Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Siemens Teacher Scholarships Awarded

/PRNewswire/ -- The Siemens Foundation announced the winners of the 2010 Siemens Teacher Scholarship today in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The program provides scholarships to students enrolled in the nation's public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are pursuing teaching careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

This unique program provides scholars with a fun, laboratory-style teaching opportunity through the Siemens Foundation's Siemens Science Day program (, a nationwide initiative in partnership with Discovery Education that has reached more than 54,000 elementary and middle school students in 36 states since its inception in 2006. This year's scholars taught classrooms from New York to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"We know the value of good teachers, and we're committed to encouraging scholars who want to teach vital STEM subjects," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, Vice President of the Siemens Foundation and graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. "Our Siemens Teacher Scholars have shown the type of enthusiasm and drive in science and technology that will inspire our next generation of innovators to pursue their dreams."

Mehrin Gadit, a senior Biology/Secondary Education major at York College, City University of New York, visited P.S. 120 in New York City to conduct her Siemens Science Day with fourth graders. "This was my first time interacting with students of this age, better yet my first time teaching them," she said. Mehrin's experiment helped students gain an understanding of how botanists define fruits, and about plant reproduction. "It is great that students get to exercise science by doing and discovering their own knowledge, instead of teachers lecturing to them. Inquiry-based lessons open up the mind of the student, letting them explore their options," she said.

"The Siemens Foundation's investment in increasing the pipeline of highly-qualified minority teachers in STEM fields directly addresses the national call to higher education to produce the caliber of students that will shape the future," said Dr. N. Joyce Payne, Founder, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "Thurgood Marshall College Fund is proud to join efforts with the Siemens Foundation that has a long history of support of excellence in education, particularly in science and mathematics."

Morayo Adebiyi, a junior biology major at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, described her Siemens Science Day at nearby middle school: "I purposely targeted a school where the students were not performing well in the areas of science and math. My idea was to help these students develop a passion for these subjects and allow them to apply what they learned to their everyday lives." Morayo's activity helped students learn about elasticity and kinetic energy. Students learned how the height from which a ball is dropped affects how high it bounces. Students also learned about averaging and graphing. She brought a basketball to class so that the students could apply these topics to a game they all know and love. "This experience allowed me to be aware of the immediate need for passionate teachers in my community," she said.

A complete list of the 2010 Siemens Teacher Scholarship recipients follows:

Alabama A&M University
Britney White (Mathematics)

Alabama State University
Deshawn Sutton (Biology)
Hartrice Walker (Special Education)

Benedict College
Tinika Jacobs (Elementary Education)

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
Charles Yongu (Elementary Education)

Claflin University
Tiasha Jones (Chemistry)
Walter Lee (Middle-Level Education)
April McPherson (Mathematics Education)
Devin Washington (Middle-Level Education)
Robert Platts (Mathematics Education)

Elizabeth City State University
Tiwana Walton (Mathematics Education)

Florida Memorial University
Ingrid Louis (Elementary Education)

Harris - Stowe State University
Deontrel Brownlee (Secondary Education)
Mary Davis (Elementary Education)
Michael Roessler (Secondary Mathematics)
Rico Smith (Teacher Education - Mathematics)
Lorinda Weinrich (Biology, Secondary Science)

Jackson State University
Zackery Hodge (Elementary Education)
Dzondria Tarver (Elementary Education)

Langston University
Aleshia Richardson (Mathematics Education)

LeMoyne-Owen College
Kimberly Nailor (Education)

Norfolk State University
Candace Myrick (Education)

North Carolina Central University
Tremain Holloway (Mathematics Secondary Education)
Timothy McAllister (Elementary Education)

Spelman College
Morayo Adebiyi (Biology)
Brittany Harris (Biology)
Monique Merritt (Biology)

University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Phylicia Gibbs (Mathematics Education)

University of the Virgin Islands
Rhashaunda Charles (Elementary Education)
Daniella Henry (Education)

Winston-Salem State University
Kari Dixon (Mathematics)

York College, City University of New York
Jasmaine Calizaire (Education)
Mehrin Gadit (Biology, Secondary Education)

Siemens Foundation

The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues. In February 2010 the Siemens Foundation launched its newest initiative, The Siemens STEM Academy, a national STEM education program for teachers designed to support educators in their efforts to foster student achievement in these fields. By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow's scientists and engineers. The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens' U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For further information, visit

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Georgia Has 12th Highest Percent of Seniors Scoring a 3 or Higher on AP Exams

Georgia has the 12th highest percent of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, according to The College Board's AP Report to the Nation released last week. This report measures progress of the class of 2009.

