CSD District Dispatch

News from around CSD: August 28, 2020 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/fh5uy.

Table of Contents:

  • Board of Education and Monthly Board Meeting Information
  • A Letter from the Superintendent
  • Phased Return to In-Person Learning and Data
  • District News from the Wilson School Support Center
  • School News You Can Use
  • Messages from our Partners
  • Scenes from our Community
  • Important Dates Around the District

Board of Education

The CSD Board created a committee of community members to examine the current senior homestead exemption and make recommendations for its replacement following the current 5-year sunset. The committee has been meeting monthly since May and is exploring many options. The current exemption was estimated to cost an additional $1.2 million per year in lost revenue. In reality, it cost roughly $3.1 million in 2019. The committee will be making its recommendations to the Board at the Board meeting on September 8. Visit https://www.csdecatur.net/seniorexemption for more information.

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, September 8.

These monthly Board Meetings, often on the second Tuesday of the month, will be held virtually on Zoom for the foreseeable future. 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. For more information about what was discussed at previous Board Meetings, please view our Board of Education Meeting Video Library here www.csdecatur.net/boardvideos.

A Note from our Superintendent


Hello CSD Community,


I want to congratulate all of you for completing our second week of virtual learning for the 2020-2021 school year. There is no question that virtual learning is not what we are used to, and it is not easy for the students, parents, or teachers. I am a parent of three kids attending three different CSD schools so I understand the complexity of trying to coordinate the kid’s virtual schedule with your own work schedule. My wife just started a new teaching position, so I also have the benefit of seeing first hand the difficulties teachers are facing in delivering high quality instruction in an online environment. I deeply appreciate all that our teachers, staff, families, and students are doing to meet the challenges of this new reality.


I look forward to the day when we can have our students and teachers safely back in our schools and classrooms. During these complex times, I appreciate the many voices that have surfaced. I thank you for your interest in helping us be successful in decision-making that benefits students while we work to provide as safe an environment as we possibly can. We all want to go “back to normal” and our CSD staff and administration continue working hard to make necessary preparations and plans to get back to in-person instruction.


Within this edition of the District Dispatch, you will read more about our phased approach to getting back to in-person learning. I understand that a lot of information has been shared with families over these last couple of months, and some of that information may raise many more questions. That is why I will be hosting a Superintendent’s Town Hall webinar on Thursday, September 3, at 5:00 p.m. that I welcome all to join. To submit a question, please fill out this form AHEAD of the webinar. Please click this link to join the webinar on Thursday: https://csdecatur.zoom.us/j/92748223758.


Our top priority is the health and safety of the valuable members of the CSD family. I thank you for your patience as we navigate this constantly changing landscape. Your continued positive support of the City Schools of Decatur as we work towards the safest learning options for all our families is deeply appreciated.


Sincerely,


David

Phased Return to In-Person Learning

Our teams are working hard on the road map to guide our plans to bring our staff and students back to our buildings safely. There are countless data points that we must consider during our decision-making process. In addition to the data and science around the virus spread in our community, we also must consider perspectives from students, families, and staff to inform our plans to prioritize the return to our buildings in a phased manner.


As promised, we will announce a decision on or before September 18 for how learning will proceed after September 25. We hope that we can begin to deliver some in-person activities and instruction very soon, and the current data are encouraging. In the coming days, we will begin surveying staff, students, and parents to gauge their perspectives on returning to buildings. These data will help the district and school teams working on procedures and facility readiness.


Although no concrete decisions have been made at this time, and the guidance from agencies is ever-evolving, we are continuing our planning for a phased return. The data and levels of spread to define each phase are still being reviewed.


