Professional Development Institute

DeKalb Schools has a new concept called the “Professional Development Institute”. It will be deployed this Wednesday – Friday (Aug 5-7). The goal of these 3 days is to learn how to teach virtually effectively.

DeKalb Schools Teachers

There are a lot of questions. Hopefully we can figure out some answers here. This is what we know so far.

ProDev Rate: Certified staff $35/hr & Classified staff $18/hr

The administration tells me professional development is “strongly encouraged”, but it is not mandatory.

Mandatory & Choice Sessions
All identified school-based employee groups who attend the full-day professional development sessions will be compensated through a STIPEND process. I don’t believe the stipend amount has been defined yet.

There are mandatory whole team sessions each AM. AM Mandatory whole group virtual meetings will be guided/facilitated by the local
school principal via a staff TEAMS meeting.

SAMPLE AM SCHEDULE

DeKalb Schools Professional Development Institute

Although sessions in the PM are primarily choice, there are sessions that are required for certain employee groups based on guidance from a particular DCSD department (e.g., Exceptional Education Dept., etc.) and/or the local school principal.

SAMPLE PM SCHEDULE

DeKalb Schools Professional Development Institute

The sessions may either be asynchronous (pre-recorded) or synchronous (LIVE). There are no session/course capacity limits which would require pre-registration. It seems like attendance will be determined by virtual monitoring and/or uploaded lesson work.


In other News …

Middle School Sports – Note from DeKalb Schools Administration,

“In coordination with other Metro-Atlanta school districts, an abundance of caution and the best interest of our children, staff and community, DCSD has elected to postpone all middle school sports activities for the 2020-21 school year. The rationale for this decision was based on

  1. the assessment of other Metro Atlanta districts with middle school programs and
  2. primarily on the data provided by the Georgia State Board of Health regarding COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and mortality rates. ”

DeKalb Schools Sports – Town Hall

164 responses to “Professional Development Institute

  1. @Demographics
    Why do you think teachers come here to ask questions or whine and moan? I’ll tell ya why, we are explicitly told we are unable to reach out to anyone past our principals, including our Board members whom for we vote. Stan gives us the only outlet we have to get questions answered and make our voices heard. But don’t worry, since he’s on the way out, we won’t have that resource soon.

    I’ll go back to ignoring your ignorance now.

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  2. Stan, can you get some clarity on Verge vs Google Classroom? At the various board meetings, it was stated that we could use the platform that we were most comfortable with for virtual learning. One of the modules/attachments today states, “The main platforms for Virtual Learning will be VERGE or Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams or Zoom. VERGE or Google Classroom will be used for daily communication of learning assignments and teacher/student feedback. Microsoft Teams or Zoom will be used for LIVE learning sessions.”

    Now, our principal is stating that the district is requiring us to use Verge as the main platform but we can use Google Classroom at various times. I’m not doubling work posting on both platforms as it was required in the spring so which is it…Google Classroom or Verge?

    I thought, we were able tot make the choice on our own behalf but I see that’s obviously not the case. What a crock.

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  3. Hi PK:
    My understanding from my principal is that we have to post our Google Classroom link on Verge as many parents will be directed to start with Verge.
    We have also decided as a school to use “Google Meets” as it aligns very well with Google Classroom.
    The PD yesterday was less than stellar and caused more questions and anxiety than it did answers.
    Sigh….. here we go again with another school year that Dekalb is not prepared for:(

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  4. Hi Teacher1:

    Our understanding is that we have to use Verge only from the email that was sent to certain staff yesterday. I’m glad that your school has come as a team on what systems to use unlike my school. I”m wondering if it is a top down request from the area supt to the principals in my area. My principal isn’t the best at technology so I expect, he is following a directive from higher up.

    *The PD yesterday was less than stellar and caused more questions and anxiety than it did answers.
    Sigh….. here we go again with another school year that Dekalb is not prepared for:(*

    Understatement. It was an disaster on our side for a good bit of the morning.

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  5. PD is still a disaster this morning. So confusing. Overwhelming.

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  6. @ksuna, Can you go into more detail? Thanks, Stan.

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  7. Frustrated teacher

    Verge is the worst thing that Dekalb could be forcing us to use with these students. It barely works for the PD and I don’t understand WHY they keep pushing it for us to use with the students. Students don’t like it and it’s not easy to teach them how to use it.

    STOP PUSHING THINGS THAT DON’T WORK.

