Page 1

Georgia Department Of Education

Educating Georgia’s Future 2016

R i c h a r d W o o d s , G e o r g i a ’s S c h o o l S u p e r i n t e n d e n t


02 Our Focus at GaDOE 04 Georgia: A Leader in Education 06 ESSA: A plan for Georgians, by Georgians 07 SB 364: Responsible Accountability 08 Teaching 10 Learning 12 Positive Learning Environments 14 Literacy 16 Educating Georgia’s Future Workforce 18 Fine Arts 20 Assisting Schools 21 Graduation 22 Generous Georgia Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION Mike Long, First Congressional District Helen Odom Rice, Third Congressional District Lisa Kinnemore, Vice Chair, Fourth Congressional District Kenneth Mason, Fifth Congressional District Barbara Hampton, CPA, Sixth Congressional District Mike Royal, Chair, Seventh Congressional District Vann Parrott, Eighth Congressional District Kevin Boyd, Ninth Congressional District Brian Burdette, Tenth Congressional District Scott Johnson, Eleventh Congressional District Trey Allen, Twelfth Congressional District Larry Winter, CPA, Fourteenth Congressional District




million students are served by Georgia public schools

total public schools in Georgia



receive Special Education services

have limited English



rely on school-provided transportation

are eligible for free


or reduced lunch

113,441 Teachers in Georgia’s public schools. 43.5% of those hold a master’s degree



OUR VISION: Educating Georgia’s future by graduating students who are ready to learn, ready to live, and ready to lead.



Our Focus


Georgia has a real opportunity to become a national leader in the pursuit and implementation of child-focused, classroom-centered education policy. We’re taking advantage of greater flexibility to ensure that students in Georgia’s public schools receive a holistic, balanced education and graduate ready to learn, ready to live, and ready to lead.

We need to offer a holistic education focused on the whole child, preparing each of them to succeed in the future. — Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

Guaranteed and viable standards

Collegiality and professionalism

1. Revise/develop and implement viable academic standards that engage learners with essential knowledge, skills, and enduring concepts

6. Increase district, leader, and teacher effectiveness through high quality service and support

2. Increase the percentage of K-5 students with a strong knowledge of foundational skills and concepts

Safe and healthy environments

3. Increase the percentage of high school graduates who are college and/or career ready Challenging goals, effective feedback and supports 4. Increase personalized learning by setting challenging goals, providing effective feedback and supports

7. Increase the number of schools with a safe, healthy, and positive learning climate Community and Family Engagement 8. Increase effective communication and encourage stakeholder engagement


5. Expand educational opportunities in order to maximize student engagement, meet a variety of student interests, and ensure the relevance of learning

Read more about our strategic plan at





Providing flexibility for educators, so they can personalize learning by setting challenging goals and providing feedback and supports

Give students the learning opportunities, tools, and knowledge necessary to experience a high quality of life as adults

Creating an education system that fosters soft skills, civic awareness, learning by doing, teamwork, innovative thinking, and real-world relevance




Offering a Holistic Education to Each and Every Child in the State


Our strategic plan fostersclassrooms, a culture of cross-divisional Districts, schools, collaboration and opportunities communities, studentsto partner with state agencies and organizations. We’re working together to roll out initiatives and policies with fidelity, while providing high quality service and support to districts.

Instead of a top-down approach, we are working in tandem with those we serve to find solutions, target support, and be responsive to their feedback. We’re here to provide support to districts and schools, responsive to the needs of students.


OUR MISSION: Offering a Holistic Education to Each and Every Child in the State.



Priya Rathakrishnan Forsyth County Schools graduate

Jack Crawford Lowndes County Schools

National Health Occupations Students of America President, 2016

National Technology Student Association President, 2016

Mike Rowland Georgia Department of Education National Council on School Facilities President, 2016

View last year’s list:

Marc Pederson Paulding County Schools BioGENEius Mentor of the Year, 2016

Stephanie Johnson Atlanta Public Schools National Principal of the Year Finalist, 2017


Megan Palmer Thomas County Schools National Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year, 2016



James Heater Savannah-Chatham County Schools National Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership, 2015



In teaching financial literacy to high school students from the Center for Financial Literacy (one of seven states)

In teaching the civil rights movement from the Southern Poverty Law Center (one of three states)

9 National Blue Ribbon Schools in 2015

3 1st

National School Counselors of the Year

State in the nation to adopt Career Pathways requirements for all high school students

COMPUTER SCIENCE GaDOE participated in the development of national K-12 Computer Science frameworks


National Principals of the Year (and nine finalists) since 2008

15,000+ Microsoft certifications earned by Georgia students and teachers

13th Ranked nationally for Advanced Placement test scores

View last year’s list:

It’s our responsibility and our great privilege to offer a first-class educational experience to the students of our state. Thanks to our excellent students and teachers, Georgia is truly a national leader in opening those doors. — Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent



STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase effective communication and encourage stakeholder engagement



Every Student Succeeds Act In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law, replacing the law commonly known as No Child Left Behind. ESSA dials back many overreaching federal requirements, allowing states and local schools/districts to make decisions that are best for their students. Learn more about Georgia’s ESSA process at

I’m glad the federal government has heard what we in the states have been saying for years: we know what’s best for our students, and we need the flexibility to make it happen. — Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent


representing state organizations and agencies.

WORKING COMMITTEES composed of five GaDOE staff

GEORGIA’S ESSA PLAN: A TIMELINE July 2016 Initial meetings of Working and Advisory Committees

members and 15 stakeholders are charged with developing the draft ESSA Georgia State Plan.

Aug-Oct 2016 ESSA stakeholder feedback sessions held throughout the state

The Assessment Committee will review assessment requirements and needs, examining ways to take a more innovative approach to assessing students, strengthen formative tools, and make assessment data more timely and useful.

Dec. 2016 ESSA working committees begin draft language; chairs and co-chairs pull together draft state plan; presentations to Advisory Committee

The Accountability Committee will examine Georgia’s current accountability measure (the College and Career Ready Performance Index) and help make refinements to the model, taking a responsible approach to accountability and finding a way to represent school performance in a public-friendly manner.

January 2017 Public comment period; review by Governor, State Board of Education, and State School Superintendent; overview to House and Senate Education Committees March 2017 State plan submitted

The Communications Committee will discuss ways to bring people to the table and facilitate effective communication related to Georgia’s ESSA plan.


The Education of the Whole Child Committee will discuss social/ emotional learning, climate and personalized education in Georgia’s pre-K through 12 education system.

We are providing multiple avenues of success via traditional colleges and universities, technical schools, apprenticeship programs, and military service.

The Educator & Leader Development Committee will examine ways to strengthen the teaching profession and empower and support school leaders. The Federal Programs to Support School Improvement Committee will address the various federal programs that support school improvement at the state level.



In 2016, Senate Bill 364 was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal. This law helped change the landscape of Georgia education by reducing the number of state-mandated tests students must take and reducing the percentage student test scores count for teacher and leader evaluations.

This legislation is a game-changer for our students and for their teachers, who now have the flexibility to focus on foundational skills rather than just a test. — Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

A RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO ACCOUNTABILITY Reducing the weight and number of tests. The weight of student test scores on evaluations was reduced from 50% to 30% for teachers and 70% to 40% for leaders. Eight high-stakes tests were eliminated. Shifting from a “gotcha” tool to a coaching tool. A new professional growth component was added to TKES, making it more of a coaching tool. This aligns to the PSC’s call for personalized professional learning for all teachers.

SB 364 addresses many of the issues identified as causes of teacher turnover in our 2015 survey of 53,000+ Georgia teachers. View that report at

Teachers are only held accountable for the students in their class. Students must be present in class 90% of the time in order to count toward a teacher’s evaluation (compared to 65% previously). New flexibility allows schools to focus on areas of need. Districts are able to eliminate SLOs (Student Learning Objectives), decreasing paperwork and increasing instructional time. The growth requirement has been set to the legal minimum to cut back on testing and districts are able to use their own benchmarks to measure student progress. Freeing up time to support new or struggling teachers. Under the old system, each teacher received six observations. Now, districts have the flexibility to decrease the number of observations for veteran, effective teachers to two per year, freeing them up to spend more time with new or struggling teachers.

In June 2016, Superintendent Woods honored Sen. Lindsey Tippins with the Superintendent’s Impact Award for his sponsorship of Senate Bill 364. “Senator Tippins’ bold leadership will have an impact on generations of Georgia students,” he said.


STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase district, leader, and teacher effectiveness through high quality service and support

Senate Bill 364


Teacher and leader quality has an enormous impact on student achievement. We’re committed to recruiting and retaining the best teachers and leaders, then giving them opportunities to grow professionally.

STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase district, leader, and teacher effectiveness through high quality service and support



That means, first and foremost, listening to teachers. On these pages, you’ll learn about our large-scale survey of Georgia teachers on retention and recruitment issues. We also meet regularly with an advisory council of classroom teachers. We’re committed to taking those teachers’ recommendations and acting on their behalf. You’ll learn here about changes made on the basis of teacher feedback, along with our efforts to provide the best possible resources for Georgia’s teachers and make those resources easier to access.

