Monday, November 30, 2009

Ashworth College Offers Career-Specific Education With New Vocational High School Program

/PRNewswire/ -- Ashworth College, parent company for Ashworth High School, announced today the addition of vocational high school curricula to its roster of high school programs.

The vocational program at Ashworth High School ( offers students the opportunity to match personal interests to a selection of career programs in one of three vocational tracks - computers, health care or skilled trades. Each track allows students to acquire career-relevant learning prior to entering the job market.

"Most everyone understands the importance of a high school diploma," said Dr. Milton Miller, Ed.D., Vice President of Education at Ashworth College. "However, not everyone chooses to immediately go on to college."

"There are many high school graduates out there who simply prefer to enter the workforce and start earning income," Dr. Miller added. "By providing students a practical, real-life education, Ashworth can help these students get a head start on their careers."

Vocational Career Tracks

Upon selecting a track, a student has the freedom to select two different career courses or to pair a career course with a business course.

"Through Ashworth High School's vocational career tracks, students can gain skills that are applicable across a variety of business types," said John Riser, Education Operations Director. "This educational experience will give many an advantage when looking for their first job."

Riser also points out that these courses are not merely overviews, but rather specialty concentrations.

"Our career programs are developed by working professionals, who are considered experts in their respective fields," he added. "Ashworth students are able to benefit from career-specific learning that is not always available in a traditional high school program."

Each of Ashworth High School's career tracks offer as many as ten career courses to choose from. Additionally, students also can choose from a list of six business courses. Available courses include:

-- Computers
-- Computer Programming with Visual Basic
-- Computer Network Security
-- Computer Network Technician
-- Graphic Design
-- PC Service and Repair -- A+
-- Web site Design
-- Health Care
-- Fitness and Exercise
-- Health Records Specialist
-- Massage Techniques
-- Medical and Dental Office Assisting
-- Medical Billing
-- Nutrition Specialist
-- Pharmacy Tech
-- Physical Therapy Aide
-- Skilled Trades
-- Auto Mechanics
-- Carpentry
-- Electrician
-- Gunsmithing
-- Heating and Air Conditioning
-- Home Inspection
-- Landscape Design
-- Locksmith
-- Motorcycle Repair
-- Plumbing
-- Business
-- Introduction to Financial Statements
-- Introduction to Sales
-- Online Business Management
-- Accounting
-- Computer Accounting
-- Small Business Management

About Ashworth College

Ashworth College, a leader in distance education, offers students worldwide more than 100 career-focused High School and Career online diploma programs; undergraduate and graduate online certificate programs; and Associate, Bachelor's and Master's online degree programs that are affordable and fit the busy schedules of working adults. Ashworth also offers specialized programs to corporate partners, active duty military personnel, military spouses, and homeschoolers.

Headquartered in Norcross, GA, Ashworth is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), a division of the US Department of Education. Ashworth High School is also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). For more information visit

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Georgia State University and NCKU Signed a Memorandum of Cooperation

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Prof. Mark P. Becker, the President of Georgia State University (GSU), U.S.A., and Academician Michael Ming-Chiao Lai, the President of National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan, together signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Nov. 19th. Both of them wish to have a closer relationship in the future and to create a better environment with outstanding achievement in higher education.

They both agreed to establish and encourage mutually beneficial scientific, technological, educational and other relations, including exchange of academic staff members for the purpose of research, teaching and the presentation of special courses in their fields of specialization, student exchange and study abroad programs, establishment of joint research programs, collaboration on third party funded educational or economic assistance activities, exchange of postgraduate students for specific research projects or courses of interest and importance, exchange of scientific and educational literature produced by either or both parties, as well as the exchange of material on the most relevant and topical researches, and organization of conferences, seminars and symposia of mutual interest to the institutions.

President Becker said that Georgia State University is located in the south of US and there are many Chinese there. The weather over there is just like that of southern Taiwan, which will make Taiwanese students feel familiar and easy to adapt to if they go there to study. The University is strong in business, law, and health science. Though the GSU does not have a medical school, they have top research institutions specializing in neuroscience, biology, and disaster research. The GSU will collaborate with NCKU mainly in biochemistry. They have Chinese faculty members teaching biology, mathematics, and computer science, and it is because of their introduction that GSU seeks to extend their academic ties with NCKU and make this signing of MOC possible.

“I am also glad to sign this MOC today. It will be a good opportunity for NCKU to cooperate with GSU. I hope there will be more chances for our students to study in GSU,” said President Lai.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HHS Announces Plans to Make $80 Million Available to Support Health IT Workforce

Grants Will Support Community College Training Programs, Curriculum Development, Additional Programs to be Announced in Coming Weeks

Dr. David Blumenthal, HHS' National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, today announced plans to make available $80 million in grants to help develop and strengthen the health information technology workforce. The grants that will be made available include $70 million for community college training programs and $10 million to develop educational materials to support these programs. Both programs will support the immediate need for skilled health information technology (health IT) professionals who will enable the broad adoption and use of health IT throughout the United States.

Authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the grants are the first in a series of programs to help strengthen and support the health IT workforce. Additional details regarding the grant programs for these and other key resource and training areas will be
announced over the next several weeks.

"Ensuring the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), information exchange among health care providers and public health authorities, and redesign of workflows within health care settings all depend on having a qualified pool of workers," Dr. Blumenthal said. "The expansion of a highly skilled workforce developed through these programs will help health care providers and hospitals implement and maintain EHRs and use them to strengthen delivery of care."

The Community College program will establish intensive, non-degree training that can be completed in six months or less by individuals with some background in either health care or IT fields. Participating colleges will coordinate their efforts through five regional consortia that span the nation. Graduates of this training will fill a variety of roles that both assist health care practices during the critical process of deploying IT systems and support these practices on an ongoing basis.

The curriculum development program will make high quality educational materials available to the community colleges so these training programs can be established quickly to meet these workforce needs.

Any U.S. non-profit institution of higher learning currently engaged in providing training in health IT that is interested in drafting curriculum or establishing a consortium that includes community colleges may apply for the grants. Information about grant applications will be
available shortly at

"Critical to achieving the goal of the Heath Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and supporting meaningful use of health IT is the availability of a skilled workforce that understands the unique technology and management needs within a clinical setting," added Dr. Blumenthal. "These newly funded programs are designed to equip the most qualified and advanced IT workforce in the world with the tools they need to modernize our health system."

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Emory's Oxford College, Candler School of Theology Receive $4.25 Million in Gifts from Oxford College Alumnus' Estate

Oxford College of Emory University and Emory's Candler School of Theology have received gifts totaling more than $4.25 million from the Charles Edwin Suber Foundation.

Oxford College received a $3.35 million gift, the largest cash gift in the college's history, and Candler School of Theology received a gift of $903,177. Both gifts were unrestricted to be used for the most pressing needs of the schools.

The Suber Foundation was established by the estate of Charles Edwin "Ed" Suber. A 1942 graduate of Oxford College who passed away in November 2007, Suber attended Emory University and was retired from the Fulton County Superior Court system as court clerk.

A portion of the Oxford College gift, $100,000, will be used to establish a scholarship in Suber's name. The remaining $3.25 million will be used to support Oxford's building program, including a new science facility, which would replace the current facility built in 1965, and a new library, replacing the current 1970 building.

