PAGE One Magazine Jan.-Feb. 2018

Page 1

January/February 2018

New Pathways Build Workforces for High-Growth Fields

Cybersecurity Drone Piloting Film Production

Growing Georgia’s Teacher Pipeline | 2018 Legislative Priorities

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Contents January/February 2018

Vol. 39 No. 3

Features 06  New Pathways Build Workforces


for High-Growth Fields

014  How One District Successfully Grows Its Own


017  Understanding Georgia’s Two Education




4  From the President PAGE Day on Capitol Hill Is a Powerful Platform

Legislative 19  PAGE 2018 Legislative Priorities

5  From the Executive Director PAGE Making a Difference for Educators and Students

20  Survey Reveals Opposition to High Stakes K-2 Testing and a Reluctance to Recommend a Career in Education

Legal 30  Letters of Intent and Other End-of-Year Transitions 31  Code of Ethics for Educators Revised 31  Newest PAGE Attorney Has Deep Education Ties

23  2017-2018 PAGE Board of Directors Recognition 24  Atlanta JournalConstitution Celebrates Metro Teachers Professional Learning 28  Principals and Teachers Focus on Leadership and Collaboration


PAGE One Official Publication of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Providing professional learning for educators to enhance professional competence, confidence and leadership skills, leading to higher academic achievement for students, while providing the best in membership, legal services and legislative support. January/February 2018




Editor Craig Harper

President Larry Lebovitz

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta

Associate Editor Meg Thornton

Publisher John Hanna

Production Coordinator Megan Willis

Contributing Editor Lynn Varner

Editor Cory Sekine-Pettite

Advertising/Sales Sherry Gasaway 770-650-1102, ext.145


From the President

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill Is a Powerful Platform “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing-wax – Of cabbages – and kings – And why the sea is boiling hot – And whether pigs have wings.” From The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll


ell, I don’t know about cabbages and kings, but I do know that the time has nearly come for PAGE Day on Capitol Hill (Feb. 20), and it is definitely a day to discuss many things — especially with your legislative representatives. I love PAGE Day on Capitol Hill. In 2007, my friend Ken Russell, who is a past president of PAGE, offered to be my guide for my first event. In all honesty, I thought, “What in the world am I going to do at the Capitol? These people don’t know me. They’re not going to listen to me. I’m a brand new teacher for goodness sakes! What do I know?”


Kelli De Guire

However, the minute I walked into the Capitol, I had a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” experience. For those of you who have never seen this movie, it’s the moment in the movie when Jimmy Stewart as Mr. Smith walks into the House of Representatives and is completely awed by the grandeur and the history of his country and his new role in that place. I felt amazed as I watched students run in and out the chamber to page for an elected representative or senator. I saw the hustle of those officials as they came to “the ropes” to meet their constituents face to face. While speaking with my representatives, I felt the weight of clear articulation, as I looked them in the eyes and realized that their power was, in reality, mine — each one of them taking the time to listen to my small, new-teacher voice. It was exhilarating and one of the proudest days in my life as a new teacher. I was hooked! Because of Russell’s guidance and PAGE’s legislative newsletters, I was able to confidently discuss any education topic with any representative that I met. Many years later at another PAGE Day on Capitol Hill, I was honored to speak in front of the Senate Budget Committee on behalf of bus drivers, school cafeteria workers and custodians. I have never been more proud to be a teacher. The most important lesson I have learned from attending PAGE Day on Capitol Hill is that our representatives WILL listen, but we, as teachers, MUST be willing to step up and speak out — to tell our stories. Our voices are important, not just for the teaching profession, but for our students and our communities. The people who make our laws and allocate our money often hear a narrative about the declining state of education in Georgia, and that story is false. They need to hear the real story of love, compassion, humility and diligence that each of us practice every day in our classrooms. The question is: Who is going to tell those everyday narratives? Will you be the voice that they hear? Please plan to attend PAGE Day on Capitol Hill on Feb. 20. n The event is free, but the experience is invaluable.

