Thursday, January 27, 2011

OpEd: iPads in the Public Schools

Early January saw another mostly celebratory account of iPads in schools in the New York Times, "Math That Moves: Schools Embrace the iPad," by Winnie Hu. 

Since I was Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke in 2004 when we "embraced" the iPod experiment -- giving free iPods to entering first-year students before iTunes even existed and no one had thought of one single learning application for the very popular and coveted music-listening device -- you probably think I'm jumping for joy about school districts spending $50,000 or even $400,000 on giving all the kids iPads. Since I co-direct the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition, you may even think I'm partly responsible for this trend. Not so fast.

Here is the issue: If you change the technology but not the method of learning, then you are throwing bad money after bad practice. You're giving kids a very fancy toy with enormous educational potential and, being kids, they will find exciting things to do with it and many of those things will be beneficial, exciting, and will help them be more adept in the 21st century world of new forms of communication and interaction. If you leave kids to their own devices (pun intended), they will find ways to learn.
The user interface on tablet computers is appealing, the multidisciplinary possibilities inventive, and the potential for downloading lots and lots of apps for just about anything -- and even for designing apps yourself -- is fun. That makes the iPad a flexible, smart device. That is the upside.

The downside is that it is not a classroom learning tool unless you restructure the classroom.
There is no benefit in giving kids iPads in school if you don't change school. You might as well send them off with babysitters to play in the corner with their iPads for eight hours a day. Without the right pedagogy, without a significant change in learning goals and practices, the iPad's potential is as limited (and limitless) as the child's imagination. 

Duke University professor Cathy Davidson is a co-founder of HASTAC and the author of "Now You See It." This column originally appeared on her blog. It also appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun.  The Durham Public Schools district has announced its intention to use federal Race to the Top grants to purchase iPads for Durham classrooms
That's great on one level -- but it misses the real point of education as well as the full potential of the device. What iPad and all forms of digital learning should do is help prepare kids for this moment of interactive, complex, changing communication that is our Information Age. This is the historical moment that these kids have inherited and will help to shape. Are we preparing them for the challenges we all face together simply by spending our tax dollars on iPads? Yes. And no.
When we gave iPods to the incoming students, we made the cover of Newsweek ("iPod Therefore I Am"), made primetime on ABC News (Peter Jennings scowled, "Shakespeare on the iPod? Calculus on the iPod?"), and were denounced in a long, harrowing editorial in the Chronicle of Higher Education ("The University seems intent on transforming the Pod into an academic device, when the simple fact is that iPods are made to listen to music. It is an unnecessarily expensive toy that does not become an academic tool simply because it is thrown into a classroom.") Darn right! And we didn't. Here's one part of the experiment: If you were a second-, third- or fourth-year student, you were really mad that the first-years got iPods and you didn't. So we told those students if they could teach a professor to use the iPod in the classroom with a learning application, that class (and the professor) would get iPods too. Talk about incentive!
If your school district has embraced student-centered learning, if it has redeveloped its curriculum, and if it no longer thinks that end-of-grade testing measures what students today do learn and need to learn, then computer-aided learning and digital learning and learning as play are wonderful. Embrace those iPads!
But the metrics, the methods, the goals and the assessments all need to change. No Child Left Behind, our national educational policy, is based on early 20 century concepts of efficient testing that was explicitly designed to make learning imitate the production of Model Ts on Ford's assembly line. We still have that institutional basis undergirding schools in an era where there is an app for anything. Simply throwing iPads into the classroom cannot begin to educate kids about the world they are inheriting.
Another time, I'll talk about my concern about the closed nature of the iPad as the model we're embracing. That's a more complicated argument for those who don't know about open source and closed source devices and computing. Let's just say fantastic games and devices and learning tools -- including elementary kids' coding languages like Scratch -- make STEM learning inspiring and fun and help us break down another invention of the Industrial Age: the "two cultures" divide of science/technology versus arts/humanities.
New ways of learning (including with the iPad) blend these -- and not a moment too soon. Maybe those iPadding kids will demand art back in their classrooms because you're shortchanged, really, if you don't know how to create with such a fabulous tool for creativity. But even more fabulous would be learning how to write the code so you could create your own device.
That, my friends, is Lesson No. 2: Embrace new ways of learning -- not just a marvelous (but closed) and very expensive tool.
Your kids have infinite potential to learn if we give them the chance. That requires not a device but a pedagogy and a set of institutional practices that put energy, imagination, creativity, and inspiration -- across those arbitrary and limiting "two cultures" divides -- at the center of learning. You cannot replace the Model T model of education with an iPad if you still believe learning can be produced by assembly line standards and standardization. That's what we have to change! The iPads are a start, because they inspire ... but we have a lot of work today to take down the 20th century apparatus that harnesses our 21st century imagination.

Cathy Davidson

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Little Help for Rural School Innovation in Federal Grant Program

/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program did little to fund education innovations unique to high-needs rural schools, despite regulation requirements encouraging rural proposals.

Instead, projects that are largely urban in origin and design, managed by urban-centered institutions, and operating primarily in urban schools, were able to win bonus points in the competition by adding a small, sometimes token effort in a handful of rural schools.

These are the key findings of " Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program ," a report published by the national non-profit Rural School and Community Trust, which analyzed all the proposals and Education Department review sheets for the 19 applicants that claimed the rural bonus points and were ultimately among the 49 applicants awarded i3 grants.

Only three of the applicants claiming the rural bonus points made "authentically rural" proposals, which, according to the Rural Trust, involved innovations that are expressly applicable in rural schools, are clearly focused on serving rural schools, and will serve high-needs students in rural schools.

According to Marty Strange, Policy Director, Rural School and Community Trust, and principal author, "It seems absurd on its face that a project, originating in and operating entirely within the city of New York and has no plan to offer anything to rural schools, can claim and receive a rural bonus point merely by arguing that the innovation might work later in some rural place." Strange added, "The idea that if something can make it in New York it can make it anywhere makes great music but bad public policy. We are not saying that proposal is not a good proposal and should not have been funded. We are saying it should not have claimed rural points and should not have been awarded rural points."

The preference for rural proposals was undermined by the fact that only token effort was required in rural areas to claim the bonus points, while the two-point bonus for doing so was more than that allowed other preferred areas, and because readers who scored the proposals were provided no rubric to guide them in assessing proposal's rural effort, according to the report.