Stephen H. Bowen, dean of Oxford College, says, "We have needed a major gift to create momentum in raising funds for these building projects. This is that gift. When we look back after 10 years, we will recognize this as a pivotal moment in the development of Oxford College."

Candler School of Theology Dean Jan Love says she will assess where the gift can best be applied in light of funding needs for the second phase of Candler's building projects, as well as student support and faculty enhancement.

"The generosity of this lifelong United Methodist layman is overwhelming and will benefit the Candler community for generations to come. We are deeply grateful for this remarkable gift," Love says.

Suber was a lifelong resident of Atlanta's Ben Hill community, where his family owned and operated the C.P. Suber Grocery Store. He served in the Army during World War II.

Jim Campbell, executor of Suber's estate, says his first cousin was an ordinary man who has left an extraordinary legacy.

"Ed indicated a direction through the gifts he made through his will, and we followed through with that direction," says Campbell, who chose Oxford College and Candler School of Theology to receive gifts from Suber's estate. "He was very kind and he had a great sense of humor. He loved to travel and square dance. He lived a very simple life, but he was very generous to those people and causes he cared about. He was a great person, and his life will go on even if he is not here."

These gifts are part of Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fund-raising endeavor that combines private support and the university’s people, places and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world. Investments through Campaign Emory fuel efforts to address fundamental challenges: improving health, gaining ground in science and technology, resolving conflict, harnessing the power of the arts, and educating the heart and mind.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Design showcase at University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus highlights students' multimedia projects

Graduate students in the learning, design and technology program at the University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus will present a Studio Showcase highlighting their multimedia projects at 5:30 p.m. on Dec.1.The showcase will be held in room 165 of the UGA Gwinnett Campus, located at 2530 Sever Road in Lawrenceville. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The showcase will be co-sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement and will feature individual instructional technology projects covering a wide range of topics, as well as a joint volunteer service project for the National Gardening Association.

The heart of the learning, design and technology curriculum is an innovative learning community called The Studio, which meets on Tuesday evenings at the UGA Gwinnett Campus.The Studio involves students in multiple course levels creating various multimedia projects together in a shared learning space. The Studio courses provide an ongoing face-to-face anchor in a graduate curriculum where approximately half of the courses are conducted online.

Students in the two-year graduate degree program also are encouraged to pursue
professional networking opportunities, whether with K-12 education organizations or with business and industry groups more oriented toward training and performance, such as the co-sponsoring International Society for Performance Improvement (

In addition to working on their professional knowledge and skills, members of The Studio community are also required to donate 10 hours of service to a non-profit organization where they can apply their technology expertise. This semester’s service project was conducted in collaboration with the National Gardening Association, a non-profit group devoted to education through working with plants. The NGA has two Web sites: one for everyone to learn more about plants ( and the other targeted at people who teach kids (

The NGA previously did not have web-based play and learn experiences for children. Under the direction of UGA learning, design and technology program graduate Jennifer Lortz, the 29 students in The Studio each donated 10 hours of service to create the play and learn Web technology. Four different web-based activities were created. They can be used by the NGA to reach children and help foster greater interest in gardening and the care of plants. These four projects will be highlighted, along with other student multimedia projects, at the Studio Showcase.

For more information about the instructional design and development graduate degree offered at the UGA Gwinnett Campus, see or call Lloyd Rieber at 706/542-3986.

For more information on the UGA Gwinnett Campus and other programs offered there, see

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Georgia Tech Creates School of City and Regional Planning

Georgia Tech has announced the creation of the School of City and Regional Planning with responsibilities including a Master of City and Regional Planning degree program, a Ph.D. concentration in City and Regional Planning, and research aimed at advancing the practice of urban planning in Georgia, the U.S. and across the globe.

The School of City and Regional Planning replaces the City and Regional Planning Program, continuing Tech’s work in support of the urban planning profession begun in 1952 when Howard Menhinick came to the Institute from the Tennessee Valley Authority to found the Graduate City Planning Program. In the years since, the Institute has awarded more than 1,100 graduate degrees in the field and now has planning alumni practicing in forty five states and twenty five countries. Nine alumni (and five current faculty) have been inducted as Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Seven degree program specializations are offered: Economic Development, Environmental Planning, Geographic Information Systems, Land and Community Development, Land Use, Transportation Planning, and Urban Design. Dual degrees and certificates are offered in conjunction with Tech’s schools of Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Public Policy and with Georgia State University in historic preservation, law and real estate.

Georgia Tech’s Center for Geographic Information Systems and Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development support the School’s mission with interdisciplinary research. These Centers together with School faculty annually conduct in excess of $2.5 million of sponsored research for government, industry and third sector clients. GIS Center Director Steven P. French, FAICP, and Quality Growth Center Director Catherine Ross join School Chair Bruce Stiftel, FAICP, and PhD Program Director Michael Elliott as leaders of the forty teaching and research faculty.

The School’s Strategic Plan anticipates two new master’s degree programs, in Urban Design and in Geographic Information Systems; launch of a named PhD degree in City and Regional Planning; expansion of international focus and linkages; and leadership in designing sustainable cities of the 21st Century. In 2010, the School will host the annual PhD Workshop of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, and together with Sun Yet-Sen University, will organize the ninth annual conference of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association in Guangzhou City, China.

“The timing is auspicious and I am convinced the creation of the School of City and Regional Planning supports our ambitions to clarify and strengthen the character of the College,” said College of Architecture Dean Alan Balfour. “It matches the scale and reputation of the discipline and solidifies its identity within the designed and built environment professions.”

By Teri Nagel

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The Newnan Center set for growth

One of the University of West Georgia’s best kept secrets is receiving its due recognition. This semester, the Newnan Center property transferred ownership from the Coweta County Commission to the University System of Georgia.

In 1990, approximately 100 students attended the first classes in what was once the Georgia Power Shenandoah Environment and Education Center. Today, the 14-acre center has an enrollment of more than 3,400 and serves students from more than 46 counties.

Community leaders and organizations also use the center for meetings and trainings. In addition to core curriculum courses, UWG Newnan offers full undergraduate degrees in nursing and early childhood education, and graduate degrees in business administration, criminology and four education programs.

The educational facility is comprised of two occupied buildings with 10 rooms available for instruction. Two new lecture halls, a new nursing lab, classrooms and a biology lab have all been equipped with multimedia technology. With the transfer of property, the location is now able to expand and upgrade its facilities.

Easily accessible to I-85 and neighboring counties, the Newnan Center is located off Highway 34 east of Newnan at 7 Solar Circle. For more information, go to

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Regents Approve 8 Percent Budget Reduction Plan for University System

As state tax collections continue to decline, the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents today (November 17) approved plans to adjust the System’s budget from a six percent reduction ($135 million) to an eight percent reduction level, ($176 million) for the current fiscal year (FY2010). The Board’s actions call for new reductions to the System’s 35 public colleges and universities as well as implementing an additional mandatory student fee.

The increase in the mandatory fee for all USG students, which will be effective for the upcoming spring 2010 semester, has been set at $100 at research universities and six other universities, $75 at most comprehensive universities, and $50 at two-year and state colleges. The increase will be added to the current mandatory fee, which went into effect in January 2009. The total new mandatory fee thus will be $200/$150/$100.

