DeKalb Schools Round 4 redistricting plan for Dunwoody, Chamblee, Cross Keys and Lakeside clusters is out.
Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson has been at the helm since last November. Among the many challenges DeKalb Schools faces, redistricting elementary schools in North DeKalb is one of them. Superintendent Tyson will collect feedback on the presented Round 4 Recommendations from the board and the public and present a final recommendation to the board on February 10 where it will be voted on.
BEST PRACTICES FOR CHANGING ATTENDANCE BOUNDARIES
The DeKalb Schools administrative team said they wanted to build a plan around clearly defined goals, embrace collaboration and community engagement as well as hire an enrollment/redistricting analytics expert for district wide redistricting and consolidation of elementary, middle and high schools.
INTERIM PLAN GOALS
The superintendent committed to the development of a comprehensive master plan. A new Dunwoody/Chamblee elementary school has been added to the current ESPLOST V project list contingent upon board approval. In the mean time, the current redistricting plan reflects two main goals: 1) Populate the new schools and 2) Minimize disruption to families.
• Redistrict 800 students
• Develop Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP)
• Consider temporary annex relief options for Dunwoody/Chamblee Clusters for three‐year period: 1) Nancy Creek building (move Kittredge to former John Lewis ES) or 2) Explore other options in Dunwoody/Chamblee Clusters
• Locate land for new elementary school for Dunwoody/Chamblee Clusters
DUNWOODY CLUSTER – ROUND 4
The new map for redistricting the elementary schools in the Dunwoody and Chamblee clusters seems to attempt to minimize disruption until a new elementary school can be built in the area. No timeline was given for completion of a new elementary school. For Fall 2020, the redistricting plan is to move 102 students from Dunwoody ES to Austin ES.
DORAVILLE UNITED – ROUND 4
Redistrict 108 students from Hightower ES to Doraville United ES. Redistrict 209 students from Cary Reynolds ES to Doraville United ES. Redistrict 381 students from Dresden ES to Doraville United ES
PLEASANTDALE ES – ROUND 4
Pleasantdale Elementary School redistricting is on hold pending further review. There are currently no changes to any elementary school in the Lakeside Cluster. Pleasantdale, with no redistricting, will open at 73% capacity.
Superintendent Tyson presented a reasoned, pragmatic approach to the problems at hand and offered a vision of a long term solution that would address the situation over time.
I think, like most people in the audience we were not expecting this outcome and the level of effort and foresight that came out in her presentation.
I am very impressed with the way she assembled a team, listened to the stakeholders and came up with an approach that should yield a workable plan in the future.
Some may say its a ‘kick the can’ approach but what is evident is that a multi-year comprehensive solution is required that needs outside parties to help formulate.
I am changing my vote for SPLOST increases from no to yes on the back of this presentation. They need more funds and more time, plain and simple.
What about the overcrowding at dhs, cross keyes and lakeside? Will those be addressed in this plan?
Tyson is not recommending a GO bond.
I plan to write an article this week on the ESPLOST project option list. DHS, Lakeside and Chamblee high school additions are removed from the project list along with the new Cross Keys HS. Tyson plans to hire an enrollment/redistricting analytics expert for district wide redistricting and consolidation of elementary, middle and high schools. With those savings, she plans on putting in turf at all the high schools and build another elementary school in the Chamblee/Dunwoody area … among other things.
DCSD Doublespeak: “The DeKalb Schools administrative team said they wanted to build a plan around clearly defined goals, embrace collaboration and community engagement”.
English Translation: “Keep the [Bleep]-ing Poors and [Racial Slurs] out of my neighborhood school!”
Stan, DCSD needs to release three county-wide school attendance zone maps, one for elementary, one for middle and one for high school. Those maps need to be color coded and labeled with the demographics of the students in each zone (% White, % Black, % Hispanic, %Economically Disadvantaged, %Learning Disability)
Please vote no on the Superintendent’s plan. We deserve better. You said when Superintendent Tyson was hired that she was someone that could make hard choice. Last night she proved that she is not up to the challenge. She is proposing that with the 3 new schools there will likely be a total of 684 (less any new school bump) empty seats when they open in August 2020.