January/February 2018

From the Executive Director

PAGE Making a Difference for Educators and Students Dr. Allene Magill


he positive impact of PAGE Professional Learning continues to be affirmed. Research on the effectiveness of our South Georgia School District Network (SGSDN) has found three areas of significant improvement as a result of the districts’ partnership with PAGE: •  Educators are building meaningful relationships with students, supporting them and their families to achieve academic success. •  Schools are focusing on engaging students in meaningful work. •  Educators are sharing what they have learned from PAGE professional development and using it to guide their practice. Previous case studies have found that educators participating in PAGE Professional Learning practice intentional relationship building with colleagues and students, resulting in heightened student engagement. I encourage you to read the latest interim research brief, which has been produced in a reader-friendly format ( I am proud of the professional learning that PAGE conducts within school districts as well as within our Principal and Teacher Leadership Network and Assistant Principal and Teacher Leadership Academy. Because of the demonstrated impact of our work, a Northeast Georgia District Network was launched in December. (Our primary focus is in districts outside metropolitan areas that

January/February 2018

may lack the resources to support extended, high-quality professional learning and that can benefit from well-designed, cross-district collaboration.) HOT TOPICS UNDER THE DOME

The 2018 legislative session began on January 8. As this is Gov. Nathan Deal’s final legislative session and he has not identified further education legislation, PAGE expects this session to be less active than in recent years. However, educators and districts are adjusting to the result of last year’s session and the passage of the First Priority Act (House Bill 338), which established the office of the chief turnaround officer. Dr. Eric Thomas was selected as the first CTO in the fall, and he quickly moved to identify the schools for intervention. I was pleased to represent PAGE on the search committee for the CTO and was impressed with Thomas and the slate of other CTO candidates. I am hopeful that he will follow through as he indicated in the selection process — that he and his team will endeavor to work with educators and communities as partners rather than with an attitude of “we know best” intervention in opposition to local school, district and community stakeholders. I believe that open-minded analysis of the issues facing underperforming schools will underscore what educators in these schools have said for many years: that poverty and lack of family and community resources create difficult conditions for students to learn at higher levels.

There are, however, a few hot education topics being hashed out at the Capitol; they include the education budget, educator compensation, high-stakes testing and school accountability. These issues, as well as bolstering the teacher preparation and retention pipeline, serve as the foundation of our legislative priorities this year. (See Legislative Priorities on page 19.) As always, our legislative team will keep you up-to-date from the Capitol and alert you when your advocacy with local legislators can most benefit our profession. Thank you to all who have signed up for our Capitol Reports, and I urge those who haven’t to do so now On the same note, please consider attending PAGE Day on Capitol Hill on Feb. 20. You’ll gain invaluable insight into the issues of the day and how to let your legislators know how their decisions affect your classroom, school and community. You’ll find information on this free event on page 19 and you may register to attend on the PAGE website. Thank you for what you do in Georgia’s classrooms and schools on behalf of students every day. I am always encouraged by the spirit and dedication of the professional educators I meet in schools around our state. I know you care about students and their success, and that those efforts can sometimes wear you down, even as you are buoyed by progress. Your encouragement and relationships with students make the difference for so many. Keep up n the great work!