Timing between phases may be days or weeks depending on the status of the virus in our community as revealed by appropriate data sources. Specific programs may also be phased within the larger phase, such as bringing kindergarten students back prior to first and second graders. In general, each phase would be completed prior to the next phase being implemented, but exceptions will be made on a case by case basis. For example, an activity in phase three may be implemented prior to every program in phase two being implemented. Administrators will be provided with an opportunity to create proposals for specific groups to return in-person. Such proposals will be detailed, publicly posted, and decided on by the district’s COVID response team. We plan to have this proposal process in place starting early next week, so please monitor future communications for such information.


All of the following would include safety precautions appropriate to the activity, such as required face masks, temperature checks, symptom and exposure reporting, hand washing, social distancing, cleaning and sanitation protocols, and physical barriers.


Phase One Priority Return:

  • Mandatory evaluations and assessments for special education, 504, etc., conducted 1-on-1

  • Adapted Curriculum/Program Special Education classes and some 3-5-year-old students with IEPs, A/B groups

  • Decatur Student Center small counseling groups or individual counseling

  • In-district outdoor athletic conditioning and activities


Phase Two Priority Return:

  • Birth-3-year-old programs, A/B groups

  • Pre-K students, A/B groups

  • Grade K-2 students, A/B groups

  • Grade 3-5 students, A/B groups

  • Outdoor athletic competitions, with limited spectators, with visiting teams following similar safety protocols

  • In-district indoor athletic conditioning and activities

  • 1-on-1 or small group mentoring programs (prioritizing outdoor activities)


Phase Three Priority Return:

  • Grade 6-8 students, A/B groups

  • Grade 9-12 students, A/B groups

  • Indoor athletic competitions, with limited spectators, with visiting teams following similar safety protocols


Phase Four Priority Return:

  • Birth-3-year-old programs, all weekdays

  • Pre-K students, all weekdays

  • Grade K-2 students, all weekdays

  • Grade 3-5 students, all weekdays


Phase Five Priority Return:

  • Grade 6-8 students, all weekdays

  • Grade 9-12 students, all weekdays


Where A/B groups are indicated, the hybrid scenario we are leaning toward is running the current Monday/Tuesday schedule for one group on a Monday and Tuesday, using Wednesday to deep clean and sanitize buildings, then running the current Monday/Tuesday schedule on Thursday and Friday for the other group, using the weekend to deep clean and sanitize buildings. In phases two through five, support programs such as Special Education (IEPs) will provide services in accordance with the general education schedule denoted for each age group.

What the Data are Showing Today

As of Thursday morning (when this was written), here is what the data are showing us. These data are encouraging to us and for many, this is the first time in a long time that we can see a return to in-person activities on the horizon.

DeKalb County Cases over Time

What are these data? Counts of confirmed COVID-19 cases in DeKalb County

What do we want to see? Cases consistently decreasing and/or very low, stable counts of cases

Source: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

Georgia Reproduction Rate

What are these data? The average number of Georgians who become infected by an infectious person (Rt).

What do we want to see? Rt consistently below 1.0

Big picture

U.S. Reproduction Rate

Big picture

Source: http://metrics.covid19-analysis.org/ (Forest Plot tab)

Event Risk

What are these data? The risk that at least one person at an event of a certain size is currently infected with COVID-19. Due to potential under-testing, estimates are also provided at 5, 10, and 20 times current levels (CI).

What do we want to see? Low risk estimates for events of around 30 people. (More specific values for acceptable risk, and which curve to reference, will be determined in the coming days through consultation with our scientific and medical experts.)
Big picture
Source: https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/ (Continuous Risk Estimates tab)

District News from the Wilson School Support Center

Facilities & Operations:

Your SPLOST Dollars at Work:
A brief overview of the CSD facilities work completed over the summer.

  • College Heights ECLC: Replaced Learning Cottages

  • Clairemont Elementary: Installation of LED lights in classrooms

  • Oakhurst Elementary: Replaced two energy recovery units (HVAC equipment)

  • Winnona Park Elementary: Installation of LED lights in classrooms and hallways

  • Talley Street Upper Elementary: Installation of 56 solar panels 20 KWh on the school roof (See full story below.)