A Comprehensive Master Plan sounds like a good idea but we will end up regretting it. CMPs are a bad idea for the following reasons:
1. If specific they limit the ability to pursue good options because they don’t fit the master plan.
2. If general, future leadership can do whatever they want and use the master plan as justification.
3. It will likely adopt a uniform standard across the district when there are vary diverse challenges across the district that need solutions that fits each population. This condemns us to mediocrity.
4. It gives Board members voting for the plan far too much power. There is a reason we don’t elect Board members to 10 year terms, but a 10 year plan gives them power for 10+ years.
5. It is likely that aspects of a plan will be contradictory. What then? For example encouraging students to walk to school is something that comes up repeatedly. But when we commit to larger schools as our prototype, they necessarily have to draw from a larger attendance area making it harder to walk to school. Which do you want larger schools or more students walking because you can’t have both.
I’ll provide just one example of why these sorts of standards create unnecessary limitations. DCSD has committed that all new elementary schools be built to a 950 student standard. Dunwoody does not currently need another 950 student school. 2021 forecasts show Dunwoody needing room for about another 450 students. DCSD already owns land in Dunwoody that could easily accommodate a school that size but that land will not get built on as long as we hold to the 950 student standard.
when will LifeGoodinDaWood dude post on FaceBook his protest about the brown kids being moved out of Hightower/PCMS/DHS? Ha Ha. Never! And will he be mad that those other brown kids won’t be going to Kingsley?
Kinglsey moms secret;y rejoicing they don’t get more apartment kids. Those hypocrit lib moms want all this crazy lib crap, until it hits home. Go look at those moms’ FB friends – all white. Ha Ha.
Poor DES. You’ve never learned to play in the cluster sandbox.
So glad the DHS expansion is stopped. Such a bad decision three years ago from that parent council
I applaud Superintendent Tyson for listening to stakeholders and charting a rational course, something that has been missing throughout the recent SPLOST and redistricting planning.. District 1 needs a new elementary school and to better use the properties it already has. She has prioritized that, provided interim relief for overcrowding, and is getting. Fully behind a comprehensive plan. But the best thing I heard last night was putting the middle and high school additions on hold. Adding classrooms to maxed out schools while there are thousands of open seats in the county makes no sense. The District needs district-wide redistricting of muddle and high schools to optimize facility usage and remove trailers. This won’t be popular with many, but it has to happen to put what funds we do have to best use, and that is not building cumbersome additions when there are empty seats elsewhere.
The next elementary school to go up will more than likely server the Dunwoody and Chamblee area for the following reasons …
Dunwoody Cluster – 2021 Utilization
Not including Hightower ES, the total capacity of elementary schools in the Dunwoody cluster is 3,222. In 2021, those schools (not including Hightower) will have 3,705 students. The Dunwoody schools alone will be over capacity by 483 students.
Chamblee Cluster – 2021 Utilization
In 2021 Montgomery ES is expected to be 248 students over capacity and Ashford Park ES is expected to be 308 students over capacity.
What is a realistic date for that new school to open?
Stan- how many students would you expect the CMP to redistribute from DHS?
Ben, Best case scenario is that a new elementary school opens in 2023. 1 year to find an Architectural and Engineering firm and do the designs. 2 years to build it.
There are 6,000 open high school seats in DeKalb Schools. There needs to be redistricting and consolidation. I don’t know what the balance is.
Regarding Stan’s post above, the line “Pleasantdale, with no redistricting, will open at 73% capacity”:
Palace scuttlebutt believes that Tyson is afraid to proceed on this redistricting because it would move some current Evansdale students to Pleasantdale, a school that is 97.8% Non-White and 91.7% economically disadvantaged.
White parents are already pissed off at DCSD and demanding that their principal, Dr. Fields, be fired. Check out their website: http://www.saveevansdale.com/
Apparently Dr. Fields made the mistake of thinking that the French Immersion Program should be open to brown kids.
@DSW2Contributor – and I say this from the heart. You’re full of shit.
Stan — With your estimate that a new school will take one year to plan and two years to build, doesn’t that put us at more of a 5 year estimate to open? Thinking that if the CMP is to be finalized 6/2021, wouldn’t that mean the 3 year year clock to build a school starts then? Plus whatever time it takes to actually find and purchase land. So opening fall 2024 if land already found, or more realistically sometime in 2025?
