CSD District Dispatch
District news from around CSD: December 12, 2019 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.
Table of Contents:
- Board Spotlight: Decatur High School
- Equity Spotlight: Glennwood Elementary
- Board Meeting Information
- District News from the Wilson School Support Center
- School News You Can Use
- Staff Spotlight: Special Education Lead Teachers Tatrabian Lockwood and Clair Rutherford
- Student Athlete Spotlight: Hunter Ellspermann
- Scenes from our Schools... Photos from around the District!
- Important Dates Around the District
Board Spotlight: Decatur High School
Decatur High School has been studying where students go after they graduate. They have created a set of profiles related to the colleges and universities past students have attended to communicate with current parents and students. This data will help students see how their coursework choices may impact their post-secondary choices.
According to interim principal Wes Hatfield, "It’s critical that adults (counselors, ICs, APs, 10th grade advisors) provide clear and transparent guidance on how coursework options in the last two years of high school impact preparation for and access to post-secondary options. Our goal is to create a data-based resource for DHS adults to use in advising students and their families and to use that resource to positively impact the decision-making process for families. We will also use this information to examine how effectively our academic options are supporting all students."
Equity Spotlight: Glennwood Elementary's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
This fall Glennwood staff members Jonathan Holloman and Michael Scott started the Boys in Action after school club, pictured above. The group has been busy since they formed, they have taking field trips, working on service projects, reading books by and about people who look like them, and learning how to achieve their dreams. Some of the student members of the club came and talked to the Board about what the club has meant to them. It was an inspiration to hear them explain how this club has affected them. Thank you to DEF for the funding to support this club.
In addition, the Glennwood Equity Team and facilitators led staff in a conversation about whiteness with the staff and discussed the article "Ten Myths White People Believe About Racism" and "How to be an Anti-Racist."
Board Meeting Information
These monthly Board Meetings, often on the second Tuesday of the month, are held at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030. Also, the Board agenda can be found on our Board Meetings webpage at www.csdecatur.net/Board prior to each meeting. For more about what was discussed at previous Board Meetings, please view our Board of Education Meeting Video Library.
District News from the Wilson School Support Center
Results of the Fall Teacher Work Day Survey and Review of Planning Time for Teachers
This fall teachers and staff responded to "Fall Teacher Work Day Survey - Prioritizing the Options". From that survey, it was determined that most who participated (63%) preferred that the weekday after Halloween be the Fall teacher work day going forward.
As a result, the 2020 and the 2021 school years will have the following days as teacher work days:
Monday, November 2, 2020
Monday, November 1, 2021
As a reminder, the last day of school for the 2019-2020 school year was changed based off of the recent public survey and will now be Friday, May 29, 2020. View calendars here.
Review of Planning Time for Teachers
The Office of the Superintendent is gearing up to review planning time for teachers across the district. Dr. Maggie Fehrman, Executive Director of Schools, will lead a team representing teachers from all schools and a variety of district leaders to study the amount of planning time teachers of all types have across the district.
The goal of this team is to review all teachers' planning time and to then make a recommendation to the Superintendent on how much planning time should be provided for teachers at each grade band to ensure there is equitable planning time for all teachers regardless of their school assignment. We plan to have these recommendations take effect in the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.
We value the opinions of our teachers and we know they need quality planning time to do their best for our students. Once this process is complete and the final decision has been made, each school will communicate to parents any changes that will affect their student's schedules. Thank you!
CSD Code of Conduct and Restorative Practices Handbook (CCRPH) Annual Review
Did you know that CSD made major revisions to the Code of Conduct this year? The first phase of updating the CCRPH was to clarify expectations and add clear processes for administrators to follow when managing student discipline issues. Going forward, each year we will gather input from parents, students, and staff to review the CCRPH and make recommendations for edits, changes, and additions for the subsequent school year.
If you are interested in serving on this review committee, please complete this form to submit your information to Dr. Fehrman. The committee will be finalized in January and our first meeting will be held at the end of February.
