DeKalb Superintendent Knocks On Doors As Back-To-School Reminder

Martha Dalton / WABE

Hear the audio version of this story.

School started this week for some students in the Atlanta area. Students in Gwinnett, Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb counties will head back to campus Monday.

To get the word out Friday morning, DeKalb Schools Superintendent Stephen Green hit the streets … and the sidewalks.

Green conducted what he calls a “Knock, Walk, and Talk.”

He walked up to residents’ doors, knocked and then talked.

“I just want to share some information with you and also hear from you in terms of things you’d like to see us work on or things you’ve seen happen that are signs of our improvement as we go forward,” he told one resident who didn’t want to be identified.

Green came to DeKalb last year, when the district was recovering from accreditation problems and low performance. Now the school system is fully accredited, and test scores and graduation rates have been improving.

Green conveyed that message to everyone in the Browning Chase subdivision in Tucker, whether they have kids or not.

“They’re stakeholders and they’re taxpayers,” Green said. “And they have a stake in the future of this community as well as we, so we work together. That’s very important for us.”

Part of the district’s mission is to rebuild trust between the community and the school system. In fact, T.R.U.S.T. is the theme for this school year. Green and his team are decked out in blue t-shirts with those five letters printed on them. He says it’s an acronym.

“Teaching and learning, relevance, unity, support, and transparency,” he says. “That’s the trust we’re trying to build in the community.”

Green was happy to discuss the district’s goals with people answered their doors. But, at times, residents like Eldredge Jackson took the conversation in a different direction.

“Let me say this: I was the first African-American to graduate from a DeKalb County school,” Jackson said.

Jackson wished Green luck, but he also said he’ll be keeping in touch … to make sure Green earns his trust.