Can you please clarify this timeline? If fall 2023 is best case does that mean that DCSD is already scouting for land?
The school district may not wait for the CMP to be finalized before starting down the path of a new elementary school. The school district could use the shallowford property or rebuild Nancy Creek. I have no idea if they are looking for land. Land purchases don’t come before the board until they have found a number of properties.
Stan — Thanks for the reply. So 2023 best case for new school/place to put kids if DCSD can hustle and find some land, make a decision regarding current land, etc. But possibly (likely) later given the history of slow timelines for such projects. And no chance of any dunwoody-area building projects completed prior to 2022 when DES is projected to add trailers. Please correct me if I am wrong. If DCSD population forecasts hold true, is there any way to avoid adding trailers at DES in 2022? Any potential space in the works?
^^^^ @crazy is a good description of the Evansdale parent who emailed this manifesto to the board:
Thankfully, it’s not my job to respond to it but I will say that the manifesto describes a lot of PARENTAL and STAFF misconduct. An easy example:
“In a recent meeting Dr. Fields claimed Crepe Day had been cancelled because the person who used to make the crepes was no longer at the school. That parent volunteer then raised her hand because not only is she still at the school but she was actually in the room.”
The manifesto’s author seems unable to comprehend that NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO DISTRIBUTE HOME MADE FOOD AT SCHOOL.
@crazy, tell me this: What % of children in Evansdale’s French Immersion Program are Hispanic?
(Evansdale as a whole is 40.9% Hispanic.)
The District decided to house a French Immersion Program at Evansdale.
The District manages all outreach/advertising for this School Choice program.
The District manages the application/selection process for this program.
It is not the parents’ fault if the demographics of the French Immersion Program aren’t to someone’s liking.
As far as the Crepe Day issue, if the issue was that home made food wasn’t allowed, why on earth didn’t the Principal make that perfectly clear? Why did she claim that it was because no crepe maker was available?
I see this as the latest instance of a dangerous trend in DCSD, in which the District encourages or at least tolerates a bullying approach by principals when stakeholders have questions or disagree with District decisions.
Don’t we tell our children to speak up? Don’t we tell our children that bullying is wrong? Then why do these issues continue to surface in DCSD?
I’m not an Evansdale stakeholder so I have no personal knowledge of these issues. But I cannot believe that a group of involved parents have nothing better to do than to make up these issues, putting themselves and their children in danger of retaliation, ESPECIALLY in a school where it is clear that retaliation can be expected.
^” if the issue was that home made food wasn’t allowed, why on earth didn’t the Principal make that perfectly clear?”
Because Manifesto-Parent is the Bully and Bullies don’t listen very well.
Look, the manfesto (http://www.saveevansdale.com/?p=14) implies that Evansdale’s former Principal was not following district rules — Evansdale had suspiciously small class sizes, dads were allowed to distribute communications to the school body without prior approval, youth groups were holding events at the school without the proper written approvals, a whole day was devoted to passing out homemade food to the entire school body, etc. That’s all according to the manifesto.
The former Principal’s contract was not renewed (I don’t know if that was her decision or DCSD) and she has relocated to the middle east. A new Principal (Dr. Fields) was assigned to Evansdale.
The manifesto tells me that Dr. Fields requires parents to follow the same rules parents in every other DCSD have to follow. Manifesto-Parent doesn’t like this. Manifesto Parent doesn’t like that DCSD rules require that communications be reviewed and approved before being sent out, Manifesto Parent doesn’t like that DCSD rules prohibit having a day devoted to passing out homemade food, etc., etc., etc. — that’s all according to the manifesto.
Fields arrived at Evansdale in the summer of 2018. Manifesto Parent appears to have started complaining to the Regional Superintendent Trenton Arnold soon after Field’s arrival. Manifesto Parent began writing letters to the board on April 14, 2019, sending at least seven according to the manifesto.
