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Fernbank Elementary School PTA: Message Regarding Redistricting

The PTA and School Council are in agreement that the current proposed redistricting options are very disruptive to Briar Vista and also do not do enough to address the extreme overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster. There is not a current proposed option which we support. Superintendent Green is open to considering alternate options. As the impact is greatest to Briar Vista, their PTO has taken the lead on crafting an alternate recommendation which would meet the current and future needs of each of our school communities. This plan would not disrupt the growing Montessori program at Briar Vista and also maintains the availability of IB choice seats at Fernbank. We will provide details as soon as we have them.
We would like to invite our parents for coffee on Tuesday, January 26th at 8:00 am in the cafeteria to further discuss and answer any questions.
Our parents and community need to be sensitive and empathetic toward the conditions the children in the Cross Keys cluster are facing and the detriment overcrowding has placed on their elementary school experience. We are thankful to be back in our neighborhood in our new, state of the art building. We have capacity in our building and we welcome sharing the Fernbank experience with more students in the future.
Additional information and the details of the current proposed options can be found on the county website:

Cross Keys Redistricting Meeting Summary


Cross Keys Redistricting Meeting Summary

The DeKalb County School District held a public meeting at Druid Hills High School on January 19, 2016, to discuss three redistricting options meant to alleviate over-crowding in the Cross Keys Cluster schools.[1]  Details for each of the three options and handouts provided at the presentation can be found at the following site:

Clairmont Heights Civic Association (CHCA) board members attended because Elementary Options 1 and 2 both impact our neighborhood’s elementary school, Fernbank ES, and Briar Vista ES (another member of our neighborhood’s high school feeder cluster). Option 3 proposes no changes that affect our area. Neither of the High School Options would impact our neighborhood directly. Planning Department staff will consider public input from this meeting as well as from the online comment form and present their proposed best solution on February 11, 2016, at Cross Keys High School. The Superintendent will present his best solution for school board approval on March 7, 2016.

Elementary Options 1 and 2 involve moving 364 students from Briar Vista ES (excluding students who are currently part of the Montessori Program or Regional Special Education Program) to Fernbank ES in order to make room at the Briar Vista ES building for Cross Keys Cluster elementary students.  These measures are said to be a temporary solution to reduce the number of portables currently being used in Cross Keys Cluster schools while a long-term solution is sought.

IMPORTANT: There is an online comment/question form on the DCSD Redistricting website at that any neighborhood resident can use  to submit comments or questions until January 26, 2016, at 11:59pm.  If you have an opinion about these proposed plans, the time to offer it is now.

Once the presentation of the redistricting options was complete, meeting attendees divided into small group breakout sessions to discuss the pros and cons of each option presented and to suggest additional options for Dekalb County School District consideration.  CHCA had representatives in four of the eight small group discussions. Most attendees were Briar Vista ES parents (especially from the Montessori Program), followed by Fernbank ES parents.  There were only a few Cross Keys Cluster teachers/parents in some groups, and none in others.  Participants spent most of the time discussing Elementary Options 1 and 2, and most attendees were not in favor of these options. The following are some of the opinions of the attendees:

  • Most of the discussions revolved around how disruptive the redistricting plans are without significantly addressing overcrowding in Cross Keys Cluster schools.
  • Disruption to Briar Vista Elementary School: The Briar Vista parents in attendance were concerned about the health/viability/funding of the Montessori program, in particular, and the continued quality of the school as a whole under Elementary Options 1 and 2. The quality of Briar Vista ES has been on an increasing trajectory in the past few years and there is perceived momentum toward improvement.  Separating the students who attend the Montessori Program from those in the traditional track may have the effect of disrupting this progress and dismantling the Montessori Program all together in their opinion.  The parents are worried that with the neighborhood kids vanishing the program will lose bodies, community integration, and possibly funding. DCSC staff present at the meeting confirmed that Montessori students residing within the current Briar Vista ES attendance zone would not continue to receive county-provided transportation to Briar Vista, since Options 1 and 2 would remove them from the attendance zone. Briar Vista parents in one group expressed that, while the new Fernbank facility is very nice, they feel that their children get better instruction at Briar Vista.
  • Disruption to Briar Vista Area Property Owners: Parents in one group thought that Elementary Options 1 and 2 would be destabilizing to Briar Vista area property owners due to the “temporariness” of the situation, which may affect their sense of community & property values.
  • Temporary vs. Permanent Measures: There were questions about the expected duration of these temporary measures, and there was concern that these redistricting measures would last longer than the short term. Most attendees in one group expressed a concern that short-term solutions should be avoided, especially if they had a large impact on middle and high school options later.
  • High Traffic Volume/Safety: Traffic through the Emory Clifton corridor is very difficult and will get worse as CDC adds additional parking (already planned). The difficulty of traversing this area could create a safety hazard for students, parents, and emergency personnel who need to move through the corridor.
  • Travel Time/Distance Cumbersome: The district should minimize the travel time for students in Cross Keys area elementary schools.
  • Impact on School Choice Students: Some Fernbank ES parents in attendance expressed their opinion that they welcomed Briar Vista kids into Fernbank ES, but not at the expense of School Choice kids.
  • Questions About School Capacity: Questions were raised in one group about whether the forecasted student attendance numbers were accurate for Fernbank ES. In particular, do the forecasted numbers take into account possible increased attendance at Fernbank ES as students within our attendance return to the school now that construction is complete? Do they take into account expected increases due to development in the area?