In addition to the fee, the board approved a moratorium on student fee increases for FY 2011 and a sunset date of June 30, 2012 for the total mandatory student fee increase. The lone exception to the moratorium will be fees for public/private venture projects, such as residence halls, student-financed recreation centers and other facilities with a revenue stream or fees required under extraordinary circumstances and with significant student support.

Initially approved in concept and for planning purposes by the regents in August 2009, the eight percent reduction plan is designed to help preserve academic quality while having the least possible negative effect on students, Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs Usha Ramachandran advised the board. “We are striking that delicate balance between maintaining high academic quality and preserving affordability in these very tough economic times.”

While the additional student fee will generate $24 million in FY 2010, an additional $12 million in savings must also be realized in the budgets of the System’s 35 public colleges and universities, either through additional employee furlough days, the elimination of positions, employee layoffs or other program and structural changes. Including continuing cuts from FY2009 of $275 million as well as FY2010 reductions, USG officials are currently managing $410 million in state funding cuts, which were only partially offset by $148 million in formula funding received in FY 2010 as a result of significant increases in student enrollment.

To move from the six percent to the eight percent reduction level, the original August budget reduction plan called for no additional cuts to institutional budgets and a somewhat higher student fee, of $150 at the research universities and six comprehensive universities, $100 at most comprehensive universities, and $75 at two-year and state colleges.

“When the board approved the initial concept, we were working from data we had at the time on the economy and the state budget,” said Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “Since August, the situation has evolved. While the state’s budget situation has continued to decline, we were able to revise our eight percent reductions in a way that minimizes the financial burden on students as much as possible.”

Ramachandran noted that the overall Fiscal Year 2010 reductions spread the impact among faculty and staff, campus operations and students in a very balanced manner. “Approximately 86 percent, or $152 million of the reductions are being borne by our institutions and employees,” she said. “The student share of the cuts with the additional fee is 14 percent, or $24 million.”

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Athens and Albany medical campuses on target for 2010, accrediting body says

Resources are adequate for Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine to proceed with a four-year campus in Athens in partnership with the University of Georgia and a two-year residential clinical campus in Southwest Georgia, the accrediting body for U.S. medical schools has confirmed.

"This is continued good news about steady progress at both campuses," School of Medicine Dean Doug Miller said about the Liaison Committee on Medical Education announcement. "We believe the LCME has pronounced both projects on track according to the timeline we have laid out."

The first class of 40 freshman students will start classes at the Interim Medical Partnership Building on Williams Street in Athens, one block from the main UGA Campus, in August 2010, says Dr. Barbara Schuster, campus dean of the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership. The LCME will receive a follow-up report at that time. The MCG School of Medicine has already accepted 60 students out of a class of 230 for next fall semester; 190 will be in Augusta. Inaugural students for the Athens campus will be assigned shortly.

MCG's first clinical campus, based at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, opened in 2005 and is on target to become a residential clinical campus in July 2010, housing students during their clinical- intensive third and fourth years of medical school. An LCME visit Dec. 2-3 will assess faculty and facilities to pave the way for its residential status. "Some of our most popular teaching sites in the state are in the Southwest region. The buzz is very positive from the students," said Dr. Linda Boyd, associate dean for regional campus coordination. The initial enrollment of eight to 10 students likely will grow to 40 in coming years.

Last year over 200 MCG medical students completed one or more clinical rotations in Southwest Georgia, working with physicians for four to six weeks per rotation in specialties including family medicine, pediatrics, surgery and obstetrics-gynecology. Residential campus status will enable students to spend a lot more time in a medically underserved area of the state, said Dr. Iqbal Khan, assistant dean of the campus which opened in 2005. "The medical community on our campus enjoys participating in student education and does an outstanding job educating future doctors. As Dr. Boyd says, there is a lot of enthusiasm here among the medical community and students alike. "

"Phoebe is committed to walking lockstep with MCG to provide the support necessary to ensure a first-class training environment that will attract the best and brightest MCG students," added Dr. Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe. "We see this as a key component of our strategy to ensure the supply of physicians for the future needs of Southwest Georgia." A total of 12 hospitals from cities including Tifton, Moultrie and Columbus have signed on as clinical facilities for that part of the state.

In Athens, where 19 faculty are on board and more recruitment is underway, the focus is on fine-tuning the curriculum and generating enthusiasm to participate in medical education among area physicians and hospitals in Northeast Georgia. A recent open house at the new medical school building enabled Athens Regional Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital to spread the word to about 150 community physicians and hospital leaders; a few days later about 100 primary care physicians and colleagues toured the campus facility. On a recent visit to nearby Gainesville, Northeast Georgia Health System leadership also was updated on the medical campus developments. "You can definitely feel people getting much more excited," Dr. Schuster said

The campuses are part of an overall plan to increase the MCG School of Medicine's class size from 190 to 300 students by 2020 to help meet Georgia's need for physicians, according to Dean Miller, who also serves as MCG's senior vice president for health affairs. Georgia ranks ninth in the nation in both population and population growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and ninth as well for physicians retained in the state after public undergraduate medical education. The state currently ranks 40th in the number of physicians per capita, according to the American Medical Association.

The statewide plan includes a second clinical campus, Southeast Georgia Clinical Campus based at St. Joseph's/Candler Health System in Savannah, which is slated for residential campus designation in coming years, Dr. Boyd said. The medical school class size will grow from 190 to 240 in Augusta and 40 to 60 in Athens. Facilities to accommodate the larger class in Augusta are under design.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Proton Energy Systems Announces $1 Million Scholarship Program

/PRNewswire/ -- Global hydrogen energy leader Proton Energy Systems announced today it is launching a $1 million scholarship program aimed at high school seniors across the nation. The Proton Energy Scholarship will recognize and award high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding achievement, excellence and promise in the field of science or technology, and who plan to pursue higher education in this field.

The scholarship program is supported and funded by Tom Sullivan, owner of Proton Energy and founder of the national chain Lumber Liquidators. The scholarship will award four-year undergraduate scholarship prizes with a total value of up to $100,000 each. Honorable Mentions, Proton Energy Achievers, will be awarded $500 prizes. Sullivan has committed $1 million to the Hydrogen Education Foundation (HEF), who is administering the scholarship program.

"Proton Energy is committed to innovation and creativity, and it is our hope that through this scholarship, we can help inspire young people with an interest in science and technology," said Sullivan. "The cost of college can sometimes be overwhelming -- especially in this economy -- and we are proud to help alleviate this burden, while also encouraging new ideas among some of America's most promising high school students in a field that holds tremendous importance for the future."

Proton Energy is the world's leading supplier of onsite hydrogen generators utilizing PEM (proton exchange membrane) technology, which creates high purity hydrogen from de-mineralized water and electricity. The company has been developing and manufacturing world-class electrolysis systems since 1996, with more than 1200 units deployed world-wide, on every continent. Proton Energy has also been involved in more than a dozen hydrogen fueling stations currently in operation around the nation, and its commitment to innovation has been recognized with contracts from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

"We are thrilled that Proton chose the Hydrogen Education Foundation to administer this exciting new program," said Jeffrey Serfass, President of the HEF. "We look forward to identifying and awarding star students who will help us address the global energy and environmental challenges ahead."

