Chamblee Redistricting Options – Meeting 2

The New John Lewis Elementary facility located at 2630 Skyland Drive, 30319 will be opening Fall 2019. This facility will have over 500 additional seats of capacity compared to the existing facility.

Because of the space made available by this new, larger facility, the John R. Lewis ES Redistricting process is being undertaken this Fall (2018), and will affect schools in the Cross Keys and Chamblee clusters as well as move 300 students temporarily redistricted to the Druid Hills cluster back to schools in the Cross Keys cluster.

The purpose of this redistricting process will be to determine new attendance lines for John R. Lewis ES and to better balance student enrollment in the areas around the new school facility. This redistricting will be the first of three years of redistricting in the Cross Keys and Chamblee clusters, as a new elementary school is scheduled to open in the northern part of the Cross Keys cluster in Fall 2020 (one year after the new John Lewis ES opens), and the new Cross Keys HS and converted Cross Keys MS facilities will open in Fall 2021.

Public Input: Round 2 (Wed October 24, 2018, 7:00 PM at Cross Keys HS)


Option 1: Focus on Geographic Proximity to John R. Lewis ES
Option 2: Focus on Intact Neighborhoods
Option DS: Not gerrymandered – From Reader David S (updated 10/24 @ 5pm)



Option DS
Thank you David S for providing us with this option …

  Round 2 Presentation

Round 2 Redistricting Maps:

Rebuilt John R. Lewis Elementary School
• Opening August 2019
• 900+ seat school
• 500+ seats of available capacity

Cross Keys Cluster Overcrowding at
• Woodward ES (108%)
• Montclair ES (114%)
• Dresden ES (132%)


Redistricting Process Estimated Opening School
Fall 2018 Fall 2019 New John R. Lewis Elementary School
Fall 2019 Fall 2020 New Doraville Elementary School
Fall 2020 Fall 2021 Cross Keys Middle School Conversion, New Cross Keys High School, Chamblee Charter High School Building Addition

First Round – Cross Keys HS– October 2, 2018
Objective: Collect community input within the board approved criteria

Second Round – Cross Keys HS– October 24, 2018
Objective: Collect community input on presented redistricting options based on board approved criteria

Third Round – Cross Keys HS– November 27, 2018
Objective: Collect community input on Staff Recommended Plan based on board approved criteria

Board approved redistricting plan resulting from this process would go into effect August 2019

Students rising into 5th, 8th, 11th, and 12th grades will have the option to continue in their former school, with no transportation provided

The Superintendent’s Recommendation is based on feedback from all three rounds of public engagement and may look nothing like the options presented tonight (Round 2)

41 responses to “Chamblee Redistricting Options – Meeting 2

  1. Really, Stan? Really? Oh my. I see that DeKalb school district is still gerrymandering attendance zones in order to maintain racial segregation. That ‘zone’ sure does look a lot like the elongated, twisted Cross Keys ‘attendance zone’ we wrote about on DSW1 back in April of 2009.

    So, so disappointed.

    By the way – did CKHS EVER get an auditorium?

  2. What will become of the temporary John Lewis elementary location?

  3. So what about the insane overcrowding at Montgomery Elementary? We don’t have enough teachers or room for the amount of kids we have now. They’re seriously just going to leave it that way?

  4. Good questions. Dan drake, Sherry Johnson and various administrators involved in this process will be at the meeting tonight. They are generally available before the meeting if you want to speak with them. My son has flag football tonight, so I’m not sure if I can make it. I will see these people in a few days.

    Please comment here anything you get out of the meeting tonight.

  5. Montgomery is not insanely overcrowded AT. All class sizes are under size for DeKalb compared to what is allowed by DeKalb County. We have a few trailers. The schools being relieved by this process are 100s of students over capacity with full grade levels in trailers. We have a large student population but to say we are insanely overcrowded is not accurate when looking at the longstanding overcrowding at schools like Woodward and Montclair.

