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Back to School July 18, 2009

Section B

Dress Code Makeover When DeKalb Schools open on Aug. 10, attire such as sagging pants (above) and bare midriffs (below) will be banned, along with clothing bearing artwork or language deemed inappropriate.

School system to crack down on those who violate new guidelines By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

tops or tank tops; tops or blouses revealing cleavage; short shorts; net or see-through garments; flip-flops, between-the-toe shoes without heels, bedroom shoes, or other footwear that interferes with freedom of movement. n Clothing, insignia, symbols, or adornments that promote gangs or the use of controlled substances, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. n Clothing that shows offensive and/or vulgar words, pictures, diagrams, drawings, or includes words or phrases of a violent nature, a disruptive nature, a sexual nature, or words or phrases that are derogatory regarding a person’s ethnic background, color, race, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, or disability. n Clothing or jewelry that disrupts the educational process or endangers the health or safety of other students, staff or visitors. Penalties for violating the dress code range from verbal reprimand for the first offense to Parent Conference and In-School Suspension or short-term suspension of up 10 days for third offense, and referral to an alternative setting for chronic violations. Lewis said the school system is not pushing uniforms this year even though it has a mandate from voters to do so. In the November 2008 general elections, 64.4 percent of voters approved the Board of Education’s referendum requiring students in kindergarten to fifth grade to wear uniforms. “We are easing the parents into it for the 2010-2011 school year,” he said. “I know that when Supt. Johnny Brown tried it a few years ago it came out the wrong way, but uniform is not a bad idea.” Lewis said the district will also implement a more stringent cell phone policy for both teachers and students this school year. “We are taking away the distractions from the learning environment,” he said. “We want to clean it up so that students can concentrate on learning.”

The line has been drawn in the sand. The dress code line, that is. Starting Aug. 10, sagging pants, plunging necklines, skimpy midriffs, tight tube tops, high slit skirts and dresses, short shorts and other revealing attire, and clothing with slogans will be outlawed at all DeKalb County schools. To ensure that every student and parent gets that message, bulletin boards in front of all the district’s centers and elementary, middle and high schools have posted a “New Dress Code, Aug. 10” message all summer long. Dress code guidelines are not new to the school system, but enforcement has never been consistent. At some schools, students wear uniforms. At others, it’s a free-for-all. At some schools, students are required to “tuck and pull.” At others, teachers look the other way at sloppy clothes. School Superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis says no more. “I am tired of looking at children’s underwear,” he said. “We are going to really crack down on the dress.” Lewis said the dress code, which was revised by a committee of parents, teachers, principals, counselors, and other district-level administrators in the spring, will be aggressively enforced with the start of the 2009-2010 school year. The crackdown also extends to slogans about tobacco, drugs and sex on T-shirts and other articles of clothing. The dress code requirements, which are outlined in the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, were sent home to parents at the end of last school year in May. The dress code is also prominently displayed on the home page of school system’s website at www. Lewis said the dress code is not about wearing uniform, even though about half of the district’s elemen-

tary school students already wear them. “It is about wearing what you do have, appropriately,” he said. The emphasis on monitoring student dress is one of the 2009-2010 school year priorities of the DeKalb Board of Education and the superintendent. Another priority is enforcing a more stringent policy on cell phone use for both students and teachers, and cracking down on disruptive students. Lewis said the toughening of these guidelines will remove distractions from the academic environment so that kids can focus on learning. The revised dress code prohibits: n The wearing of pants below the waistline; dresses, pants, or skirts with high splits; bare midriffs; halter

Tax-free spree

Free screenings

Back to School concert

With economic doldrums affecting merchants and parents alike, people are gearing up for the state’s annual tax-free shopping holiday. B2

Students who need immunizations or dental, vision or hearing screens will have plenty of options before the school year begins. B3

R&B/pop trio Dear Jayne will join other performers for the annual “Meet the BEAT” back to school concert on the plaza at the Mall at Stonecrest. B7

Students reflect on the dress code, B6


Back To School


July 18, 2009

“We are looking for strong traffic. Tax-free days are a great opportunity for those wanting to save on taxes to shop especially in this economy.”