    Dekalb wants teachers to “streamline” their teaching using Microsoft Teams and Verge. Verge is NOT streamlined for anything at all. Microsoft Teams is more difficult for students to use than Google Classrooms. While teachers are given the option to use Google classroom in addition to other platforms, that totally goes against streamlining.

    GET IT TOGETHER DEKALB!

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  8. @Stan

    Yesterday they did not have all of the modules uploaded to Verge for the afternoon choice sessions. There were also documents missing from the morning modules. It appears most things if not all are now uploaded. The problem is we were never provided with a master schedule for the week. Many teachers completed modules yesterday afternoon that we are working on as a faculty in the Friday AM session (which I learned just now). These were the only modules available to us yesterday and we now have to go back and complete other modules so we can meet the requirements to earn the stipend.

    The modules are mostly helpful, it’s not a huge deal for me personally to redo some. The issue is things like this happen over and over again in Dekalb and we say “well, that’s Dekalb you yah.” Why should we be accepting of this being the norm?

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  9. I thought Day 2 was better, but maybe it depends on your principal and the clarifications administration may have sent (or not) on how to proceed for the AM & PM sessions. There is definitely a lot of material to go through and several of the sessions are longer than 1 hour with tasks that add to that time. I did note that “Read” clicks to VERGE pages and discussion responses made yesterday were gone today, particularly for the DCSD IGNITE U Module 1 on Communication & Collaboration, but that may not be an “everyone” situation.

    Question: Nurses have begun virtual training today, but I wasn’t sure if I saw anywhere about their compensation for these PLs since the District materials that have been sent out has their start date as 8/11/2020. Can someone clarify what the compensation is for our nurses during these virtual trainings?

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  10. ** “well, that’s Dekalb for yah”

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  11. With the re-uploading of those files, they deleted completed modules so we had to go back and redo those this morning as well.

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  12. ProDev Rate: Certified staff $35/hr & Classified staff $18/hr

    Google Classroom v Verge: From what I can tell, many high performing teachers use Google Classroom and Verge. The teachers that know the difference prefer Google Classroom. For whatever reason, most teachers seem to be fine with Verge and don’t get into Google Classroom. Thus, there isn’t a huge groundswell for Google Classroom.

    I recommend showing your colleagues the advantages of using Google Classroom. Tell your school council and principal that Google Classroom is superior to Verge. Tell your colleagues to tell people. I was at a high school “PAC” meeting a year or so ago and spent some time at the council meeting discussing Verge and Google Classroom. It’s not possible for anybody in that room to have cared less … principal, teachers, parents … nobody cared.

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  13. Indeed- this learning institute is a challenge. Agenda is unclear, modules are tedious, hard to know what to do or how to submit evidence that we did the work. Imagine how the kids will feel on Aug. 17!

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  14. Mr Jester

    Unspoken made an excellent point. I am not saying this to be critical. This training can be greatly impacted by the ability of the principal. On Friday and as late as yesterday, principals were still getting information about the training. My principals missed some of the information. There were parts of the training on yesterday that were lacking the information that we needed. After the training, our principal realized that he had missed some of the updates. The information for the Professional Institute should have been provided to the principals ealier and their understanding of it should have been verified. At the very least, there should have been a check list of the information that had been sent to them. That may have helped my principal realize that he had not seen all of the information that he needed. I feel that most teachers want to do a good job. Our principals need training to be able to provide us with training. Our children are depending on us.

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  15. Most of the principals need training on how to use Teams and technology overall because these PL’s are showing how out of touch many of them are with technology.

    Re: Verge and Google Classroom

    Most teachers are using both because as I can see, admin can track usage on Verge vs Classroom. I believe, they can on Google but they would have to get admin permission or so. That’s why many of them are apprehensive against using it.

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  16. Digital Learning

    As a teacher and parent, I am hoping that we get Covid under control enough to go back to in-person learning. My kids are getting on my last nerve because they require a lot of attention while I’m trying to work. I really am struggling to figure out how to work AND watch my own kids while I’m supposed to be on a video with my students for several hours. Just sharing my frustrations and concerns because I’ve been reading comments on this board that seem to think teachers have it “easy” during this time. While my husband worked from home, his active time on camera and in meetings averaged about an hour each day. Other than that, he was free to work at his own pace. If he needed to get up to do something, he could. This will not be the case with teachers during digital learning, as we will be required to be active and available for about 7 hours. It is going to be very difficult to navigate. However, I know that we are doing this for the safety of our students and staff, so I’m going to try to remain positive.

