2014 – Archived Posts

Input on 2015-2016 School Calendar
December 30, 2014 – DeKalb Schools has been trying to nail down the 2015-2016 School Calendar for the last few months. Let me know if you have any feedback regarding this calendar.

Georgia’s Ethics in Government
December 29, 2014 – In light of the recent Superintendent Report on the Druid Hills Annexation, it is important that DeKalb County School District employees and board members know and comply with the provisions of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act (O.C.G.A Section 21-5-1). The Act allows certain activities, but prohibits others, to influence voter approval or rejection of a constitutional amendment, legislation, or referendum such as educational SPLOST or city annexation.

You Are Cordially Invited To
My Oath-of-Office Ceremony

Date: Monday, January 5, 2015
Time: 5:00pm
Place: J. David Williamson Board Room
Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Flu Update and Guidance
December 17, 2014 – The week before Thanksgiving, influenza (AKA the Flu), infiltrated the ranks of Team Jester and took us down one by one. This guidance comes from the CDC to help reduce the spread of the flu in K-12 schools.

Annexation – What happens to the Property
December 16, 2014 – QUESTION: What happens to county school district property when a city annexes an area in that county?

Druid Hills Annexation Into APS
December 15, 2014 – Denied the Druid Hills Cluster, a subset of the cluster known as Together in Atlanta (TIA) has put together a petition to be annexed into Atlanta with the purpose of “more responsive and locally-controlled schools, zoning, and other governmental services.”

Does Class Size Matter?
December 12, 2014 – In June, the DeKalb Schools (DCSD) board passed a Proposed Class Size Flexibility Resolution allowing for roughly 6 children over the state allowed max. APS board recently reversed their decision to reject class size waivers. Doctorate student in economics, Jarod Apperson, sent this note to APS’ Superintendent, Dr. Carstarphen.

Report Card on Georgia’s Education
November 4, 2014 – The United States is world-class in spending per pupil, not so much in learning per pupil, and that our results for Black and Hispanic students are closer to those of Mexico than of South Korea, despite the fact that Mexico has a far larger poverty problem and spends a small fraction of American spending.

2014 Graduation Rates
November 3, 2014 – State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge is celebrating a rise of less than 1% in Georgia’s public high school four-year cohort graduation rate.

What is the Role of the School System?
October 28, 2014 – School systems spend a great deal of time and money on items outside of education. Ivy Prep Academy At Kirkwood will spend $14 million to buy the strip mall in which it is located. Can school districts successfully simultaneously be educators, developers, health care providers, etc … where do we draw the line?

#TBT – Students Failing Tests
October 23, 2014 – If the majority of students in a class do poorly on a test, how do we know whether the kids didn’t learn the material or the teacher didn’t teach it?

NBC Nightly News Reports on Dunwoody High School
October 16, 2014 – Rarely can one learn about happiness, empathy, altruism & compassion in a classroom from a textbook but sometimes it can be learned on the 50 yard line during halftime.

Withdrawal of Druid Hills Charter Cluster Petition
October 15, 2014 – The DHCC announced their official withdraw of their cluster proposal from DeKalb County Schools with the below scathing notification to the district and requests that the DeKalb County Board of Education institute an independent investigation of the allegations raised herein.

Chamblee HS Charter Petition Update
October 9, 2014 – Chamblee Charter Progress chronicles the “progress as [their] team of teachers, parents, and community members create a renewal petition for the 2015-2016 school year.”

DeKalb Schools’ District Charter Petition
October 8, 2014 – These “lucid, intelligent, and well thought-out” assessment and notes about the DeKalb Schools’ Charter Petition were sent to me by a concerned parent.

Dunwoody ES Earns Rare Status
October 7, 2014 – Becomes just the third elementary school in Georgia to achieve STEM certification for integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics into everyday lessons across subjects.

GAC Accreditation
October 6, 2014 – DeKalb’s high schools could have dual accreditation as early as March 2015. This is the timeline to acquire GAC accreditation as discussed at the superintendent’s State of the System address last week.

Superintendent Search Update
September 22, 2014 – The Dekalb Schools is scheduled to have a new Superintendent by the summer of 2015. Continue reading for a more in depth look at the Superintendent search timeline.

#TBT – Superintendent Search
September 18, 2014 – A DeKalb School Board member said at the last school board meeting, “[The Emory Lavista Parent Council] wants the board to understand the history of Superintendent searches in DeKalb. All of which have gone extremely well from what I’ve heard.” This #ThrowBack Thursday will pay homage to our previous Superintendents and the searches that brought them to us.

