CSD District Dispatch

News from around CSD: March 12, 2021 edition

The City Schools of Decatur District Dispatch provides parents, students, staff, and community members with the latest news from around the district each month. To view a mobile-friendly version of this newsletter, please visit https://www.smore.com/793qj.

Table of Contents

  • Board of Education Information (Spotlight: Winnona Park)
  • General CSD News (K-5 Update, CSD Teacher Vaccine clinic, DHS and RMS welcome students back in-person, Plans for Fall 2021: Virtual and In-person)
  • District News from the Wilson School Support Center (Code of Conduct Update, Pre-K - 5 Curriculum change, Transportation Update, Budget, Teacher Job Fair, Useful District Webpages, Assessment Update)
  • News from the Georgia Department of Education
  • Notable Student Achievements
  • School "Shout Outs"
  • Messages from our Partners

Board Meeting Information

Did you know all of the Board Meetings for this upcoming year are listed on the district's calendar, https://www.csdecatur.net/calendar? The next Board Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 20, at 6:30 pm. Details can be found at the bottom of our home page under Announcements.

These monthly Board Meetings often occur on the second Tuesday of the month. Check this page https://www.csdecatur.net/boardmeetings for more details and the next meeting date. Also, the Board agenda can be found at www.csdecatur.net/board prior to each meeting. Previous Board Meetings can be viewed in our Board of Education Meeting Video Library at www.csdecatur.net/boardvideos.

The most recent Board Meeting held on March 9 can be viewed here.

Spotlight: Winnona Park Elementary

Winnona Park Principal Ruth Scott gave an overview of the equity work in practice with their K-2 students and families. Winnona Park is actively engaged in equity work throughout the year through staff book studies, Crew lessons, and PTA-led events. Ms. Scott went on to describe how the staff mindset has shifted and shared student presentations. To view this presentation, please visit https://vimeo.com/519627698.

General CSD News

K-5 In-person Update

Teacher focus groups and parent focus groups have provided us with a great deal of input on future phases of K-5 learning. We really appreciate them sharing their time and talents with us. They have given us a lot to think about, so we are going to take the weekend to process everything and will plan to share more information early next week.

CSD Announces Vaccine Clinic for Teachers and Staff

Tomorrow, the DeKalb County Board of Health will host a clinic specifically for hundreds of CSD staff to receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. We are proud of our school nurses, all of whom went through a rigorous credentialing process to become certified as vaccine administrators; they will administer vaccines to our CSD colleagues alongside other Board of Health medical staff. A vaccination Q&A page is available, and it includes a form to submit additional questions.

Additionally, Wednesday night, we hosted a panel discussion of local medical experts to discuss vaccines, their efficacy, and vaccination hesitancy, particularly among communities of color. A recording of that discussion is available to staff who could not watch it live. We are appreciative that Dr. Jessica Doyle, Dr. Matt Hogan, and Dr. M. Kanika Sims could join Lead Nurse Shonda Moore and Equity & Student Support Executive Director Dr. Lillie Huddleston for this important discussion.

DHS and RMS students welcomed back into school buildings this week

This past Monday, DHS and RMS began welcoming students back into the building for the first time in nearly a year. Excitement was in the air for the students and teachers who were back in the building. Principals Lofstrand and Wiseman and other district leaders worked for months preparing for this day. Both Principals were pleased to announce that the first few days of having students back went very smoothly at Tuesday’s board meeting. The District has put many safety protocols in place to keep students and staff safe. Under half of our students and their families have chosen to remain in the virtual learning environment. The district looks forward to when all students can go back to in-person instruction.

Plans for Fall 2021: Virtual and In-person

Thank you for answering our recent questionnaire to gauge the interest in the Decatur Virtual Academy starting in the fall for 2021. We are currently imagining the future of learning in CSD and want to give you this most current information.

What will school look like in August?

There will be an in-person and virtual option available for students.

What will in-person classrooms look like?

Assuming we remain on the same trajectory, we anticipate in-person learning to look similar to pre-pandemic learning. Class sizes and schedules will mostly return to how they looked before COVID-19. Full school days will resume. Mitigation measures such as mandatory masks will likely be needed, at least at the start of the school year.

What will virtual look like?

Understanding that there are many reasons why students may want to be virtual--travel, hospital/homebound, elite sports, etc.--we intend to make virtual learning a flexible, permanent part of our educational program through the creation of the Decatur Virtual Academy.

  • Students at each grade band will be connected to a school building. This will create a sense of community for both the students and teachers. This may also allow flexibility for students that want to shift mid-year if space permits.

