Good afternoon! Welcome to the seventh 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.
New tech, new tools: using digital media to expand professional learning networks
Each Monday, five Georgia educators clear their schedules, shuffle through their notes, settle in at their computers and start a conversation. They talk about everything – from assessment to augmented reality, curriculum to 3-D printing. And as they talk, other educators from around Georgia – and the country, and the world – join in. Networking online “has been such a phenomenal resource for me as far as keeping me on the cutting edge,” says Kate Matthews, the Fayette County Public Schools’ lead instructional technology specialist and one of five hosts of EduVue on YouTube. “…It was the step and the push that I needed to make sure I stayed relevant.” Read the story here.
In response to new federal school nutrition regulations, Superintendent Barge and State Board of Education have initiated a rule regarding food and beverage school fundraisers. The initiated rule will allow schools to hold 30 fundraisers per school, per school year that are food-related and that do not meet the nutrition standards established by federal law. The GaDOE will also develop a procedure for school districts to obtain a temporary exemption from the SBOE-approved fundraiser limit of 30, on a case-by-case basis. Learn more here. To provide feedback, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve released our Student Growth Model, the metric that will help educators, parents, and other stakeholders better understand and analyze students’ progress, along with a web tool featuring visualized student growth data. Learn morehere.
GaDOE’s Division for Special Education Services and Supports, in partnership with Georgia Tools for Life and the Georgia Council for Exceptional Children, held its third annual IDEAS Conference at St. Simons Island, Georgia from June 3 to 6. More than 700 educators were in attendance to learn about improving access to the curriculum for all students. Attendees had access to more than 120 sessions addressing innovative, research-based teaching practices and strategies for all students, including students with disabilities. Attendees also enjoyed a special dance performance by the Chattooga School of Gymnastics and Dance, followed by an opening keynote by nationally known speaker Dr. Dave Edyburn. Attendees reported learning new skills and a renewed excitement for the upcoming school year. For videos, photos, and conference postings, visit the IDEAS Conference Facebook page.
This summer from June 23 to 25 and July 8 to 10, GaDOE’s School Improvement Division hosted Summer Summit 2014, an event focused on strengthening the process of school improvement at the district and school levels by embracing turnaround solutions to raise student achievement, close achievement gaps and promote continual progress. This year’s Summer Summit theme was “Critical Connections for Leaders.” Participants at both sessions totaled over 1,000 school leaders, and session leaders included staff members representing School Improvement, the Student Longitudinal Data System, EL, Special Education, Accountability, Assessment, Curriculum, TLE, Title I, College Readiness, RESA, SEDL, RMC Research Corporation and the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd. Students presented during the opening session and performed at lunch each day. School Improvement would like to extend sincere appreciation to all who contributed to the success of Summer Summit 2014.
We also debuted our redesigned website – still located at gadoe.org. Take a look and let us know what you think.
During the 2013-2014 school year, the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools celebrated the 16th year of an innovative partnership with the Georgia Medical Society, Memorial Health University Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s/Candler Health Systems that provides high-school seniors an internship with local physicians. The program gives promising high school students a unique opportunity to see the human side of medicine surgery firsthand. Learn more here and see a video here.
River Eves Elementary School in Roswell was excited to work with several organizations this year to promote mentoring and academic programs for fifth grade students with a history of low academic achievement. Under the leadership of Anna Jackson, mentoring coordinator for the School-Based Mentoring Program, and School Counselor Linda Patton, Roswell’s Zion Missionary Baptist Church coordinated weekly meetings with several fifth grade girls to work on academic skills in math. The mentors will follow the girls through their middle-school transition.
Another organization, “The 100 Black Men of North Metro,” worked with seven fifth grade boys at River Eves each month. They discussed different career paths and work environments and role-played interviewing for jobs. A focus on the importance of math was discussed at each session. Mentors included a physician, a real-estate salesperson, and community members in other occupations.
“The opportunity to bring in community role models to stress the importance of math in their adult lives left a lasting impression on the students,” Principal Neil Pinnock said. “It encouraged the students to work hard in this subject. As a result, more students were successful on the state assessment.”
Georgia’s public schools in the news
Gwinnett County Public Schools honored for environmental achievement | Gwinnett Daily Post: http://bit.ly/1rRqzpq
August 24: Registration deadline for Atlanta Braves’ Home Run Readers program – K-12 students receive a free Braves ticket and free Subway meal for reading books and completing an online activity. Register here.