On Friday, March 11, 2016, I posted the following letter to Dr. Steven Green, Superintendent of the DeKalb County (GA) School System. My comments were in response to his comments on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, “Get Schooled,” which is moderated by AJC columnist and blogger, Maureen Downey. The link to all of Dr. Green’s remarks will follow my words to Dr. Green, below:
“(1) ‘Our approach involves an inside-out … not outside-in … examination and action plan. The DNA of effective instruction begins inside the classroom. It takes rigor, relevance, and relationships, with relationships most important.’
(2) ‘We created a tiered system to support principals in addressing critical issues that may arise in their schools. We support teachers and administrators in those schools with a strong, data-driven dashboard system that monitors student progress and performance. Think of it as a ‘scholastic stethoscope,’ closely examining every vital sign needed for growth and progress in student outcomes.’
(3) ‘So that’s a second challenge – continuing to build partnerships among school leaders, teachers, students, and parents. Great education starts with engagement. Aligning the full energy and expectations of all the individuals who play roles in the education of a child gives us our best shot at creating a whole citizen for tomorrow.’
(4) ‘Finally, we must maintain high expectations for student engagement and learning.’
‘We have taken a strong step in the right direction. Our progress will continue.’
“Dr. Green, I have no doubt, whatsoever, that with the follow-through of your total plan – especially the four points which I have highlighted above – the DeKalb County School System has “taken a strong step in the right direction” and that your “progress will continue.” Moreover, because of your model and commitment, I believe that the DCSS will not only free itself from state takeover status, but will become – once again – the model school system for the state of Georgia. Having been a teacher and instructional leader within the DCSS for 29 years before my retirement, I was impressed, from the beginning, with the choice of you for the present DCSS’s Superintendent of Schools.
The DeKalb School System, by being successful with this educational model, may become the savior of public education in Georgia, and, thus, throughout our nation. I shall be watching how your model unfolds in time and how accepting Georgia’s leaders will be to an excellent instructional/community model, such as yours. Thank you very much for your vision and commitment to the children of the DCSS, the children of Georgia, and to public education, itself.”