  • Courses will be similar to what we have been offering with a designated teacher and a blend of synchronous and asynchronous, on-screen and off-screen activities.

  • Students will be able to participate in all CSD sports and activities.

  • We plan to provide regular in-person options for virtual students, such as social activities, science lab lessons, tutoring, etc.

  • We will offer parent resources and training to help support students.

  • Currently, we are waiting for guidance from IB to know if they will continue to permit the Diploma Program to be online.

  • We are also exploring partnering with other providers so we can maximize our course offerings.

How will we indicate our interest in enrolling in the Decatur Virtual Academy for the fall?

We anticipate opening registration in May for students who want to start at the academy this Fall.

District News from the Wilson School Support Center

Student Code of Conduct and Restorative Practices Handbook Annual Review

Annually CSD completes a comprehensive review of our Student Code of Conduct and Restorative Practices Handbook (SCCRPH). If you wish to serve on the committee to review our SCCRPH, please complete the following form to submit your interest.

Curriculum and Instruction:

We are excited to announce we are currently going through a K-5 ELA curriculum adoption. Please view the following information to learn how you can participate in this exciting process.

Next Steps for Parents:

We are looking forward to receiving your input as we move through this curriculum adoption process.

Community and Government Relations and Enrollment

Reminder about Useful District Webpages

Did you know CSD has Frequently Asked Questions and Important CSD Contacts pages under Families on the CSD home page? You can find answers to common questions and the name of the person that can help answer questions. While your first person to contact to answer your questions would usually be your teacher or principal, we hope these pages help you quickly find the answers you need. Also, as a reminder, we have a COVID-19 section dedicated to specific questions and issues related to CSD during this pandemic.

Registration for K-12

K-12 registration for new CSD students for the 2021-2022 school year will begin on March 15. Please check our website for more information.

Operations Department - Facilities, Maintenance, Nutrition, and Transportation

Transportation Update for in-person DHS and RMS Families

Thank you for your patience as we worked out a plan for bus transportation. We appreciate the feedback we received, and we are happy to announce a plan to address our community’s needs.

We will begin offering bus transportation starting on Monday, March 15. If you are interested in this service, you must complete the following form https://forms.gle/hd2qaULfZiYKBBRAA by the evening of Saturday, March 13. Also, as we are not sure of the interest in this service, we can not be certain that social distancing of six feet will be possible. We will, however, continue all other mitigation efforts such as mandatory masks, regular disinfection of buses, and open windows.

This service will be an express bus service that offers transportation from your local neighborhood elementary school to the middle and high school and back. Please see the pick-up and drop-off locations and times below.

We hope this helps make it easier for our families. Please let us know if you have any questions.


CSD Transportation

Please visit https://www.csdecatur.net/Page/480 for more information.

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CSD Finance Department

CSD Budget discussion, Budget 101 videos, and Budget feedback form

CSD continues to experience the financial impact of COVID-19 as we prepare for the FY22 budget. A 10% austerity reduction in the current budget resulted in decreased revenue in QBE funding of approximately $3.3 million. Although pending legislation will restore 60% or approximately $1.9 million of the QBE funding for the current and next fiscal year, the remaining 40% or $1.3 million continues to negatively impact the district’s financial state.

Although the district has received approximately $1.4 million in CARES funds, this only offsets approximately 27% of the cost actually expended. The District has some tough decisions to make with the FY22 budget. The Superintendent and Board are in agreement that multiple Intervention Programs and a Virtual Academy are mandatory components of the budget. The programs will allow the district to address deficits in learning and social-emotional wellness caused by the pandemic.

With the austerity reductions and over $3 million in COVID-related expenditures, the District needs additional assistance to address our students’ amplified needs next year. The District encourages the Legislature to consider allocating additional funding to districts to help implement remediation programs, hire additional staff, and lower class sizes to help students recover from their learning loss during the pandemic.

Dr. Dude’s CSD Finance 101 Videos

Dr. Dude has started creating short CSD Finance 101 videos to help better explain parts of our budget. You can view videos by visiting his youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLz LulU-2G_Mb0AgagBU96h1n-TDul2-j. Currently, three videos are posted: Fiscal Years, Funds, and Revenues. We hope our community will find these videos helpful as we move through the budget process.

Do you have thoughts about the FY 2022 Proposed Budget? We want to hear from you!
Please Share your Feedback on the latest draft of the FY22 CSD Budget

The City Schools of Decatur is in the process of establishing the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Attached is the latest draft of the 2021-2022 budget presented to the Board of Education on March 9. We are interested in input from the community on any budget suggestions, concerns, or questions that they may have.