"I am proud that more Georgia students than ever are challenging themselves with demanding course work and are successfully mastering the material," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "We recognize that one of the best ways to close the achievement gap is to challenge all students with rigorous work and high expectations."

Advanced Placement classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit. The AP Report to the Nation looks at data for 2009 High School seniors. Among Georgia's public high school seniors in 2009:

* 17.8% scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school. That is higher than the national average of 15.9%.
* Georgia is tied for 2nd in the nation when comparing the five-year increase of public school seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (5.4% growth compared to 3.2% for the nation.)
* Georgia ranks 3rd in the nation for its one-year increase of public school seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (1.5% growth compared to 0.7% for the nation.)

When it comes to public school students enrolling in AP courses and taking the exams, Georgia is also a national leader. Only one other state in the country had a greater one-year increase in the number of AP exam-takers and number of exams given. The number of AP exams taken by Georgia's public school seniors increased 3.3% since 2008, compared to a 1.5% national average increase.

AP Growth Among All Students

Almost 64,000 Georgia students in all grades took at least one AP exam in 2008-2009, an increase of more than 11 percent from the previous year. Georgia's AP population continues to get more diverse as well, with more African-American and Hispanic students taking the rigorous classes.

"We know in Georgia that we must continue to close the achievement gap, and that's why it is so important that more of our minority students are taking these rigorous AP courses and doing well on the exams," Superintendent Cox said. "This AP report shows that Georgia is a leader in minority test-takers and success. We have work left to be done, but we are making tremendous progress."

During the 2008-2009 school year, more than 12,300 African-American public school students (all grades) took an AP exam. That's an increase of 17 percent from the previous year and represents more than 10 percent of all public school African-American test-takers nationwide. There were 3,507 Hispanic students (all grades) that took at least one AP exam in 2008-2009, an increase of more than 19% from the previous year.

According to the AP Report to the Nation, among Georgia's high school seniors:

* More than 23% of students who took an AP exam in 2008-2009 were African-American, an increase of almost one percentage point from the previous year.
* 11.4% of Georgia's African-American high school seniors scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. That is almost eight points higher than the national average.
* About 5.6% of Georgia's AP test takers were Hispanic, higher than Georgia's overall Hispanic student population (5.5 percent).

State Efforts to Increase AP Participation

The State of Georgia has undertaken many successful efforts to increase participation in AP programs and success on AP exams. Among the initiatives:

* At the request of Governor Perdue and Superintendent Cox, the Legislature has approved money to pay for students to take one AP exam per year. Economically-disadvantaged students can have all of their AP exams paid for each year.
* The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has organized the distribution of AP Teacher Quality Training Grants. Since 2006, the GaDOE has funded approximately $717,000 in grant awards to train 869 new AP teachers. These awards have allowed 573 new AP courses to be offered in public high schools throughout the state. It is anticipated that in 2010 an additional 282 AP teachers will be trained.
* The GaDOE has sponsored regional workshops for teachers of AP in the fall for the past three years. These workshops are led by master teachers of AP in Georgia high schools. To date, over 1,600 AP teachers have participated in these course-specific workshops.
* The Georgia Virtual School (GAVS) continues to add AP classes, increasing access to students throughout the state, including those that might not otherwise be able to take an AP class. In 2008-2009, 578 students enrolled in 20 different AP courses. The Georgia Virtual School will begin offering AP Spanish in Fall 2010.
* The GaDOE developed the AP Handheld Project this year and gave $64,580 in grants to 56 schools for the purchase of handheld technology for students to use in their courses.

AP Honor Schools

Superintendent Cox also named today more than 125 AP Honor Schools.

"Georgia is making tremendous strides with Advanced Placement -- not only in the number of students taking the courses, but in the number of students having success," Superintendent Cox said. "Much of that progress comes from the dedication to rigor and excellence at each of our AP Honor Schools."

