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 GaDOE Library Media Update - February 2018

Table of Contents

  • Georgia’s ESSA State Plan Approved
  • Financial Efficiency Star Ratings Released for Districts and Schools
  • Superintendent Woods' Letter to GA Senators on Teacher Tax Credit
  • School Librarian Evaluation Instrument: An Option Now In Action
  • Georgia Arts Council: Poet Laureate's Prize
  • Applications for Free CS Teacher Professional Learning in GA Now Open
  • 2018 PBS KIDS Writers Contest
  • GALILEO Tips
  • Upcoming Britannica Webinar Sessions
  • Dad’s Garage Offers Free High School Outreach Program
  • Worth Sharing
  • Going Social
  • GaDOE Media Mailing List

Georgia’s ESSA State Plan Approved

State commits to a more well-rounded education for K-12 students including expanded opportunities, balanced measurement of performance

The U.S. Department of Education has approved Georgia’s State ESSA Plan, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced last week.
The U.S. Department of Education highlighted Georgia’s work rewarding schools making significant progress with traditionally underserved subgroups and creating an accountability system that expands opportunities for students and supports the whole child. 

“Thousands of Georgians – parents, students, educators, policymakers, members of the business community – gave us their feedback as we worked to create our state’s ESSA plan. We listened and heard that Georgians want a K-12 education system that supports the whole child; a system that produces students who are not just college- and career-ready, but ready for life. This plan is a direct response to that feedback, and reflects our continued focus on expanding opportunities for Georgia’s students.” 

Financial Efficiency Star Ratings Released for Districts and Schools

The Georgia Department of Education released Financial Efficiency Star Ratings for schools and school districts in Georgia. The Financial Efficiency Star Rating provides a measure of a district’s per-pupil spending in relation to the academic achievements of its students. Specifically, the rating is based on a three-year average of per-pupil spending, which is then associated with the district’s CCRPI score. Each district receives a rating ranging from one half-star to five stars; a five-star district can be described as having strong academic outcomes and lower levels of expenditures in comparison with other districts.
State law requires that the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, in coordination with the Georgia Department of Education, create a financial efficiency rating. The rating must be based upon five stars.

Superintendent Woods' Letter to GA Senators on Teacher Tax Credit

Senators Isakson and Perdue:

As a veteran educator and former classroom teacher, I often spent my own money to purchase and provide classroom resources for my students. This is not atypical in our schools and classrooms across the state of Georgia. 

Educators go into the profession because they feel a calling to support students. Regrettably, to fulfill that calling teachers have to use money from their own pockets to buy resources and materials.

I was very disappointed with the House's proposal to remove the teacher tax credit, but was encouraged by the Senate's approach, which would expand the credit. I am encouraged to hear this language survives in the compromise bill. I’m writing to urge you both to support this language in the Senate’s measure and, if possible, to expand the tax credit further in the future.

No doubt, Georgia's educators do not go into the profession for the money. They feel a responsibility to meet the needs of their students, and they do with tireless passion and dedication. But we have a responsibility and obligation in return. I strongly support the teacher tax credit and its expansion.

I deeply appreciate our partnership and the work you both do to represent Georgia.

Richard Woods
State School Superintendent, Georgia

School Librarian Evaluation Instrument: An Option Now In Action

In 2014, a group made up of GLMA leadership, university professors, library media coordinators, and school library media specialists (SLMS) came together to discuss issues of concern, including the need for a strong advocacy tool and a current, relevant evaluation system.

As a result, the Georgia School Library Media Consortium (GSLMC) collaboratively developed the School Librarian Evaluation Instrument (SLEI, formerly MKES) which serves as both a springboard for discussions with administrators about the power of a fully-supported library media program and an evaluation instrument built upon AASL standards, future-ready librarian components, and Gwinnett County’s existing instrument.

School Library Media Specialist: the SLEI can present opportunities for open discussion of the powerful role of the SLMS as well as possibilities for stronger support of library media programs.

Library Media Coordinators/Administrators: the SLEI can provide a system for evaluating and guiding SLMS adequately reflecting the strong role they play in impacting student achievement and providing school, district, and community leadership.

