CSD District Dispatch

News from around CSD: January 15, 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/gbfn3.

Table of Contents

  • Board of Education Information (Election and Exemption)
  • General CSD News
  • District News from the Wilson School Support Center
  • Great News Around the District
  • 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, February 9, 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 January 12 can be viewed here.

Board Leadership Elections

Congratulations to our new Board Chair Tasha White and Vice-Chair Heather Tell on their election to these leadership roles. Thank you to Lewis Jones for his dedicated service as the CSD Board Chair over the past few years.


Senior Homestead Exemption Information

Thank you to the Decatur City Commission for approving a resolution in support of the Board’s homestead exemption proposal. The resolution can be found here.


The proposed exemptions:


Exemption number 1

Serves homeowners ages 65-69 who have a Federal Adjusted Gross Income less than $53,000 (80% of AMI). The home value exempted is $400,000 (or $200,000 of assessed value). Those in that group who:

  • Have a home value of less than $400,000 will pay no school tax.

  • Have a home value GREATER THAN $400,000, will pay tax on the remaining value above $400,000.


Exemption number 2

Serves all homeowners ages 70 and above. The home value exempted is $400,000 (or $200,000 of assessed value). Those in that group who:

  • Have a home value of less than $400,000 will pay no school tax.

  • Have homes with a home value greater than $400,000 and who currently are taking the S3 exemption* will be required to pay tax on the remaining value above $500,000.

  • Have homes with a home value greater than $400,000 and who are not taking the S3 exemption will be required to pay school tax on the remaining value above $400,000.


For more information, visit the CSD Senior Homestead Exemption website here https://www.csdecatur.net/seniorexemption.

General CSD News


Next Tuesday, January 19, CSD Pre-K - 5 students will begin to go into our buildings for learning. Schools are communicating directly with families regarding schedules and procedures for in-person and virtual learners. Please check your school’s website or the latest school newsletter for the most up-to-date information. School-specific information, as well as other important information, is shared on the district website here.

CSD’s In-Person Parent Compact must be signed before returning to school buildings

In the communication sent out on Friday, January 8, we stated that in-person families would receive an email inviting them to fill out the parent compact. There was an error in the system, and that email did not reach many of our families’ inboxes. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask that our in-person families please log into the Infinite Campus Parent Portal to fill out the compact. School personnel will also be following up with families that do not submit a compact.

To access this compact, log in to the Infinite Campus Parent Portal at https://campus.csdecatur.org/campus/portal/decatur.jsp and select the survey link in your inbox. Responses are due by January 19, 2021.

A signed compact is required for each student receiving in-person instruction.

District News from the Wilson School Support Center

Curriculum and Instruction:

Graduation Administrative Regulation: City Schools of Decatur Seeks Community Feedback!


CSD Community Members are invited to submit feedback on draft Administrative Regulations. Go to https://www.csdecatur.net/adminregs to learn about Administrative Regulations, read the draft regulations, and to provide input.


An update to the Graduation Administrative Regulation is posted for public input. Updates include:

  • general language updates aligned with the Georgia Department of Education

  • a personal fitness waiver option

  • multiple graduation pathways

  • cohort explanation

  • Special Education criteria

  • grade conversion charts

  • core credit option for middle school students

  • early graduation policy/process


After reading the Graduation Administrative Regulation, we invite staff, parents, students, and community members to submit feedback through this form.

State and Federal Programs

Upcoming Special Education Information Session:


Preparing for Postsecondary Transition

What comes to mind when the words postsecondary transition are mentioned? Maybe SAT/ACTs, graduation, college applications, or employment opportunities? All of these things are a great start, but for students with disabilities, postsecondary transition may need to be broader. Depending on a student's level of impact and how their disability manifests, families will need to start planning earlier for this transition.


Marca Tigner, CSD Transition Specialist, and Cheryl Grant, CSD Parent Mentor will present Preparing for Postsecondary Transition. Mrs. Tigner and Ms. Grant will give a step by step checklist to guide students and their families to a successful transition. Small incremental actions taken now while students are in school can help create positive outcomes for students with a disability.

Target Audience:

-9th - 12th-grade students/families

-All levels of impact/disability


Preparing for Postsecondary Transition (Virtual Meeting)

Date: January 27, 2021

Time: 5:30-6:30 pm

RSVP to Cheryl Grant at cgrant@csdecatur.net.

Operations Department - Facilities, Maintenance, Nutrition, and Transportation

CSD Nutrition Updates for Spring 2021!