  6. @AT are you volunteering to be moved out of MES? We have 2 classes In Trailers, so technically we are not overcrowded compared to other schools. This also has nothing to do with the number of teachers. Number of teachers is based on how your Principal decides to use allotted “points.” As a member of the MES community I am happy with this outcome. I would like to see our community stay intact.

  7. Crawford Louiston

    Stan, what position does your son play in flag football? I bet he’s a fast runner and has good hands. Go team!

  8. Hah … Team Jester doesn’t run from here to there quickly. Think tortoise in the context of tortoise and the hare. In flag football they play all the positions.

  9. Poor Cross Keys. The map didn’t change at all for them. CCHS kids within a stone’s throw of the new high school and Cross Keys kids driving miles. This is the definition of gerrymander.

  10. Those maps are crazy. Fixed it for you.

  11. David S, can you do a high school map version?

  12. David – you split up neighborhoods/community centers that way. If you were just focused on geography – that could makes sense. But unfortunately community centers/schools/neighborhoods aren’t always geographically in the center of an area to draw lines like that. Also, there will be a new elementary school soon…that will probably shake it all up.

  13. Cult of Reason

    The options were presented at the meeting by Hans Williams I believe. After which, the crowd was dispersed into about 10 different classrooms. People were prompted in each classroom to provide feedback on the two options. Naturally, it’s harder for people to make a fuss when they are separated into smaller groups. No explanation was given to what the board’s reasoning as to what a desirable redistricting plan should be. It was the role of attendees to simply provide feedback which the superintendent will surely be interested in viewing before presenting a third mystery box option at the next meeting. It could even be David S’s map. We don’t know.

    Option 1 of course splits up Ashford Park more, moving several streets north of Dresden. It also cuts Montclair ES territory in half, geographically.
    Option 2 is positioned to be more friendly to Ashford Park as it doesn’t go north of Dresden. It doesn’t “split up the community” as people were rallying against in redistricting meeting 1. It takes more students in Montclair ES living in apartments alongside Buford Hwy apparently to move to John Lewis apparently. The number of students transferring are 147 in that option.

    In both options, there is a notch of 40 students in apartments north of Briarwood Rd that were going to Woodward that are relocated to Ashford Park. So in either option Ashford Park elementary school has about the same number of students: students are always moved out to John Lewis and students are always imported from Woodward.

  14. THANK YOU David S!! It’s perfect.

  15. Stan, do you have any idea if there are additional middle school and high school redistricting plans to follow when those buildings are renovated and the new Cross Keys High School is built? Or are these the final maps that would carry over to the new high school, updated middle school, and Chamblee addition?

  16. There will be redistricting every year over the next three years as these capital projects come online. Note the table in the post.

  17. Maybe I’m doing the math wrong, but the Option DS would seem to me to leave Ashford Park and John Lewis under capacity with Montclair, Woodward, and Dresden over capacity. I don’t think Montclair has the land space for the trailers you will have to add or DCSD would have done it previously. F, D, G, and H (all highlighted in yellow) are being bussed to Briar Vista and Fernbank now because they don’t fit in Montclair even with a bunch a trailers.

  18. The DS option is less about the exact science of numbers right now. Clearly that has to be drawn and calculated. The map more outlines a better starting point for redistricting to allow for a diverse, rich set of schools in our community, and that we should be thinking this way as opposed to continuing to push segregated options, which is what I see on option 1 & 2.

  19. Cult of Reason

    The DS option cutting Brookhaven Village into 3 different elementary schools is an interesting idea. One slight issue is that it also takes the apartments along Dresden that were feeding into APES and sends them to schools that were already overcrowded. It would definitely make Ashford Park less diverse.

  20. If the concern is to not have segregated options, then the question would be how to attract kids from the residential areas off of Buford Highway. The apartments on Buford Highway are almost exclusively Hispanic. Woodward is drawn now almost exactly like DS would like AND it’s 99% Hispanic. Why? Residential residents send their kids to magnet, DeKalb charter, state charter, or private schools. When I toured, Woodward’s facilities and teachers seemed to be on par or better than Ashford Park. Montclair is an exact duplicate of Woodward, except with a lesser facility. Significant numbers of parents simple balk at the options being provided.