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  17. Just Wondering

    My biggest problems with the PDI: (Here are some specifics for you, Stan)

    1. The wording/naming—the “modules” were organized in VERGE under different titles than we were given in the sample daily schedules. It is making it very difficult to navigate to what you really want to see. Heck, the words “Professional Development Institute” aren’t even there…instead, we had to find “Instructional Integrity for School Re-entry.” It’s just not logical or easy to follow. If we run our classes like this virtually, imagine the repercussions!

    2. Repetition—as mentioned above, some teachers chose modules in the PM that were going to be covered by whole group in Thursday or Friday AM sessions. Whatever was planned for the AM sessions shouldn’t even be accessible to teachers on our VERGE platform to avoid confusion.

    3. Outdated/irrelevant information—some of the modules talk about issues that are not relevant to Virtual Learning, which is what most of us are wanting. I don’t need to be told that I should schedule time for independent reading. I’d rather spend my time being trained on Google Classroom or other systems/programs that the county is paying for and are available to us. Guess I’ll have to do that on my own time (as usual).

    4. Some info leading to more questions—some of the information that is being shared is just touching the surface and leads to more specific questions (which my principal can’t answer because he hasn’t been given the correct information or is waiting to answer next week).

    I guess I was hoping for more hands-on, specific training on platforms, more specific information on how the daily schedule is actually going to work (ie, in a HS traditional 7 period day, you will have each class twice a week…so how many assignments are we allowed to give asynchronously for that week?), maybe some actual examples of virtual learning that work (because what we’ve had so far isn’t that).

    I know it could have been done better and don’t know why I expected a different result.

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  18. Digital Learning

    I have some issues with the PD that is taking place. Maybe I’m not finding the right modules, but I haven’t found a single one that shows us how to apply the teaching methods we already know to a virtual/digital environment. I would like videos that actually model how a digital learning lesson should look, per DeKalb’s standards. After this PD, I’m going to have to find additional resources online to actually figure out how to conduct digital lessons, as in-person teaching and teaching virtually are completely different. DeKalb is recycling professional development that we’ve already had.

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  19. This PD is another disastrous display of wasting time and incompetence by DCSD! As others have noted the scheduling and daily agendas have been a joke with many modules being repeated, links not working, resources unavailable. And don’t get me started on trying to navigate through verge with a million folders and 10 thousand tabs open. All of the complete as you go activities have been confusing, tedious and utterly pointless when they have nothing to do with the 4 artifacts that must be completed. And then there is the fact that half of these modules have little to nothing to do with effective virtual instruction. I don’t need to re-learn the fundamentals MTSS, the 5Es, the break down of what a 3 part math lesson should consist of, or the reasoning for virtual walkthroughs, or the ends and outs of the international baccalaureate program, or much of anything else presented and provided in this PD. I would like to have learned how to screen share, setting up bitmoji presentations, create a classroom, use Google classroom, embed links, navigate different apps that can be used for virtual learning, effectively plan and use the virtual lesson plan template, create and record lessons, etc…. Actual things that will help me be a more effective virtual teacher. This Learning institute has been repeatedly touted as “a unique learning opportunity” so much so I was tired of hearing the phrase, and ultimately it has turned out to be “a unique waste of time”!!

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  20. Veteran Teacher

    Stan
    My question is why some schools have until September to finish the modules. I have felt rushed to complete everything by the end of the day tomorrow. My friend says her principal told them they have until September. When is this due

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  21. Veteran Teacher, If one principal is doing it one way and another principal is doing it differently, you should ask your principal.

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  22. dekalbteacher

    Stan,

    You want details? Where to begin? Best that you ask to view one module.

    After you get over the fact that we pay many people nice salaries to supervise and support instruction or professional development or whatever it’s called and many people are supposedly going to receive stipends to view these, ask yourself what benefit this module will be for a teacher who is trying to figure out how to teach with new schedules forcing us to change everything we do and required platforms unfamiliar to many for day-to-day use while making sure we understand the safeguards of live teaching.

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  23. I have a lot to say about the subject matter covered during the PD institute but a lot of it has been covered already. From my experience it’s been less than useless to prepare teachers and staff for virtual learning.
    What I would really like to mention here is that I have several colleagues that are paraprofessionals (classified staff, 18.00 per hour) that are doing the exact same work as the teachers (certified staff 35.00 per hour) attending the sessions but are only making half as much in stipend. And since most of the classified jobs pay a barely livable wage, many of them do not have laptops or computers that can handle the amount of work the PD requires, if they even own one at all. MANY are doing the work and attending meetings on their phones. I hope the county is talking about issuing laptops to support personnel who are eager to continue working with the students and are expected to sit in and support virtual classes all day. I cannot imagine the extra stress of having to do this on a phone.