  • Decatur High School: Student Career Center Interior Renovation

Facilities and Operations in Action - COVID-19 Preventative Measures

A huge shout out to our Facilities and Operations team for their flexibility and hard work with all the COVID-19 Preventative Measures they have taken to prepare our schools and offices. You can also read more about CSD's Facilities and Operations Response to COVID-19 here: https://www.csdecatur.net/CSDCOVIDoperations.

Talley Solar Panel Installation:


City Schools of Decatur is excited to announce that the second installation of solar panels is nearly complete. Fifty-six panels are being installed on the roof of Talley Street Upper Elementary School. This project’s funding came from a matching grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).

  • The units produce 20KWh and can be expanded to 40KWh.

  • The approximate emission savings are over 60,000 lbs of CO2, the equivalent of 1,400 trees planted.

  • The annual estimate of production is 30,348 KWh.

This project presents an excellent opportunity for our students and staff to learn and connect science concepts and possible experiments with a live dashboard solar-edge.

Sixty solar panels were installed at Renfroe Middle School in 2018, and the approximate savings are $15,000.00 per year. Once active, the Talley Street teachers and students will have access to a live dashboard like the one used at Renfroe.

Facilities and Operations Staff Update:

We are excited to announce our new additions to the Operations Team:

  • Christopher Young (Director of Facilities and Maintenance)

  • Matthew Damico (Security Coordinator)

CSD 2020 Virtual Meal Service


Every Monday, CSD opens the order forms for the next week’s Virtual Meal plans. Visit www.csdecatur.net/nutrition to fill out your meal pre-order form for the next week. The pre-order time frame is open every Monday from 8 am to Wednesday at 3 pm.

Changes to Delivery and Pick-ups:

To accommodate the increased orders we are receiving, beginning the week of September 8, we will add additional meal pick-up locations. Meals can be picked up at Decatur High, F.AVE, and Talley Street from 10 am to 12:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. **Reminder that September 7 is a holiday, so meals will only be available for pick-up/delivery on Wednesday and Friday.

Changes to Ordering Process:

We have added the option to make your weekly order a standing order. If you select this option, you will not have to submit orders each week. Your standing order will include the same number of meal choices (breakfast and/or lunch) and beverage choices each week. When selecting this option, please make sure that you select “yes” for all of your children individually. If you wish to stop your standing order, please email meals@csdecatur.net with the subject "Cancel Standing Order" to notify the school nutrition staff of the cancellation.


We are still working out our meal service and delivery processes, and we appreciate the help and support we've received over the last two weeks. Thank you for your feedback and support of our school nutrition program! Please send your questions or feedback to meals@csdecatur.net.


Thank you,


CSD Meal Service


Quick Reminders:


  • If opting for a bus delivery, please also take the steps found here to download and configure your Predictable Ryde bus tracking app so you will know when to expect your meal delivery: https://www.csdecatur.net/bustracker.
  • Please remember always to wear a mask when picking up your meals either from DHS, F.AVE, Talley, or your bus stop.
  • For more about meal delivery order, current menus, and the delivery or pick up process, visit www.csdecatur.net/nutrition.

Curriculum and Instruction:

Thank you to the Virtual Learning Vanguard team:
We would like to send a special shout out to the Virtual Learning Vanguard team whose research and recommendations helped build our current Virtual Learning plan. This group of CSD educators and community members worked all summer to review the virtual learning survey results from parents, teachers, and students and sort through the existing related research and programs. School districts from around the country, and even as far away as Germany, have asked to review and copy our plan. Thank you to this group for your incredible hard work and your continued efforts as you serve to support your colleagues and lead this work as building experts.

