DeKalb School Board considers contracts for teacher residency programDeKalb County School District Bus. Photo by Dean Hesse.
This story has been updated.
DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb School Board will hold its regular meeting on Oct. 16 and is considering several contracts to support a teacher residency program.
One of the contracts being considered would be awarded to an Illinois firm that Superintendent Devon Horton hired in his previous jobs. Another contractor being hired for this program also worked for Horton at his previous job.
The school board meets at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 at the central office, located at 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard in Stone Mountain. Meetings are open to the public, save for executive sessions, which usually occur at the beginning of the school board’s meetings. The meeting will be streamed on DeKalb Schools TV, which you can see by clicking here.
The school board is considering awarding a $120,000 contract to Frontier Educational Consulting for a teacher residency program “designed to provide a pipeline of certified teachers for the DeKalb County School District.”
FOIA Gras, a watchdog publication that covered Horton in his previous job as superintendent of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 in Evanston, Ill., near Chicago, reported that Horton hired the company to establish a teacher residency program there.
According to FOIA Gras, Frontier “is run by an individual [Kendrick Johnson] who worked with Dr. Horton both during his time in in East St. Louis but also worked under Dr. Horton when he was a principal at Wendell Phillips Academy in 2011-12 in the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) program.”
FOIA Gras confirmed that the services were provided and said “the quality of [Johnson’s] work was good,” but the publication questioned the high costs of the program.
The author of FOIA Gras goes on to explain the idea behind the teacher residency program.
“The idea is in theory simple: identify mid-career folks looking to get into teaching, pay a stipend of $30,000 and put them in a classroom for a year while they get a masters degree,” FOIA Gras reported. “It’s like student teaching but designed to be a much more extensive experience.”
The board is considering other contracts related to the teacher residency program. DeKalb Schools would make Middle Georgia State University its university partner in the program at a cost of $414,900 for two years. There’s another $788,050 contract award to BloomBoard, Inc., being considered for the “DeKalb Paraprofessional to Teacher Residency Education Program.”
According to the RFP for that project, “DCSD is seeking professional services from highly qualified and capable offerors to provide a comprehensive package of services and content to enable the DCSD to offer an apprenticeship-based educator advancement program with job-embedded and portfolio-based coursework delivered via a secure online platform. The program shall enable participants to earn degrees to advance their careers as paraprofessionals and teachers while remaining employed with the DCSD throughout the program term.”
The agenda says BloomBoard was the most responsive bidder.
BloomBoard worked with Horton in Illinois on a teacher apprenticeship program.
In addition, the board will consider awarding a $367,555 two-year contract to Cushion Employer Services Corp to serve as a DeKalb Teacher Residency Recruitment Firm.
“Services include sourcing to include a web based platform, prescreening behavioral analysis assessment; virtual interviews; marketing and attending hiring events,” the agenda says. The agenda says Cushion Employer Services was the most responsive bidder.
In other school board business:
— The school board will consider signing a memorandum of agreement with View Point Health to provide educational services to students with disabilities in the VPH Crisis Stabilization Program.
“DCSD and VPH have had a collaborative relationship since 2010,” the agenda says. “VPH is currently within the physical boundaries of DeKalb County. Under the law, the local unit of administration of the school district, in which such child is present, shall be responsible for the provision of all educational programs, including special education and related services, at no charge, as long as the child is physically present in the school district.”
— The school board will consider spending $3.2 million to purchase K-12 music instructional resources.
— The school board is considering the purchase of EveryDay Labs in an amount not to exceed $121,733 for all Horizon Schools.
“EveryDay Intervention, is the only PreK–12 attendance intervention to receive the Strong Evidence rating from Evidence for ESSA out of Johns Hopkins University,” the agenda says. “The program delivers a 11–15% reduction in chronic absence rates by proactively engaging families with information and resources that help them overcome barriers to student attendance.”
— The school board will consider renewing a contract with DTSpade to provide real estate advisory services for another year at a cost of $300,000.
“The renewal of RFP 22-533 to Dudley Thomas Spade SPE, LLC dba DTSpade will provide real estate services that include but are not limited to real property appraisal, assessments, valuations, acquisitions, brokerage and disposals,” the agenda says. “The requested one-year renewal will be effective from November 18, 2023, through November 17, 2024.”
— The school board will consider renewing a contract with Mitel Digital IP Phone System with Layer3 Communications at a cost not to exceed $273,889.75.
— The school board will consider approving the purchase of cellular services from AT&T Mobility, Inc, and T-Mobile for an amount not to exceed $670,000.
— The school board will consider approving an annual subscription for Microsoft A5 License from Microsoft at a cost not to exceed $1,547,903.72.
— The school board will consider approving utilizing Indefinite Quantity Construction (EZIQC) Services Georgia Statewide Contract in an amount not to exceed $3 million.
“The use of this contact will provide access to fourteen (14) general contractors to assist the Facilities Department in addressing maintenance and repair issues in various facilities throughout the district,” the agenda says. “This contract will not be used for construction projects that exceed $100,000. However, it may be used for non-construction projects that exceed $100,000. The Board will be notified of all projects that exceed $100,000.”
— The school board will consider awarding a contract for architectural and engineering services for cooler and freezer replacements to Sy Richards, Architect Inc. The cost is not to exceed $240,000.
— The school board will consider awarding a contract for professional architectural and engineering services for the renovation of the student support services offices at the East Dekalb Campus to CDH Partners. The cost is $313,500.
— The school board will consider leasing two eight-classroom portable buildings for $605,151.68. These classrooms are needed due to a construction project at Fairington Elementary.
— The school board will consider leasing two 10-classroom modular buildings for $677,177. These classrooms are needed due to a construction project at Salem Middle School.
— The school board will consider leasing two 10-classroom modular buildings for $677,177, needed for a construction project at Redan Middle School.
— The school board will consider awarding an $11.6 million contract to Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. for for general contractor services for Briar Vista Elementary School and Henderson Mill Elementary School.
“The award of this contract will provide for a safe and healthy learning environment through the construction of the major building system replacements at Briar Vista Elementary School and Henderson Mill Elementary School,” the agenda says.
— The school board will consider awarding a $250,000 contract for internal audit staff support to Plante Moran, LLCP.
“Internal Audits & Compliance onboarded three new Internal Auditors during the month of August and two Senior Auditors during May and June,” the agenda says. “Contractors are expected to provide experienced staff support while full-time staff gets trained and acclimated to new structures and processes.”
— The school board will consider approving a corrective action plan for issues found in the Fiscal Year 2022 audit.
“The FY 2022 audit contained seven significant deficiency findings,” the agenda says. “These seven items result in the School District’s designated risk level as being moderate. With this designation, the School District is required to submit to the State Board of Education, within 120 days of the date of the Audit Committee Letter, a detailed corrective action plan. The corrective action plan should be presented at a regular board meeting and signed by each board member.”
For more information about that audit, click here.
— The school district will consider renewing its agreement with the Hall Booth Smith, P.C. law firm for legal services at the hourly rate of $250 for partners, $225 for associates, and $150 for paralegals
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