Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 Georgia Schools of Excellence Named

Twenty-six Schools Named for 2011

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge named the 2011 Georgia Schools of Excellence in Student Achievement today, honoring 26 schools that have shown the greatest improvement or highest achievement across the state. Each of these schools will receive a $1,000 check from Georgia Natural Gas to be used however they wish.

"These schools are showing that excellence can be achieved when they focus on providing a world-class education for their students," Superintendent Barge said. "I offer my sincere congratulations to our 2011 Georgia Schools of Excellence and my appreciation to Georgia Natural Gas for their continued support of our schools as the title sponsor. As we continue to deal with tough economic times, schools are always looking for ways to generate revenue to benefit their students. I would highly encourage principals and parents to consider getting their schools on board with True-Blue Schools immediately to generate much-needed money.” To learn more about True-Blue Schools, go to www.gfpe.org.

“At Georgia Natural Gas, we've always been committed to strengthening the communities we serve,” said Georgia Natural Gas CEO Mike Braswell. “That’s why we are a Georgia Partner in Education and proud sponsor of the 2011 Georgia Schools of Excellence and Georgia Teacher of the Year programs.”

“Through our TrueBlue Schools Program, Georgia Natural Gas is also directly impacting students and teachers in the classroom by helping Georgia schools raise $2 million to pay for books, art supplies, music programs, field trips, classroom technology and anything else they may need,” Braswell said.

United Healthcare is also a sponsor for the 2011 Schools of Excellence program.

The Georgia Schools of Excellence are honored in two categories. Qualifying schools are chosen from each Congressional District in the following categories (full criteria attached below):
- 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 three years as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics.

2011 GEORGIA SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE

GREATEST GAINS
Congressional District, School, System
1. Matilda Harris Elementary, Camden County
2. Potter Street Elementary, Decatur County
3. Rosemont Elementary, Troup County
4. Pine Street Elementary, Rockdale County
5. Clairemont Elementary, City Schools of Decatur
6. Sprayberry High, Cobb County
7. Level Creek Elementary, Gwinnett County
8. Heard-Mixon Elementary, Newton County
9. Settles Bridge Elementary, Forsyth County
10. Demorest Elementary, Habersham County
11. Hillgrove High, Cobb County
12. Heard Elementary, Savannah-Chatham County
13. Stockbridge Elementary, Henry County

TOP 10%
Congressional District, School, System

1. Oglethorpe Point Elementary, Glynn County
2. Westside Elementary, Lowndes County
3. Peeples Elementary, Fayette County
4. Oak Grove Elementary, DeKalb County
5. Morningside Elementary, Atlanta Public Schools
6. Vanderlyn Elementary, DeKalb County
7. Shiloh Point Elementary, Forsyth County
8. Alexander II Magnet, Bibb County
9. Vickery Creek Elementary, Forsyth County
10. Stevens Creek Elementary, Columbia County
11. Jones Elementary, Bremen City
12 Savannah Arts Academy, Savannah-Chatham County
13. Holly Springs Elementary, Douglas County

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Georgia Virtual School Increases Opportunities for Students

More Online Credit, Shared Content Among New Additions
Georgia students now possess greater choice and flexibility in how they choose to tailor their educational experience. In July, the State Board of Education increased the amount of Carnegie units that a student is eligible to take per semester. This change no longer limits students to the one full unit per semester but increases the amount of Virtual School content available to a student per semester, and even permits students to take their entire course load through the Georgia Virtual School with FTE funding.

"My vision is to Make Education Work for All Georgians," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "This change to allow students to take more courses through the Georgia Virtual School is a huge step toward making education work for our students.."

Additionally, the Georgia Virtual School has made available online its full course content in many core subject areas including middle school courses, which are fully aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards. Known as Free Shared Resources, this online content includes free digital resources such as interactive video lessons, self-check assessments, and educational links to help enrich instruction for students of all levels. Any student, parent, and educator in the state can access the most current listing of shared learning content by visiting www.gavirtuallearning.org and clicking on the resources tab.

If you’d like more information about Georgia Virtual Learning, or to find out how Georgia Virtual School can enhance your child’s education, please visit www.gavirtuallearning.org or www.gavirtualschool.org.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Statement from State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge Regarding the Supreme Court's Ruling on the Charter Schools Commission

Below is a statement from State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge regarding the Supreme Court's ruling on the Charter Schools Commission.

"With today's Supreme Court ruling against the legality of the Charter Schools Commission, the state stands ready to help in whatever way necessary to ensure that the education of the students in these schools is not compromised," said Superintendent Barge. "I will be working closely with the State Board of Education to see what flexibility can be offered for these schools."

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Graduation Test Scores Increase in English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies

Results of the 2011 Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) show student scores increased in all content areas where there is historical data - science, social studies and English language arts. Because this is the first year the more rigorous Georgia Performance Standards (GPS)-based mathematics GHSGT was given, there is no historical data to compare from year to year in that content area.

"The results of the 2011 GHSGT are very encouraging,” State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "These scores give us a good indicator that students and teachers continue to rise to the challenge of a more rigorous curriculum.”

The percentage of students passing the English language arts GHSGT (91%) increased one percentage point from 2010. In science, 93% of students passed the test, an increase of three percentage points from last year. Finally, in social studies, 80% of students passed the GHSGT, a two percentage point increase over last year’s results.

For the first time this year, the GHSGT in mathematics is GPS-based. On the mathematics exam, 84% of students passed, an expected decrease from last year’s Quality Core Curriculum-based exam (91%).

In March 2011, the State Board of Education approved Superintendent Barge’s recommendation to allow school districts to teach math with an integrated or discrete delivery method.

"We know many students have struggled with the integrated approach to mathematics,” said Superintendent Barge. “A one-size-fits-all approach is not in the best interest of all of our students, but high expectations and our rigorous curriculum are right for all of them. We expected a decline in results for the math portion of the GHSGT, but based on feedback from school districts, we anticipated a more dramatic decline.”

Project ExPreSS Offered for Students Needing Remediation in Mathematics
The Exam Preparation for Student Success (ExPreSS) program is a free, two-week summer remediation program for Georgia public high school juniors who were first-time test-takers this year and did not pass the mathematics portion of the GHSGT.

About the Georgia High School Graduation Tests
The GHSGT are given to high school students for the first time in the spring of their junior year. All four portions of the test, plus the Georgia High School Writing Test, must be passed in order for a student to receive a full diploma from a Georgia public high school. Students can retake the GHSGT as many times as needed to pass the exams.

Since 2005, the state has been implementing the Georgia Performance Standards, a more rigorous and focused curriculum in the core areas of mathematics, English language arts, social studies and science. As the curriculum is phased in, the state's tests are being aligned to match the GPS.

Since the GHSGT assess cumulative knowledge, the new curriculum must be in place for three years before the exams can be fully aligned to the GPS. The science and English language arts GHSGT were aligned to the GPS for the first time in spring 2008. The social studies exam transitioned to a GPS test in spring 2010, and the mathematics exam transitioned to the GPS for the first time this spring.

The new, GPS-aligned tests are graded on four scoring levels – below proficiency, basic proficiency, advanced proficiency and honors. The tests aligned to the old curriculum are scored on three levels – did not pass, pass and pass plus.

At their April 2011 meeting, the State Board of Education approved Superintendent Barge's recommendation to phase out the GHSGT beginning with students entering ninth grade for the first time in 2011. For details about the phase-out plan, visit http://www.gadoe.org/pea_communications.aspx?ViewMode=1&obj=2032.

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AFC Praises Improvements to Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Federation for Children today (May 13) praised its Georgia state allies, Governor Nathan Deal, and state legislators for the passage of revisions to a Georgia school choice program that will raise the cap on the number of eligible students, better secure their places in the program once admitted, and significantly increase the program's transparency and accountability.

Gov. Deal yesterday signed into law House Bill 325, which was passed with bipartisan support by state legislators late last month thanks in large part to the grassroots efforts of Center for Educated Georgia and the strong leadership from bill sponsors Sen. Chip Rogers, Rep. David Casas, Rep. Earl Ehrhart, and Rep. Delvis Dutton.