Members of the Virtual Learning Vanguard team: Cynthia Aldridge, Alyson Barrera,
Kristy Beam, Carrie Beauchamp, Corrie Bounds, Sarah Chandler, John Chesnut, Karen Collins, Frank Defilippo, Jillian Farley, Wes Hatfield, Kimberly Jones, Beth Kostka, Tyler Mangascle, Eston Melton, Julie McFaddin, Lyndsei Pacini, Graham Pereira, Emily Rubin, Maima Simmons, Corinne Smith, Charchelle Sudan, Kelly Stopp, Dawn Stephen, Robyn Tibbetts, Jason Wade, Kathryn Van Duzer, and Sarah Yoo.


District Content Guides:
In an effort to support family engagement and participation in the learning process for students as we are learning virtually, we have prepared content guides for each grade level and core content. Families can see the standards being taught each week in each subject area by viewing these guides here.

Other virtual learning resources can be found on https://virtual.csdecatur.net.

Extra-Curricular VIRTUAL Orchestra Classes:

We are so excited to have our new orchestra program at Renfroe Middle School up and running. We welcome Heston McCranie, as our new CSD Orchestra Director who will be overseeing this program. Heston is working to transition the Decatur Strings upper elementary program to become part of a cohesive CSD orchestra program. Decatur Strings was previously a private partnership run by Ms. Nia Schooler.


We are so grateful to Ms. Schooler for her dedication and commitment to the orchestra program and the City Schools of Decatur music students. For more information, visit the Decatur Strings website or contact the Program Coordinator, Nia Schooler (Nia.Schooler@DecaturStrings.com).


The Orchestra teaching staff will hold a special Parent Information Session for Intermediate Orchestra via Zoom on Wednesday, September 2, at 7 pm. A Parent Info Session for Beginning Orchestra will be held on Wednesday, September 16. If you wish to attend, please email Nia Schooler (Nia.Schooler@DecaturStrings.com).

Flybrary Library Book Bus Delivery Basic Procedures:

Students may reserve books using the hold feature on their home school Destiny Discover website.

  • Check-out period will be 3 weeks.

  • Students may check out 4 books at a time.

  • Books will be available for pick up at a designated day/time/bus stop.

  • Books may be returned to the school on a cart placed outside.

  • Elementary delivery day is Tuesday.

  • Middle and high school delivery day is Thursday.


Families can check their child’s Destiny account to see when the reserved book(s) has been checked out to determine delivery. EXAMPLE: So, Johnny placed 2 books on hold on Saturday. His family chose bus delivery. Johnny can go into his Destiny account and see that those books are checked out to him. He will know to meet the bus on Tuesday.


Your school will provide more details regarding the pick-up and delivery schedule.

Please complete this form to let us know your pick up preference.


CSD's transportation department will deliver the books to a bus stop near you. Please go to https://www.csdecatur.net/bustracker to learn how to register for the tracking app for your book delivery. You do not need to register again for Predictable Ryde if you registered to receive your school nutrition meals.

Equity and Student Support Update

SEE Equity Update

SEE Equity will begin for students in grades 6-12 Wednesday, September 16. We originally planned to have SEE Equity sessions facilitated live by national racial equity expert, Dr. Lori Watson. However, due to the virtual environment’s constraints, and our desire to provide a safer, more intimate environment for conversations about race, we have decided to delay synchronous delivery. In short, the district determined that smaller SEE Equity groups would be more conducive for conversations about race, would allow students to feel safer, and would provide students with more opportunities to engage with the material and interact with staff and peers.


As an update to the material shared in the Wellness Wednesday Town Hall, the District will instead begin SEE Equity with asynchronous content aligned with the six-week synchronous curriculum previously presented. As part of this new content, students in grades 6-12 will have an opportunity to watch the film Race: The Power of an Illusion, a three-hour series that explores the concept of race from a scientific, historical, and sociological perspective. This series will serve as a tool to better prepare students for facilitated, synchronous discussions related to race, privilege, policy, and justice.


Each week, students will view a one-hour episode of the three-part series while working through an active learning guide developed by our Equity and Student Support department. Students will be able to access the film as well as the learning guide, through a link in their Advisement Google classroom. In support of this asynchronous content, district Courageous Conversation About Race (CCAR) Affiliates will provide virtual office hours each week to answer any questions students may have about the content, topics, or issues discussed in the film.