    The map provided by DS doesn’t change that dynamic. It just increases the number of residential parents that won’t send their child to the local, neighborhood school. Previously, the excuse I heard for not engaging these communities with programming was that the schools were overcrowded. Both plans considered by DCSD get Woodward, John Lewis and Montclair to 85% (the exact opposite effect that DS modeled out).

    To me, the successful model that should be tried at John Lewis is the one that worked at Ashford Park. A language immersion program concentrated on Spanish would provide the opportunity to have a school that, while overwhelmingly Hispanic, would have balanced English/Spanish classrooms. This is what has worked in California and Texas and the results have been beneficial for both groups. Separate lotteries for English and Spanish speakers would allow you to target the optimal mix for learning (40-60% of each group). As you developed a wait list for English speakers, you could add a new Kindergarten class as appropriate and with DeKalb’s policy of allowing out of neighborhood students to transfer into the program, it wouldn’t really matter what attendance zone you were in. You just wouldn’t have bus service, but the school is very centrally located to Dresden, Montclair, JL, and Woodward.

    I believe this would be successful as these neighborhoods, like Ashford Park, are much more socially liberal than most any other neighborhoods you will find. The residents actually are fine with Spanish students, they just want balance, not 99%.

    If we are going to draw maps, we should draw maps that actually somewhat make sense and also understand the concepts that have and haven’t worked in the past. The Option DS plan hasn’t worked in Woodward and Montclair and I see no reason why it would work at John Lewis without investing (ie hiring a Spanish teacher at the same cost as a regular teacher) in programming.

  21. If I was drawing a map, I would try to maintain as much of the current Ashford Park attendance zone in APES and move as much of the residential zones in Montclair to JLES. Then offer a Spanish immersion program at JLES that scales to demand (unlike GI at APES) and pull as many students out of magnet, charter, and private schools as possible and into a neighborhood public school.

    In my volunteering at Woodward, the Hispanic children that I interacted with were wonderful kids. As a parent, I would find a Spanish immersion class that was balanced between English and Spanish speakers would be a viable option to send my children to. I don’t consider it my first choice as I’m currently zoned to APES, but I think it would be comparable academically to GLOBE, BIA or moving and much more convenient.

  22. No one is ever going to convince me that these long, skinny attendance zones are “right” where kids are within a stone’s throw of one school but are being told to keep neighborhoods “intact”, they have to drive past 2 other schools. Montclair and John Lewis’s shapes look like they came out of the dictionary for gerrymander. This is embarrassing.

    David S’s drawing should be the start and then you make minor adjustments on the perimeter of each area to get the numbers even. There should not be any zones that are shaped like a liquid that is seeping and stretching across a flat surface. Do zones end up like that as they are appended with minor changes over the years? Yes. But this is a full redo, and it should be done right.

  23. There’s nothing embarrassing about it at all. It’s really great that the City of Brookhaven committed to finding this piece of land and making JLES happen. If they hadn’t, there would be 19 more trailers at Woodward and Montclair next year. Some people care about kids and other people care about maps (which are perfectly logical once you start reading the numbers that are on them).

  24. Both of the options presented still seem to group neighborhood kids versus apartment kids with little mix. Seems like more of Ashford Park homes should be zoned to the new ES.

  25. DSW2Contributor

    Chad: Several APS elementary schools in Buckhead are doing what you suggest:
    “The APS Dual Language Immersion Program is a two teacher, 50/50 model in which students spend half of the day learning in English and the other half of the day in Spanish.”

    I had heard that DCSD’s Pleasantdale ES started Spanish immersion, but I think it ended when the Principal was replaced.

  26. October 2018 enrollment numbers:
    Ashford Park – 135% capacity (over by 167 students)
    Woodward – 117% (over by 128 students)
    Montclair – 103% (not counting those at Fernbank)
    Dresden – 122% (over by 173 students)
    Briar Vista – 82% (107 available seats)
    Montgomery – 118% (over by 118 students)

    Option # 1 has Ashford Park’s enrollment declining by only 9 students yet it is the most overcrowded
    Option #2 has Ashford Park growing by 3 students

    How exactly is it that the school that is most overcapacity has the least change in enrollment with either of these plans? Sounds gerrymandered.

