Archive for the ‘Clayton schools’ Category

Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, wrote this piece in anticipation of this week’s visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The SACS accreditation team has been in Clayton since Monday.

By Pam Adamson

Clayton County Schools has had a tumultuous history with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its parent organization, AdvancED, for many years starting in the early 2000s. After years of warnings and failed opportunities to comply with its standards, SACS withdrew accreditation from Clayton County schools in August of 2008.

The district had become a swinging door of instability with regular staff turnover, including leadership at the highest levels. The Board of Education was in a state of turmoil at that time, with some board members having resigned, some …

Continue reading Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better »

Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line?

ART-Bully020207I’ve been watching a subtitled Swedish mystery series, “Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter,” in which the feisty protagonist is a crime reporter for a major newspaper. In the episode I watched last night, Annika is upset because her sweet 8-year-old son is being bullied and the school refuses to act even after the bully pushes her son off the monkey bars and seriously injures him.

So,  Annika strides onto the school playground, confronts the bully as he terrorizes another child and warns him that she will kill him if he touches her son again. The threat sounds even more ominous in Swedish.

I have to admit rooting for Annika, who takes heat for making the threat. But she’s not arrested.

A Clayton woman who did the same thing to protect her child was not so lucky. Marvis Renae Henry was charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting school operations and released today on $5,000 bond.

You cannot help but feel for the 59-year-old Sunday schoolteacher who believed that her …

Continue reading Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line? »

State monies to help struggling districts going to Gwinnett, Clayton and Paulding. Many small-town systems get nothing. Why?

As many of you often point out on the blog, state equalization grants are not going to the presumed targets, poor rural districts, but to the mighty Gwinnett County Schools

And you always wonder why.

The AJC looked at the grants that are supposed to help struggling districts with weak tax bases in a Sunday story by AJC reporter James Salzer. The story explains how the grants are awarded, detailing a formula that benefits districts with booming enrollments and eroding property values. In other words: Gwinnett.

But an expert suggests that the calculus of the equalization grants needs to look beyond the property wealth-to-student ratio to personal wealth in a county, which would send more money to struggling south Georgia districts that may have stagnant enrollments but also have persistent poverty and historic school under funding.

Here is an excerpt of the news story: (See list of where grants are going.)

By James Salzer

Gov. Nathan Deal won praise in January when he announced …

Continue reading State monies to help struggling districts going to Gwinnett, Clayton and Paulding. Many small-town systems get nothing. Why? »

DeKalb school board mess: Are we focusing on symptoms rather than real problem?

I am always delighted to receive a submission from Lawrence M. Schall, president of Oglethorpe University. Here is a column he wrote about the DeKalb County school board drama and its larger implications. (You can read his blog on Huffington Post.)

In relation to his comments on the pending lawsuit by the DeKalb board, I want to note that Schall earned doctoral degrees in law and education from the University of Pennsylvania and practiced civil rights law earlier in his career.

By Lawrence M. Schall
We will all soon learn of the decision of the federal district court regarding the constitutionality and/or legality of the governor’s decision to remove six of the nine sitting DeKalb County School Board members.

If I were a betting man, I would put my money on the decision being overturned. While the performance of the school board, and more importantly, the school district have been abysmal for far too long, the process used to throw some of the board members out of office …

Continue reading DeKalb school board mess: Are we focusing on symptoms rather than real problem? »

Incumbents appear safe in Gwinnett, Clayton. So, are voters happy with direction of their schools?

The results of school board board elections show incumbents retaining their seats in Gwinnett and Clayton, suggesting that voters are not unhappy with the direction of their schools.

Or at least not unhappy enough to vote in change.

On the other hand, voters approved the controversial charter school amendment, which gives the state more power to get involved in local education decisions.

Clayton offers an interesting situation. In July,  dissatisfied Clayton residents voted out two incumbent county commissioners and the sheriff. So, you can’t argue that Clayton voters aren’t paying attention or willing to act. They have proven they will oust incumbents, who often retain their posts through Georgia due to voter inertia.

But Clayton school board members appear to be holding onto their seats based on current vote counts. Yet, the district is under a warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that its accreditation is being jeopardized by board feuding.

So, are …

Continue reading Incumbents appear safe in Gwinnett, Clayton. So, are voters happy with direction of their schools? »

Check out schools that made DOE’s reward school list today for strong performance by low-income students

The state Department of Education has released its long-awaited list of reward schools. There are 45 schools from metro counties on the list. And the AJC has a story up with the local schools listed.

