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Sally English's Blog

By Sally English | Agent in 30345
  • School Board Member Nancy Jester Tells It Like It IS - Must Read for DeKalb County Parents

    Posted Under: Schools in Dekalb County, Home Buying in Dekalb County, Home Selling in Dekalb County  |  January 30, 2013 2:46 PM  |  1,879 views  |  No comments

    I’ve received many questions about the January 17, 2013 proceeding with the State Board of Education (SBOE).  As you know, the outcome was to postpone and then reconvene the hearing on February 21, 2013.  Most of the questions I’ve received assumed the proceeding on the 17th was a hearing.  I am of the opinion the proceeding did not meet the definition of a hearing in both construction and adherence to procedural requirements.  Why do I hold this opinion?

    1. The SBOE must conduct a hearing pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-73.
    2. The hearing must be conducted subject to SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.36.
    3. The “Notice and Order” sent by the SBOE required both parties (SBOE and DBOE) to file witness and document lists by 1/11/13.  It is my understanding that it was acknowledged that neither party had adequate time to prepare complete lists as necessary to conduct a formal hearing.  Furthermore, former board members who had received the Notice were instructed that their presence would not be required on the 17th.
    4. If a formal hearing was anticipated, given that the 3 former board members would have pertinent testimony, they would not have been released from attending the proceeding.
    5. Furthermore, there are many documents to admit into evidence and witnesses to testify to various matters discussed in the AdvancED/SACS Special Review Report on behalf of both parties.  Neither party had produced a comprehensive list of witnesses or documents.  Certainly, staff members from DCSD and AdvancED would need to be present, along with documents, to discuss the issues in the report.  Staff members and documents were conspicuously absent.
    6. The statute provides that the hearing must be held no later than 30 days after receipt of the report from AdvancED.  Given the prerequisites for a hearing were not met, why wasn’t the proceeding officially begun and immediately set to reconvene at the next available date?  Knowing in advance that the requirements to hold the hearing were not met, why was the public not informed that the hearing would be adjourned to reconvene in February?

    I know many of you took time away from family responsibilities and work to attend the proceeding.  Many of you obtained childcare so you could be present.  As no action could be taken on the 17th given the procedural constraints, I wish the SBOE had notified you in advance that the proceeding could only culminate in a hearing at a later date.

    It was interesting to note several SBOE members testified that the DeKalb BOE should be more “aggressive” in getting information from the DCSD administration about various issues, including financial data.  This seems at odds with statements in the AdvancED/SACS report.  I’m in agreement with the SBOE.  Board members must have a full and unobstructed view of the facts.  Well paid administrators shouldn’t be prickly or sensitive about questions from the board.  If board members had been more aggressive over the past decade, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in this mess.  Sometimes the “governance team” paradigm that is held up as a model of unity makes me wonder what “team” everyone is playing for.  What if the “governance team” sells mediocrity as success and avoidable financial disasters as simple errors?  Today’s citizens are savvy enough to see through that type of spin and rightly demand much more.  Food for thought.

    School Choice Week – Empowering Parents in DeKalb

    This week is National School Choice Week.  School Choice is about parent empowerment.  If we return the power to parents to govern schools alongside principals and teachers, the cause of education will be well-served.  It also turns schools into innovation laboratories.  It dislodges the bureaucratic hold on budgets and policy.  It allows teachers to teach unencumbered by one-size-fits-all programs, paperwork and creativity-killing dictates.  It allows principals to develop policies that are right for their school.  It minimizes the footprint and potential entanglements of district-wide financial problems.  I’m an advocate for implementing this type of real local control in DeKalb.  It would be a reforming and sustainable model for successful outcomes for kids.   This model is called the Portfolio Strategy.  It empowers parents and gives them choices.

    If you support empowering parents, communities and teachers, please join me at the School Choice Rally at the Capitol on Thursday at 10am.  For more details, go to this website: http://www.schoolchoicerally.com/ .  You can also show your support for reforming our district by reading my Declaration of Parent Empowerment and sharing it with other parents and leaders.

  • DeKalb County Schools on Probation - Could Lose Accreditation - Poor Governance

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Dekalb County, Home Selling in Dekalb County, In My Neighborhood in Dekalb County  |  January 3, 2013 8:50 AM  |  985 views  |  No comments

    DeKalb County parents and home owners received news of the action of AdvanceEd to place the DeKalb County School system on probation with a nod of acknowledgement and despair. The general mood among parents was that we have just been waiting for the other shoe to fall on a system full of “conflict and crisis”.  Parents at Northlake and Tucker school clusters were still reeling from news last week that Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson was looking at a dramatic re-districting plan that would have been voted on within 30 days of initial proposal to the public.  ”Learning DeKalb County Schools have been placed on “probation” by the accrediting agency is no surprise to many of us.”