If you have feedback on the current CCRPH, please complete this form.
Interested in being a Substitute Teacher at CSD?
Avant STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) assessment
At the end of January and beginning of February, we will administer the Avant STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) assessment to all students in grades 2, 4, 7, and 10. These grades will be assessed in speaking and listening while fourth, seventh, and tenth grade students will also be assessed in reading and writing.
The STAMP results will be used to assess students’ proficiency in the World Language they are learning. The assessment data will be used for program evaluation and individual student planning.
The test is not timed. For grades 2 and 4, each section is estimated to take 30 minutes or less. For grades 7 and 10, each section is estimated to take less than 45 minutes. The test will be administered during regularly scheduled world language class time, and world language teachers will proctor the tests.
World language teachers will use the data to determine teaching points, allowing us to continue to increase student achievement. Second and fourth grade students will take the STAMP 4Se test. Seventh and 10th graders will take the STAMP 4S test. More information about STAMP can be found below.
Avant STAMP 4S: https://avantassessment.com/stamp4s
Avant STAMP 4Se: https://avantassessment.com/stamp4se
To take a sample test, you can visit https://avantassessment.com/sample-tests.
Facilities Planning Public Input Meeting: January 15, 2020
As we wrap up the previous long range facilities plan, we begin to look forward to the future of City Schools of Decatur and how we can best meet the needs for our students and staff. We will be tapping the skills of Cooperative Strategies, who previously helped CSD with our grade configuration and redistricting work, to help lead our community input process.
Our first Community wide meeting regarding the future of CSD facilities planning will be Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 7 p.m. We hope you can join us and voice your views on how we can best move forward.
Welcome Shonda Moore, CSD's new Lead Nurse
The Equity and Student Support department is delighted to welcome our new Lead Nurse, Shonda Moore.
My name is Shonda Moore and I am the new Lead Nurse here at CSD. I will be working to support the nurses in each building as well as our students and staff. Although I've been briefly introduced to some of you, I wanted to tell you a little about myself.
I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and I moved to Georgia this Summer 2019. I have a very strong background in School Health as a School/Public Health Office Nurse and a District School Nursing Supervisor. I am a wife and mother of three with my youngest attending DHS.
My office will be located in the nurse's office in DHS; however, I will move around the district often to work with the nurses in the schools.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with anything you need, I'm happy to help! I'm so looking forward to working with our staff, students, and parents and getting to know you and this great district a little better.
CSD Operations Updates
Our maintenance and facilities team has been working to replace all of our older fountains in the district with new water fountains and bottle fill stations. This is one more step in our efforts to support clean water and sustainable practices. This project has been very popular with our students and staff and it supports reusable bottle fills. Over time, we plan to replace all of our fountains in each school. All of the elementary schools have at least one station convenient to the cafeteria and Decatur High School will be receiving 10 new fountains in the coming months.
Renfroe Middle School is in its 8th month of producing solar power for the school. This project which was completed last spring has produced over 23 MWh of energy since it was put into service. This is enough energy to power about 330 houses for 24 hours. we are seeing great benefits since our peak energy production is used to offset our peak demands.
CSD Nutrition gets creative with school lunches!
School News You Can Use!
Two CSD Schools Named Distinguished Title 1 Schools!
CSD is proud to announce that Clairemont Elementary School and Decatur High School have been named Distinguished Title 1 Schools!
Only schools that perform in the top 5% of Title 1 Schools in Georgia receive this designation. Congratulations to both schools!
DHS completes their IB Diploma and IB Career Program Evaluation
Decatur High School recently completed their year-long self-study and program evaluation for their IB Diploma and IB Career Programs. This process involved collecting input from stakeholders, including students, parents, and teachers, and providing extensive documentation of our IB programs implementation. A visiting team from IB spent three days in September on site at DHS observing in classrooms, reviewing documents, and meeting with stakeholders to complete the evaluation. We are proud to announce that after this intensive process, DHS received an excellent report with only one "Matter to be Addressed" and several commendations in the areas of pedagogical leadership, inclusiveness of our programs, and counseling in our programs. DHS also received recommendations on ways that we can improve our programs, especially in light of the rapid growth we've experienced over the last five years. On behalf of all our CSD schools, we congratulate the high school on this successful evaluation.