As students engage with Race: The Power of an Illusion, their advisement teachers will engage in professional learning with Dr. Watson to develop the skills to facilitate the second part of the SEE Equity curriculum and provide a safer, more intimate environment for student conversations about race. Once their training is complete, the original six-week curriculum discussed during the Wellness Wednesday town halls will instead be guided by advisement teachers and incorporated into student advisement schedules later this school year. As they disseminate content, advisement teachers will have the opportunity to consult with and be supported by our District CCAR Affiliates, who have had over 50 hours of training and extensive experience working with race-related content.


If you have any questions regarding our SEE Equity changes, you may click here to learn more about the curriculum or contact Dr. Mari Ann Banks, District Equity Coordinator.

For more information about Wellness Wednesday, SEE Equity, or SEE Learning, please visit the District's Wellness Wednesday webpage here.

Information Services Update

Classroom Guardian Notifications

Late last week, we began emailing invitations to guardians to receive guardian summary messages from Google Classroom. These invitations went to the primary email address for people identified as a child's guardian in the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. They will come from “Littlesis Admin (Classroom).” For additional information on guardian notifications, you can visit the Virtual Learning Help & Knowledge Center's Tech Help page (under the For parents section). That page has other general tech support resources for both students and parents. The Virtual Learning website also has “springboards” for parents and students to access other helpful resources.

Hotspots and Chromebooks

We've deployed about 1,000 additional Chromebooks and 400 hotspots to CSD users since August 1, and we're trying to satisfy additional requests as rapidly as possible. We now have over 2,500 CSD Chromebooks in our students’ hands. Hotspots are on backorder, and we'll reach out to families who already requested them as soon as they become available.

We have heard reports of some hotspots having difficulty connecting. Hotspots rely on having a strong cellular data connection to function; areas with poor Verizon cell reception might have poor hotspot performance. Additionally, hotspots being used in a home that already has Wi-Fi might, in fact, interfere with that home Wi-Fi and cause both networks to underperform. If you have a hotspot or Chromebook and no longer need or want it, please email informationservices@csdecatur.net so we can arrange its return and redistribution to another family. (Families who already wrote to us about returning a Chromebook: thank you, and you can expect to hear from us next week about taking those up.)

Research and Analytics: Annual Data Update and Keenville Assessment Tool

Annual Data Update

We have moved the typical beginning of the school year household data update, medical forms, opt-out forms, and handbook sign-offs to the parent portal. On Tuesday, September 1, parents will receive an email with a link to access the update in the parent portal.

It is important for parents or guardians to complete these forms and sign offs by September 15. Please note, only parents and guardians in the primary household will have access to fill out the information for the annual data update. Please review the 2020-2021 K-12 District Handbook and Code of Conduct and Restorative Practices Handbook prior to completing the update.

Directions for accessing the data update can be found in the graphic below.

For more detailed information, please watch this video.
Thank you for your time. We hope that it is a successful school year for your family.

Keenville Assessment Tool

First and second-grade teachers will begin using Keenville, a game based formative assessment tool, starting the week of September 7. We will be using this tool to assess mathematics skills. Students will play the games as part of their regular math instruction, and their classroom teacher will get useful information about the student's numeracy skills. The Keenville parent guide for mathematics gives a lot of detail about these games. This one-page flyer gives a brief description of the program..


Students will access Keenville through their teacher’s google classroom. Teachers will show students how to log in during online classes.


School News You Can Use!

College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center:

College Heights now officially has six NEW Pre-K cottages. We are grateful to the School Board and Superintendent for their continued support of early learning.

We want to welcome Ms. Angela Gabriel back. Ms. Gabriel retired at the end of the 19-20 school year after 30 years of teaching Pre-K. Ms. Gabriel was recently hired as the school's part-time Multi-Tiered Support System (MTSS) teacher.

