Dr. Fehrman's Friday Follow-Up

September 17, 2021

Click here for the mobile-friendly link: https://www.smore.com/sbhea

Can you believe we just finished our 6th week of school? This year is flying by so quickly and I am so thankful for the amazing staff teaching and supporting our students every day. The City Schools of Decatur staff continue to do tremendous work every day, and they do this work while dealing with the added stress of educating our students during a global pandemic. Please continue to share your support of our staff by extending them grace and kindness. Over the past two weeks, I have been attending several professional learning opportunities, including session one of three focused on school district budgeting and finance. Just in this first session, I have learned a great deal about state funding for public schools, and I am looking forward to the next two sessions. At the November School Board Work Session on November 30th, I will be kicking off our budget planning process with the Board and sharing an in-depth look at state and local funding and how that impacts the budget and finances in CSD. I am committed to engaging with stakeholders throughout the budget process and providing transparent communication regarding the financials for CSD.


Also, at the Board meeting this week, I shared my evaluation instrument. You can review my evaluation instrument on the CSD webpage. I will also be sharing a summary sheet of my mid-year and final evaluations after those are completed. A component of my evaluation will be gathering stakeholder feedback through surveys from parents, principals, students, teachers, and my executive cabinet.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Vaccine

This week I shared with the Board that CSD does not have the authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students. The authority to mandate vaccines for students is delegated to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH). At this time, the GA DPH nor the DeKalb Board of Health have listed COVID-19 vaccinations on their list of required vaccinations for students, thus CSD cannot require vaccinations for students in our schools. While the Board and I agree that vaccinations are the best way out of this pandemic, requiring them for students is simply something we cannot do at this time.


CSD will continue to hold regular vaccination events in collaboration with the DeKalb Board of Health and encourage parents to have their children vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.


CSD will require staff to be fully vaccinated or complete the exemption process by October 31st. Staff with questions about the exemption process should contact the CSD Human Resources department.


Weekly (Surveillance) COVID Testing

Consents are still coming in for the weekly COVID testing program. We appreciate all the families that have already filled out the consent form. It is not too late to sign up. Click here for the consent form. In addition, several parents have reached out with questions about the process, and we have recently updated the testing Q & A page on the website to address them.

Stronger Together Shout Out

National IT Professionals Day

Tuesday is National IT Professionals Day (although several of our teams celebrated our techs today before teachers left for fall break), so I’d like to give a shout-out to the outstanding Information Services staff. So far this school year, they’ve resolved 1,090 support tickets, implemented new single sign-on and rostering platforms, installed equipment for a new city-schools constructed fiber-optic network, shepherded ActivPanel updates at two campuses, managed the logistics for the pending RMS and DHS take-home 1:1 programs, ramped up to support a new virtual campus, and several other projects and initiatives. Kudos to our Information Services team: the school-based Ramous Fields (ECLC, DHS & DVA), Demetrius Towns (CL & WE), Stephen Moore (OAK & DVA), Mike Reynolds (GL & WP), Derrick Burgess (TAL), Marcus Ray (FAVE), Chris Leonard (RMS), and Vu Nguyen (DHS); and Harold Rall, Jason Wade, Kiet Le, Lisa Jones, and Eston Melton at the Wilson Center.

WELL Health-Safety Rating Seal

In my Friday Follow-Up on August 13, I announced the exciting news that all of our schools and the Wilson Center earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating Seal. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our Operations Department and school leaders. Soon you will start to see seals on the doors of our facilities and certificates hanging in the schools. Congratulations to all who have worked so hard to ensure our buildings are safe and healthy places to work and learn. To learn more about the WELL Health-Safety Seal, go to https://www.wellcertified.com/health-safety.


Pictured: Talley Street Elementary Principal Billy Heaton and School Manager Eva Parks and Crystal Evans from the CSD Operations Department.


Job(s) Well Done

DHS Sports

Our DHS Bulldog teams are having great seasons! I am so proud of these student-athletes and coaches. Congratulations to Coach Felton on being named the Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week, presented by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution! Click here to read a few highlights from softball, volleyball, and cross country. Information about games can be found on the DHS calendar or on the Decatur Bulldog Athletics page (https://decaturbulldogsathletics.com/). Come out and support our teams.


Way to go Bulldogs!

