Greetings DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Family,
I hope everyone had a great and productive first week of school! I was happy to see the bright faces of our scholars last week in person and through photos. I had the opportunity to tour some of our schools, observe and participate in class sessions, and engage with our scholars, teachers and staff members. It was an exciting week, and I’m confident that this will be another successful school year for DCSD.
I want to thank all of our families for their patience as we continue to navigate enrollment and other challenges as we transition back to the school buildings. We appreciate you and please know that you are heard. Please continue to visit our website and your school’s website for the latest information on back-to-school news. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up for Infinite Campus (Parent Portal) so that you can stay in the know on grade reports, assessments and attendance. All of these steps are critical to beginning the new school year strong and ready to thrive.
Thank you again to our teachers, administration and staff members for your hard work in readying our buildings for the safe return of our scholars. This will be another great school year because of your dedication to educating our future leaders.
As I previously mentioned, I had the opportunity to tour some of our schools last week to inspect what I expect. I got to be a student again at E.L. Bouie Theme School observe daily routines and dismissal processes at Briar Vista Elementary School and Dunwoody High School, and experience social and emotional learning restorative practices at McNair High School. It was an exciting week and a valuable learning experience.
Thank you to the schools’ administrators and staff members that welcomed me to their building—Early Learning Center, Columbia High School, Miller Grove Middle School, Redan High School. Freedom Middle School, Smoke Rise Elementary School, Chamblee Middle School, E.L. Bouie Theme School, Dunwoody High School and McNair High School. I’m looking forward to visiting more of our schools to inspect what I expect.
As excited as we are about the return the school buildings, we are still in the midst of a pandemic and everything is not all back to normal. Out of an abundance of caution and due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, we will continue the visitor protocol that was in place for the 2020-2021 school year. Visitors and volunteers will not be permitted in buildings until further notice. We will continue to monitor conditions and data provided by the Department of Public Health, the DeKalb County Board of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is our sincere hope that conditions will improve, and we will be able to reopen our doors and benefit from the value that our committed volunteers add to our schools and centers. We appreciate each of our volunteers and community partners. In the interim, we invite you to help us identify opportunities for volunteers to support our school community virtually.
Readiness Response Guide
For the health and safety of our staff and students, the district created a Readiness Response Guide to assist staff in the planning and preparation for a safe return. The Readiness Response Guide includes an overview of DCSD’s Communication Protocol. Decisions will be made in collaboration with the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, DeKalb County Board of Health and the COVID-19 Response Team.
This planning guide contains information for schools and departments to help them plan for possible scenarios, to protect staff, students, and education services. It provides details for the implementation of the plan and draws on the best information currently available. As health information changes over time, this guide will be updated as necessary.
Comprehensive Master Plan Town Hall
DCSD will host virtual 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.
State Grant Recipients
Congratulations to six of our high schools that were selected as recipients of the Graduates Ready to Attain Success in Postsecondary (GRASP) Grant by the Georgia Department of Education. Four schools are receiving the GRASP Cohort 2 Sustainability Grant worth $56,250—Clarkston High School, McNair High School, Stone Mountain High School and Towers High School. Cross Keys High School and Miller Grove High School are receiving $102,000 each from the GRASP Cohort 3 Grant.
I want to thank the Georgia Department of Education for awarding the GRASP grant to these six schools. The district is dedicated to meeting the social, emotional and mental health needs of our students, and this grant will help these six schools meet those needs.
I want to encourage all of our scholars to bring their A-game as we all work together to make this a successful school year. Have a great week!
Mrs. Cheryl Watson-Harris