The Proton Energy Scholarship, aimed at high school seniors, will play an important complementary role to two other HEF programs, the Hydrogen Student Design Contest and the H-Prize, which respectively hold competitions for university-level students and innovators seeking excellence beyond higher education.

Proton Energy Scholarship applicants will be evaluated on academic performance, strength of application, commitment to further education in a science or technology related field, financial need and demonstrated leadership, work ethic and community involvement. Deadline for applications is February 10, 2010. Winners will be announced on April 15, 2010.

For more information on the Proton Energy Scholarship, application guidelines, and to apply, visit .

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Georgia Tech Creates New Online Master’s Degree in Information Security

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The College of Computing today announced the creation of a new Master of Science in Information Security available online in a distance learning format, a flexible degree option for working information security professionals who want more than industry certification. Georgia Tech is the only university of its class certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education that offers the degree in an online format.

“Because of the growing sophistication of threats we face in cyber space, organizations that both build new security solutions and those that must utilize such solutions to protect their information technology assets will need qualified IS professionals with advanced knowledge of the field to address new security challenges,” said Mustaque Ahamad, Professor in the College of Computing’s School of Computer Science and Director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. “An organization’s reputation rests on its ability to safeguard its information and remain compliant with regulatory requirements. This requires a much broader, deeper understanding of the field than a certificate can supply.”

Georgia Tech is an established leader in the field of information security research and education, unique in its offering of a technical or policy specialization in the degree program. Close ties to the College of Management and the School of Public Policy in the College of Liberal Arts keep the policy track relevant while the technical portion of the degree is taught by faculty from a nationally ranked top ten computing program. Approximately 30 candidates per year are expected to be admitted to the distance program. Georgia Tech currently has over 25 faculty actively engaged in information security research.

“The rigor, breadth and depth of Georgia Tech’s MS in information security degree program comprehensively prepares students for the high level of accountability that information security leaders have in today’s environment”, said Christopher Rouland, CEO of Endgame and former CTO of IBM Internet Security Systems. Mr. Rouland, a recognized leader in the information security field, received the MS in information security degree from Georgia Tech in 2008.

The new online degree program offers the same course rigor and academic discipline that is found in the traditional on-campus curriculum. Each student is required to complete seven core courses and three additional courses in a self-selected technical or policy specialization. Core areas of study include Information Security, Applied Cryptography, Network Security, Secure Computer Systems, and Strategies and Policies. The technical specialization examines the dimensions of providing security for information processing systems, including secure operating systems and applications, network security, cryptography, and security protocols. The policy concentration focuses on the many non-technical possibilities of information processing and security, including domestic and international policy processes, organizational routines and innovation, risk perception, industry-government relations, and the constitutional framework for governmental actions. An applied research project must also be completed.

More information about the degree program can be found at

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bad Report Card? Studies Show An Online Tutor May Be The Answer

/24-7/ -- November is report card month and parents across the nation are bracing for unpleasant results. Swine flu school closures and a slow implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) have contributed to stagnant test scores and low grades.

According to David P. Driscoll, chair of the National Assessment Governing Board which sets policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),

"...the failure of our 4th-graders to make progress nationally is a cause for concern."

Furthermore, it is estimated that approximately 125,000 American students in roughly 19 states have had their schooling affected by swine flu school closures.

These regrettable circumstances are disconcerting for parents. Research shows that tutoring is a viable solution.

According to Marzano (2003),

"...the typical student who receives tutoring will obtain achievement scores .50 standard deviations higher than the typical student who does not receive tutoring. This translates into a 19th percentile point gain."

Yet with the vast number of tutoring services and styles, parents are overwhelmed with choices.

Stuart Ackerman, founder of the online tutoring site,, believes he's found the answer.

"It all comes down to basic skills. One cannot learn about fractions without knowing how to multiply and divide. A student cannot write an essay unless he or she is first able to compose a topic sentence and a paragraph. When a student misses school and/or lacks basic skills, it's time to seek help. Online tutoring, especially with videos, gives students the tools for mastery because they can work at their own pace."

According to Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan in the journal of Developmental Psychology,

"We find the single most important factor in predicting later academic achievement is that children begin school with a mastery of early math and literacy concepts...Mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement."

Ackerman, a certified school teacher with 14 years of experience and a Masters in Education from New York State, came up with the idea of launching a comprehensive archive of instructional videos, employing himself as the featured tutor.

"I have organized Tutorgiant in such a way that the lessons are organized from basic skills to more advanced." Ackerman explained, "and with the ability to watch video lessons on demand twenty-four seven, I believe I have given students a recipe for success."

The results are impressive. With an archive, to date, of over 400 videos and 500 worksheets in math and English which span the early elementary grades to high school, offers a highly engaging online learning experience. With Ackerman front and center in each video, the website offers instruction aided by eye-pleasing graphics that effectively illuminate key concepts.

"I originally designed Tutorgiant for students who were falling behind and needed an English and math tutor, but I also realized that students who missed school due to sickness and other reasons had to get caught up on lessons. It's also a great tool for students who are lacking basic skills because they can get ahead by learning the lesson before it's taught in school."

For concerned parents and educators looking for an educational website that will engage students and provide the necessary skills and concepts, Tutorgiant may very well be the answer.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Model UN Conference comes to Georgia State

This week, Georgia State University welcomed more than 450 high school students to step into the shoes of United Nation's delegates and experience the inner workings of the world's most influential governmental organization.

The College of Education and the Department of Political Science hosted the 15th annual Model United Nations Conference on Wednesday (Nov. 11), and on Thursday (Nov. 12) in the Georgia State Student Center. The event was open to the public to observe, but students had to register by October to participate.

High school students from across the state, as well as their teachers and advisors, will be participating in the two-day conference. Each school will represent one or more delegation from the UN and will be assigned to a committee to debate issues being discussed at the United Nations. The committees will also discuss issues such as human rights, environmental issues, piracy, economic development and globalization.

"The Model United Nations conference at GSU provides a unique opportunity for high school students to learn through a hands-on simulation of the United Nations," said Joseph Feinberg, a Georgia State assistant professor of middle-secondary education and High School Model UN faculty advisor. "They develop and enhance important academic and real-world skills, such as negotiating with others, debating important topics, and supporting arguments."

As "delegates," high school students will make speeches, prepare draft resolutions, negotiate with allies and adversaries, resolve conflicts and navigate the Model UN conference rules of procedures. Prior to the conference, the high school students researched topics their committees will address and studied the policy and needs of their representative countries.

The Model UN helps extend what high school students learn in the classroom through a hands-on experience and gives them the opportunity to see international issues from outside the American perspective, Feinberg said.

Georgia State students and alumni, who will chair committees and help run the event, also benefit from the Model UN conference.

"The conference is a great learning tool for everyone attending. High school students are sharpening their skills in areas such as debating, negotiating policy, and research. College students leading the committees are advancing their leadership skills and learning how to run a conference" said Kyle Proctor, a GSU alum helping organize the conference.

