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Teacher support up in DeKalb schools
by LaTria Garnigan
August 05, 2014 11:12 AM | 1957 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Perhaps no one is looking forward to the new school year for DeKalb County students more than Superintendent Michael Thurmond. Projected student enrollment is at 100,563, an increase of 676 students since October 2013. And even though the school district had a nine percent turnover rate of teachers — a loss of 560 — Thurmond said the school district is welcoming more than 650 new teachers to fill vacancies.

Thurmond took over the school district as the replacement for former Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson and since then, has created a sense of relief for students, parents, educators and taxpayers during a time of turmoil with the former school board and central office.

Since last school year, Thurmond said he has gained a greater appreciation of the importance of professional learning.

“As we increase expectations for student academic growth and achievement, it is critical that we enhance and strengthen training at all levels,” he said. “The work requires an additional focus that has to be supported by very specific instructional actions, which result in improved student learning outcomes.”

Thurmond said the school district has to become a learning organization at every level. The school board approving the superintendent’s recommendation to eliminate the remaining four furlough days for teachers, as well as a 1 percent across the board cost of living increase for employees, served as an incentive for many new teachers, he said.

The district has also hired six new principals — three for elementary, one for middle and two for high school. And for the fiscal 2015 budget, Thurmond said the school district has added an additional 100 positions to reduce class sizes and support student growth and achievement.

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