DeKalb Schools – 2019 Milestone Results Summary

While DeKalb Schools Milestones results are abysmal, at least they are not as abysmal as they used to be.

Proficient Learners are at grade level. So over half the students in most measurements are below grade level. In many cases, almost half the students are Developing Learners, way below grade level.

However, the school district is making progress and the trends are improving. Fewer students are Developing Learners. More and more students are moving into the Proficient Learners and Distinguished Learners categories.

Spring 2019 and Final 2017 & 2018 – DeKalb Schools Milestones End-of-Course (EOC)
(Combined Winter and Spring Percentages)

DeKalb Milestone EOC Summary

Spring 2019 and Final 2017 & 2018 – DeKalb Schools – Milestones End of Grade (EOG)

Dekalb K-8 Milestones EOG

DEFINITIONS

Beginning Learners do not yet demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students need substantial academic support to be prepared for the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.

Developing Learners demonstrate partial proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified by Georgia’s content standards. The students need additional academic support to ensure success in the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness.

Proficient Learners demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students are prepared for the next grade level or course and are on track for college and career readiness.

Distinguished Learners demonstrate advanced proficiency in the knowledge and skills necessary at this grade level/course of learning, as specified in Georgia’s content standards. The students are well prepared for the next grade level or course and are well prepared for college and career readiness.
Additional performance levels help teachers better pinpoint where their kids are and give students more opportunities to succeed.

Wrap Around Services & Parent Engagement

DeKalb Schools spends a great deal of money on “Wrap Around Services”. The school district attributes much of the academic gaines to supporting the Whole Child. School Counselors, Psychologists, Nurses and Social Workers are in the school house to address barriers that impact student achievement utilizing wrap around supports. Postsecondary Transition Specialists, Student Engagement Coaches, and other positions and programs help to provide an additional intervention for our students and families with the intent of student success and high school graduation.

DeKalb Schools also spends a lot of money on “Parent Engagement”. The Parent and Engagement department has multiple initiatives to help parents help their kids’ academic outcomes. Workshops, webinars, training videos, and the Family IMPACT Hub, are used to provide resources to help parents support their kids. In addition, the school district spends hundreds of thousands a year assisting parents with obtaining their GED, enrolling in higher education or training programs, and training in workforce development, advocacy, leadership, and wrap-around services.

RESULTS

• The average scale scores for the Ninth Grade Literature and United States History EOC exams increased by 8 points and Physical Science increased by 4 points leading to significant increases in students scoring Proficient and Distinguished Learner, Ninth Grade Literature by 5.6%, United States History by 4.7%, and Physical Science by 5.1%.

• Across the District, all EOG-tested grades (3-8) showed average scale score increases in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.

• The percentage of students scoring in the Distinguished Learner category – the state’s highest performance category – in the English Language Arts EOG increased for every grade.

• From 2017-2019, the district-wide percentage of 8th grade students scoring Proficient and above increased in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.

The following accomplishments were demonstrated by the thirteen (13) DCSD schools identified by the state as Turnaround Eligible Schools. Three (3) elementary schools saw growth on average scale scores across all eight (8) assessments (100%):

• Eldridge L. Miller Elementary School
• Murphey Candler Elementary School
• Stoneview Elementary School

Seven (7) schools decreased the percentage of students scoring Beginning Learner on at least six (6) of the eight (8) assessments:

• Eldridge L. Miller Elementary School
• Lithonia Middle School
• McNair Middle School
• Murphey Candler Elementary School
• Peachcrest Elementary School
• Redan Elementary School
• Stoneview Elementary School

Eight (8) schools demonstrated double-digit increases in the percentage of students scoring Proficient and Distinguished Learner on at least one assessment:

• Eldridge L. Miller Elementary School
• Fairington Elementary
• Murphey Candler Elementary
• Panola Way Elementary
• Snapfinger Elementary
• Stone Mountain Elementary
• Stoneview Elementary
• Toney Elementary

49 responses to “DeKalb Schools – 2019 Milestone Results Summary

  1. “supported”

    Many of the positions that are transient, such as Postsecondary Transition Specialists and Student Engagement Coaches don’t seem to actually DO much other than look good in print. Is there a way to require that they be evaluated by each of the school they serve? This is something Gwinett does.

