Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hispanics are One-in-Five of all Public School Students Nationwide

The number of Hispanic students in the nation's public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. Presently, 10 million Hispanic students attend the nation's public schools, 20% of all public school students.

In 2006 Hispanics were about half of all public school students in California, up from 36% in 1990. They were more than 40% of enrollments in three additional states (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) and between 20% and 40% of all public school students in five states (Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Florida and New York). Overall, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the public schools in 22 states.

Strong growth in Hispanic enrollment is expected to continue for decades, according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau population projection. In 2050, there will be more school-age Hispanic children than school-age non-Hispanic white children.

In order to illuminate this growing group of public school students, the Pew Hispanic Center today releases "One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students," a statistical portrait of the demographic, language, and family background characteristics of the nation's 10 million Hispanic public school students.

Key findings from the report:

The vast majority of Hispanic public school students (84%) were born in the United States.
Seven-in-ten (70%) Hispanic students speak a language other than English at home.
Nearly one-in-five (18%) of all Hispanic students speak English with difficulty.

Nearly three-in-five Hispanic students (57%) live in households with both of their parents compared with 69% of non-Hispanic white students and 30% of non-Hispanic black students.
More than seven-in-ten U.S. born Hispanic students of immigrant parents (71%) live with both parents. Smaller shares of foreign-born students (58%) and U.S.-born students of native parentage (48%) reside with both parents.

More than a quarter of Hispanic students (28%) live in poverty, compared with 16% of non-Hispanic students. In comparison, more than a third of non-Hispanic black students (35%) reside in poverty and about one-in-ten non-Hispanic white students live in a poor household.
Foreign-born Hispanic students (35%) are more likely than their native-born counterparts (27%) to live in poverty.

The report, One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students, is available on the Center's website,

Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Teachers Can Enjoy Exhibits, IMAX®, Curriculum Ideas and Fun at Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Annual Educator Evening

Fernbank Museum of Natural History will host its annual Educator Evening on Tuesday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m. to kick off the 2008-09 school year. This event is held exclusively for teachers and is offered free of charge, allowing educators to explore the Museum’s exhibitions, experience an IMAX® film, meet Fernbank’s education staff, and learn how Fernbank can help inspire students’ learning of science and culture.

Fernbank Museum’s Educator Evening includes:
· A special screening of the new large-format film Wild Ocean
· Admission to the current special exhibition Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins with tips on how to incorporate related lessons into school curriculum
· Opportunities to meet with Fernbank educators and learn about educational offerings, programs and classes
· Admission to the Museum’s permanent exhibitions
· An opportunity to mingle with other teachers while enjoying complimentary wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

This event is open to professional educators and one adult guest only. Reservations for this free event are required by September 9 at 404.929.6400.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road in Atlanta. More information about the Museum, field trips and other educational programs is available at
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Statement from Superintendent Kathy Cox Regarding Clayton County Schools

"I am very saddened that the Clayton County School District has lost its accreditation. My immediate thoughts are with the students, teachers and parents who are directly affected by this decision. The future of many excellent students, especially those in Clayton County high schools, has been thrust into turmoil by the actions of the very people who were elected to look out for their best interests."

"I fully support Governor Perdue's decision today to follow Judge Malihi’s ruling to remove four of the Clayton County School Board members. There is now a window of opportunity for the new and remaining board members to seek reinstatement of the district's accreditation within a year and I hope they will commit themselves to fully addressing all of the concerns raised by SACS. As new members of the Clayton County School Board are seated, it is my hope they will commit to operating in full compliance with the letter and spirit of all local and state rules, laws and regulations."

"In the meantime, I will work with Governor Perdue, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis and other leaders around the state to help secure the futures of these students and all who attend Clayton County public schools. We will seek any and all flexibility in state policies and rules to make sure thousands of students are not harmed by the actions of the school board."

"It is important for the public to know that today's decision reflects solely on the actions of the Clayton County School Board. It is not reflective of the many excellent educators and students in Clayton County."

"Additionally, I hope today's announcement serves as a reminder to all citizens just how important it is for a district to have a functional, productive and professional school board. As we approach election day, I hope Georgia voters will take the time to get to know their school board candidates and choose those that they believe will best represent the interests of students, teachers and citizens. The power is in your hands."
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Governor Removes Clayton County School Board Members

Governor Sonny Perdue issued an Executive Order today removing four members of the Clayton County School Board - Michelle Strong, Louise Baines-Hunter, Yolonda Everett and Sandra Scott - who were found by State Administrative Hearing Judge Michael Malihi to have violated their duties under state law. The Executive Order also formally removed Rod Johnson and Norreese Haynes who had previously resigned or been removed. The removal means special elections will be held in November to serve the remainder of Sandra Scott’s and Michelle Strong’s terms, which end on December 31, 2010. Regular elections are already being held for the seats occupied by Yolanda Everett and Louise Baines-Hunter, whose terms are up at the end of 2008.

“The fate of the Clayton County School System is now in the hands of the voters,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Through the elections to replace these four board members, they can send a clear signal that the kind of behavior that has led to this ruling and the system’s loss of accreditation will not be tolerated. We can hope that this marks a new day for Clayton County, a time in which rebuilding can begin.”

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) today revoked accreditation of the Clayton County school system. SACS’s vote was largely based on the actions of the board. After the Governor’s decision to remove these four board members, all nine that were on the board when SACS began its investigation have now either resigned or been removed.

“I can only hope the remaining members of the board, parents and teachers will treat the loss of accreditation as a wake up call to pull together and make substantive changes in the way this system is operated,” Governor Perdue said. “Even the state’s offer of help was met with resistance from the board. We will now turn our focus to helping the system regain accreditation as quickly as possible.”

The remaining three Board members, Michael King, Trinia Garrett, and Alieka Anderson, are empowered to appoint individuals to fill the vacancies left by Johnson, Baines-Hunter and Everett. There will also be a special election for September 16, 2008 to fill a position vacated by board chairman Eddie White in April 2008. The terms of the new members appointed and elected in this fashion will end December 31, 2008. The persons filling those positions beginning January 1, 2009 will be elected in the November general election.

In April, Governor Perdue signed two pieces of legislation to help students who are affected by the Clayton County School District’s potential loss of accreditation: SB 480 and HB 1302. SB 480 allows students from schools that are accredited “currently or within the last two years” to receive the HOPE scholarship. HB 1302 put into place an extensive code of ethics for members of the Clayton County Board of Education and established a local ethics commission to review the actions of the school board and receive ethics complaints against board members.

Also, the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) clarified their policies to reassure Clayton County parents and students that these institutions will continue to accept students from schools in the district, as long as they meet regular admission requirements.

In February, Governor Perdue appointed two Special Liaisons to serve in an advisory role and offer guidance to the Clayton County school board in completing the steps outlined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Committee by September 1, 2008 to avoid a loss of the system’s accreditation. He also took a series of steps to help the system maintain its SACS accreditation by asking for state agency assistance in the three separate audits recommended by SACS. The state auditor’s office reviewed audits of the school system’s finances. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement audited the system’s attendance records. Governor Perdue also requested that Secretary of State Karen Handel, in her capacity as the state’s chief elections official, audit the election of the members of the Clayton County school board to ensure that such elections fully complied with Georgia law.

Governor Perdue even proposed legislation that would have allowed the voters to remove an entire school board of a system that loses accreditation. The bill, Senate Bill 535, failed to pass this legislative session.