Option 3 (utilizing the former International Student Center facility only for alleviating over-crowding) was preferred among the options given in the four groups that were attended by CH residents.


Other Options suggested by members of the public:

  • Open the former Briarcliff High School (located on N. Druid Hills Rd. across from Target) using SPLOST 4 funds to renovate the facility appropriately, in addition to utilizing the former International Student Center facility. 
  • Consider moving the Regional Special Education Program to Fernbank ES to free up 3 additional classrooms at Briar Vista ES for Cross Keys cluster elementary students.  The Fernbank ES building has the advantage of being ADA compliant, whereas Briar Vista ES is not. This would move 21 special education students to Fernbank ES, but open 3 classrooms at Briar Vista ES.
  • Consider using schools in the Chamblee (Ashford Park ES, Hightower ES, and Huntley Hills ES) and Lakeside (Sagamore ES, Oak Grove ES, Hawthorne ES, Henderson Mills ES and Pleasantdale ES) Clusters, which are closer in proximity to the overcrowded schools.
  • Do no temporary measures and focus instead on permanent plans.
  • Build new schools in the Cross Keys Cluster.
  • Expand School Choice seats at Fernbank ES.


The next scheduled meeting is February 11, 2016, 6 pm, at Cross Keys High School where DCSD staff will present their recommended plan.

[1] A separate meeting was held at Sequoya Middle School on Jan. 14, 2016 for the same purpose.  The following summary does not include opinions expressed in that meeting.


(this content also available in attached Word document)



Spreadsheet of 2015 enrollment/capacity

Attached is a spreadsheet for the schools affected by the Cross Keys Redistricting plan. Also included is the same data on other surrounding schools that are not part of the plan options under consideration.

DeKalb Schools Cross Keys Cluster redistricting presentation, maps released

The Brookhaven Post:

On Thursday, DeKalb County Schools released a presentation and maps for the first round of scheduled community meetings to discuss redistricting options for the Cross Keys Cluster.

full article/ maps:


Cross Keys Cluster Redistricting Plan

CHCA Board Member Kara Rozell:

DeKalb County School District is holding several up-coming meetings to discuss the Cross Keys Cluster Redistricting Plan.  Information about the proposed plan options are posted here:  

All the schools in the Cross Keys Cluster are significantly over-crowded. DCSC is looking to build a more permanent solution, but needs a temporary solution for the immediate future (starting Fall 2016).  

There are 3 options for redistricting the elementary schools and Options I & II impact Fernbank Elementary School directly.  Both of these options move all Briar Vista ES students not in the Montessori or Special Education programs at that school to Fernbank ES (364 students) to make room for Cross Keys cluster elementary students to move to the Briar Vista ES facility.  Option III utilizes the former International Student Center (on N. Druid Hills Rd. near Target) to relieve over-crowding and does not impact Fernbank ES or Briar Vista ES directly.

The Cross Keys High School will also under-go redistricting, but the current plan does not impact the Druid Hills Cluster schools. The three meetings are structured as follows:


- Round I (Jan. 14 & Jan. 19): Presentation of the Plans and Small-Group Discussions of each option [NOTE: the Jan. 19th mtg is being held at DHHS at6pm]
- Round II (Feb. 11): Presentation of DCSC Staff Recommendations [at Cross Keys HS, 6pm]
- School Board Mtg (March 7): Presentation of Superintendent Recommendations & vote
Please try to attend the Jan. 19th mtg at DHHS and share your opinion about the options presented.  Please keep in mind that the DCSC will only consider input related to the criteria established for the redistricting process (which can be found within the agenda and handouts posted on the above website). Input that relates to this criteria will have the most sway.

