DeKalb details plan to escape state takeover: Improve instruction

The governor’s Opportunity School District has not yet won voter approval, but DeKalb now joins Atlanta in already announcing a game plan to fend off state takeover.

In 2016, Georgia voters, at the behest of Nathan Deal, will be asked to empower the state to subvert local control of schools and take charge of schools categorized as chronically failing.

Deal has cited state takeover districts in New Orleans and Tennessee as his inspiration; takeovers there have targeted urban schools in close proximity rather than schools spread across rural areas.

Given that criterion, DeKalb and APS represent likely targets for the OSD.

APS has already begun its deflection campaign, even hiring Deal’s former education adviser Erin Hames to help it figure out how to improve its schools and avoid the OSD.

DeKalb issued its plan today. Here is the official release from the district:

Dr. R. Stephen Green

Dr. R. Stephen Green

Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green announced today a comprehensive plan to remove DeKalb County School District schools that qualify for target lists including the proposed Opportunity School District (OSD), priority, and focus lists.

Thirty eight district schools are eligible as defined by proposed state legislation and existing federal guidelines.  An additional 16 schools were identified for support based on a three-year average of their College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores for a total of 54 target schools.

“The answer to getting our schools off these lists requires a systematic solution,” said Dr. Green.  “The solution begins with improving classroom instruction and outcomes.”

The district’s efforts to improve overall student academic performance is being led by the CIA² Task Force, which will be responsible for improving curriculum, instruction, assessment, and accountability in the classroom.

Chaired by two regional superintendents, the Task Force, which reports weekly to Superintendent Green, has a broad mandate to evaluate all aspects of classroom learning and implement improvements.

In addition, relevant professional learning for school leaders and teachers, enhanced family and community engagement, and expanded academic support and social and emotional student support are critical components of the plan.

Also, operational flexibility will offer preferential hiring of highly qualified and effective teachers including teachers in special education, ESOL, and gifted.  Incentive bonuses using Title II Federal funds will be allocated when appropriate for teachers demonstrating academic achievement.

A rapid response team composed of local school staff will be deployed to address critical issues or needs, as they occur. Partnerships will be created with local colleges and universities to provide need-based support.  Outside service providers that can assist teachers, students and school leadership will be offered to the target schools.

Managing this process will be a District Effectiveness Team, composed of District and school leaders.  The Team, which will meet twice a month with Superintendent Green, develop monthly action steps towards improving and supporting the target schools, and collaborate with the Georgia Department of Education and the Metro Regional Education Service Agency.

The following reflect some of the goals that have been set for the target schools:

  • The number of schools qualified as OSD eligible, Priority, and Focus will decrease from 38 to 0 in 2016.
  • All target schools will meet state targets for subject content and subgroups based on the 2016 Georgia Milestones and CCRPI.
  • All target high schools will have a graduation rate at or above the state’s 2016 graduation rate.
  • All target schools will have a Climate Star Rating of 4 or 5 on the 2016 CCRPI.
  • Standard teacher and principal evaluation scores will increase annually by a minimum of 10 percent.

“My expectations are to improve teaching and learning and remove DeKalb County School District from the conversation about OSD eligibility, priority, or focus schools,” said Dr. Green.

A parent awareness and empowerment conference that will focus on the District’s plan for removing schools from the lists is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2015, 900 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Columbia High School, 2106 Columbia Drive, Decatur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green announced today a comprehensive plan to remove DeKalb County School District schools that qualify for target lists including the proposed Opportunity School District (OSD), priority, and focus lists.

Thirty eight district schools are eligible as defined by proposed state legislation and existing federal guidelines.  An additional 16 schools were identified for support based on a three-year average of their College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores for a total of 54 target schools.

“The answer to getting our schools off these lists requires a systematic solution,” said Dr. Green.  “The solution begins with improving classroom instruction and outcomes.”

The district’s efforts to improve overall student academic performance is being led by the CIA² Task Force, which will be responsible for improving curriculum, instruction, assessment, and accountability in the classroom.