Tax-free shopping days to help families stretch back-to-school dollars Just in time for back-to-school shopping, the annual tax-free shopping days will be here July 30 to Aug. 2. The three-day shopping weekend is especially important this year as families battle rising unemployment, underemployment, foreclosures and tight budgets. Georgia’s unemployment rate reached 10.1 percent in June. The holiday from Georgia’s seven percent sales taxes offers families the opportunity to buy school supplies, clothes, shoes, computers and computer accessories for kids headed back to school and colleges without paying state taxes. It is made possible by House Bill 120, which Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law on May 5. The bill also authorized a second tax-free

week. Oct. 1 to 4, to purchase of energy efficient appliances priced under $1,500. This is the eighth year that legislators have given the popular tax break. It begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 31 and ends at midnight on Aug. 3. Area malls have high hopes for the tax-free shopping days. Donald Bieler, the Mall at Stonecrest’s marketing director, said they are expecting and preparing for a crowd over the tax-free shopping days. “The weekend is normally one of the most successful period for traffic and sales,” Bieler said Thursday. “We are looking forward to a very successful shopping season.” Bieler said the weekend will also be a barometer of what to expect

“The weekend is normally one of the most successful period for traffic and sales.We are looking forward to a very successful shopping season.” for the upcoming holiday shopping season. “It is great, we can expect a great holiday shopping season,” he said. Tene Harris, the Gallery at South DeKalb’s manager, said they have been seeing families shopping for back to school over the last two weeks and expect the tax-free weekend to bring in bargain hunters. “We are looking for strong traffic,” she said. “Tax-free days are a great opportunity for those wanting to save on taxes to shop

especially in this economy.” To qualify for the sales tax exemption, clothing must be $100 or less per item. Jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, watches and cufflinks are excluded. Personal computers and related items cannot exceed $1,500, but shoppers can remain under the tax-exempt shelter by buying items separately rather than in packages. Regular school supplies costing $20 or less are tax-free. The tax-exempt benefit also extend to Internet and catalog purchases ordered, paid for and processed within the four-day period. A raincheck for an item does not qualify for the exemption unless paid for during the tax holiday. The tax exemptions are intended for individuals for their personal

use only. Purchases made by businesses and for resale are not eligible. The exemptions do not apply to items sold at theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, restaurants, and airports. Shoppers can exchange items after the tax holiday for the same items of a different size or color without paying additional tax. It is illegal for retailers to charge customers’ sales tax during the holiday period. If customers pay tax on qualified items, they should ask the retailer for a refund. If refused, they should contact the Georgia Department of Revenue for further assistance. For more information, visit or call 404417-6601.


Exciting future in store for students, parents in DeKalb County Schools Welcome to another year of teaching and learning in Premier DeKalb County School System. As Superintendent of Schools, I am both excited and encouraged about the district’s progress. The Board of Education and I continue to make student achievement the number one priority for all schools. In order to demonstrate commitment and fidelity to that priority, the school system has worked to ensure that highly trained administrators and highly qualified teachers are in place in every school. As a school system, we are embarking on several initiatives that are both consistent with our mission and align DCSS schools with the Board and Superintendent’s priorities. One of the initiatives is the America’s Choice design. This program will be implemented in 40 of our elementary, middle, and

“We have not changed directions, but we are however taking a more comprehensive approach to educating the whole child.” Dr. Crawford Lewis, Superintendent, DeKalb County Schools

high schools. The America’s Choice design is a rigorous research-based initiative that has proven to be effective in improving student learning. Through the school climate project, we are revisiting the student dress code and are placing a renewed emphasis on discipline in every classroom in all schools. We expect students to attend school each day dressed appropriately and ready to learn.

We are also focusing on the Parental Involvement Initiative. We need and welcome your presence in our school buildings. You are encouraged to visit and utilize the services offered in the 11 Parent Resource Centers located throughout the district. Additionally, the DCSS is developing an E-Parent Communication System, which will enable the district to send text messages via cellular phone and/or text voicemail messages via home tele-

phone in the case of an emergency or important occurrence. The DCSS is excited about the opportunities awaiting students who are enrolling in one of our newly constructed schools. The Dunwoody 4/5 Academy and Arabia Mountain High School will open their doors to students for the first time in August 2009. Additionally, we look forward to the continued success of DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts, DeKalb School of the Arts, and Elizabeth Andrews High School as they begin the new school year in their relocated sites. As a school system, we have not changed directions; but we are, however, taking a more comprehensive approach to educating the whole child. We will assist parents in building character in our students, and we will strive to provide a positive school climate

that expands creativity, improves thinking, and enhances student performance. We believe that by having a strong vision, engaged parents, effective administrators and highly qualified teachers that the DeKalb County School System is positioning itself towards moving forward in order to achieve academic excellence for all. I am confident that the greatest accomplishments of the DCSS are ahead of us and within reach of our ultimate goal which is to graduate at least 95 percent of our students. Thank you for your continued support of Premier DeKalb County School System. I encourage you to visit our website at www.dekalb. to learn more about this year’s initiatives. Together, we can accomplish our goals. Have a great year!