Data about enrollment/capacity related to the Cross Keys Redistricting Issue

Data about enrollment/capacity related to the Cross Keys Redistricting Issue


Dekalb County School District Redistricting Community Mtgs

Dekalb County School District Redistricting Community Mtgs

Upcoming public meetings regarding Cross Keys attendance area overcrowding and DCSD's response. It's understood these meetings are progressive; if you would like to participate/ offer input, the first two meetings would be the forum.
News Release:
The DeKalb County School District will be holding three (3) public meetings to present redistricting options to address overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster.
The community will have an opportunity to voice their comments on the proposed options at these meetings.
The affected schools include Briar Vista ES, Cary Reynolds ES, Chamblee HS, Cross Keys HS, Dresden ES, Fernbank ES, Montclair ES, Warren Tech, and Woodward ES.
Final recommendations on redistricting will be presented for approval at the March 2016 Board Meeting.

Meetings will be held:
1. Thursday, January 14th 2016, 6:00 pm at Sequoyah Middle School – 3456 Aztec Road Doraville, GA 30340
2. Tuesday, January 19th 2016, 6:00 pm at Druid Hills High School – 1798 Haygood Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
3. Thursday, February 11th 2016, 6:00 pm at Cross Keys High School – 1626 N. Druid Hills Road NE Atlanta, GA 30319


11/19/14 Together in Atlanta Meeting Summary

from CHCA Corresponding Secretary Julia Byrne:

11/19/14 Together in Atlanta Meeting Summary

On Wednesday, November 19th, community members in Clairmont Heights met with members of the Druid Hills Civic Association, members of the organization Together In Atlanta, and Atlanta elected officials to discuss advocacy efforts for the annexation of the entire footprints of Fernbank and Briar Vista elementary schools as well as Emory University into the city of Atlanta. The Clairmont Heights Civic Association is closely following this advocacy effort in response to our recent neighborhood survey that indicated strong support for inclusion into an existing city.

Emory Lavista Parent Council Legislative Update

Event Date and Time: 
02/15/2012 - 9:15am

From Donna Toulme <>: Emory Lavista Parent Council. Join us at 9:15 am (refreshments begin at 8:45 am) Wednesday, February 15, 2011 at Briar Vista Elementary School, 1131 Briar Vista Terrace NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30324 for an ELPC Legislative Update - DeKalb and Georgia face a critical year with new DCSS BOE districts being drawn, charter schools being revisited and the entire funding formula for education under review.  Our Legislative Panel—Including the chairs of both the Senate and House Education Committees. 

Board of Education Reapportionment

From board member Nancy Jester via DeKalb School Watch: "...The Georgia legislature is in session. As you may recall, they passed a bill in the 2011 session to shrink the DeKalb board from nine to seven (click here to view the bill). In addition to this process, we must also reapportion the districts based on the most recent census information. This is done every ten years. Please keep in mind that the majority of your property taxes (22.98 mils) fund the school system. Your district on the DeKalb Board of Education will be set for ten years based on what happens in the next week.  It is my understanding that the DeKalb delegation is expected to deliver new district maps for the Board of Education and the DeKalb Commission by mid-February. I further understand that the delegation will be voting on this matter next week.  As you know, five members of the current nine member board were elected in 2010 and took office in January 2011. Those five members (Jester, Copelin-Wood, Edler, Cunningham and Walker) were elected for terms that end in December 2014. It is my understanding that in the absence of a referendum, terms of office cannot be reduced. If the DeKalb delegation must submit maps by the middle of this month, it appears that a referendum is not possible given the time constraint. Therefore the five members elected in 2010, must serve their terms through 2014. If we are to reduce the board to seven members, then only two districts will be up for election this year and four current members will be collapsed into these two districts (McChesney, Womack, Bowen and Speaks).... I have placed the maps I have seen on my blog for your review. Click here to go to my blog to see them. As you will note, there are some maps that appear to create some long, irregular districts. I believe that this dilutes the representation of communities of interest. My current preference is the map listed first on my blog.... " [Read More]

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