    Dr Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvanceED met with members of the DeKalb County Board of Education, Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson and the DeKalb County “Senior team”.  A tweet by the DeKalb County School System says “During this meeting, Dr. Elgart reviewed the Special Review Team Report from the October 17-19, 2012 visit. As a result, the District is now being placed on Accredited-Probation until December 31, 2013. The District has received this information and will work collaboratively to review the findings and begin to address the required actions. The District still remains fully accredited and students’ academic status remains unchanged.

    The Atlanta Journal and Constitution is reporting “An accrediting agency is accusing the DeKalb County School District of a decade of “poor, ineffective governance,” announcing Monday that it’s placing the district on probation, leading to possible removal of the school board.After a six-month investigation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools found evidence of missing money, school board nepotism and board member influence on which schools students, particularly athletes, attend. 

    Despite exerting influence in areas where they had no formal role, members of the school board failed to oversee their primary responsibility: the money. DeKalb is “perilously close” to running out of cash, said Mark Elgart, the president and chief executive officer of SACS parent company AdvancED. Despite annual revenues approaching $1 billion, some students don’t have textbooks and most have no access to computers or the Internet. 

    This is because the school board, administrators and others in decision-making positions put the interests of adults EvansdaleESbefore those of children, he said. Meanwhile, academic performance has been sliding.”










    Dr.Elgart is saying that teams will be sent to monitor the response of the Board and School management and that accreditation is on probation during that period. He further stated that loss of accreditation is possible anytime within the one year period.

    DeKalb County school board chairman Eugene Walker made a statement that sounds to me as if he is not taking the charges seriously: “I’m disappointed that they’re going to put us on probation. Nobody wants to be on probation, we’ve not done anything egregious.

    SACs Required Actions – Dec. 31, 2013 deadline:

    • Devise and implement a written, comprehensive plan for unifying the DeKalb County Board of Education so that the focus can become serving the needs of the children of the DeKalb County School District.
    • Ensure that all actions and decisions of the DeKalb County Board of Education are reflective of the collective Board and consistent with approved policies and procedures and all applicable laws, regulations and standards, rather than individual board members acting independently and undermining the authority of the Superintendent to lead and manage day-to-day operations.
    • Establish and implement policies and procedures that ensure segregation of duties of the governing board and that of the administration including the elimination of Board working committees that result in board members assuming administrative functions that should be the responsibility of appropriate staff.
    • Implement and adhere to fiscally responsible policies and practices that ensure the DeKalb County Board of Education will adopt and ensure proper implementation of budgets within the financial means of the school system and that support the delivery of an educational program that meets the needs of the students.

    Dr. Elgart’s indicting statement:  ”This failure to govern effectively has resulted in a decline in student performance, financial mismanagement, and lack of integrity and ethics in recruiting, appointing and evaluating personnel at all levels of the school system.”

    It is time for the DeKalb County School Board to set aside differences and act in the best interests of DeKalb County Students.  Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson and the highly bureaucratic management at DeKalb County Public Schoolswill have to act decisively and in a dramatically different manner than their past actions or they will find themselves looking for a new employer.

  • Northlake Community Shred Day

    Posted Under: General Area in Northlake, Quality of Life in Northlake, In My Neighborhood in Northlake  |  April 25, 2012 10:58 AM  |  1,470 views  |  No comments

    Northlake Community Shred Day 

    Northlake Community Shred Day

    April 28, 2012 (9:00 am - 12:00 pm)

    Time and Location 9:00 am till noon,April 28, 2012

    Resurgens Bank (2300 Henderson Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30345).

    The Northlake Community Alliance, Inc. (NCA), Resurgens Bank, and Eagle Secure Shredding will host their 4th Community Shred Day. Bring those old tax records, canceled checks, and any kind of sensitive paper document for completely secure shredding.

    The cost for shredding is free but we will be requesting tax-exempt donations to support the work of the Northlake Community Alliance, Inc. There will be a limit of 5 copier paper sized boxes or equivalent bags. Arrangements can be made for large shred jobs by contacting Ian Taylor at Eagle Secure Shredding (770-619-5300).

    For more information go to www.nlake.org or www.resurgensbank.com.

     Sally English and The English Team                 

    Sally English and The English Team. Atlanta real estate agents.