The Usual Suspects Respond to the Recovery School District
September 16, 2014 – Greg Bluestein and Wayne Washington rounded up the usual suspects in the AJC for their responses to the Recovery School District legislation. On a side note, no one called Nancy Jester; the one candidate who has been travelling the state advocating for a state-wide “Achievement District”.

Recovery School District
September 14, 2014 – Gov. Nathan Deal asked legislators recently to consider a system that allows the state to take over struggling schools. Deal met with Gov. Bobby Jindal to discuss Louisiana’s statewide Recovery School District.

School Choice Success
September 6, 2014 – The Friedman Foundation says, “transformation must come with school choice. In Georgia, there is a school voucher program that only serves special needs pupils and a tax credit program that helps some children attend private schools. The vast majority of Georgia students have no school choice.”

Common Core For Dummies
September 5, 2014 – Why is the pitchfork crowd storming the Common Core Castle with their pointy sticks and burny things? Stephen Colbert says, “because it turns out that Common Core testing prepares our students for what they will face as adults, pointless stress and confusion.”

Student Promotion – Who’s Decision Is It?
September 3, 2014 – Who should decide which students will be promoted and which students will be held back? The state, county, school council, principal, teacher, parent … what do you think?

Incompetence Punctuated By Fraud – #TBT

August 28, 2014 – We only have two problems in DeKalb: Incompetence and Fraud. Whether it’s DeKalb Schools or the County Government, Nancy Jester’s article is as germane today as the day she wrote it.

The Other Half:
School Employees Who Don’t Teach

August 27, 2014 – Teachers across the country now comprise just half of all public-education employees. Their salaries and benefits absorb one-quarter of current education expenditures.

Gun Toting Soccer Moms
August 26, 2014 – Is mom packing heat? Attorney General Sam Olens released a Frequently Asked Questions regarding the weapons law amendments that took effect July 1 of this year answering that question.

Health Care Coverage for Teachers
August 21, 2014 – TRAGIC (Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices) says, “While we are pleased the [state] has offered choices for 2015, these choices are just as unaffordable as last year!”

Doraville volunteers needed for school task force
August 20, 2014 – Volunteers are needed for a proposed Doraville Schools and Education Task Force that will research and provide comprehensive and impartial reports to the Doraville City Council regarding the academic learning environment in Doraville.

Performance and Problems with Public Education
August 18, 2014 – State Board of Education will hold a public hearing from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Dunwoody High School to hear comments from interested citizens and educators within the congressional district regarding the performance and problems with public education.

Changing Grading System
August 15, 2014 – DeKalb Schools has changed their district wide Grading Protocol. A few weeks ago, the principals were sent the new grading system with the new categories and weights. Some of the old categories were combined and some new categories were created. I can’t find it online anywhere, so here it is.

DeKalb Schools Embraces Hiring And Budget Autonomy for Conversion Charters?
August 13, 2014 – Across the state, the autonomy of conversion charters has been optional until now. Moving forward, I look forward to all Conversion Charters being implemented with the same amount of personnel and budget autonomy as the McNair Conversion Charter.

Hundreds of Immigrants Camping Out To Register Their Kids For School
August 8, 2014 – Hundreds of immigrants are camping out overnight at the DeKalb Schools central office to register kids for school on Monday. Many of the adults WSB talked to didn’t speak English and had with them children who recently came across the border unaccompanied.

#TBT – 2012
DeKalb Schools Overspends By $32M On Legal Fees

August 7, 2014 – On Throw Back Thursday #TBT I welcome Ty Tagami to DeKalb Schools.  For years Nancy Jester has been pointing out that the DeKalb Schools budget was a “a weak suggestion on how to spend money and, at worst, a document based on deception.”

2014-2015 Testing Calendar
August 5, 2014 – List of dates when DeKalb students will take national, state, and system assessments during the 2014-2015 school year.

Teacher Raises – True or False?
August 4, 2014 – DeKalb Schools announced a 1% raise for their teachers. But, a careful examination of the salary schedule suggests that not all teachers will see an increase in their daily compensation. In fact, some may see a decrease.

Converting McNair High School to a Start-Up Charter
July 30, 2014 – As a start-up charter, DeKalb College & Career Academy Charter School will enjoy autonomy not currently granted to conversion charters. That autonomy includes personnel decisions, financial decisions, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, establishing and monitoring the achievement of school improvement goals, and school operations.

Ashford Park ES Trailers

New Learning Cottages at Ashford Park ES
July 29, 2014 – The Principal of Ashford Park ES announced last week the 5th grade will be relocated to trailers starting this year.