Many of the readers were undoubtedly unfamiliar with rural schools and some gave points without much due diligence to the extent of rural effort or the appropriateness of the proposed innovation to a rural setting. This problem is aggravated by the paucity of rural education research to support proposal writers or readers who review their proposals.

"It is evident that many of the applicants were simply taking advantage of the rules of the game and the referees who scored the proposals were ill-prepared to call fouls," said Strange. He added, "Most awardees are serving urban and suburban schools and reflect little real engagement or effort connected with rural school districts."

The report offered the following key recommendations:

* To make competitive grants effective in rural settings, Taking Advantage suggests setting aside funds for rural schools or collaborations of rural schools;
* A requirement that the innovation be expressly designed to meet challenges that are unique to those schools; and
* Implement a system of "prior supports" to provide technical assistance to those applicants in the development of solid rural proposals.


Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Program

The Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grant program is the U.S. Department of Education's effort to support innovation in public schools and was funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

To encourage projects focusing on rural education the Department offered two bonus points in the scoring system for projects that would implement innovative practices, strategies, or programs that are designed to focus on the unique challenges of high-need students in rural schools and school districts.

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New Scholarships to Benefit Nursing Students

/PRNewswire/ -- It was announced today that two new scholarship contests are in place for 2011 to specifically benefit nursing students. The Atlanta Nursing Scholarship gives the winner a $500.00 scholarship to be applied toward any accredited nursing program offered by a school in the greater Atlanta area. The Mary Blake Single Parent Nursing Scholarship gives the winner a $500.00 scholarship to be used toward any accredited nursing program.

Entry forms, rules and restrictions, and links to full details for each contest can be found online at http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/financial-aid/atlanta-nursing-scholarship-contest.htm and http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/financial-aid/single-parent-scholarship-contest.htm.

These contests are being sponsored and administered by the scholarships and promotions department of OnlineNursingDegrees.org (http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/financial-aid/nursing-scholarships.htm), a site that recently entered its fourth year of serving the needs of domestic nursing students in the US.

In a statement released today, Martin Lamers of Online Nursing Degrees said, "Our Nursing Scholarships recognize the unique challenges and opportunities presented to today's nursing students. We want to highlight the crucial role a nurse plays in the stability and growth of any major metropolitan area, as well as reward the individual efforts of some of the area's brightest students and strongest individuals."

The Atlanta Nursing Scholarship contest is open to all nursing students enrolled in an accredited nursing program in the metro Atlanta area. It is an essay contest with a minimum of 500 words to be used describing why the individual is uniquely deserving of the award. Entries may be submitted online until June 15th. Scheduled as an annual event, the winner for 2011's contest will be announced in August.

For more information or to enter this contest, visit: http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/financial-aid/atlanta-nursing-scholarship-contest.htm

The Mary Blake Single Parent Nursing Scholarship contest is open to all single-parent nursing students enrolled in an accredited nursing program. It is an essay contest with a minimum of 500 words to be used describing why the individual is uniquely deserving of the award. Entries may be submitted online until June 15th. Scheduled as an annual event, the winner for 2011's contest will be announced in August.

For more information or to enter this contest, visit: http://www.onlinenursingdegrees.org/financial-aid/single-parent-scholarship-contest.htm

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Get Smart Money Answers Through Sallie Mae’s Chat Thursday Night, Jan. 27, 9-10 P.M. EST

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Saving for college and don’t know where to start? Looking to improve your credit score? Juggling multiple financial goals? Join Sallie Mae’s live chat to pose these and other questions to financial experts from the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) on Thursday night, Jan. 27, from 9 to 10 p.m. EST.

“Whatever your life situation, this is a great opportunity to connect with financial planning experts who can provide relevant assistance and information.”

The free chat, which is open to the public through Sallie Mae’s Facebook page, will feature two expert practitioners with a combined 30 years experience in helping people make smart money decisions. Ken Robinson, CFP®, senior planner at the Monitor Group, Inc., in McLean, Va., is active in pro bono financial planning efforts and Junior Achievement financial literacy programs for local schools. Catherine Seeber, CFP®, principal financial advisor for Wescott Financial Advisory Group, LLC in Philadelphia, leads area FPA members in their efforts to teach financial literacy in the community.

“The beginning of a new year is always a good time to re-examine financial goals,” says Marty Kurtz, CFP®, AIFA®, 2011 president of the nonprofit Financial Planning Association. “Whatever your life situation, this is a great opportunity to connect with financial planning experts who can provide relevant assistance and information.”

To participate in the chat on Thursday night or submit a question in advance, visit www.Facebook.com/SallieMae.

To learn more about Sallie Mae’s smart money tips for 2011, including resources to make completing the FAFSA financial aid application easier, visit www.SallieMae.com/SmartMoney2011. Sallie Mae also invites you to share your smart money tips—between now and Jan. 30—for a chance to win a Samsung 40-inch 3D TV through its Smart Money Tips Giveaway.

Note: Smart Money Tips giveaway requires no purchase. Void where prohibited. For a complete set of sweepstakes rules, visit www.SallieMae.com/SmartMoney2011.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Georgia Tech Hosts First Lego League State Tournament

The Georgia Institute of Technology will host 50 teams of 480 teens competing in the State of Georgia FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament on Saturday, January 29,  from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Center.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that was founded to inspire interest in science and engineering among young people.

Saturday's event is the State Championship and the top team of the event will advance to the World Festival in St. Louis in late April.

With a theme of “Body Forward,” teams of students aged 9 to 14 will explore the cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and maximize the bodies' potential, with the purpose of leading happier, healthier lives.

The event is co-hosted by Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing and Georgia Tech Research Institute, as well as LEGO Robotics Design and Outreach Community.

So far in this year's tournament, 337 teams have competed in 12 qualifiers and three super-regional contests, involving a total of 2,500 students. Through these qualifiers, the field was narrowed to 50 teams that will participate at the event Saturday at Tech.

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Scholarship to Support School Security Professionals Opens Nominations Process for 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) today announced that nominations are being accepted for the 2011 Wren Solutions School Resource Officer (SRO) Scholarship Award. The award is part of a $10,000 donation that Wren, providers of physical security solutions that create safe learning environments, pledged over a four year time period.

