Dr. Fehrman's Friday Follow-Up
August 12, 2022
Click this link https://www.smore.com/b8e1s for the mobile-friendly version of this newsletter.
In this newsletter:
Strategic Plan Information
Shout outs: Top Dog Winners, Operations and Facilities Department, and the Decatur Career Academy
CSD announcements and updates about Bulldog Sports, Connection Sessions, COVID Testing, Grading Resources, Parent Literacy Events, School Nutrition, Special Education Parent Engagement, and Annual Data Update
Community partner announcements and updates from the Pan African Festival, The Decatur Education Foundation, and the Madison Avenue Soap Box Derby
I am excited to roll up my sleeves and engage with our community, Board, staff, and students to build CSD’s new strategic plan! This is an opportunity to engage, energize, and empower all our stakeholder groups to unite and set our course for the next five years.
Our first community engagement meeting will be on September 6th at 6:30 pm at Beacon Hill Middle School. This meeting is open to all staff, students, parents, and community partners. This will be the primary input gathering meeting for stakeholders to share their vision for what CSD can become in the next five years.
Then on October 25, and if needed, October 27, a smaller group of stakeholders will meet for the whole day or two as a planning team to set the big goals for the district to achieve. These meetings will be followed by CSD staff working in action teams to plan the action steps to achieve the goals set by the planning team. Throughout this process, updates will be provided to the Board and community.
In February and March, the action teams will share their final action plans with the Board for the final round of feedback. The Board will approve the plans at the subsequent meetings.
Congratulations! Great job! Way to go!
Top Dog Award Winners
As mentioned in the Follow-Up last week, the Top Dog nominations this year 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 first Top Dog award winners of the year are Raven Owen-Beyer, Theater Teacher at Decatur High School and Eleanor Ball, Special Education Teacher at Oakhurst Elementary.
Ms. Owen-Beyer received this nomination from a parent:
“Within the first few days of school, she took the initiative to inquire about our son and how her class could best serve him. She wanted to make sure she asked questions to find out information to make sure that he enjoyed the class and she did not ruin his love of theater. The fact that she reached out to inquire to us within the first few days of school and took over an hour to meet with us and a face-to-face exchange was what every parent of a kid with special-needs hopes for. She truly understands the idea of inclusion and teaching. She fits every category of the IB program, from open-minded to risk taker, but the fact that she asked us how she could be her best immediately meant the world to our son and us. We had tears of joy just for being asked.”
Ms. Ball received this nomination from a co-worker:
“Eleanor Ball has truly gone beyond her role as the special education coordinator at Oakhurst Elementary. She has stepped up in every capacity towards building a solid team and working with teachers to get through tough and challenging situations that may occur as it relates to student needs, services, and necessary accommodations. She is always willing to help and answer questions for teachers and staff regarding the special education services in CSD. If she does not know the answer off-hand, she reaches out to knowledgeable central office staff to get the answer.”
Congratulations, Raven and Eleanor!
Way to go, CSD Operations and Facilities!
Our Operations and Facilities Department worked tirelessly over the summer to have our buildings look amazing on the first day of school. These hardworking employees consistently show up quickly and have the best customer service. As a result, the department often receives well-deserved shout-outs and kudos from staff like the one pictured below from Westchester. Thank you for all of your hard work, Operations Crew!
Decatur Career Academy
The Decatur Career Academy (DCA) presented the August Board spotlight and shared highlights from last school year. Mr. Sprull and the DCA team are doing fantastic work. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments, DCA team!
CSD Announcements and Updates
Come Support the Bulldogs!!
School has started, which means the Bulldogs are back on the field, court, and race course! Our student-athletes and coaches have been working hard all summer preparing for their seasons. Visit decaturbulldogsathletics.com to see when the Bulldogs will be competing. We are looking forward to supporting our student-athletes at Beacon Hill and Decatur High throughout the school year and can't wait to see you there!! Go Bulldogs!!
Connection Sessions are conversations between CSD's Equity Director, various invited guests, and the CSD POGM community. During each session, community members are introduced to a person who is integral to supporting the school system while we discuss thoughts, interests, and concerns regarding City Schools of Decatur. Each session uses a racial equity lens - always asking the question - "What does race have to do with this?"
These sessions may not always have the answers, but they provide an opportunity for members of Decatur's POGM community (as well as all others) to explore perspectives, pose questions, and share thoughts.