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  24. Concerned Parent

    Stan,

    Today we got an email from our elementary school stating that at this time only students in 3-5th grades would be getting chromebooks. The email went on to advise us to purchase a chromebook with a webcam if we did not want to wait for a chromebook from the county. Do you have an update on when chromebooks are supposed to be available for 1st and 2nd grades? If I am not able to purchase a chromebook for my child what will happen once school starts?

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  25. Teacher to the stars

    Training breakdown

    None of the information provided will be useful to help educators navigate the very new and crazy world of virtual learning.

    I was hoping to get info on best practices for Google Classroom and Zoom. Instead they gave us the same cookie cutter stuff that we always have the first week of school (tiered supports, IEP, etc). We understand that part because it is drilled down to us every time we do anything. What we really needed was not delivered at all.

    Also. Can someone please confirm Zoom will work on student chromebooks. The one thing I learned most is that Teams sucks.

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  26. Tired Teacher

    Concerned Parent

    They told us teachers that lower grades K-2 won’t get a chromebook until the end of this month.

    Which is a complete joke! How are we supposed to reach K-2 until then if they dont3have computers?

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  27. Dunwoody Diva

    AGAIN………. Dekalb County Schools are NOT ready to begin a virtual school year.
    Let’s hold off until after Labor Day.
    If people are lucky Chrome books will be here and distributed before Labor Day but doubtful.
    I guess many students will get a free “pass” until they have what they need.
    What a mess for everyone! Teachers are full of anxiety with so many unknowns.

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  28. K-2 will be receiving packets to work on for online instruction until the new laptops arrive at the end of the month. SMH

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  29. Fedupteacher

    If there’s a specific representative with whom I should be sharing my thoughts on the “Professional Development Institute” please let me know, Stan.

    It’s a great use of our time spending roughly 6 hours a day for three days reviewing content required to be learned whilst earning one’s teacher certificate when we could be collaborating, planning, and focusing on getting materials out to students who need it. As usual, the higher ups grossly underestimate the time needed to prepare for the start of the school year as well as the professional knowledge of its instructors. One might claim we had “all summer, ” but only recently were we told what the learning format would be as well as the courses we would teach.

    After scanning through and viewing the videos of most of the modules, only about 4 modules out of about 20+ introduced newer information or info pertinent to transitioning to teaching online, such as how to access eBooks, some socio-emotional learning routines, collaboration online, and Flip Grid. Structuring a lesson, how the RTI tier system works, how to find content standards, how to facilitate independent reading, the 5es of instruction, classroom routines, etc. on a 6- page long KWL chart are more suitable perhaps for a teacher new to the county or a teacher scoring 1s and 2s on the TKES as they are common knowledge to the vast majority of teachers. Even in modules that could have been of great benefit to teachers who wouldn’t have normally been trained in the content (ELL and SPED)- no practical strategies, especially for teaching virtually, were provided!! Defining a concept is not the same as providing real world examples, case studies, and practical strategies for analysis. The county could have easily given a survey to teachers to determine what skills and strategies we needed to be successful for this online transition, allowing us to hone in on 3-5 of options provided considering the amount of time I assume was needed to gather the materials for all these modules.
    This last minute requirement of completing an abundance of busy work, by people who DON’T teach, just to get a paycheck on days when we would normally not have to attend futile meetings is quite insulting and further demoralizing.

    Great job, Dekalb. Great job.

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  30. FedupTeacher
    You said it all and said it well!!

    Just one other thing I’m wondering if anyone else has had the “unique” experience of spending two days going over useless information, and NOT SPENT ANY TIME going over the information needed to properly complete the required artifacts nor have had time to adequately start, let alone finish said artifacts. Which means to get paid for having my time wasted the last few days, I will have to use my personal time to complete the artifacts in addition to learning the things I didn’t learn, but need to know to teach virtually. I am beyond frustrated and fed up! There’s a whole other word for how I feel right now.

    On a side note though however, some teachers sort of hijacked our morning session and provided us with very useful instructions on creating Flipgrids. We all even took a few minutes and created our accounts and quick welcome flipgrids. It was the most useful time I’ve spent in PD the last 2 1/2 days. I wish all the training could have been like this. There is just so much to learn and I so badly want to learn it. And so gravely disappointed in DCSD. This was such a waste of a great opportunity to really set us up for success.