    Realty Associates of Atlanta LLC; 3350 Northlake Parkway Atlanta, Georgia 30345 |770-939-3174

    FREE Atlanta MLS Search

    LIKE Sally on facebook   

    View more of SALLY'S BLOG: Sallys Atlanta Real Estate Updates 

    EMAIL SALLY

    Visit our WEBSITE: http://englishteam.com/ | http://sallyenglishblog.com/

    Sally English and The English Team on facebookSally English and The English Team on twitterSally English on LinkedInSally English and The English Team on YelpSally English and The English Team on Kudzu                       

    Sally English on Active Rain

    All content copyright © 2009-2012 by Sarah Bryant English DBA Sally English and The English Team, Atlanta Georgia. This sale offering is made subject to errors, ommissions, change of price, prior sale and withdrawal without notice.  Potential purchasers should make a physical inspection to verify all features independently.  EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY.  Sally English is not an attorney or CPA and ALL legal or tax advice should be rendered by a professional. Sally English is an Atlanta real estate agent specializing in homes and neighborhoods convenient to Emory University and The CDC. Thanks for visiting my BLOG! 

     
  • DIning Out In Decatur

    Posted Under: General Area in Decatur, Home Buying in Decatur, In My Neighborhood in Decatur  |  March 15, 2012 6:58 PM  |  735 views  |  No comments

    Decatur Night Out 

    It occurred to me yesterday that Decatur has reached a new zenith in it's status as the dining destination .in Atlanta Georgia,  I have long touted Decatur's many dining options and have been a frequent diner at many of the lovely restaurants that line the streets around the Courthouse.  But it was a personal milestone that awakened me to exactly how I feel about Decatur as "The" Atlanta" dining destination.

     

    Tim and SallyMy husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary yesterday (March 14, 2012) and as is our custom, decided to celebrate by dining at a "special" restaurant.  In the past we would have headed to Buckhead in search of fine dining that met our requirement of "something special" for a special occasion. And these old standards are still worthy of a visit.  La Grotta, Ninos, Pricci, Kyma or Anis.  We might also have chosen Canoe (sits beside the Chattahoochee River near Vinings).  Yesterday there was no real debate about our destination.  We just had to narrow our selection down to one or two restaurants in Decatur.  Because Decatur is where it is happening in the Atlanta restaurant scene.

     

    We started our evening out at The Marley.  It was gorgeous outside and we headed to The Marley so we could sit at the outside tables and soak up some sun.  The patio at The Marley was a happening place as I ran in to friends from Church, real estate colleagues and some past clients.


    Tim and I sat next to a cute couple who were out with their nine month old daughter and we had fun making faces at the little cutie.  She had a lovely smile and it was fun coaxing her to give us a big grin.  We selected a couple of draft micro brews from the extensive selection at The Marley and proceeded to people watch: joggers, children on the playground at a nearby church, folks out for a stroll with baby carriages, dogs, children and friends. When we got hungry we ordered some "sliders" and then were delighted by fried cod and tartar sauce on a slider bun roll.  We had planned to move up the street to a French restaurant for dinner but got sucked in by the plates passing by our table.  I ordered a cod-pickled beets-goat cheese and pear salad while Tim enjoyed a gourmet bangers and mash dish.  When the sun finally dropped we headed up the street in search of dessert.

     

    Iberian PigThere are many options for dessert in Decatur but we decided going to the Iberian Pig would be perfect for us as it would perhaps remind us of a lovely visit our family made to Spain.  We walked in the door and found the place was hopping.  We took a seat at the bar and proceeded to look over the wine list.  Before we could settle in Sean, the bartender and host extraordinaire, took us in hand and directed us to one of the house tempranillo selections. We had also been looking over the cheese list and asked for Sean's help.  Sean suggested we consider ordering the three cheese plate and we asked if he would make the selection of cheeses for us.  When delivered to us the platter had a cow cheese (Mahon) matched with a honey sauce, a sheeps milk cheese (manchego) on a quince jam and a goat's cheese (monte enebro) on what might have been a pomegranate paste.  These delightful cheeses were a perfect dessert and made for a tasting and flavor explosion as we sipped the red wine and dabbed bites of cheese in each sauce.

    We thought our evening was over but Ashton, who was preparing tapas for the waiters to carry out to tables, had other ideas.  He soon introduced us the some special hams (jamon) from pigs fed an acron diet.  The hams were also deeply flavored with herbs and salt during a long cure. These bites that can only be described as exquisite. (Iberico Tasting - Jamon Iberico, Paleta Iberico de Bellota, & Lomo Iberico de Bellota).

    We moved on to a glass of Rose and finally finished with a glass of sparkling wine.  As Ashton was preparing tapas he would mention the which ingredients he was working with and the flavors that could be anticipated from each bite.  Ashton is probably a lowly assistant to the Chef but in a tribute to the quality at Iberian Pig, he is an incredible communicator and has a deep understanding of how flavors develop and intensify through pairings.

    It was a night to remember and a special occassion well celebrated.

     

     

     Sally English and The English Team                 

    Sally English and The English Team. Atlanta real estate agents.