More than 53,000 teachers responded to our teacher recruitment & retention survey. OUR EFFORTS Surveying teachers. We wanted to know why 44% of Georgia’s teachers leave the profession — so we asked them. More than 53,000 of them responded (about half the teachers in the state).

Addressing teacher evaluation. Superintendent Woods supported Senate Bill 364, which addressed many of the issues teachers brought up in our recruitment/retention survey—including the heavy weight of testing in the teacher evaluation system and the number of high-stakes tests their students have to take.

Providing personalized professional learning. With a new professional growth component for the teacher evaluation system and teacher certification based on personalized learning instead of seat time, GaDOE plans to develop an online platform with a library of PL resources, calendar of PL opportunities, and catalog of self-paced/facilitated online courses.

Empowering local communities to adopt textbooks. Textbooks are adopted by local systems/schools and will no longer go through state-level review. Instead, we’re working to compile world-class Open Educational Resources (OERs) which will equip teachers with a wealth of freely accessible resources for classroom use.

Collaboration: Professional Learning GaDOE’s English Language Arts team worked with Georgia’s higher education faculty, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Georgia teachers, the High Museum of Art and RESAs to create a professional learning series that promotes outstanding writing instruction via an online webinar and face-to-face facilitation. EDUCATING GEORGIA’S FUTURE


— Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

HEARING FROM TEACHERS It started with alarming statistics: 44 percent of Georgia’s newly hired teachers dropping out of the profession by year five, and a 16 percent dip in the number of candidates entering Georgia’s teacher preparation programs. We decided what was needed was a teacher voice. We developed a survey focusing on the reasons for extensive teacher turnover, had it vetted by the Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council, and asked current and former Georgia teachers to weigh in. More than 53,000 teachers responded. The top reason they selected for leaving the profession was “number of state-mandated tests,” with “method for evaluating teachers” as a close second. We shared the results of the survey — teachers’ voices — with policymakers. When the 2016 legislative session began, State Sen. Lindsey Tippins introduced a bill that addressed teachers’ top two concerns. State School Superintendent Woods was an early supporter of the bill. Senate Bill 364 was signed into law on May 3. Moving forward, GaDOE will continue to seek out teacher feedback and make refinements as needed.

Driving the need for personalized professional learning 

SB 364: New professional growth component

ESSA: Use Title II funds to support personalized PL

GaPSC: Personalized PL instead of seat time to renew certificates

Delivering personalized professional learning 

Relevant to the needs and interests of teachers

Accessible in multiple formats

Collaborative tools so teachers can connect from across the state

Casey Bethel 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year


“Education is the key to success and teachers make a lasting impact on the lives of their students. Teachers hold the potential to unlock a world of possibilities. Effective teaching does more than fill students’ minds with knowledge. I appreciate the chance I get to plant seeds of confidence and inspiration in the hearts of the next generation.” Read more testimonials at


increase in number of computer science teachers


Words of Wisdom

TEACHING | 86% of GA teachers wouldn’t recommend teaching | 37%

We must — and will—employ a teacher workforce that is second to none. Georgia public education is poised to offer our children great opportunities. We need to ensure there are great teachers to open those doors.


The world is changing—and students need new skills and opportunities in order to thrive.

with essential knowledge, skills, and enduring concepts

STRATEGIC GOAL: Revise/develop and implement viable academic standards that engage learners


We’re working to give all students the skills and experiences they need to learn, live, and lead in the future. Students need strong core academic courses and opportunities beyond them, guaranteed and viable standards, a chance to engage in highdemand fields such as computer science, and well-utilized technology. On these pages, you’ll learn about our efforts to expand and enhance the learning environment in Georgia’s classrooms, opening up new paths for the students of our state.

9 computer science courses can be used for graduation & college admission requirements. OUR EFFORTS New Georgia-owned standards for science and social studies. More than 26,000+ Georgians provided feedback and hundreds of teachers were directly involved in the standards revision process for science and social studies. Professional learning is being provided to teachers across the state this year with full implementation during 2017-18.

Quality resources delivered in a teacher-friendly way. GaDOE is working with Georgia teachers to vet, add/create, and organize our resources in a teacher-friendly way within the Teacher Resource Link (TRL). We’re redesigning so that teachers, parents, and homeschoolers have access to high-quality instructional materials.

Letting students “Move On When Ready.” The Move On When Ready program allows students to enroll for dual credit at participating postsecondary institutions in Georgia. Students gain credit toward both high school graduation and postsecondary requirements.

Providing options in computer science and more pathways to graduate. Nine computer science courses can now be used to satisfy graduation and college admission requirements in the areas of math, science, and foreign language— both expanding opportunities for students and expanding the avenues for graduation.