Text of the Executive Order:

WHEREAS: On June 23, 2008, and pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45-10-4, Dyane Simmons, George E. Glaze, George T. Brown, Albert B. Wallace and G. Robert Oliver (collectively “Petitioners”) filed charges with my office against Clayton County Board of Education members Michelle Strong, Lois Baines-Hunter, Sandra Scott, Yolanda Everett, Norreese Haynes, W. Rod Johnson and David Ashe (collectively “Respondents”); and

WHEREAS: The charges alleged that Respondents violated the State Code of Ethics, specifically: (1) the obligation to uphold the laws of the State of Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3 (1); and (2) the obligation to “never engage in conduct that is unbecoming to a member or which constitutes a breach of the public trust,” O.C.G.A. § 45-10-3(8); and

WHEREAS: I determined that the charges levied against the Respondents raised sufficient, specific allegations that warranted review pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45-10-4, and I appointed the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings to serve as my designated agent to “conduct a hearing for the purpose of receiving evidence relative to the merits of [the] charges;” and

WHEREAS: Administrative Law Judge Michael M. Malihi recommended on August 12, 2008 that Respondent W. Rod Johnson be removed based on Mr. Johnson’s “wish to resign rather than participate in the evidentiary hearing;” and

WHEREAS: Judge Malihi recommended on August 13, 2008 that Respondent Norreese Haynes be removed for failing to appear at the hearing; and

WHEREAS: Judge Malihi recognized that David Ashe was “also dismissed as a named Respondent because he had already effectively resigned from the Board at the time the hearing commenced;” and

WHEREAS: Judge Malihi presided over an extensive hearing and concluded that the Respondents Scott, Baines-Hunter, Strong and Everett each committed ethical violations prohibited by O.C.G.A. §§ 45-10-3(1) and 45-10-3(8); and

WHEREAS: I have reviewed Judge Malihi’s orders and determined that the charges are true.


ORDERED: Respondents Michelle Strong, Lois Baines-Hunter, Sandra Scott, Yolanda Everett, Norreese Haynes, and W. Rod Johnson be removed from office, and that the vacancies thereby created be filled as provided by law.

This 28th day of August, 2008.
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Georgia Educator Wins 2009 High School Principal of the Year

Mark D. Wilson, of Morgan County High School, was named the 2009 High School Principal of the Year on Thursday, making it two years in a row that a principal from Georgia has received the award.

"Mark Wilson is an exceptional principal who has helped the students of Morgan County High School make tremendous strides in a fairly short period of time," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "He's innovative and motivated and uses creative strategies to get the most out of his students and his teachers. He's very deserving of this award and I am very proud of him and his team at Morgan County High School."

Officials from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) surprised Wilson during a student assembly at his school. Local and state officials were also on hand to present Wilson with the award. A resolution from State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox and the State Board of Education was presented to Wilson during the ceremony.

Molly Howard, of Jefferson County High School, was the NASSP High School Principal of the Year for 2008.

"The fact that the high school Principal of the Year has come from Georgia for two consecutive years is a testament to the quality of our school leaders in Georgia," Superintendent Cox said.


Wilson has been an educator for 20 years, beginning his career as a Social Studies and English teacher in South Carolina. In 2003, he was named the principal of Morgan County High School in Madison, Georgia.

During his tenure, he has implemented innovative strategies such as a "hybrid schedule" that facilitates teacher planning and collaboration, builds the teacher/student relationship and allows students to receive additional help during the school day. Under Wilson's leadership, Morgan County High School has dramatically increased the number of students taking Advanced Placement and other rigorous courses.

Since 2003, Morgan County High School has raised its graduation rate more than 10 points to 82 percent and has closed the achievement gap in critical areas, including English language arts.

Morgan County High School is part of the Morgan County Public School system, under the leadership of Superintendent Stan DeJarnett.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2008 SAT Results Released; Georgia Ranks 45th in Nation

The 2008 SAT results contain some good news for Georgia but also demonstrate the need to continue to implement more rigorous standards, especially in mathematics.

"The results once again show that Georgia's African-American and Hispanic students are outperforming their peers across the nation, and that's good news," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "But clearly we must continue to raise expectations for our students in mathematics, reading and all areas of the curriculum."

Governor Sonny Perdue said: "Georgia’s schools are seeing improvement in graduation rates, ACT scores and other test results, and we will analyze these SAT results and our SAT programs to make sure we are doing everything we can to help students prepare for this test. Once again, our African American and Hispanic students outscored their counterparts across the nation, but we will not be satisfied until our aggregate results reflect the talented students and teachers that are working hard to improve achievement."

Georgia's 2008 seniors -- including public, private and homeschooled students -- had an average score of 1,466 on the SAT and a national rank of 47th. Public school seniors scored a 1,453 on the SAT in 2008 and a national rank of 45th in the nation.

It is expected that the results on the SAT and all tests will improve as the state continues the implementation of its more rigorous curriculum and new graduation requirements. The new graduation requirement calls for all students to take four years of mathematics and science, while providing enough flexibility for students to pursue their different areas of interest.

"The results of the work we are doing now to provide a rigorous and relevant education for all students may not impact our SAT scores for a few years, yet," Superintendent Cox said. "But it is important that we remain committed to a plan that will provide students with the education they need to be ready for college and the jobs of the 21st century."


Superintendent Cox said that Georgia can better prepare students for college entrance exams, and raise its average SAT scores, by continuing to focus on improving student achievement in core areas, especially mathematics.

Georgia's students were 22 points under the national average in mathematics -- the largest difference of any of the three parts of the test. Even Georgia students who took higher level mathematics classes trailed the national average when compared to other advanced math students.

"Our mathematics scores are like an anchor -- they are weighing us down and keeping us from moving up as a state," said Superintendent Cox. "I know the state's new mathematics curriculum and the graduation rule requirements will better prepare students for the SAT, for post-secondary education and for the world of work."

None of Georgia's 2008 seniors had been taught using the state's new mathematics curriculum. The Georgia Performance Standards in mathematics are being introduced to students in grade 9 this school year. The new standards will be phased in one grade at a time until 2012. Also starting with this year's ninth-graders, all students will have to take four years of mathematics in order to graduate, not just college-bound students.


Georgia's African-American and Hispanic students scored higher than the nation once again in 2008.

African-American students in Georgia had an average combined score of 1,282, which was two points higher than the national average for African-American students. Hispanic students in Georgia had an average combined score of 1,423, which was 59 points higher than the national average for Hispanic students.

Georgia continues to have one of the largest African-American test-taking populations in the nation. In fact, Georgia's African-American test takers account for nearly a tenth of the African-American test takers in the nation.

"More of our students each year are pursuing the dream of going to college," Superintendent Cox said. "Therefore, we must make sure all students are well-prepared for what they will see on the SAT so they will have a better chance of getting into the college of their choice and being successful once they get there."


Superintendent Cox said the department is going to closely look at the SAT data to try to figure out why statewide achievement is stagnant on this test.

There are many efforts underway to improve SAT scores, including free on-line SAT preparation classes to all high school students; paying for every public school 10th grader to take the PSAT; training teachers around the state on how to use PSAT data to guide instruction and increasing the number of students taking rigorous Advanced Placement classes.

"On other national tests, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the ACT, Georgia's scores are rising. But on the SAT, we saw a slight drop," Superintendent Cox said. "We need to work with the College Board and figure out what's going on."

A quick analysis of the data provided by the College Board indicates there are some trends that deserve further study. Most notably, fewer students are taking the SAT more than once. Since 2005, the percentage of students taking the SAT more than once has dropped from 63 percent to 55 percent. This is significant because students who take the test more than once score higher the second and third times. Since the College Board reports the scores of the last test a student takes, this could pull the scores down.

This drop in SAT retesters coincides with an increase in the number of students who are taking the ACT. In 2008, about 38 percent of Georgia's seniors took the ACT -- up 12 percent from the previous year -- and the state's composite score and national rank jumped.

"Georgia is not just an "SAT state" anymore," Superintendent Cox said. "But we are committing ourselves to providing a high-quality education to all students so they are ready for the SAT, the ACT or whatever challenge they face in the 21st century."
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

GaDOE’s School Nutrition Program and USDA Announce 2008-09 Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the 2008-09 income guidelines for free and reduced-price meals served under the school breakfast and lunch programs administered by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).

Georgia public school students who are members of households receiving food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits are eligible for free meals. If those households have been notified that their children are directly certified for free meals, they do not need to apply for free or reduced-price meals. If households do not wish their children to receive free meals, they are to notify the school immediately.

In addition, students that attend Georgia public schools and certain eligible private schools who are unable to pay the full price for their meals are encouraged to apply for free or reduced-priced meals. For students from households with incomes at or below the levels shown on the attached chart, meals are available for free or reduced-price.

