Avondale gets one of the new charter schools; focus on interactive learning

Longtime Get Schooled readers remember Patti Ghezzi, the originator of this blog and a wonderful colleague of mine for many years. Patti is still working on education issues and has been involved with one of the seven charter school applicants approved this week by the state.

Here is a release by Patti on the new charter school coming to Avondale Estates.

The Georgia Charter Schools Commission approved Monday a public charter school to serve Avondale Estates and surrounding communities.

The Museum School of Avondale Estates will open in August 2010 for children in kindergarten through third grade who live in the Avondale Elementary and Midway Elementary school attendance zones. The school will expand by one grade each year through eighth grade.

Open houses will be held Tuesday, January 12 at 7 p.m. and January 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Avondale Estates City Hall, located at 21 North Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates. A third open house will be held in January at a date and location to be announced later. Katherine Kelbaugh, the incoming Head of School, will discuss curriculum. Members of the school’s executive committee will be available to answer questions.

Student enrollment will take place February 1 through 15. Applications will be available at each open house or may be picked up at Avondale Estates City Hall.

Charter schools are funded with tax dollars but operate independent of the local school district, held accountable by terms spelled out in a state-approved charter. Parents and community members have been working for a year and a half to bring a charter school to Avondale Estates and neighboring areas. Word of the state’s approval spread quickly, sparking community-wide celebrations, especially among parents of young children who will be among the school’s first students.

“This school is the product of a community-wide effort,” said Dr. Alexandra Webb, chair of The Museum School’s Executive Committee. “We owe our success to the countless volunteers who contributed their time and expertise to this endeavor. We are so proud to provide our community with a school that is innovative, yet research-based and data-driven in its design and operations.”

The Museum School of Avondale Estates was begun by the Avondale Education Association with a goal of creating an innovative public school for grades K-8 built on academic achievement and strong community involvement. The museum concept is a proven school model that provides project-based learning through partnerships with museums and other community organizations. Students learn collaboratively by engaging in real-world projects and mentorships with these experts.

“The Museum School’s interactive model is sure to meet the varied needs of all students,” said Katherine Kelbaugh, the head of school. “We are honored to offer our community a public school of choice that is based on individual learning styles and project-based learning, and we’re eager to provide our students with a rigorous, hands-on curriculum within a neighborhood, community school.”

In recommending The Museum School for charter approval last week, a panel from the Georgia Dept. of Education wrote that the school’s organizers, “demonstrated strong leadership and governance capacity.” The panel, “was impressed by the level of detail and the amount of time that the petitioning group has contributed,” and wrote that the school’s governing board, “appears to have diverse expertise in the areas of education, business, marketing, finance and facilities.”

School organizers are finalizing plans for the school’s facility and staff recruitment. Applicants for staff positions should email a resume and three references to jobs@themuseumschool.org.

115 comments Add your comment

toto:exposing the per*ert behind the curtain

December 15th, 2009
3:00 am

Wow Maureen.
You’ve missed the biggest education story of the year!
Looks like Kevin Jennings has been into interactive (a.k.a. “hands on”) learning since 2000.

http://biggovernment.com/2009/12/14/fistgate-vii-explosive-after-years-of-silence-massachusetts-teacher-speaks-out-about-what-she-saw-at-fistgate-audio/#idc-cover

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B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
8:31 am

Will all of the Avondalians stop paying tution to the City Schools of Decatur now and send their kids to The Museum School of Avondale Estates?

whoknowz

December 15th, 2009
8:55 am

Congrats Patti, it’s good to know you’re still involved. When I read some of the petitions, this one was intriguing although I can’t quite picture how it will work on a daily basis. It sounds fun and engaging — maybe I’m jaded and just can’t imagine every day being like a field trip?

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
9:05 am

should be “tuition” not “tution”

HD

December 15th, 2009
9:36 am

Maureen, would you mind writing a little bit more about the area’s private schools? They seem to be the ones doing the most interesting, notable things and it would be nice to hear about them once in a while, although I understand the need to focus on public schools.