  27. Guys. This is the very first round of redistricting. I’m certain that these lines will change again next year with the new North Cross Keys Elementary districting, and then the lines will change considerably when new CKHS redistricts the following year. The county has says they don’t want to move the same students multiple times. This is a conservative first round of redistricting.

  28. MES is not overcrowded at all. The trailers are fine and most kids in there prefer them to the main building.
    The net inflow/outflow for student population each year is negligible. I have seen my own kids class sizes go down.

  29. @laptopBoy: MES is not “overcrowded” based on your definition which is the building plus trailers. However, based on building capacity, it is overcrowded by 118 students. Check the DCSD enrollment document for October 2018: There are 782 students and 664 seats in the building. Trailers are not allowed to be permanent solutions for a number of reasons, primarily safety. They are not safe against intruders and they must be evacuated during tornado watches/warnings. The fact that MES families don’t want to be redistricted and are apparently willing to forego student safety doesn’t negate the facts that by district definitions used for all schools, the school is overcrowded.

  30. @AB – I agree with your reply. Based on the definitions put out by DCSD it is technically overcrowded.
    My point was its working well and doesn’t feel overcrowded and the school population is not preventing a safe and good learning environment.
    As an aside, its a bit of a myth that lots of kids are moving into the MES catchment area, as many new kids come in there are plenty leaving to help balance out numbers.
    I think long term MES has some ways it could expand the building footprint (going up a floor in the back etc) but I heard those ideas being shot down, not sure of the reason.

  31. @LaptopBoy – sadly lots of ideas get shot down by DCSD for unknown/unexplained reasons. Glad MES is thriving!

  32. I don’t understand why the kids in Apts close to Plaster Rd are being sent to Montclair instead of John Lewis. Also, kids next to Woodward are being sent to Montclair. Skinny attendance zones mean less parent and student involvement. Research shows that the number 1 factor in successful schools (student success) is parent involvement. Many of the parents in these pockets do not have transportation to get to a school unless it is in the neighborhood.
    Dan, can you fix the map with this in mind and keep big neighborhoods made of detached homes intact?

  33. As far as Plaster Rd apartments, I asked this question on the note card the district provided. I was thinking originally it had something to do with bus routes. My current thought is that district wants to put as many of the kids that got shipped out of area due to lack of available capacity (ie Fernbank, temporary John Lewis, Briar Vista) into the new school. Once you do that, then the numbers mean that the Plaster Rd kids stay in their current school. The Fernbank, JL and Briar Vista kids have to make a school move whereas the Plaster Rd kids don’t. There is an argument for maintaining kids in the school they know. Pure speculation on my part, however.

  34. Chad,
    That logic certainly makes sense, to not “pile on” to students who have already been moved around.

    But when I look at the proposed JLES attendance zone it looks very gerrymandered to me. Why in the world would it extend in a very skinny zone along Buford Highway, rather than extending west and using Dresden Drive as a natural boundary?

    It looks like we are creating another problem for a future superintendent and maybe an opportunity for some lawyers.

  35. Anonymous, does my previous post not answer your question?

  36. Stan, will the proposed Montessori school at Briar Vista (Option 1 for Druid Hills) be open to all county residents as a school choice program? Or only to residents of that attendance zone?

  37. Never mind, Stan. I found the answer.

  38. Do tell …it’s for posterity

  39. It seems Montessori at Briar Vista is already established as a school choice program. I think option 1 is an expansion of the Pre-K. The current Montesorri at Huntley and Briar Vista give preference to attendance zone, which similar to GI at APES, means that out of area attendance zone has 0% chance.

  40. Marshall Orson says, “It would be a school Choice program. “

  41. Stan,

    What are the chances of the district adding Montessori programs? Since anyone living outside the attendance zone of Briar Vista or Huntley Hills don’t have access to the programs, it isn’t really a School Choice program is it.