Thankfully, DCSD Administrators and the School Board ignored Manifesto Parent (per the manifesto’s line “This letter is being drafted after letters sent on 4/14/19, 5/3/19, 5/21/19, 9/3/19, 9/9/19, and 9/16/19 have not resulted in suitable action.”)
The board did not respond to Manifesto Parent’s seven letters and his demands by December 9, 2019, so Manifesto Parent began trying other tactics. He submitted an Ethics Complaint on December 17, 2019 and launched the saveevansdale website.
I hope and pray that the Tyson and the Board continue to ignore Manifesto Parent because acquiescing to him would jeopardize our accreditation. Specifically, AdvancED’s Standards for Quality contains this expectation:
The governing body consistently protects, supports, and respects the autonomy of school leadership to accomplish goals for achievement and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations of the school. The governing body maintains a clear distinction between its roles and responsibilities and those of school leadership.
I have to say, the situation at Evansdale seems like business as usual for DCSS— take a look around at many of the
top tier administrative personnel– former principals that were removed from the school for a variety of reasons….While Ramona – AKA female Lewis Crawford- is in charge do not expect anything but continuing fingerpointing at anyone but the top for the money mismanagement, inadequate planning and overall distrust .
When a school district is performing successfully, they welcome involved parents. You see what is happening here.
Stan, something looks wrong with the numbers in the 2019 portable classrooms column. For the first three schools, the numbers are negative, which would imply the values are deltas. For the last three schools, the numbers look like actuals for 2019. This feels like an apples to oranges comparison. What was the intent of the column?
Hey Jim. Portables … good question. I was trying to aggregate multiple tables and may have messed that up. I’ll take a look.
I still have 2 issues with what you wrote.
First, I don’t think we should automatically conclude that the one-size-fits-all District policies are best for every school. Why shouldn’t schools earn some flexibility in how they conduct themselves? Why shouldn’t DCSD policy reflect that flexibility, and therefore not be an issue with SACS?
Second, if a new Principal discovers that their school has not been following District policy, there are at least 2 ways to respond. One is what happened at Evansdale, with immediate changes, with threats and no explanation. Gee, how well is that working?
Another way to respond is by evaluating each “breach” and informing the community of the problem. Enlisting the community to modify school practices to meet those standards would work much better than threats and immediate change. Work collaboratively, not solely with top-down threats and mandates.
This approach just might lead to approval of reasonable flexibility so that ALL Evansdale students are served in the best way possible. The Region 2 Superintendent seems to be a reasonable guy. He just might have gone to bat for flexibility if there was a strong case for that. But now it looks like Evansdale is seriously broken. The task of running that school has gotten exponentially more difficult.
@escapee from Dekalb – “have to say, the situation at Evansdale seems like business as usual for DCSS”
I actually think it is the same old “magnet parents happily ignore the suffering of non-magnet parents” story that the old Dekalb School Watch blogs used to cover. (Evansdale is a neighborhood school that also houses a magnet program.)
@Anonymous – let me respond to your second issue first:
(2) “if a new Principal discovers that their school has not been following District policy, there are at least 2 ways to respond. One is what happened at Evansdale, with immediate changes, with threats and no explanation.”
No, there is only one way for the Principal to respond – the school has to be immediately begin following the rules in DCSD’s written procedure manuals. Those manuals do not have have any “We’ve Always Done It That Way” exceptions.
The Principal’s job is to ensure that her school follows written DCSD procedures. Period.
As for the “threats”, that sounds like the progressive discipline that exists in all professional workplaces. Employees who fail to follow the written rules in their employee handbook receive progressive discipline — they first are given verbal warning(s), then written warning(s), then suspensions, then removal. The verbal & written warnings usually include threats of termination if the employee behavior does not change.
Your other issue: (1) “Why shouldn’t schools earn some flexibility in how they conduct themselves? Why shouldn’t DCSD policy reflect that flexibility, and therefore not be an issue with SACS”
I don’t understand those questions.
Our schools have plenty of flexibility; they just have to follow the written policies & procedures that have been approved by the elected school board.
If a school decides that their magnet school is not going to follow board policy, then that school is usurping power away from elected officials.
Board members won elections and took oaths of office; schools have not.
Stan, thank you for the update to the table. The 2019 portable numbers look accurate now.