Please note: Our last day of bus meal delivery will be Friday, January 15. We will send extra food home on Friday, January 15, to cover the breakfast meals on Tuesday, January 19.


CSD Nutrition will no longer be using our pre-order system as of Tuesday, January 19. We will continue to offer meals FREE to all students (virtual or in-person) until the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Meal pick-ups for our virtual learners will continue ONLY at our Decatur High School TakeOutSpot from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Students in-person in our CSD buildings will be offered daily take-home meals as they exit their school. These meal bags will contain both lunch for the current school day and breakfast for the following school day.


We ask that all in-person students remember to take meals on their way home, as it helps support our school nutrition program. If your child needs a vegetarian meal or has a special diet concern, please complete the online survey on our website as soon as possible. We will ensure that these meals are available at the student’s designated school site for in-person students and at Decatur High for virtual students. Please check out our CSD webpage (https://www.csdecatur.net/nutrition) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CSDschoolnutrition) as we continue to finalize our plans for January 19.

Operations Staff Recognition

As we come to the end of our Virtual Meal Delivery, the Operations Department would like to highlight two staff members who have demonstrated fantastic teamwork and customer service during this unprecedented time. Danyelle Knox and Helen Wideman have truly embraced flexibility during the virtual learning period while facilitating the Clairemont library book and meal delivery. The two have shown leadership by assisting other area zones when in need. Danyelle Knox is the regular driver of Route 32 in the Clairemont district. Danyelle has a great relationship with her parents and students and was recognized in April by Decaturish for her caring nature when the pandemic first hit. She has been with the district since 2016. Helen Wideman is the regular driver on Route 31 and is known for her communication. Helen knows everyone and is always chatting with parents and students. She has been serving the Decatur community since 2003. We want to thank these bus drivers and all our transportation workers for their hard work and dedication.

Get to know our Nutrition Department staff!

Staff Member: Kellie Middlebrooks

Favorite Color: Red

Favorite way to relax: Spending quality, quiet time alone

Something unique about Kellie: She is a caring and loving person. She enjoys doing things from the heart without getting credit.

Note from school nutrition leadership: Ms. Middlebrooks has been with CSD for 6 years and is a great worker. She is always so helpful within our department. The passion that she brings to the role is contagious. We appreciate her hard work!

Good News Around the District!

Three DHS Black Student Union Members Featured in Atlanta Magazine!

Many of us know our students are #WorldChangers but recently a few of our DHS students received special recognition by being featured in Atlanta Magazine. These students, Daxton Pettus, Genesis Reddicks, and Liza Watson, are featured for their efforts to remove some of Decatur's most controversial monuments. Click here to read the story in its entirety.

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Magazine photographer Ben Rollins.

Frasier Center 3-year-olds’ DEAM Community Service Project!

During the holiday season, the Frasier Center celebrated Thankful Week by reading books about gratitude and involving the students in activities and crafts. As a part of this special week, the school community collected food items for the Decatur-Area Emergency Assistance Ministry, DEAM. At school, the children decorated the DEAM bags for the donations and added a special touch with heart notes so that all recipients know they are LOVED! Participation was incredibly high, and approximately 10 boxes full of food items were collected. Great job Frasier Center for teaching the children about gratitude while helping our community!

Talley Spelling Bee

Congratulations to our Talley Spelling Bee winners- Vaishali Raol, Maia Eastman, Maia Rasnik-Stryker! These three will move on to represent Talley Street Elementary in the next round!


Decatur Debaters - Debating Virtually!

Shout out to the DHS debate team! The team has been debating virtually almost every weekend since September! Our debate team attends debate tournaments both locally as part of the Atlanta Urban Debate League (AUDL) and nationally (DC, Alabama, Minnesota, Texas, and Louisiana).

  • Shout out to AUDL debaters Brendan Cocherell, Bennett Hylen, Zara Jenkins, Isaiah Guthrie, and Gabe Papandria for their wins this season.

  • Shout out to our National circuit debaters Kit Sanders, Keon Sanavandi, Aaron Lam, Maddock Thomas, Maggie Stearns, and Hazel Patty.

  • Recently, TWO teams made it to elimination rounds at Samford University- Keon Sanavandi and his team, as well as Will Kochel and Max Van Kruissen.

Congratulations to all our Decatur Debaters for their spectacular work!

Winnona Park receives a Smart Library!