The 2010 AP Honor Schools are named in three categories, based on the results of 2008-2009 AP classes and exams:

* AP CHALLENGE SCHOOLS: Schools with fewer than 900 students that are offering AP classes in the four core areas of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science
* AP ACCESS & SUPPORT SCHOOLS: Schools with 30% of AP test takers that are African-American or Hispanic and at least 30% of all AP exams scoring 3 or higher
* AP MERIT SCHOOLS: Schools with at least 20% of students taking AP exams and at least half of the AP exams scoring a 3 or higher

The AP Honor Schools are listed below.

Schools with fewer than 900 students that are offering AP classes in all four academic areas
Albany HS, Dougherty County
Allatoona HS, Cobb County
AR Johnson Magnet HS, Richmond County
Armuchee HS, Floyd County
Avondale HS, DeKalb County
Bowdon HS, Carroll County
Buford HS, Buford City
Callaway HS, Troup County
Carver School of Health Sciences, Atlanta City
Chattooga HS, Chattooga County
Clinch County HS, Clinch County
Commerce HS, Commerce City
Cook County HS, Cook County
Coosa HS, Floyd County
Cross Keys HS, DeKalb County
Decatur HS, Decatur City
DeKalb School of the Arts, DeKalb County
Gordon Central HS, Gordon County
Gordon Lee HS, Chickamauga City
Greene County HS, Greene County
Hancock Central HS, Hancock County
Heritage HS, Catoosa County
Howard HS, Bibb County
Jefferson HS, Jefferson City
John Davidson Magnet HS, Richmond County
Lincoln County HS, Lincoln County
Long County HS, Long County
McIntosh County Academy, McIntosh County
Model HS, Floyd County
Mount Zion HS, Carroll County
Northeast HS, Bibb County
Oglethorpe County HS, Oglethorpe County
Rabun County HS, Rabun County
Savannah School of the Arts, Chatham County
Screven County HS, Screven County
Southwest HS, Bibb County
TEACH Charter HS, Fulton County
Temple HS, Carroll County
Therrell School of Health Sciences, Atlanta City
Thomasville HS, Thomasville City
Vidalia HS, Vidalia City
Westside HS, Richmond County

Schools with 30% of AP test takers that are African-American or Hispanic and at least 30% of all AP exams scoring 3 or higher
AR Johnson Magnet HS, Richmond County
Academy of Richmond County HS, Richmond County
Baldwin HS, Baldwin County
Benjamin Mays HS, Atlanta City
Berkmar HS, Gwinnett County
Bradwell Institute, Liberty County
Campbell HS, Cobb County
Cedar Shoals HS, Clarke County
Cedartown HS, Polk County
Central Gwinnett HS, Gwinnett County
Chamblee Charter HS, DeKalb County
Chapel Hill HS, Douglas County
Cross Keys HS, DeKalb County
Dacula HS, Gwinnett County
Dalton HS, Dalton City
DeKalb School of the Arts, DeKalb County
Douglas County HS, Douglas County
Dutchtown HS, Henry County
Eagle’s Landing HS, Henry County
Early County HS, Early County
Fayette County HS, Fayette County
Henry Grady HS, Atlanta City
Herschel Jenkins HS, Chatham County
Jenkins County HS, Jenkins County
John Davidson Magnet HS, Richmond County
Liberty County HS, Liberty County
Lithia Springs HS, Douglas County
Luella HS, Henry County
Marietta HS, Marietta City
McEachern HS, Cobb County
Phoenix HS, Gwinnett County
Rockdale County HS, Rockdale County
Salem HS, Rockdale County
Sandy Creek HS, Fayette County
Shiloh HS, Gwinnett County
South Gwinnett HS, Gwinnett County
Southwest DeKalb HS, DeKalb County
Statesboro HS, Bulloch County
Woodland HS, Henry County