Collaboration: Creating Virtual Field Trips GaDOE and Georgia Public Broadcasting are working to create virtual field trips throughout the state. These immersive experiences will allow students to experience historic and notable sites throughout Georgia, including places where the civil rights movement was born.




— Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

PROVIDING EFFECTIVE STUDENT SUPPORTS Increase amount and quality of formative testing. This year, over 5,785 educators completed FIP (Formative Instructional Practices) training to help them develop and utilize formative assessments in the classroom. FIP allows teachers to identify student needs and inform instruction. GaDOE’s online tool, GOFAR, lets teachers access a bank of quality test items and create formative tests to use in their classrooms. Shifting from longitudinal data to real-time/timely data. The SLDS provides longitudinal — past student performance — data. GaDOE is starting the development process to allow teachers to upload and use formative data, and provide for early warning systems that can alert teachers and parents when a child gets off track academically. Developing a Multi-Tiered System of Support. MTSS focuses on core instruction, differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs and the alignment of systems necessary for all students’ academic, behavioral and social success. Georgia Online IEP. The online GO IEP gives special education teachers a streamlined way to develop and manage IEP paperwork. Documentation is immediately available if a student transfers to another school —allowing them to keep learning without missing a beat.

PERSONALIZED LEARNING AT THE STATE SCHOOLS State schools for blind, deaf and hard of hearing students. GaDOE operates three schools that serve blind, deaf and hard of hearing students: the Georgia Academy for the Blind, Georgia School for the Deaf, and Atlanta Area School for the Deaf. All three provide high-quality preschool programming to ensure a strong start and integrated CTAE opportunities to connect students with the world of work. Learn more at

Words of Wisdom

Dr. Jeremy Peacock President, GA Science Teachers Association


“It’s important that our standards reflect the expertise of Georgia’s teachers, build on good research, and support active learning in science. Having been involved in every phase of the revision process, I can say confidently that the Science Georgia Standards of Excellence achieve all three of those goals. I am proud to share the new standards with science teachers in Georgia, and teachers are excited about putting them into practice.” Read more testimonials at


STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase personalized learning by setting challenging goals, providing effective feedback and supports

Students do not fit in a box and one size does not fit all. They need varied, creative learning opportunities that engage them in their learning and prepare them to learn, live, and lead in the future.


School climate refers to the quality and character of school life—the “culture” of a school. We’re working to foster and support sustainable, positive school climates that promote youth development and student learning—in fact, GaDOE has received national recognition for our efforts and focus on positive school climate and the state implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase the number of schools with a safe, healthy, and positive learning climate


It’s essential that students have a safe, healthy, and positive environment for learning, so we’re also making sure students have the opportunity to stay physically active and eat fresh, Georgia-grown foods throughout the day. In schools with safe, healthy, and positive learning climates, students are in the right space to learn.

85% of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) schools have 4- or 5-star climate ratings OUR EFFORTS Providing fresh meals to students. GaDOE is partnering with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to promote Georgia-grown meals in schools. Our department supports the 20/20 Vision — 20% of Georgia schools serving 20% Georgia-grown meals by 2020. GaDOE has also worked with districts to increase the number participating in the Farm-to-School program.

Developing a measurement of school climate. The School Climate Star Rating draws on student, teacher and parent perceptions and data on student discipline, safe and substance-free learning environments, and attendance to produce a one- to five-star informational rating for school and parent use. Schools with a School Climate Rating of 5 on average score 25 points higher on the CCRPI.

Implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. PBIS is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety, and support improved academic outcomes. The number of schools implementing PBIS has risen from 241 to over 800.

Making sure our students have the opportunity to stay physically active. GaDOE is partnering with the Department of Public Health in urging schools to participate in Power Up for 30 — committing to 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Within a year’s time, the number of schools participating has increased from 595 to 872.

Collaboration: Early Learning Climate Videos GaDOE partnered with Metro RESA and DECAL to develop five Early Learning Climate videos, which show teachers, parents, and school leaders the importance of a positive learning environment. The videos were produced by GPB and funded by a grant from the David, Helen, and Marian Woodward Fund. View them at




— Dr. Garry McGiboney, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent for External Affairs and Policy


COMPONENTS OF THE SCHOOL CLIMATE STAR RATING Safe & substance-free learning environment Survey of stakeholders Student discipline


Social skills instruction.

Positive acknowledgement.

Positive and proactive discipline.

Fair and corrective discipline.

Social behavior expectations.

Parent training and collaboration.