Student Growth Percentile

New Data – Student Growth Percentile (SGP)
July 25, 2014 – The Georgia Department of Education released Student Growth Percentile (SGP) data yesterday. SGPs describe the amount of growth a student has demonstrated on the CRCTs relative to academically-similar students from across the state.

Georgia Academic Placement and Promotion Policy
July 23, 2014 – According to state law and board policy, 3rd, 5th and 8th grade students must meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in order to be promoted to the next grade.

Dunwoody High School Retention Pond

Dunwoody High School Retention Pond
July 22, 2014 – I respectfully request that DeKalb Schools address the retention pond at Dunwoody High School or the CDC address the West Nile Virus that is surely breeding there.

Georgia State Superintendent Election

Georgia State Superintendent (R)
Tuesday Election

July 21, 2014 – On Tuesday, Georgia Republicans will decide if they agree with Mike Buck, State Superintendent Candidate, that Georgia is on its way to delivering a world class education. At the Cherokee Georgia Superintendent Forum, Buck backs up his claim.

Interview With “Friends & Family Jobs Program” Sponsor
July 18, 2014 – Why hire unqualified Friends & Family? The President of the DeKalb NAACP, John Evans, told WSB-TV2’s Richard Belcher earlier this week, “It helps somebody make some money for Christ’s sake.”

My Business Experience – Software Development
July 10, 2014 – I’m frequently asked about my background and decided to share my business experience over the last 20+ years.

NAACP Fuels the Fires of Racial Tensions in DeKalb Schools
July 9, 2014 – John Evans, President of the NAACP DeKalb County Branch, plead before the school board this week to look past qualifications and a “straight forward bid process” and hire a “black firm”.

How to Qualify for Gifted Services at DeKalb Schools
July 7, 2014 – 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.

How To Appeal Your Property Value Assessment
July 2, 2014 – If you do not agree with the Current Year Value displayed in your Annual Assessment Notice, DeKalb gives you until Monday, July 14th this year to appeal.

New 7th Grade Vaccination Requirements
July 1, 2014 – There has been a resurgence of whooping cough outbreaks around the country. All students born on or after January 1, 2002 and entering, advancing or transferring into 7th grade in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”).

Board Election Runoffs – Charters Are Wedge Issue
June 27, 2014 – Last night, Leadership DeKalb held a Board of Education candidate runoff forum. As Ty Tagami reported in the AJC, Charter Schools is the issue differentiating the candidates.

DeKalb Schools News Release – 2014 CRCT RESULTS
June 27, 2014 – DeKalb County, GA (June 25, 2014) – According to recently released Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) for grades 3-8, DeKalb County students demonstrated performance gains equal to students statewide and have shown year-to-year aggregate performance improvement in four of five subject areas.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
June 26, 2014 – I’m not judge or jury, just the messenger.  The message of the day, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

DeKalb Students Get Office 365 For Free
June 26, 2014 – The Microsoft Student Advantage Program allows free access to Office 365 Pro Plus for any student enrolled in DeKalb Schools on up to 5 devices.

Anchorman And The Goat
It’s Not About The Lack Money

June 26, 2014 – DeKalb Schools and APS have the highest millage rate and lowest CRCT scores in metro Atlanta.

CRCT Scores – DeKalb Schools Anchors Metro Atlanta
June 25, 2014 – At the United States Naval Academy, the last ranked man in a graduating class is called “The Anchorman”. FY2014 CRCT district results were released by the Georgia DOE this morning. When averaging the CRCT scores, DeKalb “anchors” metro Atlanta in every grade.

Education Excellence Can’t Be Achieved From Above
June 25, 2014 – As our education system becomes more decentralized and complex, the locus of accountability should shift from government to parents. The best form of accountability is directly to parents who are empowered to choose the education providers that meet their children’s needs.

$3M Grant To Grow DeKalb Schools Central Office
June 24, 2014 – DeKalb Schools receives $3 million to grow central office in an attempt to figure out what the Soviets could never figure out, how to make centralization work.

Property Taxes Increasing In DeKalb
June 18, 2014 – DeKalb Schools is planning on keeping its 23.98 millage rate and will remain the 2nd highest millage rate in the state. On average, DeKalb residents in cities can expect a 13.1% increase in their property taxes due to rising property values.

Dear School Board Chair, The Druid Hills Charter Petition
June 17, 2014 – The following letter is from Matt Lewis, lead organizer and potential governing board member of DHCC, to Dr. Melvin Johnson, chair of the DeKalb County School Board. Lewis’ condemnation of the DeKalb County School District defends the cluster petition and accuses the administration of multiple counts of false statements as well as mislabeling documents as “attorney client privilege” in an effort to conceal information from the public.

