Category Archives: DeKalb Schools

DeKalb Schools Extends School 1 Hour For Solar Eclipse

The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will extend its school day by one hour on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, to provide safe viewing and instructional opportunities related to the expected solar eclipse that day.

Dismissal will occur one hour later than usual, at the end of the extended learning period. Our three-tier dismissal system starts with elementary schools, followed by high schools, and finally middle schools. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school to determine the exact dismissal time on Monday, Aug. 21.
According to NASA, the solar eclipse will occur across North America that day when the moon obscures 97.4 percent of the sun. The solar eclipse will be viewable around 1:02 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. DCSD reminds its community that it is not safe to stare directly into the sun without special glasses, and it is providing lessons that will allow students to safely take advantage of the moment.
Those lessons may include the distribution of special viewing glasses, and opportunities to view the eclipse using monitors and safe viewing options. Many teachers will also include information on the eclipse in their lessons that day, as appropriate.
Note: It’s a bad idea to look directly at the sun during an eclipse.

Other schools delaying dismissal:
COBB COUNTY – 45-minute delay
FORSYTH COUNTY – 40-minute delay (ES I: 3:00 p.m., ES II: 3:40 p.m., High: 4:20 p.m., Middle: 4:55 p.m.)
GWINNETT COUNTY – One-hour delay
HENRY COUNTY – One-hour delay (Elementary: 3:25 p.m., High: 4:15 p.m., Middle: 4:55 p.m.)
MARIETTA CITY SCHOOLS – 15-minute delay
PAULDING COUNTY – One-hour delay (Elementary: 3:30 p.m., High: 4:25 p.m., Middle: 4:35 p.m.)
ROCKDALE COUNTY – Elementary: 3:00 p.m., High: 3:45 p.m., Middle: 4:30 p.m.

Cobb County School District – Eclipse 2017 Parent Information
The 2017 Eclipse Across America will happen on Monday, August 21st and Cobb Schools are ready! Cobb teachers and students will have the opportunity to experience an extremely rare and awe inspiring event – a total solar eclipse. Cobb will be using this “teachable moment” to increase the science literacy of our students. We will be utilizing a variety of resources curated by NASA, the Tellus Science Museum and Cobb educators to provide an unforgettable learning experience for our students K-12.

Information For Parents

Cobb is in the path of the eclipse. We will experience a 98% total solar eclipse. The eclipse will begin after lunch and last about 2 hours. The skies will gradually begin to darken as the moon moves into the path of the sun. Over time the sky it will become increasingly dark. Here in Cobb, the near total eclipse will happen between 2:35 and 2:40. It will last just over 2 minutes. Then the skies will gradually become filled with more light, as the moon moves out of the path of the sun.
Each Cobb school will provide students opportunities to participate in the eclipse phenomena. Participation will vary from going outdoors to view the eclipse with official eclipse glasses or student engineered solar eclipse viewers (pinhole cameras) to watching the live NASA eclipse broadcast. Teachers across the district have been working hard to align the learning experiences on the 21st to concepts taught in each grade or course. For example, students in grade four will be learning about the motion of the moon and Earth and how it relates to the Sun. While students in Kindergarten will be communicating observations about the sun and moon in the sky. And students in grade eight will be exploring light waves and lenses.
Schools interested in having students go outdoors to view the eclipse will be sending home forms requesting parent permission. To learn more about the 2017 Eclipse Across America please visit

How to Qualify for Gifted Services

Results from ITBS and CogAT should be delivered by now. Here’s what you need to know about qualifying for gifted services.

In the 1958, Georgia became the first state to pass legislation that requires all public school systems in Georgia to offer programs for gifted education students.  In 1994, Georgia added subjective measures to its gifted evaluation process to provide an additional path for students, especially minority students.
.pdf link icon Georgia Resource Manual for Gifted Education Services 2014 – 2015
.pdf link icon Georgia State BOE Rule 160-4-2-.38 – Education Program for Gifted Students
.pdf link icon DeKalb Schools Gifted and High Achievers webpage
.pdf link icon DeKalb Schools Program for Gifted Brochure
.pdf link icon OCGA § 20-2-152. Special education services
Elementary students participate in the gifted program for a minimum of 225 minutes per week and are supported by a certified teacher of the gifted.  Middle and senior high school gifted students are taught at least one period per day in a content-based program by a certified teacher of the gifted. In high schools, gifted students may also participate in advanced placement (AP), directed-study courses.
To be eligible for gifted education services, a student must meet the criterion score on a norm-referenced test and either have observational data collected on his or her performance or produce a superior product as described below.  Students in grades one, three, five, and seven go through a district-wide assessment process (gifted identification testing cycle). This process usually begins with a mental ability assessment (CogAT) and an achievement test (ITBS) during the fall semester. A creativity and motivation assessment is provided during the first week in November.
Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for gifted services, students must qualify in three of the following four areas:

  • Mental Ability – Minimum score of 96th percentile (or higher) in at least one sub-test area
  • Achievement – Minimum score of 90th percentile (or higher) on the total reading, total math, or complete composite
  • Creativity – Minimum score of 90th percentile (or higher) on an assessment for creativity
  • Motivation – Minimum of 90th percentile (or higher) on an assessment for motivation (Grades K-12)

Grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, using an average of core grades over the previous two school years in English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language if applicable (Grades 9-12)
Assessment Scores

  • A qualifying score on a nationally normed test is required to meet the criteria in at least one area.
  • Any data used to establish eligibility in one area shall not be used to establish eligibility in another area.
  • Assessment scores are valid for two years.
  • Private test data may not be used to determine eligibility; it may be used as a referral for further evaluation.
  • Assessments administered outside of the district-wide gifted identification testing cycle are inadmissible.

Continuation Policy
All identified gifted students are given a Continuation Policy form that must be reviewed and signed by the parent and the student. All Gifted Students must maintain a minimum 80% or higher in the gifted class and regular classes.
Probation Policy
If students receiving gifted services fail to maintain a minimum of 80% or higher in the gifted class and regular classes, the student will be placed on probation for a period of one semester.
Models for Gifted Programs
The State of GA requires schools to service gifted students using one of the following classroom models:
Resource Model (K-12)

  1. Students are “pulled out” for a minimum of 225 minutes per week.
  2. Teachers are gifted certified.
  3. The teacher/student ratio is 1:23 for elementary and 1:27 for middle and high school.
  4. Lessons are interdisciplinary, enrichment and extension activities.

Cluster Grouping (K-12)

  1. Twelve or fewer gifted students may be served in a regular classroom setting.
  2. Gifted endorsed teacher.
  3. Differentiated curriculum in content, process, product and/or assessments.

Advanced Content (K-12)

  1. Minimum of one core content class.
  2. Gifted endorsed teacher.
  3. 1:25 teacher/student ratio.
  4. Accelerated curriculum emphasizing process skills, problem-solving activities, research projects and other higher order thinking skills.
  5. Advanced Placement (AP) classes is included as long as the teacher is AP certified and has completed ten clock hours of the Nature and Needs of Gifted.
  6. Some IB and Advanced courses may be used to provide gifted services.

Resources for parents in the Atlanta Metro Area
Find your school district below and follow the link to find out how your child can be considered for gifted programs in your area.