Foster children may be eligible regardless of the income of the household where they reside. A foster child’s eligibility is based on the child’s personal use income. In addition, students from households receiving food stamps or TANF who were not identified during the statewide direct certification process will be approved solely on the basis of their eligibility for those programs.

In order for school officials to determine eligibility, households receiving food stamps or TANF are required only to list the child’s name and his or her food stamp or TANF case number and provide a signature of an adult household member. Households not receiving food stamps or TANF must list the names of all household members, the amount and source of current income by each household member including the frequency, the signature of an adult household member and a complete social security number of the adult household member who signs the application or an indication that the household member does not have one.

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verifying data. We may inform officials connected with other child nutrition, health and education programs of the information on your form to determine benefits for those programs or for funding and/or evaluation purposes.

Households are not required to report changes in household circumstances such as household size or change in income or change in a food stamp or TANF program; however, the family may voluntarily report changes. If a household member becomes unemployed, or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the levels shown above. Free and reduced-price applications may be submitted at any time during the school year.

Each public school has a copy of the free and reduced-price meal policy indicating who is responsible for determining eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official may wish to discuss the decision informally with that person. Parents or guardians wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request, either orally or in writing, to the hearing officer. The school office or the system superintendent’s office can provide the name, address, and phone number of the hearing officer.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

In accordance with State and Federal law, the Georgia Department of Education prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its educational and employment activities. Inquiries regarding the application of these practices may be addressed to the General Counsel of the Georgia Department of Education, 2052 Twin Towers East, Atlanta, Georgia, 30334, (404) 656-2800.

For more information about the application process, contact the school principal, the system superintendent, or the School Nutrition Program of the Georgia Department of Education, 1662 Twin Towers East, Atlanta, Georgia 30334 (404.651.6601). Learn more about Georgia’s School Nutrition Program:

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

DeCotis (Fayette) Finalist For State School Superintendent of the Year

School Superintendent John DeCotis has been chosen as one of four finalists for the 2009 Georgia School Superintendent of the Year award given by the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA).

DeCotis was selected as a finalist for the prestigious honor from approximately 20 nominations. The other finalists are Beverly Hall, Atlanta Public Schools, Beauford Hicks, Mitchell County Public Schools and Sam King, Rockdale County Public Schools.

Each of the four finalists will now complete the lengthy application furnished by the American Association of School Administrators, and after reviewing those applications, the selection committee will choose Georgia's 2009 Superintendent of the Year.

The four finalists and their boards will be recognized as part of the Awards Luncheon at the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA)/GSSA Winter Conference at the Waverly Hotel (Cobb County) on December 5, 2008. The winner will be announced at that same event.
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Sallie Mae Originates Loans under Federal Solution

BUSINESS WIRE --SLM Corporation (NYSE:SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, today issued the following statement regarding implementation of the U.S. Department of Educations loan participation purchase program authorized under the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008:

We are the first company to receive funds under the U.S. Department of Educations new program that guarantees there will not be a shortage of federal student loans this year. Sallie Mae is actively reaching out to students and colleges to make sure that every student at every college has access to federal student loans.

We also stand ready to continue working with Congress and the Administration to bolster the long-term health of the student lending program.

Sallie Mae was approved to participate in this program on Aug. 14. An initial funding request was made on Aug. 15, and the company received funding in three business days. Sallie Mae estimates that it will originate $20 billion or more in federal Stafford and PLUS loans eligible for participation in the Department of Educations program this academic year.

SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, is the nations leading provider of saving- and paying-for-college programs. The company manages nearly $172 billion in education loans and serves 10 million student and parent customers. Through its Upromise affiliates, the company also manages more than $19 billion in 529 college-savings plans, and is a major, private source of college funding contributions in America with 9 million members and $425 million in member rewards. Sallie Mae and its subsidiaries offer debt management services as well as business and technical products to a range of business clients, including higher education institutions, student loan guarantors and state and federal agencies. More information is available at SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Clayton State University Ranked in Top 10 “People’s Choice” in Georgia Colleges and Universities

Clayton State University is “The People’s Choice” when it comes to Georgia colleges and universities, according to survey statistics published in the fourth annual Ranking Georgia’s Colleges and Universities edition of “James” magazine, the state’s only monthly news magazine.

The ranking shows Clayton State among the top 10 public and private institutions in the state as, “the institution Georgians ‘most identify with as to interest, support and favorable opinion.’”
“Georgia has become a dynamic state for higher education,” says “James” publisher Matt Towery. “Our college and university presidents, by and large, are the finest crop we’ve ever enjoyed… This year’s survey tells us Georgians now identify with the progress of many institutions.”

The June issue of “James” also announced Clayton State’s transition from a commuter to residential campus, citing the addition of Laker Hall, the University’s first on-campus housing facility, which open’s next month.

To learn more about Clayton State and its top 10 ranking in “James,” contact the Clayton State University Office of University Relations at (678) 466-4463.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Governor Perdue Announces 112 High Performance Principals

Governor Sonny Perdue and State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced today the names of 112 High Performance Principals that have overseen dramatic improvements in student achievement in Georgia public schools.

“These outstanding educators have fostered school environments that are conducive to student achievement,” said Governor Perdue. “As I have often said, it is important to keep score, measure results and then recognize success. These principals have excelled in their efforts, and I am pleased to honor them with the designation of High Performance Principal.”
Governor Perdue introduced the High Performance Principal program in 2006 to recognize excellent school leaders.

“As a teacher for 15 years, I know the huge impact a great principal can have on a school,” said Superintendent Cox. “Year after year, our High Performance Principals have been getting the job done by empowering teachers, engaging parents and inspiring students.”

Three criteria were used to identify possible High Performance Principals:

- Data: The data must show that a principal led improvement at a low-performing school or brought a good school to a higher level
- Longevity: The principal must have been assigned to his or her school for at least three consecutive years
- Recommendation: The principal must be recommended for the designation by his or her school system.

Below are the names of the principals earning the “High Performance Principal” designation for 2008:


Herndon, G. S., Appling County, Appling County Elementary School
Johnson, Keith, Appling County, Appling County Middle School
Hamer, Rosemary, Atlanta Public Schools, Bethune Elementary School
Evans, Karen M., Atlanta Public Schools, Brandon Elementary School
Jessie, Alfonso L., Atlanta Public Schools, Cascade Elementary School
Barber, Marcus A., Atlanta Public Schools, Fickett Elementary School
Reich, Lorraine B., Atlanta Public Schools, Jackson Elementary School
Robinson, Mae B., Atlanta Public Schools, M. A. Jones Elementary School
Barlow Brown, Karen D., Atlanta Public Schools, Peyton Forest Elementary School
Baker, Sidney E, Atlanta Public Schools, Smith Elementary School
Rogers, Gwendolyn G., Atlanta Public Schools, Usher Elementary School
Davis, Clarietta M., Atlanta Public Schools, Venetian Hills Elementary School
May, Cynthia C., Atlanta Public Schools, West Manor Elementary School
Lavant, Patricia P., Atlanta Public Schools, Whitefoord Elementary School
Underdue, Donell, Atlanta Public Schools, Connally Elementary School
Bockman, Elizabeth B., Atlanta Public Schools, Inman Middle School
Goolsby, Flora W., Atlanta Public Schools, Walden Middle School
Smith, Tyronne M., Atlanta Public Schools, Mays High School
Carter, Shirlene B., Atlanta Public Schools, Southside High School
Proctor, Dennis Lewis, Berrien County, Berrien Middle School
Townsend, Annette W., Bleckley County, Bleckley County Elementary School
Taylor, Charles E., Carroll County, Bowdon High School
Newton, Julie E., Chatham County, Bartow Elementary School
Ball, Rebecca W., Chatham County, Jacob G. Smith Elementary School
Macmillan, Theodore Haff, Clarke County, Barrow Elementary School
Lattizori, Robin E., Cobb County, Mount Bethel Elementary School
Griffeth, Doreen R., Cobb County, Shallowford Falls Elementary School
Snell, James H., III, Cobb County, Dodgen Middle School
Stowers, Charlotte, Cobb County, Pope High School
Higgins, Thomas S., Cobb County, Walton High School
Evans, Bernadette G., Coffee County, Ambrose Elementary School
Davis, Bainard M., Coffee County, Eastside Elementary School
Harper, Sue S., Coffee County, Satilla Elementary School
Paschal, Michelle H., Columbia County, Stevens Creek Elementary School
Carney, Jeffrey L., Columbia County, Lakeside High School
Smith, Kay S., Crisp County, A. S. Clark Elementary School
Thomas, Marvin V., Decatur County, Hutto Middle School
Frazer, Linda Dianne, DeKalb County, Austin Elementary School
Heckman, Elizabeth W., DeKalb County, Brockett Elementary School
McCraw, Elizabeth Ann, DeKalb County, Idlewood Elementary School
Humble, Gail Ann, DeKalb County, Kittredge Magnet School
Dillard, Carmen Lucille, DeKalb County, Oak Grove Elementary School
Burger, Charlene Smith, DeKalb County, Vanderlyn Elementary School
McCauley, Susan Marie, DeKalb County, DeKalb School of the Arts
Williams, Carolyn D., DeKalb County, Stone Mountain High School
Hilliard, Thomas M., Dodge County, North Dodge Elementary School
Mallard, Wanda M., Dougherty County, International Studies Elementary Magnet
Thursby, Holly R., Dougherty County, Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet
Nail, Pamela A., Douglas County, Winston Elementary School
Holland, Diane Welch, Evans County, Claxton Middle School
Bell, Wenonah M., Fayette County, Braelinn Elementary School
Bullock, Karen F., Fayette County, Kedron Elementary School
Patton, Lenore T., Fayette County, Rising Starr Middle School
Fleming, Tracie G., Fayette County, McIntosh High School
Terry, Sonia B, Fulton County, Crabapple Crossing Elementary School
Curry, Steven E., Fulton County, Findley Oaks Elementary School
Dorenkamp, Susan J., Fulton County, Heards Ferry Elementary School
Martin, John E., Fulton County, State Bridge Crossing Elementary School
Melin, Dawn V., Fulton County, River Trail Middle School
Fogartie, Elizabeth V., Fulton County, Webb Bridge Middle School
Zervakos, Peter F., Fulton County, Northview High School
Spurka, Edward J., Fulton County, Roswell High School
Meadors, Sarah T., Gainesville City, Enota Elementary School
Morrison, Nancy M., Gwinnett County, Bethesda Elementary School
Jones, Kathryn M., Gwinnett County, Camp Creek Elementary School
Ray, Mary S., Gwinnett County, Craig Elementary School
Farmer, Michelle, Gwinnett County, Head Elementary School
Allison, Laurie A., Gwinnett County, J. A. Alford Elementary
Watlington, Terry A., Gwinnett County, Kanoheda Elementary School
Beasley, Jacqueline V., Gwinnett County, Lilburn Elementary School
Rutledge, Cynthia A., Gwinnett County, McKendree Elementary School
Ackerman, Margaret M, Gwinnett County, Meadowcreek Elementary School
Barlow, Richard C., Gwinnett County, Riverside Elementary School
Stranahan, Vivian R., Gwinnett County, Shiloh Elementary School
Schmit, Bron Gayna, Gwinnett County, Simpson Elementary School
Campbell, John P., Gwinnett County, Frank N. Osborne Middle School
Stegall, Martha J., Gwinnett County, Brookwood High School
Clark, Valerie M., Gwinnett County, Central Gwinnett High School
Blenke, Albert P., Gwinnett County, Duluth High School
Buchanan, Charles D, Gwinnett County, Parkview High School
Tompkins, Paulette, Houston County, Kings Chapel Elementary School
Lauristen, Preston K., Houston County, Russell Elementary School
Elrod, Kathy K., Jackson County, North Jackson Elementary School
Johns, Pam G., Jackson County, South Jackson Elementary School
Kitterman, Hulet E., Jefferson County ,Louisville Academy
Holton, Judy, Jenkins County, Jenkins County Elementary School
Warren, John M, Laurens County, Northwest Laurens Elementary
Johnson, James M., Liberty County, Jordye Bacon Elementary School
Carmichael, Pamela A., Lincoln County, Lincoln County Middle School
Rhodes, Steven, McDuffie County, Norris Elementary School
Powell, Claude, McDuffie County, Thomson Middle School
Collins,Vernonica Jennings, Muscogee County, Britt David Elem. Computer Magnet Academy
Talley, Pauline H., Muscogee County, Davis Elementary School
Cassell, Melana S., Muscogee County, Edgewood Elementary School
Robison, Ann Schwan, Muscogee County, Hannan Elementary
Wilson, Carlton, Pickens County, Hill City Elementary School
Smith, Harry Anthony, Pierce County, Pierce County High School
Dallas, Janina C., Richmond County, McBean Elementary School
Addison, Vicky D., Richmond County, Davidson Magnet School
Stubbs, Robert Larry, Schley County, Schley Middle High School
Stowe, Robert M., Stephens County, Eastanollee Elementary School
Whiten, Sherrie A., Stephens County, Toccoa Elementary School
Wilcox, James Garrett, Tattnall County, Reidsville Middle School
Deep, Timothy B., Telfair County, Telfair County High School
Stanley, Renee B., Toombs County, Toombs Central Elementary School
Cook, Anne H., Troup County, Ethel Kight Magnet Elementary School
Thompson, Mary Alane, Troup County, West Side Magnet School
Hale, Martha Burtz, Union County, Union County Elementary School
Warren, Gwen Y., Vidalia City, J. R. Trippe Middle School
Tanner, Darlene C., Ware County, Ware Magnet School
Otte, Larry J., Whitfield County, Dug Gap Elementary School
Jackson, Andrew, Wilkes County, Washington-Wilkes High School

Community News You Can Use

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It’s Back to School at Clayton State

It’s back to school on Monday, Aug. 18 for Clayton State University… the newest residential campus in the State of Georgia.

The students in the University’s first on-campus housing, Laker Hall, will be starting classes Monday morning as part of approximately 6000 graduate and undergraduate students in two locations – the main campus in Morrow and the University’s instructional site, Clayton State – Fayette, located in Peachtree City, Ga.

Laker Hall, the 451-bed, 178,000 square foot student housing facility located on the north side of Clayton State Boulevard, opened on Tuesday, Aug. 12, and students – mostly first-time, full-time freshmen – having been moving in since Thursday, Aug. 14. They’re joining a fairly select grouping nationwide, since only about one-third of all colleges and universities in the U.S. have on-campus residential housing for students.

“The success of our students has always been the primary focus at Clayton State University,” says Clayton State President Dr. Thomas K. Harden. “Our professors have, from the beginning of the institution, provided their expertise and effort to each student so he or she would have a good opportunity to succeed in class. We have also provided our guidance and personal assistance to enhance students’ probability of reaching their life goals.

“In 2008, as the new residence hall comes on line, Clayton State continues to provide transformational experiences for our students.”

Laker Hall is a public/private venture, funded by a bond project with the Development Authority of Clayton County the issuing agency. Built and paid for without the use of any state funds, Laker Hall is owned by Clayton State University Foundation Real Estate I LLC, and leased to the University System of Georgia with the lease payments coming from housing rental.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
Community News You Can Use

Georgia Makes Progress with IDEA

The state of Georgia is making progress in meeting all the requirements of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

However, Georgia – like 37 other states – needs to make improvements in some areas. As a state, Georgia met the expectations of the federal government in seven of nine indicators of compliance with IDEA. The two indicators that Georgia’s did not meet expectations, based on 2005-2006 data, are as follows:

The federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) expects 100 percent of children who turn three and were determined to be eligible for services to have an Individualized Education Plan. In Georgia, this percentage was 84 percent, which was up from the previous year (FY2005).

The federal Office of Special Education Progress (OSEP) expects 100 percent of all evaluations to determine if a child has special needs to occur within 60 days. In Georgia, this percentage was 88 percent, which was up from the previous year (FY2005).