Daniel Burfield helps Glennwood Elementary Art

Daniel Burfield is a sophomore at DHS, Glennwood Alumni, and a member of Troop #175. As part of his service project requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout, Daniel designed wooden art easels and created them in the scout building behind Glennwood. He really enjoyed art at Glennwood with Mr. Madden and remembered having to share materials with classmates. So, he thought it would be helpful and fun for the art students to have their own table easel for painting. Way to go Daniel! I know the Glennwood students will love using these!

DHS Homecoming Week

This morning, the Decatur High School students and staff continued the celebration of homecoming by hosting a small pep rally while welcoming students into school.


On the field, The Bulldogs are welcoming Arabia Mountain in a game that will be competitive and exciting! The first 500 people inside the gate at the stadium will receive FREE hand sanitizer and there will be a special spirit item for the first 1000 people in the gate.


The Homecoming parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. (weather permitting), and the game kick-off starts tonight at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at https://gofan.co/app/events/325523?schoolId=GA4954.

NEW!

Here Comes the Bus app for families

CSD Transportation Services is excited to introduce a new addition of technology to the bus system within the District. Here Comes The Bus is an easy-to-use website and app that enables you to see the location of your child’s school bus on a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer.

Using this app, you will know when the bus is near your child’s stop, so you can send your child out at just the right time.


We are excited to roll out this app when we come back from September Fall Break. So be on the lookout for the registration link and additional information from our transportation department!

Want more information? Visit this link: https://herecomesthebus.com/faq/.

Superintendent’s Student Advisory Team

DHS students and RMS 8th-grade students! Are you interested in serving on my Student Advisory Team (S2AT)?


If so, please fill out this application by Friday, October 8, to be considered. The S2AT will provide me with an opportunity to hear directly from students regarding their experience in CSD. This group will also provide valuable input on how the district can ensure the needs of all students are met.


S2AT meetings will take place in your school during the school day. If you have questions about this group or the application process, please contact Courtney Burnett at cburnett@csdecatur.net.

K-12 Math and Reading Practice at Home

From our Teaching and Learning Department:

All CSD students now have access to an adaptive, personalized learning path that they can utilize at home and school to target individual skills to fill skills gaps and provide enrichment tailored to each student's need on grade-level standards. K-12 students can access their personalized learning path through their Launchpad.


K-5 students can access MyPath through their Launchpad. Students’ paths are already set from MAP data or manually if MAP information is not available.


6-12 students can access IXLMyPath through their Launchpad. The first time students log in, they need to start with the diagnostic. Once the student has completed enough diagnostic questions, they will get recommended skills to practice. Students will need to answer about 10 new questions a week, to keep the path accurate.


Decatur Student Center Focus

This month, the Decatur Student Center is focusing on parenting moments. The topic for this week is talking to your student after school. Their next topic will be “Good Enough Parenting.” To learn more about the Decatur Student Center, visit https://www.csdecatur.net/studentcenter.


Talking to Your Student after School:

Engaging your student after school depending on your personality, the personality of your kid, or the family schedule can be tricky. Students, much like us, can need time to decompress after their day. For your teenagers, if you are filled with questions about their homework and/or social experiences, consider giving them some space before engaging them with all your questions right away. To get the most out of the experience when you interact with them, try asking open-ended questions. You could start with something general like, "How was your day?" If the response is affirmative, consider transitioning into more specific, positively framed questions like, "What was the best part of your day?" If the initial response indicated that they may have had a negative experience, provide a statement of reflection acknowledging this, such as, "It sounds like it's been a tough day. I'm sorry you've had a difficult time. What could have made it better?" Take a lack of engagement as a sign that they may not be ready to talk and be willing to give them more time and space and let them know that you’re available if they want to talk later.


Community Events

Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby

Saturday, October 16, 2021, benefiting the Decatur Student Center. Go to https://madisonavesoapboxderby.org/ to learn more about the event and how you can help support our student center.

Art for the People

“What Sonia Said,” a sculpture created by artist Ellex Swavoni was unveiled September 12th in the green space behind the Wilson Center. The artwork was commissioned as a part of the Art for the People project led by the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights in partnership with the Decatur Alliance for the Arts and Decatur Makers. This stunning artwork was inspired by poet and activist Sonia Sanchez’s poem “Catch the Fire.” The piece was designed to illuminate the strength and resilience of African and indigenous peoples and to symbolize passing the torch to present and future generations. The next step in the project is a 4-part educational series, “Art for the People Workshop: Decolonizing through Culture.” Click here for more information and registration.


The first webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, September 22nd, at 7 p.m.


Please click the link below to join:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82950216731?pwd=cjdXbjM1Y2pQWU5nSWZ6ZGtZTUpEUT09

Passcode: 852411