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2009
9:51 am

HD, One of the problems is that we don’t cover private schools since they are private and don’t use tax dollars. There are no public meetings to cover and we don’t have access to any school data or information through open records.
That said, I would certainly be open to reporting on programs that privates are doing, so please let me know about interesting things that would appeal to a wider audience.
Maureen

how do they set up the attendance zone for a charter

December 15th, 2009
11:39 am

I’m just curious why this particular charter school is serving only the students from the attendance zones of 2 elementary schools. When I checked their web page, these two schools aren’t really that big – about 3-4 classes in each elementary grade. I’m sure there are kids who attend private schools in the attendance zones, but about how many students does each school need to keep schools going? Is it possible to have three thriving public schools (including the charter) in this small zone? I understand the purpose of charters is to introduce competition to improve education, but, unlike business, we don’t want to drive out competitors, do we?

An education crime

December 15th, 2009
1:32 pm

This “boutique” charter school was formed to serve the new class of people who have moved and are moving into the Avondale area. The Museum School should be forced to open its attendance zone to all of Dekalb. No proposed charter schools were approved in the South Dekalb area, where almost all middle and high schools failed AYP. A few of the schools have never made AYP. According to the new charter commission, it is NOT mandated to approve schools in areas with the greatest need. In fact, a newly approved charter schools in Coweta has no failing schools in its attendance zone. The commission said it was perfectly okay for it to grant approval to this school so that it could “exceed.” My frustration is with the fact that taxpayer dollars are going to help in areas where students can afford to attend private schools or have great schools already. How will Georgia ever move from the bottom if even new money is going to fund the top?

The museum school is a nice concept, but the commission should have made its approval contingent on broadening it attendance zone.

Patti Ghezzi

December 15th, 2009
1:42 pm

Hi all, it seems strange posting a comment on Get Schooled after all these years. I started covering charter schools in 1998 and saw the law and the trend through its evolution from conversion charters that didn’t differ much from traditional public schools to startup charters that were doomed out of the gate by insufficient funding formulas.

One thing I always thought as I sat in school board meetings watching parents of charter school students weeping as their charters were denied or the board put up more road blocks: I would never go down this road. Too much disappointment. I thought, if I ever have a child, I’ll check out the local public school and if it’s not what I’m looking for I’ll go private.

Well, my daughter just turned three and of course I’ve been thinking about schools pretty much since her birth. The past three years have taught me more about education than 10 years of covering schools for the AJC. I volunteered at our neighborhood public school and saw that it wasn’t what I wanted for my child. So I thought I’d send her to one of the many excellent private schools.

But here’s the thing. She loves the kids in our neighborhood. She has been hanging out with them since infancy. The thought of us all scattering to various private schools makes me incredibly sad. I finally get why parents will hold on so desperately to their neighborhood school. For me, it’s not about the teachers or the curriculum as much as it is the environment.

The environment I want for my child includes the kids from our community. I know their parents. We are all different, but we are committed to raising happy, healthy kids. I know these kids. I know which one has an allergy. I know which one is wild about Dora the Explorer and which one turns into a puppet on a string when offered a cheap toy car to play with. I love these kids. I want my child to grow up with them and learn alongside them in school, not just see them at the pool during the summer.

The Museum School of Avondale Estates offers us that chance.

Patti Ghezzi

December 15th, 2009
1:46 pm

Regarding the attendance zone, I was not directly involved in that process, but members of our executive committee worked with the state charter school office on this issue.

Here’s the backstory:

Initally, the plan called for an attendance zone that would draw from the 30002 zip code only, but based on public and state feedback, school organizers decided to expand the zone further to include additional areas that have expressed interest in The Museum School’s innovative educational approach. The decision allows the school to maximize the number of students served while minimizing financial risk, all without compromising the community school focus. In addition, the expanded zone gives the school a stronger financial picture and additional options for a permanent location.

Dear Patti

December 15th, 2009
1:51 pm

This “boutique” charter school was formed to serve the new class of people who have moved and are moving into the Avondale/Midway areas. The Museum School should be forced to open its attendance zone to all of Dekalb. No proposed charter schools were approved in the South Dekalb area, where almost all middle and high schools failed AYP. A few of the schools have never made AYP. According to the new charter commission, it is NOT mandated nor is it compelled to approve schools in areas with the greatest need. In fact, a newly approved charter school in Coweta has no failing schools in its attendance zone. The commission said it was perfectly okay for it to grant approval to this school so that it could “exceed.” My frustration is with the fact that taxpayer dollars are going to help in areas where students can afford to attend private schools or have great schools already. How will Georgia ever move from the bottom if even new money is going to fund the top?

