CSD District Dispatch

News from around CSD: September 11, 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/ksdcg.

Newsletter background photo credit: K. L. Martin.

Table of Contents:

  • Board of Education and Monthly Board Meeting Information
  • Board Meeting Summary: Senior Homestead Exemption
  • A Message from Dr. Dude
  • The 2020 Extra Mile Award Winners
  • District News from the Wilson School Support Center
  • School News You Can Use
  • School "Shout Out"
  • Messages from our Partners
  • Important Dates Around the District

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, October 13.

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.

The most recent Board Meeting held on September 8, 2020, can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/QVmP78I8Z6c.

Board Meeting Summary: Focus on the Senior Homestead Exemption Committee's Report

At the September 8 Board Meeting, the Senior Homestead Exemption Committee presented an initial recommendation to the Board of Education. You can find their presentation here: https://www.csdecatur.net/seniorexemption.


The Committee recommended that more data analysis will need to be done, and CSD has reached back out to Georgia State for their assistance with that. Following the data analysis, the committee will present an updated recommendation to the Board.


The Committee’s initial recommendation included the creation of two exemptions, both subject to periodic re-evaluation:

Age 65-69 exemption:

• Need-based exemption focused on vulnerable or disadvantaged seniors

• Federal income capped, with AMI/MFI annual adjustment

• Assign an exemption value that reflects current home values, and then index-adjusted going forward


Age 70+ exemption:

• Minimum benefits from 65-69 cohort preserved (no exemption will decrease going from age 69 to 70)

• Remaining exemption allocated to all residents 70+, with minimal caps

• This potentially keeps the full exemption for 70+

This fall and winter, CSD hopes to take the following steps:
- Work to get the views of seniors and the general public who may not have yet been able to voice their opinions.

- Pass a resolution at a future Board Meeting to present to the DeKalb legislative delegation.

- Create the legislative language and work with the delegation to create and pass a new bill before the current legislation sunsets.
For more information, visit the CSD Senior Homestead Exemption website here https://www.csdecatur.net/seniorexemption.

A Message from Dr. Dude

Many of you may have heard my comments at the Board Meeting about how we will use certain data to decide how to move forward with in-person, hybrid, or virtual learning. I also discussed the micro surveys we are starting and a proposal process, which gives staff a way to ask for in-person small groups and activities to be considered and possibly allowed if they can be done safely. For those of you who missed the Board Meeting, you can view this discussion here or you can read this brief summary below.


1. Data being used to make the decision: While as of this moment, no decision has been made, I can share with you the exact data points/charts and metrics we are looking at in order to make an informed decision about going back to in-person learning, staying virtual, or a hybrid blend. We are currently analyzing data from DeKalb County about cases over time, current reproduction rate, hospitalizations over time, Georgia testing rates, and the GA Tech event risk assessment tool. We are also consulting with local experts in epidemiology, healthcare, and other related fields regarding what benchmarks we should be considering for moving back to in-person learning.


2. Micro surveys: Recently, CSD began surveying random samples of students (in grades 6-12), parents/guardians, teachers, and other staff. Every several days this very short survey is sent to a few hundred randomly selected people from the four stakeholder groups in an attempt to look at trends and gauge feelings and impressions around the three options of virtual, hybrid, or in-person learning. The decision of whether or not to go back to in-person learning will hinge on local COVID-19 data (mentioned above). The micro survey results will not be the single determining factor. The results are meant to be a pulse check of the opinions of our community.

Analysis of the data from these surveys are presented in this slide deck. Using the arrows at the top, navigate through the various slides of information. Many parts of the graphics are interactive, allowing you to hover or click to get additional information.

Random sampling is not something we've tried before, so the first slide presents information about what random sampling is and how it works.

All of the data in these slides are reflective of the most recent download of survey data and will be updated periodically as new data become available. These data are important, but they are not a single determining factor in our decision making. We also regularly review various metrics related to the spread of coronavirus and collaborate with local experts to better understand the state of this environment and what the future may bring.


3. The proposal process gives staff a way to ask for in-person small groups and activities to be considered and possibly allowed if they can be done safely. Proposals are submitted by staff, through principals or other appropriate administrators, to the Wilson Center COVID Response Team for review. That team works with the person submitting the proposal with the goal of getting to approval. All approved proposals will soon be posted on the district website to enable the community to see the approved proposals and for those writing proposals to gather ideas on effective safety measures, protocols, etc. We will be going back to full in-person activities at some point in the future, and our students are in need of opportunities for interaction, so these proposals will allow us to begin working toward such a transition while figuring out what works and what needs to be improved. Ultimately, this process will lead to a smoother and more effective transition to our eventual return to a new normal of in-person learning.

