Superintendent discusses progress

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Superintendent Devon Horton updated his 90-day plan – detailing the accomplishments and objectives set by Horton and his staff during his first three months leading the district.

The update gives a demographic and geographic breakdown of DCSD and its population, lists staff accolades, accomplishments, and objectives that district officials are still working on.

“During my intro into DCSD, I was able to familiarize myself with the district’s culture, strengths and challenges,” stated Horton. “This involved assessing the current state of the district, identifying areas of strength and areas that needed improvement, and developing strategies to celebrate or address them.”

The report states that during Horton’s first 90 days, he visited 40 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, 22 high schools, 13 athletic events, three advisory council meetings, 20 meetings with government leaders, 40 meetings with community members, more than 40 meetings with educational stakeholders, 16 meetings with faith leaders, nearly 50 meetings with principals, held three speaking engagement sessions, a principal communication committee meeting, published three surveys, and hosted three MIRACLES Framework workshops, among other meetings.

Horton’s 90-day update focuses on the MIRACLES Framework and how it relates to DCSD. MIRACLES is “evidence-based approach to education quality improvement that enables districts to improve their educational and operational performance and ultimately transform their student outcomes,” according to Horton’s plan.

His plan update states that the MIRACLES Framework focuses on education equity, improved instructional core, relevant course of study, retaining and attracting high-quality staff, high levels of accountability, creating positive learning environments, establishing expected targets, and securing sound fiscal stewardship.

All plans and objectives listed in Horton’s 90-day plan relate to MIRACLES Framework.

Most of the programs started by Horton—such as DCSD’s Curriculum Management Process—are still in progress. The curriculum management process is expected by district officials to improve relevant course information by sending teachers to training classes that teach structured literacy strategies and show teachers how to implement different resources.

Horton’s plan states that the district’s long-term goal is to train all teachers from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Completed plans include DCSD developing, documenting, and implementing a treasury management strategy that “ensures sufficient cash flow while maximizing interest earnings.”

District officials have also completed plans by publishing surveys throughout the year that gauge stakeholders’ views on current issues, creating a MIRACLES Framework website, and applying for a grant to improve the schools’ SAFE Centers.

The plan lists other objectives as “in progress,” such as a “Hack-A-Thon” contest where middle and high school students will be encouraged to create a new version of the DCSD student portal, a symposium scheduled for Aug. 17, 2024, to attract high quality staff, and replacing “end-of-life” physical security infrastructure for every active school and district building.

The updated plan even alludes to the possibility of electric school buses in DeKalb – stating that district officials will “research, evaluate, and identify … implementing the use of Electric School Buses to the fleet.”

The full plan, as well as Horton’s 60-day and 30-day updates, may be found at dekalbschoolsga.org/superintendents-corner/.

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