Superintendent, Fayette County Schools


“To become a world-class school system, we must not only change our practice, but we must look at changing the attitudes, beliefs and opinions of our stakeholders. PBIS is helping us do that not just with our students, but perhaps more importantly, with the adults in the building.” Read more testimonials at

Active supervision and monitoring.


increase in 4- or 5-star schools


Dr. Joseph Barrow


Learn more at:

Words of Wisdom

more Farm-to-School districts |

Focusing on social/emotional learning. GaDOE was awarded a grant from CASEL to begin the process of developing K-12 social/emotional standards. Providing resources to prevent bullying. We’re assisting schools in the development of bullying prevention strategies and activities through a Bullying Prevention Toolkit. Supporting safe environments and crisis prevention. Anyone who needs to report a safety issue in a Georgia school can call 1-877-SAY-STOP, Georgia’s toll-free, anonymous school safety hotline. Shaking up school meals. GaDOE’s School Nutrition division and partners are working to further enhance the flavor of school meals with the addition of herbs and spices. We’re developing updated, kid-tested and -approved recipes and spice blends, and developing training videos and other resources for school nutrition professionals across the state.


The systematic study of school climate has led to a growing body of research that attests to its importance in a variety of overlapping ways, including social, emotional, and intellectual development.


When students are reading on grade level, they’ve taken the first step toward all other academic achievement. That’s why literacy is a core focus for the GaDOE.

STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase the percentage of K-5 students with a strong knowledge of foundational skills & concepts



We support literacy by providing tangible tools for students, teachers, and parents — from free teacher resources to daily text reminders for parents of 4- and 5-year-olds. And, during the summer of 2016, we joined with several generous partners to donate more than 100,000 books to kids across the state. We’re proud to partner with the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, which addresses literacy through four pillars: access, learning climate, teacher preparation and language nutrition. Together, we’re working to ensure that by 2020, all children in Georgia will be on a path to reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

GaDOE and partners donated 100,000+ books to Georgia students last summer. OUR EFFORTS Getting books in the hands of Georgia’s kids. It all starts with access. With the help of Scholastic, Change 4 Georgia, Better World Books, Georgia Public Broadcasting and other organizations, we’ve donated hundreds of thousands of books to students all over the state—including 750 dual language books this summer.

Providing free literacy resources. Through the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and myONreader all Georgia students have access to free digital books during the summer (as of August, students had read over 211,188 books). Other literacy resources, such as PebbleGo, are also made available for free. GaDOE has also used the 21st Century after-school program to promote literacy and reading in over 243 centers.

Promoting literacy, starting with the home. GAREADY4K is a free, opt-in texting service available in English or Spanish. Parents who opt in receive daily tips, tricks, and ideas to help prepare their four– and five-year-olds for kindergarten. To sign up, text GAREADY4K OR GAREADY4KESP TO 313131.

Tiered professional learning for literacy. In the fall of 2016, GaDOE will provide tiered professional learning for literacy and writing, it’ll include expert panelists, live webcasts and recorded sessions designed to build teachers’ capacity for writing instruction while cultivating a culture of writing.

Collaboration: Promoting Summer Reading GaDOE has partnered with Georgia Public Library Service and Bright from the Start to promote summer reading and summer meals. Four events were held across the state to urge families to get library cards and read to their children. GaDOE launched for students to log what they’ve read. EDUCATING GEORGIA’S FUTURE


— Dr. Caitlin Dooley, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

STATEWIDE LITERACY PLAN Pinpointing local needs. We’re leveraging data across agencies and data banks to match needs to local assets. School literacy plans. We’re utilizing school literacy planning templates and support materials to augment school improvement plans. Promoting quality instructional models and materials. We’re utilizing current content assets to promote quality instructional models, and creating an evaluation tool for use by local districts and schools. Designing and adopting a reliable, valid diagnostic assessment for literacy. We want to allow districts to use what’s working already, and provide resources where a workable model doesn’t already exist. The diagnostic would be used for formative assessment, not accountability. Designing and adopting a reliable, valid early screener. This method of assessing kindergarten readiness is currently under development. Creating an internal cross-divisional team. This team convenes regularly to discuss coordinated, collaborative efforts to support literacy. Often, we’ve worked in silos—now, we’re breaking out of them. Updating literacy-related content. We’re working to produce updated professional learning for writing, informational texts, academic language, and literacy across all content areas. Creating virtual field trips. This collaborative effort will support students’ comprehension and background knowledge.

