DeKalb Schools Class of 2017 Graduation Schedule

Stan Jester
Board Of Education

During the summer of 2016, Dr. Green created a District Graduation Task Force to begin looking at venues, available dates and costs for specific locations to house district ceremonies. Based on a cost and accessibility comparison, the committee determined that the best option would be the Georgia World Congress Center.
All high school graduations will be held during the week of May 22-27, 2017 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Superintendent Stephen Green

Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

Graduation ceremonies are a major component of the closing of each school year. In recent years, schools have used governmental buildings, arenas and even churches to hold events. During the 2015-16 school year. However, the district was challenged by the AFL-CIO on the holding of school district graduation ceremonies in religious facilities. While measures were taken to comply with the request to not house ceremonies in religious venues (and some locations were changed), it was agreed that the district would work to address the concern for the 2016-17 school year.

DeKalb County School District Graduation Schedule
Georgia World Congress Center
Class of 2017

Date School Time
Monday, May 22, 2017 McNair High School 10:00 AM
Towers High School 1:00 PM
Columbia High School 4:00 PM
Cedar Grove High School 7:00 PM
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 Redan High School 10:00 AM
Lithonia High School 1:00 PM
DeKalb School of the Arts 4:00 PM
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 Elizabeth Andrews High School 10:00 AM
Stephenson High School 1:00 PM
DeKalb Early College Academy 4:00 PM
Stone Mountain High School 7:00 PM
Thursday, May 25, 2017 Miller Grove High School 10:00 AM
Destiny Academy 1:00 PM
Chamblee Charter High School 4:00 PM
Dunwoody High School 7:00 PM
Friday, May 26, 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. High School 10:00 AM
Arabia Mountain High School 1:00 PM
Southwest DeKalb High School 4:00 PM
Druid Hills High School 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 27, 2017 Tucker High School 10:00 AM
Lakeside High School 1:00 PM
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 Clarkston High School @ Hallford Stadium 5:30 PM
Thursday, May 25, 2017 Cross Keys High School @ Adams Stadium 7:30 PM
Friday, May 19, 2017 Margret Harris High School @ MHHS 10:00 AM

20 responses to “DeKalb Schools Class of 2017 Graduation Schedule

  1. I am a parent of a senior at Chamblee Charter HS and a resident of Dunwoody. I request that the Board reconsider the decision to hold this year’s graduation ceremony at the Georgia World Congress Center.
    From my perspective, this was ill-conceived at best. Chamblee’s graduation is scheduled for Thursday May 25 at 4 p.m. This means that teachers (who have played such a significant role in our students’ lives) are unable to attend as that is a school day and exams will be administered. Siblings who are in high school or middle school will also be unable to attend as it is a school day with exams being administered.
    This is really horrible. The Georgia World Congress Center is far removed from our high school, not in Dekalb County, and difficult to reach in traffic even before I-85 was damaged. Now it will be ridiculous given the rush-hour timing. As Thursday is a work day for many, time-off will be required of many parents. That students are being billed for the use of the venue and transportation to and from the venue is wrong.
    Additionally, there is an offensive $10 parking fee imposed on all cars parking at the venue.
    My hope was to bring my 87-year old father, who has attended all of his grandchildren’s graduation ceremonies, to this graduation. I have no idea regarding accessibility or whether he will be able to navigate from the parking lot to the ceremony and have recommended he forgo this graduation.
    My understanding is that parents of Dekalb County students did not request that graduation be moved to this venue nor was their input invited. I’m trying to figure out who this could be benefiting, but it does not appear to be the students, teachers, administration or families. The community celebration of our seniors’ accomplishments has been undermined.

  2. Wow, I never realized that teachers wouldn’t be able to attend, but HL is absolutely correct. Seeing the teachers march in, wearing their college robes, is a meaningful part of the graduation ceremony that won’t happen at the Georgia World Congress Center. Many teachers invest so much in their students that not being able to support them at this important time is a real loss for both teachers and students.
    The hardships on many families was discussed back in October when this plan was announced. The absence of teachers from the graduation ceremonies is just another blow.

  3. Is this schedule for real? So, high school graduations are actually being held on school days and during regular school hours? I have never heard of anything like this before and would be extremely upset if I had an affected graduating senior. Also, as a downtown Atlanta commuter from Brookhaven, good luck getting to the venue on time, or even at all. This is especially true for the 4 and 7PM start times. I can tell you that the traffic going into downtown in the afternoon is so much worse than traffic leaving the city. And, now with the 85 bridge collapse, this will be virtually impossible. Add in Memorial Day weekend traffic trying to leave Atlanta, and this is becomes a completely nonviable solution. I am so sorry for all of the Dekalb County families who will have to deal with this.
    One question….why are the 3 schools at the bottom able to have their ceremonies elsewhere (i.e. at their home stadiums)? Why the special treatment? That certainly doesn’t seem very fair to all of the other schools.

  4. Dear Survey Says,
    I cannot provide any answers about Clarkston or Cross Keys. I can share some information about Margret Harris. Margret Harris High School is a school for special education students. Many of these students have very involved physical and cognitive needs. Some are medically fragile. There are students in wheel chairs, walkers or need assistance to walk. Because of the needs of these students, their school has the accommodations that help these students move around the building. Also, Margret Harris usually has a very small number of students graduating each year.

  5. This is illustrative of why one size doesn’t fit all and why centralization doesn’t work.
    With 24 high schools having graduations, there are no shortage of issues. Many schools can’t find a venue and couldn’t afford it if they found one. Many schools don’t have the parent capacity to even contemplate graduation ceremonies.
    It looks like the district sought out a systemic solution which, I’m sure, was immensely helpful for quite a few schools. However, it seems to be causing more problems than it solves with the graduation ceremonies that were already just fine. I liked having the ceremonies at the stadium, even when the weather was no cooperating.
    The biggest problem, as I see it, is the burden on parents to take off from work. Transportation is a close second. I’m told we will also have to pay $10 for parking, but this is not confirmed.
    I’d like to know where the various high school councils and governance boards are on this.

  6. Mr. Jester,
    A visit to a business in downtown Atlanta that normally takes us 25 minutes took 57. MARTA lots were packed so that was not an option. I cannot imagine what students, parents and guest will encounter trying to get into Atlanta for graduation. Many schools in Fulton have their own stadiums next to the school. That is where we have attended graduations for family and friends. You are right. People come and are excited regardless of the weather. One great thing was there was plenty of room.

  7. Finally! Glad to see some organization coming to DeKalb Schools. Gwinnett has been doing this for years, and it works just fine. Blah, Blah … @Stan Jester, can’t please all of the people , all of the time. Graduation is an important event for students and parents. I am sure all will adjust.

  8. This is yet just another idiotic move by the Dekalb County School Board. Why do some get to keep their graduations at the local high school? This is just one more reason why we are slowly transitioning our family out of Dekalb County Schools (and we are not alone by any stretch of the imagination).

  9. Please see the link below. It appears that some Gwinnett Schools will hold graduation at their stadium. Others will be at a venue located in Gwinnett. Hopefully, our schools had a choice of locations too.

  10. Joy, thanks for the information about Margret Harris, that makes sense and I appreciate knowing the rationale behind that decision and am supportive of it. The others, I’m still not sure about though.
    I think the decision to move graduation ceremonies to another venue would be more palatable if it was actually located inside Dekalb County vs. downtown Atlanta. But, I’m not sure there is a County venue large enough to accommodate multiple graduation ceremonies? This is not an uncommon practice…I’ve attended Gwinnett County high school graduations at the Infinite Energy Center, and even ceremonies for Knoxville, TN schools in a large Knoxville convention center. But again, the venues were located somewhere within the school district, unlike the Dekalb venue choice.

  11. Bill Armstrong

    I do know the issue for Chamblee was/is the big stadium upgrade at North DeKalb. Initially it resulted in a plan that no soccer, except perhaps the 1st game, was going to be played at “Home.” But as the construction start time was pushed back, they had more games there. I’m not sure if they could push the start time until after graduation & still get it done over the summer, but obviously plans were made well ahead of time.
    As Survey asks, are there alternatives, closer &/or in DeKalb, I’m not so sure – I don’t know of any.

  12. Hello
    I do not know where to post this but I am confused about the number of teacher job openings. Today it seemed like the HCM person said that there were 2 for the entire school district. I know that cannot be true because we have 2 open jobs at my school alone.
    If HCM is not being accurate on the number of job openings, how will the district ever fill them. Please be truthful. No giving an accurate number only hurts the students. If people here this, we may lose good potential employees to other systems. Perhaps you can explain how the numbers are being counted.

  13. chamblee getting screwed

    When the high schools become mega schools, even the world congress center won’t be large enough to fit the graduation ceremonies in it.

  14. Bill Armstrong

    As an FYI, this is where they were last year, obviously the lack of availability of North DeKalb Stadium is an issue, and the church issue takes care of many of the rest – I knew about the long history of New Birth, but I had no idea about Travelers Rest. The idea of the GWCC does makes sense if the Ga. Dome & GSU have been used before, but I get the frustration of getting there & in & out. But we do live in Metro Atlanta, almost any location brings traffic. And remember this – schools in DeKalb do not have true home stadiums, so if they are unavailable, more than one school is impacted. This year with North DeKalb – Chamblee, Dunwoody & Cross Keys are all out of luck, at least as planned months ago. The “one place for all thing” – it doesn’t seem crazy in light of these issues. It would be great if there was a place(s) in DeKalb that could accommodate the system.
    Stephenson High School, May 19, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 5 p.m.
    Stone Mountain High School, May 19, Georgia Dome, 6 p.m.
    Miller Grove High School, May 20, Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, 7 p.m.
    Lithonia High School, May 21, Georgia State University Sports Arena, 9 a.m.
    Druid Hills High School, May 21, Georgia Dome, 10 a.m.
    Lakeside High School, May 21, The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
    Redan High School, May 21, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
    Towers High School, May 21, Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, 4 p.m.
    DECA, May 21, Berean Christian Church, 5 p.m.
    Martin Luther King Jr. High School, May 21, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 5 p.m.
    Destiny Achievers Academy of Excellence, May 22, New Life Community Church, 5 p.m.
    Southwest DeKalb High School, May 23, Infinite Energy Center, 5 p.m.
    Ronald E. McNair High School, May 23, Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
    DeKalb School of the Arts, May 23, Schwartz Performing Arts Center — Emory University, 6:30 p.m.
    Elizabeth Andrews High School, May 25, New Beginning Full Gospel Church, 2 p.m.
    Cross Keys High School, May 25, North DeKalb Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
    Clarkston High School, May 26, Avondale, 5:30 p.m.
    Dunwoody High School, May 26, North DeKalb Stadium, 7 p.m.
    Columbia High School, May 26, Georgia State University Sports Arena, 7:30 p.m.
    Arabia Mountain High School, May 27, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
    Chamblee Charter High School, May 27, Chamblee Charter High School, 6:30 p.m.
    Cedar Grove High School, May 28, Georgia State University, 10 a.m.
    Tucker High School, May 28, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 10 a.m.

  15. Bill Armstrong

    Joy: DeKalb PATS (online Paperless Applicant Tracking System) lists over 400 “teacher” positions.

    Thank you so much for the information that you posted. Yesterday during the BOE Business Meeting at 2:00, Mr. Patrick gave the number 2. The link above is from an AJC article today. Below I posted a quote.

    Fuzzy Math? Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer Everett Patrick says the district currently has just two teacher vacancies. Board members question how the number could fall from 30 to two when the district only hired 17 new teachers during the previous reporting period. Patrick backtracks, saying many vacancies — 47 to be exact — have been filled with long-term substitute teachers.”

  17. Regarding the discussion of teacher vacancies at yesterday’s BOE meeting, I thought the BOE members did a good job of getting Mr. Patrick to disclose the true number of teacher vacancies.
    Terminology matters. As a parent, I would be very unhappy if my child was being taught by a long-term substitute teacher and the BOE had no visibility into this situation. Perhaps it is too late in the school year to hire a permanent teacher. But the use of long-term subs, and of ‘teachers’ who lack credentials, should be acknowledged to the BOE and to the public.
    It’s also hard to believe that this situation, of misleading terminology, is just now being discovered. The school year ends next month. I think the BOE will have to be vigilant to see that HR reports are changed and that correct terminology is used in the future.

  18. Hello Anonymous,
    Thank you for the additional information. When classes go a long time without a qualified teacher, this is not a good practice. There are some excellent subs. But, sometimes in the most needy classes there can be a different sub several times a week. Or in some cases there may be no subs.
    Having accurate numbers benefits every one. Teachers and para educators are pulled to cover classes. As it gets closer to the end of the year, it can be difficult to obtain a sub.
    It is important that schools are allowed to report the correct number of job openings. If our school district waits too long, many of the stronger teachers will be hired by other school systems.

  19. Why not go back to having graduations in the HS Gymnasium? Everyone stays in their district; teachers may attend, and no costs to rent facilities or for parking. It works better. And for those who say that Mr. Greene and his staff should attend all graduations, well, no. It isn’t a big deal to the students or families, as few would recognize him. They know the principals and teachers. Let those people be the the ones to participate in the ceremonies with the students.

  20. Stan Jester

    Issues with past venues
    HS Gym – Not enough room for friends and family
    Stadium – Hot and subject to other inclement weather
    Church – Religious complaints