The annual scholarship, now in its third year, was created to help SROs further their education, thereby bringing even more expertise and security strategies to protect the schools they serve. Last year's winner, School Resource Officer (SRO) Cody Myers of the Riverton, Wyoming Police Department shares his background story, and how the scholarship will help him to create a safer school environment in a guest blog posting on the Wren School Security Blog.

The deadline for all nominations is April 8, 2011. This new winner will be announced at NASRO's 21st Annual National Conference to be held June 27 through July 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The award will be offered and administered through NASRO.

In order to be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be a current member of NASRO (or they can join at the time they apply for the scholarship) and enrolled in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in law enforcement, criminal justice or a related field deemed appropriate by the NASRO Scholarship Committee such as business, public administration or psychology. At the time of applying, candidates must be a sworn law enforcement officer.

"Since the scholarship program was established, it has helped two outstanding SROs further their education and bring even more expertise and security strategies to protect the schools they serve," said Mo Canady, Executive Director of NASRO. "With this scholarship, Wren and NASRO look forward to continuing to offer the most committed SROs with the same opportunity: to advance their education and career, in turn bringing new ideas and expertise to school security and protection."

In selecting the award winner, the nomination committee will consider each applicant's contributions to their SRO program, agency, NASRO or the community. Applicants are also asked to address how they utilized technology to enhance the safety and security of people, property and information.

"Our 2010 winner, Cody Meyers, was an outstanding candidate and continues to serve his community as an officer while also balancing a challenging study schedule," said Andrew Wren, president, Wren. "We look forward to our next round of applicants and eagerly anticipate recognizing and awarding another highly-qualified professional with a well-deserved scholarship award."

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities Files Suit Against US Dept. of Ed to STOP Unlawful Regulations

/PRNewswire/ -- The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), on behalf of its more than 1,500 member institutions, today filed a lawsuit in the federal District Court in Washington, DC seeking to block portions of the Department of Education's October 29, 2010 final regulations, 75 Fed. Reg. 66,832, which impose unlawful and unfair limitations on access to higher education.

"APSCU members believe in fair regulatory oversight to protect students, institutions and taxpayers," said Harris Miller, president and CEO of APSCU. "But these regulations as written are not fair, lawful or workable. We've filed this lawsuit to halt the implementation of three specific regulations only after careful consideration and only after our good faith efforts to work with the Department of Education to craft clear, workable rules through the negotiated rulemaking process and the public comment period failed."

"President Obama signed an executive order this week seeking greater stakeholder input and placing heightened reliance on consumer disclosures over government controls. In this case, we have a set of regulations that constitute a classic case of bureaucratic overreach. The President expressed concern about rules that have gotten out of balance, place unreasonable burdens on organizations and could have a chilling effect. If these vague and poorly written regulations are implemented," Miller said, "they will have a chilling effect on job creation and innovation, forcing our schools to waste resources defending themselves against frivolous lawsuits at the expense of investment in students, faculty, facilities and technology."

APSCU has filed this suit to protect the more than three million students across America currently investing in their futures by enrolling in private sector colleges and universities. These are typically "nontraditional" students - whether they are working adults, single parents, returning veterans, low-income, minority, first-generation college attendees or other underserved student populations - who are unable to spend several years at a traditional college.

As explained below, the new Department of Education regulations challenged in APSCU's lawsuit go far beyond lawful regulatory efforts in three areas within the Title IV federal student aid program—state authorization to conduct educational activities within state borders (34 C.F.R. sections 600.4(a)(3), 600.5(a)(4), 600.6(a)(3), 600.9, and 668.43(b)), employee compensation (34 C.F.R. section 668.14(b)), and misrepresentations to the public (34 C.F.R. sections 668.71-668.75):

* The State Authorization regulations force states to adopt particular regulatory regimes rather than adopt their own oversight structures. Notably, these regulations impede innovation and make it significantly more difficult for schools to provide students with online and other distance education programs since they require the authorization of every state where any student may be located, rather than relying on the review of the state in which the school is actually located.
* The Compensation regulations contradict the will of Congress, which in 1992 did not prohibit the payment of merit-based salaries. The new regulations eliminate almost 20 years of interpretive guidance on this issue, captured in 12 clarifying regulations in place since 2002. Completely eliminating those regulations introduces substantial confusion and forecloses practices that clearly benefit students, such as tying employee compensation to student graduation rates. This blanket prohibition will lead to a loss of quality employees and curtailed outreach, diminishing the ability of schools to attract those students most likely to succeed.
* APSCU agrees that statements made to intentionally mislead students are unacceptable. The new Misrepresentation regulations permit the Department to impose severe penalties on schools for inadvertent, insignificant, or innocent statements—including such statements made by third party advertising and marketing partners. Such statements need not be material or cause actual damage. Moreover, penalties can be imposed without due process. As a result of these regulations, schools will be forced to provide less information to prospective students out of fear of being held liable for any mistakes that are made.

APSCU believes that in adopting these regulations, the Department has violated the Constitution, the Higher Education Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Miller said that if left in place, these regulations will do irreparable harm to students and schools.

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Title I Distinguished Schools and Districts Awarded

 State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge officially named 868 Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools and four Title I Distinguished Districts at today's State Board of Education meeting.

"These schools have shown that high expectations, hard work and collaboration do improve student achievement," Superintendent Barge said. "I'm so pleased to recognize the educators, students and parents in these schools and school districts."

Title I schools have a significant population of students who are economically disadvantaged. These schools receive federal money to assist with the education of their students. There are two National Title I Distinguished Schools among the total 868 Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools. Title I Distinguished Schools have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) at least three years in a row.

"These 868 schools could make excuses, but they don't," Superintendent Barge said. "The teachers and students are focused and the consistent results prove it."

Title I Distinguished Schools that have made AYP for three consecutive years are awarded a certificate, while those who have made AYP four or more years receive a monetary award, paid for out of federal funds.

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

The 2010-2011 Title I Distinguished Districts are:
- Large District: Clarke County
- Medium: Peach County
- Small District: Dublin City
- Very Small District: Glascock County

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

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

The two National Title I Distinguished Schools are:
- Closing the Gap: Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary - Clayton County
- Meets and Exceeds Performance: Fourth District Elementary - Appling County

Each school received $15,000 in addition to their FY11 Title I Distinguished Schools allocation.


