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GaDOE Updates Newsletter: September 17

Good afternoon! Welcome to the 10th edition of GaDOE Updates, a newsletter from the Georgia Department of Education. This is a space for news, information, and spotlights on K-12 public education in Georgia. (You can also keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter).

Remember: Send your tips, ideas and events to and

Recap: The 2nd annual Georgia Education Leadership Institute

Our second Georgia Education Leadership Institute came to a close Friday. It was a great three days of enrichment and conversation, and we hope all of you who joined us are bringing valuable connections and ideas back home. If you missed the conference, check out our Twitter for quick updates, and upcoming newsletters for a more complete roundup.

Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Lucas of Georgetown K-8 School

Meet Sarah Lucas. She’s a third grade teacher at Georgetown K-8 School in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, and a project on ocean pollution she created for her students led to her being named a recipient of the Governor’s Innovation in Teaching Award. We talked with her about innovative instruction, project-based learning, moments of inspiration and the passion that makes learning fun. Read a transcript of the conversation here.

Around DOE lately

More information about the Georgia Milestones Assessment System is now up on our site – here’s the link. Resources available include content weights, technology guidelines, copies of presentations made on the system and a parents’ guide.

Is your school working to raise funds while complying with the new, federal Smart Snacks in Schools policy? We’ve gathered together a list of healthy fundraiser ideas, and we tried to make it a little bit fun – it’s in Pinterest board form. You can find it here.



Dr. Barge honored eight educators recently for various recognitions within their professional communities. Pictured here: Houston County’s Jesse Davis, 2013 National Distinguished Middle Level Principal of the Year; Forsyth County’s Robin Sweat, 2013 National Outstanding Middle Level Assistant Principal of the Year; Murray County’s Dr. Ardith Bates, 2014 National Distinguished Middle Level Principal of the Year; Glynn County’s Leslie Scarboro, 2014 National Outstanding Middle Level Assistant Principal of the Year; Coweta County’s Dr. Julie Raschen, 2014 National Distinguished Principal; Houston County’s Alicia Conner, 2014 Georgia Distinguished Assistant Principal and 2014 National Distinguished Assistant Principal; and Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools’ Kerry Coursey, 2014 Outstanding Middle Level Educator of the Year. Not pictured, but also honored: GAEL’s Hal Beaver, who received the Dr. John Lounsbury Award for Outstanding Contribution to Middle Level Education.


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 Around the state

 -More than 515 Georgia educators attended “Transforming Educator Preparation (TEP): Building Capacity to Positively Impact P-12 Student Learning Conference,” a conference collaboratively hosted by the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and the University System of Georgia, Sept. 2-4 in Atlanta. Funded by Georgia’s Race to the Top grant, the conference brought together educator preparation providers (EPPs) and their P-12 partners for two and a half days of professional learning focused on Georgia’s transformation of educator preparation; educator certification and renewal; teacher and leader statewide effectiveness systems; and professional learning.

To participate in the conference, EPPs were required to apply for a Planning Award, form a working team comprised of at least one P-12 partner, and select a goal – one related to one or more of the reform areas listed above – to address with that team over the next year.

-The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement has posted videos, unit plans, and supplementary materials created by winners of the Innovation in Teaching competition. The resources represent a variety of grade levels and innovative strategies, from project-based and applied learning to differentiated small group instruction and creative classroom management techniques.

From GOSA: “All of the resources you will find here are real unit plans created by real teachers, and are designed to help you as you implement the CCGPS in your own classrooms. Most importantly, though, we hope that these resources will help your students learn in new ways – off the grid, past the classroom walls, and beyond the textbook.”


-We couldn’t resist another Ice Bucket Challenge update. Here’s Eastvalley Elementary in Cobb County, where students and staff raised $2,339.41 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in just seven school days. On Aug. 29, administrators completed the Ice Bucket Challenge as a reward to the school for exceeding its fundraising goal. L-R: Assistant Administrator Kim Kranzlein, Principal Karen Wacker, and Assistant Principal Dr. Sage Doolittle

Eastvalley Ice Bucket Challenge 2.jpg

Here’s Paulding County Superintendent Cliff Cole taking up the challenge, after being challenged by North Paulding student Bryce Ward:


And here’s a link to the Newton County Theme School’s Ice Bucket Challenge.




Georgia’s public schools in the news

Jenkins students get hands-on engineering experience | Savannah Morning News:


Students earn perfect Latin papers | Gwinnett Daily Post:


Georgia National Merit semifinalists named | AJC:


Save the date

Oct. 8-10: Second Annual Georgia Afterschool and Youth Development Conference. Register here.


Oct. 20-21: The Georgia STEM Forum, Athens. Register here (early registration ends Sept. 19).


Oct. 23-24: Georgia School Public Relations Association Annual Conference. Hotel reservation (by Sept. 22): Conference registration (by Oct. 9): More info:


Dec. 3: Deadline for submissions to the State Botanical Garden’s statewide art competition. Drop submissions off in the lower level of the Callaway Building at the Botanical Garden or mail to Connie Cottingham, 2450 South Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA, 30605. Guidelines: Entry form: More info:


View previous newsletters

September 3, August 22, August 1, June 13, May 30, May 14, May 1, April 11, March 28