Local News Articles

School Board Adopts 2008-2009 Calendar

November 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education formally adopted the school calendar for the 2008-2009 year Thursday night, upon the recommendation of Director of Schools and the School Calendar Committee.

Registration for all students will be Tuesday, August 5th from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. That will be an abbreviated school day.

Thursday, August 7 will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Students will not attend.

The first full day of school for all students will be Wednesday, August 6

A system wide professional development day will be Thursday, July 31st at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to their individual schools Friday and Monday, August 1st & 4th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 1st.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 10-17

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 26th, 27th, & 28th and for the winter break December 22nd through January 2nd , 2009. Friday, December 19th will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Monday, January 5th to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19th and for President's Day, Monday, February 16th.

The spring break will be March 19th, 20th, & 23rd

Students will not attend on Good Friday and Monday, April 10th & 13th . Students will also be off on Thursday, May 21st. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.

The last day of school will be Friday, May 22nd. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be given to the students.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 7th and Thursday, March 12th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 9th and Thursday, January 29th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 6th, Thursday, January 8th, and Tuesday, March 10th.

Competency testing at DCHS will be October 7th-9th and February 10th-12th.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be December 2nd-4th and May 5th-7th. Gateway test makeup will be December 5th and May 8th.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 3rd. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 4th.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 20th-24th.

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4th and Friday, May 1st.

Meanwhile, in other business Thursday night, the school board set the date for graduation at DeKalb County High School for Friday, May 23rd at 7:00 p.m.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also presented his monthly personnel report to the board.

Those employed since last month include substitute teachers Rebeckah Beck, Linda Brown, Dwayne Cornelius, Mary Edmonds, Joyce Martin, Dina Moon, Angela Osment, Gayle Pack, Debbie Parchman, Tina Paschal, Stacey Rise. Cori Sexton, Susan Shaw, Rawlin Vanatta, Shirley Ingram, Tracy Ludwig, Krystal Patterson, Tammy Rhea, and Ivadell Randolph.

Dwayne Cornelius, Wallace Cantrell, and Gregory Muskopf were hired as substitute bus drivers.

Meanwhile Lillian Lori Purnell, a teacher at Smithville Elementary School and Jennifer Agee, educational assistant, were granted a leave of absence as requested.

In her report to the board, DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix, appealing to the radio audience, asked parents to "make sure that your children are passing all of their classes. If they are having trouble in any class, we have lots of before and after school programs available for them. We have credit recovery, grade recovery, Tiger Academy to make up time if they have missed too many days. We also have access to on-line classes. We are going to have some more classes available on-line probably around the first of the year. We may be able to incorporate them right away, Algebra I, English 12, Geometry, Econ and Government, and Gateway Math."

"I would also like to encourage parents to please keep in touch with your child's teachers to make sure they are being successful in their classes. If you have Internet access, every teacher has an email address. This is a very quick and easy way to keep in touch with your children's teachers. Also, if your child has an English, Math, or Science class, we do have Homework Hotline, where if they are working on something at home, they can call that number and get help if they need it. We want every child at DeKalb County High School to be successful and we're trying to provide every opportunity available that we can come up with to help them succeed. I also want to encourage the students to take advantage of these opportunities that we have available for them."

"We also are providing some transportation after school now. The bus is going to leave at 4:45 p.m. over in front of the Middle School. If there are high school students, there will be drop off points. We'll get some paper work out on that. We're going to do everything we can to try and get your children access to these after school programs. If you need that after school ride, we need your name and address, prior to the date that you need a ride home. So please take advantage of all these things we have to offer at the high school."

Director Willoughby added that regarding the after school transportation, "parents will need to sign a permission slip and parents of high school students will have to be at the designated drop off points when the bus arrives there."

Woman Believed to be Illegal Immigrant Charged with Criminal Impersonation

November 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 35 year old Warren County woman, believed to be an illegal immigrant, has been charged with criminal impersonation after using a Wilson County woman's name and social security number to get a job in Smithville.