The SLEI system has been fully implemented in Cobb County. Forms, spreadsheets, self-evaluation guides, timeframes, and assessments have been developed for SLMS and library media coordinators/administrators. Examples are on the Georgia Library Media Association website. It’s strongly suggested that evaluators attend local hands-on training and conduct at least three conferences with the SLMS throughout the year. The system works very well in tandem with the GaDOE Contributing Professionals Platform and can be adapted to meet the varying needs of school systems.

Contacts for More Information:

Georgia Arts Council: Poet Laureate's Prize

Georgia’s Poet Laureate, Judson Mitcham, in collaboration with the Georgia Council for the Arts, is pleased to announce the fifth annual Poet Laureate’s Prize, awarded for an original poem written by a Georgia high school student.

The winner and finalists will meet Governor and Mrs. Deal and also tour the historic Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. The winning and finalist poems will be published by Atlanta Magazine.

Entry details are included in the guidelines. Entry deadline is March 1, 2018. Contact Allen Bell at with questions.

Applications for Free CS Teacher Professional Learning in GA Now Open

Applications for free yearlong CS Teacher Professional Learning at Georgia Tech are now open. If you’ve ever considered teaching computer science or know other teachers who might love it,’s professional learning programs are an ideal place to begin. Over 72,000 teachers have participated nationwide, with 98% of attendees saying they would recommend the program to another teacher. 

The 2018 Professional Learning Program for middle and high school teachers begins with a five-day, in-person summer workshop, with four additional one-day follow-up workshops throughout the year. Dates and locations are specific to Georgia.

Together with a cohort of teachers from various backgrounds, you’ll enjoy dedicated time to deliver lessons with your colleagues, dive deep into the curriculum and tools, and experiment with inquiry-based approaches to teaching.

The application period closes on March 30th, and Georgia Tech will review applications on a rolling basis.

Contact Chris Thompson at with any questions.

2018 PBS KIDS Writers Contest

It’s time to sharpen those pencils! GPB invites Georgia students in kindergarten through third grade to create a great story, illustrate it, and enter it in their PBS KIDS Writers Contest.

Stories can be fact or fiction, poetry or prose, and will be judged on originality, creative expression, storytelling, and integration of illustrations. A first, second, and third place will be chosen from each grade level. Additionally, three stories will be selected for the STEAM Award if their story effectively incorporates science, technology, engineering, arts, and/or mathematics. 

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2018.


Georgia’s Historic Newspapers are valuable primary resources that are also engaging to read. Researching newspaper content is a critical part of understanding a location’s local history, priorities, and interests, and can be a fun and engaging way to teach younger researchers the value of primary resources. The value of Georgia Historic Newspapers extends beyond the Georgia Studies curriculum; they also are an engaging way for students to see how world events were viewed by regular citizens. Visit the Georgia Historic Newspaper Archive, a resource from the Digital Library of Georgia.

Many databases in GALILEO now make it easy for students and educators to save articles to Google Drive or to Google Classroom, including EBSCO, ProQuest, and SIRS resources. The MyEBSCOhost account also allows users to save articles in a folder accessible anywhere with an Internet connection and GALILEO login. To learn more about using the EBSCO and ProQuest personal accounts, visit this GALILEO tutorial.

If you work in a middle school, encourage your principal or curriculum supervisor to visit the GALILEO booth at the Georgia Middle School Conference​ in Valdosta February 26-27.

Upcoming Britannica Webinar Sessions

Britannica staff trainers Darcy Carlson or Kelli Johns will present the following webinars for winter and spring.

Register even if you are unable to attend live, as after the session, you will get the link to a recording

Dad’s Garage Offers Free High School Outreach Program

Dad's Garage is offering free improv theatre training to high school students throughout Georgia! This program combines in-class exercises with guided instruction to give your students a taste of the performing arts while learning important lessons in acceptance and working together.

Worth Sharing

Going Social

GaDOE Media Mailing List

Do you want to share the GaDOE Media Updates? If so, encourage your colleagues to join the email mailing list by following the directions on this page.

Thank you,

Tony Vlachakis
Educational Technologist 
Library/Media Liaison