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GaDOE Updates Newsletter: December 19

Good afternoon! Welcome to the 13th 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.


In between newsletters, keep up with GaDOE on Facebook and Twitter. And send your tips, ideas, and events for GaDOE Updates to Meghan Frick at


Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays!

Before we dive in to this month’s updates, we’d like to wish students, parents, educators, and community partners a happy, restful, and warm holiday break. We are wishing the best for you and yours, and are grateful for your efforts to improve public education in all seasons.


School Spotlight: Putnam County High’s fast-growing dual-enrollment offerings

At Putnam County High School, persistence, partnerships, and communication have fueled swift growth of the dual-enrollment program. Three years ago, 20 students participated; this year, that number is up to 150 – that’s approximately 23 percent of PCHS students. Students are taking nearly 30 courses on the high school’s campus, along with a handful of distance-education offerings. More than 97 percent of them are earning credit in those courses. Read more about dual enrollment at PCHS, and the strategies that have led to its growth, here.


Get Georgia Reading Campaign: Digital literacy in the Clarke County School District

At Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School on a recent Friday, students are at their desks in a dimmed room, the supplies stacked on their desks backlit by the pale glow of the projector up front. They’re doing a miniature research project, their teacher explains. Just outside, a group of observers is making its way down the hall. “They won’t be surprised to see you here,” says Clarke County School District Superintendent Dr. Phil Lanoue, walking backwards down the hall as he faces the group. “They see groups like this all the time.” The guests in question, on this day, are a group of partners from the Get Georgia Reading campaign. A partnership of private and public organizations across Georgia, the campaign has made strategic learning journeys across the state, learning in person what works. In Clarke County, that’s a strong adaptation to digital demands paired with an emphasis on literacy. Read more here.


Around DOE

-We’ve updated our release on the 2014 Georgia High School Writing Test with school- and system-level results. View them here:


-GaDOE is collaborating with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and the University System of Georgia to provide support for P-20 partnerships that focus on continuous school improvement and student learning and growth through the preparation of candidates and professional development of P-20 educators, and to ensure that candidates are prepared to implement Georgia’s Teacher Keys and Leader Keys Effectiveness System. During the fall of 2014, nine regional collaboratives convened to discuss current initiatives, identify regional resources and needs, and network. Winter 2015 locations and dates have been announced, and online registration is open here.


Around the districts

-Here’s a great holiday story, sent to us by Appling County High School Assistant Principal David Williams. At ACHS, students have decked the school lobby with 21 beautifully decorated, donated Christmas trees from various clubs, organizations and classes. Following the break, trees are delivered by students and school social workers to underprivileged families who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas tree in their home. This year, ACHS Principal Dr. Gene A. Starr, Jr. challenged students and staff to bring in one canned good to be delivered with the trees, and more than 1,600 were donated, more than the 1,200 projected. Additionally, ACHS will provide a gift certificate from a local merchant for families to redeem for a turkey or ham for their Christmas meal. Here’s Principal Starr on the program: “We have experienced a true sense of willingness to help and a true giving spirit.”


Miss Georgia (America) Maggie Bridges, who made a visit to ACHS on Nov. 21, said, “See, this is what it’s all about. Great job ACHS, you’ve got the vision and put it into action.”

-This month, the Gwinnett Daily Post
featured #gwinchat, a weekly Twitter chat for Gwinnett County educators and others interested in education in Gwinnett. We featured the statewide version of these chats – which are part digital, part professional learning, part networking and social support – in GaDOE Updates earlier this year. There’s also #cowetaedchat, which takes place Sundays at 8 p.m. What other Georgia education Twitter chats should we know about?


-From the Bulloch County Schools: The Statesboro Arts Council and Averitt Center for the Arts has received a $10,000 Challenge America fast-track category grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Averitt Center’s gallery program. The Arts Council has chosen to team up with Portal Elementary and Portal Middle/High School art teacher Deena Scarborough to implement several components of the program. Bulloch County Schools spokeswoman Hayley Greene writes, “[Scarborough’s] ability to adapt to meet the standards for the various grade levels is a testament to her talent…we are excited to see what creativity will be fueled by this partnership.”

Georgia’s public schools in the news

-Another great Georgia teacher: her classroom hums with activity | AJC:


-Georgia Innovation Fund projects open students’ minds to what is possible | US ED:


-Preparing kids for a global workforce | 11Alive:


-IB program in Marietta City Schools working to create lifelong learners | Marietta Daily Journal:


Save the date

-Jan. 9-10: Georgia Striving Reader Differentiation Institute, registration here, email with questions


-Jan. 16-17: Georgia Striving Reader Differentiation Institute, registration here, email with questions


-Jan. 20: Deadline to submit entries to the White House Student Film Festival


-Jan. 23-24: Georgia Striving Reader Differentiation Institute, registration here, email with questions


View previous newsletters


December 1, October 9, September 17, September 3, August 22, August 1, June 13, May 30, May 14, May 1, April 11, March 28