2009-2010 DeKalb Schools Calendar August

Established 1995 2346 Candler Rd. Decatur, GA 30032 404-284-1888 Fax: 404-284-5007

The Back-to-School Special Section is a publication of CrossRoadsNews Inc., East Metro Atlanta’s award-winning weekly newspaper.

Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphics Editor Curtis Parker Reporters McKenzie Jackson Jennifer Ffrench Parker Accounts Manager Cynthia Blackshear The content, design and concept for CrossRoads­News is copyrighted and no parts of it should be copied, reproduced or duplicated without the expressed permission of the publisher.

3-7 – Preplanning - All Teachers Report 6 – Staff Development Day - System Wide 10 – First Full Day of School

September 7 – Labor Day Holiday (Schools/Administrative Offices Closed)

October 9 – Staff Development Day - (Students do not report) 12 – Columbus Day Holiday (Schools Closed)

Administrative Offices Open) 30, 31 - Wednesday, Thursday Holiday (Schools/Administrative Offices Closed)

January 2010 1 – New Year’s Day Holiday (Schools/Administrative Offices Closed) 4 – Holiday for Students/Teacher Workday 5 – Tuesday School reopens for Students/ First Day of Second Semester 18 –Monday Holiday - Dr. M.L. King, Jr. Birthday (observed) (Schools/Administrative Offices Closed)


November 25 * Wednesday Holiday (Schools Closed, Administrative Offices Open) 26, 27 – Thanksgiving Holiday (Schools/Administrative Offices Closed)

12 – Friday Holiday (Schools Closed, Administrative Offices Open) 15 – Monday Holiday - Presidents’ Day (Schools/ Administrative Offices Closed)


December 18– Friday, End of First Semester (89 Days) Winter Holidays begin at the end of the day on Dec. 18. Schools reopen on Jan. 5 21-22 – Monday, Tuesday Holiday (Schools/Administrative Offices Open) 23-25 Wednesday_Friday Holiday (Schools/ Administrative Offices Closed) 28,29 – Monday, Tuesday Holiday (Schools Closed/

5-7 Monday-Wednesday Spring Holidays (Schools Closed, Administrative Offices Open) 8, 9 – Thursday, Friday Spring Holidays (Schools/ Administrative Offices Closed)

May 21 – Friday Last Day of School 24, 25 – Monday, Tuesday Post-Planning Days

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July 18, 2009

Back To School



Parents must bring their children’s Immunization Form 3231 and Georgia Form 3300 to document vision, hearing and dental screenings.

Free screenings, vaccinations are available at community health fairs Back-to-School immunizations are available at: Grady South DeKalb Health Center (Inside Kroger) 2626 Rainbow Way, S.E. Decatur, GA 30034 Mon., Tues., Wed. & Fri. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thurs., 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. 404-616-1776 Oakhurst Health Centers n Decatur Clinic 1760 Candler Rd, Decatur, GA, 30032 404-298-8998 n Stone Mountain Clinic 770 Village Square Dr., Stone Mountain, GA 30083 404-298-8998

Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews

Parents should bring Form 3231 to record their children’s immunization at the Aug. 5 community health fair.

Free health screenings and vaccinations will be available for DeKalb elementary school students on August 5 at Knollwood Elementary School in Decatur. The 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. event is hosted by state Reps. Stephanie Benfield and Michele Henson. A number of health organizations including DeKalb Medical Wellness on Wheels, Oakhurst Medical Center, Help a Child Smile and the DeKalb County School System nursing staff will offer information and screenings. Wellness on Wheels and

S. Benfield

Michele Henson

Oakhurst health professionals will provide free vaccines and employees from Help a Child Smile will conduct free dental screenings. DeKalb School nurses will offer hearing and vision screenings.

Parents must bring their children’s Immunization Form 3231 and Georgia Form 3300 to document vision, hearing and dental screenings. The forms are required to attend school in DeKalb. Benfield, Henson and the Memorial Drive Wal-Mart will provide free back-to-school materials for the first 50 children. Admission is free. Knollwood Elementary School is at 3039 Santa Monica Drive in Decatur. For more information, call Rep. Stephanie Benfield at 404377-7014.

Hours for both centers: Mon., Thurs. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tues. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wed. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. DeKalb Board of Health Ctrs n North DeKalb Health Center 3807 Clairmont Rd., NE Chamblee, GA 30341 Mon-Fri., 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. 770-454-1144

Healthy Children day “Healthy Children... Happy Parents Day” will be Aug. 29 at the South DeKalb Center for Healthy Living in Lithonia. The 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. event

n East DeKalb Health Center 2277 S. Stn Mtn-Lithonia Rd Lithonia, GA 30058 Mon-Fri., 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. 770-484-2600 n Kirkwood Health Center 30 Warren Street Atlanta, GA 30317 Mon-Fri., 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. 404-370-7360 n South DeKalb Health Center 3110 Clifton Springs Road Decatur, GA 30034 Mon-Fri 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. 404-244-2200 n DeKalb Board of Health (Richardson Building) 445 Winn Way Decatur, GA 30030 Mon-Fri., 8:15 a.m to 11 a.m. Mon-Fri., 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 404-294-3700 n Central DeKalb Health Center 440 Winn Way Decatur, GA 30030 404-294-3762 Mon-Fri., 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. 404-508-7880 To find a county center near you visit health-centers.asp.

will include health screenings and vendors. The center is at 2699 Klondike Road. For more information visit or call 770-484-2777.