Announcing the 2020 Extra Mile Award!

We are so excited to announce our CSD Extra Mile Award winners! These awards are given annually to celebrate our teachers and staff who go the extra mile for their students.

Students nominate CSD staff members, and the nominations are made at the end of each school year. Traditionally, we announce these award winners a few days before school starts at our annual Opening Day celebration, which is like a pep rally for our CSD teachers, administrators, and staff to kick off each new school year. But, since we could not come together for the usual opening day celebration, we are coming to you now, virtually! To find out who the 2020 Extra Mile Award Winners are, please view this video to hear directly from the students why they nominated these twelve teachers and staff members for this award.

2020 Extra Mile Award Winners

Eleanor Ball, Oakhurst Special Education Teacher

Jennifer Querubin, Westchester Elementary First Grade Teacher

David Hirschorn, Renfroe Middle School Chorus Teacher

Ashley McCullough, Renfroe Middle School Design for Change Teacher

Karen Flowers, Renfroe Middle School Math Teacher

Jessica Murray, Renfroe Middle School Science Teacher

Vanessa Williams, F.AVE Upper Elementary 4th Grade Teacher

Michael Holliday, F.AVE Upper Elementary LINKS Teacher

Sherri Ellspermann, Talley Street Upper Elementary 3rd Grade Teacher

Tangie Irons, Talley Street Upper Elementary 3rd Grade Teacher

Linda Spadaccini, Decatur High School Math Teacher

Charlene Germany, Decatur Crossing guard (at S. Candler)

Thank you to all the students who submitted a nomination for this award!

Also, we want to send our appreciation to the Decatur Education Foundation for annually sponsoring these awards. As usual, we thank you for your tremendous support!

If your student is interested in nominating their current teacher for the 2021 extra mile awards, watch for the announcement this spring on how to submit a nomination.

Thank you again to all our teachers and staff members for all they do every day to go the extra mile for our #OurKids.

District News from the Wilson School Support Center

Town Hall Summaries:

All CSD Town Hall videos and their respective Q & A Summaries are available now on the Opening 2020 page, including Dr. Dude’s September 3 town hall video and presentation.

Facilities & Operations:

Facilities Department

Facilities and Maintenance staff have replaced the old furniture tables in the cafeteria of Clairemont Elementary School. We are proud to announce these beautiful Clairemont red lunch tables are ready for our kids when we come back to in-person learning.

Global Cold Plasma Air Purification Systems now installed in all ten CSD schools:

As a part of the important preparations of getting our schools ready for in-person instruction, the CSD Facilities Department has installed global cold plasma air purification systems in each of our ten CSD schools, installing the final system at Decatur High School just this week. These systems use the positive and negative hydrogen and oxygen ions to oxidize and break down odors like ammonia, formaldehyde, etc., into compounds with no odor like H20, CO2, N2, and O2. The electron volts are low enough (<12 Ev) to not produce ozone in this process. It also attacks the DNA/RNA structure of single-cell pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. It charges small particles positively and negatively so that they are attracted to each other and agglomerate together to either precipitate out of the air or get caught in the HVAC air filter. For more about this system, visit https://www.plasma-air.com/how-it-works.

To learn more about the preparations CSD has taken to keep our school buildings more safe, please visit http://www.csdecatur.net/CSDCOVIDoperations.

CSD 2020 Virtual Meal Service -FREE MEALS for ALL kids!

ALL CSD students can now eat FREE with CSD!

The School Nutrition Department will continue to provide student meals for pickup and delivery during the virtual learning period. Meal service pickup/delivery will be on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Students will receive multiple meals at each delivery/pickup location. Meal pickup will be at our CSD TakeOutSpot locations at Decatur High School, F.AVE, and Talley Upper Elementary.

PLEASE NOTE: We are able to extend this meal service to all CSD students free of charge. In addition, all children who are 18 and younger (or under the age of 21 for youth with special needs) may participate regardless of being a CSD student. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted waiver extensions that allow school districts to offer meals at no charge through December 31 through the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program. Funding is valid until money runs out or December 31st, whichever comes first.

