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Setting the Record Straight

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  • Your source for clear and precise news about media reports related to DeKalb County School District (DCSD).

    July 29, 2018

    setting-the-record-straightPeriodically, the district will use this forum to clarify news reports regarding its activities. The district believes its constituents are entitled to the complete story, and will always work to keep you well informed.

    This edition includes important information about an article published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailing the results of DCSD students on the 2018 Georgia Milestones exams. The article contained four inaccuracies or misstatements that in total misrepresent the positive outcomes of our students. The story was updated on July 29 at the district’s request, but this posting is to inform those who read the AJC’s story prior to publication.

    INACCURATE Statement No. 1

    MISINFORMATION – “…top scoring school for third grade English was Midvale Elementary, where 99.6 percent of students were reading at a proficient or higher level…”

    CORRECT INFORMATION – Ashford Park Elementary was the top scoring school for third grade English. The wrong data was cited here.

    INACCURATE Statement No. 2

    MISINFORMATION – “The district had a dozen elementary schools where only a quarter of the third graders were so well prepared.”

    CORRECT INFORMATION – Approximately 60 percent of DeKalb students tested in reading scored at/above grade level for reading comprehension. The total Milestones tested student population in DeKalb’s Elementary schools is 23,942. 60% of the total elementary tested student population, 14,365, were proficient in reading. This represents more than a dozen schools, and represents a majority of DeKalb’s elementary school students who are reading at/above grade level.

    INACCURATE Statement No. 3

    MISINFORMATION – “Fifty of DeKalb’s 79 middle schools showed declines in the numbers of students reading at a proficient or better level.”

    CORRECT INFORMATION – DeKalb doesn’t have 79 middle schools. DeKalb has 19 middle schools. It is unclear how this data was calculated, which student population measure was used, and if it is representative of the correct number of middle schools.

    INACCURATE Statement No. 4

    MISINFORMATION – “Only one other middle school, DeKalb School of the Arts, had more than half the students who were proficient or better.”

    CORRECT INFORMATION – It is unclear which exact subject area was analyzed here specifically, if it was only 8th grade math or 8th grade math and ELA.

    July 20, 2018

    Periodically, the district will use this forum to clarify news reports regarding its activities. The district believes its constituents are entitled to the complete story, and will always work to keep you well informed.

    This edition includes important information regarding DCSD bus drivers, including a fact sheet about their compensation, benefits, and career opportunities.

    UPDATE: On July 20, the DeKalb County School District leadership met with bus drivers to discuss progress on addressing concerns from the drivers. Multiple media outlets reported on this meeting, as well as a separate meeting with ex-bus drivers. In order to clarify the issue, DCSD issued the following statement regarding its bus drivers.

    “The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) continues to address the concerns of its bus drivers through an open, collaborative dialogue.

    Today, Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green met with drivers in the latest step in this ongoing process. In a statement following that meeting, he noted actions taken recently that offer benefits to the drivers. To date, DCSD has addressed 22 concerns of the drivers, while another 23 are currently being addressed, and 13 more are being researched.

    “DCSD continues to work with its bus drivers on solutions that address their concerns. Substantial progress has been made through a series of meetings that have led to improvements such as a new merit pay recognition program and increases salaries in the FY 2019 budget. The district remains committed to working with drivers who demonstrate a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.”

    Some of those steps include:

    • A 2.5% salary increase for all employees, including Bus Drivers and Monitors
    • The establishment of a new step structure for both classified and certified staff, effective January 2019
    • Increase in extra activity budget to support Special Needs programming, athletic events, field trips, etc.
    • Restoration of the District’s Meritorious Attendance Program (annual $150.00 incentive and Spring Banquet)
    • Allocation of numerous new positions to include thirty-five (35) school Bus Monitors, four (4) Routing Technicians, two (2) Dispatch Clerks, two (2) Transportation Customer Service Representatives, one (1) Safety/Field Trainer, one (1) Bus Mechanic, two (2) Body Repair Technicians, and one (1) Electronics and Technology Repair Technician”

    April 23, 2018

    setting-the-record-straightPeriodically, the district will use this forum to clarify news reports regarding its activities. The district believes its constituents are entitled to the complete story, and will always work to keep you well informed.

    This edition includes important information regarding DCSD bus drivers, including a fact sheet about their compensation, benefits, and career opportunities.

