Dr. Fehrman's Friday Follow-Up
Stronger Together Shout Out
Our K-2 schools held their first K-Day last week, and it was a great success! K-Day was a day for 2022-2023 kindergarten students and parents to visit their zoned school to learn about school operations, participate in a brief screener, tour the building, and have fun. I look forward to making this an annual event. Thank you to all of our K-2 administrators and staff for making this a great day for our new students!
Thank you to Oakhurst for sharing a few K-Day pictures:
Top Dog Awards
I continue to be amazed by the entries for the Top Dog awards. Thank you for recognizing our excellent staff! Our Top Dogs this week are Julie Parker, Angie Prophet, Angela Marquez, Alexandra Eason, and Sarah Coleman.
Click here to nominate a staff member for the Top Dog Award.
Julie Parker, Teacher at Westchester Elementary; Angie Prophet, Teacher at Fifth Avenue Elementary; and Angela Marquez, Teacher at Glennwood Elementary
“These amazing teachers presented during the April 26 Board of Education Work Session. The teachers shared how using an equity lens is essential in their work around literacy and that following best practices aligned to (ARC) Core, a comprehensive reading program designed to best serve the needs of all students, with Fundations, a multisensory, structured language program ensures all students receive a firm foundation in all strands of skilled reading.”
Alexandra Eason, Teacher at Winnona Park Elementary
“Ms. Eason is one of the most caring, kind, pleasant, nurturing teachers we met at WP. She goes above and beyond to support her students. She communicates promptly and openly with parents. She teaches not only academics but also other life skills to students! We feel very lucky to have her!”
Sarah Coleman, Teacher at Renfroe Middle School
“Coach Coleman is the best. She teaches yoga. She is very thoughtful about ensuring I am ok and that I know that her classroom is a safe space. Sometimes I have to miss her class to see my therapist. Coach Coleman knows parts of this year have been kind of hard for me, and it is really nice that she always checks in and makes sure I feel supported and cared for. She is a great trusted adult in the building.”
Congratulations! Great job! Way to go!
We have a lot of fantastic celebrations to share this week!
Congratulations to the Advanced Musical Theater Ensemble at Decatur High School, who were nominated for Best Overall Production at the 14th annual Shuler Awards, which recognize excellence in Musical Theater in Georgia. They were one of only six schools given this honor and performed a song from their Fall 2021 production of Matilda live on GBP April 21. Both Bridget Blanchard and Lorelei Calder were nominated for Best Supporting Performer, with our own Lorelei Calder receiving the first Shuler Award for Decatur High School. Honorable Mentions for Outstanding Direction and Costumes went to Raven Owen-Beyer and Outstanding Leading Actress to Carrie Crespino for her portrayal of the title character. Way to go, DHS!
RMS Young Ladies of Excellence (YLOE) Symposium
The symposium was an amazing opportunity for YLOE to meet and hear from women of color in various career fields. They spoke with a judge, anesthesiologist, entrepreneur, former teacher and current CSD Board Chair, lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force, and business analyst. They also visited a wellness boutique and owner on the square. Thanks, Ms. Glenn, Mrs. Shields, Ms. Singleton, and Mrs. Q, for making this happen. Click here to see a video of this awesome event.
Clairemont’s EL Visit
Clairemont Elementary School welcomed the EL Education National Directors Conference on April 27. EL Education is a national nonprofit partnering with K-12 educators to transform public schools and districts into hubs of opportunity for all students to achieve excellent, equitable outcomes and release their unique genius. EL Education is guided by a vision of educational equity and student potential, by a reimagined definition of student achievement, and offers research-proven resources and practices. During the visit, 18 national directors, along with Paula Herrema, EL Education's Southeast Regional Director, and Julanda Wilson, Clairemont's EL School Designer, joined the school administration to conduct celebration walks of classrooms throughout the building to see EL Education at work!
Good Equity Troublemaker Award
Congratulations to Candace Jones-Boynton for being awarded the College Heights Equity Leader (aka Good Equity Troublemaker). Candace was nominated by her peers on the equity team for her leadership and advocacy for best practices and initiatives in and out of the classroom. Candace and the other school winners will be honored at the May 10 Board meeting, where the district winner will be announced.
Congratulations Terra Smiley
Terra Smiley has been selected to attend Georgia’s 2022 Work-based Learning Top Gun Training in June. This specialized training represents “the best of the best” based on their FY21 Annual Reports and recommendation from their CTAE director. In addition, each Top Gun participant receives a tool kit to market and brand their WBL program and increases connections to business and industry. Congratulations Terra!
Winnona Park Community Circle
Winnona Park had their first in-person community circle last week! It’s been two years since they’ve been able to “gather up,” and it was such a joyful moment! WP looks forward to welcoming parents to join them in May! Likewise, I look forward to joining their community circle soon!
Glennwood Elementary Great Kindness Challenge
Glennwood kicked off The Great Kindness Challenge at Community Circle on April 15. Famous supergroup 3 of a Kind (3K) made a special appearance. Students completed a checklist of activities to show kindness to others and also had the opportunity to create shoebox floats (pictured) with the theme, What Peace Looks Like to Me. The students did an amazing job with details and really explored the roots of peace and kindness in the world. We are so proud of them for making the world a better place through art and acts of kindness!