The Museum School is a nice concept, but the commission should have made its approval contingent on broadening its attendance zone.

Patti, please don’t be afraid of those other kids in Dekalb who may not hail from the same social and professional pedigree, but who also desire for a GREAT education for their chilren.

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
1:59 pm

Patti Ghezzi, if the people of Avondale Estates supported Avondale Elemementary (and/or Midway and the now-closed Forest Hills) and were not scared or prejudiced against the racial demographics…

Avondale Elementary (and/or Midway) would offer “that chance.”

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
2:00 pm

Should say “Elementary” (not “Elemementary”)

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
2:04 pm

Great post, An education crime.

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
2:22 pm

“An education crime” changed his/her name to “Dear Patti.” Great post still.

(How do you edit posts on here???)

Patti Ghezzi

December 15th, 2009
2:33 pm

B. Killebrew, the demographics of the attendance zone for the Museum School are very diverse in terms of race, income and education background of the parents. I look forward to my child attending a school with kids from all backgrounds.

Charter schools are about giving parents a choice.

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2009
2:43 pm

Patti, Any chance DeKalb might give Museum School use of Forest Hills Elementary, which is empty at this point? I understand there is some talk in DeKalb about turning that location into a single gender school, but not sure if that is likely. That would be an ideal location.
And welcome back to Get Schooled.
Maureen

Patti Ghezzi

December 15th, 2009
2:46 pm

Hi Maureen, no, that location is not under consideration for the Museum School. I believe the DeKalb school system peeps have said they have plans for that building.

Laura Leckband

December 15th, 2009
3:02 pm

Maureen – As stated by Andrew Broy in the State Charter Commission meeting yesterday, The Museum School is not eligible to move into Forrest Hills Elementary under current law or under HB 555, because it is not a locally chartered school. Schools that are chartered by the state are “on their own” regarding facilities, It is my personal hope that the International Community School wil be given that chance.

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2009
3:04 pm

Laura, I hope somebody can use it. I think these empty schools ought to be used and, if there are charters needing space, move them right in. It is a great location for a school. (It also makes more sense to allow usage rather than the let the building fall to ruin and vandals.)
Maureen

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
3:36 pm

Patti Ghezzi–Yes the demographics are “diverse” for the area…but do you think that true, real diversity will translate to the “The Museum School of Avondale Estates?” Many, many charters (especially yours) are just ways for non-minority parents to get a private school with public dollars. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out the real motivation behind the creation of this school. Avondalians know that almost all of the “gen-pop” of the designated area will not become a part of The Museum School.

And yes, charter schools are about giving parents a choice–a choice to not have too many minorities in their children’s schools. (Which is very relevant in heavily minority, heavily black Metro Atlanta.)

Key words: Fear, racism

jim d

December 15th, 2009
3:42 pm

I believe state law requires the local school system to pay maint. and upkeep on an abandoned school if they allow a charter to use it.

Romeovoid

December 15th, 2009
3:51 pm

In fact there already is a public, county charter school serving this area–the International Community School [ICS](which tried to get the Forest Hills building in 2007 but was turned down by DCSS, which apparently prefers ruin and vandalism over supporting charters–but I digress) along with the mainstream elementary schools.

The Museum School will undoubtedly draw kids away from ICS, but not the majority of the refugee/immigrant kids at ICS who have been (deliberately?) excluded from the Museum School’s zone. It would be good to know why the Museum School felt it had to draw its attendance zone so much more exclusively than other county charter schools, each of which has a ‘preferred zone’ (by zip code/elementary school catchment area) as well as being open to the entire county.

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2009
4:01 pm

Romeovoid, Do many Avondale kids attend ICS? I would think the school’s fine reputation would already be luring nearby Avondale Estates families. Has that happened?
Maureen

jim d

December 15th, 2009
4:07 pm

hb 555 was signed by sonny in may of this year

http://www.statesurge.com/bills/hb-555-georgia-492273

making empty facilities available to charters and requiring school systems to maintain them

Romeovoid

December 15th, 2009
4:16 pm

Maureen–
Yes, there are Avondale kids at ICS, and one would expect more in the future. It’s probably more the ‘future kids’ than the current ones the Museum School would attract.