Such skills will come in handy this spring, when the Georgia State students assume delegate roles and travel to the National United Nations Conference in New York, which is their most prestigious competition. The GSU team will once again try to take home the top prize for Outstanding Delegation, as they did last April.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Community Health Works, Houston and Bibb County Schools, and HealthTeacher Partner to Teach Kids Health Literacy

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Community Health Works announced that teachers in Houston and Bibb County will be the first of seven central Georgia school districts to have access to HealthTeacher’s comprehensive K-12 online health education curriculum with the goal of improving the health literacy of children and teens in Central Georgia. The partnership will eventually encompass approximately 4,200 teachers in 105 participating schools across 7 districts.

This initiative supports Community Health Works’ mission of a regional integration of whole person healthcare, by fostering the health literacy of nearly 66,000 local children and teens. Community Health Works is sponsoring the HealthTeacher curriculum and teacher training for participating schools for three years as part of its efforts to improve the health of children and teens in the Central Georgia region.

”Our unique partnership with area schools and HealthTeacher combines the efforts and resources of the public and private sector to further one of Community Health Work’s primary strategic goals, improving consumer health and health literacy,” says Gregory J. Dent, President & CEO of Community Health Works. “HealthTeacher’s approach to health literacy on topics such as nutrition and exercise will be an excellent resource for students and teachers as our community takes a stand against childhood obesity and its harmful effects on life long health. We hope to expand this program in the future to include the entire twenty-five county region of central Georgia.”

Many high-risk health behaviors often are established during childhood and adolescence, which extend into adulthood. These behaviors can be addressed and prevented with proper education. According to the Centers for Disease Control in the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Georgia students are at a equal or greater risk of current obesity, smokeless tobacco use, episodic heavy drinking as well as lifetime inhalant use when compared to U.S. students.

”We are proud to be working with two leaders in health advocacy and health literacy education to further our efforts to improve the health of our students and community,” says Sharon Patterson, Superintendent of Bibb County Schools. “The HealthTeacher curriculum is designed to be simple and easy to use for our educators. With lessons relevant to today’s world and aligned to National Health Education Standards, this program will help our teachers adopt health literacy education seamlessly into their everyday classroom practices.”

According to a 2009 report by Trust for America’s Youth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, Georgia has the third highest obesity rate with 37.3% of Georgia’s children ages 10 -17 being obese or overweight. The study finds that in 30 states, the childhood obesity rate is reaching epidemic proportions with 30% of state's children being overweight.

“This partnership will empower our teachers and community to have a greater impact on the overall health of our students and support our current health education initiatives,” says David Carpenter, Superintendent of Houston County Schools. “One of the greatest values of this program is the comprehensive training and support our educators receive while adopting the HealthTeacher curriculum in the classroom. Community Health Works and HealthTeacher are not simply providing our teacher’s a valuable resource, but are helping them make small additions to their classroom practices that have the potential for significant life-long impact on the health of our students.”

Study's show that it's not just the prevalence of childhood obesity that should be a concern:

* 23.9% of children through age 17 have ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.
* 32% of children through age 17 have been offered, sold or given an illegal drug while on school property
* 37.7% of children through age 17 have had at least one drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the last 30 days before the survey
* 81% of children through age 17 ate fruits and vegetables less than five times per day (CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2007)

”Community Health Works’ embraces whole person healthcare which fits naturally with our program to improve health literacy and empower children to make positive health and wellness choices for their future success,” says Scott McQuigg, Chief Executive Officer of HealthTeacher. “Community Health Works is supporting teachers by underwriting the health education resources they need to make a positive lifetime impact on the health and wellness of children in Houston and Bibb Counties.”

The HealthTeacher curriculum covers 10 key topic areas designed to help students develop a knowledge and skills needed pursue healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Designed for K-12 teachers and students, the HealthTeacher curriculum is aligned with the National Health Education Standards that requires instruction in five key areas:

* Health
* Nutrition
* Mental health
* Injury prevention
* Tobacco, alcohol and drug use

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Youth Success Strategies Conference at Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Mentoring Partnership, the Georgia Parental Information & Resource Center, and the Adolescent Family Life Project, in partnership with Communities In Schools of Georgia, are conducting a joint conference to provide resources and help participants better serve at-risk students. The event is open to anyone who wants to learn more about mentoring, parent engagement, dropout prevention and other youth development strategies. Participants will learn how innovative ideas and techniques can help establish and maintain effective school and community-based programs. Hot topics that are frequently in the news, with suggestions on how to manage, will also be discussed. Visit for more details and registration information.

WHAT: Youth Success Strategies Conference
WHO: Individuals and organizations working with at-risk students
WHERE: Georgia Aquarium
WHEN: November 16-18

Event topic highlights and speakers include:

-- Games that Children Play, interactive session to help adults
understand the influence of Hip Hop music
-- Navigating the School System
-- In preparation for National Mentoring Month in January, Dr. Susan
Weinberger, known nationally as "Dr. Mentor," provides mentor/mentee
-- How to Mentor Children of Prisoners
-- Byron Garrett, CEO of the National PTA, keynote luncheon speaker

-- Cathy Berger Kaye, Service Learning Expert

CIS is the nation's largest dropout prevention organization. CIS partners with local school districts and community organizations to connect needed resources and services to kids and families. In Georgia, 42 CIS local affiliates and 21 Performance Learning Centers(R) (PLCs) provide services to more than 160,000 students in 54 school systems. Key programs include mentoring, tutoring, parent education, literacy, after-school programs, youth leadership, and PLCs. PLCs are geared toward high school students who are not succeeding in the traditional school setting. Communities sponsoring CIS programs have seen an increase in their school graduation rates, a decrease in violence and disruptions, and an increase in attendance and academic achievement. For more information, visit or call 404-897-2955.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

GSU's Alpharetta Academic Facility to open next fall

Georgia State University officials broke ground Friday (Oct. 30) on the new Alpharetta Academic Facility, a 45,000-square-foot classroom building set to open next fall that will expand the institution's urban footprint even further.

The state-of-the-art facility, which will be adjacent to GSU's existing Alpharetta Center at 3705 Brookside Parkway, will have 16 classrooms including three large tiered "conference center" type classrooms, a computer classroom and open computer lab for student use.

The center will serve thousands of students, mostly working professionals who are pursuing graduate level degrees in business and education.

"We look forward to continued growth and success in the days, weeks and months ahead," Georgia State University President Mark Becker said at Friday's groundbreaking ceremony.

Georgia State's J. Mack Robinson College of Business will continue to offer its Flexible MBA and Professional MBA programs at the new Alpharetta Center.

"This is a great opportunity to expand our already growing college and part of our broader plan to continue growing in every corner of metro Atlanta," Dean H. Fenwick Huss of the Robinson College of Business said.

The College of Education will also expand its graduate level courses in teacher education at the new facility and offer an undergraduate program in Early Childhood Education.

"This facility is key for us because of the extraordinary demand for our teaching and non-teaching programs," College of Education Dean Randy Kamphaus said. "Applications for our teacher education, communication sciences, counseling and virtually all of our 50 plus other programs are at record levels."

GSU, along with Georgia Perimeter College, has had a presence in Alpharetta for several years. This is the second building in what is envisioned as a three-building campus.

