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GaDOE Updates Newsletter: May 30, 2014

Good morning! Welcome to the fifth edition of GaDOE Updates, a newsletter from the Georgia Department of Education. Every other week, we send out a roundup of news, information and spotlights on K-12 public education in Georgia. In between, keep up with GaDOE on Facebook and Twitter.


State schools celebrate graduations

Last week, Georgia’s three state schools graduated a total of 43 students – each of them a fighter. Each room of Georgia Academy for the Blind, the Georgia School for the Deaf, and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf graduates last week was a room full of overcoming. There wasn’t a dry eye around. Read more here.


Meet the 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year

Amanda Miliner is a product of public education, a military child who found constancy in relationships with her teachers. In 2006, she became a first-generation college graduate and, in 2011 and 2012, respectively, she became the first member of her immediate family to earn master’s and specialist’s degrees. Her math Early Intervention Program classes have consecutively had 100 percent pass rates. She is, her principal wrote in a recommendation letter, “the epitome of what all educators need to be.” As Teacher of the Year, Miliner will be a voice for others like her, teachers who daily choose the classroom because it’s where their passion lies – who felt that call deep inside them, and heeded that call, and stayed. Read more here.


Meet the students representing Georgia in the National Spelling Bee

Two students represented our state in the National Spelling Bee on Wednesday, May 28 and Thursday, May 29 in Washington, D.C. Sumedh Garimella is an eighth-grader at Hull Middle School in Duluth; he can recite pi up to 75 digits and his favorite book is Animal Farm. Charles Li is in fifth grade at Stevens Creek Elementary in Martinez; he hopes to study finance, loves Mozart and Harry Potter, and won his regional spelling bee with the word “calypso.”


Around DOE lately


We announced our 2014 Summer Reading Challenge this month. Find more info here: and visit the Read a Book, Georgia website here: You can also view several speeches from the event.


Chief Academic Officer Dr. Mike Buck and Michaela Claus-Nix, program specialist for World Languages and Workforce Initiatives, attended a ceremony May 14 to honor seven schools that received the PASCH Award for progressive approaches in teaching the German language. Read a write-up of the event on the website of the German Embassy:


Around the districts

Floyd County Schools represent one of the best education values in the country, according to a recent analysis that rated communities based on education, safety, and the tax rates paid by citizens. The study concludes that Floyd residents are “getting a deal – better public schools and lower crime rates compared to the amount of money they pay each year in property taxes” (emphasis ours).


Alec Kumpf, a student at Kell High School in Cobb County, was one of 10 students nationwide presented with the FIRST Robotics Dean’s List Award by FIRST founder Dean Kamen. The award aims to celebrate “outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary,” per the FIRST website.


Georgia’s public schools in the news

New graduate donates hair to fellow student (Rockdale Citizen):


Companies train students for future work (11 Alive):


Miliner named Georgia Teacher of the Year (AJC):


Save the date:

June 3-6: Institute Designed for Educating All Students (IDEAS) Conference, Epworth by the Sea, St. Simons


June 16: Applications due for SAMHSA “Now is the Time” grants for LEAs (supports training of school personnel and others to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth)


June 19 and 20: Georgia Virtual Learning’s Professional Learning Symposium (register by TODAY)


 July 8-10: Safety in Our Schools Conference, UGA Hotel and Conference Center, Athens


July 13-16: Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education’s 67th Annual Summer Conference, Cobb Galleria Center, Cobb County


July 13-16: Georgia Association of Educational Leaders Summer Conference, Jekyll Island Convention Center, Jekyll Island


 **Remember: Send your tips, ideas and events to and We’re interested in ideas for in-depth feature stories, too.​