Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Superintendent Cox Launches New Teacher Tools

PBS TeacherLine and Verizon Thinkfinity Save Time and Money

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox launched two online teacher tools this morning that will save educators and school systems time and money.

"These resources were developed without spending any taxpayer dollars and will help our teachers provide a world-class education to all of our students," Superintendent Cox said. "Time and money are precious commodities, especially in these times, and these teacher tools will help save both."

At an event at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Cobb County, Superintendent Cox announced expanded state partnerships with Georgia Public Broadcasting/PBS TeacherLine and Verizon's Thinkfinity.

"We have partnered with two outstanding organizations to bring high-quality resources to our classroom teachers," Superintendent Cox said. "We will continue to look for opportunities to provide valuable tools to our educators at little or no cost to the taxpayers of Georgia.”

PBS TeacherLine

PBS TeacherLine is an online tool that offers low-cost, high-quality professional development classes to teachers so they can improve their abilities and earn the Professional Learning Units -- or PLUs -- they need to maintain their certification.

"The Georgia Department of Education has reviewed PBS TeacherLine's English language arts and mathematics classes and given them our stamp of approval," Superintendent Cox said. "These classes are well-aligned with our state standards and the high expectations we have for teachers in Georgia."

Marilyn Stansbury, director of education for Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), said this is just the beginning of this partnership.

"We will continue to work together to find ways we can provide high-quality, low-cost professional development opportunities for Georgia teachers," Ms. Stansbury said. "We are excited to launch this new partnership with the Georgia Department of Education and the state's educators."

Superintendent Cox said school systems can use federal Title 1 or stimulus funds to pay for educators to take TeacherLine classes. More information will be sent to schools this week.

- To learn more about PBS TeacherLine, visit www.gpb.org/education and click on "PBS TeacherLine" or go to http://www.teacherlinesoutheast.org/.

- A list of GaDOE-endorsed classes is attached to this email.

Verizon Thinkfinity

Verizon Thinkfinity is a free, online tool that provides more than 55,000 lesson plans, activities and other resources for classroom teachers. The content has been developed in coordination with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council for Economic Education, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and many other highly-regarded groups.

"Many of the resources in Verizon Thinkfinity are directly linked to the Georgia Performance Standards and can help teachers develop rigorous and relevant lessons for their students quickly and easily," Superintendent Cox said. "Verizon is an outstanding corporate partner for education across the nation, especially here in Georgia."

Verizon began its partnership with Georgia last school year when it donated $50,000 that helped train more than 16,000 teachers on how to use Thinkfinity. On Tuesday, Julie Smith, vice president for external affairs, southeast, presented Superintendent Cox with another $50,000 check from Verizon to continue and expand its partnership.

Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston said the Thinkfinity.org website is a great tool for school and home.

“Whether it’s an English teacher looking for resources to spark a love of reading in a student, or a parent seeking a convenient and user-friendly educational activity to stimulate the mind of a young child, Thinkfinity.org will help them quickly and easily find the information needed to improve student achievement,” said Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation.
To learn more about Verizon's Thinkfinity, go to www.thinkfinity.org.

Teachers can access Thinkfinity resources directly tied to the Georgia Performance Standards at www.georgiastandards.org.
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