"This new facility will benefit the north Fulton community," said Yvonne Chrimes, director of the GSU Alpharetta and Brookhaven Centers. "Whenever there is a university presence, it helps the area's economic development. We're serving the needs of the individuals of north Georgia as the population grows."

Alpharetta Mayor Arthur Letchas and representatives from New South Construction and the Board of Regents joined Georgia State officials at the ground breaking. Lawmakers included Rep. Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek), Rep. Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta), Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth).

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Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools and Districts Awarded‏

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox officially named Georgia's four Title I Distinguished Districts, two National Title I Distinguished Schools and 896 Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools at the State Board of Education meeting on Wednesday.

"These districts and schools are a prime example of the impact high expectations, hard work and collaboration can have on student achievement," Superintendent Cox said. "I'm thrilled to recognize the educators, students and parents in these schools and school districts."

Title I schools have a significant population of students who are economically disadvantaged and receive federal money to assist with the education of these students. The two National Title I Distinguished Schools are among the total 896 Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools. Title I Distinguished Schools have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) at least three years in a row.

"These 896 schools don't accept excuses," Superintendent Cox said. "There are high standards for students and high expectations for teachers. These schools are focused and determined -- and they are getting results."

Title I Distinguished Schools that have made AYP for three consecutive years are awarded a certificate, while those who have made AYP four or more years receive a monetary award, paid for out of federal funds. The number of Title I Distinguished Schools has grown significantly since 2003, when 116 schools were recognized.

Title I Distinguished Districts

The Title I Distinguished District award is given to four school systems in four different size categories -- Large District, Medium District, Small District and Very Small District. The awarded districts have closed the achievement gap the most between economically disadvantaged students and students who are not economically disadvantaged in each category. The results of the reading, English language arts and mathematics portions of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) and the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) are used to determine achievement.

The 2009 Title I Distinguished Districts are:

* Large District: Henry County
* Medium: Marietta City
* Small District: Brooks County
* Very Small District: Chattahoochee County

The winning districts will each receive $50,000 from federal funds.

National Title I Distinguished Schools

The National Title I Distinguished Schools program recognizes two schools that receive Title I funding. One school is recognized for closing the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and students that are not economically disadvantaged. The other school is recognized for exceeding the benchmarks required to make AYP. The CRCT and GHSGT results in reading, English language arts and mathematics are used to determine the winning schools.

The two National Title I Distinguished Schools are:

* Closing the Gap: Echols County Schools (9-12), Echols County
* Meets and Exceeds Performance: Gainesville High School, Gainesville City

Each of these schools will receive $15,000 in federal funds.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

2009 Georgia Schools of Excellence Named

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox named the 2009 Georgia Schools of Excellence in Student Achievement today, honoring 27 schools that have shown the greatest improvement or highest achievement across the state.

"These schools are getting great results from all students in many different areas," Superintendent Cox said. "The teachers, students and administrators at these schools truly represent excellence. Congratulations to our 2009 Georgia Schools of Excellence."

The Georgia Schools of Excellence are honored in two categories. Qualifying schools are chosen from each Congressional District in the following categories (see the full criteria):
- Top 10%: Schools that are in the top 10 percent in Georgia as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.
- Greatest Gains: Schools that demonstrated greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past five years as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.
The Georgia Schools of Excellence will be honored at a banquet on February 5 at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park.


Congressional District, School, System
1 - Waycross Middle School, Ware County
2 - J.S. Pate Elementary, Crisp County
2 - Lake Park Elementary, Lowndes County
3 - Pike County Elementary Pike County
5 - Renfroe Middle School, Decatur City
6 - Dogden Middle School, Cobb County
7 - Peachtree Ridge High, Gwinnett County
7 - Frank Osborne Middle, Gwinnett County
8 - Jasper County Primary, Jasper County
9 - West Hall High School, Hall County
10 - Oglethorpe County Middle School, Oglethorpe County
11 - Rome Middle School, Rome City
13 - Mableton Elementary School, Cobb County
13 - Teasley Elementary, Cobb County

TOP 10%
Congressional District, School, System
1 - Appling County Primary, Appling County
2 - Lincoln Elementary Magnet, Dougherty County
3 - Whitewater Middle School, Fayette County
4 - Honey Creek Elementary, Rockdale County
5 - West Manor Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
6 - Pope High School, Cobb County
6 - Chattahoochee High, Fulton County
7 - Daves Creek Elementary, Forsyth County
8 - Bonaire Elementary, Houston County
9 - Riverwatch Middle, Forsyth County
10 - Oconee County Elementary, Oconee County
11 - Ford Elementary, Cobb County
12 - Savannah Arts Academy, Savannah-Chatham County

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

High School Students Get Help Navigating College Applications During Georgia Apply to College Week

WHO: During the Georgia Apply to College Week (GACW) event at their high school, seniors will be given the opportunity to apply to college using Volunteers from Georgia colleges and universities will be on hand to assist students as they complete their applications.

WHAT: GACW is held to provide all Georgia high school seniors with the opportunity to apply to college using, with a focus on providing assistance to first generation students as they navigate the college application process. GACW is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Foundation of Independent Colleges, the Georgia Student Finance Commission, Communities in Schools, the Technical College System of Georgia and the University System of Georgia, and endorsed by the Georgia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (GACRAO).

WHEN: November 9-13, 2009: this is the second year of the event which has expanded from eight to 44 high schools across the state.

WHERE: List of Participating High Schools

High School County Date of Event
Albany High School Dougherty November 9
Lamar County High School Lamar November 9
Lincoln County High School Lincoln November 9
Tattnall County High School Tattnall November 9
Baconton Community Charter School Mitchell November 10
Chestatee High School Hall November 10
Columbia High School DeKalb November 10
Coosa High School Floyd November 10
Crisp County High School Crisp November 10
Gordon Lee High School Walker November 10
Jackson High School Butts November 10
Jefferson County High School Jefferson November 10
Kendrick High School Muscogee November 10
Mountain Education Center High School Union November 10
Bleckley County High School Bleckley November 11
Gainesville High School Hall November 11
Griffin High School Spalding November 11
Jasper County High School Jasper November 11
Loganville Christian Academy Walton November 11
Mt. Zion High School Carroll November 11
Ronald E. McNair Senior High School DeKalb November 11
South Cobb High School Cobb November 11
Terrell Middle High School Terrell November 11
Bowdon High School Carroll November 12
Bryan County High School Bryan November 12
Cedar Grove High School DeKalb November 12
Frank McClarin High School Fulton November 12
Lumpkin County High School Lumpkin November 12
Macon County High School Macon November 12
Marion County High School Marion November 12
Spalding High School Spalding November 12
Ware County High School Ware November 12
Whitfield Career Academy Whitfield November 12
Thomson High School McDuffie November 12-13
Baker County Schools Baker November 13
Campbell High School Cobb November 13
Chattahoochee County High School Chattahoochee November 13
East Hall High School Hall November 13
Hawkinsville High School Pulaski November 13
Lithia Springs High School Douglas November 13
Morrow High School Clayton November 13
Ridgeland High School Walker November 13
Sonoraville High School Gordon November 13
Treutlen High School Treutlen November 13
Westside High School Bibb November 13

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Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Offers Exceptional New Education Benefits

/PRNewswire/ -- Earlier this year the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill went into effect, changing and expanding the education benefits available to veterans who have served since September 10, 2001. As Veteran's Day approaches, U.S. News University Directory encourages those who qualify to take advantage of this program - none are more worthy of an opportunity to achieve the American dream.