Although meals are now free, meal service orders will continue to be required. Parents may complete a meal pre-order form for all CSD and non-CSD children at www.csdecatur.net/nutrition or by contacting the school nutrition department at meals@csdecatur.net or by calling (404) 807-2840.

*The CSD TakeOutSpot locations are subject to change, so please check our website regularly.

Reminder: The free- and reduced-price meal applications must be filled out each school year (even if you filled one out in the spring, you need to fill out a new one for the coming school year). The online application for 2020-21 is now available in the parent portal at https://campus.csdecatur.org/campus/portal/parents/decatur.jsp. You only need to complete one application per household. Note that those eligible for free- and reduced-price meals may be able to access other types of public assistance or services that may be available during this pandemic.

Curriculum and Instruction:

Elementary students use Fundations take-home kits!

We are proud of the exciting ways elementary teachers across the district are supporting students with Fundations! The Curriculum & Instruction team is developing, curating, and sharing instructional resources to support virtual teaching and learning continually.


Wilson Fundations Phonics is a research-based program that incorporates Orton-Gillingham methods for teaching phonics and spelling in grades K–3. Each Fundations lesson focuses on carefully sequenced skills, including alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and spelling. It is designed to help teachers quickly identify and address reading, spelling, and writing challenges.



School Climate Webinars and Resources

The Metro RESA School Climate Team is excited to share a webinar series designed to support families with positive practices during virtual teaching and learning.

Webinar Series 1 - Supporting Families with Positive Practices at Home

Part 1: Creating Structure and Routines

Part 2: Developing Expectations and Rules

Part 3: Acknowledging Positive Behavior

Part 4: Responding to Inappropriate Behavior

Flybrary Library Book Delivery

The CSD FLYbrary is on the move! We hope that this will bring lots of smiles to your children as they check out books from the library. Thank you for your patience with the bus delivery service. We are still working on ironing out a few issues with the process. Here are a few helpful reminders:

1. FLYbrary only runs on Tuesdays for K-5 and Thursdays for 6-12.

2. Please see your school's website for specific checkout and return information.

3. Please make sure you are following the bus on the app tracker.

4. Remember that students can only have a maximum of four books checked out at a time.

Students may continue to place books on hold, but until the four checked out books are returned, we cannot check out more. Also, if another student puts the same book on hold and has a cleared patron record, we'll have to check the books out to them. In other words, the holds are first come, first served.

Please let your school’s media specialist know if you have any questions. Thank you again for participating and for your patience and flexibility!

Flybrary reminders:

  • 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 two 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.

  • CSD's transportation department can 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, you will just need to choose your “Books” Zone Route.

Equity and Student Support Update

DPN presents a screening and panel of “The Upstanders” on September 20 and on September 23 for Wellness Wednesday

Join the Decatur Parents Network on Sunday, September 20, from 4 - 5:30 pm for a virtual screening and panel for the documentary, The Upstanders! We will be showing the film, which will promptly be followed by a panel discussion, including our very own Dr. Mari Ann Banks, and moderated by the director of The Upstanders.

The Upstanders is a film-based education program about resilience, attention, and the power of connection to end bullying. The film explores cyber-bullying, bullying among friends, families, co-workers, and the brain science behind it all. We will be showing the film, which will promptly be followed by a panel discussion and include access to further resources and materials.

Learn more at www.theupstanders.com. Appropriate for ages 13 and older.

Thank you to DPN for sponsoring. This film will be a Wellness Wednesday offering for secondary students and their families on Wednesday, September 23.
Click here for more information, https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HWF1tdqBSNC8wVgkMUrQlg.

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

Information Services Update

As a reminder, if you have any tech-related questions, be sure to check this page full of common technology tips and help tech questions and answers.

Shout out to our entire Information Services team, who have been so quick to respond to requests for help and have worked so hard to address our students’ technology needs. Whether it is an issue with the Google Classroom guardian invitations ("Littlesis Admin (Classroom)") or making sure families have the Chromebook or hotspot they need, our Informations Services staff members have gone the extra mile during virtual learning, and we all appreciate their hard work!

