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Decatur School Board to discuss enrollment, district improvement plan

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Decatur School Board to discuss enrollment, district improvement plan

The Decatur School Board on July 13 held the board's first in-person meeting since March 2020. Photo by Sara Amis

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board will meet on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at 5:30 p.m. for an executive session and at 6:30 p.m. for a regular meeting. The meeting will be held in person at the Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Ave. in Decatur.

The meeting will also be available virtually through Zoom. To attend the meeting via Zoom, click here.

To view the meeting agenda, click here.

On the agenda for the regular meeting is the preliminary enrollment report that gives a summary of the district’s August enrollment captured on Aug. 4. The current K-12 enrollment of City Schools of Decatur is 5,520 students, a decrease of 123 students from August 2020 to August 2021, according to the agenda packet.

Some of the preliminary observations indicate that enrollment is up in grades five, eight and 10 through 12. Enrollment is down in kindergarten through fourth grade, as well as grades six, seven and nine.

The district expects the enrollment numbers to change throughout the school year as there are students who have begun the enrollment process but have not yet completed the process, so they have not been counted. Also, students who haven’t shown up by the 10th day of school will be withdrawn due to lack of attendance. Additionally, enrollment is ongoing throughout the school year.

Official enrollment is captured during the October and March student counts. The numbers at that time are considered to be more stable and are used as the basis of the district’s projection work.

— The School Board will also discuss the district improvement plan, which is designed to work toward the district’s end policies and initiate them. The three priorities listed in the district improvement plan are advancing racial equity, accelerating student learning and positive culture and climate.

Under the priority of advancing racial equity, CSD is committed to addressing and eliminating unequal, negative academic and discipline outcomes for the district’s Black-identified students, according to the agenda packet.

In terms of accelerating student learning, the district is committed to accelerating student learning by focusing on effective teaching and learning practices that align with the CSD instructional framework. Also, to implement a positive culture and climate, CSD is committed to building and sustaining a positive culture and climate where students and staff feel safe, seen and successful.

— The School Board plans to discuss the 2021-2022 review of the code of conduct and restorative practices handbook. The handbook was updated as part of the district’s annual review process, which included two stakeholder engagement meetings. The key changes, that were based on the input of the review committee and CSD administrators, focused on making the code easier to understand, reducing the number of rules and increasing transparency related to processes and procedures.

Some changes include reducing the use of the term “other” as a referral option as selecting an infraction from the published code helps to maintain clear expectations and promote equitable outcomes, including a rule matrix in the code and combining some rules.

A section on student searches was added to the code of conduct and restorative practices handbook.

The section says, “Students have the right to be safe and secure at school and pursue their education in a structured environment conducive to learning. Therefore, students and all their property will be subject to random administrative searches. Refusal to cooperate with a reasonable request may result in disciplinary actions.”

The section goes on to state that any principal or designee who has reasonable suspicion may search any student, place or thing on school property or in students’ possession during any organized school activity off campus. This would include buses, vehicles of students or visitors, and containers or packages.

According to the handbook, the principal can search if they receive information that would cause a reasonable belief that the search will lead to the discovery of:

– Evidence of any violation of the law;

– Evidence of any violation of school rules or regulations or proper standards of student or faculty conduct;

– Any object or substance which, because of its presence, presents an immediate danger of harm or illness to any person.

Additionally, on the agenda, the School Board will discuss future governance training, board priorities, legislative priorities and the board policy monitoring calendar. Superintendent Maggie Fehrman will also provide an overview of the first week of school.

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