Property Taxes Increasing In DeKalb
June 16, 2014 – According to Education Week, Georgia’s high school graduation rate, 70%, lags behind all but two states. DeKalb Schools’ Class of 2013 graduation rate of 59% is at the bottom of that barrel. Below are graphs showing the graduation rates for the individual high schools and graduation rates across the country.

Austin Elementary Rebuild Update
June 13, 2014 – According to the latest Capital Improvement Monthly Status Report (pg 97), The Austin ES rebuild is scheduled to begin in April 2017 and be ready for the first day of class in August 2018.

Diplomas and Jobs For DeKalb Graduates
June 12, 2014 – Barely managing to graduate every other student that enters high school, DeKalb Schools had a 59% graduation rate in 2013. In an attempt to increase graduation rates and help students find an on-ramp into the middle class, the DeKalb Schools Board voted to participate in the Jobs for Georgia Graduates (JGG) program.

Hasta La Vista CRCT and EOCT
June 11, 2014 – Georgia agreed to go to a new test and raise its threshold for passing when it sought a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal education law. After 14 years, the Georgia Milestones test will replace CRCT and EOCT starting next year.

No Change In Class Sizes This Fall For DeKalb Schools
June 10, 2014 – For the fourth straight year, the state Department of Education extended a waiver that allows school districts to exceed class size limits.

Vanderlyn Elementary Loses Assistant Principal
June 5, 2014 – Sandra Lamback, Vanderlyn Elementary School Assistant Principal, is named as the new principal at West Side Elementary School at the Marietta City School District according to mdjonline.com today.
Kirk Lunde – Public Comments
June 4, 2014 – FactChecker’s sights have turned to a popular DeKalb Schools critic advocate. At the 4/1 Public Comment meeting, Kirk Lunde delivered his two cents about DeKalb Schools’ Transparency, Communications and Responsiveness.

PDS 24 Video Streaming – Extreme Makeover
June 3, 2014 – Welcome to the new PDS 24 online. All videos through April 2014 are available online except for some of the more controversial budget hearings from last year including 4/29/2013 and 5/8/2013.
School’s Out Updates
May 23, 2014 – The last bell of the school year will ring shortly. I have a few DeKalb Schools updates to fill your waning thoughts of education.
03/03/2014 – Realtime Blog – DeKalb Schools Board Meeting
February 26, 2014 – Realtime blog and videos.

HR 486 Will Empower Low Income Communities
February 23, 2014 – Atlanta, GA, February 22, 2014: Sunday, February 23rd at 3:00pm GLASS (Georgians for Local Area School Systems) will hold a press conference at Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven to address HR 486 and how it can help low-income communities receive the focus they need to be successful.
DeKalb School Board Election Up In Air
February 21, 2014 – DeKalb elections chief Maxine Daniels says unless state lawmakers resolve their political differences quickly, school board elections scheduled for May will be delayed.
Open Letter – DeKalb Schools FY ’15 Budget
February 21, 2014 – If you go to a Tucker Parent Council meeting, there is a good chance you’ll run into Kirk Lunde. He is a parent and tireless advocate for children. In an open letter to Superintendent Thurmond and the Board of Education, published by the Tucker Patch, Mr. Lunde echoes the sentiments of the public, “Class room first!”.
DeKalb Board District Seats – What’s the Plan?
February 18, 2014 – With qualifying ending in just over 2 weeks, our fearless leaders need to get a move on it. This related exchange on Facebook between Mike Jacobs, George Chidi, Nancy Jester, Brad Bryant, and others was quite interesting.

Flexibility Decision – DeKalb Schools Will Choose
February 11, 2014 – Because of the necessary realignment of the budget, I foresee DeKalb choosing to become a Charter System and only allowing limited schoolhouse decision making.
02/08/2014 DeKalb Schools Board Retreat
February 8, 2014 – Videos and summary.
DeKalb Schools Realtime Blog – 2/3/2014 Board Meeting

February 1, 2014 – Videos, summaries and realtime blog.
DeKalb County School District – Legislative Priorities

January 22, 2014 – Hold on to your wallets because the 2014 Georgia Legislative Session started last week. The DeKalb Board of Education discussed the following legislative agenda items at the 01/06/2014 Work Session.
Keep Calm and Vote Jester
January 16, 2014 – This week I announced my candidacy for the District 1 seat on the DeKalb Board of Education. You can learn more about me and the issues at my website, StanJester.com.
Archived Older Posts