DeKalb Superintendent, Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson has hit the ground running with a comprehensive plan designed to immerse her in the workings of her new school system, and help her understand the DeKalb communities making up the system. Listen, Learn and Lead are the designated goals of Atkinson’s 90 Day Entry Plan.
Putting into action what she promised parents back in August, Dr. Atkinson says her key decisions will center on improving student achievement, and extending the lines of district communication. Underway now is a series of Parent Roundtable Meetings targeting concerns and explaining the system’s plan for success. The first Parent Roundtable was held last week at Ronald McNair High School. Here is the schedule for the remaining four Parent Roundtables:
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 Columbia High School at 7:00 PM
Thursday, October 27, 2011 Dunwoody High School at 7:00 PM
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Miller Grove High School at 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 3, 2011 Stephenson High School at 7:00 PM
Atkinson’s 90 Day Entry Plan, detailed on the DeKalb County School System website, takes a three phases approach in addressing critical issues in the school system. With a specific time table to follow, Dr. Atkinson looks to establish a strong community presence and a clear communication line. When the process is complete, the system expects several results including: access of organization’s strengths and weaknesses, identify critical issues facing the district, correct weaknesses and build on strengths, create a network of contacts and resources, and engage stakeholders in mutual transformation and accountability.
Leaving no stone unturned, Atkinson’s three phase plan for achieving system transparency began September first, and included personnel audits. Phase II is underway now, and it includes continued personnel audits plus program audits by division and departments. This phase is set to be complete by November 23rd. Phase III is to develop the “Excellence for Education Plan“, a thirty-one day goal to take place between November 28th and January 24th.
Addressing the critical issues of system transparency and financial accountability, Dr. Atkinson has also established a 12-member community based organization called Citizen SPLOST Oversight Committee, and has established an EthicsLine. The Citizen SPLOST Oversight Committee reviews Special Local Option Sale Tax (SPLOST) construction projects, and report to the community on how their 1 cent sale tax money is being spent. This is particularly important with the upcoming November 8th vote on extension of the district’s SPLOST IV. According to the CrossRoad News, the citizen committee and the district has also implemented internal checks and balances for financial operations. This includes hiring outside auditor, Gary Babst. He will work with the Office of Internal Affairs to review systems finances, and make monthly, public reports to the Board.
The EthicsLine is opened to employees, parents, and all citizens. It is a direct line, by phone or internet, for alerting the auditor and district officials of any irregularities in finances or operations. The phone number is 1-888-475-0482. Visit the system’s website for online instructions.
Superintendent Atkinson’s 90-Day Entry Plan also includes District Site Tours, Fireside Chats with staff and teachers, and even a ride of the system’s school bus routes. To read more details on the progress of DeKalb County’s 90 day Entry plan visit http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/ninety-day-plan.