Dr. Fehrman's Friday Follow-Up

September 10, 2021

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DHS Honors the victims of Sept. 11 with a ceremony

I will never forget September 11, 2001. I was a first-year teacher and I used to let my students watch the Today Show during arrival. I was standing in the hall greeting my incoming 7th graders and one of the students from my class came out to tell me the news just showed a plane hitting a “really big building”. As I came into the classroom, I saw the second plane hit the other tower. That day changed the lives of so many Americans. I am honored to lead a school system that continues to recognize and honor the victims and heroes of that horrific event.


On Thursday, September 9, the members of the Decatur High School JROTC held a 9/11 Ceremony recognizing the 9/11 victims. In addition, individuals within the School District and the community who possess the same selfless values and dedication as those who responded to the 9/11 attack were honored in light of the occasion by their respective supervisors.


  • City of Decatur Police Chief, Mike Booker - In recognition of his outstanding service and contributions to the City of Decatur Police Department and the City of Decatur

  • City of Decatur Fire Department SGT, Durell Coleman - In recognition of his outstanding service and contributions to the City of Decatur Fire Department and the City of Decatur

  • Police Officer, Juan Velez - In recognition of his outstanding service and contributions as a member of the Decatur Police Department and service to the City of Decatur.

  • Decatur High School Staff member, Vu Nguyen - In recognition of his exemplary service to the City Schools of Decatur and outstanding contribution to Decatur High School.


CSD honors the individuals that lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attack.


Read More Here: https://www.csdecatur.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=40&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=10952&PageID=1


#StrongerTogether Shout-Out

This is Payroll Appreciation Week and I want to shout-out the amazing team in our Finance Department who ensure that all CSD employees get their paycheck every two weeks. Most other school districts in the metro-area pay their employees just once a month, so keeping paychecks going out every two weeks takes a great deal of work. This team is small but mighty! CSD is truly #strongertogether with our finance team!

Job(s) Well Done

Decatur Bulldogs climb to No. 10 in Class 5A, First AJC rank since 04’

This week, Decatur (3-0) is ranked No. 10 in Class 5A, the Bulldogs’ first AJC ranking since 2004. During the 2020-21 Football season Coach Felton led the Bulldogs into an overall record of 7-2 and a league record of 5-1. Currently, the Bulldogs are 3-0. We are so proud of the Bulldogs and their commitment to being awesome athletes on the turf and great students in the classroom. Congratulations to Coach Felton and the Bulldogs.


Read More Here: https://www.csdecatur.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=40&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=10953&PageID=1


School Visits

I only had a chance to visit one school this week, and it was a great one! The Clairemont Crew makes school such a fun and special place for our students. Principal Armour joined me as we visited three classrooms. Ms. DeHart’s 2nd graders were finishing up Virtual Community Circle and learning about responsibility. Weekly Community Circle is a core component of the EL program, and this time is used in all our K-2 schools to embed social-emotional learning and reinforce our PBIS expectations. We then stopped in to see Mr. Mangascle’s 1st graders during their journal writing time. His 1st graders were so proud of their writing and showed me how many pages they have filled in their journals. Our last stop was to Ms. Guinn’s class, and her students were warming up their brains for the day by reviewing the days of the week, the month, and counting by tens. In each class we entered, the students were so excited to see Dr. Armour. It is evident that Dr. Armour spends a great deal of time being visible and getting to know his students. Thank you Clairemont Crew and Dr. Armour for ensuring all students at Clairemont have the best educational experience!


COVID-19 Information

Surveillance Testing/Weekly COVID-19 Testing


Our preparations for COVID-19 weekly testing are progressing nicely. This week, the Regional Director for our project, Mr. Stephen Lowe and Dr. Huddleston visited each planned testing site across the district. Testing locations were identified at all 10 schools and site logistics were reviewed. One additional location was approved for district staff.


We are working on finalizing the testing schedule. It’s not too late to complete the consent form for your student(s). The more participation we have, the better the program will be at identifying positive cases in our schools and slowing the spread in our community.


If you consent, your child will receive a free weekly diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus. Our goal is to conduct testing at least once a week at each school (K-12). The types of tests that may be used include rapid antigen tests such as BinaxNow and PCR tests (for students with a positive rapid test). Collecting a specimen for the rapid antigen testing involves inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-tip, into the front of the nose. The PCR test is obtained through a nasopharyngeal swab inserted into the nasal cavity until it reaches the nasopharynx. The rapid antigen test is considered non-invasive, and the PCR test is considered minimally invasive. Notification of positive results will follow the same communication procedures we currently use.


Click here to fill out the consent form. Each student will need a consent form to participate in testing. We are tentatively planning to begin testing the week of September 27th. This start date will be contingent on the availability of supplies and the scheduling capacity of our assigned logistics/testing team.


Go to https://www.csdecatur.net/covid19 to learn more about COVID-19 testing.


COVID Manual Updates

You may have heard earlier this week that CSD had what DPH defines as a COVID outbreak at FAVE. When our manual was updated at the start of the year, CSD was still operating under previous CDC guidance for how to respond to positive cases in the schools, which suggested that it may be necessary to close a school for 2-5 days to clean, disinfect, and complete comprehensive contact tracing. However, the most recent CDC and DPH guidance offers key factors to consider to determine when to close a classroom or school and recommends that the school or district consult with DPH to determine the best course of action. In the case at FAVE, our contact tracing team and school and district leadership reviewed the situation with the DeKalb Board of Health. All evidence suggested that the outbreak was contained to one classroom and that it was not necessary to close the entire school.


At the time we made this decision, the COVID manual had not yet been updated to reflect the new guidance from CDC and DPH regarding school closure. We have since updated the manual to reflect that CSD will consult with DPH when an outbreak occurs to determine the best course of action to follow.


We have also added the following statement to the manual: “Guidelines for responding to and managing COVID in our schools can sometimes change on a daily basis. CSD cannot always review these updates and make changes to our manual in real time to reflect these ongoing changes and updates from federal, state, and local health departments. CSD will continue to use our manual as the baseline for our mitigation strategies and COVID response. However, as situations develop and evolve, if CSD sees that the guidance in our manual is not the most up-to-date or appropriate response based on recently issued federal, state, or local guidance, our response may vary from what is outlined in our COVID manual.”


Modified Quarantine Option

In July, I decided to pause the use of our modified quarantine option until after Labor Day to allow CSD to gather data so we could better see how the new COVID variant impacted our mitigation strategies. Given the current level of COVID transmission in the community and the outbreak at FAVE, I have decided to delay the option for a modified quarantine again. I will review our overall data in January to determine if a modified quarantine is an appropriate option to use in CSD.

Superintendent’s Student Advisory Team

DHS students and RMS 8th-grade students! Are you interested in serving on my Student Advisory Team (S2AT)?


If so, please fill out this application by Friday, October 8, to be considered. The S2AT will provide me with an opportunity to hear directly from students regarding their experience in CSD. This group will also provide valuable input on how the district can ensure the needs of all students are met.


S2AT meetings will take place in your school during the school day. If you have questions about this group or the application process, please contact Courtney Burnett at cburnett@csdecatur.net.

Decatur Student Center Focus

This month, the Decatur Student Center is focusing on parenting moments. The topic for this week is affirmations.


Affirmations:

It can be easy for us as parents to get into a rut of focusing on what behaviors we need to correct in our kids because we want them to be their best and have the best in life. However, we all want to be affirmed. Practice being intentional each day to identify something about your student that is positive. Work to identify something positive about who they are as opposed to just something good they’ve done. This helps reinforce the idea of intrinsic value and can allow them to feel seen. Subsequently, this can help in the change process over negative behaviors you’re working to correct. As much as affirmations may seem frivolous to some, there is a science that supports their use. Start with this positive reinforcement and be ready to see positive changes! (Try practicing affirmations for yourself first. See this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeCmHNULJrA)