2017-2018 Student Diversity FAQs

Why is TMS focusing on increasing diversity across the student population?
In our new charter, the TMS board of directors, DeKalb County School District and Georgia Department of Education agreed to a ‘Strategic Actions for Increased Diversity Plan’.  The diversity of our student population is part of that plan and part of our charter organizational goals.

What is the specific student diversity goal?
TMS will reflect the socio-demographic diversity of the DCSD district with a targeted focus on economically disadvantaged students as defined by the Georgia Department of Education. To achieve this, during each year of the charter term (or until the school is within 10% of the DeKalb County School District average), the school will increase the total percentage of economically disadvantaged students by at least 4%.

 How does the Georgia DOE define an economically disadvantaged student? 
The Georgia Department of Education defines economically disadvantaged as a student whose family lives below the poverty line, qualifies for free or reduced lunch, or whose family qualifies for federal benefits, including SNAP, TANF, WIC, Medicaid or PINS.

Will this affect the student enrollment lottery and preferences?
The school will continue to offer first preference to the enrollment categories of siblings, children of employees and governing board members.  A new Georgia law permits the use of, and the school will use, a weighted lottery to provide an increased chance of admission to economically disadvantaged students.

Why is a weighted lottery necessary?
A weighted lottery is an important tool the school can use to achieve its student diversity goals and provide an increased chance of admission to economically disadvantaged students.

How will the weighted lottery be implemented? 
In accordance with OCGA 20-2-2066(a)(1)(A), the school will utilize a weighted lottery to provide an increased chance of admission to economically disadvantaged students. To facilitate the weighted lottery, applicants can indicate their “economically disadvantaged” status on the admissions application and such status will be verified as part of the registration process.  The weight for economically disadvantaged students will be calculated annually based on a formula approved by DeKalb County School District and the State Department of Education.  The weight will be determined at the end of the application period by reviewing the number of “economically disadvantaged” applications received for a given year’s lottery, comparing that to the number of students needed to achieve the stated goal and assigning a weight accordingly. The lottery will be conducted electronically and administered alongside an independent, third-party organization to ensure complete compliance and accuracy.

What else is the school doing to increase diversity?
The school has developed a strategic action plan aligned to our mission, values and the diversity goals established in our charter. A Diversity Committee, reporting directly to the TMS Board of Directors and consisting of members representing all stakeholders of the school — board members, teachers, parents and community members — is also in place.  We have always believed that inclusion and diversity, in all its forms, creates a richer learning experience for students, better preparing them for the real world.

Where can I get more information?
This FAQ, other FAQs, our Strategic Action Plans for Increased Diversity, enrollment documents, and other materials are all posted to the TMS website at themuseumschool.org/tms-charter


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