Please click on this link to enter your budget comments so that the Superintendent and Finance team can consider them.

Staff Support

City Schools of Decatur Teacher Job Fairs

City Schools of Decatur is hosting a virtual job fair to recruit new and dedicated teachers for the 2021-22 school year for elementary, secondary, and special education vacancies.

CSD’s upcoming virtual job fairs will occur on the following dates with same-day interviews with principals or school administrators:

  • Tuesday, March 23 from 4 pm - 6 pm
  • Saturday, March 27 from 9 am - 11 am

All applicants must register for a date on the CSD employment page. Please complete an external application, provide a resume, copy of a state-issued certificate, and provide two references.

For further information, visit CSD Employment or email hrreplies@csdecatur.net.

Research and Analytics:

Assessment Update

The City Schools of Decatur 2020-21 Assessment Calendar has been updated once again. The CogAT tests for grades 1, 3, and 6 have been postponed to next fall, when they will be administered in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7. All students in grades K-10 will take either the Measure of Academic Progress or the GMAS in May. Plans will be put in place for virtual students to come in person to take the test if families would like to use that option.

May Testing Dates by Grades

  • Georgia Milestones End of Grade = GMAS EOG

  • Georgia Milestones End of Course = GMAS EOC

  • Measures of Academic Progress = MAP

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* Students in Algebra or AP Statistics will not take the MAP mathematics test. Students in American Literature will not take the MAP reading test.

News from the GADOE

99% graduation rate for DHS for CTAE Students

At the end of February, the Georgia Department of Education announced that the Georgia Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) graduation rate rose to 97.18%. Within that announcement, individual schools and district rates were announced. We are so proud to announce that Decatur High School now has a CTAE graduation rate of 99%. For more information, please visit https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=842.

GADOE announces AP Honors, DHS honored as a STEM School of Distinction and STEM Achievement
At the end of last month, the Georgia Department of Education released information regarding Georgia’s Advanced Placement (AP) exam results for the class of 2020. According to data released by the College Board last month, Georgia's public-school class of 2020 had the 17th-highest Advanced Placement (AP) pass rate in the nation. The release announced that DHS was recognized in the School of Distinction, STEM, and STEM Achievement categories.

We are so proud of DHS to be honored in these categories. For more information, please visit https://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=839.

Notable Student Achievements

DHS Basketball Players Recognized

Congratulations to the following Bulldog basketball players who were recognized by Region 5-5A as All-Region players! We are proud of all of our players and coaches for their successes this season.

Girl’s Basketball: Jasmine Jones (First Team), Jukanie Washington (Second Team), and Marlo Simms (Honorable Mention)

Boy’s Basketball: Kenric Lanier (First Team), Turner Cummings, and Parker Axam (Honorable Mention)

Go Bulldogs!

Georgia All-State Band

Congratulations to these DHS and RMS students on their acceptance into the Georgia All-State Bands! These students endured an entirely new audition process due to COVID restrictions and are among the state’s strongest musicians. We are so incredibly proud of their hard work. Having these fourteen CSD students accepted speaks to how truly remarkable #OurKids and our teachers truly are!

DHS and RMS All-State Orchestra

We are thrilled to announce six RMS students and 1 DHS student were accepted into the 2020/2021 All-State Orchestra.


Ellen Kolesnikova, 7th Grade - Violin

Esther Sanogo, 7th Grade - Cello

CC Clarke, 8th Grade - Bass

Emma Fang, 8th Grade - Viola

Hazel Patty, 8th Grade - Bass

Ezekiel Werner, 8th Grade - Violin


Emma Xuan, HS - Viola

Emma Fang (8th grade) was placed as principal viola (1st chair!!!), CC Clarke was placed as 2nd chair, and Hazel as 4th chair! These are incredible accomplishments. All of these students truly represent the best musicians in our state, and we are so thankful to have them in our orchestra program! Many thanks to those who have worked hard to bring orchestra to CSD!

School Shout Outs!

Clairemont Elementary Staff Shout Outs!

Each month, the District Dispatch features shoutouts from parents and students to our excellent teachers and staff at one of our schools. This month we are featuring Clairemont Elementary School teachers and staff.

If you would like to shoutout your child’s teacher or a staff member, send an email to contactus@csdecatur.net. Also, at the end of the school year, nominate your child’s teacher for the Extra Mile award. Keep an eye out for more information on how your student can nominate a teacher or staff member as we get closer to the end of the school year.


