Crowd shows for first ‘On the Scene with Dr. Green’ of the year

DeKalb County School District held its first “On the Scene with Dr. Green” of the year Sept. 13.

Students, parents, staff and stakeholders gathered at Marbut Elementary Traditional Theme School to hear R. Stephen Green, DCSD superintendent, speak about the school district and to answer residents’ questions.

“This is a chance to make myself available to you,” Green said to the audience. “I promised when I came here that I’d be available, visible and accessible to you. This is a part of that.”

In his opening remarks Green addressed the district’s “continuing efforts” to improve on “numerous areas.”

College and Career Ready Performance Index scores and the graduation rate are among the areas Green said have improved.

“We still are not satisfied,” Green said. “We know that we’ve got things to do and improve on.”

Members of Laurel Ridge Elementary School PTA questioned Green about the school’s infrastructure and air conditioning system.

The school has been having difficulties with its air conditioning system since the beginning of the summer and has no air conditioning in the cafeteria, according to PTA members. The members asked if they would get a new air conditioning system or a new building.

Green acknowledged that repair personnel have been to the school “several times.”

“We thought we fixed it,” Green said. “It went down again.”

Audience members listen as other residents ask questions concerning the district. Photos by Taylor Robins
Audience members listen as other residents ask questions concerning the district. Photos by Taylor Robins

After Green revealed that other schools in the district are having similar problems, another school district official said they had “no plans at the time” about the PTA members’ concerns. However, the school district official said the problem would be accessed and the school would hear of a solution within the week.

A grandparent of a Cedar Grove Elementary School student expressed concern that the school has not had hot lunches since school began.

The grandparent also said that a meal served at a Grandparent’s Day event cost six dollars up front, but the school ran out of meals.

“When we are not doing the right thing we admit that,” Green said about the food charge. “That should not have happened.”

A school district official who works with food services talked about renovations made to the elementary school over the summer. Renovations to the kitchen were not completed in time for the beginning of the new school year. However, hot food not being served in the school was news to the school official.

“We’re going to investigate this matter,” Green said.

Another grandparent from the same elementary school brought up the “disorganization” of the registration process.

The grandparent was not allowed to register a grandchild to attend school because of a missing report card; however, the family had all other necessary documents.

The student came from another district that did not start until September; DCSD started in August.

The student missed three weeks of school because of a report card being unavailable until the student’s old school opened.

“I think part of the problem is that we switched to online registration,” Green said to the grandparent. “We ran into a lot of hiccups there and we admit that.”

Green apologized and said that students who have partial information will be admitted into school, with a follow up made by the district to obtain other needed documents for the student to remain in school.

Other community members raised concerns of safety and violence around schools within the district.

“We’re going to continue to devote more resources to our security,” Green said. “As a community, the school system cannot do everything by itself, but we’re going to make sure we do everything that we can.”

The superintendent said more school resource officers have been added and video surveillance has increased.

The school district will hold six more community talks with Green during the 2018-2019 school year.

The next community talk will be Oct. 11 at Tucker Middle School.

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