    UPDATE: DeKalb County School District bus drivers employment benefits among best in region, per community fact sheet

    DeKalb County School District (DCSD) bus drivers earn the second-highest hourly compensation in the region among a host of other employment benefits, including healthcare and retirement, according to a fact sheet developed by district leaders. The document, which is being shared with community leaders, contains information about past and current efforts by DCSD to provide bus drivers with competitive compensation, job benefits, and career growth, according to Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green in its cover letter.

    View fact sheet and cover letter.

    Highlights of the fact sheet include:

    • DCSD bus drivers are the second-highest paid school bus drivers among their peers Metro Atlanta school districts, including those in Cobb County, Gwinnett County, Atlanta and Fulton County.
    • DCSD bus drivers have received five cost-of-living pay raises since 2014. In 2014-15 drivers were moved from a 5 hour to 6 hour work day, which resulted in a 20 percent annual salary increase. They received a 5-percent raise in 2017.
    • DCSD bus drivers receive benefits as part-time employees. Benefits include: health, dental, vision, disability plans, long term care, retirement, sick leave, personal leave and vacation leave.
    • The district established a Transportation Leadership Academy to provide opportunities for upward mobility and career progression. District funds are utilized so drivers and monitors can obtain industry certifications.

    Thank you for your making DCSD your source for news.

    March 29, 2018

    setting-the-record-straightPeriodically, the district will use this forum to clarify news reports regarding its activities. The district believes its constituents are entitled to the complete story, and will always work to keep you well informed.

    This edition clarifies a report from 11Alive regarding an employee linked to a violent crime in Clayton County.

    CLARIFICATION NO.1

    “(DCSD) have yet to notify the parents and students at the elementary school since White has not been convicted of a crime…”

    DCSD contacted 11Alive on Wednesday, March 28, to clarify and correct a portion of the news outlet’s reporting that stated parents at Toney Elementary School had yet to receive notification from the school or DCSD regarding the arrest of an employee.

    On March 23, the school did send home a letter with students. As of 9:12 a.m. on Thursday, March 29, 11Alive has not updated its story.

    DCSD’s standard procedure is to notify all parents of events that deviate from the norm with a letter or phone call from the principal.

    January 31, 2018

    Setting the Record Straight Graphic Version 2 01Periodically, the district will use this forum to clarify news reports regarding its activities. The district believes its constituents are entitled to the complete story, and will always work to keep you well informed.

    This edition clarifies a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding land that will house the new Smoke Rise Elementary School.

     CLARIFICATION NO.1

    “I have not been able to get evidence of thorough due diligence from the county,” she said. “All the sites they looked at had some risk associated. I was looking for some write-up on eliminating (risk concerns). There’s none.”

    DCSD will not place a school in a location that will be harmful to students. Prior to the purchase of the property, the district conducted an extensive environmental review of the site via a third-party professional engineering firm, Matrix Engineering Group, Inc.

    The engineer’s finding, based on the firm’s Risk Hazard Analysis and Evaluation, was that the site is suitable for the proposed Smoke Rise Elementary School provided that the mitigation measures listed below be implemented:

    • Minimize the use of large glass windows (max. 6 foot and 8 foot high) for a portion of the facility.
    • Utilize shatterproof glass windows for the building’s southern elevations.
    • All exterior walls should be of steel reinforced masonry construction with brick veneer.
    • Locate the buildings as far away from Hugh Howell Road as possible.
    • Create a barrier along the southern boundary of the property such as an architectural wall. The wall should be a reinforced masonry or concrete wall with a minimum height of four (4) feet.
    • Design of air handling and ventilation systems should incorporate engineering controls to prevent intrusion of hazardous airborne contaminant.
    • Prepare an emergency preparedness plan to address the potential hazards.
    • Prepare an evacuation plan consistent with the type of hazards identified to provide for efficient and timely evacuation of the buildings in case of an emergency.
    • A fence is recommended on all sides of the property.

    As a result of this third-party environmental and hazard analysis, the Georgia Department of Education Facilities Services Unit approved the site location for the new Smoke Rise Elementary School, subject to the inclusion of the mitigating measure noted above.

    CLARIFICATION NO. 2

    “An email from the DeKalb County fire marshal says the site is dangerously close to a hazardous materials manufacturer.”

    DCSD had discussions with the DeKalb County Fire and Rescue (DCFR) Department regarding the state of the property. At no time did the department indicate that it would be illegal or harmful to students to build on the property.

    The Fire Chief offered an advisory opinion, which was reviewed by the district and considered. DCFR and DCSD will continue its ongoing discussions regarding the implementation of the specific mitigating measures as part of our collaborative site planning review process for major construction projects.

    Thank you for your making DCSD your source for news.