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  31. tech capacity

    One thing that a few teachers noticed was lagging or computer glitches during morning PD. Someone said it might be because all the teachers were logged into Teams meetings at the same time. I wonder if it will be worse when every teacher is having class meetings. As a Gwinnett parent, I received information about a tech check, where all students will meet virtually with someone in the school building to check their capacity. Is DCSD doing something like this? I may have missed communication about it.

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  32. DSW2Contributor

    @Tired Teacher – “They told us teachers that lower grades K-2 won’t get a chromebook until the end of this month.”

    The scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that the vendors just cannot get enough chromebooks and tablets to satisfy the demand — the demand from people working at home and schools not opening has completely overwhelmed the supply.

    I just went online and tried to buy one myself – samsung.com says a $230 Chromebook ordered today (August 7) will not ship until September 11. Apple is a little better; a $399 mini iPad ordered today will not ship until August 17.

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  33. The last three days was not well spent. This time could have been used to prepare to teach virtually and set up our virtual materials. We have less than 3 days to prepare to meet our classes and get ready to teach online. The presentations were all recycled, terrible mistakes (they should be embarrassed), and lack of consistency. Every morning next week our principal is taking up our time going over the same things we do every year. Dekalb does not know how to use time or spend money wisely.

    Then we heard to there will be monitors in every building to ensure we are following procedures. The county has no money to pay teachers but can pay these “monitors”. From what I can see ISS’s are staying right where they are. Still doing nothing. The principal is getting another personal assistant. Some ISS are staying put and getting new titles.

    None of this is surprising just another typical day in Dekalb

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  34. I am beyond frustrated. I looked under the Follow-up and reports section on Verge and all of the work I had done on Wednesday was gone.
    All of the threads I had made and the confirmations were gone.

    I checked again Thursday and the work I had done on Thursday evening was also gone. I took screenshots on Thursday of the work I had done. It also disappeared today at lunch today because I redid all of it all over again. Currently all of the work I have done is gone. I do have screen shot of it.

    It is strange that the work in Follow up and reports is still their from last year and previous years. Something fishy is going on.

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  35. @stanjester
    I am beyond frustrated. I looked under the Follow-up and reports section on Verge and all of the work I had done on Wednesday was gone.
    All of the threads I had made and the confirmations were gone.

    I checked again Thursday and the work I had done on Thursday evening was also gone. I took screenshots on Thursday of the work I had done. It also disappeared today at lunch today because I redid all of it all over again. Currently all of the work I have done is gone. I do have screen shot of it.

    It is strange that the work in Follow up and reports is still their from last year and previous years. Something fishy is 

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  36. Is anybody else having these issues with saved work?

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  37. Questions I can’t get answers for

    Has anyone heard what will happen when students do not log in to the live sessions or log in late? Are we going to take attendance? Also, what happens if a teacher is sick and can’t work a day? Will teachers be charged a day absence (they should but how would anyone know), will we use substitutes? Will paraprofessionals we granted access to VERGE so that they can assist teachers and students in classes they are assigned?

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  38. Submitted work deleted

    Stan, yes. Several teacher at my school had to repost work they submitted yesterday. Principal told us to keep copies of everything so that we can resubmit if it disappears again.

  39. Word on the street is that chromebooks will not arrive to the district until Sept. and then they will have to be assigned bar codes, loaded with software, distributed to schools where forms and insurance payments will have to be done before families receive them. Maybe everyone will have one by the end of September but not hopeful. Even if they get them by the end of August, what’s the plan for internet access?

    Who/what dept put together the 3 days of PDI – IT, instruction, ? Does the new superintendent know how bad it was – maybe she’ll want to know???

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  40. @typical day

    The ISS is no longer a DCSD position. ALL ISS have been reassigned via regional HR to teaching positions…now, the teaching positions may vary but they will not be carrying out the same role I assure you… Their responsibilities will be spread out amongst other building personnel I’m sure (AP, Counselors, “STAR subs”, etc.). At least that is what the board agreed to happen… I guess I can’t speak to your specific situation so I’ll hush there. 😉

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  41. 1) I agree some of the PL was a bit weak, recycled, etc. as several said. Also, they were inconsistent in terms of some being well developed/thorough and others not (there’s that 20-60-20 rule…even at the district office…go figure). I wouldn’t say it was a “waste of time”. There were valuable takeaways that can be applied to virtual instruction.

    2) As for those who didn’t have time to complete the artifacts for submission, I definitely did so I’m not sure what your school did differently. There was plenty of time to complete the required tasks.