Talley approved as an IB Primary Years Program Candidate School
Talley Street Upper Elementary School is a candidate school* for the PYP. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy - a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education - that we believe is important for our students.
* Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.
For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit https://www.ibo.org.
Clairemont Encourages an Inclusive Community through Reading
Thank you to Principal Armour for submitting this story.
Clairemont staff are building their critical literacy muscles through examining and discussing books focused on issues of equity. Teachers have been sharing the books through read aloud and facilitating discussion with students around understanding and respecting differences. Starting in January, Clairemont will be on the same page by reading the same book school wide and facilitating critical discourse with students around each text.
This work aligns with Clairemont's EL Work Plan Goal: to will develop students with the habits of scholarship and character needed for success as effective learners, ethical people, and who contribute to a better world in their approach to learning and their interactions with others and the community. Specifically, Clairemont students are becoming more effective learners and ethical people who contribute to a better world by:
Engaging in student friendly language that articulates what an ethical person looks like and sounds like.
Engaging in an awareness of becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community at Clairemont.
The Clairemont Equity Crew is leading the staff through a collaborative process to identify, select, and implement this Critical Literacy Initiative. For example, one of the books we read is "Can I Touch Your Hair," by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. After reading this book, students in first grade made profound connections and insightful comments such as:
"The book made me think to be kinder to everyone."
"Even if you're different colors, you can still be friends.'
"This book encourages me to talk to people who look different than me."
"After listening to the poems, it made me think to be more respectful of other people's perspectives."
"The book, Can I Touch Your Hair?, made me think to create something with someone of a different race who has a different perspective just like Charles and Irene did."
The Clairemont Crew is committed to implementing student-facing experiences to foster equity towards a more just and inclusive society.
Glennwood's Living Wax Museum of World Changers
Other CSD first-grade students will host their wax museums over the next few weeks.
Glennwood students dressed as Susan B. Anthony, Ms. Joyce (the Glennwood crossing guard), and Ruby Bridges.
The World Changers Living Wax Museum featured over 70 students dressed as people whom they believe to have changed our world.
This Glennwood student chose a City of Decatur police officer as her World Changer.
GaDOE highlights Renfroe's Erica Godfrey and CSD as District of the Month
District of the Month! City Schools of Decatur
City Schools of Decatur is expanding and investing in students by adding more staff to help with the district's MTSS implementation.
Erica Godfrey was recently hired as the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Lead at Renfroe Middle School. The Georgia native serves as a liaison between the school and central office for all things MTSS. "I help teachers facilitate the RTI process by developing plans of intervention and monitoring student data to determine its effectiveness, as well as working with all stakeholders to make data driven decisions for students," said Godfrey.
The newly created role allows Godfrey to monitor student progress and support teachers in identifying student needs and plan and implement interventions for students. "I have the opportunity to develop our infrastructure from the ground up and tailor it for our building" said Godfrey. "Our goal is to help all students receive access to quality instruction and work toward closing any achievement gaps."
Oakhurst Celebrates Literacy Month with a Reading Camp Out
Thank you to Principal Sanders for this fun story about their Reading Camp Out!
Finally, we finished the night roasting marshmallows and assembling s'mores. It was a night to remember! More photos of the Family Reading Camp Out can be found below in the "Scenes from our Schools" section of this newsletter.
Winnona Park Jingle's Jog and Tree, Wreath, & Candle Sale!
On Saturday, December 7, Winnona Park's PTA kicked of the season with their annual Jingle Jog and Tree, Wreath & Candle Sale. Thanks to many volunteers and the wonderful support of neighbors, the event was a great success for both fundraising and community building!
F.AVE Teacher quoted in article about teaching about "Fake News"
F.AVE fourth grade teacher Alison Eber was recently quoted in an WABE article, "How Teachers Are Trying To Help Students Identify ‘Real’ News".