Schools with at least 20% of students taking AP exams and at least half of the AP exams scoring a 3 or higher
Alpharetta HS, Fulton County
Brookwood HS, Gwinnett County
Centennial HS, Fulton County
Chamblee Charter HS, DeKalb County
Chattahoochee HS, Fulton County
Columbus HS, Muscogee County
Decatur HS, Decatur City
DeKalb School of the Arts, DeKalb County
Druid Hills HS, DeKalb County
Duluth HS, Gwinnett County
Dunwoody HS, DeKalb County
George Walton HS, Cobb County
Greenbrier HS, Columbia County
Gwinnett School of Math, Science, and Technology, Gwinnett County
Harrison HS, Cobb County
John Davidson Magnet HS, Richmond County
Lakeside HS, Columbia County
Lakeside HS, DeKalb County
Lassiter HS, Cobb County
Milton HS, Fulton County
North Gwinnett HS, Gwinnett County
North Oconee HS, Oconee County
North Springs HS, Fulton County
Northview HS, Fulton County
Oconee County HS, Oconee County
Parkview HS, Gwinnett County
Peachtree Ridge HS, Gwinnett County
Riverwood HS, Fulton County
Roswell HS, Fulton County
Savannah Arts Academy, Chatham County
South Forsyth HS, Forsyth County
Starr’s Mill HS, Fayette County
West Forsyth HS, Forsyth County

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Young Audiences Launches Arts for Learning Lessons in DeKalb County

Organization Delivers Arts-Based, Literacy-Building Program in Seven DeKalb Elementary Schools

Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center (YAWAC) is announcing today the launch of its Arts for Learning Lessons in partnership with the DeKalb County School System. The Arts for Learning Lessons is a ground-breaking supplemental literacy initiative that blends the creativity and discipline of the arts with learning science to raise student achievement in reading and writing and to develop skills for learning and life.

Developed by Young Audiences, Inc. – in collaboration with a University of Washington design team led by Dr. John Bransford – Arts for Learning Lessons is an arts-integrated curriculum that educates the whole child by developing students’ ability to learn and process information, fostering the skills and dispositions associated with active, engaged learning, and by advancing their skills in problem-solving, planning, communication and collaboration.

"In the DeKalb County School System, we recognize the important role the arts play in developing a child's creativity, communication and critical-thinking skills and improving their overall academic performance," said Gloria Talley, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning at the DeKalb County School System. "That's why we are thrilled to be partnering with Young Audiences to pilot the Arts for Learning Lessons in seven of our elementary schools this year. Our teachers, students and administrators are all excited to experience firsthand the transforming power of authentic arts experiences."

The Arts for Learning Lessons will be delivered in extended day programs for 175 students in third, fourth and fifth grades at the following Title I elementary schools in DeKalb County: Rowland, Toney, Snapfinger, Oakcliff Theme, Jolly, Glenhaven and Rainbow.

Each unit of the Arts for Learning Lessons is designed to help students build literacy and arts skills aligned with state and local standards by working back and forth between literacy and arts tasks to leverage their learning through both visual and performing arts in order to enliven, enrich and increase their literacy achievement.

Teams of DeKalb County classroom teachers will co-teach Unit 3 of the Arts for Learning Lessons—“Everyday Heroes”—which provides 16 hours of sequential instruction focused on determining importance and synthesizing using Jonah Winter’s biography, Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the anchor text. Students will use collage as a tool for understanding the literacy concepts and will have an opportunity to explore the art form more fully in the companion five-session residency in collage led by Young Audiences’ teaching artists and DeKalb visual arts specialists.

“We are thrilled to partner with the DeKalb County School System in bringing this highly effective program to their students. Our research shows that students participating in the Arts for Learning Lessons not only demonstrate a consistent pattern of improvement in literacy skills and knowledge, they also find the Lessons more interesting and engaging than their regular reading program,” said Myrna Lubin, Associate Director of Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center. “It’s our hope that, after a successful pilot year in DeKalb County, we will expand the program to more DeKalb students, both during and after the regular school day.”

“While our students have access to school-based opportunities in the arts, this additional extended school day residency through the Arts for Learning Lessons will expand students' interest in reading and their ability to make connections between the power of visual arts to express a character's mood, relationships and events in the text,” said Kelli Wright, Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning for the DeKalb County School System. “We are pleased to be partnering with Young Audiences and are excited to see the positive impact Arts for Learning Lessons will have on our students.”

About Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center
Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center (YAWAC) is Georgia’s leading provider of arts-in-education programming. Part of the prestigious 31 chapter national Young Audiences organization, YAWAC brings the power of live arts experiences to Georgia students from pre-school to high school. From a small organization of nine artists in 1983, YAWAC is celebrating more than 25 years of service and has grown into a force in arts education, now comprised of more than 65 professional artists and ensembles that reach nearly 640,000 students each year in over 50 counties statewide. We fulfill our mission – to improve and enrich the lives and learning of children through high quality arts experiences – by providing a dazzling and culturally diverse array of curriculum-based assemblies, workshops and residencies in music, dance, theatre, literary and visual arts. For more information, please visit

About Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is the largest arts center in the Southeast as well as one of the four largest in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines five visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opening in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, Young Audiences and the 14th Street Playhouse.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clayton State Graduate Studies Open House March 2

The Clayton State University School of Graduate Studies is moving its next open house up a week, to Tuesday, Mar. 2. The open house will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 101 of the University’s Harry S. Downs Center on the main campus in Morrow.

The Clayton State School of Graduate Studies typically holds open houses on the second Tuesday evening of each month. However, for March, that date falls during the University’s Spring Break. The program for the Mar. 1 open house will be the same -- providing information on the newest Clayton State graduate program, the Master of Archival Studies, in addition to giving prospective graduate students the chance to learn more about the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, Master of Arts in Teaching English, Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics, Master of Business Administration (which now has cohorts meeting in Peachtree City and Conyers, in addition to the Clayton State campus), Master of Health Administration, and Master of Science in Nursing.

The mission of graduate education at Clayton State is to stimulate, encourage and support efforts that build national distinction and that are characterized by innovation and by increasing contribution to the social, cultural, economic, health and technological development needs of Georgia and the nation. The University is committed to excellence, innovation and collaboration in research and in the preparation of professionals for the highest levels of practice.

Graduate education prepares: scholars in the arts, humanities, and the sciences who maintain and advance our understanding of the human condition; scientists, engineers, and other professionals needed by industry, government, and universities to conduct the nation's research and development; and scholars in all disciplines who become the faculties of our colleges and universities.

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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Clayton State Classes Cancelled and Library Closed Today

Due to concerns about potentially hazardous driving conditions today, Clayton State University President Dr. Thomas J. “Tim” Hynes, Jr., has announced that all Clayton State classes have been cancelled for Saturday, Feb. 13. In addition, the Clayton State Library will be closed today.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Clayton State Campus Closed Until Noon on Saturday, Feb. 13

Due to concerns about potentially hazardous driving conditions on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 13, Clayton State University President Dr. Thomas J. “Tim” Hynes, Jr., has announced that the Clayton State campus will be closed until noon on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Clayton State Campus Closing at 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12

Due to the widespread predictions of widespread snow falling this afternoon, Clayton State President Dr. Thomas J. “Tim” Hynes, Jr., has announced that the campus of Clayton State University will close today, Friday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m.

Essential personnel will remain on duty. There are no academic classes regularly scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 13. It is not expected that this afternoon’s closure will affect the Southeastern Philosophy Conference, being held on campus today and tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 13), nor Joshua Bell’s Saturday evening performance in Spivey Hall.

Website for Teachers Offers Expanded Research-Based Resources for In-School and Out-of-School Learning

PRNewswire- Teachers and parents will find a one-stop-shop for standards-based classroom resources at the new-and-improved (, the popular website developed by International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and Verizon Thinkfinity in 2002 to provide reading and language arts educators with access to an ever-growing collection of free educational materials.

Launched in mid-January 2010, the redesigned site features improved organization and navigation tools that make it easier to browse among hundreds of standards-based lesson plans, timely activities, recommended book lists, printable worksheets, and interactive tools so that users can quickly find the right resources to support teaching and learning.

Intuitive design is at the core of the new site which features collections by grade-level, as well as collections dedicated to learning outside of the classroom, and professional development.

Every lesson plan at has been aligned to individual state standards, which can be viewed easily in the new design.

Teachers can also support their students' learning beyond the classroom by referring parents and after-school care providers to the site's new after-school resources section, which features tips and how-to's, activities and projects, podcasts, and online tools. owes its success to a dedicated community of literacy professionals who write and review lesson plans and other materials. Through the new Communities section, users can go behind the scenes to learn about the authors and reviewers that inspire, educate, and show how is making a difference.

Users can add their own comments and share their experiences and ideas, as well as e-mail and bookmark resources on the site. Other social networking opportunities are available through RWT's fan page on Facebook.

