Dr. Fehrman's Friday Follow-Up
August 26, 2022
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In this newsletter:
Thank you, CSD Staff!
Top Dog Winners
CSD announcements and updates about the Strategic Plan Community Input Session and Survey, Student Advisory Council, Bark for Schools, Super Saturdays, Literacy Parent Events, and Special Education Parent Engagement.
Community partner announcements and updates from Decatur Education Foundation, Madison Soapbox Derby, Decatur Farm to School, and the Decatur YMCA
Thank you, CSD Staff!
As we close out our fourth week of school, I want to share with parents how proud I am of all CSD staff members. I visited all of our schools over the past few weeks, and as I entered each building, I was welcomed by a warm and inviting atmosphere. Throughout each visit and in every classroom I entered, I saw exemplary teaching. Students were actively engaged in every classroom, and while the content was challenging, our expert teachers and paraprofessionals were providing support so each student could access the rigorous curriculum and meet the high expectations set by the teacher.
Our classroom staff can’t perform at this high level without the rest of our CSD staff supporting them. As I walked through the buildings, I couldn’t help but notice how sparkling clean and well-maintained our schools are. Our front office staff greeted guests and colleagues warmly. As I walked past cafeterias, my stomach started to growl as I smelled the enticing aromas emanating from the kitchens. Counselors and nurses supported students with warmth and love. Our IT staff are keeping thousands of computers and complicated networks humming along. Media specialists were offering students tremendous enrichment resources. When my visits were at arrival or dismissal, our bus drivers had smiles on their faces and greeted each student or reminded them to do their homework. There are many different positions in each building, and even though I didn’t have the opportunity to see all the various staff hard at work, I knew they were doing a fantastic job because every school was running smoothly. Regardless of the responsibility of the staff member I encountered, each employee had tremendous pride in their work.
I want to thank all our CSD staff members for a great start to the school year and for setting a tone of excellence for all.
Here are some great pictures from our schools from the first four weeks.
Congratulations! Great job! Way to go!
Top Dog Award Winners
This year's Top Dog nominations will highlight an attribute of the IB Learner Profile. The attribute for August is Inquirer. The Learner Profile says, as Inquirers, “We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.”
Our Top Dog Winners this week are Alicia Reno, STEM teacher at Talley Street Elementary and Frances Holt, Chief of State of Federal Programs.
Ms. Reno received this nomination from a colleague:
“Ms. Reno has dreamed up and subsequently created Talley’s first-ever STEM program. She has built the most beautifully engaging learning space, and our kids are beyond excited. It’s only the 2nd week of school, and our kids have already constructed flood-proof structures, buildings that can survive earthquakes, and tall towers. Ms. Reno has also worked tirelessly to help implement our new House system. We are so lucky to have her at Talley!!”
Ms. Holt received this nomination from a coworker:
“Frances has leaned in this year to learn more about district leadership, including taking three additional courses over this school year to sharpen her saw on district leadership! Go, Frances!”
Way to go, Alicia and Frances!
Do you know someone who deserves Top Dog recognition? Nominate them here. September’s attribute is Knowledgeable.
CSD Announcements and Updates
Strategic Plan Community Input Session
Please make plans to join us for the Strategic Plan Community Input Session on September 6th at 6:30 pm in the Beacon Hill Middle School cafeteria. This meeting is open to all staff, students, parents, and community partners. This session will be the primary input gathering meeting for stakeholders to share their vision for what CSD can become in the next five years. We look forward to seeing you there!
If you are unable to attend this session, click the button below to participate in the survey.
Student Advisory Council
DHS Students! Are you interested in serving on Dr. Fehrman’s Student Advisory Team? If so, please fill out this application by Friday, October 7, to be considered. The Student Advisory Team will allow the superintendent 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.
The Student Advisory Team 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 email@example.com.
Information Services & Communications Advisory Councils
The Information Services Advisory Council and Communications & Government Relations Advisory Council are both looking for new parent/guardian members. Advisory Councils meet 3-4 times a year and provide essential feedback on how these district teams operate. If you are interested in serving on the IS Advisory Council, please contact CIO Eston Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Community & Government Relations Advisory Council, please contact Chief of Staff Courtney Burnett at email@example.com.