The bill strengthens and clarifies key provisions of the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program, including the stipulation that students who enter the program can continue receiving scholarships until their high school graduation. The plan also calls for the program to expand its eligibility by eliminating the requirement that first-grade participants attend a public school the year prior to entering the scholarship program.

Other provisions include an increase in the amount of time donors have to make contributions, the ability for donors to contribute online, and a change in how individual scholarship amounts will be capped. Scholarship caps will now be based on the average per-student funding for public education in the state, the result of which will ensure that the state does not incur additional costs as a result of the program.

"This is an important step in ensuring that Georgia families are getting the access to educational options they deserve," said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. "We applaud state legislators and Governor Deal for helping make a great program that helps kids even better. These changes will benefit not only students and their families, but also the taxpayers of Georgia, too."

The new eligibility requirements and scholarship amounts are coupled with more stringent accountability standards for the Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs)—the organizations to which donors contribute and that ultimately grant scholarships. SSOs must now maintain an independent board of directors with at least three members, in addition to the already existing requirements that they submit to annual audits and independent reviews of all financial statements.

House Bill 325 also gives authority to the state Department of Revenue to take punitive action against any SSO not in compliance with the law.

Enacted in 2008, the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program currently serves over 6,000 students across the state, having more than doubled its enrollment from just a year ago. One of two school choice programs in the state, Georgia has nearly 9,000 students who are currently benefitting from school choice.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Regents Approve ‘State College’ Status for Four USG Institutions

Four of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) current two-year colleges are set to offer limited bachelor’s degree programs, following approval today (May 10) by the Board of Regents to change their institutional mission to that of a “state college.”

The four institutions are Darton College in Albany, Georgia Highlands College in Rome, and in metropolitan Atlanta, both Atlanta Metropolitan College and Georgia Perimeter College.

“The Board’s actions reflect the evolving role of our access institutions as we identify specific job-related and economic development needs throughout the state,” said Rob Watts, chief operating officer for the USG. “Officials at these institutions have made a strong and data-driven case to the Board for the mission change and for the needs in these communities for specific baccalaureate degree programs.”

The state college sector was established in 1998 and categorizes two-year, associate-degree granting institutions that have been authorized by the Board to offer a limited number of four-year baccalaureate degree programs. The University System’s other institutional categories are: research universities, regional universities, state universities, and two-year colleges. With today’s actions, there are now 12 USG institutions in the state college sector.

Two of the mission changes – at Darton College and Georgia Highlands College – reflect the regents’ ongoing focus on meeting the growing need and ongoing shortages of healthcare professionals in Georgia, specifically in nursing.

Both institutions currently offer associate’s level nursing programs. The Board’s approval will allow them to offer a bachelor of science in nursing degree, targeted to existing holders of a registered nurse license and associate’s degree who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree.

In 2006, the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services reported that Georgia would have a deficit of nearly 38,000 registered nurses by 2020, absent any action by state leaders. Further, a 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine indicated the need for each state to raise the credentials of its nursing workforce towards the baccalaureate degree to improve quality of care, and reduce medical errors and costs.

A review of registered nurse job openings at area hospitals in Darton’s service area found that approximately 232 registered nurse positions exist at various hospitals and health-related agencies. Darton’s new nursing program will help to increase the production of nurses in the region, complementing the existing efforts of both Albany State University and Georgia Southwestern State University’s nursing degree programs.

Georgia Highlands College’s new nursing degree will help to meet the needs for nurses in north and northwest Georgia and serve the educational needs of local students who for time and financial limitations cannot pursue a baccalaureate degree outside the region served by the College.

In the Atlanta metro region, the change in mission status for Atlanta Metropolitan College, located in south Atlanta, and Georgia Perimeter College, which serves Atlanta’s northeast and eastern suburbs, will result in very different targeted bachelor’s degree offerings.

Atlanta Metro will offer its first bachelor of science with a major in the biological sciences. This degree is specifically designed to increase the pipeline of students who earn degrees in STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. While the program as approved today by the Board does not include a teacher certification component, College officials have future plans to add this. Program graduates will have entry-level opportunities for immediate employment and offer the foundation for those students who seek a master’s or higher-level degrees.

At Georgia Perimeter, the Board has authorized the establishment of two bachelor degree programs: a bachelor of arts with a major in sign language interpreting and a bachelor of science with a major in health informatics.

While Georgia Perimeter currently offers an associate and certificate level program in sign language interpreting, a new requirement by the field’s national professional organization and certifying body that goes into effect in July 2012 will require candidates who wish to sit for the Registered Health Information Administration Certification exam to have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. The new bachelor’s degree program at the College will ensure program graduates are eligible for certification.

The U.S. Bureau of Statistics in 2008 projected a need for additional health informatics specialists, who manage patient information systems. Students will be able to enroll in the program at any of the College’s five campuses.

The start date for the five new bachelor’s degree programs at the four institutions will vary, dependent upon review and approval from the relevant accrediting organizations.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

America’s First ‘Green Flag’ Flies Over Sustainable Savannah School

Editor's Note:  Kudos to the Savannah Country Day School for this great accomplishment.  Click here if you want information on how to make your school and Ed-School.

Savannah Country Day School in Georgia was named the nation’s first Green Flag Eco-School in a ceremony yesterday (April 28), signifying exceptional achievement in ‘greening’ school grounds, operations and curricula. The school achieved this honor through a combination of excellence by “green” management of its facilities and grounds, providing opportunities for outdoor education and by integrating environmental learning throughout its curricula.

The Eco-Schools USA program, which is hosted by National Wildlife Federation, counts nearly 500 schools and some 205,000 students among its participants, but none has achieved the program’s highest honor, the Green Flag, until now.

“The Green Flag is special – and only awarded to those schools who have demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability and increasing environmental literacy for its students, faculty, and wider school community,” said Laura Hickey, Senior Director of Eco-Schools USA, on hand for the official flag-raising.

Also in attendance for the event were the City of Savannah’s Mayor Pro Tem, Edna Jackson, and Environmental Affairs Officer Laura Walker. Jackson congratulated the school and thanked cheering students and staff for helping to make Savannah a “Green City.”

To win the first Green Flag, Savannah Country Day School, which completed a Silver LEED-certified lower school building in 2008, tackled a variety of sustainability projects, including lunchroom recycling and composting programs, a well-tended vegetable garden, environmental current events coursework and school-supported ‘outdoor classroom time.’ This was in keeping with Eco-Schools USA’s uniquely holistic approach—‘greening’ the school building, the school grounds and the student curriculum and experience.

Hickey’s official certification tour of the school included a visit to the previously-certified NWF Schoolyard Habitat and a demonstration of cistern use and garden upkeep by a student Eco-Action Team, but 'green living isn't limited to a select group---or grade---of students at Savannah Country Day.

In kindergarten, students tend to a natural herb garden, moving on to a fruit orchard in first grade. Second-graders study monarch butterfly eggs, and third-graders take care of a full organic vegetable garden. The entire school supports composting of pre-consumer waste and participates in a "green hour" program allowing children to be outside every week for instruction time (in addition to recess).


Among the more unique elements of sustainable life at Savannah Country Day School is lunchtime, which goes well beyond the usual tater-tots and milk cartons: produce from the school garden is regularly prepared and served to students in the dining hall, with dishes containing it identified with a "From Here" label. The school chef often creates a display of garden vegetables to entice youngsters to try them, and local food vendors are celebrated with "Meet the Farmer" signage. All kitchen scraps and food waste are added to the school's compost pile. The school's dining program is managed by SAGE Dining Services.

Many schools have implemented the Eco-Schools USA program, some earning Bronze- and Silver-level awards for their progress (Georgia alone boasts 14 Eco-Schools). The heretofore unclaimed Green Flag requires a rigorous combination of environmental audits, curriculum reinvention and internal and external monitoring.

The program is designed to help schools in a variety of ways, including saving money, reducing waste and improving student academic performance and environmental awareness (more benefits listed here). Once a school has registered and implemented the Seven Steps of the program, it can apply for an Eco-Schools award. A school is considered to be a permanent Eco-School once it has gained its fourth Green Flag.

The Eco-Schools program is an international network of 38,000 K-12 schools in 51 countries, started in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with support by the European Commission. It was named by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as a model initiative for Education for Sustainable Development in 2003. NWF was named the stateside host in 2008, thus formally launching Eco-Schools USA.

The award came just days after the U.S. Department of Education announced the creation of the Green Ribbon Schools program, which will similarly recognize schools that have taken great strides in greening their curricula, buildings, school grounds and overall building operations. That program, which is to be modeled on the nearly 30-year-old Blue Ribbon Schools program that recognizes schools whose student bodies have displayed high academic achievement or improvement, will help establish guidelines for overall sustainability in American schools. NWF and other organizations had pushed for the implementation of that program for the past year.

“American schools already led the way on innovation,” said Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training at NWF. “Now, in addition to revamping their buildings and grounds, they are increasingly setting a high standard for sustainability education and becoming truly green.”

By Max Greenberg
National Wildlife Federation

Source:  National Wildlife Federation

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Southern Polytechnic State University and High Museum of Art Form a Unique Alliance

/PRNewswire/ -- Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) has established a unique affiliation with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta that will give students and faculty access to the museum's exhibitions, collections and programs.

"I'm happy to note that we are the first University System of Georgia institution to have such an affiliation," said Dr. Zvi Szafran, vice president for academic affairs.

He cited the following benefits to the university:

* Faculty members will be able to take their classes on field trips to the museum at no cost to the students or faculty members.
* Students can visit the High Museum of Art free of charge at any time by showing their SPSU ID; faculty members will receive a discount with ID on daily tickets and on individual, dual or family memberships.
* The museum will conduct two SPSU campus lectures or programs per year at SPSU and will provide faculty members and students with access to visiting artists and scholars.
* The museum will provide internships in Collections and Exhibitions, Education, Marketing and Communications, or Advancement for up to two undergraduate students per year (one per semester).
* The museum will host an SPSU event each year. The first one will take place on June 8, when participants of the Polytechnic Summit will tour the "Modern by Design" exhibition of work from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) just days after it opens at the High Museum of Art.


"This partnership truly allows for the integration of the visual arts into the educational curriculum of SPSU," added Dr. Szafran.

Aside from gaining interns, the museum will also benefit in another way from the expertise available at SPSU. A few select students in SPSU's mechatronics program with training in robotics are assisting with the installation and maintenance of one of the pieces in the MoMA exhibition. "Digital Matter" is a major work of art by iconic Dutch designer Joris Laarman. This kinetic installation features a robot that will construct, disassemble and reconstruct a piece of furniture over an extended period of time.

"Our affiliation with the High Museum of Art is a win-win," said Dr. Szafran. "Both institutions benefit from each others' unique strengths. We're expecting that many interesting collaborations will result from this alliance.

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State Board of Education Approves Waiver Requests For School Systems Impacted by Violent Storms

The State Board of Education today (May 6) unanimously approved State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge’s recommendation to grant requests from five local school systems to waive the required number of instructional days as a result of the violent storms that swept through Georgia last week. Dade, Floyd, Meriwether, Spalding, and Walker County School Systems suffered severe damage to several school buildings during the April 27th storms that have forced them to use up their allotted emergency days. At a special called meeting today, the board voted to allow these five systems to waive the 180 school-day equivalent so that they will not be required to make up these lost days.

“These schools and communities have been struck by a terrible tragedy," said Superintendent Barge. "While we cannot replace the lives that were lost or undo the damage that was done, we can provide the flexibility they need to help facilitate rebuilding and recovery. The families and communities affected by this tragedy are in our prayers. We hope today’s action will make this recovery process a little easier for them.”

Today’s board vote specifically waived SBOE Rule 160-5-1-.02 School Day and School Year for Students and Employees. For the individual waiver requests, please visit https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/viewmeetingOrder.aspx?S=1262&MID=19505.

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2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year Named

Jadun O. McCarthy, an English Language Arts teacher from Northeast Health Science Magnet High School in Bibb County, has been named the 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

Mr. McCarthy was named the winner of the award at the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet held at the Georgia World Congress Center. As Georgia Teacher of the Year, he will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia.

"Jadun McCarthy is going to be a great representative of the teaching profession in Georgia," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "He has such a compelling story about how education has impacted his life."

A product of the Bibb County School District, Mr. McCarthy initially was going to pursue a career in law. The night of his graduation from the University of Georgia School of Law, he realized that, instead of working in a system that locks up people, he would rather follow in the footsteps of the people who provided him the tools to be successful: his teachers.

"I wanted to have the same influence on someone that many of my wonderful teachers had on me. I wanted to stop some young man or young woman from stumbling onto the wrong path," says Mr. McCarthy. "I wanted to be a teacher."

Mr. McCarthy serves as the Academic Bowl Team Head Coach, chairs the school's 'Bridging the Gap' Eight-Step Process Achievement Initiative team, and is a member of the Georgia Association of Educators. Since 2007, he has been recognized each year as one of Northeast High School's End of Course Test Start Teachers. He also serves as the Junior and Senior Class Advisor, coordinates the Junior/Senior Prom and all Senior activities, including the annual Senior Class Trip to Orlando. Students have recognized him as the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Advisor of the Year.

As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Mr. McCarthy will represent Georgia teachers by speaking to the public about the teaching profession and possibly conducting workshops and programs for educators. He will also compete for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Accomplished Educator & Administrator Dr. Monica Henson to Lead Provost Academy Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- The Executive Director of Georgia's new public online high school, Dr. Monica Henson brings not only her twenty-plus years of experience in education as both an administrator and teacher; but also her leadership and vision as an advocate in the use of innovative education technology to personalize and accelerate learning for students.

Education has experienced many changes in recent years, with the most significant being that today's high school students learn much differently than students did just ten years ago," Dr. Henson observed. "They have never known a world without computers or the internet so they are skilled at continuous interaction with technology, and can benefit from an education that utilizes stimulating virtual curriculum designed specifically for them."

Provost Academy is the new state-authorized public online high school that is free of charge to residents of Georgia. Backed by global education service provider, EdisonLearning, Provost Academy's unique individualized learning experience will combine a rigorous curriculum with a personal high-touch approach to help students achieve and succeed.

"We are extremely pleased and honored that Dr. Henson has accepted the leadership role at Provost Academy," said Sherri Brown Breunig, a long-time Georgia public school educator and chairman of the Provost Academy board. "She is a unique professional educator, with a vast knowledge of learning from middle school through college, and she will add tremendous value and quality to the education experience our students receive."

Dr. Henson, a resident of Jasper, Georgia, began her career as an English teacher in the Gwinnett County (GA) School District; she went on to work as a teacher and administrator in North Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California, holding a series of progressively responsible positions, including department chair, dean of curriculum and instruction, principal, and regional director. A consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and a trainer and mentor for The New Teacher Project, Dr. Henson most recently provided a wide range of educational consulting services to traditional, charter and virtual schools.

A graduate of Western Carolina University, Dr. Henson also holds a M.A. degree in School Administration from Seton Hall University, an Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, and is a graduate from the Principals Executive Program of the James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of North Carolina. In 2000, Dr. Henson attained certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Provost Academy Georgia is currently enrolling students in grades 9 through 12 for the school year starting this August. Since spaces are expected to fill quickly, interested families are encouraged to learn more now by calling the toll free number: 866-517-5582, or by visiting: www.ga.provostacademy.com .



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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Free High School Graduation Test Remediation Offered to Students

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge announced that the Georgia Department of Education will be offering Project ExPreSS in mathematics for summer 2011.

Project ExPreSS (Exam Preparation for Student Success) is a free, two-week summer remediation program for Georgia public high school juniors who were first-time test-takers this year and did not pass the mathematics portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT).

"Due to the past success of Project ExPreSS in social studies and science, we feel this program is an opportunity to fill the gap in mathematics and help students succeed," said Superintendent Barge. "With this year being the first year that our students will take the Georgia Performance Standards-based GHSGT, we anticipate that some students will need remediation with our state's best teachers, which is exactly what Project ExPreSS provides."

Project ExPreSS in mathematics will be offered June 13-24, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There are 40 high school host sites located throughout the state to make the program accessible to students statewide.

For more information on registration and site locations for the summer Project ExPreSS, visit https://www.georgiastandards.org/resources/Pages/Tools/ProjectExPreSS.aspx.

In addition to the summer Project Express in mathematics, an online tutorial of the GHSGT is available in all four content areas at https://www.georgiastandards.org/Resources/Pages/Tools/OnlineExPreSS.aspx.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Regents Approve Three Percent Tuition Increase For Fall 2011

The uncertainty of parents and students surrounding tuition at University System of Georgia colleges and universities this fall is over. The Board of Regents approved today an across the board tuition increase of just three percent, well below what had been predicted and the 35 percent increase that would have been needed to completely make up for budget shortfalls to the System.

As a continuing tool to help preserve academic quality and access, the board also voted to increase a special institutional fee that was implemented two years ago.

Tuition will not increase for the approximately 45,000 students who are still on the Board’s discontinued Guaranteed Tuition Plan; however, these students will pay the special institutional fee.

“The state, the University System, students and parents all continue to see very tight budgets and our tuition proposal reflects these realities,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “We wanted a balanced strategy that meets the academic needs of our students while maintaining access and affordability.”

“As we have over the last three years, the System will offset the gap between revenues and expenditures with additional and pervasive cost-cutting measures at all institutions,” Davis said.

The three percent tuition increase means that for the four research universities (Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia), undergraduate tuition this fall will be $3,641 per semester, an increase of $106 from fall 2010.

A number of USG institutions have specialized missions and tuition rates. At Columbus State University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, North Georgia College & State University, Valdosta State University and the University of West Georgia, students will pay $2,367 per semester, an increase of $69. Tuition will be $2,564 this fall at Southern Polytechnic State University, an increase of $75, and at Georgia College & State University $3,236, a $94 increase.

Undergraduate tuition at all other state universities will increase by $64 to $2,201 per semester. This includes Albany State University, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Augusta State University, Clayton State University, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, and Savannah State University.

Undergraduate tuition at the state colleges will increase $41, to $1,388 per semester, including Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), the College of Coastal Georgia, Dalton State College, Gainesville State College, Gordon College, Macon State College and Middle Georgia College. Tuition at Georgia Gwinnett College will be $1,648 per semester this fall, a $48 increase.

Tuition at the two-year colleges will be $1,235, a $36 increase from fall 2009. This includes Atlanta Metropolitan College, Bainbridge College, Darton College, East Georgia College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Perimeter College, South Georgia College and Waycross College.

The special institutional fee will increase from $200 to $450 per semester at Georgia State, Georgia Health Sciences Univ. and UGA. The previously approved $200 special institutional fee at Georgia Tech will increase to $550 per semester.

At the other four-year institutions, the special institutional fee will increase from $150 to $250 per semester, and at the two-year institutions, from $100 to $200 per semester. The exceptions are Georgia Gwinnett and Coastal Georgia, where the special institutional fee will increase to $250 per semester.

The combined tuition and special institutional fee actions result in a weighted average increase of nine percent for all University System students. “The Board of Regents continues to be very concerned about affordability and access,” said Usha Ramachandran, the System’s chief financial officer, who made the budget and tuition recommendations to the Board.

Ramachandran said that three main factors drove the formulation of the tuition strategy approved by the regents. First was to maintain affordability and accessibility by keeping the overall increase in tuition and the special institutional fee to a single digit percentage, she said.

“Second, we also wanted to maintain the HOPE Scholarship payment for FY12 tuition as close to 90 percent of the FY11 tuition rate as possible,” Ramachandran said. Legislative changes this year to the popular merit scholarship program reduced the reimbursement rate for most students from 100 to 90 percent of current tuition rates. The board actions today on tuition will set HOPE reimbursement in FY12 at 87.4 percent of the new tuition rates.

“Our third priority is to maintain academic excellence at our 35 degree-granting institutions,” Ramachandran said. She noted that this is where the special institutional fee helps, as funds are used directly by institutions to support the cost of instruction – primarily by ensuring institutions have the needed faculty and student support services to meet the needs of a projected 320,000 students this coming fall.

The tuition and fees decisions reached during today’s regents’ meeting were just one part of Board actions on the University System’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget. FY12 state appropriations to the University System are $1.74 billion, a reduction of $208 million, or 10.7 percent from FY11 appropriations.

In addition, institutions for the first time will not see state funding for enrollment growth as $177 million in FY12 was not part of the final budget package. The absence of funds for enrollment growth, plus the institutional share of $146 million of the System’s reductions, and the elimination of $23 million in federal stimulus funding means the 35 colleges and universities have a $346 million shortfall in FY12.

The General Assembly also approved a capital budget for the USG that totals $180.9 million. This includes:

$45 million in Major Repair and Renovation (MRR) bond funds;

$4 million for equipment funds for previously funded projects at Atlanta Metropolitan College and North Georgia College & State University’s Forsyth County Campus;

$12.5 million for three infrastructure projects at Georgia Tech, Georgia Gwinnett College and South Georgia College;

$107.6 million for construction of 11 projects at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Clayton State University, College of Coastal Georgia, Dalton State College, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Savannah State University;

$3.2 million in design funds for a project at UGA; and

$8.65 million for projects related to the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Cooperative Extension Service, the 4H Rock Eagle complex and the Georgia Public Libraries.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

State Board of Education Approves Plan to Phase Out Graduation Test

The State Board of Education today(April 13) approved State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge's plan to phase out the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT). Students who enter high school in fall 2011 will no longer take the GHSGT in English, math, social studies and science, in order to graduate. This new plan will require students to pass all required courses, and the End-of-Course Tests (EOCT) would now count 20% of a student's final grade, rather than the current 15% weight.

"Georgia has been trying to eliminate the Georgia High School Graduation Test for over a decade," said Superintendent Barge. "I appreciate the State Board's vote that finally allows us to move away from the GHSGT. I don't believe the GHSGT is nearly as good an indicator of how much a student has learned as our End-of-Course Tests. The EOCTs are much more rigorous, and they test a student immediately following a course, rather than waiting until a student's Junior year to determine whether or not he or she has mastered the content of our curriculum."

Today's vote by the State Board of Education formally changed two rules: Rule 160-3-1-.07 TESTING PROGRAMS and Rule 160-4-2-.13 STATEWIDE PASSING SCORE. With these rule amendments, students entering ninth grade on or after July 1, 2011 no longer must take or pass the GHSGT to receive a high school diploma. The rule amendments also reflect the change in the EOCT accounting for 20% of a student's final course grade. Students must pass all required courses, including those courses with EOCT.

These rule amendments also allow flexibility for students who entered ninth grade between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2011 to meet graduation requirements by either passing the GHSGT or at least one of the two equivalent end of course tests in each corresponding content area.

Every student must continue to complete all applicable course requirements as well as taking and passing the Georgia High School Writing Test.


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Arizona Adopts Education Savings Accounts To Aid Special Needs Students

Goldwater Institute developed innovative approach that will provide flexibility and more options for learning

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed today a powerful law to help families with special needs children obtain the best possible education regardless of the physical setting for that instruction. This program replaces school tuition vouchers, which the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in 2009 violate the state constitution.

Senate Bill 1553 establishes education savings accounts for special needs students so their families can find a better answer when a traditional public school has failed to meet their needs. An estimated 17,000 students will be eligible to sign up for an account.

The Goldwater Institute developed the framework of education savings for students such as Lee Zwagerman, whose future could have been defined only by his Asperger syndrome. Lee’s mild autism prevented him from adapting as the public schools he attended got bigger and some of his classmates treated him badly. Feeling trapped and isolated, Lee retreated into himself.

Still, Lee’s parents never would have enrolled him in a specialized education program at a private school. They couldn’t afford it. But in 2006, the state of Arizona established private school tuition vouchers for students with specialized needs, just in time for Lee to start high school at a smaller, private campus.

Four years later, Lee’s grades are good, he has performed in the high school choir, and he plans to attend college after graduation this spring.

But after the Arizona Supreme Court struck down education vouchers, other students haven’t had the same opportunity as Lee. That worries his mom, Myra Zwagerman.

“Not every public school is for every child, or even for two children from the same family or the same value system,” Myra Zwagerman said. “I don’t think Lee would be interested in college now if he had stayed in public school.”

This is where education savings accounts come in. Unlike school vouchers, education savings accounts will help students with disabilities enroll for individual online classes, receive instruction at home or attend private schools. Enrolled students also can start taking college classes while still finishing high school, or save the money in their accounts to attend college full-time after they graduate.

In 2005, Goldwater Institute senior fellow Dan Lips first introduced the concept of funding individual accounts for families to pursue the many alternatives available to a traditional public classroom. A 2010 follow-up report by Institute senior fellow Matthew Ladner and legal scholar Nick Dranias explains such accounts will truly empower families and resolve the legal issues identified by the state Supreme Court.

“The Court said school vouchers for special needs children had to be struck down because parents really could only use them at certain private schools,” Mr. Dranias said. “Education savings accounts provide the answer that the Supreme Court asked for, by giving families real control of their education dollars to spend on a wide range of options.”

“By adopting the first education savings account program in the country, Arizona again has moved into the national forefront of education reform,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. Florida, Colorado, and several other states are following Arizona’s lead by also looking closely at implementing this program.

“Arizona adopted several time-tested policies in 2010 to address the fundamental problem that 44 percent of Arizona’s fourth-grade students in public school can’t read,” Ms. Olsen said. “Education savings accounts build on those policies by giving disadvantaged children access to the instruction most effective for them.”

SB1553 requires the state to fund an education savings account at 10 percent less than the state would otherwise spend to educate that particular student each year. This means the program saves money as well.

Also, SB1553 requires the state to conduct random audits of education savings accounts to be certain the funds are spent appropriately.
The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog that develops innovative, principled solutions to issues facing the states and whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Georgia Virtual School Registration Now Open

Registration for Georgia Virtual School, the online grades 6-12 program offered by the Georgia Department of Education, is now open to all public school students for the Summer 2011, Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 semesters. A waitlisted registration process is also available now for Private and Home School students.

"My vision is to Make Education Work for All Georgians," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. "A major component to making it work for our students is to offer more relevant courses. The Georgia Virtual School is a perfect way for students to take courses that may not currently be offered in their school. I encourage parents and students to look into all of the courses available and enroll today."

Georgia Virtual School courses are fully accredited and aligned to state standards. Courses are taught by highly qualified, Georgia certified teachers. The program offers a complete high school curriculum with Advanced Placement and college prep level courses. This spring, over 8,000 students will have successfully completed courses this school year, enabling students to graduate on schedule and to access challenging courses. The twenty-two Advanced Placement offerings give all Georgia students options and opportunities often not available at their local school. Six world languages including Latin, Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Chinese are some of the most popular offerings.

The middle school program is offered during the summer and includes the 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts, Science and Mathematics courses. These courses have been optimized for our middle school students in the state who face possible retention or who need remediation. For districts considering eliminating or reducing summer school programs, Georgia Virtual School provides a cost-effective option.

Georgia Virtual School can help local schools solve unique scheduling issues confronting students. This includes accommodating students who have transferred as well as those in hospital homebound or alternative school environments. Additionally, districts can save money by using Georgia Virtual School classes for courses with a low enrollment. Some schools even devote a computer lab to a variety of Georgia Virtual classes during one period of the day enabling them to dramatically increase their course offerings.

Georgia Virtual Learning is committed to the education of all Georgia students. By providing resources linked to the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), teachers, parents, and students will have access to course material that can be used in the classroom or at home. For more information about Georgia Virtual Learning, their programs and free shared resources, visit their website at www.gavirtuallearning.org. 

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15 Most Off-Beat College Scholarships for 2011-2012

/PRNewswire/ -- Predicting the future, baking an apple pie, knitting wool garments, sporting a milk mustache while performing community service and singing The National Anthem with sincerity are just some of the ways in which college-bound students are funding their education in 2011 according to Aristotle Circle, the leading expert network of college admissions counselors and financial aid advisors who researched the top 15 most unusual college scholarship opportunities for the 2011-2012 academic year. Helping Santa find the perfect Christmas tree brings $10,000, while sleeping in a loft bed can collect $500.

1. The Klingon Language Institute $500 KOR Scholarship (language study);
2. National Marbles Tournament $5,000 Scholarship;
3. Chick & Sophie Major's Duck Calling $1,500 Scholarship;
4. The "Duct Tape" Stuck-On-Prom Scholarship ($6,000 per couple);
5. Why Milk's "SAMMY" $7,500 Scholarship (Scholar-Athlete-Milk-Mustache);
6. Dr. Seuss' 'Oh the Places You Will Go' $5,000 Scholarship;
7. Patrick Kerr $5,000 Skateboard Scholarship;
8. Culinary Institute of America $25,000 Best Apple Pie Recipe Scholarship;
9. Parapsychology Foundation's Scholarship (studying paranormal activity);
10. The Sheep Association's "Make It With Wool" $2,000 Scholarship;
11. Mycological Society of America $500 Scholarship (study mold/spores/fungus);
12. Coven of Sacred Waters $500 Scholarship (amounts vary for Pagan/Wiccas only);
13. NCTA's Help Santa Find The Perfect Christmas Tree $10,000 Scholarship;
14. American Association of Candy Technologists $10,000 Scholarship
15. Icy Frost Bridge Scholarship (for females who sing The National Anthem with sincerity!)


Aristotle Circle expert Rod Bugarin, former admissions and financial aid director, Columbia University, explains: "With college costs at an all-time high and family financial resources stretched to the breaking point, Aristotle Circle has experts to help students find the right college, while advising them on how to be competitive for merit and need-based scholarships."

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Friday, April 1, 2011

New USG Website Outlines HOPE Scholarship Changes for USG Students

The newly enacted changes to the HOPE scholarship program will affect both current and incoming students to University System of Georgia (USG) institutions. The USG has created a special website that highlights the HOPE changes affecting USG students, which can be accessed at: http://www.usg.edu/student_affairs/students/how_hope_changes_will_affect_usg_students/

This website does not include changes affecting students attending either a public technical college or a private college or university.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Provost Academy Launches Georgia's New Virtual High School to Open This Fall

/PRNewswire/ -- Provost Academy, a free public online high school, announced that it is opening its virtual doors to Georgia students, starting this August. Backed by global education service provider, EdisonLearning, Provost Academy's unique individualized learning experience combines a rigorous curriculum with a personal high-touch approach to help students achieve their goals.

Provost Academy Georgia expects to begin enrolling students in grades 9 through 12 for the school year starting this August. Since spaces are expected to fill quickly, interested families are encouraged to learn more by calling the toll free number: 866-517-5582, or by visiting: www.ga.provostacademy.com.

As a new state-authorized public online school, Provost Academy Georgia is free of charge to residents of Georgia. Students work toward their regular public high school diploma - recognized by colleges and employers - as they would in a traditional school, but in the convenient, safe environment of their own home through computer-based educational programs.

Provost Academy Georgia offers more than 100 highly engaging online classes, developed in collaboration with faculty of Stanford University's School of Education; including A.P. and honors courses with a particular emphasis on high demand subjects, such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

"Georgia high school students deserve an alternative high-quality educational opportunity that matches the way they learn and live, yet also challenges their true skills," said Sherri Brown Breunig, a long-time Georgia public school educator and chairman of the Provost Academy board. "Provost Academy provides students personalized learning plans adapted to meet their schedule and specific academic needs, and inspires them to achieve the highest levels of success."

In contrast to other online learning programs, Provost Academy Georgia uses a proprietary modular curriculum design so courses can be adapted to fit a student's individual needs, and content can be rearranged and customized for individual learning paths. Further, parents and students can easily monitor learning progress, assignments, and grades at a glance on their own personal home page. For those needing additional help, Provost Academy also offers on-demand tutors that keep students on track and on pace for progress.

"Online learning goes beyond the computer and the internet connection to bring students, parents and educators together in a community that is focused to drive academic success," said Jeff Wahl, President & CEO of EdisonLearning. "Our organization has been a leader in new and innovative approaches to learning, and we welcome the opportunity to provide parents a new choice for their children's educational future at Provost Academy Georgia."

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Will changing course on math lower curriculum standards?

Rigor will remain high, more students will have more options.

By John D. Barge

Two years ago, our current 11th graders entered high school taking the Georgia Performance Standards in math. The standards are much more rigorous than the old curriculum, which I applaud. However, at the same time we raised the rigor, we created the perfect storm.

We had a major shift in the way the curriculum was delivered — from a discrete approach to an integrated one. Then, the economy took its sharp decline, providing few resources for teacher professional development. A group of teachers from each school district received a few days of training, and then were expected to go back and train all of the teachers in their own district. That is not the ideal way to roll out a brand new curriculum.

While I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way for the delivery of our math curriculum, I do believe students learn differently and should be given the option of learning through a different teaching method. The integrated approach is not working for all of our students, and we are responsible for preparing all of them!

That’s why I applaud the action our State Board of Education recently took to give local school districts the flexibility to choose what is best for their students. They know their students much better than we do at the state level. With either delivery model, the rigor of the current mathematics standards will not be compromised.

The State Board also allowed students who have struggled under this math delivery to receive core academic credit for the support courses that go along with Math I, Math II and Math III.

Some would say we are retreating from the rigor by allowing credit for these support classes because our graduation rule requires students to complete at least through Math III. I can certainly see why some may think that; however, I would say this is a recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach to mathematics and graduation is counterproductive to the expectation that we prepare students to lead successful lives when they leave us, regardless of their postsecondary paths.

Our current graduation rule requires that all students earn four units of math to graduate, including Math I through Math III, and a fourth math course. On our current integrated delivery model, Math III is the equivalent of trigonometry and statistics. So, even students with learning disabilities in mathematics must complete trigonometry and statistics in order to earn a diploma. Rigorous expectations? Absolutely. Realistic expectations? No.

We currently have thousands of students in 11th grade who have one or no math credits toward the four required to graduate. Without allowing these students to earn credit for their support classes, many of them will ultimately give up on high school, simply because they couldn’t grasp the concepts of math in an integrated fashion.

Our current GPS math curriculum is far more rigorous than our previous curriculum, meaning a student who graduates with Math I and II, as well as Math I and II Support, is far better prepared in mathematics than he or she would have been under our old curriculum.

While this isn’t an ideal situation, I would rather these students have options for careers and/or another form of postsecondary education or training when they leave us.

Let me be clear, I don’t believe in just giving out a high school diploma to students that haven’t earned it. But, many of these students have shown in multiple ways that they deserve it.

The intervention we provided this week for our high school students doesn’t lower the rigorous bar we’ve set; it simply gives them other opportunities to be successful. Without this intervention, the door to the future for thousands of our young people will be closed.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Emory Named Bicycle Friendly University

Emory is one of 20 universities to be selected as a national Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.

The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes colleges and universities that create exceptional environments where bicycling can thrive and provides a roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for bicycling. Emory is one of only two universities to be selected in the Southeast.

“This award demonstrates, on a national level, that Emory is committed to supporting cycling as a healthy transportation choice,” says Jamie Smith, director of the Bike Emory program. In 2007 Emory launched the program to encourage students and staff to choose bicycles as their primary form or transportation.

The League noted that the “programs for students and staff to ride at Emory University” among other accomplishments are what made Emory stand out.  


Some incentives noted in Emory’s winning application for the award include:

Students, faculty and staff are eligible to buy new bicycles and accessories at a discount (10-15 percent off).
During orientation students can pre-order new bicycles from Bike Emory at a deeper discount with a free helmet, u-lock, in-room delivery and 90 days of free maintenance.
Bicycle commuters are eligible for a parking pass that allows them to park a car 20 days a year and are eligible for the Guaranteed Ride Home program: a reliable ride home if an unexpected event occurs during work hours.
A “mobile” repair center to campus twice a week. The repair center is staffed by professional mechanics, provides discounted bicycle repairs and free deliveries of parts and accessories.
Bike Emory was created to create an exceptional environment for cycling at Emory and the surrounding community. Bike Emory is the charter school of the Fuji University program, a partnership between Emory University, national partner Fuji Bikes and local partner Bicycle South. This partnership allows Emory to provide its cyclists with extraordinary incentives and advocacy support. To learn more visit www.bike.emory.edu.

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The league represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

UGA's Griffin Campus hosts open house for prospective students on April 12

Prospective students interested in learning more about the University of Georgia’s academic offerings in Griffin are invited to attend the spring open house that will be held on April 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Griffin Campus Student Learning Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Academic affairs staff, including advisers and faculty, will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about the educational opportunities available at the Griffin Campus. The undergraduate programs, first offered in Griffin in 2005, are degree-completion programs for transfer students or those seeking a second bachelor’s degree. Eight undergraduate majors are now offered, plus graduate programs in agricultural leadership and mathematics education.

The open house also will feature campus tours, information about student affairs, and student club displays. Current UGA students will be in attendance to talk about their campus experiences.

For more information about the open house, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at the Griffin Campus at 770/412-4400 or email griffin@uga.edu.

For more information about the degree programs offered at UGA’s Griffin Campus, see http://www.uga.edu/griffin.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deal signs Enduring HOPE

Joined by a bipartisan group of legislators, Gov. Nathan Deal today (March 15) signed the Enduring HOPE legislation.

“With today’s signing, we have closed a $300 million shortfall in the next year, we have pulled HOPE and Georgia Pre-K from the brink of bankruptcy and we have preserved our state’s elite status for having the most generous benefit programs in the nation,” said Deal. “Georgians are blessed to have legislative leaders who put aside politics to craft a new law of generational importance.”



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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

State Board of Education Approves Math Changes

The State Board of Education today approved the recommendation by State School Superintendent Dr. John D. Barge to allow four discrete math courses to be taught to students who may be struggling with the integrated math curriculum. The four new courses – GPS Algebra, GPS Geometry, GPS Advanced Algebra, and GPS Pre-Calculus – are taught with a more traditional delivery. The board’s actions also allowed Math I-III Support classes to count as core credit rather than just elective credit.

"We have many students who are currently struggling with the integrated approach to the math curriculum,” said Superintendent Barge. “I applaud the State Board’s action to approve my recommendation to give students more options to master our rigorous math standards. We are seeing that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t in the best interest of all of our students. Our systems need the flexibility to teach in the manner that best meets the needs of their students and local system leaders are best positioned to make those decisions. However, I want to be clear that this is not a retreat from the rigor of our Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). This is simply a restructuring of the GPS in a discrete fashion.”

Under the new rule, students struggling with the integrated curriculum will now earn core credit for support classes. Students must receive four units of math in order to graduate. Many struggling students are taking multiple math courses and, thus, not able to take other elective courses. Mathematics Support I, Mathematics Support II, and Mathematics Support III will now be counted as a core credit, giving students the opportunity to get the necessary credits needed to earn their high school diploma.

“We have approximately 17% of our current juniors that have one or no math credits, putting them at risk of not graduating,” said Superintendent Barge. “I see no harm in giving these students the opportunity to learn the math curriculum in a more traditional delivery, without compromising the rigor of the standards.”

Georgia, along with 43 other states, has adopted the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts. This transition will allow the education community and the public to evaluate the delivery method of our math curriculum for the long-term.

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Emory University's School of Nursing Surpasses $20 Million Fundraising Goal - Campaign Continues

Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing has exceeded its $20 million fundraising goal nearly two years ahead of schedule. To date, the School of Nursing has raised more than $20.4 million to support student scholarships, faculty research, service learning projects, and academic programming.