My point is that the Museum School does seem to be set up to use public funds for a restricted group, unlike other county public charters, and the fact it is set up to draw only certain potential ICS enrollees (i.e., only kids from a restricted area–the effect on ICS is hardly the only effect) merits explanation. Said explanation may be in their petition to the state charter commission BTW–can you get and post that?

jim d

December 15th, 2009
4:24 pm

am i reading this correctly

(h) Each local board of education that has designated any facility or property as surplus,
57 intended for disposal, or otherwise unused shall make its unused facilities such facility or
58 property available for lease or purchase by to a local charter schools school on the same
59 basis as it makes such facility or property available to other public schools under the
60 control and management of the local board of education. The terms of the use of such a
61 facility by the charter school shall be subject to negotiation between the board and the local
62 charter school and shall be memorialized as a separate agreement. A local charter school
63 that is allowed to use such a facility under such an agreement shall not sell or dispose of
64 any interest in such property without the written permission of the local board. A
65 conversion local charter school may not be charged a rental or leasing fee for the existing
66 facility or for property normally used by the public school which became the conversion
67 local charter school. A local charter school that receives property from a local board may
68 not sell or dispose of such property without the written permission of the local board.”

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
4:35 pm

Romeovoid…

This is very interesting information you are posting.

Romeovoid

December 15th, 2009
4:41 pm

B
It’s public knowledge and just a few questions about the information other people posted upthread. There may be nothing to see here!!–that’s why it would be good to see the petition that got this school approved rather than all of us speculating, perhaps without cause, about why this school was set up to serve a restricted area.

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
4:52 pm

I know it is public knowledge (about Museum’s zone)…(!), but people (general public) may not realize the “details” of the area…where certain neighborhoods/apartments are located, etc. This does have great meaning…geography (and the corresponding demographics) is often overlooked/unacknowledged in this era of education (when it really has so much significance on how a school functions/performs or is perceived).

My remark was directly related to your comment about the district and the refugee/immigrant population.

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2009
4:55 pm

All the charter applications are online at the DOE Website. Here is what Avondale Museum School said about its zone:

The attendance zone for The Museum School is defined as the area included in the 30002 ZIP Code (as of February 5, 2009) in DeKalb County, with the preferences and exceptions (detailed below in question 19) permissible within state and federal regulations. This zone was created through a process that began with input from multiple parties, including residents
of the attendance zones for Avondale Elementary School, Midway Elementary School,
Indian Creek Elementary School, and Decatur City Schools. These residents included
citizens of Avondale Estates, Decatur, Scottdale, and unincorporated DeKalb County and represented ZIP Codes 30002, 30030, 30032, and 30079. The zone was voted on by the Executive Committee on February 5, 2009 after taking significant public input to ensure that the school’s goals of promoting community education could be achieved. This process also included demographic surveys and analysis, all of which were presented to the public in a series of meetings. Please see the Table of Demographics in Appendix 60 for this information. The potential zones considered were defined by ZIP Codes, existing elementary school attendance zones, city limits, and county lines. These were the types of zones evaluated for the important reason that they represented previously recognized and approved areas with well-defined boundaries that were drawn by an outside agency for purposes other than providing an advantage or disadvantage to any group of citizens wishing to attend The
Museum School. The demographic data available suggests that the constituency of ZIP Code 30002 is socioeconomically diverse and similar to that of DeKalb County as a whole. The demographic composition of the residents with the opportunity to attend The Museum School will therefore also be reflective of DeKalb County as a whole. Based on the current enrollment of nearby schools, the numbers of children in ZIP Code 30002, and the high level of response to our online petition, we believe that the 30002 ZIP Code has more than enough children to support a school of the size planned. (Appendices 64-66) We expect The Museum School to be highly successful and demand for enrollment to increase rapidly.
Based on the numbers of potential students, larger attendance zones could potentially
overwhelm the school’s ability to meet that demand and remain true to its mission. In
selecting this attendance zone, our goal is to provide quality education to as many children as possible while upholding our mission to develop a community school. Equal access will be given to all students, while complying with all Civil Rights laws.
Initially, we had decided that a tiered attendance zone (as other previously approved charter schools had used) would be the best way to achieve this goal. The primary attendance zone was ZIP Code 30002 (for the reasons offered above). This was to be followed by a secondary zone of the Avondale Elementary and Midway Elementary School zones. The final zone was to be set as the entire DeKalb County School System. Subsequently, we learned about a new interpretation of No Child Left Behind that meant schools with tiered zones would not meet the federal definition of a charter school, and would therefore not be eligible to receive a federal implementation grant. We reviewed the options of keeping a tiered attendance zone, having a county-wide attendance zone, or having a single attendance zone smaller than the DeKalb County School System. The original primary attendance zone of ZIP code 30002 was chosen as the most financially responsible choice consistent with the
mission and values of The Museum School. The Museum School will depend on strong
community support through volunteerism, monetary donations, and student attendance. In order to develop that support, the community must believe the school will be an active member of the community and the community must feel that it has an active stake in the success of the school. We did not feel that a high level of community support could be effectively developed with a primary zone that included the entire DeKalb County School System. Since the demographics of ZIP Code 30002 are similar to DeKalb County as a whole, the main reason for expanding the attendance zone would be to increase the potential number of students rather than changing the demographics. However, the short-term financial gains in enrollment that would be realized by using DeKalb County School System as the attendance zone would be outweighed in the long term by the losses caused by reduced
community support. As legal interpretation can change rapidly, the governing board will
continue to monitor rules governing the drawing of attendance zones. If interpretation of law changes in such a way that allows a school to have tiered zones and meet the federal definition of a charter school, the governing board will re-examine its position and consider an amendment to the charter to add DeKalb County School System as a secondary zone.