Veterans who have an honorable discharge and at least 90 days of aggregate service since September 10, 2001 can qualify for:

-- Up to 100% of tuition and fee costs, depending on length of service
-- A monthly housing allowance*
-- A books and supplies stipend*
-- College fund (or "kicker" payment), depending on rate of pursuit
-- Rural benefit payment, depending on residence

Furthermore, tuition and fee payments are made by the government directly to the veteran's college or university. This is generally considered a big improvement over the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which required the student to pay tuition up front and then receive reimbursement at a later date.

The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill covers associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees, but all training programs must be offered by a degree-granting institution of higher learning. This means that some vocational, technical and preparatory programs do not qualify. However, other G.I. education benefits (such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill) do cover programs not offered by degree-granting institutions, and veterans who are eligible for these and the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and can make a choice of which to receive. It is important to note that once this choice is made, it cannot be changed.

The Yellow Ribbon Program

Government tuition and fee payment in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is capped at the rate charged by the most expensive undergraduate public institution in the veteran's state of residence. This means that post-9/11 veterans attending graduate school, an out-of-state school or a private college will probably not have all of their tuition covered by their benefits.

The Yellow Ribbon Program - officially known as the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program - is a provision of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill that allows degree-granting colleges and universities to help veterans pay tuition costs exceeding the usual cap. Under this arrangement, educational institutions can volunteer to pay up to 50% of the additional tuition and fees, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will match them dollar-for-dollar. So attending a private or out-of-state school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program means up to 100% of the tuition can be covered, even though that tuition is greater than the cap set by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

Not all veterans are eligible. Only those who are entitled to the maximum G.I. Bill benefit rate qualify, which means that:

-- They must have served an aggregate period of active duty after
September 10th, 2001 of at least 36 months

-- Or they must have been honorably discharged from active duty for a
service-connected disability and have served 30 continuous days after
September 10th, 2001

Dependents of a veteran can be eligible for a Transfer of Entitlement if the veteran's service meets the criteria listed above.

Of course, not all colleges and universities participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. When deciding on where they want to apply, eligible veterans should research both the U.S. News University Directory sponsor schools that are taking part as well as the complete list of participating institutions.

*Active duty military personnel are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance or books and supplies stipend.

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Superintendent Cox Names Student Advisory Council‏

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox named 53 students from around Georgia to her 2009-2010 Student Advisory Council.

As members of the council, these students will meet three times throughout the school year to advise Superintendent Cox on how state policies are having an impact in the classroom. The Student Advisory Council will also discuss other education-related issues and will serve as the Superintendent's ambassadors in their respective schools.

"The Student Advisory Council is an invaluable resource to me and the leadership of the Georgia Department of Education," Superintendent Cox said. "It gives me a tremendous insight into how state policies and procedures are working in the classroom and it allows me to communicate directly with students in schools throughout Georgia."

More than 550 students from 108 districts applied to be a member of the Student Advisory Council by filling out an application and answering essay questions. Students were chosen based on the strength of their essay answers.

"It was a difficult task to choose the members of the Student Advisory Council this year and I'm grateful to every student who applied," Superintendent Cox said. "I think we have a great group of students this year and I'm looking forward to our first meeting." The first meeting of the Student Advisory Council will be held November 9 at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Savannah Andersen Cartersville High School
Maggie Bailey Academy of Richmond County
Jerrel Baker Lovejoy High School
Chasity Barlow Jackson High School
MacTavius Basley Twiggs County High School
Manasa Bhatta Chattahoochee High School
Taylor Bishop North Hall High School
Emma Brown Central High School
Miranda Burke Dooly County High School
McCall Butler Troup High School
Kyle Champion Americus‐Sumter High School South
Drake Corbin Jackson County Comprehensive High School
Brittney Curry Baldwin High School
Callie Dailey Jenkins County High School
Brittney Daughtry Georgia School for the Deaf
Jordie Davies Dodge County High School
Bob Deans Douglas County HS
LaToria Dixon Frederick Douglass High School
Will Dover Rockmart High School
Corey Fischer Woody Gap School
Vanessa Gallegos Central Gwinnett High School
Amanda Grobe Colquitt County High School
Andrew Henderson Georgia School for the Deaf
David Henry Lamar County Comprehensive High School
Matthew Holt Cook County High School
Elizabeth Jordan McNair High School
Helena Joseph Luella High School
Mary Keilhauer Pope High School
Elizabeth Kornegay Thomasville High School Scholars Academy
Veronica Leon Gainesville High School
Sarah Lindsey Washington County High School
Kayla Marks Monroe Comprehensive High School
Ryan McCormack Ridgeland High School
Lindsey McDonald Alcovy High School
Grace McLaine Clinch County High School
Katherine Olson Savannah Arts Academy
Ben O'Steen Appling County High School
Ansley Parker Pierce County High School
Travis Perry Willam Henry Spencer High School
Shaniqua Pierce West Laurens High School
Anthony Reed Oconee County High School
Hannah Robbins Woodstock High School
Sara Beth Roberts White County High School
Leekira Smith Statesboro High School
Sarah Snipes Coffee County High School
Quannaires Streeter Sandy Creek High School
Charles Trader Camden County High School
Sofia Tuttle Rockdale Magnet School for Science & Technology
Will Walker Turner County High School
Christopher Warren Vidalia Comprehensive High School
Ellie Weeks Tift County High School
Laura Whyte Peach County High School
Jaimee Yearwood Greene County High School

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Obama Administration Must Embrace Real Education Reform, Not Just Rhetoric

/PRNewswire/ -- In response to President Barack Obama's remarks today on his Administration's education reform initiatives and Race to the Top competition, Center for Education Reform president Jeanne Allen released the following statement:

Today, President Obama championed his administration's education reform initiatives in a Wisconsin speech, focusing on states that he claims are leading the charge for education reform.

The Obama Administration has jumped on board the charter school bandwagon and, in doing so, is telling states they must do better and create or fix laws in order to compete for their share of $4.3 billion in federal "Race to the Top" funds.

As admirable as the Obama administration's policy on charters may appear to be, the President and his Education Secretary are, too often, giving states credit for talking about charter schools rather than actually changing laws to improve the likelihood that children will have real school choice.

For example, Education Secretary Arne Duncan's description of reforms in Tennessee, Rhode Island, Indiana, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois has been misleading. While the Secretary has said that 'numerous states have adopted reforms that would have been almost unthinkable a year ago,' this is simply not the case.

No state cited in this popular mythology has revoked limits on the number of charters allowed to open this year. Several, in fact, merely fulfilled budgetary promises of charter funding after having first wiped them off the books.

In reality, most of the nation's 40 charter laws will need dramatic legislative changes to develop robust charter laws that actually allow for the growth of the types of schools both President Obama and Secretary Duncan routinely credit with raising academic achievement and turning around students' lives.