Chaired by two regional superintendents, the Task Force, which reports weekly to Superintendent Green, has a broad mandate to evaluate all aspects of classroom learning and implement improvements.

In addition, relevant professional learning for school leaders and teachers, enhanced family and community engagement, and expanded academic support and social and emotional student support are critical components of the plan.

Also, operational flexibility will offer preferential hiring of highly qualified and effective teachers including teachers in special education, ESOL, and gifted.  Incentive bonuses using Title II Federal funds will be allocated when appropriate for teachers demonstrating academic achievement.

A rapid response team composed of local school staff will be deployed to address critical issues or needs, as they occur. Partnerships will be created with local colleges and universities to provide need-based support.  Outside service providers that can assist teachers, students and school leadership will be offered to the target schools.

Managing this process will be a District Effectiveness Team, composed of District and school leaders.  The Team, which will meet twice a month with Superintendent Green, develop monthly action steps towards improving and supporting the target schools, and collaborate with the Georgia Department of Education and the Metro Regional Education Service Agency.

The following reflect some of the goals that have been set for the target schools:

  • The number of schools qualified as OSD eligible, Priority, and Focus will decrease from 38 to 0 in 2016.
  • All target schools will meet state targets for subject content and subgroups based on the 2016 Georgia Milestones and CCRPI.
  • All target high schools will have a graduation rate at or above the state’s 2016 graduation rate.
  • All target schools will have a Climate Star Rating of 4 or 5 on the 2016 CCRPI.
  • Standard teacher and principal evaluation scores will increase annually by a minimum of 10 percent.

“My expectations are to improve teaching and learning and remove DeKalb County School District from the conversation about OSD eligibility, priority, or focus schools,” said Dr. Green.

A parent awareness and empowerment conference that will focus on the District’s plan for removing schools from the lists is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2015, 900 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Columbia High School, 2106 Columbia Drive, Decatur 30032.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

62 comments
G Leandrae Sykes
G Leandrae Sykes

The problem is with those ineffective teachers ,principals and support staff both at the local level and school board

G Leandrae Sykes
G Leandrae Sykes

And I hope the District put a stop to staff abusing children at Rockbridge. Thank God for a new principal

G Leandrae Sykes
G Leandrae Sykes

I think the first thing to do would be firing those teacher who had other people submit college level work for them to finish school to be a certified teacher. If you can't pass the college classes without someone else doing your work you shouldn't be allowed to cheat students. Teaching is hard enough to teachers who know the curriculum. So don't fake it. Pass your on test. Rockbridge Elementary School paraprofessional-to- teachers. Counselor and resource special ed

Cere
Cere

..."Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green announced today a comprehensive plan to remove DeKalb County School District schools that qualify for target lists including the proposed Opportunity School District (OSD), priority, and focus lists." ... 

In the category, Old News is New News: Will it be called "Premier DeKalb" "Blue Ribbon Task Force" "Charrettes" "Triage" "The Bridge" "Fireside Chats" "Five Guiding Principles” “Theory of Action for Change” or how about “Victory in Every Classroom”?

So far, Dr. Green's one "Big Idea" is to displace Warren Tech's successful program and very happy students clear across the county to make room for years of unresolved over-crowding in the Cross Keys zone.  Gee - isn't there room at Chamblee? Hmm. 

Call me jaded, but copy and paste this for future reference: Whatever this new 'plan' is, it will certainly be implemented mere months before Dr. Green announces his retirement whererby we all go on a search for a new super with a brand new 'plan', having made little progress, or most likely having regressed under Green's leadership. 


Intteach
Intteach

So Dekalb will build another level of bureaucracy and central office staff positions to address the problem. Great - it has worked so well before. And then the state will come in with its extra school district, extra district level and building level administrations, pay the teachers even less and hope that will solve the problem. How silly can it get?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

This is a serious question.  I see that Dr. Green has been involved in projects to increase student achievement in both public and private venues, frequently as a consultant.  Were his efforts successful?