Back To School


July 18, 2009

“Some schools had all ‘C’ people. No wonder the schools weren’t performing. We can’t continue to do this.”

New principals will greet parents and students at two dozen By Jennifer Ffrench Parker

Twenty-four DeKalb schools will have new leadership when the first bell rings Aug. 10 on the 20092010 school year. The bulk of the changes this year comes at the elementary D. Lockett-Spear school level, where nine schools Alyshia Smith will have new principals. In addition, eight high schools, five middle to pay attention to this.” schools and two centers will have new principals. Assistants move up DeKalb School Superintendent At Browns Mill, Woodridge Dr. Crawford Lewis said the leader- Elementary, and Sequoyah Middle, ship changes are extensive this year and Druid Hills High schools, asbecause the school system was on sistant principals have risen to the the hunt for “proven leadership top positions at their schools. with documented record of leadAlyshia Smith, Brown’s Middle ership.” Elementary new principal, was For the first time, Lewis said assistant principal of instruction that all principals and administra- before her promotion to the top job tors were evaluated and ranked at her school. from A to D. He said changes were Smith, who has been an educamade in the leadership at schools tor for 12 years, began her career that had too many administrators with the school system as a teacher with the same rankings. at the former Leslie J. Steele El“Some schools had all ‘C’ peo- ementary School. There, she served ple,” he said. “No wonder the as grade level chair and in 2001 was schools weren’t performing. We the school’s Teacher of the Year. She can’t continue to do this.” went on that year to nab the systemLewis said wholesale changes wide Elementary School Teacher of were made to the schools’ leader- the Year. She replaces Dr. Yvonne ship. Butler, who had been principal at “We’ve taken and made stronger Brown’s Mill for 11 years. the administrative teams,” he said. Butler’s new assignment with “Every principal now have stronger the school system has not yet been support staff.” announced. She is celebrated naLewis said that good support is tionally MasASTER the “sugar-free” princiS TYLIST important for principals, who will pal after establishing Browns Mill now be held accountable, not only Elementary as the nation’s first SEWsugar-free -IN for how their students perform, but MONinTHURS school 1999SPECIALS in an efSPECIAL also for how they look. WEAVE fort to fight growing obesity and “In all my years in DeKalb improve academicHAMPOO $ tied the Lithonia School.performance at School, we have never before principals’ evaluation to how their ELAXER who Devora Lockett-Spear, WE ALSO DO LOCKS students look,” said Lewis, who has been an educator for 16 years, NOW FOR APPOINTMENT started with the school system C 31ALLrises to the top spot at Woodridge years ago as a teacher. “We are now (404) 983-1694 Elementary in Stone Mountain, saying to principals, take more re- where sheSALON PROFESSIONAL IN DECATUR was assistant principal sponsibilities for how your students for eight years. look. You can’t see something that She has also been a paraprofesis wrong and let it go. You are going sional, substitute, and a physical






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B. Cunningham

Mindee Adamson

education teacher. She replaces Angelique Conner, who moves in Chapel Hill Elementary as assistant principal. After a decade in education, Brittany Cunningham who joined the DeKalb School System in 2006 as a mathematics and social studies teacher at Sequoyah Middle School, is now that school’s principal. She was assistant principal for two years at Doraville school before taking the top job. She replaces Trenton Arnold, who moves to Stone Mountain Middle School as principal. At Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, Mindee Adamson is the new principal after serving as assistant principal of instruction for three years at the school. Adamson, who has been an educator for 23 years, began her DeKalb career 18 years ago. Over the years, she also taught at Cedar Grove, Cross Keys and Redan high schools. She replaces Everett Patrick, who moves to ML King High as principal.