    3) YES it sucks that K-2 devices are not going to be distributed right away, especially at a school like mine who went out of our way to purchase more devices over the years and we are told they may need to go elsewhere?? Also, it sounds like accessibility is not fully solved yet with several solutions being weighed (hotspots? Local sponsors?).

    4) The stipend situation is RIDICULOUS…someone shared already…paras getting half the pay for the same work!? I truly hope the BOARD And CWH step up and demand more reserve fund spending to make up for the gross difference in actual daily rates most teachers earn. This is NOT in any way making up for the lost 5 furlough days as it was made out to be…btw, thanks to Stan for asking those questions at the board meeting…they definitely worked around the straight answer.

    5) RELAAAAX…. some are freaked out over not having their entire first month planned out. Next week (preplanning) is all virtual prep time still. Again, not sure what your schools are doing, but you should have plenty of time to get your online game on. I’m sure it’ll be like the summer programs where it takes time to get all kids THERE and acclimated to meeting the teacher daily in Teams (or Zoom?) but it will happen. Speaking of which, I’m finding those who had the chance to teach this summer made great gains in their virtual prowess. You will get there.

    6) DISCLAIMER: I absolutely thought there should be more uniformity in what was asked of schools to do. It still seems that a lot of autonomy is being given to schools to come up with their own plan (online platforms and device distribution to name a few). It doesn’t feel quite as bad as the spring but still wondering what the district instructional, tech, etc. leaders were doing through the summer to make their product more consistent …especially once summer programs completed.

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  42. @teacher to the stars

    You say “Teams sucks”… just curious why you think so….?

    I find TEAMS to be a very useful platform for face-to-face instruction. I think if you learn how to use it you will see you can actually set it up more like an actual classRoom than ZOOM. The only thing I prefer zoom for is the number of people you can see at once….otherwise a Teams has them beat… it’s all about setting up the class (small groups, announcements, postings, etc.).

    I’m surprised DeKalb didn’t move 100% to Teams and VERGE only …maybe fearing the “big network crash?” Maybe so many already in love with GoogleClass? Who knows?

    Anyway, I wish you the best in 20-21. 🙂

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  43. @Stan
    You said…” Google Classroom v Verge: From what I can tell, many high performing teachers use Google Classroom and Verge. The teachers that know the difference prefer Google Classroom. For whatever reason, most teachers seem to be fine with Verge and don’t get into Google Classroom. Thus, there isn’t a huge groundswell for Google Classroom.”

    I don’t know enough about GoogleClassroom yet to refute but just curious why you think it is superior…? It seems to be similar in what it offers to VERGE (post assignments, discussion thread, Grading, etc.). I do understand many like the Google Docs, Drive, etc. suite.

    I Know VERGE can be used to create a nice course with many interactive parts… learning standards, video, activities, discussion, assessment, etc. Also, I know it’s connection to Infinite Campus is a clear winner for DeKalb as courses/students/etc. transfer over automatically. It can be monitored for usage by district leaders (whereas Google is not?). I was under the impression that VERGE would eventually be linked so grades could automatically transfer To grade books as well. I don’t think Google is connected in any way.

    **once we get the year underway, I’ll be sure to create a video showing how VERGE and Teams can be used effectively. I believe the C&I department really did well to put those platforms to use this summer and get the most out of it. As far as I know the IT department is supposed to be sharing a SharePoint with tutorials. Not sure if it’s ready for sharing yet or not.

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  44. Inconsistent

    Very inconsistent. Green checks disappeared. Because our principal was showing it we were told not to worry about the green checks in that section. But wait. other times we get in trouble when everything isn’t showing green checks. The system of completing work is inconsistent. You have to dig for what the artifacts are and how to submit them and still complete the KWL chart. Every section different – it may have been a survey, a worksheet, a padlet etc. and then to find out all the work you did now shows you didn’t do it. So now you have to waste more time fixing it. And who will be checking all of this? I am sure we’ll get in trouble and at the last minute have to complete something. Teachers get blamed for things that are not in our control. Will this be the same PD we complete on Wednesday’s? Can’t wait.

    Agree – the board may have agreed on the ISS position but in my situation it is the same as @typical day. Nothing has really changed. The title may be gone but they haven’t been reassigned especially if there was not a position within their school to be reassigned to.