The Information Services team includes:

  • Eston Melton at Wilson School Support Center
  • Ramous Fields at College Heights
  • Demetrius Towns at Clairemont and Westchester
  • Mike Reynolds at Glennwood and Winnona Park
  • Stephen Moore at Oakhurst
  • Marcus Ray at F.AVE
  • Derrick Burgess at Talley Street
  • Chris Leonard at Renfroe
  • Vu Nguyen at DHS
  • Lisa Jones, User Support Analyst
  • Jason Wade, Network Services Coordinator
  • Kiet Le, Enterprise Systems Coordinator
  • Harold Rall, Administrative Assistant


Thank you for all you do to keep our virtual learning up and running!

State and Federal Programs

ESOL Virtual Parent Informational Meeting

Join the CSD ESOL Instructional team for an ESOL VIRTUAL PARENT INFORMATIONAL MEETING on Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 6 p.m. Please RSVP via email to Paris Hardnett at phardnett@csdecatur.net by Monday, September 14, 2020, for the Zoom meeting link.

During this meeting, you will meet the ESOL Instructional team made up of Janet Arenas, Alyson Barrera, Maura Burke, and Alice Gerstel. The team will discuss ESOL Entrance and Exit Criteria, ESOL Instruction and Service Models, and ESOL State Assessments. Interpreters are available upon request.

Occupational Therapy Home Kits!
With the Department of Special Education’s support, the Occupational Therapists created over 50 kits for students to use during Occupational Therapy sessions at home during virtual learning and eventually when in-person learning resumes. The kits include materials to develop fine motor and visual-motor skills. For students with sensory processing needs, the kits included items, such as fidget tools, to promote self-regulation and attention. The students have been very excited to receive the kits, and teletherapy sessions have been more effective and engaging as a result. Thank you to the CSD OTs Lisa Nye and Yael Cohen for making this happen for our kids!

Research and Analytics: Annual Data Update, Testing and SAT data

Reminder to complete your family's 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.

It is important for parents or guardians to complete the Annual Data Update 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.

Assessment News

The U.S. Department of Education did not approve the request by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) for a waiver of assessment requirements for this year. Click here to see the statement issued by the GaDOE.


The GaDOE recently announced the assessment changes outlined in Senate Bill 367, passed during the 2020 Legislative Session. Several of the assessment changes are listed below:

  • End of course (EOC) tests have been reduced from eight to four: Algebra, American Literature, Biology, and US History. Students taking AP US History will not take an EOC.

  • Middle School Students taking an EOC course such as Algebra must now take both the EOC and the End of Grade (EOG) test.

  • All End of Grade Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) tests must be given within the last 25 days of school.


We are planning to take the GMAS in the Spring. The testing implementation team is meeting at the end of September to adjust the district assessment calendar. We will post the amended Testing Calendar in October. We plan to administer Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) when we return to in-person learning. Meanwhile, teachers are implementing the Virtual Learning Assessment Plan for Fall. Tools were selected for the Virtual Assessment Plan to give teachers information to guide their instruction. It was decided not to implement any assessments used for program placement during Fall virtual learning.

SAT Results are in, CSD outperforms the State and Nation across all areas and subgroups.

Graduates in the 2020 cohort from the City Schools of Decatur recorded a mean SAT score of 1170. CSD students outperformed their counterparts in Georgia by 68 points in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and 59 points in Math.

Sixty-four percent of public school graduates in the class of 2020 took the SAT during high school, a slight decrease from sixty-seven percent of the class of 2019 students who took the SAT. Eighty-two percent of CSD 2020 graduates took the SAT during high school, eighty-seven percent of 2019 CSD graduates took the SAT during high school.

Equity & Subgroup Performance

Georgia’s 2020 scores also brought positive news in the area of equity. Black students in Georgia’s public school class of 2020 recorded a mean composite score of 946, well above the national mean of 914. CSD Black students outperformed the state with a score of 1013. Georgia’s Hispanic or Latino students recorded a mean composite score of 1010, compared to the national mean of 958. CSD Hispanic or Latino Students achieved a score of 1095.

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Staff Support: Anniversaries and Annual Report

CSD Staff Anniversaries

CSD is so honored to have many staff members who have chosen to be a part of the CSD family for decades. Each year we celebrate them at our usual Opening Day celebration, a pep rally held for all CSD teachers and staff to kick off the start of each year. Sadly, this year, we could not get together for our Opening Day celebration, so we wanted to share these fantastic staff members and their anniversaries with our CSD community. Please congratulate them on their work anniversaries!

Here’s the presentation of our 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25-year CSD anniversaries. Whether you’ve been here for two months or two decades, thank you to all our staff for being a part of the CSD family!