Promoted assistants In other moves, Drs. Angela Strozier, A. Clifton Myles, Audrey Brooks, Daniel McGurie, Reginald Stephens and Brian Scott Heptinstall have been prom o te d to principal from assistant principals. Strozier, a 20-year educator, is the new principal at All- Angela Strozier good Elementary in Stone Mountain. She was most recently assistant principal at Flat Shoals Elementary. Myles, who has 15 years in education, rises to principal at Atherton Elementary School. Prior to

his promotion to principal, he was the school system’s coordinator of professional learning. He has worked in the school A. Clifton Myles system as a high school teacher of language arts, reading, and theater at Ronald E. McNair, Sr. High School and was assistant principal at DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts and Leslie J. Steele Elementary School. Brooks, who takes over as principal at Edward L. Bouie, Sr. Traditional Elementary School, has more than 20 years as educa- Audrey Brooks tor. She was most recently assistant principal at Robert Shaw Traditional Theme and Knollwood Elementary schools. She has also been an elementary and middle school counselor and an elementary math and science teacher. After a decade of teaching, Daniel McGuire is the new principal at Evansdale Elementary School in Doraville after serving the last five years as assistant principal of instruction at Kingsley Charter Elementary Daniel McGuire School. He began his career with DeKalb Schools as a sixth grade language arts teacher at Stephenson Middle School in Stone Mountain. Reginald Stephens is the new principal at Woodward Elementary School in Atlanta. Immediately before his promotion, R. Stephens he was assistant principal at Shadow Rock Elementary. Stephens, who has been in education for 17 years, also taught first and EIP reading and math at Panola Way


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Angela Stro POSTED Audrey Bro Alyshia Sm Daniel McG Millicent M Euna McGr Devora Spe Reginald S

Middle Schools Bethune MS Miller Grove MS Peachtree MS Sequoyah MS Stone Mountain MS

Triscilla We Thad Dixon Scott Hepti Brittany Cu Trenton Ar

High Schools Columbia HS Druid Hills HS Lakeside HS Lithonia HS M L King HS Southwest DeKalb HS Towers HS

Morcease B Mindee Ad Joe Reed Angela Mo Everett Pat Angela Bet Kenn Bake

Centers Alternative School DECA Center Heritage

Vivian Terr Dr. Sharon Mitzi Jones

Elementary and served as Title 1 SES coordinator with the Office of School Improvement and the API planning group with the Department of Elementary Education. Heptinstall takes over as principal at Peachtree Middle School in Atlanta after serving as assistant principal at Chamblee Charter High School. Brian Heptinstall He joined DeKalb Schools in 1997 as a social studies teacher at Stephenson High School. He replaces Steve Donahue who has taken an other position with the school system.

Swapping positions Principals swapping chairs at different schools this year include Dr. Euna McGruder, Joe Reed, Millicent McDuffie, Triscilla Weaver, Angela Moton, Douglas Sanders, and Kenn Baker. McGruder moves to Robert Shaw Traditional Theme Elementary School in Scottdale from Jolly Elementary School. The 18-year educator began her career Euna McGruder with DeKalb Schools in 2002 as an instructional coach at Peachtree Middle School before moving to Clarkston High School as assistant principal of instruction and curriculum. She is former banker who discovered her love for teaching while volunteering at local schools and school-based community service projects. She replaces Millicent McDuffie,

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Back To School

“We are getting our parents completely involved in their children’s education and we were looking at tools and resources to help us do this.”

DeKalb Schools for 2009-2010 year New Principals


Former Principal

New Location


Shenandra Price James Berry Veronica Allen Yvonne Butler Joseph D’Ambra Yolanda Beavers Millicent McDuffie Angelique Conner Ken Bradshaw

Professional Learning Resigned Retiring TBA Retiring Tucker MS/ AP Panola Way ES Principal Chapel Hill ES/AP Region 6

eaver n install unningham rnold

Terry McMullen Triscilla Weaver Steve Donahue Trenton Arnold Gloria Dodson

Southwest DeKalb HS/ AP Bethune MS/ Principal Unknown Stone Mountain MS Principal Retiring

Beasley damson

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Douglas Sanders Everett Patrick Angela Moton Kerry Stroud Kenn Baker John Prince Vanthony Smith

Lithonia HS/ AP ML King HS/ Principal Lithonia HS/ Principal Cedar Grove MS/ AP Towers HS/ Principal Chamblee HS/ AP Alternative School/ AP

ry n Riley Ordu s

Jeremiah James Brenda Emerson Mitzi Jones

Salem MS/ AP Resignation Shadow Rock Center

ooks mith Guire McDuffie ruder ear Stephens

who moves to Panola Way Elementary as principal, where she replaced Yolanda Beavers. Beavers moves to Tucker Middle School as the assistant principal. Reed moves to Lakeside High School in Atlanta from Sagamore Hills Elementary School. He began his career in DeKalb at Oakcliff ElemenJoe Reed tary School. He also taught at Dresden and Kittredge while coaching cross country and boys track at Lakeside High. He was also assistant principal at Shadow Rock Elementary and Lakeside High. He replaces Angela Moton, who moves Lithonia High as principal, succeeding Kerry Stroud, who moves to Cedar Grove Middle School as assistan principal. Principal Kenn Baker moves to Towers High School from ML King, Jr. High. He is replaced at King by Everett Patrick. Triscilla Weaver replaces Terry McMullen at Bethune Middle School. McMullen moves to Southwest DeKalb High School as assistant principal.

