Georgia Wescott is a talented photographer and a senior at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). Next year she’ll be attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to study photography and graphic design.
She has posted an Open Letter to the DeKalb County School District with her thoughts about the venue selected by the senior administration without input from the local CCHS community. Given the 110 likes, 2 shares and 27 comments she has received in the last 24 hours on her Facebook page, I don’t think she is alone.
What are your thoughts that I can share with the school administration and board members?
Senior @ Chamblee Charter High School
Open letter to DeKalb County School System:
How are you going to move our graduation against our will and then make us, the students who are graduating, pay to attend it? On top of that, how are you going to hold it at a time where no teachers or other students can attend because it’s on the last day of school immediately after school gets out all the way in downtown Atlanta? At this point I’m not even looking forward to my own graduation because the fact that it costs money has taken away money from some of our senior activities that we’ve been looking forward to.
On Facebook, Ms Wescott comments,
They moved our graduation to the world congress center which costs $35 per student. To make costs cheaper, they took $20 out of each seniors dues so we only had to pay $15 extra. However, now we don’t have money for food on senior night on friday. On top of that, most teachers can’t attend graduation as it is on the last day of school at 4PM and it’s almost impossible to leave school and get downtown in that amount of time. Not the best circumstances.
In DeKalb Schools there are almost 4,000 open high school seats across the county. We could redistrict tomorrow and all of our problems with over burdened common spaces and over crowded high schools in Dunwoody and Chamblee would be instantly gone.
However, the school district will be adding 600 – 750 seats at Lakeside High School, Dunwoody High School, and Chamblee Charter High School to balance out the racial diversity and socio-economics of the student populations attending those schools as well as evenly distribute the students from Doraville and Buford Hwy across more affluent schools. I believe there are many reasons why the school district has chosen this path. The main one is they do not want to redistrict because the guidelines for redistricting wouldn’t accomplish the demographic blend they are seeking in North DeKalb.
In the mean time, here is the plan for trailers at the High Schools in Dunwoody and Chamblee. Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS)
Chamblee Charter HS awaits the addition of 600 more seats expected to be completed on or shortly after the Fall of 2020. Fall 2016 enrollment was 1,624 students. CCHS can expect a Fall 2017 enrollment of about 1,721 students and 4 new classroom trailers. If construction of the seat additions is finished on time, CCHS should max out at 10 trailers by 2020.
Chamblee Charter High School
0 (New Additions Completed)
Dunwoody High School (DHS)
In the Fall of 2016, DHS had approx 1,822 students and 4 trailers. 2 modulars were recently added. DHS is expected to have at least 12 portable classrooms before the seat additions are completed. It is undetermined where those trailers will go and if they will ever be inspected by the city.
On Monday the Dunwoody Council will vote on an MOU with the School District for building plan review and inspection of capital and facilities improvements projects within the city boundaries. While the school district and the city bang out the details of the MOU, will our children are going to school in un-inspected trailers?
Dunwoody High School
0 (New Additions Completed)
Note: Dunwoody High School, Chamblee Charter High School and Lakeside High School are expected to be at 100% capacity after all SPLOST V projects are completed.
FAQ – Facility Planning & Feasibility Study Question – Wouldn’t it be best to build the schools a little bit larger to allow for higher than expected attendance levels in the future? Put another way, why build to a utilization of 100% rather than adding additional capacity? School District Answer – District staff are aware of the uncertainty inherent in any future forecasting. Rather than risk the cost of “overbuilding” by adding much more capacity than is needed, or “underbuilding” by building much less capacity than is needed, the District is recommending adding capacity as the forecast data indicates is needed. These forecasts will be updated annually as we track demographic shifts across the District. Our buildings will be designed so that, if warranted, we can add additional building capacity to accommodate future student capacity needs at each school where possible.
Pros and Cons of adding 600 seats to Dunwoody HS
January 7, 2017 – Moving forward, I’m trying to understand the support for the building addition at Dunwoody High School. The speculation that some Dunwoody residents would be redistricted out of DHS seems to be the only reason for any continued support of the building additions.
750 More Seats at Lakeside HS? Why?
January 30, 2017 – Lakeside High School is currently cramming 2,184 students into a building with a capacity of 1,756 students. Only one other school in North DeKalb scored a below average 2016 School Climate Star Rating. How will adding 750 seats to Lakeside High School improve their School Climate Star Rating and academic achievement?
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.” — Frederick Douglass
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”