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

National Park Foundation Unveils Gulf Islands National Seashore Electronic Field Trip Web Portal at WWW.ELECTRONICFIELDTRIP.ORG

/PRNewswire/ -- Using the Gulf Islands National Seashore as its classroom, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, is inviting students across the country to experience firsthand how science is used to monitor and manage human and natural change in an eco-system through an innovative new Electronic Field Trip (EFT) on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. As part of the program, the National Park Foundation has unveiled www.electronicfieldtrip.org/gulfislands, an interactive online web resource for students and educators to get a jump start on their interactive adventure to Gulf Islands National Seashore, featuring interactive games, lesson plans and more. Teachers and broadcasters are encouraged to register for the program FREE now at www.electronicfieldtrip.org.

The Electronic Field Trip, "Sea Change: Gulf Island National Seashore," will include two live, hour long broadcasts (10am ET and 1pm ET) from Gulf Islands National Seashore, made available through the website (www.electronicfieldtrip.org/gulfislands) as well as on participating public television stations. The FREE program is designed for students in the 4th through 8th grades. The Gulf Islands program is the second in a series of investigative EFTs produced this year by the National Park Foundation to discover the lessons that science being done in national parks can provide to students in classrooms.

Previous EFTs have educated millions of students across the United States and around the world on historical events, climate change, biodiversity and more. For more information about the National Park Foundation's EFT program and a full catalogue of all previous EFTs, visit www.electronicfieldtrip.org

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National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Releases Annual Ranking of State Charter Laws; Race to the Top Helped Some States Improve

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) today released its second annual report which ranks the nation's charter school laws from the strongest to the weakest. Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws analyzes the country's 41 state charter laws and scores how well each supports charter school quality and growth based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS' model charter school law.

The new report captures all the legislative moves states made to be more competitive under the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top program. Overall, Minnesota's charter school law ranked the highest and Mississippi's new charter school law ranked the lowest.

"There were a lot of shake-ups on the list this year," commented Peter C. Groff, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "Through the Race to the Top competition, states had a new incentive to take bold steps and make major improvements to their charter school laws. Some chose to do so and gained in our ranking. Those who made superficial or no changes, however, often lost ground."

"High-quality charter schools start with strong charter school laws. Our state charter law rankings describe how laws can ensure charter schools are able to innovate in ways that boost student achievement while being held to high standards of academic, fiscal, and operational performance," explained Todd Ziebarth, vice president of state advocacy and support, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "The rankings and the model law developed by the Alliance and other key stakeholders are moving lawmakers in key states to make positive policy changes." Ziebarth is the author of the report.

As a result of positive policy changes made over the past year, Florida made the biggest jump from 2010, moving from number 11 to second place. Because of charter schools legislation passed in 2010, Massachusetts also made a jump, from number six to third place. And, the charter school legislation New York enacted in 2010 moved it from number eight to number five.

Conversely, the District of Columbia tumbled the furthest from 2010, dropping from second to eighth place. In addition, California fell from the third to the sixth position, Georgia fell from fourth to seventh, and Utah dipped from seventh to tenth.

As a new crop of governors and legislators prepares for the upcoming legislative sessions, the rankings provide clear indications of where some states excel and others come up short in charter school laws. They also offer a positive roadmap for how governors and legislators can take action to strengthen their charter school laws.

"While the legislative moves made in 2010 ranged from the positive to the meaningless to the hostile, the charter movement overall saw positive policy movement across the country," said Ziebarth. "The road ahead remains long, though. Governors and legislators must do more to give parents access to high-quality public charter schools by providing funding equity, increasing facilities support, removing antiquated limits on growth and strengthening authorizer environments."

The 10 states with laws shown to best support the growth of high-quality charter schools are: Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, California, Georgia, District of Columbia, Louisiana and Utah.

The report also found that 24 states and the District of Columbia still have caps that impede the growth of charter schools. In nine of these states, such caps are severely constraining growth: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio. More than 420,000 students across the country are hoping for an additional seat at a charter school – and there is no correlation between caps and school quality or student achievement. "These states should remove their arbitrary restrictions on charter growth," added Ziebarth.

There are 10 states that have still failed to enact a charter school law: Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

The complete analysis can be downloaded at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools web site: www.publiccharters.org/charterlawrankings2011. See detailed state-by-state summaries and color-coded maps of how states measure against each component at http://charterlaws.publiccharters.org.

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Medtech Launches New 10-School Company

/PRNewswire/ -- Medtech today announced the formation of a new 10-school company that is positioned to become a leading post-secondary healthcare career education provider. The schools include four current Midwestern campuses, along with three Sanz Schools in the Washington, D.C. area and three Javelin Technical Training Centers in greater Atlanta that will adopt the Medtech name.

The schools were brought together under single ownership less than a year ago. Medtech President and CEO John L. Hopkins' mission was to create a powerful, extraordinary education company that will provide a distinctive education experience. To achieve that goal, Medtech is establishing new learning and service standards within the industry while preserving each school's legacy and healthcare career training strengths.

"We've created a totally new company, from our corporate culture and philosophy to the way in which we operate, so we can deliver an extraordinary learning environment, along with personal and memorable services for our students, employers and clinical partners," said Hopkins. "We selected the Medtech name because it speaks directly to our campuses' healthcare expertise and is indicative of technological investments we are making within the schools to provide the most advanced resources and services to facilitate an extraordinary experience for our students."

He added that Medtech is dedicated to creating new futures through a set of core values that enable it to "be extraordinary" and, in the process, prepare students for rewarding careers in the in-demand healthcare industry. Several campuses also will offer accredited nursing training.

The company sets itself apart from industry competitors on the basis of providing an exceptional student experience. Medtech's educational method is distinguished by a unique employee culture that instructors and staff played a significant role in shaping; a focus on operational pre-eminence through reinvestment in campuses and the technology and tools to create environments in which students can become extraordinary; and a commitment to maintaining the highest levels of regulatory excellence.

"We are characterized by our people, culture and operational excellence – an authentic distinction that will allow us to redefine the education environment," Hopkins said. "Medtech is moving forward in its quest to create student experiences that are beyond the predictable through our commitment to be extraordinary in everything we do."

Medtech's name speaks directly to each campus' primary focus: preparing career professionals for medical-related fields in strong learning environments that are technologically oriented. It also communicates that Medtech campuses provide personalized hands-on, practical learning experiences so students are prepared to achieve all that is possible while creating new futures for themselves in healthcare.