More new principals In other movements, Angela Bethea, Drs. Sharon Riley Ordu and Morcease Beasley and Thaddeus Dixon have new positions as principals. Bethea is the new principal at Southwest DeKalb High School, moving to the top job at her alma mater from area coordinator for the school system’s Region III. Bethea, a 1989 graduate of the Decatur school, came up through the

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ranks from student teacher, substitute teacher, paraprofessional, cheerleading coach and English teacher at Stone Mountain and Southwest D e Ka l b h i g h schools. She was also an assistant principal of at- Angela Bethea tendance, discipline and instruction/testing. Bethea replaces John Prince, who moves to Chamblee High School as the assistant principal. Ordu is the new principal at DeKalb Early College Academy

in Stone Mountain. She is new to DeKalb Schools but not new to education. The 15-year educator has extensive experience as an associate professor of education leadership at Argosy University Sharon Ordu and has served as a central office administrator, principal, instructional specialist, consultant, teacher and adjunct professor with Atlanta Public Schools, Gwinnett County Public Schools and numerous colleges and universities. Ordu succeeds Brenda Emerson, who resigned. Beasley takes over as principal at Columbia High School. He is on his second stint with DeKalb Schools, returning from the Port Arthur, Texas, School District, where he was deputy superintendent M. Beasley for curriculum and instruction and school leadership for the last three years. Prior to that, he was principal at Stephenson High School from 2002 to 2006. Beasley replaces Douglas Sanders who moves to Lithonia High School as assistant principal. Dixon, who has 30 years in education, will be the new principal at Miller Grove Middle in Lithonia. He was most recently area coordinator for the school system’s Region Thaddeus Dixon III. Before that, Dixon was assistant principal at Henderson Middle School. He also served as lead special education teacher at Chamblee Middle School, lead teacher of special education at Miller Grove Middle and assistant principal at Chamblee Middle School. He replaces Triscilla Weaver who moves to Bethune Middle School as principal.

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July 18, 2009


New resource guide offers one-stop shop for parents This school year, parents are going to get a boost from DeKalb Schools to help their children succeed at school. The help is coming in the form of a 31-page Parent Resource Guide filled with everything parents need to know about navigating the DeKalb School System and becoming co-navigator with its teachers and administrators in educating their children. School Superintendent Crawford Lewis calls it a must-have for every parent. “We have everything that parents should know about school,” he said. “This book is a one-stop shop for parents.” Starting July 27, parents can download the guide from the school system’s website at www. Parents can also get copies on CD. The guide will also be available in every front office and media center in every DeKalb County school and in all of the district’s Parenting Centers around the county. Ramona Tyson, the school system’s deputy chief superintendent for business operations and finance, who coordinated the guide’s production, said it offers helpful information for parents so that they can be advocate for their children’s education.

“We are getting our parents completely involved in their children’s education and we were looking at tools and resources to help us do this,” she said. Tyson said the guide was modeled on one that DeKalb Board of Education members saw in the Miami-Dade School System. “We tapped them to help us,” she said. The Parent Resource Guide is designed to support the school system’s new Parental Involvement Framework that it is implementing with the start of the 2009-2010 school year on Aug. 10. The guide, which goes from pre-k to high school, will be available in English, Spanish and Somali. It covers everything from grading to standardized testing, promotion requirements, hospital and home-bound instructions, online education, social work service, immunizations, graduation requirements to the Hope Scholarship. Lewis said parents play a vital role in their children’s education. “Our goal is to increase opportunities for you to become involved in your child’s education through activities and awareness of the many services we provide for children,” he says in a letter to parents in the guide.

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July 18, 2009

The relocations are being made to consolidate facilities and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment.

District spends $12 million to relocate three schools into new homes By McKenzie Jackson

Three South DeKalb schools will be in different places when school opens this fall. DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts (DESA), DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA), and Elizabeth Andrews High School are being relocated to new quarters, but for different reasons. The moves will cost the school system $10 million. DESA, which was located at Hooper Alexander Elementary on Memorial Drive in Decatur, is now at Terry Mill Elementary in Atlanta. DSA, which shared the old Briarcliff High School Building on North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta with the Elizabeth Andrews High School, has returned to its original home at Avondale High School in Avondale Estates. Elizabeth Andrews High School is relocating to the Mountain Industrial Center in Stone Mountain, which will also house the school system’s new headquarters. Pat Pope, the school system’s

Workers have been busy renovating the theater, classrooms and offices and painting the building’s hallways and exterior at the DeKalb School of the Arts’ new location.