RTS04
RTS04

“The answer to getting our schools off these lists requires a systematic solution,” said Dr. Green. What's a systematic solution and is the proposed action systematic? The course of action described here is to impose another layer of supervision, a fast intervention team that could be dispatched to help troubled schools. This does not mean systematic and will add another layer of bureaucracy in one of the most bureaucratic school districts in the state. Dekalb spends double what similar school districts spend on central administration functions. Improving school performance is a national problem and there are proven success stories, improving school performance starts and ends with the teacher and the student. The teacher has be well trained, motivated and rewarded to teach and the student has to be prepared, motivated and eager to learn. To become a better place for teachers, Dekalb should start by improving teacher pay and pension and make it competitive with neighboring school districts especially Gwinnett to avoid loosing experienced teachers. A big contributing factor to the underperformance of Dekalb schools especially in South Dekalb is poverty and there is not much a school district can do about that. It would have been inspiring to hear Dr. Green say that his systematic action will be to streamline the central bureaucracy and to re-direct the funds consumed by the bloated bureaucracy towards better teacher compensation and benefits and efforts to hire and retain the best teacher the county can afford. 

Mandella88
Mandella88

@RTS04

" Dekalb spends double what similar school districts spend on central administration functions."


Proof?  No linky, you stinky...

dg417s
dg417s

Schools don't fail. Schools are buildings and my building certainly isn't falling down. By saying the school is failing we dehumanize the problem and it's easier to place blame. Until we realize that we are dealing with people - people who live, work, shop, and play in our communities and work to make sure that we have the strongest communities possible, we will never truly fix this problem. All that will happen if voters are tricked into voting for the governor's amendment is that outside management companies will make profits on taxpayer dollars and when they can't solve the problem, they will shutter the buildings which will then become a blight on the community because the local district will not be able to use the building as a school again for several years. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@dg417s "Schools don't fail. Schools are buildings "

Semantics!  It is like people saying not to use the word "illegals" because a person can't be illegal - only their actions.  As someone said in another blog - why use one word when you can use ten.  We all know what we are talking about when we say "failing schools" we are talking about the school educational system - the system that is run by people and their decisions. 

Will the OSD be the "magic toothbrush" as Wascatlady describes it?  Of course not.  If the OSD does not identify and address the key issues (such as discipline, attendance, and social promotion), then they will fall just as flat as the regular school district.

dg417s
dg417s

@class80olddog @dg417s " If the OSD does not identify and address the key issues (such as discipline, attendance, and social promotion), then they will fall just as flat as the regular school district.".... that's not what the OSD is all about. It is all about making profits for the educational management companies. That's why you won't see the OSD taking over the schools in places like Macon, Twiggs, and Colquitt Counties that are on the list. There is no money to be made there. They aren't coming in to fix our schools and when the EMCs fail to improve student outcomes, they will close the school and there will be a vacant building that will blight the neighborhood. We do need to address the issues, but this isn't the way and needs to be voted down.

dg417s
dg417s

@class80olddog @dg417s I will also say in this case, the semantics are important. You don't want to hear that your children or your neighbors are failing. Saying the school takes the individual personalities out of it and that is huge.

livingitdaily
livingitdaily

Once again, it's the teachers that need to improve. It's the instruction that is at fault. Can't be that students are unmotivated, parents are uninterested unless there is money to be made in a lawsuit. Failing schools are a social problem, not an instructional problem. It's time to spend money on after school buses so students can go to tutoring, social workers to find out why students are coming to school hungry or under-clothed. We need to find male role models and mentors. We need social answers not instructional ones. Oh, and start paying those Dekalb teachers what they are worth!


gactzn2
gactzn2

Until the state gives schools "teeth" to address problem students- not students with problems- then nothing will ever improve.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

As I posted below (first, so it's hard to read): "Good grief.  Pie in the sky for all bye and bye." 