The article explains the different ways Ms. Eber teaches her students to tell what is fact and what is fiction. One way includes playing games within her class room. According to the article, "to help her students tell the difference between real and fictitious news sources, Eber plays a game with them called 'Two Truths and a Lie.' She gives her students two articles from credible sources. They have to make up the third story — the lie — themselves. They present all three to the class who has to guess which stories are true and which is the lie."
Westchester Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon(PHB) Training
Thank you to Principal Lofstrand for submitting this story.
The Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon is about to go 'live' in front of Westchester Elementary. To prepare our students for using the new crosswalk, we conducted a safety training in conjunction with the City of Decatur Public Works Department for all of our students and teachers. Our students and families are ready to use this new way to walk & roll to school!
College Heights Read to Your Bunny Literacy Event
College Heights educators hosted our second Read to Your Bunny literacy event at the Decatur Housing Authority Community Center. Our educators demonstrated ways for families to read with infants and toddlers. These early literacy experiences are crucial for future reading success, and families appreciate the selection of culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate texts and activities that were offered. Thank you to Marco's pizza who provided pizzas for this event.
Talley and F.AVE are Reading Without Walls!
Both Talley and F.AVE Upper Elementaries are participating in the national Reading Without Walls program. The program was started by the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang, who encouraged the country to read without walls by exploring books about characters who look or live differently than you, topics you haven’t discovered, or formats you haven’t tried. The Reading Without Walls Challenge promotes diversity, opens readers’ eyes to new ideas and experiences, and is an inclusive way to spread appreciation and understanding for others as well as a way to learn new and exciting things.
One of the ways in which students have participated is through competitions or games, such as Reading Without Walls Bingo or prize drawings. Students have been excited to expand their horizons with this new challenge. Thanks to our media specialists, Jill Hanson and Corinne Smith, for instituting this new program in our schools!
Visit the official Reading Without Walls website to learn more about the challenge and how you can participate! #ReadingWithoutWalls
Spotlights on Staff and Students
Staff Spotlight on our Special Education Lead Teachers
Did you know CSD has two Special Education Lead Teachers(SELTs)? Tatrabian Lockwood and Clair Rutherford both work with our special education teachers and students to help institute best practices and to serve as a resource and support for our schools. Tatrabian works with our upper and lower elementary schools and Clair works with Renfroe and DHS.
Elementary Special Education Lead Teacher
My role is to support Special Ed teachers in identifying and implementing Specially Designed Instruction based on their students' unique learning needs. I regularly collaborate with all elementary Special Ed teams to discuss co-teaching best practices, aligning instruction to the needs of diverse learners, and data-driven decisions based on the needs of students. That is not a comprehensive summary of my work but those components are my primary focus!
A typical day involves a visit to two elementary schools, at least. During my time there, I follow up with teachers and provide support for a variety of needs. It is my hope that all students reach their fullest potential. Through my work, I hope to inspire others to identify every opportunity for students to go to the next level. With a clear plan and appropriate tools, we can all achieve success.
I absolutely love being in all the schools, collaborating with teachers, staff, and families to identify the best support for all students is what most excites me about my job. I enjoy building relationships with all the special education departments at each school and all the families.
After work I enjoy spending time with my family and cheering for the BEST college team in the nation...I know they didn't win the SEC championship game but I love them anyway!! #godawgs
Secondary Special Education Lead Teacher | City Schools of Decatur
I work with teachers, admin, and students at Renfroe and DHS. I work on everything from IEP compliance checks to providing feedback to teachers on special education best practices related to instruction and behavior interventions. Every month, I conduct or co-conduct professional learning and department meetings. I provide support to schools with FTE too. I also provide support to teachers preparing for IEP meetings and/or I attend meetings to help facilitate productive discussions and resolutions.