OSEP has determined that Georgia is a “Needs Assistance” state for the second consecutive year. Georgia is one of 31 “Needs Assistance” states and one of 23 states in the second consecutive year of such status. There are six additional states, plus the District of Columbia, that are in the more serious "needs intervention" status.

IDEA requires the state to notify the public of its determination, which is the purpose of this press release.

Georgia must now avail itself of technical assistance offered by the U.S. Department of Education to improve compliance in the two areas listed above. That technical assistance will be shared with the local systems to improve compliance.

The GaDOE reports publicly each year on the state’s progress and on the performance of districts on the indicators included in the State Performance Plan and the Annual Performance Report. These public reports can be found on the Georgia Department of Education's Website at
Community News You Can Use

Friday, August 15, 2008

Superintendent Cox Seeks Student Advisors

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox is accepting applications for her 2008-2009 Student Advisory Council.

The members of the Student Advisory Council meet four times during the school year with Superintendent Cox to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia. Members are advisors and act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the students of Georgia.

All students in grades 9-12 are eligible to apply. Meeting dates are: October 20, 2008; December 8, 2008; February 9, 2009, and April 13, 2009 (dates are tentative and are subject to change.) Applicants should be able to attend all four meetings.

To be eligible for the Council, applications must be received by September 12, 2008.

INTERESTED STUDENTS: Courtney Burnett, External Affairs: (404) 657-1340 or
Community News You Can Use

Thursday, August 14, 2008

UWG Named as a Best Southeastern College

The Princeton Review has recognized the University of West Georgia as a Best Southeastern College for the year 2009. The recognition marks the sixth consecutive year that UWG has been awarded the prestigious listing.

The regional rankings, which covers four regions and lists 639 schools in the nation as being the best, is determined by student opinion and surveys.

UWG President Beheruz N. Sethna said the 375-acre campus at West Georgia is a great environment for learning.

“I am delighted that UWG has been recognized as a Best Southeastern College by the Princeton Review for the sixth consecutive year,” said Sethna. “This vote of confidence reflects the high esteem in which we are held in the region. Our thanks to the students and the Princeton Review for this honor.”

The lists, school profiles and the student comments provide an uncensored view of life on campus and give valuable information to students searching for the right college in a region suitable for them. Students are able to fill out the survey online at any time.

The Richards College of Business and UWG have been recognized in two other rankings: the RCOB was ranked sixth nationally as one of the greatest opportunities for minority students, and UWG has been listed as one of America’s Best Value Colleges in 2007 and 2008.

Georgia Front Page

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia's Own Credit Union Awards Fayetteville Student $2,000

In the continued spirit of giving back to the community, Georgia’s Own Credit Union presented Amy Evans of Fayetteville a $2,000 college scholarship. Evans was the third-place winner in Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s college scholarship contest. Evans is a rising freshman at the University of Georgia and plans to study chemistry. Some of her numerous accomplishments included membership in the National Honors Society, Beta Club, chorus, and the Girl Scouts.

For seven years, Georgia’s Own Credit Union has given scholarships to young adults who demonstrate good financial habits, a commitment to their community and a commendable academic record. Applicants were required to write an essay outlining their goals, aspirations, and future plans. Evans was one of the many exemplary students who applied this year.

According to Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s CEO, Charlotte Ayers“Each year, the selection process becomes more difficult as the number and quality of applications increases. We congratulate all of our young adult members for their outstanding achievements, and we are honored to facilitate the education of these future leaders.”

To find out more about Georgia’s Own Credit Union or its youth programs, visit
Community News You Can Use

Atlanta Mayor’s Youth Program Participants “Tee Up” for College

Rodriguez Lowery, Brandon Bradley, Eric Davis, Shelton Davis, and Willie Brown, all graduates of Southside High School located in East Atlanta, received a $250.00 gift card, a laptop, and financial assistance to cover any needs unmet by the golf scholarships they received from Talladega College, Grambling State University, and Winston State University. Mayor Shirley Franklin and Tony Dozier, President and CEO of TDC Systems Integration were on hand to present the awards before the students left for their fall semesters.

Lowery, Davis, and Brown have been playing golf together since they were children at the East Lake Junior Golf Academy, now called the First Tee of East Lake. In 1995, the East Lake Foundation was established to provide new opportunities for families who live in the East Lake Community in Atlanta and improve the neighborhood through diverse after-school programs, including a golf program. The students were exposed to opportunities to play various courses, meet professionals, and attend PGA tournaments.

One of those opportunities came in the form of meeting Dozier, who also sits on the board of the Friends of the First Tee of East Lake Foundation at the East Lake Country Club. Dozier, who has been an avid supporter of the Mayor’s Youth Program, recognized an opportunity to advocate for these five students and help direct them to colleges where they could play golf and receive an excellent education.

Three of the students, Lowery, Davis, and Brown, were advised by Dozier to apply to Talladega College. Talladega’s golf team had been the 1997 golf champions, but they had not had a team for the past several years. Dozier met Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, President of Talladega College at a recent UNCF luncheon. Following the event Mr. Dozier began working with College officials to establish a new partnership and he initiated meetings for the students to meet the golf coach. Dozier was confident that Lowery, Davis and Brown could revive the schools defunct golf team. Other students, Brandon Bradley and Shelton Davis, are attending Grambling State University and Winston Salem State University with partial golf scholarships.

“The Mayor’s Youth Program has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many Atlanta students who need encouragement and assistance. I’m delighted to play a small role in seeing these East Lake First Tee golfers get an education and much needed support from Mayor Franklin and Deborah Lum,” said Dozier.

Shirley Franklin’s vision for the Mayor’s Youth Program strives to bring together business and community leaders in a way that provides opportunities for Atlanta’s youth to prosper. Through the program, relationships are fostered to promote advocacy for the students who have little knowledge of how to gage the process of choosing an appropriate college, applying, and paying for it. The program receives contributions from Atlanta’s corporate community and major non-profit donors in the form of financial contributions, volunteerism, internships, and student mentoring.

“Creating a plan for their future through the Mayor’s Youth Program, many students’ lives have been forever changed. It is our responsibility as a community to further assist them as they become active members in our community and the leaders of tomorrow,” said Mayor Franklin.

Since it’s inception in 2005, the Mayor’s Youth Program has assisted over 1,800 students transition into over 150 colleges and universities with grants, books, housing, transportation and encouragement. Already this year, over 330 students from the class of 2008 have received financial assistance to help cover their unmet needs and are fully engaged in making real world plans for their lives after High School.
Community News You Can Use

ABA Approves New Paralegal Baccalaureate Degree for Clayton State

Clayton State University is adding another new baccalaureate degree, this time in a discipline where the University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) has already established a significant record of success.

For the past decade, the Paralegal Studies programs, which included both a certificate program and an associate’s degree program, have been a shining star in first the Clayton State School of Technology and now the College of Professional Studies. On Wednesday, June 11, 2008, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) approved Clayton State’s proposal to add a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies to the University’s existing American Bar Association (ABA)-approved associates (A.A.S.) degree program. Following the Regents’ approval, the ABA recently gave its approval for the new program, notes Matthew S. Cornick, J.D., assistant professor and program coordinator of the Paralegal Studies program.

“We are ready to start admitting students into the B.S. program immediately,” he says. “We're the only ABA-approved program in the city and one of the few schools in the country with certificate, A.A.S. and B.S. programs. And, with the HOPE Scholarship, this is a good field for field changers -- a lot of folks do this. It's the best deal in town.”

The B.S. degree is significantly more advanced than the on-going associate/certificate programs. However, the undergraduate degree has much significance to past and present students in Clayton State’s A.A.S. program.

“The majority of our B.S. students will come from our current A.A.S. students who are looking for the opportunity to continue their education,” says Cornick. “Employers in the field want employees with a bachelor’s degree. That's more and more the trend.”

Cornick also points out that the associates degree previously only led to a Bachelors of Applied Science in Administrative Management. Now, with the B.S. option available, a lot more doors will be opened, due in part to a rigorous curriculum written into the B.S. degree proposal by Assistant Professor of Paralegal Studies Mara Mooney, J.D.