While its main focus is on healthcare education, Medtech also recognizes the general need for English language training in many of the communities it serves. With growing numbers of students seeking English as a Second Language (ESL) programs to bolster their career aptitude, Medtech offers English as a supplemental program to its core medical training program for students wishing to enhance their language skills.

Students are encouraged to search out new opportunities, develop inquisitive minds, and gain the skills and professional confidence that enable them to reach their full potential. A Medtech education prepares students to establish professional goals and create new futures in existing and emerging healthcare professions.

"We offer a strong learning platform that enables graduates to realize they have extraordinary potential…and the tools to achieve it," Hopkins noted.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deal to act quickly on APS probation

Gov. Nathan Deal will take an active role in helping Atlanta Public Schools prevent loss of its accreditation. Upon the announcement today that the system's high schools are on probation, the governor has reached out to Mayor Kasim Reed and has called a meeting tomorrow with the entire Atlanta legislative delegation.

"I will make every effort to ensure that Atlanta's children are not harmed by the adults who have failed them," Deal said. "I have begun the process of working with Atlanta's leaders, including my friend Mayor Reed, to implement corrective action immediately. The high schools are on probation but they have not lost their accreditation. We must do everything possible to stop an embarrassing situation from snowballing into a destructive situation.

"Children's futures are at stake. My budget showed the priority I place on education. My actions in this situation will demonstrate similar resolve. In addition to working with Atlanta's leaders, I announced today that I've asked the team investigating the APS administration of the CRCT to continue its work. I'm determined to get to the bottom of what happened, so we can guarantee the integrity of testing in Atlanta and throughout Georgia."

The report from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools details a dysfunctional city school board that has failed to serve the students of Atlanta. Current state law allows the governor to remove board members in such a scenario, but the law does not apply in this case because all of the board members were in office before the law took effect.

The probation of Atlanta high schools will have no impact on the HOPE scholarship eligibility of the Class of 2011.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

NASA Invites Students to Send Experiments to the Edge of Space

/PRNewswire/ -- NASA is inviting student teams to design and build experiments the agency will fly into the stratosphere, a near-space environment, more than 100,000 feet above the Earth.

NASA's second annual Balloonsat High-Altitude Flight competition is open to student teams in ninth to 12th grades from the United States and its territories. Each team of four or more students must submit an experiment proposal to NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland by Feb. 11. Student teams may propose experiments on a wide range of topics, from bacteria studies to weather observations.

A panel of NASA engineers and scientists will evaluate the submissions based on mission objectives, technical planning and team organization. The top eight proposals will be announced on March 4.

The top four teams will receive up to $1,000 to develop their flight experiments and travel to Glenn Research Center May 18-20. During their visit, they will have an opportunity to tour the center, watch as NASA helium weather balloons carry their experiments to the edge of space, recover the experiments and present their results at Glenn's Balloonsat Symposium.

The other four teams also will receive up to $1,000 to develop their flight experiments and will participate via the Internet when NASA scientists and engineers launch and recover their payloads during the week of May 23.

For more Balloonsat information, registration forms and project ideas, visit:

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/balloonsat

This competition and similar educational programs help NASA attract and retain students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These disciplines are critical to the agency's future programs and missions.

The Balloonsat High-Altitude Flight competition is sponsored by Glenn's Educational Programs Office and is funded by the Teaching From Space (TFS) Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. For information about the TFS education program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/education/tfs

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clayton State University Cancels Classes for Thursday, Jan. 13, and Friday, Jan.14

Campus Open for Employees at 11 a.m. on Thursday

Classes scheduled for Clayton State University for Thursday, Jan. 13, and Friday, Jan. 14, will be cancelled. Classes will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, after the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday on Monday, Jan. 17. This applies for both classes at the main campus in Morrow, and the Peachtree City instructional site, Clayton State-Fayette.

For faculty and staff, the opening of the campus on Thursday, Jan. 13, will be delayed until 11 a.m. As there are still reports of icy conditions in neighborhoods and roads in the area, and because safety is of greatest concern, faculty and staff facing travel difficulties should contact their supervisors. The University intends to have offices open for faculty and staff on Friday, Jan. 14, pending icing conditions on campus.

This information is also available on the University’s web page (www.clayton.edu), through the University’s main telephone number (678-466-4000), and on the Office of University Relations Facebook (Clayton-State-University) and Twitter (@ClaytonStNews) accounts. Please do not call the Clayton State Office of Public Safety or the Clayton State Office of University Relations for information..

In addition, the following electronic media outlets will be contacted in regard to Clayton State’s status:

WSB-AM, B-98.5 FM, KISS 104.1 FM, 97.1 The River, 95.5 FM, WXIA-TV, WGST-AM, WKLS-FM, WMXV-FM, WPCH-FM, WSTR-FM, WSB-TV, WAGA-TV, WGCL-TV, WWLG-FM, WIGO-AM.

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

Gordon College will resume full operations at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 13.

Everyone is urged to use extreme caution traveling to campus.

As noted earlier, drop/add and payment deadlines have been extended and are found on Gordon College's website, www.gdn.edu

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gordon College Classes Cancelled Wednesday

Gordon College classes will be cancelled Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011.

Staff is not expected to report.

With the majority of our students commuting, we wanted to take their safety, as well as the safety of our faculty and staff, into consideration.

While there was some thawing on Tuesday, the anticipated frigid temperatures will certainly refreeze what remains on roadways and make traveling unsafe for the majority of our commuting students.

The drop/add period and payment deadlines have been modified due to the interruption in beginning spring semester. For more information on those deadlines see www.gdn.edu

Community Colleges in 29 States to Pilot New Accountability System

/PRNewswire/ -- The nation's community colleges are taking a major step forward in redefining what "success" means for their institutions with the naming this week of 40 pilot colleges to test drive a new Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA), a national system designed to provide accurate data, operational transparency, and the ability for colleges to benchmark student progress and completion data against peer institutions.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), in collaboration with the Association of Community College Trustees and the College Board, is developing the VFA, with funding from Lumina Foundation for Education and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The pilot colleges include 37 institutions, two state-wide systems and one multi-college district in 29 states. (Complete list follows.) Starting in mid-January 2011, the VFA pilot colleges will test a series of custom metrics that community college professionals developed over the last several months. The project fills what community college advocates have seen as a void in measures appropriate to the unique two-year college mission.