We want to see states get bold and adopt strong charter laws - which everyone knows how to do, but often aren't courageous enough to buck the status quo, the unions, and even continued ignorance of what precisely a charter school is. But that isn't happening.

For President Obama and his Education Secretary to claim victory before "Race" participants have even reached the starting gate is disappointing.

It is time that President Obama and Secretary Duncan stop championing half measures and start demanding real results and bold changes in state laws.

The Center for Education Reform drives the creation of better educational opportunities for all children. CER changes laws, minds and cultures to allow good schools to flourish.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

National Federation of the Blind Announces 2010 Scholarship Program

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the United States, announced today that applications are now being accepted for the 2010 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program. Thirty scholarships totaling $100,000 will be awarded to blind students from the United States and Puerto Rico. The scholarships are available to blind students who will be enrolled in college or a graduate program beginning in the fall of 2010, including incoming freshmen. Scholarships range in value from $3,000 to $12,000.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program is the Federation's way of recognizing outstanding academic achievement by blind students and spreading our positive philosophy of blindness to these students and to the general public. Because of the collective efforts of blind Americans, blind people today are achieving greater academic success and entering fields of study once thought closed to the blind, and celebrating their achievements is always a highlight of our national convention. I join the Scholarship Committee in inviting every eligible blind student to submit an application, and I look forward to meeting the dynamic individuals that will make up the 2010 National Federation of the Blind scholarship class."

Information on the NFB scholarship program is posted online at The deadline for applications is March 31, 2010.

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Sallie Mae Assists Students with Loan Repayment

(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the date approaches for thousands of new college graduates to begin repaying their student loans, Sallie Mae offers a full range of repayment plans to help customers manage their higher education bill.

New for this year is income-based repayment (IBR) which enables federal student loan customers experiencing financial challenges to cap their monthly student loan payment at 15 percent of their discretionary income. IBR may be particularly helpful to new college graduates unable to find employment at a level they expected or for those who have accumulated higher-than-average federal loan balances through their undergraduate and graduate programs.

After 25 years, customers who qualify for IBR and who have not repaid their entire loan balance may be eligible for loan forgiveness, which would discharge the remaining loan balance. To find out more information about eligibility, customers can visit and watch a video as well as download Sallie Mae’s IBR worksheet. Customers may apply online by logging in to their Sallie Mae online account and downloading a personalized application.

The company offers several other payment plans including fixed monthly payments of principal and interest over a 10-year repayment term, graduated repayment and extended repayment, which lowers the monthly payment amount by extending the repayment term. For more information about repayment plans, visit

Customers may change repayment plans at any time, and they may prepay at any time without penalty. Sallie Mae’s repayment calculator, available at, enables customers to compare programs, including IBR, by calculating estimated monthly payment amount, length of time to pay off, and total finance charges paid over the life of the loan. This tool helps customers select the payment option that is best for their unique circumstance.

Sallie Mae makes every effort to help customers achieve success in paying off their student loans. Heather, a resident of Bailey, Colo., was one such customer. After graduating with a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas, unexpected medical bills and challenges in establishing a fledgling therapy practice caused her to get behind in her student loans. Sallie Mae contacted her to assist, and by early 2009, Heather was able to pay her education loan bill in full.

Today, she is proudly immersed in her own private practice, giving support and encouragement to people when they need it the most. “Extending a helping hand to someone in need can make all the difference,” says Heather. “It was this same kind of support that I received from Sallie Mae at a time when I really needed it.”

Automatic debit helps customers stay on track with payments and maintain a healthy post-college credit history. With automatic debit, monthly student loan payments are electronically deducted from a checking or savings account, saving time and stamps.

Upromise by Sallie Mae may also help customers pay down their student loans faster. Upromise is a free service that enables members to earn rewards from eligible purchases from participating companies that can be used to pay down their eligible student loan balances.

For example, if a freshman who borrowed the maximum Stafford loans available each year for four years of college used Upromise and earned $100 a year in rewards throughout college and during loan repayment, he would have applied nearly $2,000 in rewards toward his student loan balance.* Visit to learn more about how to join and pay down a Sallie Mae-serviced student loan faster.

SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, is the nation’s leading provider of saving, planning and paying for education programs. Through its subsidiaries, the company manages $192 billion in education loans and serves 10 million student and parent customers. Through its Upromise affiliates, the company also manages more than $21 billion in 529 college-savings plans, and is a major, private source of college funding contributions in America with 11 million members and more than $500 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.

* $100 per year savings amount is not typical. Individual savings will vary depending on spending habits and level of engagement in Upromise. Active members earn contributions by using the Upromise credit card and doing things such as making eligible online and offline purchases with our partners and inviting friends and family to pass on their contributions. Saving example assumes all of the following: 4 unsubsidized Stafford loans borrowed in years 1 - 4 of school totaling $19,000 ($3,500 in year 1; $4,500 in year 2; $5,500 in year 3; $5,500 in year 4) with 2 equal disbursements per year, the customer is saving in his/her Upromise account the amount listed above on an annual basis beginning with the first Stafford Loan disbursement, a fixed interest rate of 6.8%, a 45 month in-school period, a 6 month grace period, a 10 year repayment period and a Standard Repayment Account. Postponement of payments, late fees, prepayments, Upromise program changes, change in repayment schedule including extension of repayment terms or change in school term may impact actual amounts displayed. Terms and conditions apply. Visit Access to Upromise is not limited to Sallie Mae customers.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Over 3,000 Schools (and Counting) Set to Participate in The American Math Challenge as Practice Week Kicks off

/PRNewswire/ -- With a target of registering 1 million students, this is the last week for kids across the country to sign up for the American Math Challenge! Schools and students can register until November 6, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. ET by logging on to

The Challenge, which takes place from November 9 - 16, invites middle school students nationwide, ages 9-14, to sign up free of charge to compete online against other American students of similar age and ability in real time, 60-second mental arithmetic games.

The fun officially starts today, with the American Math Challenge Practice Week, which lasts from November 2 - November 6 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Students are sharpening key strokes and practicing their arithmetic as they gear up to compete.

The student with the highest score will be declared American Math Champion and receive a Minted Gold Medal. Up to three top students will be chosen to represent the United States as Team Ambassadors on World Math Day, in March 2010.

The American Math Challenge is hosted by The MATHCOUNTS Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes middle school mathematics achievement, and powered by Mathletics, the learning platform from 3P Learning, the global leader in online mathematics education.

Best-selling author and Guinness World Record Holder as the "Fastest Human Calculator" Scott Flansburg is Ambassador for the Challenge. Flansburg earned his title for his ability to process numbers with amazing speed and calculator accuracy. He can add, subtract, multiply, divide - and even do square and cube roots - all in his head.

Now, "The Human Calculator®" (a nickname given to him by television host Regis Philbin) is using his extraordinary gift to inspire students, teachers and "non-math" people, demonstrating that arithmetic really can be as easy as "0, 1, 2, 3."

"Students compete in a multi-player game environment, inclusive of all levels of math ability, making math exciting" Flansburg notes. "Results show that participants will make significant improvement in their mental arithmetic skills and have fun in the process. All school children and homeschoolers are invited to participate."

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