Thirty-eight Georgia school districts have been awarded Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grants by the Georgia Department of Education, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced on May 3, 2018. The goal of the L4GA initiative is to improve student literacy learning.
Georgia was awarded a total of $61,579,800
through the federal Striving Readers grant competition. Ninety-five percent of funds are sub-granted to 38 districts. These funds are allocated for students in schools within a feeder system (including birth-age 5 childcare providers and elementary, middle, and high schools). All awarded districts have community-school partnerships with local organizations, the Regional Education Service Agencies, and teacher preparation programs to collectively improve literacy outcomes.
Sub-granted districts and their community partners were selected through an independent, competitive sub-grant process; they were chosen based on the strength of their applications. The Georgia Department of Education awarded funds to effectively improve outcomes for the largest possible population of Georgia’s students, and the broader L4GA initiative will provide support (including professional learning) for all Georgia school districts.
Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Public Library Service Partner to Kick Off Summer Reading Program Across the State
Events will raise awareness of the importance of summer reading, as GaDOE and partners also donate 100,000 books
When students don’t read during the summer months, they lose educational ground: research shows that students can lose up to three months of reading ability over the summer. This phenomenon – known as the summer slide – can lower achievement potential and widen the achievement gap. The effect is more pronounced as students get older, and for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“For many families, a public library is the only community space available where they can access free educational and cultural enrichment activities during the summer months,” said State Librarian Julie Walker. “Georgia’s public libraries have a robust Summer Reading Program in every county.”
The Georgia Department of Education is supporting this initiative by collaborating with Georgia Public Library Service on Summer Reading Program kickoff events across the state and distributing approximately 100,000 books to students. The latter is possible thanks to Better World Books, which donated gently used and age-appropriate reading material, and Action Ministries, which assisted with storage and logistics.
Grants Available to Help Georgia Schools Implement Career-readiness Activities
In Georgia, like most of the United States, economic stability and workforce conditions are on the upswing for business owners and job seekers alike. In fact, the combination of record-low unemployment rates and new job creation has industry leaders in our state facing the unique difficulty of increased competition for identifying top-tier talent for current vacancies and the jobs of the future. The Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GPFE)
wants to help schools across Georgia make sure that every student in our classrooms can find a career they enjoy while earning a living wage in their own hometown.
2019 Georgia Teacher of the Year Named
Allison Kerley Townsend, a third-grade teacher at Barnwell Elementary School in Fulton County, is the 2019 Georgia Teacher of the Year, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced tonight. As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Townsend will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia.
“It is very clear to me that Allison Kerley Townsend is a teacher who walks into her classroom every day with her focus in exactly the right place: what do these students in front of me need to learn, and how can I help them learn it?” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Then she brings all of her creativity, ingenuity and skill to the fore to accomplish that goal. I am honored to recognize her as the 2019 Georgia Teacher of the Year and look forward to working with her to tell the best story I know – the story of Georgia’s public schools, and the lives changing within them every single day.”
New Dramatic Writing Course will Prepare Students for Careers in Georgia's Growing Entertainment Industry
For the First Time in History, Georgia High School Students will have Dramatic Writing for Film, Television and Theatre as an English Language Arts Course
As a Testament to the State’s Leading and Sustaining Entertainment Industry, Leadership has Come Together To Ensure Students Are Properly Prepared For Jobs in Content Creation
On May 21, 2018, the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Film Academy, Technical College System of Georgia, University System of Georgia and Fayette County Public Schools collaborated to create a new Fine Arts course in dramatic writing for Georgia high school students that focuses on digital art content creation. This is the first arts-integrated course that also counts as a fourth English Language Arts unit for high school graduation, and counts as an English unit for USG admission purposes. Based on the recommendation of State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the State Board of Education approved the course on May 3.
In 2017, the film and television industry was responsible for $9.5 billion in economic impact to the state. High school students with aspirations of becoming tomorrow’s Emmy and Oscar winning writers, can now begin their preparation when this program rolls out statewide as early as this August for the upcoming academic 2018/19 school year.
“This brand-new course in dramatic writing, developed in partnership with the film and television industry, is a great example of the direction we’re moving here in Georgia,” Superintendent Woods said. “We’re working in collaboration with higher education, business leaders, and communities to prepare students for future employment and respond directly to industry needs.”
Five Georgia Schools Named Green Ribbon Winners
Four of Georgia’s public schools and one public university have been named National Green Ribbon Schools for 2018, the U.S. Department of Education announced on May 16, 2018.
Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta Public Schools, Godley Station K-8 School in Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, Lanier High School in Gwinnett County Schools, Saddle Ridge Elementary/Middle School in Walker County were all honored with the Green Ribbon designation, which recognizes schools and districts that exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments by reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education for students. Georgia Southern University was also honored.
