Monthly Archives: September 2016

Cross Keys HS & Sequoyah MS – Secondary Schools Study Position

Stan Jester
DeKalb County
Board Of Education

Here’s a News Flash – Doraville doesn’t want their own cluster.  Doraville and the Cross Keys Cluster community want to go to Dunwoody MS/HS, Chamblee MS/HS and what is shaping up to be Brookhaven HS (either rebrand CKHS or build a new one).
Given the history of ghetto-ization, their rationale is understandably motivated by economic diversity.
Cross Keys HS Sequoyah MS council received input from various people and organizations including students, parents, Kim Gokce and the Latin American Association and Center For Pan Asian Community Services.  The representatives from Cross Keys HS and Sequoyah MS support …
Option B – with the following key points

• A new HS with common areas, such as the cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, to support 2,800+ students; the initial site plan could support 2200-2400 students.
• A new MS to support 1800 students.
• Both new schools utilizing the existing properties at the Briarcliff and current Cross Keys HS locations; the final determination of which location houses which school to be determined at the discretion of DCSD
Supporting Rationale
• Option B as modified provides the most seats in the least amount of time with the least amount of money and will benefit the highest number of students in both Regions 1 and 2.
• Options A and C require additional land purchase(s) and funding to be secured before construction can begin. Neither variable is guaranteed; a modified Option B can begin immediately. We are not willing to wait or gamble on uncertainties.
• If additional money is available, it should be used to remodel other schools in the Cross Keys cluster. Many of them have been completely neglected in previous SPLOST allocations; they are in a state of disrepair and are unable to accommodate students in an equitable way.
• Options A and C create a fourth cluster that would continue the segregation of low-income and minority students.

  • Based on current and projected housing populations and patterns, it is not possible to have a fair and equitable feeder pattern that creates a diverse school of mixed ethnicity and income levels without any one population traveling unacceptable distances.
  • A modified option B helps ensure the past segregation and inequities do not continue.

• Option B with a more centrally located HS is better positioned for flexibility and adaptability of use beyond what current planning models can predict. Options A and C create a large new HS at the northern periphery of the County, making it vulnerable to underutilization as populations and housing patterns change over time.
• Bigger high schools provide more academic opportunities (e.g. additional AP classes, an IB program, and/or a language-immersion program) and greater athletic opportunities that will help close the current gap in Title IX athletic offerings for the Cross Keys cluster.
Important Points
Economically diverse schools provide all students with important opportunities and exposures that go beyond academics.

  • Economically diverse schools provide all students with important opportunities and exposures that go beyond academics.
  • Communicating and collaborating with people who are different from you and learning how to handle new situations are two of the most critical life and work skills needed to succeed in the 21st century; students from both ends of the spectrum benefit when they interact with each other.
  • Underprivileged students become exposed to a world that previously may have been unknown or seemed unattainable to them. Through friendships and activities outside of school, they make connections, learn skills and gain motivation that will help them pull themselves and their families out of poverty.
  • Students whose birth circumstances afforded them more advantages and opportunities are able to develop a better sense of understanding, compassion and appreciation that will help them grow into well-rounded, happier adults.

Children are not Title 1; schools are Title 1.

  • Title 1 resources are not allocated to individual students; if they leave a school, the money does not follow them.
  • Title 1 resources are allocated to schools that are unable to generate additional PTA, foundation or other community funding mechanisms.
  • All schools provide support for students who are behind or who have challenges, regardless of Title 1 status.

Additionally, we recognize that current political proposals might affect the Briarcliff property, such as the potential annexation of Emory University and surrounding neighborhoods. We recommend that DCSD be strategic in its decision to place either a high school or middle school at this location.
We greatly appreciate the DSCD taking the necessary steps to address the severe overcrowding and inequities that have existed in our cluster for way too long. We are thankful for the opportunity to provide feedback and we look forward to working together as solutions are implemented.
Cross Keys HS School Council
Sequoyah MS School Council
Please note, our position is based on the following input received from our community: 2 public meetings with the Latin American Association and Center For Pan Asian Community Services, along with numerous informal dialogues with the Northwoods Area Neighborhood Association, the Cross Keys Parent Center, the Cross Keys Foundation, and the general student and parent population from the Cross Keys cluster.

Lakeside HS – Secondary Schools Study Position

68.8% – Option A – Doraville Cluster
21.5% – Option B – Split Feeders
 9.7% – Option C – Doraville Cluster and Move Magnets

The public meeting breakouts and online survey heavily favored “Option A – Doraville Cluster” (at least before the get out the vote campaign for Option B)
Lakeside HS and Dunwoody HS select “Option B – Split Feeders”.
Lakeside HS and Dunwoody HS are way over crowded. Both schools’ campuses and surrounding infrastructure cannot handle the students they have now. They both also feel strongly about avoiding districting students out of their cluster. To accomplish this, Dunwoody is asking for additional 600 seats at their high school and 450 seats at their middle school. Lakeside HS is asking for an additional 750 seats at their school or in a secondary building off campus. Lakeside HS is committed to being creative in coming up with ideas to figure how to make this feasible.
BTW: Dunwoody cluster talked to the administration about getting an addition to the middle school before agreeing to go with Option B. Did Lakeside Cluster ask for anything else before agreeing to go with Option B?
Randy Faigin David ( is the Chairperson of the Lakeside Cluster Summit and submitted the following “Thought Paper”:

The Lakeside Cluster Summit was formed in January 2016 as a vehicle for parents, administrators and community members in the Lakeside feeder pattern to come together to address issues of concern to our Lakeside school community.
Lakeside Cluster Summit has held several meetings where the proposed options under the Secondary Schools Facility Planning and Feasibility Study were discussed.
Growth Plan
• Keep the Lakeside Cluster intact by not removing any elementary schools or neighborhoods
• We provisionally support a 750–1000 seat addition at Lakeside High School to accommodate future growth in the Lakeside cluster without changing cluster boundaries. However, if it is not possible to build a 750-1000 seat addition to Lakeside at its current location while also addressing issues such as ingress and egress, parking and traffic patterns, then we do not support the addition.
• If building a 750 to 1000 seat addition proves to be unfeasible, we support using creative and flexible strategies to create the additional high school seats needed within our cluster per our list of Creative Ideas cited below.

For example, combining a smaller-scale addition to Lakeside’s existing building with the creation of an offsite 9th Grade Academy would address overcrowding concerns by opening up additional seats in the existing Lakeside building (the current freshman class is over 700 students). It would also help make better use of existing facilities within our cluster footprint. A 9th Grade Academy also takes into account that our cluster might not always need a super-large high school building. Last but certainly not least, it models an innovative learning solution for our students. 9th Grade Academies have been shown to improve the academic outcomes for students across the board by improving the transition to high school.

• Based on this increased student population, it is essential to utilize the construction process to make Lakeside High School more accessible to buses, cars and walkers (see Creative Ideas section below)
• Ensure that the post–addition Lakeside has all of the resources necessary to operate in accordance with best practices for large high schools even if these resources and best practices are different than those used at other DCSD High Schools
• Lakeside Cluster is committed to working together to address all challenges as a united community (whether related to diversity and inclusion, growth, or anything else).
• Lakeside Cluster Summit looks forward to collaborating and partnering with the District as we work together in this process.
Consensus Principles
• Lakeside celebrates its racial and socio-economic diversity including its Title 1 high school, middle school and several Title 1 elementary schools
• We support working with our neighboring clusters in finding region and district wide solutions to overcrowding and honoring those clusters’ desires to remain intact
• Consider traffic impact and patterns when determining boundaries between clusters. Take into consideration that the impact of crossing certain boundaries may be much easier than other. For example, it is considerably more difficult to cross I85 at North Druid Hills Road than I285 at Henderson Road.
• Transportation studies should be initiated for schools that currently experience gridlock at the beginning and ending of the school
• Teachers should have their own classrooms and not have to float
• Equity and access are important but one size does not fit all—best practices may be different for larger and smaller high schools—embrace those best practices
Creative Ideas – for making a 750-1000 seat addition at Lakeside feasible
• Reconfigure access in and out of Lakeside property
• Reconfigure student and faculty parking lots, bus lanes, carpool lines and consider a parking deck
• Consider additional access points (including walkways) using property behind Lakeside, space at the intersection of Briarlake Road and Briarcliff Road and the intersection of Briarcliff and Oak Grove Road (for example, if development over the marsh at the intersection of Briarlake and Briarcliff Roads is not possible, build an elevated boardwalk style walkway to enable students to efficiently and safely walk to a school entrance while avoiding street and parking lot traffic)
• Pedestrian access through neighborhoods to back side of Lakeside campus
• Consider acquiring additional parcels of land adjacent to Lakeside
• Dedicated traffic assistance at Lakeside at arrival and dismissal times
• Work with DeKalb County to improve roads and intersections at Briarcliff and Oak Grove Roads and Briarcliff and Briarlake Roads and resolve drainage issues
• Coordinate start and end times with Globe Academy and consider staggered start and end times
• Create shuttle sites (area churches and shopping centers) with school buses to transport students from parking and carpool drop off to Lakeside
• Create and enforce non-resident attendance policies
• Research and adopt, with input and shared decision making from our building leadership and Regional Superintendent, best practices for student learning in high schools with 2,400 or more students
Out of the Box Alternatives – for keeping the Lakeside Cluster intact:
• Utilize all existing DCSD properties in the Lakeside Cluster including Heritage School currently being used by Globe Academy
• Sell the old Briarcliff High School site and possibly Adams stadium and use proceeds to support a new Cross Keys High School and to buy land for a stadium in the Doraville/Cross Keys area.
• Create a 9th grade academy at a new property (or existing property in the cluster) such as the Sports Authority space near Northlake Mall
• Acquire property at Northlake Mall to build a new high school
• Reconfigure grades among elementary schools and the middle school, such as a 4-6 school, and a 7-8 or 9 school
The Lakeside Cluster Summit would like our Lakeside school community to have the flexibility to address issues of crowding, equity and logistics together as a community. We would like flexibility to quickly meet changing needs in our cluster and ensure that today’s needs are met even as we are planning for the future. The Lakeside Cluster Summit is working hard to honor and preserve the diversity of our community.