superintendent newsletter
Greetings DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Family,

We are officially one week away from the first day of school! I am so excited to welcome our scholars back to our buildings when face-to-face learning resumes on August 2, 2021. Our facilities have missed the energetic spirit of our scholars, and it shows in each teacher and staff member who excitedly prepares for the first day of school. We can’t wait to see those smiling faces or hear the fantastic sounds of chatter and laughter amongst classmates.

We understand that preparing for the return to school can be a little stressful and hectic for our families. To ease some of that stress, we have a back-to-school website that features vital information—including a parent checklist, registration information and virtual learning options—to help our scholars and families prepare for the first day. I also want to encourage our parents and guardians to visit their child’s school website for additional information.

A special thank you to our teachers, administrators and staff members for their hard work in preparing the classrooms and buildings for a safe return for our students. I know that you all are excited, just as I am, to see all of our scholars back in the buildings.

Safety Protocols

As thrilled as we are to return back to the school buildings, please know that we appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we shift to ensure safety protocols are met and followed. While this school year is more “normal” than last school year, you must understand that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Because of this, we have to stay on top of protecting our students and staff more than ever.

Masks are required for all students and staff. Although masks for fully vaccinated staff and students (12 and over) are optional per CDC guidance, out of an abundance of caution, masks will be required in all buildings. Masks will also be required while riding buses.

For more details on the safety protocols, please click here. To our families, we ask you to ensure your scholars have everything they need to help us keep them and others safe. Our students need us. And we are here to answer that call, as we have time and time again.

Summer Leadership Conference

cheryl watson harris at the podium

participants at summer leadership conference

participants at summer leadership conference listening to presenter

participants at summer leadership conference using laptop computers

I want to thank all of our principals, assistant principals and other schoolhouse leaders for attending DCSD’s Summer Leadership Conference last week. It was great seeing all of our leaders in one place and on one accord with the goals and vision for the upcoming school year. The conference was an opportunity to prepare our leaders to lead by using the strategic plan with clarity, community and culture for the new school year.

I was thrilled to share our vision for the DCSD graduate. The vision of DCSD is to inspire our community of learners to achieve educational excellence. The essence of who we are and what we do is to ensure student success, leading to higher education, work and life-long learning. We are committed to our scholars and removing barriers that disrupt their pathway to their preferred future. We are one district and we want to ensure all students succeed with equity and access.

I want to thank our partners for making the conference a success! I hope our leaders left the conference with great knowledge and are excited to apply lessons of clarity, community and culture in the upcoming school year.

Watch this year’s SLC Theme and Mission for the school year brought to you by Cheryl’s Angels.

Secretary Cardona’s Visit

Last Friday, we had a special visit with U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona as he and his staff examined the district’s preparedness for re-entry to school after the COVID-19 shutdown. Secretary Cardona toured Kelley Lake Elementary School and hosted a discussion with district leaders, school board members, parents, elected officials and community leaders.

I want to thank Secretary Cardona and his team for their support. It is only through the help and support of remarkable people, government, organizations and community groups that we can continue our work of educating our scholars. Secretary Cardona’s visit to our district exemplifies how much we are all part of a larger community and all have a responsibility to our students and staff. We look forward to working with him, his staff and our community partners in our continued quest to build a strong, healthy community together.

Comprehensive Master Plan

DCSD will host Comprehensive Master Plan regional town hall meetings Aug. 17-31. DCSD’s master planning process includes an evaluation of all school and administrative facilities, as well as the infrastructure to support the educational mission of the district. This process includes gathering data about school facilities that will be used to develop priorities for the next Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) project list.

Please click here to see the meeting schedule for each region.

As we enter the new academic year, I want you to remember just how strong we are, how united we are, how brilliant we are and how fortunate we are. Last year is behind us, but the beauty of the future ahead of us is breathtaking.


Mrs. Cheryl Watson-Harris

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