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Decatur School Board directs superintendent to apply for permits for duplex project

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Decatur School Board directs superintendent to apply for permits for duplex project

The Decatur School Board discussed grading at length during its work session, regular meeting and community meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board, at its Sept. 12 work session, directed the superintendent to apply for the necessary permits to move forward with a duplex project.

The school board owns four homes in Decatur and has discussed converting two of them into duplexes that would be used as affordable rental options for school district employees.

“Now that Dr. Whitaker is our superintendent, we just wanted to renew our commitment to this action and look forward to her working with the city of Decatur to bring that vision into a reality,” School Board Chair James Herndon said.

The school board has not said publicly how it will go about subdividing the homes.

“I will work with the city of Decatur to do so,” Superintendent Dr. Gyimah Whitaker said. 

On Feb. 6, the Decatur City Commission unanimously adopted zoning amendments to re-allow duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes in single-family zoning districts. The ordinance went into effect on June 30.

Former superintendent Maggie Fehrman said at the Feb. 21 school board meeting that to make sure the homes could become multifamily homes, CSD would need to apply for permits with the city.

“That doesn’t mean this is going to happen overnight. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to figure out timing, how this is going to work,” Fehrman said. “CSD is not going to get into the business of being property managers or overseeing rental properties, but we do want to have and contribute to the opportunity to create middle housing for the city of Decatur with these two properties.”

In other business:

– During the work session, the school board also discussed grading and assessment. In 2021, the district formed a grading task force that was charged with studying equitable grading practices and offering recommendations. Last year, CSD implemented some of the recommendations from the task force, according to the presentation attached to the agenda.

Some of the recommendations from the task force included having a consistent grading system and platform, no longer using ManageBac for general grade recording and reporting, relating all grading to the mastery of content standards, and implementing clear policies, parameters, and boundaries around make-ups and retakes, according to the presentation.

Following the school board meeting, the board, Whitaker, and other administrators held a community meeting at Decatur High School to discuss grading with parents and staff. Decaturish will be providing more information about grading in a future story.

– Students were recognized during the regular meeting and received certificates from the school district for recent awards they received. Five Decatur High School students were selected for the Georgia Governor’s Honors program.

“The Georgia Governor’s Honors program is a state-funded month-long residential program for gifted and talented students who are rising eleventh and twelfth graders,” Whitaker said. “Students are nominated on the school level in an area in which they excel.”

About 700 students are selected across the state each year to participate in the summer program.

In August, 23 students earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. These programs celebrate the hard work of high school students, showcasing their strong academic performance.

Students were awarded the National African American Recognition Award (NAARA) and National Hispanic Recognition Award (NHRA).

The criteria for eligible students include a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10% of assessment takers in each state for each award program or earned a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP Exams in 9th and 10th grade. They must also attend school in a rural area or small town, or identify as African American/Black, Hispanic American/Latino, or Indigenous/Native.

“There is so much that makes our students unique, and receiving this honor reinforces this as an asset to their future,” Whitaker said. “We are so thrilled to celebrate and to recognize them for their great work and their strong academic performance in the classroom and also on their College Board assessments.”

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