DHS Girls Soccer Team
Congratulations to our DHS girls soccer team for their tremendous season!! The Bulldogs were defeated 0-2 in the FINAL FOUR of the GHSA State Tournament against crosstown rival Midtown Knights. This resilient group of athletes consistently represented DHS and our community with grit and class. We are proud of each of them for this outstanding achievement. Thank you to Coach Doug Altizer and his staff for leading the team all year! Go Bulldogs!
DHS Architectural Drawing and Design
Thirteen high schools participated in this year's High School Design Competition (HSDC), sponsored by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. HSDC focused on a design prompt to which individuals or groups created a solution using their creativity and architectural knowledge. The competition featured beginner and advanced levels to accommodate students with different experience levels. Winners were announced during a special ceremony on April 28 with those in the more challenging advanced competition receiving scholarships. The competition has created opportunities for Georgia high school students to immerse in fundamental architecture concepts and learn skills useful in college and beyond.
Decatur Career Academy students were recognized with the following awards:
Aiden Beasley (Honorable Mention: Introductory Level)
Asha Foley (Honorable Mention: Advanced Individual)
Mikka Wolff (Third Place: Advanced Individual)
Sam Coblin & Jackson Lee (First Place: Advanced group)
CSD Announcements and Updates
Board Work Session Discussion on Grading
This past Tuesday, at the Board of Education Work Session, I shared a summary of the ongoing work in CSD to examine best practices in grading along with where we are in the process and what changes are coming next school year along with procedures and practices that we will continue to research in the fall semester of next year. You can access a recording of the work session here, and the discussion about grading begins at 53:10. I apologize for the poor quality of the sound. We will be creating another recording of the presentation so all can clearly hear the presentation. There will be no changes to grading scales next year. We will continue to research grading scales and review input and recommendations from school-based teams. In addition, more information will be shared by school principals on how parents, students, and staff can participate in focus groups to share their ideas on recommendations for CSD grading scales.
Here is a list of the revisions to CSD grading procedures and practices that will go into effect next school year:
Effort Grades will not be reported on CSD report cards.
Infinite Campus, instead of ManageBac, will be the main grade recording and reporting tool. Parents and students will have 24/7 access to review grades and track progress.
Mastery of the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) will be used to evaluate student achievement and IB courses will embed the GSE into their IB rubrics.
Zeros will not be calculated in final grades.
Common assessments will be created based on grade level/content standards, and incorporate GSE where available.
All grades will be related to the mastery of content standards and final grades will be a representation of overall mastery of the learning for the course standards.
Communication with families will be more “user-centered” by providing more information about why and how we grade as well as how grades are calculated. Particularly between levels 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8 at the middle and high schools.
Summative work will be graded and used in the final grade determination, while formative work will be captured in the grade book but not used in the final grade.
At least one formative grade will be posted to the grade book each week.
Launchpad for Learning Summer Camp
Registration opens next week for Launchpad for Learning Summer camp! The Launchpad for Learning Summer Camp will be held July 11-22. Launchpad for Learning Summer Camp is an exciting opportunity for students to be introduced to upcoming grade-level standards with hands-on activities, field trips, and much more! Be on the lookout for registration instructions next week!
Upcoming Author Visit
Brave + Kind Bookshop, Renfroe Middle School, The Decatur Library, and the Georgia Center for the Book present New York Times Bestselling Author Dhonielle Clayton who will chat about her new book The Marvellers with Nic Stone and Angie Thomas on Friday, May 6th at 7 PM, in-person at Decatur High School. The Marvellers is a fantasy adventure set in a magic school that celebrates cultural traditions from around the world. This event will be held outside, weather permitting.
Free Registration Here:
Community Partner Announcements and Updates
City of Decatur
The City of Decatur is looking for summer camp counselors. Please see the picture for more details.
Decatur Parents Network
Decatur Parents Network invites parents to join us for a non-judgemental webinar about marijuana's impact on the young brain. This is NOT a discussion about legalization, decriminalization, or adult use. We are putting all that aside to just have a chance to hear about the potential impact on use by young people. The presenter is Dr. Merrill Norton, CMAC, ICCPP-P of Chemical Health Associates, and professor emeritus from UGA's College of Pharmacology. Register for this webinar at https://bit.ly/DecaturParentsNetworkMaySpeakerSeries
Decatur Education Foundation
It’s time to Step Up for Teachers!
Express your appreciation for a teacher or CSD staff member with a Step Up tribute: Go to www.stepupforteachers.com, make a $25 contribution and you can leave a tribute message for your favorite CSD employee. DEF will notify the honored person. For $50, you can honor two CSD staff members AND have a yard sign delivered to your Decatur address! To celebrate our DHS seniors, we also have yard signs for the Class of 2022. Your contributions support Teacher Innovation Grants and provide an encouraging boost that our teachers need to finish the school year!
Help with Food Insecurity
It’s our mission to eliminate the problems our kids face so they can learn and thrive. To address food insecurity, we have several Amazon wish lists that continue monthly and are currently running low. Please consider making a donation to one of the following links for Renfroe and Talley at these links:
RMS Snacks: https://a.co/d0HJHTr
Tally Snacks: https://a.co/8BxrMEz
Weekend Food Backpacks: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1IVCVGY0GCF9S?ref_=wl_fv_le
DEF Treasure Hunt
DEF’s treasure hunt continues for the next two weeks. Everyone who completes the hunt will be entered to win a raffle to win some cool prizes. Just click HERE for instructions, it’s easy and fun for the whole family!