“Mara Mooney essentially wrote the entire proposal for the USG. It was reviewed by myself and Associate Dean Dr. Benita Moore, but Mara deserves the lion's share of the credit,” says Cornick. “We re-mapped the curriculum for all of our programs… they bear almost no similarity to the old curriculum. However, the bachelor’s is an extension of what we're already doing in the certificate and associate’s programs.

“We're really pleased that the general education courses contain a lot of English and history, a lot of sophisticated writing and reading. Communications skills at the highest possible level are needed. The degree serves a purpose and the requirements aren't easy. The students who take the program will earn their degree, and they'll be very well prepared.”

“We are proud to add this new degree to our existing array of certificate, associate, bachelor and graduate degrees that provide professional education and training for the region,” says Dr. Rodger Bates, dean of the College of Professional Studies.

The new B.S. degree may cap the paralegal program at Clayton State, however Cornick points out that the certificate program, which is only available to students with at least two full years of college credit, is supported by the HOPE Grant, and presents another strong option for potential paralegals.

“Most of our certificate students are able to attend practically for free. If someone already has his/her degree, the certificate program is an ideal option,” he says.

For further information on Clayton State’s Paralegal Studies program, contact Cornick at

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
Community News You Can Use

CRCT Retest Scores Show Improvement

Pass rates on the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests in grades 3, 5 and 8 improved dramatically after students received extra instruction over the summer and had the chance to take the test again.

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox shared the information with the State Board of Education Wednesday afternoon.

"We knew that many of our students were very close to passing the CRCTs in reading and math and that a little extra instruction would help them get over the bar -- and that's exactly what happened," said Superintendent Cox. "We now have thousands more students who are ready for the work they will see in the next grade."

After retest results are added in, 77 percent of Georgia's eighth-graders and 83 percent of fifth-graders met or exceeded standards on the CRCTs in Mathematics. In reading, after including retest results, 92 percent of third-graders and fifth-graders and 93 percent of eighth-graders met or exceeded standards on the CRCT.

The CRCT retest scores will be calculated into this year's formula to determine if a school made Adequate Yearly Progress in 2008. An updated AYP report will be released in the fall.

In order to be automatically promoted to the next grade, students in grades 3, 5 and 8 must pass the CRCT in reading and students in grades 5 and 8 must pass the CRCT in mathematics. Students who do not pass must be given the opportunity to receive additional instruction and take the test again. A student who does not pass the CRCT retest can still be promoted after a meeting between the parents, teacher and principal, but a plan must be developed to address the areas where the student may need extra help.

- Promotion, Placement and Retention Guidance:
Community News You Can Use

University of Mobile School of Nursing Announces Early Decision

High school seniors and incoming college freshmen may be assured of a seat in the University of Mobile School of Nursing through the new Early Decision Program.

The Early Decision Program allows qualified applicants to be admitted to the bachelor of science in nursing program at the Christian university as incoming freshmen without waiting to complete several years of college. Students in the Early Decision Program may begin hands-on clinical observations at area hospitals during their freshman and sophomore years.

Students who are accepted into the Early Decision Program must meet ongoing academic requirements to continue in the School of Nursing clinical component which begins in the junior year.

For more information about the Early Decision Program and the School of Nursing, contact the University of Mobile Enrollment Services office at (251) 442-2273 or visit

The University of Mobile is a private Christian university located in Mobile, Ala., and affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention. More than 1,500 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in the schools of nursing, business, Christian studies and education; the Center for Performing Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Adult Programs.
Community News You Can Use

Carnegie Learning Sells $5 Million in Custom Math Curricula in Georgia

BUSINESS WIRE --Sales of Carnegie Learning, Inc.s new Georgia Mathematics 1 and 2 curricula have reached $5 million since publication of the program earlier this year, according to the company. Carnegie Learning, a leading provider of research based math curricula for middle schools, high schools, and the higher education market, reports that over 130 Georgia middle and high schools have adopted the education publishers customized Georgia Mathematics 1 and 2 designed, specifically, to meet new, more rigorous high school math requirements being implemented by the Georgia Department of Education this fall.

The purchasing districts receive Carnegie Learning textbooks and Professional Development services, and some districts have purchased Carnegie Learnings Cognitive Tutor® software for Math Support which is an intelligent software program that provides differentiated instruction by adapting the learning path to each students understanding of mathematical concepts. Among the 55 districts implementing Carnegie Learnings Georgia Mathematics program are Bartow, Clayton, Douglas, Forsyth, and Hall County Schools.

Reports of declining U.S. competitiveness in mathematics and science at the post-secondary level have prompted measures in statehouses across the country to raise standards and achievement in science and math at the high school level, said Trace A. Urdan, Managing Director at Signal Hill. In many cases, this is reinforced by new high school graduation testing requirements. The dramatic curriculum changes in Georgia are one example of this phenomenon, but by no means the only one. Results-oriented curriculum providers that can rapidly and flexibly respond to this evolving dynamic with research-based content should be well-positioned to help educators as they respond to the publics desire to raise the bar for math education.

Carnegie Learnings Cognitive Tutor research is well supported in the Learning Processes subcommittee report of the recent National Math Advisory Panel report to the President and U.S. Secretary of Education, and is cited as an example of a curriculum that has strong evidence of effectiveness and is a model for applying basic research in the classroom. Carnegie Learning is also recognized by the What Works Clearinghouse as showing evidence of effectiveness, and last year the U.S. Department of Education awarded the RAND Corporation a $6 million grant to conduct a five-year study of the effectiveness of Carnegie Learnings Algebra I curricula in seven districts across the country.

"The higher performance standards in Georgia present an exceptional opportunity for our company, said Dennis Ciccone, Chief Executive Officer of Carnegie Learning, Inc. In addition to having one of the few legitimately research-based math curricula, we are committed to partnering with administrators and teachers to ensure that they receive the support and Professional Development to be successful for the long-term.

Georgia Front Page

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clayton State Dedicates Laker Hall to “Benefit the Students”

Dedicating Clayton State University’s first on-campus housing, President Dr. Thomas K. Harden today promised that Laker Hall would, “benefit the students of Clayton State University.”

Harden spoke to some 200 assembled dignitaries, elected officials, faculty, staff and students in a morning ceremony on the sidewalk in front of Laker Hall, the 451-bed, 178,000 square foot student housing facility located on the north side of Clayton State Boulevard, just inside the entrance to the campus. The grand opening, hosted by Harden and the CSU Foundation Real Estate I LLC, was followed by a reception and tours of the University’s newest building. Students will start moving in to Laker Hall around 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14.

Among the speakers at the dedication and ribbon cutting was Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Brian Haynes, who pointed out that, among the more than 6000 colleges and universities in the country, only 2012 have on-campus housing for students. Likening the opening of Laker Hall to the rarity of climbing Mt. Everest, Haynes stated that the University was now in “rare air.”

With student reservations for Laker Hall currently running in excess of 90 percent (mostly first time, full time freshmen), Clayton State University Student Government Association President Darius Thomas hailed the new opportunities that will come for the student body with the opening of an on-campus residence hall, a message that Harden also touched upon during the groundbreaking for Laker Hall in August 2007.

“Our number one purpose is to meet the higher education needs for this region,” he said at that time. “To fulfill that purpose we have to do more all the time to insure student success… We need to provide a residential experience.”

Laker Hall is a public/private venture, funded by a bond project with the Development Authority of Clayton County the issuing agency. Built and paid for without the use of any state funds, Laker Hall is owned by Clayton State University Foundation Real Estate I LLC, and leased to the University System of Georgia with the lease payments coming from housing rental.

Speaking for the LLC at the dedication was Chairman Leonard Moreland.

“Many will look back upon this day as a turning point for Clayton State University,” he predicted. “This has been a great project, one that will forever change this university.”