  2. DSW2Contributor

    Here’s what the four labels really mean:

    Beginning & Developing ==> Kids are *NOT* on GRADE LEVEL! Many of these kids will end up with criminal records because the educational system failed them.
    Proficient Learners ==> These kids are on grade level, on track to enlist in the military, enter a third tier college, or trade school.
    Distinguished Learner ==> Kid is on track for a 2nd tier or better college. The vast majority of these kids will NOT be good enough for UGA and Tech.

  3. When are we going to look at the test and it’s shortcomings and not look at the teachers and students as the problem? Some of the support positions are not helping the students. Layers and layers of administrators who do not work in school buildings are overpaid and inefficient. Cut these staff and increase teacher salaries to match other professions and dramatically above all other school systems and you will be surprised at the change in the caliber of teachers applying for all those vacant positions we have in DeKalb. The number of applicants will skyrocket allowing the school system to hire only the best. Stop spending money on mega-buildings and work on creating community in our schools. That’s what truly supports the learners. We can all see that many schools in South DeKalb are under enrolled and have a lot more support staff than many other schools that are over enrolled and have an increasing population of lower socioeconomic students. The board needs to look at solutions that do not cost mega-millions since we don’t have any money!

  4. Nancy and I were just talking about it this morning … Higher Teacher Salaries and Smaller Class Sizes – Every student, parent, teacher and principal all agree … along with fewer standardized tests.

  5. DSW2Contributor

    ^ Stan, smaller class sizes do *NOT* improve academic performance.

    It’s the Curriculum, Stan! (To paraphrasel Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan.)

    A good teacher with a big class using the best curriculum with drastically outperform an excellent teacher using a crappy curriculum in a small class.

  6. Stan Jester

    DSW2Contributor, I agree that what you teach matters. However, I challenge your suggestion that class size has no impact on academic performance.

    A teacher with a class size of 10 students will have better academic outcomes than the same teacher with a class of 500 students … all other things being equal. I doubt a class size delta of 1 student makes much differences. But I posit that the larger the delta in class size, the larger the difference in academic performance.

    Furthermore, larger classes are a tax on teachers. They spend more time on homework, etc … per student. If larger classes didn’t matter, we’d go ahead and put 100 students in each class. Besides, by and large …. parents, students, teachers and principals want smaller classes.

    Just my thoughts.

  7. Stan Jester

    Atlanta Public Schools beats the pants off me in their 2019 Milestones results presentation
    https://apsinsights.org/2019/07/26/milestones-achievement-2019/

  8. DSW2Contributor

    ^ But you beat the pants off the Milestones presentations done by APS Board Members!

  9. Lose the magnet

    Dekalb County ELA is truly pathetic and always has been. These numbers underscore that.

  10. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^^Oh I agree with you that parents and teachers want smaller classes. I’m not so sure about principals — smaller class sizes would mean more staff to supervise.

    However, the peer-reviewed research shows that Curriculum quality is much more important to academic performance than class size is.

    DCSD decided to develop its own Curriculum in house. How’s that worked out for everyone?

  11. Thanks for sharing the APS blog. We added a second post with state percentile ranks. This one (and the second visual in the first post) is built off the state public file and has a system filter, so you can view Dekalb schools as well: https://apsinsights.org/2019/07/26/milestones-state-percentile-ranks-2019/

  12. Thirty Years Devoted

    It would be great to see this by Associate Supt. Regions and their individual coordinators time spent in the schools working with boots on the ground. Its time to hold these highly paid people at the palace accountable the same way principals and teachers are with time sheets, documentation, call logs, etc. to demonstrate their works because truth-be-told they came out of failing schools with low numbers after several years of work…all except Benford. Surely this grant that is paying for these additional supts. and coordinators is requiring documentation for what its paying.