Highlights from the Staff Support Annual Report

The CSD Staff Support Department provides customer service to our CSD staff members through a team approach to tasks, which builds important relationships within our departments. Staff Support fosters and promotes an organizational climate where all facets of CSD staff can work closely together. Although overcoming obstacles with the onset of COVID-19, Staff Support has accomplished the following list of notable accomplishments, outside of their typical daily responsibilities, during the busiest season for school districts and the 2020 school opening. Thank you to our incredible staff support department for all they do!


Notable Achievements in the Staff Support Department from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020

  • 91.2% staff retention rate

  • Received and processed over 120 recommendations of hire for district-wide vacancies and transfers for the 20-21 SY and all in the new COVID-19 era.

  • Successfully completed upwards of 100 criminal background checks and fingerprints of all new hires, student teachers, and community coaches; while maintaining social distance measures to ensure everyone’s safety.

  • Renewed over 150 certifications of current certified staff and substitutes with GaPSC under new COVID-19 guidelines.

  • Hosted CSD’s first 100% Virtual New Hire Orientation in July 2020

  • Conducted virtual retirement sessions with staff and AIG/Valic representatives.

  • Lead the metro-Atlanta by holding an early job fair with 201 registered participants and same-day “walk-ins.”

  • Implemented “paperless” electronic new hire onboarding

  • Reassigned staff members in jobs displaced by pandemic (Example: FlyBrary, Virtual Assistants)

  • Created opportunities for displaced substitute teachers to support students, teachers, and families during online instruction.

  • Fall 2020 Substitute Google Classroom Training - Created a new protocol for Absence Management for teachers and retrained substitute teachers to manage online instruction during teacher absences.

  • Expanded University Partnerships: 66% increase in the number of Pre-Service Teachers place in CSD (over Fall 2019)

  • Conducted Pre-Service Orientation (virtual and in-person with social distancing)

  • New Teacher Mentor and Induction Program with New Teacher Academy sessions focused on (Social Emotional Engagement Knowledge and Skills (SEE-KS) with Emily Rubin.

  • Expanded Endorsement and Professional Learning Opportunities:

    • Online Teaching Endorsement- September 1, 2020 - 10 participants (final)

    • SST/MTSS Endorsement- September 14, 2020 - 10 participants (approx)

    • English as a Second Language (ESOL) Endorsement - September 28, 2020 - 6 participants (approx)

    • K-5 Math Endorsement - January 2021 - 10 participants (approx) Inaugural Leadership Academy

School News You Can Use!

College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center

College Heights recently had three communication boards installed on each of our playgrounds. The communication boards are large displays with images so nonverbal students or students who struggle with language can express their needs to their peers and teachers. The images include pictures that represent expressions such as “your turn,” “ball,” “slide,” and “stop.” For nonverbal students, the addition of communication boards both in and outside of the classroom can help promote inclusion. The boards were funded by our PTO with funds raised at our 2020 Silent Auction. A special thank you to the district's operations team for installing these boards.

Clairemont Elementary

Clairemont Elementary School shares a commitment to fostering student engagement by setting a clear purpose and ensuring learning based on Georgia Performance Standards and CSD Pacing Guides. We believe in acknowledging the success of our students and staff. With this culture of celebration in mind, we are proud to share that 100% of Clairemont students have participated in virtual learning. We attribute this success to the relationships fostered by our staff with students and to our supportive families who work tirelessly to keep our students present and focused on academic and social goals.

We further celebrate each other during our daily Crew meetings and weekly Community Circle, where students receive "shout outs" for exhibiting our Habits of Scholarship throughout the week. We would like to recognize the members of our Engagement and Community Circle committees for their outstanding work: Alice Gerstel, Allison Mansfield, Angela Needham, Cara Reese, Shenaz Lilywala, Stacey Foster, Tom Seetoo, Tyler Mangascle, Monica Nelson, Dayna Straus, Angela Jolly, Holly Howell, Devlynn Crane, and Maury Gusta.

Westchester Elementary

Westchester is pleased to prepare to conclude the school year’s first term on such a high note. Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, we have fostered a strong sense of community, achieved high student engagement and attendance, and we are able to plan activities to boost school spirit and culture. Our educators and families have worked intentionally to work as partners in education. WE is gearing up for spirit week of September 14 - 18. Spirit is exactly what we need as we continue to support each other at this time.