    Realty Associates of Atlanta LLC; 3350 Northlake Parkway Atlanta, Georgia 30345 |770-939-3174

    FREE Atlanta MLS Search

    LIKE Sally on facebook   

    View more of SALLY'S BLOG: Sallys Atlanta Real Estate Updates 

    EMAIL SALLY

    Visit our WEBSITE: http://englishteam.com/ | http://sallyenglishblog.com/

    Sally English and The English Team on facebookSally English and The English Team on twitterSally English on LinkedInSally English and The English Team on YelpSally English and The English Team on Kudzu                       

    Sally English on Active Rain

    All content copyright © 2009-2012 by Sarah Bryant English DBA Sally English and The English Team, Atlanta Georgia. This sale offering is made subject to errors, ommissions, change of price, prior sale and withdrawal without notice.  Potential purchasers should make a physical inspection to verify all features independently.  EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY.  Sally English is not an attorney or CPA and ALL legal or tax advice should be rendered by a professional. Sally English is an Atlanta real estate agent specializing in homes and neighborhoods convenient to Emory University and The CDC. Thanks for visiting my BLOG! 

     
  • Tucker Main Street Closed Feb 13th through 16th for Repairs

    Posted Under: General Area in Tucker, Quality of Life in Tucker, In My Neighborhood in Tucker  |  February 14, 2012 8:40 AM  |  874 views  |  No comments

    Plan an alternate route for Tucker Main Street as it will be closed from Feb 13th thru Feb 16th for Repairs and finalization of the Tucker Main Street Improvement Plan.  The CSX Train tracks crossing is the target of this work!

    Businesses will be open so park along the side streets and walk on over!  There are some great restaurants to check out along Main Street!

    Call Sally English at 770-939-3174 if you need Tucker Real Estate information or assistance.  We are real estate agents and specialize in Tucker homes and condos.


  • DeKalb County Pet Adoption: Valentine's Day Special

    Posted Under: General Area in Dekalb County, Quality of Life in Dekalb County, In My Neighborhood in Dekalb County  |  February 12, 2012 11:38 AM  |  701 views  |  No comments

    CEO Burrell Ellis Announces
    DeKalb County Animal Services
    Valentine's Day Adoption Special

    Tuesday, February 14 - Saturday, February 18
    Open your heart to a new best friend!
    $60 adoption fee
    valentine's dog
    Adoption fee includes spay/neuter, vaccines, de-wormer, HW or FIV/FeLV test.

    Tuesday - Friday
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Saturday
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    845 Camp Road
    Decatur, GA 30032
    404-294-3088
     
    A link to the Petfinder page with the animals available for adoption is located at the following website: www.dekalbcountyanimalservices.com


    ONE DeKalb
  • DeKalb Police Department Neighborhood Watch

    Posted Under: General Area in Dekalb County, Crime & Safety in Dekalb County, In My Neighborhood in Dekalb County  |  January 4, 2012 5:41 AM  |  1,311 views  |  No comments

    Neighborhood crime is best solved with the cooperation of the neighborhood!

    In the Know
































































    10 Steps to Home Security

    by Target Hardening

    1. Illuminate areas outside the home that could be used as a hiding place (high shrubs, extended eaves, etc). Lighting around the perimeter of the home can be a better deterrent when connected to a motion sensor.
    2. Shrubbery should be trimmed away from windows and doors to allow a clear line of vision. Overgrown shrubs can provide criminals a hiding place.
    3. Exterior doors of solid construction, secure frames and good locks should be used. Install deadbolt locks with a 1 to 1-½” throw; check the strike plates and use screws 2 to 3” long to reach into the framework to strengthen the deadbolt lock. Sliding glass doors can be secured with a “Charlie Bar” and manufacturer’s locks should be upgraded.
    4. High ticket items (i.e. flat screen tv’s, electronics, etc.) should not be visible from outside of the home; use window treatments such as curtains or blinds.
    5. Use large, 2 ½ to 3”, reflective numbers on both sides of the mailbox; this expedites the arrival of emergency personnel to the residence.
    6. Windows that are close to the ground should be secured with updated locking mechanisms (turn locks, guild locks, dowels, pins, security film); do not leave fans and unsecured air conditioning units in windows when away from home.
    7. Remove any items that could assist criminals in entering the home (i.e. ladders, loose bricks/rocks, chairs and umbrellas).
    8. Keep a constant appearance of occupancy; utilize timers on interior lights televisions and radios.
    9. Keep inventory of valued items in the home; record serial and model numbers of electronics, computers and game systems. Items without serial numbers should be photographed and stored in a unassuming safe place (jewelry, paintings, coins, etc.).
    10. Work with or start a Neighborhood Watch to further secure your community.

    NOTE: All items mentioned should be researched and demonstrated at your local hardware store. 

    Provided by: DeKalb County Police Department to Promote Crime Prevention.

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