Georgia law has mandated that by June 30, 2015, all school districts in the state must inform the opens in new window icon Georgia Department of Education of any intention to seek waivers from state law and Department of Education policies and regulations. If a school district chooses not to seek any waivers, it must acknowledge that it will not do so and that it understands that none will be given after June 30, 2015, except in cases of natural disaster. What is being offered to school districts is the flexibility to innovate and increased autonomy, including waivers from state laws, rules, and guidelines, in exchange for greater accountability and higher student performance expectations.
Over 18 months, DeKalb County School District worked with parents, students, employees and community members to gather insights and feedback on the strengths and challenges of the district as well as the practices which would yield the best results for students in the future. After this extensive process and a public hearing, DeKalb County Board of Education decided that the flexibility option that best aligned with the district’s values and student needs was the Strategic Waivers School System option.
The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) provides annual progress reports to the State Board of Education (SBOE) for each Strategic Waivers School System contract. Access annual state progress reports by visiting GOSA’s SWSS evaluation website.
Flexibility Advisory Committee – (FAC)
DeKalb County School District has established a Flexibility Advisory Committee (FAC) to assist in reviewing all materials and information associated with Georgia’s flexibility options.
The FAC is comprised of forty-six citizens who were originally part of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee. These individuals assisted in the drafting of DeKalb’s new mission, vision, beliefs, and strategic goals. Because these committee members were focused on long-term objectives for the district, the decision was made to ask that they continue their work and dedication as member of the FAC. Membership includes parents, community representatives, teachers, parent council leaders, a Board member, a district PTA representative, principals, and other district employees.
The purposes of the Flexibility Advisory Committee (FAC) are to:
- Review the elements associated with the state’s recommended flexibility options, including, but not limited to: waivers from Title 20, fiscal impact, governance implications, accountability and performance evaluations, and consequences;
- Build the knowledge base to develop an Executive Summary for the Superintendent detailing these options and their impact on DCSD; and,
- Monitor the district’s drafting of all final documents associated with the Superintendent’s recommendation.
Each Community Engagement Session has two purposes. First, the district wants to provide the community with background information regarding the flexibility options being offered by the state. More importantly, though, DeKalb County School District wants to give the community the opportunity to provide input on these flexibility options and how they see these options impacting the district and each individual school. Input from each speaker is summarized and will be provided to the Flexibility Advisory Committee (FAC) to assist in drafting the FAC’s Executive Summary by March 1, 2014.