Included in Laker Hall’s amenities are gigabit ethernet service (making this the only gigaplex residence hall in the state, as befitting Georgia’s first “Notebook University”), Wi-Fi service throughout the building, VOIP telephone service, a cafĂ©, lounge areas, a game room with a large screen HD TV, HD capable cable TV service in the suites, card entry into both the building and individual suites, a 24/7 Community Desk in the lobby, and 66 security cameras. The individual suites are fully-furnished and consist of four bedroom (every bedroom will have a hard-wired internet port as well), two bath suites with a kitchenette and a central living room.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
Community News You Can Use

Monday, August 11, 2008

UGA Incoming Freshmen Again Set Records for Academic Quality, Diversity

The University of Georgia expects just over 4,800 students in the new freshman class and they will set new records for academic quality and diversity, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Although final statistics will not be available until mid-October, the admissions office has compiled data based on the students who enrolled over the summer or who attended or have registered for orientation for fall semester as of the end of July.

The entering class is expected to have a strong grade point average of 3.8 (the mid 50 percentile range is 3.68-4.0) compared to 3.79 last year. The SAT average has risen from 1242 to 1253 (mid 50 percentile of 1150-1350) for the Critical Reading and Math combined, while scores on the new Writing section rose from 604 to 609. For those students who took the ACT, the mean score again this year was 27, with a mid 50 percentile range of 25-29.

The 510 students expected to enroll in UGA’s nationally recognized Honors Program have a GPA average of 4.04 (with a mid 50 percentile range of 3.96-4.14) and SAT average of 1456 (mid 50 percentile range of 1420-1490 on the Critical Reading and Math components). The ACT average is 31.7 (mid 50 percent range of 31-33).

Breaking all previous records for ethnic and racial diversity, 21 percent of the students in the new class self-identified as other than Caucasian. The number of African-American freshmen is expected to be 381, a 16 percent increase from the previous year and the largest number since 1995. A record 153 Hispanic students are expected to enroll in the class, a 47 percent increase over last year and the largest number of entering Hispanic freshmen in UGA history.

The class is diverse in other factors: 173 of the incoming freshmen represent 48 different countries and more than five percent come from homes where English is not the native language. The students come from more than 400 Georgia high schools in 145 counties. Just over 15 percent of the new class is from out of state, although more than 48 percent have social security numbers initially issued in other states, indicating continued in-migration to Georgia from other parts of the country.

“I am very pleased with the quality and diversity of the freshman class and grateful for the hard work of so many UGA faculty, staff and students who assisted the admissions office throughout the recruitment cycle,” said Nancy McDuff, associate vice president of admissions and enrollment management.

The number of applications received for this year’s freshman class – more than 17,300 – is the highest recorded at UGA for a new class, following several years of record applications. Since 2003, applications for UGA’s freshman class have increased by almost 50 percent.

In addition to the freshmen enrolled in the summer and fall, UGA for the first time is offering an opportunity for 200 additional first-year students to enroll for the Spring 2009 term. The university has received deposits from the students expected to begin their UGA studies in January.

The rigor of students’ high school curriculum continues to be a key factor in admissions decisions, with some 93 percent enrolled in College Board Advance Placement or International Baccalaureate classes while in high school.

Six percent of the incoming freshmen (224) were first or second in their graduating class and 53 percent were in the top 10 percent of their class. Nearly 1,400 (29 percent) of the students completed high school with a 4.0. Several students had perfect scores on the SAT or ACT, and 72 had perfect scores on at least one of the components of the SAT. Nine percent of the students started college while still in high school.

While many of the incoming students have not yet decided on a major, the most popular intended majors (listed alphabetically) are art, biology, business, chemistry, international affairs, pharmacy, political science and psychology, following a similar pattern to previous years.

Although legacy is not a factor in admissions decisions, almost 30 percent of the students have parents or siblings who attended UGA.

By Sharron Hannon

Fayette Front Page
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

GT Presidential Search Committee to Begin Work

The search for Georgia Tech’s next president officially kicks off Tuesday, August 12, 2008. That’s when the 20-member presidential search committee will receive marching orders from Board of Regents’ Chair Richard Tucker, Regent Willis Potts, who is chair of the search committee, and Susan Herbst, University System of Georgia (USG) executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer.

The search committee will hear details on the upcoming search process and be formally charged with its mission from Tucker, Potts and Herbst in a meeting on the Tech campus in Atlanta.

“We have a truly excellent committee now in place,” said Tucker. “I look forward to seeing the results of the committee’s work, and feel confident that we will be able to locate a president who will further enhance Georgia Tech’s prominence in national and international higher education.”

The Board of Regents has engaged R. William Funk and Associates, Dallas, Texas, to serve as the search firm for the committee. The company was selected to aid in the search from a number of national higher education executive recruiters.

The national search will be conducted to replace former Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough, who stepped down on June 30 to become the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Tucker announced the membership of the Tech presidential search committee in July.

Georgia Front Page

Thursday, August 7, 2008

KSU, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey Host Workshop on Federal Grant Writing, Contracting

Kennesaw State University will host a workshop to help citizens navigate the federal grant-writing and contracting processes. The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the KSU Social Sciences Building. The workshop, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, is open to the public. Reservations are required.

Participants at the "Federal Grant Supermarket" will learn the basics of writing federal grant proposals at a workshop presented by the Georgia Tech Research Institute. Representatives of small businesses and state and local government entities also will learn how to register to do business with, and purchase from, the federal government.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute and officials from entities such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Small Business Development Center, the General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be on hand to answer questions. Representatives from other federal and state agencies will also be present.

Thursday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The grant workshop starts at 10 a.m., with a session at noon examining federal opportunities for small businesses, and a contracting and purchasing session at 1 p.m. Federal representatives will be on-site from noon to 3 p.m.

KSU Social Sciences Building, first-floor auditorium. Visit for further location information.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required due to limited capacity. Reservations can be made via e-mail to For further information, call Gingrey's local district office at (706) 290-1776.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clayton State University Names New Director for Recruitment and Admissions

Clayton State University has named Betty Momayezi as its new director for the Office of Recruitment and Admissions.

Momayezi most recently held the position of associate vice president of Student Affairs at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). During her tenure at TAMIU, she held the positions of director of student recruiting, director of enrollment management and school relations, and executive director of student life.

“Clayton State has a beautiful campus, with new buildings are getting ready to open, and it is in close proximity to a city. There is so much more ahead for Clayton State to achieve. All of this made relocating from Texas to Georgia an exciting move,” says Momayezi, “I have missed recruiting and admissions and am excited to be doing this work again.”

The Office of Admissions has not only has welcomed a new director, but has also welcomed a name change: Office of Recruitment and Admissions.

“The name change not only emphasizes the work already being done in admissions, it demonstrates the importance across campus and communicates that we all have a role in retention and a role in recruiting,” explains Momayezi.

Her short term goals include evaluating and adjusting, as needed, the admissions advertising and promotional mix. This year the department plans to continue with the recruiting strategies put in place two years ago, then evaluating each of these areas for future endeavors.

“For the long term I will be developing and implementing long-range recruiting strategies and will also work to establish continuity in the office which is so important in retaining highly qualified and motivated staff. Having qualified, stable, and motivated staff is key in producing results,” says Momayezi.

She has been active in a number of professional admissions organizations. As an active member of TACRAO (Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers), she served on an ad hoc committee that developed and implemented a state wide graduate and professional school recruiting circuit much like Georgia’s Probe.

Momayezi now lives in Smyrna, Ga., with her husband. They have two children, Michael and Darin, ages 12 and six, and a long haired cat named Blonde.

“I’ve only lived in Georgia for a few weeks, but the rain we’ve had in these few weeks is more than 25 percent of Laredo’s annual rainfall. Georgia is beautiful – the trees, the terrain, and most importantly the people. I already love it here and can’t imagine being anywhere else” says Momayezi.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

SafeAssured ID and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® remind Families to Discuss Safety as Kids Head Back to School

As millions of children take to the streets and roadways to head back to school this fall, SafeAssured ID and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) urge parents and guardians to make child safety a priority. In addition to reminding families of the importance of keeping an up-to-date digital photo of their children, SafeAssured ID will be featuring “Back to School” safety tips from NCMEC child safety experts on their website at

The tips recognize that parents and guardians may need some help discussing child safety and are meant to empower them to start this conversation with their children to prepare for a safer school year. Tips include:

Instruct your child to always take a friend when walking or riding his or her bike to and from school.