Emory trustee Dr. J. David Allen and his wife Beverly Dew Allen (Class of ‘68C), both Emory alumni, are proud to be leading the fundraising efforts as chairs of the School of Nursing’s campaign. “To have early success is thrilling, but more than anything it is a call to continue our work. Nearly 80 percent of our students need financial aid to pursue an Emory nursing degree. As long as there are initiatives in the School of Nursing that need additional resources — and there are — we have a job to do,” says Dr. Allen.

“This fundraising milestone is a reflection of the School of Nursing’s upward trajectory as an internationally recognized nursing program,” said Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. “We are immensely grateful to our extraordinary donors whose gifts are having a meaningful impact on the School of Nursing. Because of generous support from these donors, the school is able to invest in key strategic priorities that advance our mission to educate nurse leaders and scholars, generate new knowledge, and improve health and health care—all in service to the global community.”

The School of Nursing’s fundraising success is tied to broad-based support from more than 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Since the launch of the campaign in 2005, the School of Nursing has attained a number of notable accomplishments:

Increased the Fuld Segue Program, which provides critical financial aid to Emory nursing students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than nursing who want to become nursing leaders. This program was created with generous support from the Helene Fuld Health Trust;
Received an $8.1 million grant—the largest donation in the nursing school’s 106-year history—from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a 2 ½ year project designed to improve maternal and newborn survival rates in rural Ethiopia. This historic donation has enabled Associate Professor Lynn Sibley and a team of Emory investigators to create a community-oriented strategy to improve maternal and newborn health care services in rural Ethiopia and position the approach to be expanded throughout the country; and
Raised $100,000 from 265 alumni and friends to create the Elizabeth Mabry Scholarship in honor of longtime faculty member, Elizabeth Mabry. This scholarship provides aid to deserving undergraduate students each year.

“We deeply appreciate the overwhelming support of our alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends,” says Amy Dorrill, associate dean of development and alumni relations for the nursing school. “We also continue to count on their generosity, because although we have reached our overall fundraising goal in terms of numbers, some of our most important priorities—including student scholarships, faculty support, and service learning programs—still are not fully funded. As the School of Nursing continues to seek support for these initiatives, we look to private philanthropy to fuel our work and advance Emory’s legacy of excellence in nursing education and research.”

The School of Nursing’s fundraising campaign is part of Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fundraising endeavor that combines private support and Emory’s people, places, and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world. Campaign Emory is the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in Georgia.


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UGA graduate programs continue to rank among the best in the nation

University of Georgia graduate programs remained among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools. The School of Law tied for 35th and the College of Education tied for 46th.

“Rankings such as these are satisfying because they are a reflection of the quality of the programs at the University of Georgia,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “As we begin to implement a new strategic plan with a focus on graduate and professional education, we do so knowing that the foundation on which we will expand is strong and the state of Georgia is well-served by these programs.”

Maureen Grasso, dean of the UGA Graduate School said, “UGA’s graduate programs do an outstanding job of preparing our students for success in the 21st century. The excellent teaching and research conducted by our faculty provide our graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to make an impact in our local and global communities as they drive the economic competitiveness of Georgia.”

While coming in at 35th overall on the list, the School of Law is ranked among the top 14 public law schools in the nation and among the top four public schools in the Southeast.

“Rankings continue to provide a snapshot look of an institution and only some of its programming,” School of Law Dean Rebecca Hanner White said. “At Georgia Law, we offer the whole experience—dedicated teachers who are productive scholars, a challenging and varied curriculum, numerous co-curricular opportunities via 12 clinics and four study/work abroad programs, a talented student body and a collegial atmosphere. Our goal, year in and year out, is to provide one of the finest legal educations in the country at an attractive cost.

“Additionally, we are pleased our graduates continue to be prepared for the practice of law as evidenced by the fact that five of our graduates have been selected over the past seven years to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court judicial clerk, the most prestigious appointment a new lawyer can obtain.”

The College of Education ranked 46th overall in a tie with Temple University, but was ranked 32nd among public universities in the nation. The college was ranked 3rd among public universities in the Southeast.

“These graduate program rankings confirm the college’s excellence across a broad range of academic endeavors, from K-12 teacher education to curriculum/instruction to counseling,” said Arthur M. (Andy) Horne, dean and Distinguished Research Professor of the College of Education. “Equally important, however, is what numerical rankings cannot measure: the University of Georgia’s profound commitment to expanding educational opportunities for every student and improving our communities in Georgia and across the nation.”

Among the 10 specialty rankings, five of the College of Education’s programs ranked in the top 10 in the nation: Vocational/technical education ranked second, counseling/personnel services tied for second, secondary education ranked fifth, higher education administration ranked fifth, and elementary education ranked sixth.

The doctor of veterinary medicine program tied for ninth. “We are pleased that the U.S. News and World Report ranking recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in recent years, reflecting the achievements of our great faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Sheila W. Allen, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The biological and agricultural engineering program, within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, ranked 12th.

The biological sciences program, within the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, tied for 46th.

The School of Public and International Affairs’ master of public administration degree program continues to be ranked 4th in the nation, and the 2nd best among public universities. SPIA also has four highly ranked specialty programs. Both the specialization in public finance and budgeting as well as the specialization in public management and administration continue to be ranked 2nd in the nation. The nonprofit management specialization is ranked 11th and the public policy analysis specialization is ranked 16th.

Other programs with current rankings include: clinical psychology tied for 33rd, master of fine arts tied for 37th, and psychology tied for 50th.

The rankings, with the methodology, are available online at
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools. Highlights of the graduate school rankings will be published in the Best Graduate Schools 2012 edition book, available April 5.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Georgia State a go-to law school for nation’s largest law firms

 In its annual list of the top 50 “Go-To” law schools, the National Law Journal ranks Georgia State University College of Law No. 32 for its percentage of graduates who were hired as first-year associates at the nation’s top firms.

The National Law Journal’s survey shows that 22 of 162 Georgia State Law graduates who earned Juris Doctor degrees in 2010 – 13.58 percent – are working as first-year associates at NLJ 250 firms, the nation’s largest law firms identified in its survey.

The Go-To Law School special report ranks the law schools that the nation's 250 largest firms recruited from most heavily to fill their first-year associate classes. Tuition amounts were based on data for full-time, non-resident students obtained from the 2010 ABA/LSAC guide.

The average annual tuition at the 50 Go-To Law Schools was $40,167. The most expensive law school was University of Cornell Law School, which charged $49,020 and was ranked No. 2 on the Go-To list. Annual tuition at Georgia State Law is currently $11,568 for Georgia residents and $32,592 for non-residents (fall and spring semesters). Georgia State Law also recently was named the No. 1 Best Value Law School by The National Jurist.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Deal to keep full-day Pre-K

Following bipartisan negotiations, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced his updated plan to preserve Georgia’s full-day prekindergarten program while still implementing the reforms necessary to prevent insolvency.

“From day one we have worked tirelessly to make sure Georgia’s youngest scholars continue to benefit from the Pre-K program,” said Deal. “It is so important that we keep Georgia Pre-K a priority in order to ensure that students are school ready and on pace to read on grade level by third grade. I appreciate the cooperative, can-do spirit of the Georgia Pre-K community. They have provided invaluable feedback over the last few weeks to help us improve our original proposal.

“Teachers, providers and parents understand the importance of reforms to maintain our excellent prekindergarten program for the next generation, but they emphasized a desire to keep the program full day. These discussions have yielded an improved product. Most important, this plan will serve our 4-year-olds well.”

The following programmatic adjustments will be made:

  • The school year will be shortened from 180 to 160 days.
  • Class size will be increased to 22 students from 20. Since all Georgia Pre-K classes have a paraprofessional in the room, the student to teacher ratio will max out at 11 to 1.
  • An additional 2,000 Pre-K slots will be added, bringing Georgia Pre-K enrollment to 86,000.
  • Providers will receive 94 percent of the operating funds they currently receive.
  • Pre-K teachers will receive 90 percent of their current salaries. (The original half-day proposal included a 30 percent reduction.)

