Category Archives: DeKalb County School District

Divisive Statement By Dr. Joyce Morley

I was disappointed and disturbed by the divisive statement made by Dr. Morley at our last Board of Education meeting.

Stan Jester DeKalb Schools
Stan Jester
DeKalb Board of Education

DeKalb County is home to a diverse community that embraces the rich cultural mosaic of all our friends and neighbors. Vilifying and unfairly characterizing anyone based on race is wrong and hurtful. In this stressful time, it is more important than ever to be kind and respectful to each other.

The children across DeKalb and the students in our district deserve for their leaders to demonstrate goodwill and collegiality towards one another and the entire community. I hope that this unfortunate comment will be contemplated by the Board and result in real efforts to heal the wounds it has created. Our county and children deserve nothing less.

–Stan Jester
DeKalb Schools Board of Education

Joyce Morley DeKalb Schools

Dr. Joyce Morley
DeKalb Board of Education

DeKalb Schools Board of Education member Joyce Morley said on Monday,

“You can put signs up and as Ms Turner asked, who’s going to make them go through the hallways? Because I guarantee you there are gonna be those who are going to be defiant. You give an inch and they gonna take a yard … and they’re Whites … and we know that.”

I received this heartfelt email from Angela D. and wanted to share it with you.

For the past 15 years, Angela has been a local preschool teacher and advocate for children with special needs and social justice issues. She has a multi racial family and is the mother of two children within the Dekalb County School District. She and her husband, an army veteran, are active members in the community.

Angela D. writes,

“In between helping my kids with school, trying to accomplish some work of my own, and getting dinner on the table I tried to sit down for a few minutes and tune into what I knew was going to be a very intense DeKalb County School Board meeting this past Monday.

Our new superintendent was announcing a plan to phase our children back to school. As I watched things unfold, my heart began to sink. Dr Morley, a school board member began to speak in a way that was divisive and degrading to the white members of our community. I was appalled. I have watched other board meetings and I observed that Dr. Joyce Morley is a deeply passionate woman. Passion, I can respect. You cannot sustain a career in education without it. What I saw was not a passion to advocate for every family in our district.

We are all living under a great deal of stress and trauma due to the pandemic and other things happening in our world. Our schools need to be a safe place for everyone. I was upset about the plan put forth as I feel it is completely unattainable. Over the next couple of days, though, I became even more upset about the things that I had heard Dr Morley say.

Referring to enforcing everyone to wear masks she said,
“You can put signs up…. But I can guarantee you that there are those that will be defiant. You give an inch; they are going to take a yard. And they are Whites. And we know that.”

So, in a hypothetical situation, a voting board member was placing blame on “whites” calling them defiant. This is just one of many examples that can be seen during the meeting.

If Stan Jester had thought to even utter words in a similar vein about the black community, it would have been a blood bath. Being called to step down would have been the least of his problems. I personally would have written the same letter to Mrs. Watson-Harris about him as I did about Dr. Morley. And if I am honest, it probably would have come with a lot more fury.

I have a biracial family both under my roof and my extended family. I am an active member in an anti-racism group in Dunwoody that is bringing awareness to our local community. I believe in education and training for our police department to ensure more extensive safety measures for every member in our community. I have brought my babies to Black Lives Matters peaceful protests within Atlanta. I pride myself on being an eternal optimist and giving people the benefit of the doubt. I had done that with Dr. Morley in past meetings. The way that Dr Morley could speak about the families in the district repeatedly that want and need for schools to reopen right now, though, was so hurtful. It saddens and scares me that someone who shows such obvious disdain for one race within our district is a voting member on the board.

I looked at my husband and told him I would never feel comfortable advocating for my black child or biracial child, and not my white child. When you know better, you do better. I know better.

Every single day we have an opportunity to teach our children respect, dignity, and love for one another regardless of race, sex, or religion. Our school leaders should be expected to meet these standards regardless of their own race, sex, or religion. As parents, sometimes we are also called to hold our school leaders accountable to these standards.

Angela D.”

Opening Schools in Metro Atlanta

Schools across Metro Atlanta will be opening next month. What’s the plan for DeKalb Schools?