In Winnona Park, a group of CSD and Atlanta Public School students who are members of the Flying Nuggets robotics club recently installed a smart little library! The library’s goal, installed at Winnona Park Elementary on January 10, is to turn reading into a game to encourage visitors to be active on their way to getting or donating a book.

To read more about this Smart Library, visit http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/smart-library-installed-in-park.

Photo courtesy of The Champion Newspaper.

DHS Student’s Composition Selected GMEA Statewide Contest

Big congratulations to Nina DeFilippo, one of eleven students who had her composition selected for the GMEA statewide composition contest! Her work entitled “pinkoplot” will be recorded and premiere at the GMEA virtual conference at the end of January.


DHS students included in this composition performance include Shangming Yan, Flute; Oliver Lee, Clarinet; Nina DeFilippo, Soprano Saxophone; Sophie Phillips, Horn; Ernesto Clarke, Bassoon. Big congratulations to Nina and all of these students!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q_6t6L741o&feature=youtu.be


DHS Jazz performance

The DHS Jazz Combo gave an outstanding performance on the Square on December 5. The students (L to R) include Rebecca Fishman, Jacob Leavey, Levi Waterhouse, Nina DeFilippo, Thomas Cook, and Anna Wong.

School 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 Winnona Park Elementary School teachers and staff.


If you would like to shoutout your child’s teacher or a staff member, send an email to Sarah Jones at sjones1@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.
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  • I want to give a shout out to Melissa McArthur at Winnona Park. In normal times, Special Ed teachers have a tough job. They are patient and kind and very creative. During virtual learning, Ms. McArthur has delivered weekly activities to our doorstep that help engage our son to learn and make it fun. She has helped give structure and guide our family to helping our son learn in a way that is best for him. We are so glad to have her as part of his teaching team! He can’t wait to get back to school.

  • Shout out to Winnona’s second grade teacher Kelly Stopp whose faucet of patience runneth over daily and seems to have a ceaseless refill!

  • I'd like to give a shout out to Ms. Lambert and Ms. Hammond at WPES. They are so engaging and kind, and my kindergartener loves getting to chat with them before and after class. They consistently go the extra mile to help the kids experience the magic of kindergarten, even from home.

  • Shout-out to Ms. Funk at Winnona Park for going above and beyond to connect with my daughter and make her feel comfortable during virtual learning. We are so grateful to her!

  • Shout out to Ms. Westbrook for her constant patience, enthusiasm and loving support of her first grade students! She is the epitome of warmth, love and grace. We are grateful to have her during this time!

  • Shout out to Ms. Spencer for being an amazing support teacher and helping our son succeed everyday! She has gone above and beyond including dropping off items at our house, coming up with innovative ideas, sending kind emails and being a support to us as parents just as much as to our child. We are grateful for you!


  • Shout out to Ms. McCool who greets her Kindergarten class with positive energy and patience. She is truly a master at managing the kids and keeping them engaged throughout the day. Also, Ms. Ivey is a great support and so loved by the kids.

  • I’d like to shout out Hannah Henry at WP! She has kept the kids engaged throughout this virtual experience. She always goes the extra mile with a smile! We appreciate you!!


  • Thank you to Coach Beauchamp at WP who came up with a Gifts of Moving Prize. She crafted homemade hula hoops and delivered them to students homes

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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.

Take Action Tuesdays!


Want to give a shoutout to a student doing great things in our community? Consider sending us an email so we can highlight them on our Take Action Tuesday facebook spotlight!

Take Action Tuesday is a new weekly spotlight where CSD spotlights our students for their good deeds in our community. #OurKids are truly making the world a better place in so many ways and each Tuesday we will salute one student for their fantastic work. We need your suggestions! Do you know a CSD student who is working to make the world a better place in small or big ways? Let us know! Complete this form (https://forms.gle/WJaPFJZ8ojTtNCVK8) and they may be highlighted next week! Please be sure to include a photo!

Messages from our Partners

Decatur Education Foundation News:

Decatur Education Foundation News

As CSD rolls out its plans for spring semester, DEF will be working to continue to support families to ensure our students have what they need to learn and thrive. DEF established a Virtual Pals Tutoring Program to provide extra help for CSD students in the 2nd through 8th grades during virtual learning. Participants are paired with a community volunteer tutor who provides basic homework help, tutoring and virtual learning support. We currently have 18 tutor pairs, but have more available spots. If your student would like to enroll in the program, please fill out this application. To see all of our COVID- related initiatives, please visit www.decatureducationfoundation.org/Covid-19.

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.