" has always been a deep resource," says International Reading Association President Kathy Au. "The improvements to the site make it even more meaningful by bringing users directly to the content they need and by creating a community of educators and learners. Improving literacy learning has always been our goal; the new site achieves that by helping -- and connecting -- everyone in the circle, from educators to parents to students."

NCTE president Carol Jago invites, "Hungry for fresh ideas to make learning come alive in your classroom? ReadWriteThink is a cornucopia of teaching produce that will nourish both you and your students. Created by classroom teachers who know how quickly lessons can grow stale, this virtual basket is easy to access and yours for the taking. To paraphrase the title of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat Teach Love."

The International Reading Association is a professional membership organization dedicated to promoting high levels of literacy for all by improving the quality of reading instruction, disseminating research and information about reading, and encouraging the lifetime reading habit.

The National Council of Teachers of English has been dedicated to building teacher knowledge and improving student achievement in English language arts since its founding in 1911.

Verizon Thinkfinity is the cornerstone of Verizon Foundation's literacy, education, and technology initiatives. Their goal is to improve student achievement in traditional classroom settings and beyond by providing high-quality content and first-class professional development training.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gov. Perdue: Transforming Teacher Pay

Last month I proposed a new plan that will transform the way we compensate K-12 teachers and leaders in our state. It will put them on the same playing field as our state’s top coaches who are rewarded for consistently winning games.

Our current compensation system credits our teachers only for time in the profession and the level of their advanced degree, not the degree to which our students learn. This antiquated practice encourages some of our most ambitious teachers to leave the classroom, and it prevents some of our best and brightest from ever entering the field in the first place.

The enhanced pay plan will increase the early, mid-career and lifetime earning potential of top teachers and school leaders. Doing so will help the state attract, encourage, reward and retain the best talent in our schools. New teachers will be able to earn much higher pay, much sooner. Rather than waiting 25 years for a salary that appropriately rewards their teaching abilities, effective teachers can be rewarded much earlier in their careers. Most importantly, the pay proposal will align our compensation system with the mission of our schools: academic achievement.

We developed the plan for enhanced pay after hearing from over 20,000 Georgia teachers, 80 percent of whom said they would like to be evaluated on both classroom observation and the degree to which they have helped students learn. The enhanced pay model was shaped by our Race to the Top Great Teachers and Leaders Task Force, made up of current and former teachers and leaders with more than 150 years of combined experience in our classrooms and schools.

Already twenty-three local school districts making up 41 percent of Georgia’s public school students have committed to a similar bonus model through the state’s federal Race to the Top application. The state will implement best practices from those districts in developing and implementing the statewide system.

Since announcing this plan, I have heard from a number of teachers, school leaders and parents that are excited about the possibility of rewarding the hard work that drives student improvement. Understandably, many also have questions about how this new system will work.

First, some have voiced concerns that teachers should not be evaluated or compensated solely on the achievement of their students. I agree. The proposed effectiveness measure will also take peer review and classroom observation into account when evaluating and rewarding a teacher for his or her performance. Most importantly, a teacher will not be judged on student’s raw achievement, but on a student’s improvement over time. This will ensure a level playing field, keeping top teachers in low-performing schools and giving teachers in high-performing schools something to strive for beyond proficiency.

Others have asked whether non-core teachers could be included in a performance pay system. I believe that non-core teachers are vital in ensuring Georgia’s students are well-rounded and our schools are successful. Non-core teachers will be eligible for performance pay and will be evaluated based on qualitative measures as we work to develop additional quantitative measures for non-core subjects.

Lastly, there is a misconception that a performance pay system will punish educators who have earned advanced degrees. I wholeheartedly disagree. Teachers who have already earned advanced degrees may remain in the current salary structure and continue to be paid for those degrees if they choose to do so. Current teachers will have the choice of opting into the new system, or remaining in the existing one.

It is time that we align our compensation system with the mission of our schools, for the good of our students, for the good of our teachers and for the good of our state.

by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
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NASA and Texas Instruments Use Human Spaceflight to Bring Math and Science Topics Into High School Classrooms

/PRNewswire/ -- NASA and Texas Instruments are using the theme of human space exploration to develop digital libraries of math and science problems for high school students. The goal is to bring real-world topics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, into classrooms to spark students' excitement and interest in these critical career fields.