LITERACY RESOURCES To access Bookworms, a free, comprehensive reading program for K-5, visit To find your local library and access related resources, visit

Words of Wisdom

Arianne Weldon Director, Get Georgia Reading Campaign


“State leaders have already begun to use the four pillars to challenge conventional approaches, establish new cross-sector collaborations, and support collective action in communities throughout the state. Getting more kids to read takes more than good schools, more than great teachers, and more than loving parents. It takes all of us working together.” Read more testimonials at


LITERACY | 11 literacy-based community meetings have been held | 3% rise in Elementary CCRPI scores

Literacy—reading, language, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing—is how we construct and communicate meaning. It is the essence of learning.


The world is changing rapidly, and students have to be prepared for the workforce of the future. That’s why Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education programs are so important.

STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase the percentage of high school graduates who are college and/or career ready



CTAE goes beyond the traditional “core” academic subjects, leveraging partnerships with industry and higher education and connecting students with the world of work through hands-on instruction and apprenticeship opportunities. Students are learning about potential careers early, participating in professional organizations, earning college credit, and learning in the field. Through the Career Pathways initiative, they’re studying everything from energy to finance to human services. And thousands of students are graduating with a Career Pathway certificate and a career plan—ready and prepared.

94.9% graduation rate for students who complete a CTAE Career Pathway OUR EFFORTS Connecting with regional business and industry needs. GaDOE’s CTAE staff completed a series of hands-on business externships, gaining firsthand insight into the needs of industries across Georgia — and businesses like CSX, Pfizer, and Kia Motors.

Enhancing opportunities in high-demand fields. The “Studio in a Box” program/grant initiative provides middle and high school programs with audio and video equipment, server storage capacity, and technical support to enhance student learning experiences in the state’s growing Audio Video Technology & Film industry.

Being responsive to business and industry needs. Georgia students now have access to six new Career Pathways that were developed in partnership with business and industry: Industrial Maintenance, Game Design, Internet of Things, Web Development, Audio Video Technology and Film, and Law Enforcement Services—Public Safety Communications.

Partnering to provide grants to expand career-related opportunities for students. Partnering with Economic Development, GaDOE is able to help districts receive Go Build! Partnership mini-grants to help them expand career-related opportunities — like career days, trips to area business and industry, guest speakers, and more — for students in their area.

Collaboration: Developing Relevant Curriculum Business partner Lockheed Martin is filming real-world aeronautical scenarios that relate to Georgia’s math standards. It’ll roll out in three acts: in Act 1, students will observe a video that poses a question. In Act 2, they’ll determine what information they need to answer the question. Act 3 provides an answer and a sequel problem.



— Dr. Barbara Wall, GaDOE CTAE Director

MOVING FORWARD Spreading the word about CTAE. This fall, billboards across the state helped spread awareness of the CTAE programs available to Georgia students. Each billboard spotlighted a specific Career Pathway, targeted to business and industry needs in that area (Logistics Managers in Savannah, for example). CTAE television PSAs have also aired.

Developing an Economic Development Ready certification for districts. Modeled after the STEM certification program, this will prepare school leaders and teachers with the knowledge and practices needed to serve as partners in the economic development process. Releasing a Workforce Pipeline Tool. Our technology staff is creating an interactive map that will show business and industry needs, and Career Pathway completers, in every Georgia county.

If we’re going to continue to be the #1 state in the nation to do business, we must continue to be the #1 state in the nation for supporting CTAE. National officers including FFA, FBLA, TSA, and HOSA

First state in the nation to adopt Career Pathways requirements for all high school students

Atlanta selected as future site of national SkillsUSA conference


“SkillsUSA has taught me if I want to achieve anything in life, I have to work hard for it. When I first started competing, I was struggling in school and thought education wasn’t important. I realize now that every step you take in life has a reaction that can affect the future.” Read more testimonials at


student complete a career pathway

One of the first two states to offer an International Skills Diploma Seal

Adairsville High, SkillsUSA



Adam Thomas

9th-12th graders participate |

Awarding diploma seals to students. In addition to the existing International Skills and Fine Arts diploma seals, we’re working on a diploma seal for students who signify readiness in certain areas, like work-based learning, career-related capstone projects and employability/soft skills.

Words of Wisdom

CTAE | 180 districts with programs | 60%

The mission for CTAE in Georgia is to educate our future workforce by providing experiences for students that will prepare them for workplace success. I believe our CTSOs are some of the best experiences we provide our students.


Fine arts instruction is a crucial component of a well-rounded education. The fine arts accommodate different learning styles and strengths, and give kids the opportunity to become creative, critical thinkers.

meet a variety of student interests, and ensure the relevance of learning

STRATEGIC GOAL: Expand educational opportunities in order to maximize student engagement,


Instruction in the fine arts also prepares students to participate in Georgia’s growing and vibrant creative economy. The creative industries in our state represent a combined $29 billion in revenue, including 200,000 employees earning $8 billion in wages. Georgia has the opportunity to expand the definition of readiness to include a more holistic approach to public education—one that provides fine arts opportunities. On these pages, you’ll learn more about our focus on the fine arts.