"Many traditional measures of institutional effectiveness don't work well for community colleges," said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). "For example, most are pegged to full-time students, and the majority of community college students attend part-time. Our overarching goal is to develop measures appropriate to our mission that clearly tell students and policy makers how we're doing."

VFA pilot colleges will work from a draft technical manual developed by four VFA working groups, a technical committee, and a national steering committee made up of veteran research experts and educators from within the college community. (See link to VFA website for a list of participants.) Project leaders are developing the VFA in stages so that they can release and test core measures for which there is broad consensus on technical definitions and available data. Additional measures will be proposed as the participants report outcomes and assess how well they gauge institutional effectiveness.

"Pilot testing is a critical part of developing the VFA," said Kent Phillippe, AACC's associate vice president of research and student success and director of the VFA initiative. "We want to learn from the pilots the utility of the measures and feasibility of reporting this data for all types of community colleges."

Late in January, AACC will make available all the resources provided to the pilots so that any institution will be able to calculate the proposed VFA measures, understand the pilot testing process and learn more about the VFA. Added to the pilot testing, AACC will develop mock-ups for what could be built as the VFA data collection and display tool, and share the preliminary designs during the AACC annual meeting and via virtual meetings in the second half of 2011.

Pending outcomes of the pilot testing, reaction to the VFA among AACC member institutions and future funding, a full-scale roll-out to the nation's close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges could take place starting in 2012.

"The Obama administration and others are focused on greater numbers of student completions and demonstrable measures for how we gauge student success. VFA is the community college response that says, 'We accept that challenge,'" Bumphus added.

Pilot colleges are: Baltimore City Community College (Baltimore, MD), Bevill State Community College (Jasper, AL), Bunker Hill Community College (Boston, MA), Burlington County College (Pemberton, NJ), Central Community College (Grand Island, NE), College of Lake County (Grayslake, IL), College of Western Idaho (Nampa, ID), Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA), Dallas County Community College District (Dallas, TX), DeKalb Technical College (Clarkston, GA), Flathead Valley Community College (Kalispell, MT), Fox Valley Technical College (Appleton, WI), Genesee Community College (Batavia, NY), Greenville Technical College (Greenville, SC), Hudson County Community College (Jersey City, NJ), Independence Community College (Independence, KS), Jackson Community College (Jackson, MI), Kentucky Community and Technical College System (Versailles, KY), Lane Community College (Eugene, OR), Louisiana Community and Technical College System (Baton Rouge, LA), Mid-Plains Community College (North Platte, NE), Milwaukee Area Technical College (Milwaukee, WI), Montgomery College (Rockville, MD), Montgomery County Community College (Blue Bell, PA),Norwalk Community College (Norwalk, CT), Oklahoma City Community College (Oklahoma City, OK), Parkland College (Champaign, IL), Passaic County Community College (Paterson, NJ), Pima County Community College District (Tucson, AZ), Pitt Community College (Winterville, NC), Raritan Valley Community College (Somerville, NJ), Renton Technical College (Renton, WA), Rochester Community and Technical College (Rochester, MN), Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City, UT), Tidewater Community College (Norfolk, VA), Waubonsee Community College (Sugar Grove, IL), Wenatchee Valley College (Wenatchee, WA), Western Iowa Tech Community College (Sioux City, IA), Western Nebraska Community College (Scottsbluff, NE), and Western Wyoming Community College (Rock Springs, WY).

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Dr. John Barge Becomes Georgia?s 21st State School Superintendent

Dr. John D. Barge was sworn into office today as Georgia's 21st State School Superintendent. A life-long public school educator, Dr. Barge brings years of experience and common sense approaches to improving Georgia's schools.

"It's an honor and privilege to serve as State School Superintendent," said Superintendent Barge. "I am excited about this new challenge and will hit the ground running to build a strong foundation to positively benefit our students, teachers and communities. As a parent with a child in public schools and as one who has served at virtually every level in public education, I am keenly aware of the challenges we face as a state and the challenges our students, teachers and local administrators are facing. I am committed to ensuring that the Georgia Department of Education is a service agency and is communicating directly with educators in our local districts."

Prior to his becoming State School Superintendent, Dr. Barge served as the Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction with the Bartow County School System.

Bio

Dr. John Barge was born and raised in Cobb County, Georgia, graduated from Campbell High School in 1984, and attended Berry College in Rome, Georgia on academic and journalism scholarships where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1988.

Dr. Barge has earned three advanced degrees, a master?s degree and a specialist's degree from the State University of West Georgia and his doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Georgia. In his 20 years in education, Dr. Barge has served as a high school English teacher, middle school Spanish teacher, assistant principal, and principal. He also served as the State Director of Career, Technical and Agriculture Education for the Georgia Department of Education. John has been recognized as a STAR teacher in 1996, as Georgia?s Assistant Principal of the Year in 2001, and received the Berry College Alumni Association?s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2005.

John and his wife Loraine, long-time Floyd County residents, have been married for 19 years. They have a 14 year-old daughter who attends public school in Floyd County.

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Clayton State University Campus Closed on Tuesday, January 11

The main campus of Clayton State University, located in Morrow, Ga., and the University's instructional site in Peachtree City, Ga., Clayton State -- Fayette, will be closed due to inclement weather on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011.

This marks the first time in more than 15 years that weather has closed the University on consecutive days. As a result, the first day of classes for the spring 2011 semester is still on hold, as are deadlines for the acadmeic drop/add periods, late registration and late fee payments. Decisions on these latter issues will be made on the morning that classes resume.

Further information about Clayton State’s plans for Wednesday, Jan. 12, will be available later on the University’s web page (www.clayton.edu), through the University’s main telephone number (678-466-4000), and on the Office of University Relations Facebook (Clayton-State-University) and Twitter (@ClaytonStNews) accounts. Please do not call the Clayton State Office of Public Safety or the Clayton State Office of University Relations for information.

In addition, the following electronic media outlets will be contacted in regard to Clayton State’s status:

WSB-AM, B-98.5 FM, KISS 104.1 FM, 97.1 The River, 95.5 The Beat, WXIA-TV, WGST-AM, WKLS-FM, WMXV-FM, WPCH-FM, WSTR-FM, WSB-TV, WAGA-TV, WGCL-TV, WWLG-FM, WIGO-AM.