Reality Check

December 15th, 2009
5:01 pm

B,

You raise a very good point and one that is being proven true as I glance through many of these charter school applications. I will reserve my judgment for the Museum School as I don’t know the full story, but in general, what is often billed as a “choice” for families is in reality a back door for parents to segregate their children from undesirable demographics.

A good example is the Heron Bay Charter school, which had in its mission statement the goal of serving students in the Heron Bay Country Club (exact words, not mine). The school was approved after it agreed to open up attendance to Henry County (which is undergoing a shift in demographics) but do you really think that the same school leadership that has this mindset won’t create numerous (and perhaps subtle) roadblocks making it difficult for parents outside of the immediate community to enroll? Strict policies on student transportation pick ups (i.e. if you don’t pick up your child within 10 minutes of closing bell more than twice, he/she is out) will do just this in a subtle but no less egregious way. It’s time to face reality which is that many charter schools aim to offer choice to a select group at the expense of many others.

Kawla

December 15th, 2009
5:26 pm

I am an Avondale High alumni and recently was sent current pictures of the school building that are just pitiful. That school is in horrible condotion and I cant believe kids are forced to try and learn there. What I also can not believe is that the wealthy, influential people of Avondale Estates do not step up and do something about their local public schools. It is in their back yard, why do they not support it?

alice

December 15th, 2009
7:10 pm

There is a huge back story to the Avondale situation and it is, as is oh so common in DeKalb, a tale of missed opportunity. Many years ago, the Avondale Education Association was formed to support the local schools. Long before any of the members would have school age children, the organization supported the schools with financial donations and time donations. A few years ago, nearly 2 dozen families form AEA enrolled their students at Avondale Elementary.

However, there were (and I believe still are) real problems with the administration at Avondale Elementary. The parents’ (and teachers) complaints were genuine and DCSS preferred to brush them off as racist in nature (though some of the parents complaining were not white) and not address them.

By the next year, nearly all of these families had pulled their children out of Avondale Elementary school.

The relationship between Avondale Estates and old timers in DeKalb is complex and complicated. There has been a real failure to recognize that the community has become more diverse in the last decade. In addition, the leadership at DCSS has a perverse relationship with their own old timers, many of whom don’t deserve loyalty.

Kawla, the community has tried to be supportive, but you need a central office administration willing to support these efforts. In addition, the school board rep for that area, only notices issues at Avondale when she is worried about reelection, otherwise her main (and basically only) focus is McNair.

lynn

December 15th, 2009
7:27 pm

An Educated Crime,

Peachtree Hope Charter School will open in S. DeKalb and has plans to go through 12th grade.