I truly can't say there is a 'typical' day for me, but I spend my time in classrooms supporting our middle and high school students and their teachers. This can look like participating in activities, observing specific students, providing feedback and coaching, demonstrating activities, brainstorming solutions, and helping to implement positive behavior strategies and Specially Designed Instruction(SDI). The classroom is the favorite part of my day. I also spend a chunk of time collaborating with teams in the schools on the legal aspects of Special Education, attending meetings, assisting with paperwork and being an extra pair of eyes to make sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. I hope that my work helps to level the playing field for our students with special educational needs while they are in our schools. I also hope that when the students leave CSD that they have an individual toolbox of strategies and achievements that will help them be successful, happy, and productive members of society.
Working alongside teachers in their classrooms is the favorite part of my day - helping teachers and students put activities and strategies in place to make positive, safe, and challenging work environment for all our students. I love working with the students and their support teams. I enjoy building relationships with the students and teaching them strategies so that they can learn to better function in a school environment. I also like helping teachers identify strategies so they can teach appropriate behaviors to the students who in turn can then be successful academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. In my free time, I love to travel, dance, run, and spend time with my friends, family, and Dobermans.
Student Athlete Spotlight: Hunter Ellspermann
They say there is no "i" in team, and senior Hunter Ellspermann is a great example of this. Hunter is starting offensive tackle and a defensive linemen for DHS's football team, which is just coming off of a winning season where Decatur High went to the State playoffs for the first time in 15 years. But Hunter is more than just a football player: he is a role model and a mentor on the football team and at school. He possesses a strong work ethic and the right balance of work and play.
Hunter is working toward completing an IB Diploma and carefully balances the demands of his school work with his sports schedule. He plans his days carefully and uses checklists to stay organized. "Some days, when I know I have a busy sports schedule, I will do my homework at lunch the same day it is assigned just so I can keep up with my commitments," he said. He believes this balance between sports and school gives him "good pressure" and helps keep him conscious of the important priorities in his life and that it takes hard work to achieve success. When asked why he decided to play football, he replied, "I saw it as a way to connect with people and a good way to get rid of stress. Plus, I've been playing sports since I could walk!"
Hunter attributes much of his success to hard work and dedication as well as his experiences living in Germany where he didn't speak the language. Living in a different country taught him perseverance and helped him grow closer with his family. Thanks to this experience, he was able to take German as his world language for the IB diploma program.
Hunter says he knew the importance of school at an early age because of the influence of his mother, Sherri Ellspermann, who is a 3rd grade teacher at Talley Street Upper Elementary. He explains that he grew up in schools so much so that after his own school day was over, he would often head to his mother's school to work on his homework. Having a mother as a teacher helped him in many ways. Because of her guidance, he knew school always comes first.
Mrs. Ellspermann, said that listening to Hunter talk about his commitments makes him sound "so grown up and so together". She is proud of the balance he has achieved in his life and adds that he is also a leader with the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Hunter's football coach, Cody Cory, said the following about Hunter:
"Hunter is an outstanding young man, who possesses great work ethic. I, along with his other coaches, asked for a great amount of work from Hunter during the school year. Hunter balanced 6:00 am practices, long days at school, football workouts after school, and homework throughout the year. Hunter also found time to work a part time job. Even with the heavy workload, Hunter excelled at everything he was apart of."
"Hunter’s leadership skills proved to be a huge asset to me during his senior football season. Hunter was a three-year starter and we graduated twenty-two seniors and were looking for leadership. Instead of looking at others to lead in this situation, Hunter’s integrity was on display. He asked to help the team in any way needed. He worked extra hard every day and made sure that he was at every practice and meeting. He would work with new lineman who needed help and started calling for extra work for his position groups. He used his work ethic to rally the team around him. He worked harder than before through summer workouts and encouraged his teammates. He is a two year team captain and leads our team in the right way. In short, Hunter Ellspermann is the type of young man that any father would want his son to be. With leadership like his, we were able to win eight games and bring Decatur football back to the play-offs for the first time in 15 years."