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

Gordon Classes Cancelled Tuesday

Classes at all Gordon College locations are cancelled for Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 due to the continuing weather situation.

Only staff who are essential to the function of the college are expected to report Tuesday.

The campus is expected to be open Wednesday, Jan. 12.

“We want our students, staff and faculty to be safe,” said Gordon President Shelley Nickel of the campus closing. “Closing the campus for an additional period of time was the best choice for us to help ensure that safety.”

Since Monday was to be the first day of spring semester, many students have questions concerning registration, tuition payment and drop/add days.

Late registration (both on-line and on-campus) and drop/add will be extended through 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14. Payment for tuition and fees is due in full by 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14.

Ashworth High School Changes Name to James Madison High School

/PRNewswire/ -- Ashworth College, (http://www.ashworthcollege.edu) an internationally recognized online education company, has announced that its high school division, Ashworth High School, will return to its former moniker James Madison High School, effective January 2011. This announcement coincides with the 15th anniversary of the original James Madison High School brand.

Gary Keisling, Ashworth College Chairman and CEO, commented on the name change: "The initial decision to become Ashworth High School back in 2007 was to begin unifying our schools under the Ashworth umbrella. While Ashworth High School has been successful for us, one of the reasons for the change rests with our students who have indicated a strong connection with the James Madison name, which in itself, is a name that is steeped in tradition."

Keisling went on to emphasize that the change was in name only and that existing students could continue to depend on the school's prestigious SACS CASI regional accreditation and national DETC accreditation and its quality curriculum during this transition and into the future.

In the coming months, the company will continue to focus its growth efforts on maximizing the strong reputation they have built for providing students with a superior educational experience and, through technology, engaging its students in an increased sense of community. James Madison students will play a prominent role in the school's online student community as well as various social sites (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) where students have the opportunity to directly interact with instructors and peers.

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Majority of States Receive Below Average Grades on Education Reform Laws

Georgia's grade is a 'C' for laws governing charter schools.

New report finds that even with federal prodding, most laws fall flat.

/PRNewswire/ -- Only 11 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws that do not require significant improvements in order to allow for the effective creation and growth of these innovative school options, according to a new study and legislative blueprint released today by The Center for Education Reform (CER). Of the rest, 14 states received a grade of 'C,' and 15 a 'D' or 'F' for their laws governing charter schools in CER's Charter School Laws Across the States.

According to the report, excitement over charter schools—which dramatically increased after both 'Race to the Top' and the release of 2010's critically-acclaimed film Waiting for Superman—has not been matched by substantive improvements to state-level public policy related to these schools. The result, CER says, is increased waiting lists at charter schools and lost years for far too many children who seek access to better learning environments.

"In November, voters across the nation voted overwhelmingly for dramatic and immediate change in state legislative bodies, and a key component of their choices was education reform," said Jeanne Allen, president of The Center for Education Reform. "As lawmakers across the country map out their legislative agendas for 2011, they should match their election-year promises with policy improvements that will allow for the true expansion of charter schools across the nation."

In the 12th edition of Charter School Laws Across the States, CER identifies three specific priorities that lawmakers must incorporate into their 2011 law changes:

Authorizer Reform. One of the hallmarks of a great charter school law is the ability for multiple entities—including universities, mayors, and independent state charter school boards—to allow for the creation of charter schools. Far too many states place authorizing power solely in the hands of local school boards, which have no incentive to allow charter schools.

Cap Removal. In many states, random and arbitrary caps—or limits—are placed on the number of schools that can operate or the number of students who can access charter schools. CER said that eliminating these capricious caps—along with authorizer reform—is a healthy blueprint for charter law improvement.

Funding Equity. Despite the fact that charter schools are public schools, the average charter school receives more than a thousand dollars less, per student, than a conventional public school. This historically inequitable funding formula—embraced by many states—immediately places charter schools, which face higher accountability measures, at a disadvantage.

"By introducing legislation that permits multiple charter school authorizers, eliminates unnecessary caps that only serve to punish children and provides equitable funding for charter schools, the country can witness a new renaissance in American education flourish in this next decade," Allen said.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Clayton State University Campus Closed on Monday, January 10

The main campus of Clayton State University, located in Morrow, Ga., and the University's instructional site in Peachtree City, Ga., Clayton State -- Fayette, will be closed due to inclement weather on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011.

Scheduled as the first day of classes for the spring 2011 semester, Monday wasalsoscheduledto mark the first 2011 Young People's Concert at the University's Spivey Hall. However, wit hthe University closed, the concert is cancelled and all school groups and individuals will be refunded.

Further information about Clayton State’s plans for Tuesday, Jan. 11, will be available later on the University’s web page (www.clayton.edu), through the University’s main telephone number (678-466-4000), and on the Office of University Relations Facebook (Clayton-State-University) and Twitter (@ClaytonStNews) accounts. Please do not call the Clayton State Office of Public Safety or the Clayton State Office of University Relations for information.

In addition, the following electronic media outlets will be contacted in regard to Clayton State’s status:

WSB-AM, B-98.5 FM, KISS 104.1 FM, 97.1 The River, 95.5 The Beat, WXIA-TV, WGST-AM, WKLS-FM, WMXV-FM, WPCH-FM, WSTR-FM, WSB-TV, WAGA-TV, WGCL-TV, WWLG-FM, WIGO-AM.

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fayette County Board Member Smith Elected to Statewide Post

Fayette County Board of Education member Terri Smith has been elected as a District Director for the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA).

As a District Director, Smith will serve on the association’s Board of Directors representing GSBA’s District 6, which includes the school systems of Bremen City, Carroll County, Carrollton City, Clayton County, Coweta County, Douglas County, Fayette County, Griffin-Spalding County, Heard County, Henry County, Meriwether County, Pike County, Thomaston-Upson County, and Troup County.

District Directors are elected for three-year terms at district meetings by a majority of the district members present and voting. The Board of Directors manages the affairs and business transactions of the association, and employs the executive director.

"We are extremely pleased to have Terri Smith join our Board of Directors," said GSBA Executive Director Jeannie M. (Sis) Henry. "This is an important role and one that demands high levels of leadership."