21,366 Georgia students completed a Fine Arts Pathway in 2016. OUR EFFORTS Offering STEAM certification. We’ve developed guidelines so schools providing an excellent, blended STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education can receive certification. This certification complements the current STEM requirements.

Creating a Fine Arts Diploma Seal. This seal awarded to high school graduates is a signal to employers and higher education institutions that a student is prepared to participate in Georgia’s robust Creative Industries sector. We’re producing fine arts-focused materials for counselors and exploring offering dual fine arts and CTAE pathways to meet business and industry needs.

Ensuring a voice for fine arts in Georgia’s ESSA plan. The Georgia Council for the Arts as well as fine arts teachers have been invited to serve on GaDOE’s Education of the Whole Child working committee. Among other topics, the committee will explore ways that federal funds can strengthen arts offerings in the state.

Refining fine arts standards. We’re completing a review of the standards for fine arts—the first since 2009. Visual art, media art, and theatre will be reviewed and revised in the 2016-17 school year. Dance and music will follow in 2017-18.

Collaboration: Increasing access to virtual arts courses We’re continually updating and expanding the fine arts offerings of our Georgia Virtual School, so students in all areas of the state have access to fine arts opportunities. Students across the state continue to view GAVS as a great way to enhance their learning: enrollment increased by more than 8,000 in the last year.




— Jessica Booth, GaDOE Fine Arts Specialist

FEDERAL FOCUS ON THE FINE ARTS MATCHES THE STATE’S FOCUS The Every Student Succeeds Act—the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act— places an emphasis on “well-rounded education,” defined as courses, activities, and programming that give all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience. As Georgia develops its state ESSA plan, the fine arts are a focus of the Education of the Whole Child working committee. In addition to referencing subjects like English, foreign languages, and civics, ESSA adds arts, dance, music and theatre to a student’s well-rounded education. The key is that the intent is for all students to have access to fine arts subject areas. This resonates with the new GaDOE Strategic Plan and the interest surrounding the fine arts as a major sector of Georgia’s economy. ESSA provides support to schools that integrate subjects, including the arts, into STEM and humanities classes. GaDOE is supporting fine arts education through the creation of the new STEAM certification, the fine arts diploma seal, and other initiatives detailed on these pages.


right behind...

Davidson County, New York County, San Francisco Tennessee New York County, California (Nashville) (New York City)

Kate McLeod Head of School and Teacher Services, High Museum of Art


“I was speaking to a high school student this week who told me that school would be ‘terrible’ if it weren’t for her art class—that she wouldn’t fit in, wouldn’t be heard, couldn’t express herself. Allowing additional outlets for students while also integrating the arts into the general education classroom helps us get to those students who would otherwise fall through the cracks.” Read more testimonials at


revenue generated in GA by the arts

Of the 100 most populated counties in the United States, Fulton County has the fourth-largest number of arts-related businesses per capita

Words of Wisdom

FINE ARTS | 200,000 people employed in GA’s creative arts industries | $29B

We want students who are prepared for college and careers in the arts. A sequential K-12 fine arts education, arts integration in non-arts subjects, and STEAM programs will prepare students for this economic sector.


STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase district, leader, and teacher effectiveness through high quality service and support



Assisting Schools

In response to the proposed Opportunity School District, State School Superintendent Woods charged the GaDOE with making sure no school ends up on the OSD eligibility list because they didn’t have the resources and support they needed from us. Here’s how we’re assisting schools that face challenges.

It’s our job to make sure every school has the support they need. We’re working across the Department and with stakeholders in support of that commitment. — Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

“The DOE School Improvement Specialists were very supportive of our efforts by facilitating professional learning, monitoring instruction, and providing effective strategies. Our CCRPI score increased by 23 points in 2014, and we were removed from the Priority list. We are very proud of our incredible staff, and we appreciate the great support we received from GaDOE.” —Dr. Antonette Campbell, Principal, Indian Creek Elementary School

Number of Opportunity-eligible schools has decreased by 8%

IDENTIFYING SCHOOLS THAT FACE CHALLENGES Priority Schools are among the lowest 5% of Title I schools in the state, based on academic performance or graduation rate over a three-year period. Focus Schools are among the lowest 10% of Title I schools, based on gaps in achievement between the school’s lowestachieving students and the state average over a three-year period. Opportunity School District-eligible schools qualify under the proposed Opportunity School District legislation, which defines “persistently failing” schools as those scoring below 60 on the CCRPI for three consecutive years. GaDOE began serving these schools as well after the legislation was passed.

