09/30/2014 – State Of The System
State Of The System Address (page 14)
Created More Citizen Oversight for SPLOST and Implemented Major Construction Projects
Miller Grove addition was completed October 2013
Miller Grove HS has been awarded the 2014 Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Project Achievement Award. (The CMAA-SAC Project Achievement Awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in the practice of construction management. The awards program is designed to recognize and promote professionalism and excellence in the management of the construction process. Awards are given to CM practitioners for projects and programs that reflect this mission.)
MLK, Jr. HS addition and renovation was completed February 2014
Southwest DeKalb HS addition was completed August 2014; Renovation of 5100 and 5200 Hall will be completed August 2015
New Chamblee Charter HS, Phase I construction (new Academic Building, Gymnasium, and Natatorium) was completed January 2014; Phase II construction (new Auditorium and Athletic Fields) was completed August 2014
New Fernbank ES construction underway for August 2015 opening
(Old Fernbank ES demolition was completed June 2014)
New Peachcrest ES construction underway for August 2015 opening
(Old Peachcrest ES demolition was completed June 2014)
New Gresham Park ES (at the existing Clifton ES site) design underway for construction to start January 2015 (Old Gresham Park demolition was started July 2014 and slated for December 2014 completion)
Demolition of the Old Tilson ES facility was completed March 2014
Demolition of the Old Hooper Alexander ES slated for completion December 2014
Demolition of the Old Chamblee MS slated for completion December 2014
Redan HS addition construction will start October 2014
Henderson MS addition design underway; construction will start January 2015
Towers HS roof replacement projected slated for completion December 2014
Re-Ignited Major Planning and Organizational Work
The district re-ignited major conversations that are important to the strategic direction of the school district
Implemented the Strategic Planning Phase I
Through the direction of the Board of Education and the Superintendent, the strategic plan is reviewed every few years with a complete revision every five years. The complete revision took place during the 2013-2014 school year with the establishment of a 2014—2019 Strategic Plan. To assure that the 2014—2019 plan is congruent with current and future needs, the 2013—2014 Strategic Steering Committee solicited input from parents, teachers, students, administrators, auxiliary staff, business, and civic leaders in order to develop the district’s strategic plan. Throughout the planning process, progress was monitored and communicated to ensure continuous improvement including a dedicated website.
Regional Superintendents collaborated with principals and consultants from GSBA and GLISI to align school improvement plans with the district’s strategic plan. Divisions have worked with internal teams to complete “Division plans”. This represents the first time in many years, the district has engaged in a strategic improvement planning process that has aligned district goals and strategies with divisions and schools.
A new community-driven strategic plan will be presented to the Board of Education for final approval at the November 3, 2014 meeting. Once approved, the new plan will be implemented over a 5 year period of 2014—2019.
Initiated Conversations Related to School Flexibility Options – The Superintendent appointed a School Flexibility Options Committee to begin the work to meet the state mandate of selecting flexibility options by June 30, 2015. The school flexibility options provide the ability for the district to request increased flexibility in exchange for increased accountability. The options included Investing in Educational Excellence (IE2) School System, Charter System, Status Quo School System, plus other options of System of Charter Clusters, System of Charter Schools, and Strategic School System. The committee is comprised of parents, community, board members, and employees. The first meeting was held on December 13, 2013 and they will continue to meet throughout 2014. The Superintendent will make a recommendation to the Board in April 2014. Prior to the Board’s April, 2014, Business Meeting, the Superintendent accepted and reviewed the Executive Summary completed by the Flexibility Advisory Committee. This summary detailed major considerations for each of the three flexibility options (Educational Excellence [IE2] System, Charter System, Status Quo School System), including commentary and concerns from five community engagement sessions held across the district. After careful consideration, the Superintendent chose to direct the district to pursue the Charter System option. Since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, the District has held five additional Community Engagement Sessions to get input and opinions on how the district’s charter application should address the opportunity for innovative practices and local school governance. Additional meetings have been held with the Flexibility Advisory Team (FAC), the Teacher Advisory Committee, the Student Advisory Committee, and Principals from all schools, and Senior Leadership within the District. This has led to the completion of the District’s Charter Petition application and the first opportunity for the Board of Education to consider the petition for approval at its October 8, 2014 meetings.
Sought Grant Opportunity for College and Career Academy – The Board of Education voted to seek a state grant to support the establishment of a McNair High School College and Career Academy. The District has partnered with Georgia Piedmont Technical College and DeKalb business leaders to propose the implementation of a McNair High School College & Career Academy. This College and Career Academy will be the first in Georgia to be established in a large urban district with a high concentration of economically disadvantaged students. The College and Career Academy is part of the District’s Bridge Initiative to improve student achievement. Since the completion of the application, the District was awarded funds to conduct industry research and best practices in establishing a College and Career Academy for consideration the 2015-2016 school year.
DeVry University Advantage Academy (DUAA) – The Board of Education approved funding to establish dual-enrollment, dual-credit program that allows students to earn an associate degree from an accredited university while they finish high school. The program started in August with 24 11th graders. These students will continue the program through 12th grade. Students from all over the district are eligible to participate in the program. The program is located at Arabia Mountain High School. Each year an additional 24 11th grade students will be added to the program. Upon completion of the program, student will earn their high school diploma and an Associate Degree in Network Systems Administration. The primary goal of Advantage Academy is to increase the number of DeKalb County students employed in technology-intensive industries. Students will be recruited from DeKalb County high schools. DeVry University will provide academic and career counseling for all DeVry University Advantage Academy (DUAA) students. In addition to traditional high school counseling, support services available to Advantage Academy students will include: the Academic Support Center, DeVry Campus Library, and Academic Advisors.
Jobs for Georgia Graduates (JGG) – The Board of Education approved funding to implement a drop-out prevention program in five high schools with the lowest graduation rates (Clarkston, Cross Keys, Lithonia, McNair and Towers). This program began in August 2014 to assist schools to support students that are at-risk of not completing high school. In partnership with Department of Labor, one Career Specialist are assigned to each school to provide support to those students that have displayed factors that prevent them from finishing high school. JGG provides follow-up services to increase the graduation rate and encourage a successful transition from school to work. JGG is also a partnership of local schools, businesses, communities and the Georgia Department of Labor.
Wallace Foundation Grant – The Wallace Foundation Grant is investing $3 million on a five-year effort for the DeKalb County School District to improve the instructional leadership skills of principal supervisors (Regional Superintendents). The purpose of the initiative is to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools by providing more effective instructional support to school level leaders.