There were several other applications from groups for S. DeKalb, but having perused many of them, they need some more work. I hope that someone will financially support the best of these groups so that they can get off the ground.

Ernest

December 15th, 2009
8:46 pm

Patti, welcome home! Good to see you on the blog again! Maureen has done a GREAT job with the forum you started.

I had the pleasure of meeting several of those affiliated with MSAE. I believe they will be successful with this endeavor. It is sad they ran into ‘obstacles’ when attempting to support the local elementary school. This group could have been instrumental in helping to reinvigorate that school and the entire cluster. IMO, this was a missed opportunity for the school district.

DeKalb is forming a citizens committee to look at possible closure and consolidation of schools. The district lost out on matching money for upgrades because they had too many seats in their inventory. This along with the legislation JimD mentioned above ‘may’ provide facilities for Charter schools. Next year will be interesting

Ernest

December 15th, 2009
9:06 pm

Is the blog monster up this time of night???

Maureen Downey

December 15th, 2009
9:15 pm

Ernest, You are a free man.
Maureen

Patti Ghezzi

December 15th, 2009
10:05 pm

B. – If minority parents in the attendance zone do not want their kids to attend the Museum School, it will not succeed. There will not be enough kids. Anyone looking for a school without students of color will not find it at the Museum School. Volunteers are working hard to educate parents in the attendance zone about the school, so they can decide if it’s what they want for their kids. I am confident we will find support in all the neighborhoods in the attendance zone, because the concept is so compelling and unique to DeKalb (and Georgia).

Ernest: Hi! Glad you are still here. I was thrilled when Maureen took over. I am shocked this blog has lasted as long as it has. Thanks for your supportive words about the school, obviously I’m excited about it and sad that it’s perceived by some the way that it is.

Maureen: Several Avondale parents send their kids to ICS and are very happy with it. There was a lottery for admission and some Avondale parents were not able to send their kids there even though they wanted to. I would definitely have considered it for my child if it weren’t for the Museum School. (I do think ICS Is looking for another facility and could relocate elsewhere, so that would be a downside. Also, like I said, I really want a school that a lot of my daughter’s neighborhood pals can attend and ICS, with its very specific mission, would not have that broad appeal or enough seats.)

B. Killebrew

December 15th, 2009
11:02 pm

Patti Ghezzi–

It’s not about whether or not minority parents want their kids to attend Museum…

Will comprehensive transportation be provided for students?

The issue is that this school will serve as a white escape…with just enough minorities to alleviate guilt, but not too many…there’s a fear and really a deep-seated prejudice among many whites to not have their kids go to school with too many brown and black children.

The Museum School has basically killed any chance of having network of stable, neighborhood schools (attended by single-family homed Avondalians) in the Greater Avondale area. The white Avondalians have what they want…”Avondale Prep” I mean, the Museum School. If Avondale Estates had supported Avondale Elementary (and Forest Hills and Midway) in the long run and long term, there would be a great neighborhood school in Avondale Estates that is not an exclusive private academy with public money.

Choice is a convenient, trendy word in schools and education. However, schools–public schools–are not competing shopping centers/malls. With choice and competition there’s going to be loser. In business and with malls, this works great. But, with kids and schools…not so much.

Parent

December 16th, 2009
1:37 am

B. – It is possible that the poor performance of the local public schools is as much DCSS’s fault as it is the “white Avondalians”. Decatur City has managed to put together a diverse and successful school system, and it’s only a couple of miles down the road. Are Avondalians so different from Decaturites? Give the school a chance before you level your pronouncements against it, maybe it won’t turn out so bad. Best case, we get a great school we can *all* send our kids to. Worst case, nothing really changes.

An aside — does anyone know if ICS provides comprehensive transportation? (Not meant to be snarky, I really don’t know. I can’t imagine they could cover all of Dekalb county…)

B. Killebrew

December 16th, 2009
2:19 am

Parent–

Why couldn’t y’all “all” send your kids to Avondale Elementary (or Midway, etc)?