  13. There is no complete curriculum. Teachers are given standards and basically told to piece it together and build detailed lesson plans. It is ineffective at best. At worst it taxes the teachers beyond their time and energy resources, and uses up their planning time. Then more time is wasted when the plans themselves become a target of endless criticism and debate from administrators. Off the shelf, effective and research based materials are not being purchased to support the standards in any comprehensive way. It’s a hot mess. If they don’t have enough teachers then they should at least purchase good curriculum and materials for those who are “pinch hitting” to plug into…

  14. Why didn’t DeKalb become part of the MAP consortium since we’re already paying for the test where we could transition away from Milestones and get information in a much more timely manner?

  15. DSW2Contributor

    ^^^Thirty Years Devoted,
    DCSD is not going to release the Milestones sorted by Region because that would be extremely embarrassing for several Regional Superintendents, Coordinators and Dr. Green…. but you could do the sort yourself using GAODE’s Excel files posted here:
    https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=701

  16. dekalbteacher

    The GA DOE announced improvements in 25 of the 26 end of course or grade assessments for all Georgia students.

    Not convinced that the minimal gains Dekalb has made has anything to do with Dekalb. I am also unsure of the personal benefit for a student whose “ bubble moved” a point or percentage point.

    Does anyone know if the scoring metrics changed?

  17. Stan Jester

    DeKalbTeacher. Interesting observation. I think you are absolutely correct. To some extent, we are just riding the wave.

  18. dekalbteacher

    Stan,

    Our students’ test scores determine a numerical rating on our teacher evaluations. How, exactly, is the district using these test scores in overseeing school budgets and in justifying across the board pay increases for upper level administrators and in school administration who received more significant pay increases than any other employee group?

  19. Stan,

    You wrote, “School Counselors, Psychologists, Nurses and Social Workers are in the school house to address barriers that impact student achievement utilizing wrap around supports.”

    I want to point out those positions/supports are not equally distributed in all schools. Why is a student living in poverty in Tucker less deserving of support than a student living in poverty in Decatur?

  20. Kirk, I’m frustrated and concerned with the lack of ability to readily track what people and programs are being implemented at what schools. If a school isn’t failing, a horizon school, or some other designation like that, it gets little to no wrap around services support.

  21. Kirk and Stan,
    Amen. Transparency is needed in
    – the amount of money going for wraparound services
    – what exactly those wraparound services are
    – how many individual students receive services
    – what metrics are used to decide whether to continue or change wraparound services
    – how students in schools without wraparound services are being served

    Maybe this is being done wisely. But there’s absolutely no data to say that.

    Wraparound services are expensive. Apparently these are considered much higher priority than maintaining our trailers and our buildings in any sort of reasonable condition.

    Is that best? I don’t know. But it should be discussed openly rather than just automatically assuming that the Superintendent’s proposals are the only answer.

  22. One more point. Beginning Learners and Developing Learners are below grade level, by definition.

    Beginning Learners “need SUBSTANTIAL academic support to ensure success in the next grade level” and Developing Learners “need ADDITIONAL academic support to ensure success in the next grade level.”

    So it’s terrifying to see that 61% of 8th graders are below grade level in English/Language Arts!

    How do high schools cope?

    More specifically, who makes sure that the individual students in these categories get the help they need in high school?

    Do high schools know who needs “substantial” or “additional” support when they build their schedules and assign students to specific classes? Probably not, since this task is supposed to be done by May and EOG scores may not be available.

    Who is supposed to give them the “substantial” or “additional” support? Is it their classroom teacher, who already has a boat load of standards to teach in a high-profile Ninth Grade Literature course with an End of Course test? If not the classroom teacher, then who?

    What is this “substantial” or “additional” support? Is it smaller class sizes? (Surely not – this is DeKalb!) Is it tutoring? If the need is ESOL, who makes sure that the school has enough ESOL teachers?

    These are the sorts of questions that the Board of Education needs to ask.

    But DCSD has so many financial, planning, maintenance issues that ACADEMICS is rarely if ever discussed openly.