OUR FOCUS Developing a comprehensive framework for improving schools that puts the pieces of a system together— instruction, assessment, climate, professional learning—and is tailored to the needs of schools. Focusing on leadership at all levels and providing support and coaching. Providing regional support that can be more effectively targeted and responsive to local needs.

More success: from 2012-2015, 36 of the 80 Priority Schools met the criteria to exit Priority status, and 119 of the 154 Focus schools met the criteria to exit Focus status. EDUCATING GEORGIA’S FUTURE


Becoming collaborative partners by shifting from a compliance to a coaching model. Engaging local communities to identify challenges, create solutions, and leverage local resources and supports.

For years, there was only one path toward a high school diploma in Georgia. That doesn’t work for students, who are individuals with different strengths and different futures. We’re working to provide multiple paths to success.

Our students aren’t manufactured parts—their education can’t be one-size-fits-all. We need to provide multiple paths to a high school diploma. — Richard Woods, Georgia’s School Superintendent

ONE DIPLOMA, MULTIPLE PATHS TO GET THERE Diploma seals. Plans are in the works for a variety of diploma seals that allow students to signal readiness for college and/or careers — in fine arts, biliteracy, career readiness, international skills and more. Student Success: Imagine the Possibilities. We’re working with regional technical assistance providers to improve the graduation rate for all students—including those with disabilities. Fifty districts are receiving intensive technical assistance. These focused efforts have yielded a 17.8% increase in the graduation rate for students with disabilities. De-emphasizing tests. Eliminating unnecessary tests frees students from the former “one-size-fits-all” path to graduation. Senate Bill 364 (see p. 7) was a major step in this direction. Strengthening CTAE and dual enrollment. Participating in these programs helps students engage in the learning process and see its relevance for their lives. Ensuring a strong foundation. Getting students reading on grade level by third grade, and on grade level in math by fifth grade, pave the path for future success. Georgia’s graduation rate increased by 6.3 percentage points from 2014 to 2015.

College and Career Ready scores for Georgia’s high schools have risen by 7.4%


STRATEGIC GOAL: Increase the percentage of high school graduates who are college and/or career ready



The Georgia Department of Education, under the leadership of State School Superintendent Richard Woods, is committed to serving as a true community partner, joining with schools, districts, and organizations to assist students in areas of need.

GaDOE staff members donate backpacks and supplies to schools all over the state each year.

GaDOE and partners donated 100,000+ books to students last summer, including 750 dual language books, and donated a book to every kindergarten student in the state the previous fall.

In 2015, generous donors helped GaDOE distribute a copy of the U.S. Constitution to each of Georgia’s 120,000+ fourth graders.

Each year, GaDOE staff members donate hundreds of toys to Georgia children in need through the Toys for Tots program.

This Christmas, GaDOE staff members purchased grocery gift cards for APS students.

Georgia Foundation for Public Education The Georgia Foundation for Public Education promotes and funds innovative educational programs in Georgia’s public schools. GFPE is operationally provisioned by GaDOE, with oversight by a Board of Directors selected by the State School Superintendent and State Board of Education. Learn more at




Committed physical activity for students (In Over 800 Schools)

Graduation rate for students who take just one Advanced Placement (AP) course

Areas Where Students Saw an Increase in Milestones Test Scores

-Elimination of 8 high-stakes Milestones tests -Non-high stakes, Diagnostic Assessments for Literacy & Numeracy in Grades 1 & 2

Graduation rate for students who complete a CTAE career pathway

-Personalized, Professional Growth Component for Teachers

Increase in Graduation Rate for Students with Disabilities

Bookbags provided by GaDOE staff and Student Advisors for Students across the state

International Skills and Fine Arts Diploma Seals

Number of Schools in the Pipeline to Become STEM Certified. Increase in the Number of Schools Earning a 4 or 5 Star Rating for Climate

-STEAM certification for Schools -Updating Music, Visual arts, & Theatre Standards

Decrease in the Number of Opportunity Eligible Schools Books Donated to Georgia Students

Georgia Department Of Education

Educating Georgia’s Future 2016

R i c h a r d W o o d s , G e o r g i a ’s S c h o o l S u p e r i n t e n d e n t




Profile for Georgia Department of Education

Educating Georgia's Future 2016  

Learn more about the programs and policy priorities of the Georgia Department of Education and State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

Educating Georgia's Future 2016  

Learn more about the programs and policy priorities of the Georgia Department of Education and State School Superintendent Richard Woods.


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded