Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremonies 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. At price tag of $300K, I’m not sure about that cost analysis.
All high school graduations will be held during the week of May 21-26, 2018 at the Georgia World Congress Center. This is the second year to have graduation ceremonies at the GWCC. Last year the ceremonies were on time, air conditioned, streamed online with great production value.
What are your thoughts that I can share with the school administration and board members?

Superintendent Stephen Green

Georgia Wescott
Chamblee Charter High School graduating Class of 2017
Expressed her thoughts last year.

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. –Georgia Wescott

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].

DeKalb County School District Graduation Schedule
Georgia World Congress Center
Graduating Class of 2018 (Congratulations!!)

Date School Time
Monday, May 21, 2018 Lithonia High School 10:00 AM
Elizabeth Andrews High School 1:00 PM
Dunwoody High School 4:00 PM
Chamblee Charter High School 7:00 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Lakeside High School 10:00 AM
Southwest DeKalb High School 1:00 PM
Miller Grove High School 4:00 PM
Druid Hills High School 7:00 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 Destiny Achievers High School 10:00 AM
Arabia Mountain High School 1:00 PM
Stone Mountain High School 4:00 PM
Towers High School 7:00 PM
Thursday, May 24, 2018 Martin L. King, Jr. High School 10:00 AM
Tucker High School 1:00 PM
DeKalb School of the Arts 4:00 PM
Cedar Grove High School 7:00 PM
Friday, May 25, 2018 McNair High School 10:00 AM
Columbia High School 1:00 PM
Redan High School 4:00 PM
Clarkston High School 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2018 Stephenson High School 10:00 AM
DeKalb Early College Academy 1:00 PM
Cross Keys High School 4:00 PM

15 responses to “Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremonies Schedule

  1. Last year, Clarkston HS and Cross Keys HS did not graduate at the Georgia World Congress Center. DCSD let Clarkston HS graduate at Hallford Stadium, which is almost just across the street from Clarkston HS. DCSD let Cross Keys HS graduate at North DeKalb Stadium in Chamblee.
    I had always wondered whether these schools were glad or whether they felt left out.
    Do you know how these two communities have reacted to news that they will graduate in downtown Atlanta?
    Do you know if DCSD will provide transportation for students or their families? Clarkston graduates on a Friday night at 7pm and Cross Keys graduates on Saturday afternoon at 4pm.
    I think this is a very costly plan, and was really a solution looking for a problem. If some schools used churches, then why couldn’t they use their regional stadium instead? Dunwoody, Cross Keys, and Chamblee used North DeKalb Stadium for years and years. Yes, it is hot and yes there was always fear of rain. But all teachers could attend and it was a lot less expensive.
    $300K would cover 6 new teachers or maybe 6 maintenance workers or maybe it could be used to for more interpreters.
    I agree that the graduation videos were nice. But I doubt that the $300K figure covers all of the District cost to set up for graduation and make those videos. Excluding teachers is sad.
    But when Dr. Green makes up his mind, look out! It’s gonna happen!

  2. Mr Jester,
    Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I love this time of year. Nothing like a good exchange of information to let us know that we are truly blessed and fortunate. Now to another topic related to communication.
    I did not know where to post this comment. I know that you have been busy lately. Unless I missed it, there was never a complete HR Report posted for the last BOE Meeting. As I think we can agree, DeKalb has had some issues lately concerning their hiring.
    A quote from this article :
    “District officials admitted recently that simple functions of a background check, including checking references and verifying work history on an applicant’s resume or application, don’t always happen.”
    I cannot get the spell check to work.
    It seems like those would be very important steps in the hiring process.
    Not posting the names after a comment like this only gives parents and staff more reasons to be concerned.
    Please look into this.
    Thank you.

  3. Joy, you might be interested to know that at the July 10, 2017 BOE Work Session, a DCSD Human Capital Management employee told the BOE and Dr. Green that they are googling potential employees as part of the hiring process. You can watch the video on-demand at the DCSD website.
    If that was true, then DCSD HCM would have found out the same information that a Chamblee Middle School parent found out by googling Ms. Meeks-Speller. And maybe this whole harmful episode could have been avoided.
    So what’s going on here? Do we have to add false or misleading statements to the BOE to the list of HCM problems?
    I also agree with Joy that the new format of the HCM report presented in November is terribly incomplete. I hope that the BOE insists that the old format be presented too.

  4. @Anon,
    Thank you for the information. The link provided is another situation. A person accused of an incident in APS, apparently got a job in DeKalb.

  5. Retired DeKalb teacher fed up with wasteful spending.

    I personally feel the entire administration of DEKALB County Schools are all incompetent. From the top with Greene to whomever at the bottom! Will we ever hire an adninistrator capable of righting this sinking ship? Poor students are losing daily. White teachers are nonexistent when there is hiring. White teachers are NEVER CONSIDERED FOR A POSITION. And I know this from personal experience in my own family. IT HAPPENS!

  6. As a middle school teacher who enjoys going to graduation ceremonies to support her former students, I hate the scheduling at the GWCC. But graduation is definitely not about me. It is about students and their families. I think have the ceremonies during the day on weekdays discriminated against families with hourly paying jobs. Theses loved ones must choose whether to miss work and lose pay or miss out on their loved one’s graduation. Seems inconsiderate of the district to me. How about the district takes the $300,000 and puts it towards building its own facility big enough for these graduation ceremonies?

  7. 2017 DCSD Graduation Programs Operations Budget – I assume 2018 graduation ceremonies will be similarly priced …
    Audio Visual Services – $204,000.00
    Pipe and Drape throughout Halls 1 & 2) – $2,500.00
    Coach Line Transportation for Students – $35,000.00
    Photography – $25,000.00
    Live Internet Stream – $1,005.00
    Facility Use Cost (Halls C1/C2) – $49,500.00
    Electricity – $5,000.00
    Staff Parking – $400.00
    Emergency/First Aid +Services – $4,688.00
    Headsets for Staff – $1, 062.50
    Stage Aesthetics (Ferns) – $835.00
    Printing of Directional Signs – $856.00
    Certificate of Liability Insurance – $919.00

  8. So the grand total is $330,765.50 for 2017 DCSD graduation. In 2017 there were 6038 seniors. The graduation rate was 73.954%, so there should have been 4465 graduates.
    This means that DCSD spent about $75 per graduate on graduation ceremonies.
    That doesn’t sound terrible, although I believe that seniors pay hundreds of dollars in “senior dues,” so I’m not sure if any of that money offsets these expenses.
    But to a regular citizen this is an astounding amount of money. I wish we knew what other districts of similar size paid for their graduation.

  9. Graduation approaches and my seniors dread their own ceremony. They know that their favorite teachers and their friends in lower grades are barred from attending by the asinine schedule placing all graduates in overcrowded downtown Atlanta on the same date during the normal school and work day. They resent the expense when they and their friends are struggling to cover upcoming college expenses. They resent the fact that some of their fellow seniors will be entirely absent from their own graduation ceremony because of the prohibitive cost of senior dues.
    The crass suggestion that the county must either hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to the GWCC or hold graduation ceremonies on religious affiliated property is a false dichotomy. The county owns multiple sports stadiums that could host three or four graduation ceremonies per day at a far lower cost and with less travel time and hassle for families. DCSS prefers to embroil itself in the march toward privatized, for-profit schools and the destruction of our public education system. May they remember their own role in undermining our schools when weeping and crying that Pearson or Edison has eliminated their jobs and refuses to hire them for any existing positions.

  10. In the last several years, our family has traveled to other counties around the metro area and in middle Georgia to attend the graduation ceremonies of friends and relatives. Our seniors are scheduled to graduate on a Monday! Not one person among our extended family will be able to attend. Several Aunts would like to know why DCSS parents aren’t rocking the central office on its foundation. I don’t know what to tell them except I guess not enough parents care enough about their kids to raise hell.

  11. Stan Jester

    I would like to see the community decide whether to have it at GWCC or their local sports stadium.

  12. Just Wondering

    “The county owns multiple sports stadiums that could host three or four graduation ceremonies per day at a far lower cost and with less travel time and hassle for families.”
    Yes, this is a far more cost-effective option, but comes with the threat of rain. When I was the senior class sponsor years ago, it rained ONE TIME in all my years, and I was crucified for it (as if I had any control over the weather). Yes, our back up location was much smaller and yes, families had to limit themselves to 4 guests for the indoor location. But, imho, high school graduations have gotten way out of control. Have your immediate family come to the actual ceremony and everyone else can join you at home for a party and private celebration. Schools could utilize the smaller venues if graduates weren’t allowed to invite every single person they’ve ever met.
    Bottom line is, you will never please everyone.

  13. John Doe, do you realize that the school district now live streams the graduations? This makes the ceremonies available for those who cannot travel thus making them available to an even larger audience. This seems to be a good compromise. I found it on the school website at: I wonder if other area school districts offer this to extended families of graduates.
    It is a shame that DeKalb does not have public, indoor facilities large enough to accommodate graduations. In fairness, I guess you would need to point the finger at the taxpayers for not saying this should be done for the county. It seems all neighboring counties have a Civic Center type of facility to host graduations and generate revenue for other functions. Since it seems we can no longer hold graduations in mega churches, that would be an alternative.
    Just wondering said it best, you will never please everyone.

  14. Dunwoody Diva

    Just got a Senior update e-mail from Dunwoody HS.
    There are ONLY 4 Wheelchairs available for use during the ceremony per GWCC.
    What a fiasco.
    I guess the two relatives that are flying in will need to get there early to “grab” 1/2 of the wheelchairs:(
    I could rent my own and bring them but if we had it somewhere closer to Dunwoody we wouldn’t need wheelchairs.

  15. Stan Jester

    It’s BYOWC … bring your own wheel chair. I wasn’t aware of a shortage last year.