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  45. Parent - camera concerns

    Stan- I’m curious what plans will be for the large number of families who will be against their children having the computer camera on and streaming. There are significant privacy issues. Will families be able to opt out of having cameras on if we are against unmonitored streaming? I haven’t seen much on this but imagine it’s a significant concern for many
    Thank you

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  46. theemperorhasnoclothes

    I never saw even one example of the synchronous and asynchronous class teachers are expected to get together for multiple courses in just one week. Even the embedded video examples were’t virtual. Nor was the training delivered in a way that would model what teachers will be doing.

    Curriculum and instruction staff, professional development staff, coordinators, principals, and assistant principals weren’t able or expected or even interested in creating any virtual classroom models. Should make all wonder what instructional leadership in Dekalb does and what support looks like.

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  47. Really Concerned

    Stan,
    So is anyone considering the added expense this is for DCSD employees? Everyone cant afford Xfinity. It seems as if Dekalb could have worked with an internet provider to offer a plan for employees. DeKalb is receiving federal dollars and SHOULD be saving money from not opening the buildings, toilet paper,paper towels, not being ordered, where is the money saved being used? Employees should be receiving a start up fund or something. Corporate employees often receive reimbursements for internet and cell phones.

    11
  48. DSW2Contributor

    @AB – “Word on the street is that chromebooks will not arrive to the district until Sept.”

    September may be wildly optimistic. The Chromebooks could not even be ordered until after the budget was approved and the BOE did not get around to doing that until July 24, just two weeks ago. I don’t know how long it’ll take the Chromebooks to be procured; the Palace cannot just walk into Best Buy and buy 10,000 Chromebooks there.

    3
  49. Vanessa Thompson

    Has anyone had a chance to review what was planned and delivered to school counselors?
    I am told it was useless information, poorly planned, and a basic waste of time.

    5
  50. Arts Teacher

    As a member of the National Guard, I have to undergo annual training each year. For the last 20 years, I’ve done the exact same trainings, albeit with many technological advances and more glitter. The cheesy computer personalities have become so familiar to my branch of service that there are scores of memes made about them. And yes, we totally complain about it, but we know it still has to happen.

    Yes, many of the trainings had little or nothing to do with virtual learning. Think back to how long ago the new super was tasked with reducing our furlough days. That’s how long the county office had to come up with something. Could it have been better? Certainly. Would people have still complained? Definitely.

    The scary part for me wasn’t the training, having to repost my KWL sheets three times or navigate strange terms used out of context by someone who left teaching long ago. It was my colleagues that even now don’t know how to mute themselves in a video conference. Who can’t find a website or don’t know how to make one, and who can’t even reply sender instead of sending their one word comment to the whole school. They will be teaching my children this fall, and there is no way to get them the help they need but won’t ask for unless we as experienced teachers (and if you can find this page and post on it, you’re better off than quite a few of my well meaning but clueless colleagues) reach out and make it happen.

    I can’t count the number of hours I work on my part time military job at home, or the extra time my wife spends on her non-profit, or the hours of time my mom wasn’t home during tax season. That’s the way it is. The good ones get it done and work to balance the best they can. Yes, the beginning of the year is inefficient and often a waste of time for those of us who understand technology, but quite a few teachers learned a lot about MTSS and EL students during our trainings, and I’m glad they got something they sorely needed. And perhaps now they know how to turn off their mics during a meeting.

    Yes it’s hard. But no one said that education was a simple, financially rewarding or only on-the-clock job. If you had a great teacher that inspired you to teach, it’s because they did more, and now it’s our turn. I’m lucky. My great teacher lives near me and I still get to talk to her on neighborhood walks. I still learn things. I think I always will.

    We are going to get through this, and if we do it well, our communities will grow. Our neighborhoods will be full of young families who pay property taxes that will go up because the schools are good. Our students will be better. And if we get sent to the county palace, we can fix that too. Just don’t give up. Don’t give in to the temptation of complaining when there’s no need to. It’s a bigger waste of time than anything on the 5Es could ever be.

    17
  51. DeKalb Schools Board of Education meeting will start about 2pm. First item on the agenda will be the School Re-opening Plan Update. I believe we are also discussing sports. You can watch the board meeting live here: https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv/

    2
  52. Dunwoody Teacher

    Stan-They are not allowing teachers in the building to work from their classrooms. We had to sign up for a time next week to come retrieve all the resources needed to teach from home. It doesn’t sound like we will be allowed to come into the building at all after next week.

    2
  53. Dunwoody Teacher

    Listening to Morley, I am a teacher and I want to be in the school building to teach virtually because that’s where all of my resources are located.

    Stan-I know you were speaking up for us teachers that want to be in the building to teach virtually.