    If this would require marathon BOE meetings then so be it. This is real. The future of 98,000 students depends on a good school district.

  23. escapeefromdekalb

    Off topic– but when will Green and his team of nitwits be GONE?

  24. Stan Jester

    Green’s contract is up at the end of next Summer.

  25. My son will be attending Kindergarten this year. When we went to orientation, the teachers were very focused on academic results. Very much – we are going to be teaching Day 1 and so you need to have done this, this and this. With the MAP testing system wide, you would think the culture would be pretty widespread.

    These results will feed into CCPRI content mastery scores, correct?

  26. Stan Jester

    MAP is district wide standardized testing. It currently does not feed into the state standardized testing (Milestones-CCRPI)

  27. Run Far, Run Fast

    William –

    My 2¢:
    Run, RUN away from DeKalb. If I had it to do over, I would have gone to the Northside (Fulton) school district or one in Cobb or northern Gwinnett. Just look at news over the last month. DeKalb has more teacher openings than any other school district in the metro area. DeKalb has mismanaged (and that’s putting it nicely) the last two SPLOSTs – and counting. Today the central office is filled with friends and family, same as yesterday, same as years ago. That’s the thing. Stan and others can yell and scream and bring attention and whatever. But nothing will change, unless the state takes the district over for an extended period of time or DeKalb et al create their own districts.
    Don’t make the mistake so many of us did. RUN NOW. Get your kid in a district that gives a damn.

  28. @William – “focused on academics” translates to stressed teachers trying to make sure the students are prepared for DCSD testing You may want to pick the teachers’ brains a little about what the expectations will be for each child – what testing they are required to do for each student. It’s kindergarten….kids should be kids in kindergarten – they are 5! Learning should be fun at this age…not “academic”. If you have the means, you may want to consider a private/church kindergarten.

  29. escapeefromdeklab

    Stan—

    I know his contract is up next year– but are we really going to let this lame duck run the system further into the ground for another year? He has not been able to retain anyone who might have been effective, can ewe talk about the fiasco with HCM earlier this year? If he was the kind of person that really cared about DCSS and the future– he would step aside to make way for the new team. I mean why are we allowing him to assist with that decision — because of all the stellar hires he has already made while here?

  30. Stan Jester

    Don’t forget the failing financial state audit and the procurement assessment that said integrity and ethics are nonexistent in the school districts procurement process.

  31. Stan,
    Where are these resources for parents? Where do we get more information about this department? “The Parent and Engagement department has multiple initiatives to help parents help their kids’ academic outcomes. Workshops, webinars, training videos, and the Family IMPACT Hub, are used to provide resources to help parents support their kids.”

  32. AB, I don’t see any reason why 5 years old shouldn’t be learning how to read, write and count. We don’t need college graduates to provide daycare.

  33. Green talks to V103.3 Urban Radio Station. Interesting!
    He will not make the entire school year. Green and Know Phillips collaborated efforts to get money from the students and taxpayers.

    https://v103.radio.com/media/audio-channel/dekalb-super-talks-new-year-his-resignation

  34. Stan Jester

    The Family IMPACT Hub is located on the north side of the Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083.

  35. https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/parent-resource-centers/
    From just looking at the Dekalb website, I would think most of these services are performed out of these parent resource centers at a school in each region. I would assume that the funding is from Title I and thus, the location in each region is located at a Title I school. For Region 1, that is Cross Keys. I’m assuming a person at the schools takes this on with a stipend to the regular pay to perform these services.

    1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd is just the county offices. You would think Dekalb would be on a short list for grants from the federal government related to this beyond any title 1 funding.

  36. William,

    Your assumption is incorrect. Title 1 funds can not be used for parent resources. The Parent Resource Center is funded from the general fund.

    The people in the schools are paid. Not sure what you mean by stipend to the regular pay.

  37. @William
    Stipends don’t pay for services at the parent centers. Family and friends run Title One parent centers. Board member, Vickie Turner’s daughter has one of the highly paid jobs.