Georgia remains a leader in early childhood education and is one of only four states in the nation to provide a high-quality, universal Pre-K program. The governor’s new proposal saves the necessary $54 million and was developed after listening to the concerns of the Pre-K providers, Pre-K teachers, parents, early childhood advocacy organizations and local school systems across the state.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ChildCare Education Institute Offers Online Music in Early Childhood Course at No Cost in Recognition of 'Music in Our Schools Month'

/PRNewswire/ -- ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), a nationally accredited, IACET CEU granting, distance training institution dedicated exclusively to the child care industry, offers the online course CHD100: Music in Early Childhood at no cost for the month of March, in honor of Music in Our Schools Month.

CHD100 was written by well-known author and national trainer, Rae Pica. This online course examines the role of music in a child's development. It addresses how quality and variety influence selection, music's impact on moods and behaviors, and the musical elements young children can and should experience. It also provides developmentally appropriate musical selections and activities. Go to www.cceionline.edu, select Click Here for Current Promotions, and follow instructions to take advantage of this promotion. There is no cost to set up an account and instructions are provided. This course is worth 0.1 IACET CEU and allows students to print a certificate of completion immediately.

"Music in the early childhood curriculum can have a tremendous impact on children's creativity and cultural awareness, as well as physical and social development. CCEI continues to work with experts in the field to bring educators high-quality, relevant continuing education options that they can use to improve their skills," said Maria Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.

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2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge announced March 1 the finalists for 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 154 applicants who were selected as the Teacher of the Year in their school districts. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.

"This is a strong group of outstanding educators who would each make a terrific 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year," said Superintendent Barge. "Congratulations to the finalists and to all those who applied for consideration. I know the judges had a very difficult job choosing just 10 finalists from this group of applicants."

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will observe and interview each of the finalists. The finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power on April 1. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet on May 6, 2011, at the Georgia World Congress Center. The banquet, paid for through donations from sponsors, will honor each local district Teacher of the Year. A reception hosted by United Healthcare will be held prior to the banquet.

The 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

The 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Ms. Pam Williams, a teacher at Appling County High School. To learn more about Ms. Williams and the Teacher of the Year program, click on the following link: http://www.gadoe.org/ci.aspx?PageReq=TOTY 

2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district)
Teacher, Subject, System, School

Jadun O. McCarthy, English Language Arts
Bibb County, Northeast Health Science Magnet High School

Ashlee J. Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathology
Bulloch County, Stilson Elementary School

Vicki Tarleton, Mathematics
Columbia County, Grovetown High School

Nancy Williams, Social Skills
Coweta County, Madras Middle School

Beth Sciarro, Reading
Houston County, Northside Elementary

Ivy K. Smith, Mathematics
Lowndes County, Pine Grove Middle

Christine W. Powell, Journalism, Art History and Literature
Muscogee County, Northside High School

Lisa Boyd, English Language Arts
Rockdale County, Salem High School

Melissa Webb, Second Grade
Savannah-Chatham, West Chatham Elementary School

Nancy C. Rogers, Literature
Thomas County, Thomas County Central High School

The Georgia Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by United Healthcare.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gordon Adds English, History Degrees

Gordon College received approval Wednesday from the Board of Regents to offer two additional baccalaureate degrees.

Beginning with the fall 2011 semester, Gordon will offer a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Gordon currently offers baccalaureate degrees in Early Childhood Education, Mathematics, Biology and a RN to BSN completion degree as well as associate degrees in 40 programs of study.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer students two additional degree opportunities,” said Gordon College President Shelley Nickel. “Our excellent baccalaureate degrees in the core areas of biology, English, history, and mathematics will provide the regional workforce with employees with good critical thinking and communication skills and will provide opportunities for our students to move on to graduate and professional studies in a variety of areas including health services, medicine, and law. Further, since each of these majors includes a track that permits students to complete teaching certification, these majors will help address the growing statewide need of highly qualified teachers of biology, mathematics, history, social studies, and English.”

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine to host first VetCAMP in summer 2011

Twelve 11th and 12th grade students will be selected from a national applicant pool to participate in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine’s first VetCAMP, a nine-day program aimed at helping students experience veterinary medicine as a potential career path.

VetCAMP, or Veterinary Career Aptitude and Mentoring Program, will offer participants opportunities for observation and participation in the various services in the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, and the college’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories.Camp attendees also will go on field trips to the Atlanta Zoo and Georgia Aquarium for behind-the-scenes tours of each facility.

“We started VetCAMP as a way to expose young people to all of the opportunities available to them in a career in Veterinary Medicine,” said Dr. K. Paige Carmichael, the college’s associate dean for academic affairs. “Through VetCAMP, we hope to broaden the students’ perception of veterinary medicine while increasing their interest in the sciences.”

The students will learn about requirements for admission to the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, research opportunities, study abroad opportunities, the college’s veterinary curriculum and underserved specialties in the field of veterinary medicine.

VetCAMP will be held Saturday, July 9 through Sunday, July 17.The students will be housed on the UGA campus.The $500 fee includes lodging, meals, instruction and social activities.Scholarships or financial assistance are available to students with demonstrated need.

Students who wish to be considered for the program must complete a registration packet that includes a registration form, a teacher/counselor recommendation form and an essay.The packet may be downloaded from the VetCAMP website at www.vet.uga.edu/GO/camp.

For more information about the program, contact Lakecia Pettway at lpettway@uga.edu or 706/542-8411, or visit the program’s website.

The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, to conducting research related to animal and human diseases, and to providing veterinary services for animals and their owners.Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock, and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share.The college enrolls 102 students each fall out of more than 560 who apply.For more information, see www.vet.uga.edu.

The current UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, built in 1979, serves more than 18,000 patients per year in one of the smallest teaching hospitals in the United States.The college is currently working to raise $15 million toward building a new Veterinary Medical Learning Center, which will include a new teaching hospital as well as classrooms and laboratories that will allow for the education of more veterinarians.The goal is to increase enrollment to 150 when the Veterinary Medical Learning Center is built.For more information, see http://www.vet.uga.edu/giving/campaign.php.

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Scholastic Book Clubs' ClassroomsCare Announces Sweepstakes Winners

Kudos to Georgia teachers Susan Hogan and Lexie Phillips for caring about our students!

Two teachers in each state have been chosen to receive a prize of two hundred books each from the Scholastic Book Clubs' ClassroomsCare program. These winners will then donate one hundred of the books to a local charity and keep one hundred for their own school. Winners were picked from more than 35,000 entrants in the 2010 "Care Where You Are Sweepstakes," an annual highlight of the Scholastic ClassroomsCare program, which donates more than a million books to children in need each year.

The Care Where You Are winning teachers, whose names are posted at http://teacher.scholastic.com/clubs/contests_home.htm#tcool will receive books and then can donate them to their local charity. In the past, Care Where You Are Sweepstakes winners have donated to children's hospitals, libraries, literacy centers and many other places that work with children in need. This year, Scholastic received more than double the number of entries from previous years.

According to Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs, "We're so pleased that teachers are making time to help their students participate in the ClassroomsCare program. By entering the Care Where You Are Sweepstakes, teachers and their classes are showing their desire to help make a difference in their own community by reaching people most in need of quality books."

ClassroomsCare is an annual challenge to the one million classrooms that use Scholastic Book Clubs. Participating classes read for the cause, triggering a donation of a million books from Scholastic Book Clubs to ClassroomsCare's charity partners, such as Reach Out and Read, Save the Children and The Pajama Program. Books are then donated throughout the year to kids in preschool to middle school who in many cases wouldn't otherwise have books of their own. Since August 2010, more than 8,592,613 books were read as a result of the program in 100,000 classrooms.

By the numbers:

* 30,127,000* - kids have read for ClassroomsCare since 2001
* 10,000,000 - books donated to charities through ClassroomsCare
* 1,234,580 - classrooms have participated in ClassroomsCare
* 126,050,613 – Total Books Read because of ClassroomsCare


*The number of kids who have read for ClassroomsCare was calculated by multiplying the number of participating classrooms by 25.

Scholastic Book Clubs is a division of Scholastic (Nasdaq: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company.

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