Each meeting starts at 6 pm. Access it by using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/2yuj2tbs.
August 22nd, 2022 - Dr. Maggie Fehrman, Superintendent, CSD
September 19th, 2022 - Adena Walker, Chief of Human Resources, CSD
October 17th, 2022 - Billy Heaton, Principal, Talley Street
November 21st, 2022 - Courtney Burnett, Chief of Staff, CSD
December 19th, 2022 - Karen Newton-Scott, Principal, FAVE
COVID Testing is offered to CSD students/staff/families at the Wilson Center (Board Room Entrance), Monday through Friday, from 6:30 am-9:00 am. If you have any questions about the testing offered at the Wilson Center, please contact Shonda Moore, School Health Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Grading Resources for Parents
Want to know how to check your child's progress in school? Check out the new City Schools of Decatur Grading Practices & Procedures website. Here you can learn about standards-based grading, formative vs. summative assessments, and the grading scales.
Parent Literacy 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.
August 18 at 4:00 pm: American Reading Company (ARC) Virtual Parent Education: Pursuing Clarity, Insights, and Opportunities in the Science of Reading Debate
August 24 at 4:00 pm: American Reading Company (ARC) Virtual Parent Education: The Science of Reading Is More Than A Movement
August 24 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm: City Schools of Decatur and American Reading Company (ARC) Virtual Parent Education with Dr. David Liben, Consultant and Author of Foundational Skills Development, and Amelia Larson, Executive Vice President of ARC Innovations and Academic Partnerships
Meeting ID: 914 0253 9081 and Passcode: 632209
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.
School Nutrition - Point of Sale Issues
The School Nutrition Department recently updated the point of sale system and is experiencing some hiccups. We are working diligently to correct any errors on student meal accounts. Please use the linked form to identify any charges that you would like us to review. We will investigate your request as quickly as we are able. No child will be refused meal service as we go through the correction process. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Please use this form to let us know about the discrepancy you are experiencing.
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
Annual Data Update
We’re almost there! CSD’s ADU submission rate is the highest it’s ever been, but we have a few families we still haven’t heard from. It is essential for parents/guardians to complete the Annual Data Update in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal to ensure we know how to reach you in an emergency, receive any medical status updates, and for you to complete district sign-offs. Go to https://www.csdecatur.net/adu to get started!
If you’re having difficulty logging into the Parent Portal, please visit https://www.csdecatur.net/portalhelp or contact your school’s front office (K-5) or registrar (Ms. Jackson at BHMS, Ms. Shipp-Jones at DHS). If you can log in but are experiencing a technical error (such as not seeing a child listed), please submit a support request here.
Community Partner Announcements and Updates
Pan African Festival
Save the date for the Pan African Festival happening on August 20th. Get your VIP tickets today to reserve your spot! https://www.eventbrite.com/.../pan-african-festival
Please Note: If you are buying tickets to donate, use the PayPal link found here:
Decatur Education Foundation
Mark Your Calendars! Did you know that Decatur Education Foundation has been supporting Decatur’s kids for 20 years? That’s a milestone worth celebrating, so we’re hosting a FREE Community Concert at Legacy Park! Come Together Decatur, presented by Bark Technologies in partnership with Amplify, will be held on Saturday, September 10th, from 4-8 pm and will feature local favorites The Sundogs and John Boy and Surround Sound, as well as some of our talented DHS students. Everyone is invited to pack a picnic and gather with blankets or camping chairs to spend the afternoon enjoying some great live music and reconnecting with friends and neighbors. See you there!
If you anticipate your student needing a little extra help, DEF’s Virtual PALS program might be the answer. We pair a 2nd-8th grade student with an upper high school student or adult volunteer to help with homework, time management, and motivation. If you would like to sign your student up for the program, you can go here: https://forms.gle/SjYinSLJkZ363pi57. We also need tutor volunteers! If you can donate 1 hour per week to help a Decatur student virtually, you can apply here: https://forms.gle/YTbDUk8H4iS4qfD57 (High school students can earn volunteer hours!)
We also need adult volunteers for our AIM mentoring program, and our brand new FOCUS Prep Program that is specifically for high schoolers in preparation for post-high school. You can also find all forms and information at our website, www.decatureducationfoundation.org/mentoring. Together we make a difference for our kids!
Madison Soap Box Derby
Driver Registration Now Open: Madison Avenue Derby on Oct. 15th
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