F.AVE Upper Elementary

We appreciate our teachers' commitment to the IB Framework. This month Ms. Shershin's 3rd-grade class read stories for each of the IB profile attributes. The students then reflected on how they could exhibit them using the Flipgrid app. Here are a couple of examples from 3rd graders Jad Salaita and Zara Khan. F.AVE Falcons...Rise UP!


Zara on Thinker:

https://flipgrid.com/s/0f574cf07e6f

Jad on Open-Minded:

https://flipgrid.com/s/e8fe31048659

Renfroe Middle School’s extracurricular clubs

After many weeks of planning and three weeks of diving deeply into virtual teaching and learning, the RMS staff think it is time to have some fun. Therefore, the Renfroe teachers have kicked off their extracurricular clubs. As if they don’t have enough to do!!

Principal Wiseman described the clubs and how to join them on the Morning Bow Wow and emailed all the kids a link to the Club page. He also told them that joining a club is a great way to meet new friends with common interests.

Extracurricular activities are so important. Middle schoolers need to feel connected to their school in normal times, but during a pandemic, even more so! Of course, these clubs will start virtually but hopefully will transition to in-person soon.

So far, the students have responded in force. Club sponsors are reporting a huge turn out of enthusiastic students wanting to participate.


Decatur High School

Celebrating our DHS students successes!


  • #1 in Georgia!!!!! Congratulations to DHS student Lee Rachel Carlomango, Georgia winner of Investwrite, an essay competition where students provide advice about investing in the stock market. Great job Lee Rachel! Find the press release here and for more information, visit www.investwrite.org.

  • Decatur High School students Natalie Park and Mason Hardwick were accepted to the prestigious Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony for the 20-21 school year. Congratulations Natalie and Mason!



Unlearning Racism Roundtable

2020 has been a challenging year in which DHS students, staff, and faculty from all racial backgrounds have experienced racial trauma. Yet, the Bulldog family must learn how to heal, learn, and live - together. Therefore Wednesday, September 16 at 6 pm, as a kickoff to SEE Equity, DHS staff, parents, and students are formally invited to attend an Unlearning Racism Roundtable session led by nationally-known documentary filmmaker, author, poet, educator, community therapist, and master diversity trainer Lee Mun Wah.


During the DHS Unlearning Racism Roundtable, a multicultural group of student leaders will bravely step up to represent DHS and “get real about race.” Participants and observers of this roundtable will have an opportunity to:

  • Understand how one’s personal and community history affects one’s self- esteem and sense of safety.

  • Learn how to converse from a diverse perspective.

  • Understand how racial differences can affect relationships, communication, and behaviors.

  • Learn how to listen and respond to personal experiences from a cultural perspective.

For questions, please contact Dr. Mari Ann Banks (mbanks@csdecatur.net), CSD Equity Director.

Decatur Bulldog Boosters

Even though fall sports remain in question, there’s still a lot happening at Decatur Bulldog Boosters. Meet our new assistant athletic director, check out which athletes have committed to which schools, and join in weekly virtual workouts to stay in shape. Click here to read all about it, and don’t forget to follow Bulldog Boosters on social media, https://www.facebook.com/DecaturBulldogBoosters/.

CSD School "Shout Outs!"

Each month, the District Dispatch will feature shout outs from parents and students to our excellent teachers and staff at one of the ten different CSD schools. Every month we will feature shout outs from a different school. This month we are featuring Glennwood teachers and staff.

If you would like to shout out 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, as mentioned in a story above. 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.


Glennwood Teacher "Shout Outs"!


“Shout out to Ms. Bettis, who started at Glennwood a few days right before school started. She is always well-prepared, empathetic, and ready to pass on her positive attitude. Thank you, Ms. Bettis, for being so caring to our Kindergarteners and jumping into a challenging situation with a smile!”


“Shout out to Mrs. Rose and Ms. Reynolds! Keeping kindergartners engaged and learning is hard enough in person, but these two have been incredible! Always so well prepared, an extremely easy daily lesson plan to follow, and so much positive reinforcement no matter how big or small the accomplishment. While this isn't what they ever thought their teaching would be, they are doing a fabulous job making Kindergarten a great experience for our son.”


“Shout out to Ms. Marion! Her enthusiasm has made online learning so much fun for our 2nd grader! She is patient with the kiddos and works hard to make everyone feel included and engaged in class. Thank you, Ms. Marion!!!”


“Shout out for Ms. Vanduzer. She is kind, patient, and creative and lets everyone participate and enjoy learning all of the time! We love you!”

"Shout out to Ms. Phillips for her unending energy and patience for teaching such a stellar 1st Grade Crew! She’s able to keep them all so engaged and connected, and she’s doing it all so gracefully! Thank you for having such great teachers for our kiddos!"

"Shout out to Ms Turnipseed and her INFINITE patience. Shout out to ALL the teachers and parents of littles!!"


“Shout out to Ms. Jolley, who is doing a wonderful job with her second-grade class! She has so much energy, makes it fun for the kids, and always does her job with a smile on her face. I’ve been so impressed with the kindness and compassion she continually teaches her students. She works so hard to make this experience the best it can possibly be for her students.”


“Shout out to Ms. Kaplan, who keeps my twins excited, happy, energized, and engaged in virtual learning. The girls are participating in fun and creative ways, and they love their class so much that they wake up excited to join their live morning meeting, and they are sad to end their school day! Thanks Ms. Kaplan for all you do for our kids!!”


“Shout out to Ms. Marquez for all of the energy and enthusiasm she puts into her virtual classes. Her love for teaching and her students exudes through the computer screen. We are so grateful for her!”


"Shout out to Ms. Marion!! Her lessons are organized and thoughtful. She shows so much enthusiasm, is very patient with the kids, and really has a knack for engaging them online. I am also impressed with how she weaves lessons on empathy and kindness into her classes. My second grader loves her!"

“Shout out to Ms. Shewan! Our kids really enjoy her weekly creativity lessons. We have watched Ormie the pig too many times to count. Also, a shout out to the specials teachers who have worked hard to figure out how to get their curriculum to our kiddos through a screen.”


“Shout out to Ms. Rittenhouse and Ms. Dishman for their amazing job on the Flybrary! Our kids were so happy to receive their books. It was like Christmas morning!”

"A second shout out from me to the Specials teachers! I cannot believe how awesome the classes have been considering the amount of participation required in a typical school classroom. To take these classes virtual is near impossible yet every time we finish one, my son talks about it the rest of the day. Great job!"

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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.

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. We highly encourage everyone to take their survey NOW as the deadline to submit your Census is coming up on September 30, 2020.


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:

Bike and Be Well Day! Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Safe Routes to School invites all children to bike (or walk) by their school on Wednesday, September 16, to celebrate Bike and Be Well Day! Students are encouraged to get physical activity by riding their bikes through the neighborhood with masks and social distancing.

Please post pictures with the hashtag #bikeandbewell.

Elementary students are invited to bike (or walk) by their school and pick up an incentive item and a Bicycle Safety Guide for Kids. Each school has set their own time frame to coordinate with the Wellness Wednesday activities at their school. Check below for a list of participating schools.
Glennwood: Walk or Bike in your neighborhood; take photos and tag #bikeandbewell

Oakhurst: 11 am – 2 pm

Westchester: 12 – 1:30 pm; Stop by the basketball court behind the school
Winnona Park: TBD
Talley Street: 10 am – 12 pm

*Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.


SRTS will 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:

Since there was no Opening Day for teachers this year, DEF Step Up Sponsor Amy Widener of Keller Williams Realty Metro Atlanta sponsored DEF face masks for every CSD staff person --all 980 of them! Staff can pick up their mask at the front desk of their respective schools.

Just a reminder that the Decatur Book Festival continues through September with virtual events. DEF sponsored two kid presentations, including a Young Adult panel scheduled for next Tuesday, 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 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.

DEF also purchased copies of I Am Every Good Thing, a picture book by Derrick Barnes for every K-2 classroom in the district. The author and illustrator was featured in the Kidnote Presentation sponsored by DEF on September 5.

The Madison Avenue 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 madisonavesoapboxderby.org/donate -- there’s a gift from Oakhurst Market for every donation level!

Want a meaningful way to give back? DEF is seeking 15 adult volunteer mentors for their AIM Scholars Mentoring Program. AIM mentors are paired with third-grade students and “meet” regularly throughout the year. In just 2-4 hours per month, mentors help connect their mentees with educational and enrichment activities to find their passions and develop life skills. For more information, please visit decatureducationfoundation.org/mentoring.

Important Dates Around the District


Upcoming School Calendar Reminders:

  • 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.