  38. @ William:
    1. Absolutely kindergarten children should be learning to read, write and count. You may want to ask your teacher how many proficiency tests they have to administer this year.
    2. Per open ga gov website, the parent resource center annual salaries for 2018 ranged between $59,442 and $74,273 with travel expenses ranging from $256 to $2359.41. Pretty darn good stipend. Find each center’s facilitator name on the DCSD web site (https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/parent-resource-centers/#tab-a15d1f6ab0bad0ac9cc) and verify for yourself: http://www.open.georgia.gov/
    3. Now check out the 2018 salary for the teachers at your school. What you find should make you and all of us parents mad. Most of those who work directly with students are paid less than parent resource facilitators – unless they are close to retirement. Disappointing, shameful priorities.

  39. @AB @William
    Be slow to be shameful and disappointed about these type of federal funded positions. There are a number of responsibilities beyond the title. The board members need to better understand departments and roles beyond the org chart and titles.

    Dr. Green and board members need to address the implicit biases of its 137 school administration teams after attending a high priced leadership conference at the Evergreen Resort. Within a week of hearing from high priced speakers, meals and resort facilities, this happens… https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/viral-post-shows-dekalb-school-take-good-bad-black-hairstyles/pNy7dLhd1bAn6y24kDPzxL/

  40. Kirk, maybe my assumption is wrong. I was thinking they are called ‘Title I Parent Resource Centers’ for a reason. I found the link below. It seems to be a letter outlining DCSD’s requirement regarding parent involvement in our Title I schools and their action plan to address that requirement. We received $85m in federal funding of which I’m going to make another assumption, that it’s primarily Title I funding. It would interesting to see some benchmarking related to Title I funds received and parental involvement expenses amongst school systems throughout the country.
    https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/documents/office-of-federal-programs/parental-involvement/fy18-parent-family-engagement-policy-plan.pdf

    In general, I find that these would be really nice jobs and I wouldn’t have thought a full-time position for this would be needed. However, maybe I just don’t understand what they do.

  41. It’s easy enough to walk into a Parent Resource Center and get more information about the services they provide on a day to day basis.

  42. Samantha,
    The Evergreen Resort at Stone Mountain?

    I’ve honestly never had designs in my hair, but also not sure why it would be a problem. However, maybe I just don’t understand the issue. I feel like Dr. Green, Ms. Turner (board member), the principal and assistant principals at Narvie J, and the parents at the school are a lot better informed to come together and make the correct decision. While I could see me having implicit bias, I’m not sure why they would have implicit bias on this issue.

  43. Off topic, but any feedback from the new student online registration process? At the Chamblee Hs open house I heard there were delays in processing of approval emails and students will miss first week of school until backlog clears?

  44. DSW2Contributor

    The student body at Narvie Harris ES is is 96.7% black and 67.0% economically disadvantaged. The Principal, both Assistant Principals, and its board member are black women.

    *If* there is implicit bias at Narive Harris, that implicit bias is against *boys*.

  45. @Samantha – to clarify, you believe the facilitator at a Parent Resource Center works harder than our teachers? Do you think they have to take work home like teachers, work on the weekends to set up classes before school starts, stay late to meet with parents? Do you think they have a greater impact on student success than the teacher in the front of the class? I can’t justify them getting more money than a classroom teacher with 10-20 years experience. Sounds like we have different priorities.

  46. DSW2Contributor

    ^^ I was mistaken. The real story is much creepier. From the AJC:
    ————————————————————
    “…. she said then-principal Sean Tartt (now a regional superintendent) invited a friend to the school who would “fix” inappropriate hairstyles, which likely included cutting designs out of the hair and cutting Mohawks low.”
    ————————————————————
    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-school-hairstyle-rules-stifle-black-expression/UZGLPvcTx7dlZYHhIHhl5I/

  47. Any word on the 2019 graduation rates?

  48. Tamara WATKINS

    Stan, someone asked why Dekalb didn’t vote for MAP testing over Milestone. Maybe I missed your response, but will you answer that? Also, do you forsee Dekalb changing the calendar to begin after Labor Day?

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