The collaboration will produce two digital libraries. One, called Exploring Space Through Math: Applications in High School Mathematics, will provide problems based on NASA data that are set in the context of space exploration. The project material will cover almost the entire high school math curriculum, with applications in Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Pre-Calculus.

The other digital library, named Science at Work: Exploring Space with NASA-AP, will contain questions for Advanced Placement classes. This program seeks to develop and test problems in calculus, statistics, physics, chemistry and biology.

"As students solve real problems NASA faces in space exploration, they will practice during high school and college the skills necessary to pursue a career in a STEM field," said Charles Lloyd, NASA's lead for the effort and program manager for Human Research Program Education and Outreach at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "NASA and Texas Instruments are passionate about motivating the next generation's interest in science and math subjects and equipping these students to take us farther into space and improve our lives here on Earth."

The libraries of questions will use NASA applications and data while incorporating Texas Instruments' math learning technology. Each problem includes student and teacher editions to help the teacher link content to higher concepts.

"Our goal is to make STEM subjects more fun and interactive," said Werner Garciano, director of Professional Development for Texas Instruments' Education Technology. "Working with NASA is a great opportunity to bring exciting, real-world math experiences into the classroom. Our collaboration will expand the digital content and professional development that Texas Instruments provides teachers, and will help engage students more deeply in math. Together, we believe these activities will break through to students who have never considered a STEM career path."

Both projects will be available in the fall of 2010 on NASA's Web site. With this program, NASA continues its investment in engaging and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to the agency's future engineering, scientific, and technical missions. For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Georgia State University Art school to receive $4 million from namesake

Faculty members in Georgia State University's Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design are currently researching how to strategically enhance programs and scholarship through a generous gift from the school's namesake.

Ernest G. Welch, the university's oldest alumnus, died at 103 on Dec. 26, 2009. He and his late sister, Frances, left a significant portion of their estates to Georgia State's School of Art and Design, totaling approximately $4 million.

The gift will be invested through the university's endowment, providing annual support to the school, which was named for Welch in 2003.

"It's huge," said Ralph Gilbert, associate dean for fine arts at Georgia State. "This money could support programs, bring in visiting artists and scholars, enhance infrastructure, boost scholarship and develop international programs.

Gilbert said he asked art faculty to start researching the other top art programs in the country to see how the resources can be used to fund new initiatives and build upon the school's existing distinctiveness. Welch also left his camera collection to the school, Gilbert said.

Welch was a 1999 graduate of the School of Art and Design. A long-time resident of Atlanta, Welch earned a business degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1928. He went on to serve in counterintelligence during World War II and landed in Normandy at Omaha Beach 10 days after the invasion. He was stationed in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, where he took photographs of the war effort.

After a decades-long career as a manager for Sonoco Products Company, Welch enrolled in Georgia State's art school in his late 80s. He earned a bachelor of fine arts in photography from the university in 1999.

In the fall semester of 2002, Welch enrolled in introductory painting and drawing classes in order to continuously improve his photography skills. He continued his self-education when he took up digital photography at 102. Welch's work has appeared at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and Arts for All Gallery in Atlanta as well as the gallery at Georgia State.

During his life, Welch had also been a generous supporter of the GSU art school, giving money for scholarships and enhancements to the photography program.

"Ernest was an incredibly kind and generous man," said Nancy Peterman, vice president for development at Georgia State. "We are truly grateful for his bequest, which will benefit future generations of art students here for many years to come."

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Governor Perdue Appoints Special Liaisons to Assist Warren County School System

Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced two Special Liaisons to assist Warren County School System in regaining its accreditation.

“Just as we did with Clayton County, we will do everything within our power to help,” said Governor Perdue. “Through these liaisons, the state will provide special assistance to support Warren County’s teachers, parents and, most importantly, students.”

The two Special Liaisons will serve in an advisory role and offer guidance to Warren County in the completion of steps outlined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Committee by July 30, 2010. Governor Perdue has asked James Bostic, Jr., and William “Brad” Bryant, both members of the State Board of Education, to serve in this capacity. The two liaisons will regularly update Governor Perdue on Warren County School System’s progress.