Bark for Schools
Digital safety is critically important to CSD, which is why we are adding Bark for Schools to our collection of online safety measures. Bark joins other measures, such as our content filter and staff monitoring of students’ classroom computer activity, to provide an additional layer of protection for our students.
Bark monitors student use of key student collaboration and communication tools for potential issues around cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, sexual predation, threats of violence, and more. When possible dangers arise within school-issued accounts, Bark for Schools alerts school teams, typically administrators and counselors, so they can address the situation in a timely manner. These alerts also give us insights that help us promote the well-being of the entire student body.
Bark was successfully piloted this spring at Talley Street Upper Elementary, and it will be fully implemented in grades 3-12 beginning September 6. You can learn more about Bark for Schools — including their commitment to student privacy. Beyond their own privacy commitment, Bark agreed to meet CSD’s stringent requirements around student data privacy and security.
Literacy Parent Events
The Teaching and Learning Department is excited to host several parent-focused literacy events this school year. The August and September sessions are listed below. Stay tuned for information about additional programs scheduled for the remainder of the school year.
September 15 at 4:00 pm: American Reading Company (ARC) Virtual Parent Education: Comprehensive Literacy for Turbulent Times - The Power Behind a Knowledge Building Curricula
If you have any questions about these events, please contact the Teaching and Learning Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Education Parent Engagement
disAbility Link - Empowering Youth
Mr. William Thomas, Youth & Diversity Supervisor for disAbility Link, will give an overview of the services and supports offered through the Empowering Youth program for youths ages 14-29. disAbility link provides but is not limited to employment support, self-advocacy, social activities, and peer support.
Target Audience: Parents of students with disabilities ages 14-22 years old
Date: September 15
Time: 6-7 pm
For more information, please see the August Welcome Back Flyer.
Community Partner Announcements and Updates
Decatur Education Foundation
Live music at an afternoon picnic in a beautiful park – what a lovely way to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with us! Saturday, September 10th from 4-8 pm at Legacy Park with live music from The Sundogs and JohnBoy & Surround Sound, and opening acts from two DHS senior musicians, Payton Kashdan and Nate Helfrich! This free community concert is presented by our sponsor, Bark Technologies. Who is Bark? Bark Technologies provides a monitoring service across many digital platforms to detect risk signs of bullying, suicidal ideation, threats of violence and sexual predation. They have partnered with City Schools of Decatur to pilot their monitoring system at Talley Street Upper Elementary in the spring with effective results, and it will be fully implemented for the 3rd-12th grade schools beginning September 6th. Bark also offers an app specifically for parents that not only monitors for safety issues, but also allows parents to manage screen time and filter websites to help set healthy boundaries.
Can you volunteer to tutor, mentor, or coach a Decatur student? We’ve got spots available for all those types of rewarding positions! Make a big impact in as little as 1-4 hours per month, depending on the role you choose. Go to www.decatureducationfoundation.org/mentoring to learn more and sign up.
Madison Soapbox Derby
MADISON AVE DERBY - REGISTRATION OPEN & HELP US CHOOSE THIS YEAR’S SHIRT!
Don't miss your chance to be a part of one of Decatur's most iconic neighborhood events! Driver registration is now open for the 11th Annual Madison Avenue Derby, the non-motorized racing event where amateur racers of all ages design and build human-powered soapbox cars to compete against the clock in a downhill race!
Join the excitement as a racer or spectator on October 15, 2022, for a day of family-friendly fun - proceeds from the event this year go to support the Friends of Refugees! REGISTER TO RACE NOW
Decatur Farm to School
Do you have plans for a new garden or class project? Are full of fantastic ideas on how to incorporate farm-to-school principles into a teaching unit? Need funds for a "green" field trip?
The Wylde Center Decatur Farm to School Committee invites you to apply for a grant for 2022/23. Teachers, administrators, PTA members, and parent volunteers can apply on behalf of their CSD school. Please get your applications in before August 31, 2022. (Link here and on the Wylde Center website > Education > Farm to School)
Decatur YMCA School Break Camps
See flyer below.