“It’s a tough environment to work in, but he’s been the type to get down and dirty … and hold us accountable,” she said.
Forcing principals to apply for district jobs in May leaves them with few options outside what they’ve been guaranteed. The reassigned principals are guaranteed jobs in their last tenured role with the district. For many of them, that was a teaching position.
“Those people were not prepared,” said board member Joyce Morley, saying she felt the principals were blindsided by last week’s actions. “They did not have a performance development plan. It’s very disconcerting to see the things (district leaders) continue to do.”
Green said the decisions were not hastily done, and another board member supported him.
Conversations began as early as last summer with principals about their schools’ achievement, Green said. “We tried as much as we could to look at where progress was being made,” he said. “In one way or another, notice was given if you’re not making progress, it’s imminent that something’s going to happen. “There was a clear communication that there be growth or progress in some way or another.”
In the letter sent home with students, signed by Green, parents were told the current principal would serve through the end of the school year. Teachers and parents have said some principals were removed from their buildings last week.
At Dresden Elementary School, for example, a retired principal is filling in for Dominique Terrell, last seen by her staff on Wednesday.
The move comes near the end of Green's second year leading the district. In that time he's established himself as an advocate of local districts leading the way in school turnaround efforts, often voicing his discontent as Gov. Nathan Deal sought an independent school district for the state's failing schools.
But test scores across the district have largely been stagnant, with few success stories among the mix as schools work their way off lists of low-performing schools.
The measures are mostly data-driven, using as benchmarks scores on the College and Career Ready Performance Index, a type of report card that grades schools on several factors, including student performance on standardized state tests.
Green said the plan included principals who came to their school before the 2013-2014 school year. To avoid restructuring, a principal’s school had to:
• Average at least a 60 on the CCRPI over the three previous reporting years
• Be above the 2014 score, which reflected 2013 testing
• Outperform its “Beating the Odds” score, which takes school demographics, student ethnicity and other factors into account
• Be removed from the state's Focus Schools or Priority Schools lists, which consist of the bottom 5 or 10 percent of Title I schools when comparing achievement gap data.
The district already has advertised for new school administrators on its website, Green said. The district also will be looking at candidates coming from a leadership program it runs, with participants from across the district.
Board member Vickie Turner said while the decision has caused much discussion, the moves should have been expected when Green was hired to lead the district two years ago.
“You’re sitting across from a superintendent who says ‘That’s it,’ and … it’s the most difficult decision any of us would have to make,” she said. “But we all know we’re in business for children, and we’re held to a standard of accountability. We knew when Dr. Green came in that we had some broken components to our systems. I read somewhere that to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result is insanity. We must rise our children up to a level of success.
“If it’s broke, we must try to fix it.”
In other DeKalb education news:
Fourteen Southwest DeKalb High School seniors were surprised with the news that they would receive full-ride scholarships to attend two-year programs at Georgia State University??s Decatur campus.