Beatris Martinez Perez of King Street, McMinnville was arrested Wednesday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "In January of 2006, Perez obtained a Wilson County woman's identification and social security number and used that information to help her get a job at a factory in Smithville. Perez worked there for several months and was paid over $8,500 in wages. After the victim was notified of a problem with her tax return, she contacted the Warren County Sheriff's Department because that is where Perez lives. Warren County Investigators in return notified DeKalb County authorities of the case when they learned that the factory where Perez was employed is in Smithville. Detectives arrested Perez Wednesday at another local factory where she had given her real name. Since she is apparently an illegal immigrant, the Federal Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) will be notified to investigate Perez' immigration status. More arrests are pending."

Meanwhile, 29 year old Ricky Allen Ashford II of East Main Street Liberty was charged on Tuesday, November 6th with one count of theft of property under $500, one count of theft of property over $500, and five counts of forgery.

Sheriff Ray says "Detectives discovered that on October 26th, Ashford allegedly stole several checks from a relative on Wilder Hollow Road in Dowelltown. On the same day, he forged and passed a check for $80.00 at a local bank and another check for $120.00 at a store in Smithville. On October 29th Ashford passed a check for $50.00 at a local bank and on October 31st he passed two more checks, including one for $11.08 and the other for $65.00. The checks were passed at a store in Smithville and a local bank. Then on November 2nd, Ashford returned to the victim's home on Wilder Hollow Road and stole the victim's 1986 Oldsmobile car. The vehicle has been recovered. Bond for Ashford was set at $57,500 and his court date is November 29th."

Also on Tuesday, deputies arrested 37 year old Jefery Overall of Oriole Drive, McMinnville for 3rd offense DUI, driving on a revoked driver's license, possession of a schedule II drug (dilaudid), possession of a schedule IV (Xanax) for resale, and violation of the implied consent law.

According to Sheriff Ray, "Overall was involved in an accident on Banks Pisgah Road. After administering field sobriety tasks on Overall, officers discovered he was intoxicated. Overall had a revoked driver's license for DUI and driving on a revoked license. A plastic container found in Overall's pants pocket contained three K-4 Dilaudid and seven Xanax pills. Overall refused to submit to a blood/alcohol test. Bond was set at $22,000 and his court date is November 29th."

On Wednesday, 40 year old Bonnie Lou Stembridge of Adams Street, Smithville and 38 year old Sonny Gene Smith of South Mountain Street, Smithville were both charged with burglary and theft of property.

Sheriff Ray says "The two went into a residence that had recently burned on Holmes Creek Road without the owner's permission and took copper wiring. Bond for both Stembridge and Smith was set at $75,000 and their court date is November 15th. "

Sheriff Ray told WJLE "This is not an unusual case at all. My department has investigated other cases where thieves would go to a recently burned house or building and steal the central air units, copper pipes, and wiring. By obtaining the copper this way, the protective coating on the wire is melted away and the copper is sold for a higher price." Sheriff Ray says "if you see anyone prowling in a recently burned building, call and report it. We will check the people out just to make sure they belong there."

DeKalb County Foster Children's Fund Seeks Support

November 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Department of Children's Services is planning a visit from Santa for DeKalb County children in foster care.

Friends of DeKalb County Foster Children urge you to remember that not all children this Christmas will take part in a celebration with their own families. Children who have lived in an abusive or neglectful home will be sharing Christmas with their foster family, and for many, this means with strangers. Often these children wonder if Santa Clause has their new address, or whether or not he will bring them any gifts this year.

While the department is able to provide for everyday needs of children in state custody, there are not enough funds available to purchase Christmas gifts and for other special occasions such as birthdays and graduations. For this reason, foster care Christmas depends on the generosity of the general public.

Annette Greek, Treasurer for the DeKalb County Foster Children's Fund, says your support is needed for the 40 children from DeKalb County now in foster care. If you or your organization would be willing to help these children by providing a monetary donation, please make checks payable to "DeKalb County Foster Children Fund" and mail to: DeKalb County Foster Children Fund, Attention: Annette Greek, 400 West Public Square, Smithville, Tennessee 37166.

Greek says she will be glad to accept your cash donation at Webb's Drug Store.

Greek says since the ages of these foster children vary, a cash donation is preferable to gifts.

City to Consider Possibility of Purchasing Magnolia House Building for Community Functions

November 7, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Magnolia House is for sale and at least one Smithville Alderman believes the city should consider purchasing it as a community center for youth, senior citizens, and the public at large.

Alderman Tonya Sullivan, during Monday night's city council meeting, made a motion for a feasibility study to be conducted by the mayor and a committee and to consult with the county mayor on possibly making it a joint venture. The motion was approved 5-0.

Sullivan says the asking price for this 10,000 square foot building, the former location of Walker Funeral Home, is currently $750,000 and believes it would be ideal for community functions. " It is an Historical building. It was built in 1913. I would like for this board to take a look at some options at possibly purchasing that building or making some type of lease-purchase agreement set up for the next budget year."

"Mr (Cecil) Burger and Steve (White) both brought up, when the golf course sprinkler system was being discussed, that we need to do something for everyone, as many people as we can. I do agree with that. The senior citizens are meeting in this area (city hall community room) and they host a lot of things, they are very active. I feel like the possibility of purchasing that property, with it being in the downtown area, could serve in many capacities, for senior citizens, for civic organizations. I know reunions are held in this room (city hall). I know there are many things going on which that building could be used for."

"The building has 10,000 square feet and the upstairs has three large rooms and three bathrooms. Those areas upstairs could be rented out as office space to recoup some of the costs or help the seniors citizens out with the heating and cooling. That space (building) would be large enough for senior citizens, boy scouts, girl scouts and would serve this community for banquets and things like that. I know we have to depend upon some of the churches to help us host the golf banquet. That (building) could become city property so that it could be rented out for those type things. It could be a great asset to this community. Maybe the city could work with the county to see if they would assist as well."

"We could also reclaim this area (community room) of city hall, and as we're growing, we could use this space, maybe efficiently for your (mayor's) offices and different expansions that are going to be taking place here. I know a lot of offices are crowded here in city hall but we have a large nice building that we could be using. The current price (of the Magnolia House) is $750,000 at 10,000 square feet, that's $75.00 per square foot. I don't think we could build that building for $75.00 per square foot right now. However, I would hope that is the asking price and that it would be negotiable and I would hope that the county mayor would be interested in a joint effort to provide for this community."

Mayor Hendrixson appointed Aldermen Sullivan, Steve White, and Jerry Hutchins' Sr. to conduct the feasibility study and report back to the city council with their findings at the November 19th meeting.

Fire Damages Tennessee Credit

November 6, 2007
Dwayne Page

An early morning fire today (Tuesday) damaged Tennessee Credit on West Broad Street.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says firefighters received the call at 3:18 a.m. "We had a fire in a back office at Tennessee Credit. It did damage to the back three rooms of the building. There was already a pretty good fire going when we got here. The alarm company notified the owners and they arrived on the scene and found smoke and fire coming from the building. We got on the scene and knocked it (fire) down. There was some smoke and heat to the rest of the building but the fire damage was primarily contained to the back. Structurally the building is still intact.

Chief Parker says the State Fire Marshal's Office has been contacted to help determine the cause of the blaze. "It's still under investigation at this time. The Fire Marshal's Office is going to come down and take a look at it. We've called them to investigate to make sure, just to be on the safe side, that there's no foul play involved in it. We're unable to determine exactly what started the fire at this point so we've called them in to help us on that."

Smithville Police and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene. No one was injured.

City Board Votes to Re-Bid Sprinkler Project at Golf Course

November 6, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night, after a failed attempt to override a mayoral veto, voted 3 to 2 to appropriate over $213,000 to fund an irrigation system for the fairways at the Smithville Golf Course and to re-bid the project.

The city budget will have to be amended to fund this project with $86,000 to come from the general fund under the golf course account, and $127,000 from the general fund surplus.

Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins Sr. voted to spend the money, while Aldermen Cecil Burger and Steve White voted against it.

On October 15th, the board voted 3 to 2 to award the bid on the golf course sprinkler system to Oasis Irrigation for $213,716, the lowest of the four bids submitted.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson later cast a veto of the board's decision based on an opinion of City Attorney John Pryor.

In the letter to Mayor Hendrixson dated October 25th, Pryor wrote that "The Municipal Purchasing Law of 1983 as codified in (state law) requires that all purchases made shall be within the limits of the approved budget for the department which the purchase is made. My review of the budget does not reveal such funds being appropriated for such a purchase. This could be fixed by amending the budget, which should occur before the approval of the purchase."

"Second, as pointed out by Brian Burns with Rainbird, the bid package required specific parts and or equipment and did not include language that would allow equivalent equipment or parts. Again, the Municipal Purchasing Law of 1983 as codified in (state law) requires purchases to be made only after competitive bids. My concern is our bid may have been too exclusive."

"I consulted with Don Darden of MTAS and he agreed with me as to these potential problems."

Monday night, the aldermen attempted to override the mayor's veto. Aldermen Sullivan, Thomas, and Hutchins voted for the override, but Aldermen Burger and White voted against it. Since four votes are needed to override, the mayor's veto was upheld.

The city board will formally act on making the appropriation by ordinance on first reading at the next meeting on Monday, November 19th at 7:00 p.m. Second and final reading action will come following a public hearing at the December 3rd meeting at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

On September 17th, the board voted 4 to 1 to accept bids on the golf course sprinkler system and take half of Jimmy Lewis' rent to pay for it over time. Lewis is the tenant at the golf course. Lewis would continue to pay his monthly rent of $2,500 per month with half going to the general fund and half going to the city to pay the debt of the irrigation system. Aldermen White voted against it.

On October 15th, the board voted 3 to 2 to award the bid. This time, Alderman Burger joined Alderman White in voting no.

Concerned citizen Warren Johns, who addressed the city board Monday night, said since the mayor chose to veto the October 15th vote by the board, the September 17th action, which was the basis for authorizing the funding of the sprinkler system, is still valid. Johns added that the aldermen, by voting to re-bid the project, may be risking a lawsuit by the Oasis company for breach of contract, and possible personal liability. He also seemed to question whether the mayor's veto of the October 15th action was valid since he apparently did not sign it before sending it to the aldermen.

City attorney Pryor responded that the advertisements on the bids stated that the city reserved the right to reject any or all bids.

A representative of the Oasis company addressed the board asking for fairness and possible negotiation. " We were the low bidder. We went by the specs we were given. We are happy to entertain a Rainbird price and see if they meet the specs. If they've got the products to meet the specs and can save the city some money, we're happy to take their prices. I just don't think it's fair now that everybody knows what our prices are. We're obviously the low, qualified bidder that bid on the specifications."

Alderman Sullivan, who wanted to confirm the bid to Oasis, said "I do think that the equipment and bid price was fair and of good quality by your company and I regret that this was handled improperly. I regret that the bid packet was put out wrong and I regret that it was vetoed and that I did not have the leadership to guide this board at that time."

Earlier, Alderman White said he felt that Lewis had breached his lease agreement with the city by taking on partners, which the city has not approved, and by not submitting minutes of advisory board meetings to the mayor, as is apparently required under the lease.

The lease states that an alderman, appointed by the mayor, shall be a member of a six member advisory board. White was apparently appointed to serve by former Mayor Burger, but Mayor Hendrixson, since he has been in office, has apparently made no alderman appointment to the advisory board.

Lewis and others claim they have held meetings and that White never shows up, but White claims he is not made aware of any meetings, and when he has tried to meet with the board at appointed times, he could find no one there.

White made a motion on Monday night to send Lewis a notice of the "breaches" of the contract and to give him thirty days to correct them, as is required under the lease. White's motion died for the lack of a second.

Woman Wounded in Accidental Shooting

November 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

A Smithville woman was wounded in an accidental shooting Saturday night at her residence.

In his report, Smithville Police Officer Tyler Wix wrote that "I responded to 848 Foster Road, apartment 210-B at 6:41 p.m. for what was dispatched as a domestic that had occurred. One subject had already left the scene but no vehicle description was given.

When I arrived on the scene, I spoke to Tammy Stanley, who advised she had been fighting and arguing with the woman she lives with, Paula Neal.

Stanley told me that during the course of the fight, the 22 mag pistol she had in her pocket fell out and as she was picking it up, it went off, shooting Neal in what she believed was the leg.

At this time, I recovered the gun and placed it into evidence. Ms. Stanley, stated she did not mean to shoot Neal and that it was an accident.

Neal also stated at the emergency room to Officer Joey Jones, that the shooting was an accident and that she did not want to press charges."

Neal was apparently not seriously wounded in the shooting.

In another case, Smithville Police were called to Wal-Mart early Saturday morning where two people were detained for shoplifting.

According to Officer Joey Jones report, " On Saturday at 5:07 a.m., I was dispatched to Walmart where the manager had two young men detained for shoplifting. I made contact with 22 year old Tommy R. Bowen of Murfreesboro, who admitted that he had been smoking marijuana with a 16 year old, Nathan Ray King, in the car of King's father. Bowen had very slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet."

Bowen was charged with public intoxication and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He will appear in General Sessions Court on November 15th.

King was charged as a juvenile with public intoxication and simple possession.

According to the police report, King was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Walmart employees reported that King had fallen two or three times in the store, and upon his arrest, a small clear sandwich bag fell out of his coat, which contained a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. The report states that King admitted that the marijuana belonged to him.

Police also filed a report on three cases of vandalism at residences on Lincoln Street and Earl Avenue Friday.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew reports that "On Friday, November 2nd at 2:50 p.m. I responded to 501 Lincoln Avenue in reference to a vandalism. Upon arrival, Debra Tramel showed me where 501 and 503 Lincoln Avenue had been seriously vandalized. The windows and doors had been busted out. She showed me that someone had also seriously vandalized a house at 1121 Earl Avenue where windows and doors were busted out, holes were punched in several walls, wiring had been cut, food was slung on several walls, and the ceiling fan was broken."

No arrests have been made.

Smithville Police arrested a Watertown woman Friday with driving under the influence and a second offense of driving on a revoked license while the man with her was charged with simple possession.

Officer Travis Bryant reports that "On November 2nd, on Highway 70, Shelley Lynn Burton was operating a motor vehicle and was stopped for a registration violation. A computer check revealed her license was revoked for failure to satisfy a citation in Sumner County and other offenses in Smith County. She had an odor of alcohol on her person and she was unsteady on her feet. Burton performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks and she refused to take a breathlyzer test."

Officer Bryant further reported that "A deputy and I asked for permission to search Burton's vehicle and 24 year old Robert Hicks of Milton exited the car. As he got out, the deputy and I observed something fall off his person. The deputy picked it up and handed it to me. I observed it to be a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana."

Burton and Hicks will be in court November 15th.

Smithville Police also charged 49 year old Ricky L. Dowell with driving on a suspended license (7th offense).

Officer Joey Jones stopped Dowell on Friday, November 2nd on Miller Road for a light violation. A computer check revealed he had failed to satisfy his child support and had other offenses in Putnam, Cumberland, and DeKalb County.

Dowell will be in court November 14th.