Hunter ended our interview by saying, "You can't do anything with only one foot in." He followed that up with, "If you really want to succeed, you've go to put in the work." What great words to live by. Congrats to Hunter and all of the Decatur Bulldogs varsity football players on an excellent season!
Be sure to root on our amazing teams at their next games. The full calendar of all DHS Athletic games and meets is listed on the right hand column of the Decatur Bulldog Boosters page, https://decaturbulldogboosters.org/.
Scenes from our Schools... Photos from around the District!
Children in Ms. B's College Heights Preschool class working on a fine motor activity tied to their story time. After reading "Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza" they made fruit pizza.
The College Heights Read to Your Bunny Literacy Event which happened earlier this week at the Decatur Housing Authority.
A festive dance party in Ms. Bryant's 2 year old College Heights class- complete with matching elf sweaters!
Clairemont students walking in the International Night Parade.
Vashti Harrison, author of Little Leaders, Bold Women in Black History visits Clairemont.
Clairemont students celebrating International Night.
Author Andrea Beaty brought her new book, Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, to Oakhurst!
Principal Tanisha Sanders with one of her Oakhurst students who won a book to share with her family.
During the Family Reading Camp Out, Oakhurst students got to roast marshmallows and meet Decatur firefighters
This Glennwood student chose Decatur Fire's Ninetta Violante, as her world changer for the World Changers Leaders Living Wax Museum.
Glennwood's camp-themed reading night -complete with kids in their PJs and cookies and milk.
Glennwood's teachers celebrating the Book Parade in November.
Winnona Park dished out an amazing spaghetti dinner.
Winnona Park shows their appreciation for their crossing guards.
Principal Ruth Scott enjoying the Winnona Park PTA's spaghetti dinner.
Westchester students learning about composting.
Parents and staff celebrate the Westchester crossing guards during Crossing Guard Appreciation Week.
Westchester students showing their school spirit on Hat Day during Homecoming Week.
Talley Street 3rd graders created these beautiful Tibetan Tiger Rugs during their art classes.
Talley's Peace and Pie event promoted meaningful conversation within the school community.
Talley students singing "Count on Me" at a November Talley Rally.
The F.AVE Choir performed at the Annual City of Decatur Tree Lighting event.
SRO Matthew Damico with F.AVE's IB ambassadors after their swearing-in ceremony.
F.AVE showing their Decatur spirit during Spirit Week.
The Decatur Business Association named DHS student Alix Wagner, alumnus Happy Herold, and DHS teacher Jennifer Gonzalez as 2019 Decatur Hometown Heroes.
DHS World History students took a field trip to Fernbank Museum to extend their study of the Silk Road.
The DHS yearbook staff visited DC's Chinatown after two days of classes at the National Scholastic Press Association convention.
The Decatur Business Association named DHS student Alix Wagner, alumnus Happy Herold, and DHS teacher Jennifer Gonzalez as 2019 Decatur Hometown Heroes.
Important Dates Around the District:
Upcoming PTA Events...
Clairemont's Winter Marketplace - This Weekend!
Friday, December 13, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Clairemont Annual Holiday Marketplace, happening this weekend, features handmade crafts, art, gifts and more from over than 100 local and regional artists as well as food from local restaurants, delicious homemade soups and desserts in the café. For more information visit decaturholidaymarketplace.com.
Glennwood's Casino Night Silent Auction - Save the Date: February 29, 2020
For tickets or more information, visit www.glennwoodpta.org.
College Heights Bid for Chick's Little Luau Auction - Save The Date : March 6, 2020
For tickets or more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/BidforChicksLittleLuau.
The Oakhurst Annual Give-a-Hoot Auction - Save the Date: March 20, 2020
For tickets or more information, visit https://oakhurstelementarypta.org/.
Westchester's Battle of the Band's Call for Bands - Save the Date: March 27, 2020
For more information, visit https://www.westchesterrocks.org.
Upcoming Appreciation Date:
January: National Mentoring Month
Have an date you'd like us to add to the next newsletter? Email Sarah Jones at email@example.com. Thanks!