His goals here all are to be met by 2016. (This is late-2015. Remember?) Boots on the ground implementation? 

This is very disturbing.  Guy seems to have no realistic idea of how things are to be done or what can realistically be achieved or even what the problems are in DeKalb K-12 system. 


DeKalb parents of public K-12 schools: prepare for a state take-over.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@OriginalProf He should start off by listing what he has found to be the most serious issues common to these failing schools and how he will target those issues. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@OriginalProf "prepare for a state take-over."

The BIG question about the Sate takeover is whether the county gets to keep their county taxes?  If so, they probably WANT the state to take over some schools.

Astropig
Astropig

@OriginalProf


"DeKalb parents of public K-12 schools: prepare for a state take-over."


I think that both of these superintendents are telegraphing that they believe that the OSD is going to pass.Superintendents are political animals.I think they sense that an earthquake is coming.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@Astropig @OriginalProf


So all schools will be taken over.......converted to charters..........big deal! What will change in any of these schools?  Any answers little deal Pig?

Astropig
Astropig

@JBBrown1968 @Astropig @OriginalProf


Nonsense. Attitudes like yours,spread throughout the status quo, is one of the reasons that such radical solutions like the OSD are gaining traction.You want us to believe that you rise from your bed every day "for the children",but people that have different opinions on educational issues are just in it for the money. You're too bigoted to see that the public is fed up with such arrogance,thus, imperfect (VERY imperfect) solutions like the OSD start to look very appealing to a frustrated public.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @JBBrown1968 @OriginalProf I look at OSD as if dentists promised us all magic toothbrushes.  These toothbrushes would save everyone from cavities, overbites,and other dental problems.  THAT is what would be needed, rather than the things we know will work--careful cleaning, regular checkups and cleanings, use of tooth strengthening materials, avoidance of certain foods, avoiding thumbsucking and over-long use of bottles, etc.


Unless and until you can make the root causes of the problem change behaviors, the problem will still exist, magic toothbrush or not.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @Astropig @JBBrown1968 @OriginalProf "Unless and until you can make the root causes of the problem change behaviors, the problem will still exist"

There you have it in a nutshell - you are 100% correct.

But the key issues are HARD to address - which is why the schools have not addressed them (that and Political Correctness)

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@Astropig @JBBrown1968 @OriginalProf


Reading must be tough on you! I will speak slowly! I am not a teacher! Being part of the public, I understand that schools have problems, slow enough I hope. Now keep up!

I am tired of the legislature and the governor not taking responsibility for the children of Georgia. I will enlighten you on what would improve Georgia public education. If our governor had stones he could do the following and not make up another useless commission.

1. require local boards to spend money on books or computers, not monuments.

2. make all sports after school,not all day.

3. stop paying superintendents more than presidents.

4. Make everyone in a school building work with students.


When you have a fifty million dollar school and no books. Don't complain about the level of teaching. That's the legislature and the governor!

When you have a sports complex that rivals Texas stadium. That is the legislature and the governor!

Teaching and learning is not priority with them or you!


Arrogance and bigoted! HAAHHAHAHAHAH! You probably think you are pretty toooo! HAHAHAH




Astropig
Astropig

I don't know if they're going to effect a turnaround at any of the DC schools that have been identified. Given their history, it's a dicey bet. But...


Does anybody here believe that these initiatives would have ever seen the light of day without the threat of state takeover?



Again, I believe that the OSD has about a one-in-three chance of showing success.But the odds of improvement with the discredited old scheme were near zero.Just like with APS, they now admit that there is a problem with DeKalb County. That's the first step to improvement.



Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig Do we count it as a success if there were to be some of the "strategies" mentioned below?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @Wascatlady I'm suggesting there are methods such as Starik and Class80 mentioned below, if the amorphous other plans don't work.

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @Astropig


Here's an idea so crazy that it might just work-


How about addressing the problems identified and making an honest effort to solve them with a different approach than has been used previously? I agree wholeheartedly that superintendent Greene laid down some unrealistic markers here,but giving up before you even try is a sure way to fail.


