would be for the school system to go bankrupt and require some sort of major intervention from the state. This is not out of the realm of possibility because if teachers win the lawsuit regarding retirement, the school system will go broke.

    The other hope would be that the state constitution is changed to allow city systems. This will never happen, either, because non-metro Atlanta opposes the possibility that their low population county systems could split and starve themselves of hard to get resources.

    Another way to starve the school system until it relented to the county’s citizens would be to have the law changed to shift the funding source away from property taxes. Right now the school system doesn’t care who it mistreats or pisses off because they have a guaranteed income stream whether you send your kids to school there or not.

    The central office holds the power. The boss of the central office is the superintendent. We will never hire a superintendent who will clean out the central office because of those five board seats.

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