02/02/2015 – GAC

Georgia Accrediting Agency Exit Report
02/02/2015 Work Session

Michael Thurmond – Superintendent
I’d like to request the GAC, Georgia Accrediting Commission, provide their exit report.  As you recall, it was recommended that the DeKalb County School District seek dual accreditation.  A monitoring team from GAC was here this past week.  They are going to share their evaluation and impressions and findings after spending an intensive week of evaluating all 22 high schools.
I’m honored to introduce Mr. Boyd who lead the monitoring team.  It has been a pleasure to work with GAC.  They have been insightful and honest.  I’m convinced this will result in improved quality and educational services.
Robert Boyd – Georgia Accrediting Commission
[Introduces team]
We visited 23 of your high schools last week.  The first thing we do when we meet the principal is ask to see the facilities.  We have been throughout all 23 facilities.  They are all very well organized, very well maintained.  Some are older than others.  They are being used at max capacity in most situations.
We found them to be very well organized when we got down to checking the standards and documentation.  The documentation was outstanding.  I credit Dr. Everett and her staff and the principals and the people in the schools that were setting up the boxes of information and documentation.  They did a superb job.
Sometimes when you go into a school and ask for something, they have to run and get it.  Not one time did I ask for something that they had to run and get.  It was there in the box ready for me to see.
We even checked restrooms last week.  We did not find a single dirty, filthy, restroom.  All of us spot checked.  It seems as though, and I want my team to chime in, it seems to me the principals still have some autonomy in DeKalb County as to the kinds of programs they can operate.  They can develop some of their own programs to meet the needs of their kids.  That is extremely good.  I compliment you.
Of the 5 programs I visited.  3 of them were on the block schedule.  They had 90 minute periods.  If I had to go one way or the other, 7 periods per day or the block schedule, I would do something to keep the block schedule.  You can do all kinds of things with lab work, added time for research, investigations.  Once you get a class started, there’s a momentum there that if you have to start after 55 minutes and start again the next day, there is something lost.
Mr. Harris – Georgia Accrediting Agency
I’ve been an educator for over 30 years.  If you’re not dedicated to the kids then you’re in the wrong place.  Children are what we are all about….
I went into 6 of your schools …
The DeKalb School of the Arts, very unique.  They have an outstanding principal.  All the principals were outstanding, but she did some great work.
Robert Boyd
Your large high schools have 2 media specialists.  If you have to cut, cut one of those media specialists.  With the internet, kids are fully capable of searching for materials without going into the media center.  Eventually we are going to see change in that direction and our standards will adjust accordingly.
Many of the media specialists you had were sub par.  This will be discussed in the March meeting and it might affect the level of accreditation in each school.  But nobody will know the level of accreditation except the principal and executives.
We will have a GAC board meeting the first weekend of March.  All the consultant’s reports will go to the commission at that meeting.  They will be voting at that meeting on the schools recommended for accreditation.  Within a week or two after that meeting, each of your schools will be getting certificates from our executive director.  That will be for 5 years.  Keep paying your fees, $50/school, but you don’t need another visitation.
We certainly enjoyed this.