  • On behalf of Kindergartener Spencer Moore at Clairemont Elementary, we’d love to shout out our dynamic duo Ms. Milford and Ms. Lewis. They’ve risen above some amazing obstacles and have been the best virtual teachers! Beyond patient! We will miss them so very much. Thank you for all you both do!
  • Shout out to Mrs. Guinn and Ms. Clemmons at Clairemont -- they are a great teaching team and keep the kindergarteners engaged, learning, and having fun every day. Big (virtual) hugs to them both!
  • Shout out to Coach Jolly at Clairemont! She is positive, engaging, and empathetic to each of the kids -- and best of all, she helps the kids off their extra energy and gets the wiggles out (and yes, parents love PE day, especially in this virtual environment)
  • I want to shout out Ms. Needham at Clairemont. She has been an amazing teacher from day one. She is always upbeat, patient, and kind with the kids. She keeps them engaged even through a screen, and we are so very lucky to have her this year.
  • Senora Straus- huge shout out to her for keeping the kids engaged during Spanish. Her singing and cooking lessons are always fun!
  • Oh, let me count the ways that Ms. Milford, Ms. Lewis, and Ms. Mansfield have enhanced our virtual learning experience this year! We were so saddened not to be in person for Kindergarten at our beloved Clairemont, but we’ve forged ahead. They are a solid team for our little one, and they worked hard to made this a loving and memorable year, despite its historic challenges. Thank you, ladies!
  • I would like to give a shout-out to Mr. M (Mr. Mangascle) at Clairemont elementary for his amazing engagement with students and parents, always bringing a positive, joyful attitude, and for keeping the kids motivated every day!
  • Shout out to Miss Milford, Miss Lewis at Clairemont.
  • Shout out to Ms. Lilywala at Clairemont for always going above and beyond with her students! John gets excited every time he sees her.
  • Shout out to Ms. Hodrick at Clairemont for always encouraging and motivating the students during morning and closing crew meetings!

We received so many shoutouts from our parents and students that we could not include them all here! We have created a webpage dedicated to appreciating our wonderful teachers and staff. You can find the additional shoutouts on this page https://www.csdecatur.net/shoutouts.

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Please note this photo of the Clairemont staff was taken prior to COVID-19.

Messages from our Partners

Wylde Center and Farm to School News

Decatur Farm to School’s Spring Take Out
SAVE THE DATE! Wednesday, April 21st, will be Decatur Farm to School’s Spring Take Out! Order from participating restaurants during their open hours and a portion of your order total will go to DF2S! Proceeds from the Spring Take Out support our DHS student summer internships, Decatur kitchen staff training, conference scholarships for students and teachers, taste tests, and school gardens - just to name a few. Give yourself a break, eat a delicious meal, and support a fabulous cause!

Wylde Center newsletter!
Calling all teachers and families! Each month, Wylde Center's Education team creates a Farm to School newsletter jam-packed with seasonal garden tips and recipes, curricular connections and kid's books we love, updates on our outreach and Farm to School work, and grants and professional development opportunities for teachers. It is our pleasure to share the ideas we generate and the people and organizations doing similar work that inspire us, all as a way to support your own efforts at Farm to School in the garden and classroom. Sign up here!

Decatur Education Foundation News:

Two Chances to Win a Butter & Cream Gift Card!

Everyone who registers for the Tour deCatur “Run Where You Are” Tour deCatur 5K and Fun Run by March 15th (Monday) will be entered into a raffle to win a Butter & Cream gift card! Just go to www.tourdecatur.com to sign up. Once there, you can also order event t-shirts and download your race bibs. OR you can create your own race bibs, post them on Instagram and/or Facebook with #Tourdecatur2021, and you’ll get a Butter & Cream gift card! Two ways to win ice cream!

Grand Re-opening of the Decatur Student Center coming soon at DHS!

The Decatur Student Center at DHS is close to opening its doors to a completely renovated space for all of its students’ nonacademic needs. Thanks to a generous $25K donation from Decatur City Church to Joe’s Fund, DEF’s behavioral health initiative, the Decatur Student Center has a new look and feel and includes dedicated space for one-on-one counseling, group counseling, and a ZenDen where students can go to relax and regroup. We’ll be posting photos and virtual tours soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to join the Joe’s Fund Challenge with a donation, please visit www.decatureducationfoundation.org/joesfund. You can help us match Decatur City Church’s gift to double the impact to ensure that we can continue to address the wide and varied needs of all of our kids.

About the CSD District Dispatch

If you would like to submit news for the District Dispatch, please feel free to submit it here. Also, we love photos! Please share your photos with us and we will share them with the district here and on CSD’s social media pages. You can also tag us in your photos once you've liked our page or you can use the hashtag #CSDdistrictdispatch.