County Firefighters Help Sheriff's Department Solve Theft Case

November 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

A fire call last week resulted in the arrest of a local woman on theft charges.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the DeKalb County Fire Department, on Sunday, October 28th, was dispatched to Kenny and Amanda Bain’s residence, located at 597 King Ridge Road Dowelltown, in response to a call of a vehicle fire.

Upon arrival, Firefighters opened the trunk of the vehicle which was on fire and found several long guns. Firefighters turned the guns over to deputies from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

Through an investigation, detectives discovered that at least two of the guns were stolen from a victim in DeKalb County.

23 year old Amanda G. Bain, who is the owner of the burned vehicle, was arrested for theft of property. Bond was set at $10,000 and her court date is November 15th.

In another case last week, Sheriff Ray says 26 year old John Brent Williams of Four Seasons Road Smithville was arrested on Monday, October 29th for driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law.

Deputies received a call from someone stating there was a vehicle parked in the middle of the road on Vaughn Lane. Upon arrival, deputies found Williams passed out underneath the steering wheel of the vehicle. Bond for Williams was set at $1,000 and his court date is November 8th.

Meanwhile, 46 year old Larry (Crack) Lattimore of Short Mountain Highway Smithville was arrested on Tuesday, October 30th for 10th offense driving on a revoked license.

Lattimore was seen by a detective of the Sheriff’s Department driving on Short Mountain Highway. The officer had knowledge of Lattimore’s license being revoked.

Bond for Lattimore was set at $10,000 and his court date is November 15th.

Two days later, on Thursday, November 1st, deputies responded to Toad Road, Dowelltown to a domestic violence call involving a gun. Upon arrival officers found a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a handgun.

Lattimore was charged with simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for Lattimore was set at $3,500 and his court date is January 3rd.

On Saturday, November 3rd, 44 year old James Edward Stewart of Holmes Creek Road Smithville was charged with driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law.

Stewart was stopped on Holmes Creek Road and found to be intoxicated. Stewart admitted to drinking 6 beers and when the deputy asked him to perform sobriety tasks, Stewart admitted he could not pass them. Bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is November 15th.

DCHS Band Concludes Marching Season in Division II Hall of Fame

November 5, 2007

The DeKalb County High School band wrapped up its marching season at the Tennessee State Division II Championships on Saturday. After a very solid performance in preliminary competition, the band fell short for a finals performance. Director Kristin Reagh and Assistant Director Rebecca Purdue gathered the students after the announcements of the finalist bands and told them how proud they were of this year’s accomplishments. “This band has come a long way this season” Mrs. Reagh told the students, “We’re extremely proud of you”.

During the announcements of the finalist bands, the band learned that it had been inducted into the Division II Hall of Fame for it’s accomplishments throughout the years of Competition. This is an award that acknowledges the rich history of the DCHS Band.

The preliminary contest had its own awards ceremony and DeKalb County had some positive results. Field Commander Dustin Estes had a “superior rating” with a score of 85.5. The Percussion section also had a “superior rating” placing 10th among 25 other bands in the prelim contest with a score of 83.

During the meeting after the announcements of the finalists, Mrs. Reagh left it up to the students as to whether they wanted to get on the bus and go home or stay and watch the finals competition. The band wanted to leave it up to the seniors of the band. One Student said “This is their contest; we’ll do whatever they want to do”. They voted to stay and watch the contest.

The marching season is now over. The band will focus on the music for their upcoming Christmas Concert, Christmas Parades and the Indoor Percussion show. For More info about the band, log onto DeKalbBand.com.

State Issues Report Card on DeKalb County Schools

November 4, 2007
Dwayne Page

The 2007 report card on the DeKalb County School System shows overall progress, but it also reveals areas where improvement is needed.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Supervisor of Instruction Dr. Carol Hendrix met with the local media last week to explain the report.

Dr. Hendrix says the DeKalb County School System overall is in "Good Standing" regarding "No Child Left Behind" Adequate Yearly Progress. "All this is our school's ability to meet the federal benchmarks with specific performance standards. We divide it up into elementary and middle schools. We met the AYP in Math in the demographic categories of "All", "Hispanic", "White", "Economically Disadvantaged", and "Limited English Proficient", (Students that don't speak English). We were not proficient in the demographic of "Students with Disabilities"."

"When we look at Reading/Language Arts/Writing in elementary and middle schools, we were proficient in "All", "Hispanic", "White", "Economically Disadvantaged, and "Students with Disabilities" and yet not proficient in "Limited English Proficient". We have areas there we need to work on."

Dr. Hendrix says the high school met all the academic AYP benchmarks in Math and Reading Language in all demographic areas. "The only place that we did not meet academic standards was in the graduation rate."

The 2007 graduation rate was 74.5%, up from 67.6% in 2006, however Dr. Hendrix says the rate should have been higher because some students were incorrectly coded as "dropouts" and not included in the report, so the local system has filed an appeal to the state. "We have appealed and hope to know something fairly soon. I think we're sending the state 21 different student records to appeal the graduation rate. These are students who finished at the adult high school and actually graduated with the graduating class. We think if we get the appeal through, the graduation rate will be at least 80%, which is above the 75.6% rate we need. The state set the standard four years ago according to what our graduation rate was at that time and we must progressively move forward." By the year 2013-2014, DeKalb County's graduation rate must meet the state goal of 90%.

In addition to the high school, Dr. Hendrix explains that DeKalb West and Northside Elementary Schools were found in "Good Standing" with the state and that DeKalb Middle was named a "Target" School. "The high school is in good standing. It is categorized as "School Improvement 2" as a result of the graduation rate. If we meet our appeal, it will be "School Improvement 1" .

Dr. Hendrix explained that a "Target" school needs to improve in at least one specific area. "They have one year to improve before they go any higher as far as improvement standards. DeKalb Middle School is "Targeted" for two areas, "Students with Disabilities" and "Limited English Proficient".

Student Academic Achievement results for 2007 show that system-wide in grades 3 to 8, DeKalb County earned an "A" in both Math and Reading/Language and a "B" in Social Studies and Science.

In 2006, DeKalb County scored an "A" in Math and a "B" in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science.

Actual 2007 scores were as follows: 59 in math, same as 2006; 57 in Reading/Language, up from 55 in 2006; 56 in Social Studies, up from 55 in 2006; and 58 in Science, up from 57 in 2006.

2007 scores in all areas were better than the state by from one to three points.

DeKalb County earned an "A" in 5th and 8th grade writing and a "B" in 11th grade writing, the same grades as 2006.

5th and 8th grade writing scores were also slightly better than the state and below the state by three tenths of a point in 11th grade writing.

Dr. Hendrix says academic achievement grades are based on "what our students have done throughout their school career".

Achievement scores show how well students performed on their standardized achievement tests. The tests are graded according to predetermined standards, and students who answer more questions correctly get higher scores. The achievement section also includes results on the ACT, a widely accepted college entrance exam. The ACT tests students' skills in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The highest possible score is 36.

Value Added scores in the elementary grades are designed to show whether teachers were effective in helping students learn. Children are tracked from year to year to determine whether they have learned a full year's worth of material since the last test. An "A" or "B" shows that the students learned more than expected in one school year, while a "D" or "F" shows that students fell behind.

High School Valued Added scores show whether student performance on Gateway or year-end exams was above or below expectations, based on the student's previous test scores. "Above" means students improved their scores significantly more in this subject than students in an average school. "Below" means they made less progress than average. "Same" means their progress was about the same as that of students in an average school.

The 2007 DCHS Value Added results (3 year average) are as follows:
Math (Algebra 1)- Same
Science (Biology I)- Below
English (English II)- Below
Math Foundations- Below
English I- Below
Physical Science- Above
US History- Below
11th grade writing- Below

Academic ACT Achievement results (3 year average) for 2007 show that in grades 9-12, DeKalb County's scores were up in all areas except Math.