McKenzie Jackson / CrossRoadsNews

chief operations officer, said the relocations are being made to consolidate facilities and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment. DESA’s move to Terry Mill, at a cost of $1 million, relocates from a building that is more than 70 years old to one that is 50 years old. The money is buying them new bathrooms but none of the ameni-

ties – a stage for its arts productions, costume and music rooms – that the elementary performing arts magnet school needs to properly prepare its students. Thomas Powell, the school’s principal, said they have already moved into the building but haven’t been able to unpack classrooms because the renovations are still under way.

On Wednesday, workers from Suwannee-based Talbot Construction Co. were at work on the cafeteria ceiling and walls. They also have to gut and rebuild the bathrooms, and the building’s aging roof needs to be replaced. Powell said they are down to the wire but intend to have the building ready for the 550 students who have enrolled.

The DSA, which is the magnet high school for the arts, will be located in the Avondale campus’ two-story back building that houses the Kyle Theater. It began there in 1985 as the DeKalb Center for Performing Arts at Avondale, and became the DeKalb School of the Arts in 1999. Its relocation is being done at a cost of $3 million. Since May, work crews from Samples Construction SE LLC have been renovating the theater, classrooms and offices and painting the building’s hallways and working on the exterior. Elizabeth Andrews High School, which is the school system’s alternative school, will join four other programs at the Mountain Industrial Center. The Jim Cherry Learning Center, DeKalb Early College Academy, the school district’s administrative offices and school board offices are relocating there as well. The Elizabeth Andrews High School’s $6 million move and renovation is part of a larger $31 million renovation project for the 262,000-square-foot center.


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Enforcing dress code is a good idea

Uniforms put focus back on schoolwork

The DeKalb School System revised Dress Code which goes into effect on Aug. 10 bodes well for students’ ability to learn. The school system says it will now enforce its tuck and pull policy. I think that that’s a good idea. I agree that wearing pants below the waistline, dressing in Chantesa Boston bare midriffs, halter tops, blouses that reveal cleavages, short shorts, net/see through garments, and dresses, pants, or skirts with high splits, should be prohibited. But I don’t agree with the consequences for violating the dress code, which call for In-School Suspension or Out-of-School Suspension. How are students to learn if they are not in class? Students who violate the dress code should not have to sit out of the classroom. They should just be given warnings and conference with parents. The revised dress code looks a lot like the old code. If it doesn’t work out, I wonder what the Board of Education is going to do. Under former School Superintendent Johnny Brown, the School System tried to enforce uniforms for the entire system, and it didn’t work. It failed that time because it did not apply to everyone equally, and because students did not buy into it. They just preferred to wear what they liked. I also think that the revised dress code could help some students get on track more so that they can succeed in their school work. This time, I hope it will be enforced equally throughout the county. I t will be interesting to see how the parents react. Will some parents resist the dress code like they did the last time? Parents are going to be very important to the success of the program. If they don’t support what the school system is doing and help to police their own children, it will be difficult for teachers and principals to do it by themselves. Finally, I don’t think the Board of Education should focus so much of the dress code. Instead, it should put more emphasis on academic performance and on increasing test scores, especially in the schools that aren’t doing as well. In conclusion, I feel that students should be in a happy environment so that they can learn. Chantesa Boston is a rising 11th-grader at MLK Jr. High School in Lithonia.

When school starts on Aug. 10, the revised dress code will be just fine with me. I will be attending the new Arabia Mountain High and we have to wear uniforms. I will be dressed in navy, green or khaki skirts or pants and white tops with blue vests.On my feet, will Diamond Shaheed be brown or black penny loafers. I and the more than 1,000 other students will be looking smart in our uniforms. I think uniforms are wonderful, even though everybody is dressed identical. It will be easier for everyone to focus on his or her schoolwork – instead of on someone’s new designer outfit or expensive new shoes. Wearing uniforms will also help the environment. At my new school, our uniforms will be shipped to us so that 1,000 parents and students don’t have to make regular trips to the stores to buy clothes. If you are not wearing uniforms, you will want to go shopping every two weeks (well, that’s how I shop). You can shop once or twice a year, and the stuff gets shipped to the school. There will be less pollution and everyone will save money on gas. How great is that! For people who are economically less fortunate, they don’t have to buy new clothes every year, and nobody will ever know if they are wearing the same thing. With the money saved, you could possibly put extra money on your mortgage, or on a car note and or set up a trust fund for your children, if they don’t already have one. I like that the school system is going to enforce the dress code for everyone. It will provide young men with some structure, and the young ladies will get to present themselves in a more lady-like manner . There will be no need for anyone to want to show their hineys or their cleavages to get some attention. Strictier enforcement of the dress code will also help young adults to focus on their education rather than on fellow students’ anatomy. And the teachers won’t be distracted either. They won’t have to stop class to check if everyone’s pants are pulled up and or if someone’s breasts or posterior is hanging out. I also think this will help DeKalb County Schools look better, as well as help improve our test scores. These are just some of the reasons why I like the new DeKalb County School System Dress Code. Diamond Shaheed is a rising ninth-grader at the new Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia.