Improvement is a process,not an event.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @Astropig If you transfer the worst students out to the better schools, it will only run the good students in those schools to privates or to better school systems (by moving).  If you transfer the worst students to alternate schools, then the better students left in the marginal schools will actually have a chance to learn, rather than be pulled down by the thugs.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Astropig @Wascatlady But HOW is he going to pursue these goals?  Magic?  Or some marshmallow talk about "engaging the community to be the best that they can be"?  We need solid strategies - like keeping any student who misbehaves an hour after school and their mother (there is no dad) has to pick them up or else the police take custody of them and DFACS is called. 

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@Astropig  Go ask Beverly Hall what happened when her same kind of numerical goals "initiatives" saw the "light of day" for more than a decade.  So much of this rigmarole and attendant waste going on now with APS and DeKalb County in fear of OSD is nothing but “deja vu, all over again" (RIP, Yogi).  What's that word for doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?  Yes, the "status quo" is one word, but I'm thinking the word begins with "S."  S...t...ah...u...p...ah...i...and…d.  Yes!  That's it.

Astropig
Astropig

@EdJohnson @Astropig


I can't ask Beverly Hall anything. She's dead. It was in all the papers.


And I'm not here to defend Stephen Greene. He has clearly set unrealistic goals here with no means to achieve them. He's a product of the status quo that you love so dearly, so that's not very surprising.But I am encouraged that the status quo is taking the threat to its monopoly so seriously that it is actually doing something,even if it's kinda stupid.Thus, the OSD is having its intended effect.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog @Astropig @Wascatlady Might work but DFACS is "full up" and who will take care of them after school.  Please don't say school personnel, as they are busy solving all the problems society dumps on them.  And forget about their own family life.

class80olddog
class80olddog

If DeKalb county wanted to do something REALISTIC about their failing schools problem, they would start by addressing Discipline, Attendance, and Social Promotion.  No charge for my services.

bu2
bu2

@class80olddog

This sounded good until I looked at the goals.  The chance of reaching any of those goals is about as close to zero as you can get.  That tells me the process is run by incompetents.

MD3
MD3

Dekalb just needs to do what APS has done... pay off the governor's crony to keep its schools off the hit list. Remember -- here in GA there's no such thing as ethics or conflicts of interest.

redweather
redweather

Now to the substance of the plan.

  • The number of schools qualified as OSD eligible, Priority, and Focus will decrease from 38 to 0 in 2016.  (Can this possibly be realistic?)
  • All target schools will meet state targets for subject content and subgroups based on the 2016 Georgia Milestones and CCRPI. (Can this possibly be realistic?)
  • All target high schools will have a graduation rate at or above the state’s 2016 graduation rate. (Can this possibly be realistic?) 
  • All target schools will have a Climate Star Rating of 4 or 5 on the 2016 CCRPI. (Can this possibly be realistic?)
  • Standard teacher and principal evaluation scores will increase annually by a minimum of 10 percent. (I could see this happening, although I'd have a lot more faith in it if the evaluation process was open to review.)


Setting goals is one thing.  This looks like a "wish list."  

Starik
Starik

@popcornular @redweather Transfer the worst students out of the "failing schools" and send them to the "succeeding schools."  Test score will rise, and the kids can be shuffled again when necessary.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@redweather This has no specifics about HOW they will accomplish these goals - therefore it is a lost cause.

bu2
bu2

@redweather

The chance of the 1st 4 is absolute zero.  The only chance on the 5th is if they cheat on the results.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@class80olddog Actually, I will tell you it's an Obama thing.  Witness where Obama just put John King?  What better proof.

popcornular
popcornular

@redweather

The cousin of 'Every child will be fluent in reading and math by ...' So astoundingly impossible, it truly makes one wonder if they are on drugs.

Quite a grin on this guy's face. Just sayin'.