2007 scores are as follows: Composite-19.5, up from 19.2 in 2006; English- 19.3, up from 19.2; Math- 19.3, up from 17.9, Reading- 17.9, down from 20; and Science/Reasoning- 20.2, up from 19.5.

2007 scores were all below the state from eight tenths of a point to 1.9 points.

The ACT results in grades 9-12 for 2007 (individual year) show that the composite score was 19.9, up from 19.7 last year; 19.8 in English, down from 20 in 2006, 19.6 in Math, up from 18.3 last year, 18.1 in Reading, down from 20.5; and 20.9 in Science/Reasoning, up from 19.8 last year.

2007 scores were all below the state from two tenths of a point to 1.8 points.

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results for 2007 show that in grades K-8, DeKalb County scored a "C" in Math, down from a "B" in 2006 but earned an "A" in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science, the same as last year.

Dr. Hendrix says "Academic Growth is what happened in a one year window. If we look at our overall scores, we did find out that we had a problem in Math last year in the elementary grades, but we are working on that and hope to make improvement.

The following are the 2007 Academic Achievement Grades and Academic Growth (Value Added) results at each school:

DeKalb West School (2007 Academic Achievement Grades): DeKalb West scored an "A" in both Math and Reading/Language and a "B" in Social Studies and Science.

In 2006, DeKalb West scored an "A" in Math and a "B" in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science.

2007 actual scores at DeKalb West were as follows: Math- 63, up from 59 in 2006; Reading/Language-59, up from 55; Social Studies- 58, up from 55; and Science- 57, up from 54.

DeKalb West scores were better than the state in all areas from two to six points.

DeKalb West earned an "A" in 5th & 8th grade writing, the same grade as 2006, and the scores were also at or better than the state.

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results at DeKalb West School, show that the school gets all "A's" in Math, Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science. The school earned "A's" in every subject last year except for a "C" in Science.

DeKalb Middle School (2007 Academic Achievement Grades): DeKalb Middle scored an "A" in Math and Reading/Language, a "C" in Social Studies, and a "B" in Science.

In 2006, DeKalb Middle School scored a "B" in Math, Reading/Language, and Science, and a "C" in Social Studies.

2007 actual scores at DeKalb Middle School were as follows: Math- 56, up from 55 last year; Reading/Language- 57, up from 55; Social Studies- 51, the same as last year; and Science- 55, down from 56 last year.

Compared to the state, DeKalb Middle School scores were the same in Science, down by three points in Social Studies, up by one point in Reading/Language, and down by one point in Math.

DeKalb Middle School earned an "A" in 8th grade writing, one tenth of a point better than last year, and two tenths of a point better than the state

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results at DeKalb Middle School, show that the school gets a "B" in Math, the same as last year; an "A" in Reading/Language, the same as last year; an "F" in Social Studies, down from a "D" last year; and a "C" in Science, down from a "B" last year.

Northside Elementary School (2007 Academic Achievement Grades): Northside Elementary scored an "A" in Math, Social Studies, and Science, and a "B" in Reading/Language.

In 2006, Northside Elementary scored an "A" in Math, a "B" in Reading/Language and Social Studies, and an "A" in Science.

2007 actual scores at Northside Elementary were as follows: Math- 61, down from 62 last year. Reading/Language- 56, the same as last year. Social Studies- 60, up from 58 last year. Science- 62, up from 61 last year.

Compared to the state, Northside Elementary scores were up by four points in Math, the same in Reading/Language, up by six points in Social Studies, and up by seven points in Science.

Northside Elementary earned an "A" in 5th grade writing, the same as last year, two tenths of a point better than the state.

2007 Academic Growth (Value Added) results at Northside Elementary show that the school made an "F" in Math, down from a "C" last year; a "B" in Reading/Language, up from a "C" in 2006; and and "A" in both Social Studies and Science, the same as last year.


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