July 18, 2009

Back To School



She launched the store after she grew tired of traveling outside the area to buy educational resources.

Supplies available at event Children can pick up school supplies at New Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church’s Back to School bash on July 25. The free event, sponsored by the church’s men’s ministry, takes place 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the church at 2580 Snapfinger Road

in Decatur. It will include breakout sessions, lunch, haircuts for kids, and entertainment including jumping gym, face painting, prizes, games and interactive booths. For more information, email or call James Brown at 404-288-5675.

Family Fun Day in Conyers R&B/pop trio Dear Jayne (left) and rap group F.L.Y. (right) are among performers who will take the stage during the Mall at Stonecrest’s annual “Meet the BEAT” Back-to-School concert.

Mall concert offers rap, hip hop, r&b A host of young hiphop stars will take the stage at the third annual “Meet the BEAT” Back-to-School concert on July 25 at the Mall at Stonecrest. R & B singers Pleasure P and J. Holiday, along with rap group F.L.Y. and R&B/ pop trio Dear Jayne will be performing at the free noon to 3 p.m. concert on J. Holiday Pleasure P the Lithonia mall’s plaza. The event, which is cohosted by Washington, D.C., singer NaAtlanta hip-hop station 95.5 The hum Grymes rose to prominence BEAT, celebrates the upcoming in 2007 as J. Holiday. His breakschool year. through hit “Bed” peaked at NumPleasure P, whose real name is ber 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Marcus Ramone Cooper, known His recent single “It’s Yours” was for his songs “Boyfriend #2” and released earlier this year. “Under.” The 24-year-old contemF.L.Y., or Fast Life Yungstaz, is porary R&B artist was a member known for the popular song “Swag of the Miami group Pretty Ricky Surfin.” The group is made up of before embarking on a solo career rappers Mook, Myko and Vee, who in 2007. are all Stone Mountain natives.

Atlanta group Dear Jayne’s hit songs include “Fall Back” and “Rain.” 95.5 The BEAT radio personalities Murph Dawg, CJ, K-Dub, Maverick, Mami Chula, Johnny D, Kenny Hamilton, Traci Steele, and Mo Reilley will make appearances at the event, which includes a Kids Zone featuring moon walk stations and vendor tents. Lee Cagle, 95.5 The BEAT’s program director, said they are excited to give listeners an amazing free event and the opportunity to meet their favorite BEAT DJs. Admission is free. The Mall at Stonecrest is at I-20 at Turner Hill Road in Lithonia. For more information, visit www. or call 678526-9880.

School supplies and public safety and healthy living information will be available at the July 25 Back-to-School Community Family and Fun Day at the A.R Gus Boys and Girls Club in Con­ yers. The free 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. event, hosted by the New Life Christian Center in Conyers, will feature a school supply giveaway, barbecue, dialysis education, blood pressure

checks and diabetes and heart disease information. Firefighters from the Rockdale Fire Department, the Rockdale Sheriff ’s Office and the American Cancer Society will distribute information. The A.R. Gus Boys and Girls Club is at 1015 O’Kelly Street in Conyers. For more information, visit or call 678-342-9117.

School Store offers resources The School Store is now open at 8075 Mall Parkway, overlooking the Mall at Stonecrest. The store for teachers serves Lithonia, Decatur, Stone Mountain, Snellville, Ellenwood, Clayton County, Fulton County and surrounding areas. It carries a variety of educational and curriculum-based material and school supplies to facilitate the learning and teaching process for students, parents and teachers. Lydia Daniel Hypolite, the store’s owner, says she launched

the store after she grew tired of traveling outside the area to buy educational resources. It is the only store of its kind in east metro Atlanta. She said her goal is to work with schools and parents to make learning and teaching materials more available and affordable. This fall, the School Store plans to launch free test prep tutoring, story hour for students, and other community-based programs. For more information visit or call 404-474-2442.



July 18, 2009

CrossRoadsNews, July 18, 2009 - Section B  

CrossRoadsNews, July 18, 2009 - Back to School Section