If anyone bothers your child while going to or from school, you should teach him or her to get away from that person, and tell you or another trusted adult.

Teach your children to never leave school with anyone they don’t know.

“Children do not have the same frame of reference for safety as adults and that’s why it’s important to work on helping them develop strong safety skills,” said Nancy A. McBride, NCMEC’s National Safety Director. “We would like to see families make talking about child safety part of their regular back-to-school routine like shopping for school supplies, and we are grateful to SafeAssured ID for helping us put this information in the hands of parents, guardians and children all across the country.” SafeAssured ID first partnered with NCMEC in 2003 and the partnership has long emphasized the power of digital photographs and child IDs in the search for a missing child. Designed to provide peace of mind for families, while protecting privacy, the SafeAssured ID kit contains an encrypted mini-cd including:

up to ten digital fingerprints,
digital photograph,
streaming video showing mannerisms and gait,
voice track providing the youth’s voice inflection and accent,
general physical description,
vital personal information (street address, date of birth, life-threatening medical conditions, identifying scars or marks, and tattoos),
and family code word.

The mini-cd can be shared with law enforcement, the media, and the community within moments of a child’s disappearance to aid in the search. Families also receive a durable, full-color photo ID card, and a Parents Guidebook, written in conjunction with NCMEC, containing helpful safety information.

“NCMEC plays an extremely valuable role in keeping our children safer,” said Ken Hofmaster, President of SafeAssured ID. “We are proud to share their commitment to that mission and hope that every family will take the time to review these tips before sending their children off to school. It has always been our hope that every child would have access to SafeAssured ID technology, but never need to use it.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Criminal Profiling and Forensics Expert Leads Workshops at Kennesaw State

Brent Turvey, a leading forensic scientist and criminal profiler, will lead a series of four workshops at the ninth annual Academy of Behavioral Profiling meeting at Kennesaw State University Aug. 9-10. The ABP also will conduct a Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)-approved, hands-on profiling training Aug. 11-12. It is open to Georgia law enforcement officers at student rates.

Turvey is the author of “Criminal Profiling,” a seminal text — now in its third edition — on “deductive profiling,” an innovative technique geared to investigating and solving crimes by understanding the behavior of criminals. An investigator and expert witness specializing in rape and homicide cases, Turvey also has published volumes on rape investigation and crime-scene reconstruction.

The Academy of Behavioral Profiling meeting presents law enforcement officials, students and community members the latest issues and trends in criminal profiling. Turvey’s workshops will focus on behavioral evidence and criminal profiling; the scientific method and behavioral evidence analysis; the scientific examination of victims; and crime reconstruction, victim analysis and staging. Other presentations include crime reconstruction and false reports of crime; ethics and the investigative relevance of criminal profiling. All sessions are open to the public. Registration for the annual meeting is at Register for the training at

Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 9-10 (Annual Meeting), 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday-Tuesday, Aug. 11-12 (Training), 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Kennesaw State University campus; Social Science Building (Bldg. #22), Room 1021.

For meeting information, contact Stan Crowder, KSU assistant professor of criminal justice, at or at 770-423-6253.

Friday, August 1, 2008

About 1,380 Students Eligible for Degrees at UGA Summer Commencement

An estimated 1,380 students will be eligible to receive degrees at the University of Georgia’s summer commencement exercises Aug. 2 at 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.

The exercises are a combined ceremony for undergraduate and graduate students who complete degree requirements at the end of summer semester. About 760 candidates for bachelor’s degrees and 620 candidates for doctoral, master’s and specialist in education degrees are anticipated to be eligible to participate in the ceremony. Final numbers won’t be known until the conclusion of final exams on July 31.

Maxine Clark, a 1971 graduate of the University of Georgia and founder, chief executive and chairman of Build-A-Bear Workshop, will be the speaker for the university’s summer commencement exercises.

During Clark’s 30-year career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department, discount and specialty stores. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience. Today there are more than 370 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Build-A-Bear Workshop extended its in-store interactive experience online in 2007 with the launch of its virtual world at™.

As part of the ceremony, two undergraduates will be recognized as First Honor Graduates for having maintained perfect 4.0 grade point averages on all undergraduate-level work. The students include Brian Paul-Ang Hsu from Evans who is graduating with a bachelor of business administration degree in finance and management. Additionally, Hannah Megan Westmoreland from Gainesville is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in biology.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on University Cable Channel 15 and streamed live on the UGA Web site.

Fall semester classes at UGA begin Aug. 18 and a commencement will be held Dec. 19 for students who complete degree requirements this fall.

Kim Osborne
University of Georgia

Special to the Fayette Front Page

'Learn And Earn' Students Paid For Studying Show Improvements in Math And Science

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fulton County students who completed Learn and Earn, a pilot program that paid participants to attend after-school tutoring, showed improved performances in math and science following the completion of the 14-week program. The participating students, eighth and eleventh graders from Bear Creek Middle School and Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., were chosen on the basis of low math and science achievement, as well as good attendance and behavior.

Learn and Earn began as an idea of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; was championed by Robb Pitts, Fulton County Commissioner; funded by Charlie Loudermilk, chairman and CEO of Aaron Rents; trialed by the Fulton County School System and the Learning Makes a Difference Foundation.

While many opponents believed that compensating students for attending tutoring sessions sent the wrong signal, the final report noted, "All of the students were excited about getting paid. One student stated, 'I treat it like I'm getting paid from my parents for good grades.' Another stated, 'It is fun to get paid for learning.' Another stated, 'It feels good. It motivates me to learn.' One high school student stated, 'It is like a job, you drag yourself in whether or not you feel like going.'"

As to their academic performance in math and science, Learn & Earn students outperformed similar students in a comparison group who did not receive pay or tutoring. Half of the Learn & Earn students improved in both math and science while only 20-30 percent of the comparison group improved in those subjects.

"At first I didn't like school, but now that I am bringing up my grades, I like school more and want to go to high school and college," said one eighth-grade program participant.

Charles Loudermilk funded the Learn & Earn program and its $60,000 budget through the Learning Makes a Difference Foundation. "If we could just take one kid and change their life, it's worth more than I'm paying," said Loudermilk.

During student/teacher focus groups conducted following the program's completion, students reported a more positive attitude about their academic experience and were optimistic about their abilities to improve further in the future. Students also reported elevated levels of self-confidence.

"The measurable improvement shown by the participating students is proof enough that the Learn and Earn model can and does work," said Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts, one of the developers of the program. "We have stimulated the students' interest in math, as well as their overall academic performance. We have met our objectives and look forward to opportunities to expand this program."

"It is exciting to see students improve their performance in math and science and become engaged in learning," said Newt Gingrich. "And as a father, I take special pride in noting that without the leadership, persistence and hard work of my daughter Jackie Cushman, this project would never have been completed, and these students would not have been helped."

"We're absolutely thrilled with the results of the Learn & Earn pilot program," said Jackie Cushman, president of Learning Makes a Difference Foundation. "It's great to see students responding, initially to the incentive of pay, and then to the hands-on tutoring. We noticed improvements not only academically but in their attitude towards learning, many of them saving the money from the program for their college education. This program would not have been possible without the support of the Fulton County School System, the principals of the schools involved and the master teachers who inspired the students to move forward and embrace learning."

The mission of the LMD Foundation is to accelerate and enhance knowledge through innovative learning programs:

  -- By acting as an incubator of ideas.
-- By creating, implementing and testing new initiatives.

-- By providing funding and support to non-profit organizations and partners.

"Based on these initial results, we hope to bring the Learn & Earn program to a larger student population in the future to positively affect more lives," said Cushman. "The Learning Makes a Difference Foundation strives to find new ways to help students learn."

The results of the Learn and Earn program were evaluated by an independent research group, Emstar Research, Inc., more information regarding the study is available on