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Georgian Educator

Thoughtful and Critical Conversations About Education in Georgia

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Rebekah Cohen Morris

l’m passionate about public education, especially its role in fighting poverty. Education gives people a chance to succeed, even when the odds are stacked against them. I write about education in Dekalb County as it relates to the state and to the nation as a whole. Rebekah taught English for four years at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County Public Schools and for two years at Cross Keys High School in the DeKalb County School District (both Title I schools). During her time as a teacher, she coached volleyball and basketball, served as the Co-President for the Berkmar High School PTSA, participated as the teacher liaison on the School Council at Cross Keys High School, and helped spark the student-led initiative Unify BuHi (which now operates as the student advocacy arm of Los Vecinos de Buford Highway). This year, she returns to teaching high school English in Gwinnett County Public Schools. In the past, she has also worked for the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) doing advocacy and civic/community engagement. She has served on the Board of Directors for Presencia, a non-profit located on Buford Highway that exists to provide economic, educational, and social support to refugees and immigrants through after-school programs, job creation, and leadership development. In addition to this work, she has also worked for the Atlanta Children's Shelter and for the Latin American Association teen summer program. Throughout the past two years, she has spent her time co-founding Vecinos with an incredible group of Cross Keys cluster students, alumni, and residents to establish a community association within the apartment complexes along Buford Highway. The idea of vecinos or neighbors working alongside one another is integral to the idea of a strong, healthy community. She also serves on the board of PATH Academy in Brookhaven. The mission of DeKalb PATH Academy is to create a safe and nurturing learning environment in which refugee, immigrant and local children from the Chamblee, Doraville and Clarkston areas in DeKalb County, Georgia can develop the knowledge, skills, and character needed to succeed in top-quality high schools, colleges, and the competitive world beyond regardless of their socioeconomic and linguistic barriers. Rebekah lives in Doraville, Georgia, with her husband, Andrew Morris, who works for the Metro Water District at the Atlanta Regional Commission. She has two beautiful daughters who attend school in the Cross Keys cluster. Please email georgianeducator@gmail.com with any questions or concerns. To submit a guest piece, please send the article (up to 1400 words) and a brief biographical note.

DeKalb Elementary Redistricting: Efficient Use of School Capacity, Projected Enrollment Trends, and the Needs of Oakcliff Families

The bottom line is that from a personal perspective -- as a parent of a current Oakcliff student, member of the Oakcliff PTA, and friend to many other Oakcliff parents and students -- I don’t want to see any changes to Oakcliff. Dr. Paschall and her staff and teachers do an excellent job, and the school district should do everything they can to retain, empower, and promote them. But if Oakcliff enrollment is projected to decline significantly, evaluating the options becomes much harder given the big-picture goal of reducing overcrowding for as many students as possible.

Get Ready for Redistricting, North DeKalb

DeKalb Schools has announced the redistricting public meetings for the following elementary schools: Austin, Doraville United (fka Cross Keys North), and Pleasantdale. With the Austin redistricting likely to receive a lot of attention from Dunwoody residents, I plan to focus... Continue Reading →

Education as Part of a Broader Community Development Strategy in Doraville

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been blogging less on the Georgian Educator because I’ve started to focus on a more holistic view of what’s needed to maintain and build up a thriving, diverse, and resilient community in Doraville... Continue Reading →

Housing Displacement & Impacts on Local Schools

Housing displacement – particularly within the broader context of housing quality and affordability – is one of those issues that permeates almost every discussion about cities and metropolitan areas nationwide. And it should. Housing – including the type of housing... Continue Reading →

Charter Schools: Barriers to Entry and Community Impacts

Charter schools cannot be viewed as the ultimate solution to problems with the local schools. Now, before you think that this is just another charter-school bashing article, I want to say that I serve on the board of PATH Academy (a DeKalb charter school with a lottery and a separate governing board) and I send my daughter to a DeKalb theme school (a public school with a lottery yet without a separate governing board).

More Buildings, More Maintenance Problems: Ideas for Improving Facilities in DeKalb

I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about DeKalb Schools and one of the questions I have continued to be plagued by is this: Why are the facilities in DeKalb in a state of such disrepair, especially compared to other Metro Atlanta school districts? I began to look at the traditional arguments: “Other districts have more money to invest in their schools,” “That district’s buildings are newer,” “Those districts have wealthier students,” or “Those districts spend more money per student.” I’m not entirely convinced that those answers explain why DeKalb’s buildings suffer more than other districts.

Catch 22: DeKalb County Schools, Cross Keys and Site Selection

The new communities that will be forged and the new friendships and support systems that will arise are worth these growing pains towards a more just and equitable education system for DeKalb County Schools. It will have its challenges.

Please, DeKalb Schools, don’t tear down more affordable apartments in our community.

Please, DeKalb Schools, don’t tear down more affordable apartments in our community. A couple weeks ago, our Cross Keys community was excited to find out that we are moving closer to getting a long overdue new school building. However, my... Continue Reading →

The Story: Why I Left Teaching in DeKalb

Obviously, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I really tried to work with the school administration to help address truly important issues that seemed essential to retaining teachers and helping holistically increase student achievement. However, that style of proactive problem-solving was great for getting some things done. It was not, on the other hand, effective at building strong relationships between me and my administration.

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