    1
  54. @Dunwoody Teacher, Supt Watson-Harris said she was going to discuss this at the Superintendent report. They seem to be considering letting teachers work from school if they so choose. –Stan

    3
  55. You’re not allowed to go into the office to work … says the superintendent who goes to her office to work. I’ll ask the superintendent about this.

    2
  56. Hello Stan,

    Thanks again for everything that you do for us. I am writing because we are prepping for the first week of school and the county seems to have blocked up ZOOM for us.

    The problem is with screen sharing. When teachers share screens from their chromebooks or the students have chromebooks it completely blacks out the screen. Basically, the county has something in place that is blocking screen sharing.

    Screen sharing will be must for virtual teaching. I will be sharing my powerpoints while I talk. I have a document camera to show how to work math problems. It did work last semester but now it is not. It is not just me, my whole school is trying to get this to work and it is happening to them too.

    The county said Zoom and Teams would be our options this year and most of us have chosen Zoom. They listed Zoom on all the documentation that has come out during preplanning. Not only is it easier to use, but its also easier for the kids to get on. But now it is useless. This seems very silly to me. They need to unblock all features of Zoom and the Cameras.

    If you could please assist we would all really appreciate it.

    2
  57. @ZoomIssues,
    That absolutely needs to work. Can you be more specific about the feature that was working and isn’t working anymore? Does this feature have a name?
    Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
    –Stan

    1
  58. During a live webinar with one of the DeKalb Commissioners last week, Supt. stated that the approved platforms are Teams, Verge, and Google Classroom. She said she would stop there for now. Zoom was not mentioned during this webinar, even though it is listed on pre-planning documents. It has been stated several times, however, that there would be no District support for Zoom.

    1
  59. Yes, I believe teachers who want to go into the building to work Should be allowed to….as long as it is only them (not with children, other teachers etc.). Also, it would be ideal for those who may have tech issues at home to utilize the district resources. Those who don’t want to for whatever reason should not be asked to.

    Again, regarding TEAMS vs. ZOOM, I do understand that people prefer the user friendliness of Zoom, however, I do see Teams as being a great platform as multiple staff can be in the class meeting with small groups at the same time (ESOL, Special education, gifted, etc.). Also, the way Teams is connected to the DCSD data system (infinite campus) to add students to class. It is also a benefit to create classes in a way that allows admin and other support staff to come in and out Easily as they would in the physical school, going from one room to the other. For those who love the large amount of participants you can see in zoom vs the 9 in Teams, that will be updated end of August to show up to 49 people in TEAMS!!! Exciting!

    @Arts Teacher….thank you for your wonderful outlook. I agree 100% with what you said.

    2
  60. In-person...

    I’m hearing that we could possibly go back to in-person teaching next month. If that’s the case, why are we wasting our time in training, and completely changing the way we teach? Why not just start school after Labor Day and train teachers on what to do when students/teachers become ill? This is a ridiculous waste of time and resources-and adding a lot of unnecessary stress-if we’re only going to be virtual for a month.

    1
  61. DEEPLY Concerned Educator

    @stanjester

    Stan, I have deep concerns. The county has yet to send correspondence to parents regarding the structure of virtual learning. It appears that this responsibility has fallen to the schools. My school has yet to do so. Parents have not been told that students will be required to be on and active throughout the school day and that their attendance virtually during the school day will be REQUIRED. We are 6 days away from the beginning of the school year. This is unacceptable and sets students, parents, and teachers up for failure. How will parents make appropriate arrangements for their child, if they are unaware of the requirements? I am deeply disappointed with hands-off approach that the county has chosen to take with something as CRITICALLY important as Virtual Learning. WE NEED REAL GUIDELINES. Local school principals have been given too much power in this process. Not all principals are strong and effective, in the same way that not are teachers are. WE NEED HELP.

    4
  62. DSW2Contributor

    ^ Look at the state and Dekalb County graphs on the state Dept of Health’s website:
    https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

    Anyone who believes DCSD will be going back to in-person teaching next month is delusional.

    3
  63. Gotta love the bait and switch we got here. I knew it was coming with “We hope to pay participants their daily rate” stressing the word “hope.” A little math, and you find out very quickly that these 4 days don’t cover 4 days of salary for anyone with more than 4 years of experience and a bachelors or anyone with a masters or higher degree. In fact, at my particular pay level, I’m still down nearly 2 full days worth of salary instead of just one. I really hope the Superintendent keeps her word that the budget process will begin next month with a ground up approach to the budget and we’re not treating our hard working staff like this again.

    2

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