DeKalb Schools’ new fearless leader, Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris, and her team will be presenting the School Re-Opening Plan at the July 13 board meeting. At this time, I don’t have any advanced knowledge of what the plan may look like. I am as eager as everyone else to see what is presented on Monday.

DeKalb Schools Opening Day: I expect DeKalb Schools to push back opening day to Aug 17.

Virtual Instruction

Virtual Instruction – Note: There are two types of virtual instruction. DeKalb Flex Academy and Forsyth Virtual Academy are on online schools separate from the brick and mortal schools. These virtual schools have their own course work and teachers.

The other type of virtual learning is where you have the same teacher and course work as the in-person traditional learning, but you are in that class virtually on that day. A teacher shared with me this week that she attended “Virtual Summer Camp” on how to conduct live virtual lessons via Microsoft Teams. She went on to say, “We were given daily Power Points, a schedule, with time for independent learning.”

I wasn’t able to ascertain what type of virtual learning some of the school districts are offering. I’m also not sure how viable it is for teachers to have in-person and virtual classes at the same time. Clayton schools will be on an A/B schedule with half of their students in-person and half of their students virtual Mon – Thur. Not quite sure of the logistics of that.

Here is what the other school districts in the Metro Atlanta are doing.

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) – APS has a new superintendent as well. School is currently scheduled to start on Aug 10, but they have not released any details of how they will open.

Clayton County – Clayton has not pushed their start date back and will open Aug 3. Clayton county will follow the moderate risk plan with half the students going on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other half the students on Tuesday and Thursday.

Cobb County – Cobb has pushed their start date back to Aug 17. Parents will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or remote virtual instruction.

Fayette County – Fayette will open Aug 10. Parents will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or remote virtual instruction. Remote virtual instruction will be scheduled real time lessons combined with asynchronous learning experiences. Attendance and student online engagement will be recorded. Assignments will be graded, and grading practices appropriate for a full-time virtual classroom will be developed.

Forsyth County – Forsyth will open Aug 6. Grades 6 – 12 may attend the Forsyth Virtual Academy. K – 5 parents will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or remote virtual instruction. The K-5 virtual option is still being developed.

Fulton County – It is speculated that Fulton County schools will push back their start date to Aug 17. Fulton parents, however, will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or remote virtual instruction.

Gwinnett Schools – Gwinnett met earlier this week to push back their start date to Aug 12. Parents will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or at home digital learning.

Hall County – Hall County will start Aug 7 with in-person traditional instruction. Parents and students may utilize Hall County Schools’ Virtual Learning Platform (a full-time online experience).

Henry County – Henry will start Aug 3. Parents will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or remote learning classes from home.

Marietta City – Marietta City Schools will start Aug 4. Parents will be able to choose from in-person traditional instruction or remote virtual instruction. 20% of the parents indicated in a survey that they wanted a virtual environment. Marietta City Schools is in the process of building virtual classes and assigning virtual teachers.

Rockdale County – Rockdale will have a soft opening on Aug 24 with all students doing remote virtual instruction. The first official day of school will be Sept 8 with a Hybrid Model of in-person and virtual (Independent) learning to reduce the number of students in the buildings at one time. Details pertaining to the Hybrid Model and Independent Learning will be out in the coming days and weeks.


DeKalb Schools Re-Opening Update
July 5, 2020 – Will DeKalb Schools open on August 3rd as planned and what will learning look like when DeKalb Schools opens? Marshall Orson is currently the chair of the DeKalb Schools Board of Education. He addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about opening DeKalb Schools in the Fall.

DeKalb Schools Re-Opening Framework
June 20, 2020 – DeKalb Schools Re-Opening School Task Force built a framework to serve as a transition document to the new Superintendent for final decisions on how to re-open on the first day of school on Aug 3, 2020.

CDC’s Considerations For Schools
May 23, 2020 – Spacing recommendations are going to be particularly burdensome for students and teachers in District 1 given the persistent overcrowding in this area. The arithmetic of students, bus seats, and square footage make it difficult to balance the equation.

Virtual Classrooms – The Future of DeKalb Schools
May 16, 2020 – There is still no definitive plan for what school will look like when it opens in August.

However, DeKalb Schools is full speed ahead planning on school in traditional classrooms as well as Virtual Classrooms.