Both Bostic and Bryant served in the same capacity in 2008 when Clayton County lost its accreditation. They both worked with the Clayton school system while it regained its accreditation.

Governor Perdue has also renewed his call for the General Assembly to pass School Board Governance legislation first introduced last year. The legislation will improve school board training and governance across the state, helping to prevent other school systems from losing their accreditation in the future. It would also give the state the ability to move proactively when a system is in danger of losing accreditation. The legislation passed the Senate last year and is being heard in the House Education Committee tomorrow.

“It is incredibly frustrating to watch the fallout from a dysfunctional school board undermine earnest teachers and jeopardize their students’ potential,” Governor Perdue said. “That’s why we brought this legislation last year, and now we find ourselves in a similar situation with yet another school system facing loss of accreditation.”

The legislation will standardize board ethics policies and board training, clarify the law delineating the roles and responsibilities of superintendents and board members, create minimum qualifications for board candidates, and give the state the ability to find responsible citizens to serve on school boards when existing members fail to serve the interests of their students.
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Georgia Virtual School Registration Open for 2010-2011 School Year

The Georgia Department of Education today announced that registration for the Georgia Virtual School (GAVS) 2010-2011 school year is now open to public school students.

"The Georgia Virtual School is a great way for students to take courses that may not currently be offered in their school," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "I encourage parents and students to look into all of the courses available and enroll today."

Georgia Virtual School offers a complete high school curriculum with Advanced Placement and college prep level courses. The courses also offer a perfect solution for students who are hospital/home bound or working in an alternative school environment. GAVS gives public school students access to challenging courses and the opportunity to make up credits through the Georgia Credit Recovery Program so they can graduate on schedule. All GAVS courses are fully accredited and taught by certified teachers.

During Fall 2009, over 3,000 students successfully completed courses, including the Advanced Placement courses the Georgia Virtual Schools offers. This program gives all Georgia students options and opportunities often not available at their local school.

The most popular course offerings are six world languages including: Latin, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Chinese. The program continues to offer Quality Core Curriculum Math courses including: Algebra I, II, III, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry. The program also offers a limited middle school curriculum on a tuition basis.

High School Career, Technical & Agricultural Education (CTAE) courses (Marketing, Engineering and Technology, Public Safety, Agriculture, and Health Care Science) and Math II and Math III courses are currently in development.

State funding is available for a one unit course or two half unit courses per student per semester for high school level courses. Students may also pay tuition of $300 per half unit class. All courses must be approved by the student’s local school.

Private and home schooled students may begin registration for 2010-2011 GAVS courses on May 1, 2010.

Nine week mini-semester courses are also still available for spring 2010. These courses begin in March. Parents and students may contact the guidance counselor at their school for registration information.

For more information about Georgia Virtual School, visit the website at or call 404-657-0574.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

GaDOE to Offer Free Online High School Graduation Test Remediation

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced Friday a free online remediation course for high school students to help them pass the science and/or social studies portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT). Registration for the courses begins TODAY, Monday, February 1, 2010.

FreeOnline ExPreSS (Exam Preparation for Science and Social Studies) will be offered by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) online to all high school students and certificate of attendance recipients who were unsuccessful on or who have not yet taken the Science and/or Social Studies GHSGT.

The GaDOE offered the ExPreSS program last summer in schools throughout the state and saw tremendous results. Students in the program had an overall retest pass rate of 68 percent; more than double the previous year’s pass rate on GHSGT retests in science and social studies.

“With the success we saw in our ExPreSS program over the summer, we knew we needed to offer it again and make an online version available to even more students,” said Superintendent Cox. “FreeOnline ExPreSS will also help financially-strapped school districts that may not have the resources to provide extra help to high school students in preparing for the GHSGT.”

FreeOnline ExPreSS creates an online opportunity designed to help students prepare for the science and social studies GHSGT. Science and social studies are the two GHSGTs that Georgia students fail most often. It will offer self-paced units based on the instructional plans created for the summer ExPreSS Program.

Students can create their own registration account using their Georgia Testing Identifier (GTID) number. Detailed instructions for creating this account and locating their GTID number will be provided on the ExPreSS website at:

The summer Project ExPreSS program is scheduled for June 14-25, 2010. To get more information, please click on the following link:

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