Improving on the SMART Goal-Setting Process
Christopher LeMieux, a GADOE Program Assessment Specialist from the School and District Effectiveness Division, recently published an article entitled “Role Call: S.M.A.R.T. Goals Are Not Smart Enough” in Principal Leadership, May 2018 (Vol. 18, #9, p. 10-12).
The following is an excerpt from his three-page article:
“Improving on the SMART Goal-Setting Process”
In this article in Principal Leadership, Chris Lemieux (Georgia Department of Education) says the widely used SMART acronym is limited and lacking in passion for effective goal setting. He believes it’s “more focused on compliance and less on motivation and the energetic execution of a goal.” Lemieux suggests that principals follow these steps as they plan for improvement:
- Get to the heart of the matter. This means doing a thorough needs assessment, identifying a few priority areas, and then conducting a root-cause analysis to get to underlying factors and identify a compelling goal to address the real problems.
- Establish stretch goals. Too many schools choose safe SMART goals because they underestimate their ability to improve or are afraid of failing to meet more-ambitious targets. “When schools use stretch goals in their improvement planning,” says Lemieux, “they can propel their organization toward steady growth each year.”
- Focus on student learning results. Principals need to carefully monitor the goal-setting process and the PD that follows, says Lemieux, to make sure it’s directly connected to the ultimate outcome: real achievement gains.
- Combine outcomes and process. Identifying measurable outcomes is important (that’s what SMART goals do), but equally important is deciding on the best strategies for attaining those goals and pursuing goals and strategies in tandem.
- Enlist people’s emotions. Many school improvement plans are not compelling for educators, students, and other stakeholders, says Lemieux. School leaders get only one chance to “energize and galvanize” their colleagues and communities when they roll out an improvement plan. They need to make sure goals are framed in a way that appeals to people’s sense of purpose and possibility.
“Role Call: S.M.A.R.T. Goals Are Not Smart Enough” by Chris Lemieux in Principal Leadership, May 2018 (Vol. 18, #9, p. 10-12), no e-link available; Lemieux can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidence-based interventions (also called “evidence-based practices” or EBP) are those which have research evidence supporting their success. Be on the look-out for more information about EBP from GaDOE as they are essential to continuous improvement.
Capstone Summer Learning Resources
This publisher’s mission is to help children develop a love of reading and learning, no matter their ability level. Capstone is offering free trials for the following tools to all preschool and elementary school students now through August 1, 2018.
: This K-2 database is specifically designed to teach growing learners technology and literacy skills early in their school career. It’s also great for preschoolers. (Username: love2 Password: learn)
: This is the next step in research, providing students in grades 3-5 with more content and tools to meet their curriculum needs. (Username: love2 Password: learn)
Capstone Interactive eBooks
: Over 5,000 titles will capture the imagination and curiosity of any reader. (Username: summer18 Password: lovetoread)
myON Digital Library
During the summer months, myON makes its digital library of more than 10,000 books for children and youth available to Georgians for free.
Georgia Public Broadcasting Summer Learning
GPB offers several summer learning resources and programs for families to celebrate PBS KIDS Summer Learning. Visit GPB’s Education Matters blog
for resources to inspire kids to explore the world around them, sample new activities, build literacy skills, and deepen their love of learning. Learn more about GPB Kids programs
, including screenings and activities.
GPB Kids Screening Parties:
- Friday, June 8, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Enjoy a screening of Sesame Street and a literacy activity
- Friday, July 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Enjoy a screening of Super Why! and a literacy activity
Summer Resources for Parents
Public and private partners across Georgia—including the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Georgia Public Library Service, and Georgia Public Broadcasting—have come together to create this online toolkit with resources for summer reading, learning, safety, and meals.
We encourage you to connect with other Georgians this summer by using the hashtag #SchoolsOutGA
to share photos, videos, and stories that show how your family is incorporating these tools into your everyday life. You can also submit your story to us so that we can share it with others.
National Summer Learning Day
Thursday, July 12
This day of advocacy elevates the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer—and ensuring that they return to school in the fall ready to succeed. Use NSLA resources to plan your community’s activities and then post your plans on the NSLA interactive Summer Learning Day map.
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program - Kids Earn a Free Book
The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help encourage kids to read books of their own choosing and earn a FREE book, by following these three easy steps:
- Read any eight books this summer and record them in a Summer Reading Journal (English or Español). Explain the favorite part of the book and why.
- Bring completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 15th and September 3rd, 2018.
- Students can choose a FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.
GPB Education and Discovery Education Offer Free Professional Development in June
The Ignite My Future In School Day of Discovery
, a customized in-person professional development experience brought to you by leaders at the forefront of computational thinking. The Day of Discovery is designed to connect you with your fellow educators and will equip participants with the tools they need to start incorporating the skills associated with computational thinking into classroom learning activities.
The free workshops will be offered at the following locations:
June 12, 2018, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
South Georgia Technical College – Cordele Center
402 N Midway Rd, Cordele, GA 31015
June 28, 2018, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Newnan High School
190 Lagrange St, Newnan, GA 30263
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