By the way (this is from someone who knows CSD very well), it was a two-decade process to build back the City Schools of Decatur. It all started, really, in the late 1980’s when new families (white Decaturites) started supporting their neighborhood schools bit by bit–when most were heavily minority (black). Ask around to learn the history and turn around of Clairemont Elementary that had a domino affect across the system. It’s fascinating. I see elements of this starting in the Kirkwood/East Lake neighborhoods with Toomer Elementary and East Lake Elementary. It takes time–and Avondalians just really want a white academy. CSD families/early supporters that revived the schools did not seek a separate, segregated “charter” school for their kids. More…A party was held for me at the Avondale Pool during the summer not too long ago–so many kids, so many kids! Imagine if all of those kids attended Avondale (or Forest Hills) instead of Saint Thomas More, CSD, etc…

Yes, Avondalians are very different from Decaturites–Avondale Estates had a neighborhood school that the community did not support due to racism and fear…and the school slipped away.

DCSS may have some problems…but look at the success and community support of Chestnut, Oak Grove, Sagamore Hills, Briarlake, Livsey, Midvale, Brockett, Fernbank, Briar Vista, Medlock, Hawthorne, Evansdale, Huntley Hills, Austin, Vanderlyn, Montgomery, Ashford Park, etc…

B. Killebrew

December 16th, 2009
2:27 am

Maureen, I posted about 10 minutes ago…where is it?

B. Killebrew

December 16th, 2009
2:28 am

Is it gone? I can’t write it again…it was so good…!

B. Killebrew

December 16th, 2009
2:28 am

Ernest

December 16th, 2009
6:39 am

B, you raising good discussion points however my observation and interaction from these advocates led me to conclude they are extremely progressive with respect to their views on public education. I also believe that at some point in time, you have to look in the mirror and ask if you believe the school your children are attending is providing the best opportunity for them to grow. Unfortunately sometimes the answer is no, despite a parent’s best efforts to make the school better. I am speaking from experience on this.

DCSS ‘brags’ that it offers more choice programs that any other district in the state. IMO, that is a good thing because it is not a ‘one size fit all’ solution to education and some children need a different experience. I support the concept of neighborhood schools as a part of community building however I also don’t believe tax dollars should be used on transportation so the I can ‘escape’ my neighborhood school. I believe there was also a court decision to this effect. FWIW, given the expenses in running a charter school, I would have a hard time seeing them allocate dollars to transportation in lieu of instruction.

Something to consider on the questions you raise, do you believe ‘Theme Schools’ allow an inclusive environment for middle income African American students? This has been alleged by some that these schools have been created as an attempt to keep these parents in the public school system.

Jackie

December 16th, 2009
7:24 am

Y’ALL need to take a closer look at the background. I’m a person of “color”, live in Avondale, and would never send my kids to Avondale Elementary after the way they treated the Avondale parents who sent their kids there (en masse!) a couple years ago.

Just because we live in Avondale doesn’t mean we can afford private school, like some here have said!

Don’t gripe about something you know nothing about. The parents around here poured THOUSANDS of out-of-pocket dollars into Avondale Elementary to make it a place we could send our kids to. The school failed and made it very clear we were not welcome.

If you think the Charter School Commission would open themselves up to the charges of racism that some on this blog are throwing around, you should take a closer look. I want my kids to go to a diverse school. That doesn’t mean I want them to go to a “black” school any more than I want them to go to a “white” school. Diversity means a little of everything, and the demographic study the Museum School people did shows this obviously to anyone who can read it.

How about if Dekalb County spent the money they’re spending on stupid lawsuits on education instead?

charter supporter

December 16th, 2009
7:56 am

it was a two-decade process to build back the City Schools of Decatur
This is exactly why we need charters such as the Museum School. My kids can’t wait two decades for DeKalb schools to improve. They need a decent education now.

DCSS ‘brags’ that it offers more choice programs that any other district in the state. When you are number 109 on the waiting list, you haven’t been given a choice.

Anyone who believes that independent charter schools don’t serve minority students needs to look at Ivy Prep. The school less than 10% white, and enormously successful.

Ernest

December 16th, 2009
8:19 am

In my last paragraph above, I meant to ask if Theme schools provide an ‘exclusive’ environment for middle income African American students.

Unfortunately with Choice options, not everyone will get their choice as there are a finite amount of seats available. I would still say it is better to have a Choice than none at all….

Good luck MSAE! There will be many of us watching to see what we can learn from your efforts….