“Reward” schools represents a new category created by the waiver that Georgia won from No Child Left Behind. The list recognizes schools with large numbers of low-income students who are performing well or showing significant progress in their academic achievement.

From DOE:

The Georgia Department of Education today released the list of Reward Schools as part of the state’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act  flexibility waiver. The category is reserved for schools with the highest performance or the biggest academic gains by students in the last three years.

“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I want to take what’s working at our Reward Schools and replicate that …

Continue reading Check out schools that made DOE’s reward school list today for strong performance by low-income students »

Does Clayton mess reveal a larger truth: School boards don’t work any more?

Haven’t we been here before with Clayton County? (And other counties as well, including several in rural Georgia.)

Did we learn anything from Clayton’s earlier woes or does the latest friction point to the larger problem of having citizens run school systems?

The AJC has a news story about the Clayton County school board chair suggesting that the governor intervene and remove some school board members to save the school system from losing accreditation again.

“We’ve had troubles on the board. We’ve had troubles for a long time,” Chairwoman Pamela Adamson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday.

Jacob Vigdor, a Duke public policy and economics professor whose writings I have run on the blog, issued a statement yesterday on the antics of the Wake County, N.C., school board, which fired its superintendent.

I thought Vigdor’s comment applied here:

When contemplating the ongoing soap opera that is the Wake County School Board, it is important to bear in mind that Wake is …

Continue reading Does Clayton mess reveal a larger truth: School boards don’t work any more? »

Clayton’s Edmond Heatley: His move to Berkeley is on hold. Would Clayton take him back?

Dr. Edmond Heatley

Dr. Edmond Heatley

I am just back from a five-day vacation without Internet and am reading the local news I missed, including the complications around outgoing Clayton Superintendent Edmond Heatley’s hopes to move into the top schools job in Berkeley, Calif.

According to the AJC, Heatley’s chances of becoming superintendent of the 9,400-student district may be in doubt because of  “his alleged opposition to same-sex marriage and his management of the 51,008-student Clayton school system.”

Apparently, community reservations over Heatley increased when Berkeleyside.com, a local online news site, reported that he allegedly backed a resolution supporting Proposition 8 –  which recognizes marriage as being between a man and woman — as superintendent several years back in Chino Valley.

Since its passage in 2008, the California constitutional amendment has been controversial.  Earlier this year, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage was struck down by the United States Court of …

Continue reading Clayton’s Edmond Heatley: His move to Berkeley is on hold. Would Clayton take him back? »

From Clayton County to Berkeley, Calif: Change of job and coast for school chief

Dr. Edmond Heatley resigned today

Dr. Edmond Heatley is California bound.

Clayton County Schools superintendent Edmond Heatley apparently  resigned his post here last week to take the top job in the Berkeley, Calif., school system. His resignation is effective the end of this month.

According to the AJC: (This is an excerpt. Please read full piece before commenting.)

Heatley announced his resignation from the 51,000-student Clayton County district last week, just days before officials from the Berkeley Unified School District visited Clayton to interview school board members, teachers and parents. That site visit is the final step in an extensive vetting process to verify the credentials of Heatley, the sole finalist in what was a national search for a superintendent, according to a press release sent out by the Berkeley school district.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to join a high achieving team focused on ensuring that every student has the opportunity to achieve greatness,” Heatley said in the released …

Continue reading From Clayton County to Berkeley, Calif: Change of job and coast for school chief »

Clayton school chief resigns today

Dr. Edmund Heatley resigned today

Dr. Edmond Heatley resigned today

Breaking news from Clayton County where controversial schools Superintendent Dr. Edmond Heatley resigned effective the end of next month.

The Clayton school board released a statement that an interim will be appointed to take Heatley’s place. “School has just begun and our primary focus will remain providing the students of Clayton County with a high quality education during this transition,” said chairwoman Pam Adamson. ”We are grateful to Dr. Heatley for his service and wish him the best.”

Heatley, the eighth Clayton County superintendent since 2000, was not fired. “He still has the confidence and respect of the majority of the board,” said Pam Adamson, who met with Heatley Wednesday morning regarding his decision.

It was apparent that Heatley wanted out of Clayton.

Heatley, who came to Clayton County in 2009, had interviewed for the superintendency in Dallas earlier this summer. The Texas job was open because the former Dallas school …

Continue reading Clayton school chief resigns today »