College Height's #CSDFirstDay of Pre-K photos

Clairemont Elementary Update:

Clairemont Elementary School celebrates a strong start to our virtual learning program. Our theme for the 2020-2021 school year is "Building The Best Bulldogs." Through the use of our Habits of Scholarship: Collaboration, Character, Perseverance, and Craftsmanship, we will work to ensure that all students meet and exceed their individual and collective goals. With a specific focus on student engagement, the Clairemont Crew is working to develop our students by implementing strategies that increase their attention and focus, motivate them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and promote meaningful learning experiences. During virtual learning, teachers and staff are building connections through Crew meetings, large/small group live interactions, and our weekly Community Circle celebrations. We invite you to join us as we "Learn Together With Our Heads, Hearts, and Hands."
Glennwood Elementary Update:

This week at Glennwood, our school-based SEE Learning team taught our first SEE lesson to all the students. SEE Learning is a research-backed social-emotional learning program developed by Emory University. All the lessons incorporate a mindfulness component into the work. Additionally, this week, we elicited from students ways that we are similar and ways that we are different. Then students focused upon how we are all the same in wanting happiness and not wanting unkindness. Step-by-step, this program will lead students to develop compassion for themselves and others, which has been shown to have salutary effects on not just a social-emotional level, but also on academics as well. Additionally, SEE lessons are based on equity work and a trauma-informed lens. The students have been enjoying their participation in the program so far! If you would like additional info on SEE Learning, please check out the CSD Wellness Wednesday page. Photo of Glennwood First Grader Micheal Pope participating in SEE Learning on Wellness Wednesday.
Talley Parade and Supply Pick up


Talley Street's faculty and staff welcomed back students for the 2020-2021 school year. The staff socially distanced and greeted their new students with a drive through parade while providing students with back to school supplies and materials.

F.AVE: Building Classroom Culture

At F.AVE, we have been working to establish healthy school/classroom culture through both the PBIS and Responsive Classroom frameworks. Cast Gathering (F.AVE's name for morning meetings) is one of the components of Responsive Classroom that will help teachers and students build strong bonds in the virtual classroom environment. This week in Cast Gathering with his students, Mr. DiGiacomo played "Whose Pet Is It Anyway?" Mr. DiGiacomo had parents email him pictures of his student's pets. He put the pet pictures on a slideshow and had students guess whose pet was on the screen. We are being intentional about building community at F.AVE!
DHS Announces New VoiceBox for Students

Decatur High School announced last week the new VoiceBox tool for students. The VoiceBox is a tool that will allow students to report any experiences they have with fellow students, teachers, or staff that they feel are racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, and/or inequitable. The link to the form can be found at the bottom of our school website - https://www.csdecatur.net/dhs. The form responses will be sent initially to Principal Lofstrand and Dr. Banks, District Equity Coordinator. Our hope is that this is the beginning of our work in becoming an anti-racist community. Please contact Principal Lofstrand (rlofstrand@csdecatur.net) with any questions you have regarding our equity work.

Welcome back Westchester Wolves!


Thanks to all who came out to our Back to School Parade and our Supply Distribution!



Left:
Westchester's new Principal Dr. Kimberly Watson, the Westchester Wolf, and CSD Superintendent Dr. Dude greet students during the Parade. Below: Students and staff enjoy the parade, pick up supplies, and greet one another.

Oakhurst Elementary:

Welcome back to School Virtually Oakhurst Owls! Thanks to the parents who sent in these photos of our Oakhurst Owls' first day of virtual learning.

Messages from our Partners

US Census 2020: A message from the City of Decatur


Have you completed your Census yet? Don't forget to be counted! The City of Decatur wants all of its residents to participate to help inform the process for the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to communities around the country each year for things such as health care, emergency services, infrastructure, education and food assistance.