GSBA is an advocate of public education and supports the uniquely American tradition of citizen control of public school systems. GSBA is a voluntary, statewide organization that provides professional services and training to the state's local boards of education, and represents the collective resolve of local boards in the governance of public education. GSBA has provided service to public education in Georgia for over 50 years.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

American CyberSystems Offers $5,000 College Scholarship to YWCA of Greater Atlanta's Teen Girls in Technology Program

/PRNewswire/ -- American CyberSystems, Inc. (ACS), a major sponsor of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta's Teen Girls in Technology (TGI Tech) program, announced today that it is offering a $5,000 scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a high school graduate and TGI Tech participant looking to major in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) in college. TGI Tech is a program dedicated to preparing young women for non-traditional careers with a STEM focus.

"This scholarship can help to open the door for a program participant whose goal is to immerse herself in non-traditional learning subjects. The opportunity to go to college is something some of these girls may not have without outside assistance, such as the generous scholarship provided by American CyberSystems," said Judy Brown-Fears, TGI Tech program director.

The TGI Tech program is introduced to middle school students and continues through high school. American CyberSystems President Raj Sardana and his wife, Nita Sardana, have sponsored TGI Tech since 2006. ACS encourages its employees to take an active role in strengthening the community by supporting teen technology education and mentoring.

ACS funded a TGI Tech field trip last year to the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida. The trip exposed participants to the importance that women have in the NASA program and also provided the opportunity to experience science and technology in action.

"TGI Tech serves as a valuable learning tool for girls in their formative years," Nita Sardana commented. "Having two daughters currently pursuing degrees in college, we understand the importance of introducing technology at a young age."

"ACS provides leading-edge information technology solutions and understands how very important it is to foster IT careers for girls today so we can fill the pipeline with skilled professionals for the future," Raj Sardana said. "These same students may one day be ACS consultants working at Fortune 100 companies here in Atlanta."

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ribbon Cutting Scheduled to Open Southern Polytechnic State University's New $30 Million Engineering Technology Center

/PRNewswire/ -- Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) President Lisa A. Rossbacher and other dignitaries will cut the ribbon to open SPSU's new $30 million Engineering Technology Center (ETC) at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Lee Rhyant, the recently retired executive vice president and Marietta site general manager for Lockheed Martin, will deliver remarks to assembled faculty, staff, students, alumni and guests inside the building following the ribbon-cutting.

SPSU is the only public university in Georgia offering a degree in mechatronics engineering – the integration of mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines with an infusion of computer science and software engineering. The ETC will house this program, in addition to all of the other engineering and engineering technology programs in SPSU's School of Engineering Technology & Management and Division of Engineering. All told, SPSU offers a total of 13 undergraduate engineering and engineering technology degree programs, and three graduate engineering and engineering technology programs.

In addition to classrooms, faculty offices, computer labs and an auditorium, the three-story, 120,000 square foot structure features a large number of highly specialized spaces: an energy/HVAC lab, a fluid mechanics lab, a strength-of-materials lab, a metrology lab, an electromagnetics lab, a computer-integrated manufacturing lab, an automotive lab, engineering graphics labs, a biomedical lab and a machine shop, to name a few.

The campus' newest facility, designed by architect Cooper Carry, sports a striking light show in the main lobby and is on track to receive silver-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, as are all recent additions to the SPSU campus.

Students will begin attending classes and labs in the new facility with the start of the spring semester on Jan. 10.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

UGA 8th in Kiplinger’s annual best value ranking

The University of Georgia is eighth in the latest ranking of the nation’s best values in public higher education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

The 2011 ranking marks the eighth consecutive year UGA has ranked among the magazine’s top 10 values. The university has been in the magazine’s top 20 every year since the magazine began publishing its best value rankings in 1998.

The rankings appear in Kiplinger’s February 2011 issue and online at www.kiplinger.com/tools/colleges. The magazine takes data on more than 500 public institutions and sorts the schools based on quality measures such as the admission rate, test scores of incoming freshmen and graduation rates. To create the list of 100 top values, the magazine then factors in cost data such as tuition, fees and financial aid to come up with a list of institutions that “deliver a stellar education at an affordable price.”

“Schools like these on the Kiplinger 100 list prove graduates can enter the workforce with a great education—and without a huge cloud of debt,” said Kiplinger’s Editor Janet Bodnar.

The magazine notes the average debt at graduation for UGA students is $14,766, the third lowest among top 10 schools. The magazine calculates total annual in-state cost for UGA students at $18,226 and total annual cost for out-of-state students at $36,436. For out-of-state students, the university ranks 19th on the list of 100 best values.

Two other University System of Georgia institutions are in the magazine’s top 100 for in-state students—Georgia Institute of Technology, ranked 16th, and Georgia College and State University, ranked 100th.

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill tops the magazine’s list for the 10th time. Other institutions in this year’s top 10 are: the University of Florida (2nd), University of Virginia (3rd), College of William and Mary (4th), University of Maryland, College Park (5th), State University of New York at Binghamton (6th), SUNY Geneseo (7th), University of Wisconsin-Madison (9th) and University of Washington (10th).

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Summer Scholars Research Program for High School Students Offered by Emory's Winship Cancer Institute

The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is hoping to groom the next generation of researchers, physicians, nurses, and health care professionals. Winship is currently accepting applications for its Winship Summer Scholars Research Program from high school students who are interested in an immersion into the research world of cancer

The Winship Summer Scholars Program begins June 6, 2011, and ends July 15, 2011. Deadline for applications is February 11, 2011.

“This program provides a genuine experience in a biomedical research laboratory for high school students who have a keen interest in science,” says Mary Jo Lechowicz, MD, assistant professor of hematology and medical oncology at Emory and director of the Winship Summer Scholars program.

The Winship Summer Scholars Research Program (WSSRP) consists of both academic and practicum components, and is available to students who are rising seniors attending any high school in the greater Atlanta area.

“At the completion of the program,” says Lechowicz, “students will have experienced the rich, interdisciplinary nature of biomedical research and will have an authentic understanding of the process of science.”

Students accepted into the program will be assigned to work with a research scientist or clinical oncologist who is actively engaged in research at Emory University School of Medicine. Students will work in a professional setting with their faculty mentors, as well as with laboratory technicians and graduate students, in their assigned lab. Participants will learn about the research interests of their faculty mentor and will be assigned to a specific question or problem relating to that interest.

For more information, or to apply to the Winship Summer Scholars Research Program, contact: Beverly Jones, 404-778-2249 or beverly.jones@emory.edu.