Wilson Center Overview
In December 2018, the City Schools of Decatur renamed the “central office” as the “school support center” because it better describes what these dedicated district employees do every day. Anything that does not directly impact students is scrutinized to ensure it is necessary and worthwhile. That is how every year since Dr. Dude began leading the district in 2015, we have met the goal he set to maintain a ratio of one or fewer central office leaders per 350 students.
School support center functions are crucial to the success of a school district:
- The finance department ensures that taxpayer money is protected, employees get paid accurately and on time, and bills get paid.
- The staff support department (sometimes called HR) facilitates recruiting, onboarding, training, and generally supporting our employees.
- The equity and student support department supports our students with counseling and psychological services, social work, and more while also leading the district’s equity work.
- The information services department provides and maintains technological hardware and software, implementation of a robust network infrastructure, and leadership of technology initiatives.
- The operations department supports the nutritional and transportation needs of our students in addition to maintaining and updating our buildings, furniture, and equipment.
- The curriculum and instruction department is responsible for identifying curricular materials, organizing the teaching and learning program, and overseeing our multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS).
- The research and analytics department maintains our student information system (Infinite Campus), trains staff, analyzes and provides data, and interfaces with researchers.
- The state and federal programs department supports all aspects of compliance and instructional programming for our various state and federal grants that pay for Title services, ESOL, special education services, support of our homeless students, etc.
- The office of the superintendent provides leadership and oversight to all departments and schools in all of the above-mentioned areas and manages board and government relations.
As needs change and the school district grows, the school support center adapts the services we offer to support the schools. School support center positions are added, removed, and repurposed as needed. In Dr. Dude’s first several years with the district, a series of departmental reorganizations resulted in some title changes, one leadership position splitting into two, and the addition of a new position. The position of Director of Exceptional Education and Student Services was split and the incumbent in that position became the Director of Research and Analytics. In order to provide superior service to our schools through support of their principals, the position of Executive Director of Schools was created, and later transitioned to the position of Assistant Superintendent.
Since then, in response to district equity initiatives, an Equity Coordinator was added. In response to community expectations for better support in special education, a Coordinator of Special Education, a Coordinator of 504 and School Psychology, two additional school psychologists, and four special education lead teachers were added. To respond to significant and high-level behavioral challenges beginning to appear in some students, we added a Behavior Interventionist. In order to better serve our students struggling in reading, math, and other areas, we added two reading coaches and three MTSS coaches. Finally, in order to meet the demands of a larger group of internal and external stakeholders needing support, we added an Enterprise Applications Coordinator, an HR Generalist and a Training Specialist, an Elementary School Bookkeeper to support the five lower elementary schools that don’t have a bookkeeper, a Communications and Public Relations Specialist, and an Administrative Assistant. No positions were added unless they were essential to meeting the expectations of our Board, our community, our employees, or our students. The school support center currently staffs 68 positions, the majority of which spend most of their time in schools delivering services.
Since the 2008-2009 school year, the earliest date for which we have reliable data, enrollment has increased 112 percent while the number of central office administrators has increased only 23 percent. The ratio of school support center administrators per 350 students has decreased 42 percent over that time period.