Want to know more? Visit 2020census.gov, census.georgia.gov or visit the City of Decatur’s Census webpage at www.decaturga.com.


Safe Routes To School (SRTS) News:


Safe Routes to School invites all children to bike (or walk) to their school on Wednesday, September 16 to celebrate Bike and Be Well Day! Students in grades K – 5 are invited to bike (or walk) by their school and pick up an incentive item and a Bicycle Guide for Kids. Each school will set their own time frame to coordinate with the Wellness Wednesday activities for students at their school. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.Let’s see which school will have the highest participation!


We will also be celebrating International Walk and Roll to School Day in October. Stand by to see what we have planned! For more information about Safe Routes to School in Decatur visit decaturga.com/srts.


StoryWalk at Glenlake Park: SRTS and the Decatur Library have collaborated to create a story walk at Glenlake Park. For more information, visit https://beactivedecatur.com/tag/storywalk.

Looking for more ideas on how to stay active? Visit the City of Decatur Active Living's Virtual Recreation Center here: https://www.decaturga.com/activeliving/page/virtual-recreation-center.

Decatur Education Foundation News:

DEF is partnering with City Schools of Decatur to connect people, resources and ideas to ensure that all students are supported, and that families know where they can turn for resources to ensure equity across the district.
We have identified five areas of focus to help families during Virtual Learning: childcare, Virtual PALS Tutoring Program, mentoring, student behavioral health, and parenting support. To learn more, please visit www.decatureducationfoundation.org/covidlearning.

DEF is pleased to announce that we are sponsoring two of Decatur Book Festival’s Virtual Kid events on September 5 and September 15!

September 5 at 10 am: The Kidnote Presentation with Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James, authors of I Am Every Good Thing, an uplifting picture book that celebrates Black boys. As part of this presentation, DEF has purchased a copy of the book for every classroom teacher in all five K-2 school in City Schools of Decatur! To sign up for the presentation, click here.

September 15 at 7 pm: Raise Your Voice - a Young Adult Panel brings together five YA authors to discuss how to make yourself heard and to find your place in the world. Panelists include Elizabeth Acevedo, Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed, Renee Watson, Brendan Kiely. To register for this presentation, click here.

You can find books from all of these authors at Little Shop of Stories and Brave + Kind Books.


The Madison Ave. Soapbox Derby’s Ramp to Success Fundraiser benefiting DEF continues through September! If you would like to help students and families face the virtual learning challenges ahead, consider donating at http://madisonavesoapboxderby.org/donate -- there’s a gift from Oakhurst Market for every donation level!

Scenes from our Community

Big picture
Community volunteers, many CSD parents and students, helped paint the Black Lives Matter mural on North McDonough Street in front of Decatur High School last weekend.

Middle: Decatur City Commissioner Leesa Mayer with City Schools of Decatur School Board Members Tasha White and Jana Johnson-Davis. Right and Left: Many CSD parents and students joined other community volunteers to paint the Black Lives Matter Mural on North McDonough Street.

Virtually learning scenes around Decatur: Siblings enjoying yoga on Wellness Wednesday, the College Heights Chick being safe by wearing a mask, and a student enjoys his CSD lunch after receiving it from his bus stop delivery.

Important Dates Around the District


Upcoming School Calendar Reminders:


  • No School on Labor Day, September 7, 2020. Please note: there will be no Wellness Wednesday or SEE Learning on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
  • As a reminder, there will be no Fall Break- School will be in session the week of September 21-25, 2020.
  • No school on Monday, November 2, 2020.
  • No school for Thanksgiving break, November 23-27, 2020.
To view CSD's school calendars, visit www.csdecatur.net/calendar.



Have a date you'd like us to add to the next newsletter? Email Sarah Jones at sjones1@csdecatur.net. Thanks!

About the CSD District Dispatch

If you would like to submit news for the District Dispatch, please feel free to submit it here or by emailing Sarah Jones, Communications and PR specialist, at sjones1@csdecatur.net. 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.