January/February 2018


New Pathways Build Workforces for High-Growth Fields By Christine Van Dusen


eaton Sadoski would prefer to pull apart a conked-out, clunky desktop computer than focus on writing an essay for school, and he’d rather read about hacking than history. He’s the kind of student who can manage a typical curriculum but isn’t terribly inspired by it, and who finds himself daydreaming about playing “Command and Conquer” on his PC instead of, say, focusing on French. But everything changed for 18-year-old Sadoski when he was introduced to cybersecurity, a Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway in the Information Technology Career Cluster now available at Greenbrier High School in Evans. “I come to class, and it’s not even like a class,” says Sadoski, who has applied to the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Air Force Academy for his post-secondary education. “It’s fun and I’m learning, and it’s getting me ready for a career.” Georgia has long given its middle and high school students the opportunity to augment their standard curriculum by choosing career-focused paths in industries such as hospitality, education, finance, law and manufacturing. But as the times have changed, so too has the employment picture in the state and across the country. So, educators and the Georgia Department of education have added several new and profoundly modern areas of study — including cybersecurity, production for television and film, and drone operation — to meet the evolving needs of the workforce while tapping into students’ emerging interests. “We’ve been able to reach a population of kids who weren’t being reached, and give them something that interests them,” says Whitney Poucher, who teaches introductory cybersecurity classes at Greenbrier. Says Sadoski: “I’ve realized I can make a career out of doing what I love to do.” Continued on next page

January/February 2018


Greenbrier HS (Columbia)

Greenbrier HS (Columbia) Greenbrier HS (Columbia)

CYBERSECURITY PATHWAY As cybercrime has emerged as a significant global threat — predicted to cost consumers, business and government worldwide as much as $6 trillion annually by 2021 — organizations have been scrambling to hire cybersecurity professionals to protect their systems. There’s already a shortage of workers, with 1 million openings in 2016, according to the Cybersecurity Business Report. That number is expected to grow to about 6 million globally by 2019. “Cybercrime costs include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration, and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm,” according to Cybersecurity Ventures’ Official 2017 Annual Cybercrime Report. “Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime in the U.S., and they are increasing in size, sophistication and cost.” With this in mind, a representative from Fort Gordon in Augusta — which houses

the U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence — reached out to Augusta University and suggested they work together to build a future workforce in cybersecurity. They created the Alliance for Cybersecurity Education (ACE) with representation from Fort Gordon, Columbia County School System, Richmond County School System, Augusta University, Augusta Technical College, Georgia Regents University, local chambers, local government and industry, according to Julie H. Kenny, Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) director for the Columbia County School District. As a result of this effort, several schools — including Greenbrier, Grovetown and Lakeside High Schools — are now offering three courses in digital technology and cybersecurity. The first focuses on foundational knowledge about hardware, software, programming, web design, IT support and networks. The second delves deeper, examining user involvement, security, ethics, trust and best practices. The third class explores new innovations in technology and acquaints students with malware threats, cryptography, organiza-

“Three of our students passed the ‘End of Pathway Assessment, Security +’ and can go straight into the workforce. This national certification is not easy, but we expect this year to have many more students pass the assessment in the spring of 2018.” — Julie H. Kenny, Columbia County School District CTAE Director


tional security and wireless technologies. “The pathway starts in high school, but we are now implementing cyber education across the curriculum in middle school and high schools,” Kenny says. Students in Columbia County who complete the pathway will receive college credit for some of the cybersecurity courses offered at Augusta Technical College. They’ll also have the opportunity to enroll in Work-Based Learning at employers such as Janus Research and the National Security Agency. “Three of our students passed the ‘End of Pathway Assessment , Security +’ and can go straight into the workforce,” Kenny says. “This national certification is not easy, but we expect this year to have many more students pass the assessment in the spring of 2018.” Sadoski hopes to pursue a career in network security for the government. “Ideally, I would get into the Air Force Academy and then work for cyberdefense for the military, on a national level, protecting the country as a whole,” he says. January/February 2018

DRONE OPERATION PATHWAY Drones might technically be classified as unmanned aircraft, but they still need human beings to operate them — more than 100,000 professionals by 2025 to be exact, according to a recent report that looked at the global market for commercial drones. Helping to spur growth in this industry is the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2015 decision to grant hundreds of new exemptions to companies that want to operate drones in the United States. Now, in addition to the military, employers in such industries as insurance, construction, agriculture and marketing are permitted to use drones under certain conditions. And that’s expected to propel sales of drones past $12 billion in 2021, according to BI Intelligence. A report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International found that, in Georgia, there was a $379-million economic impact from 2015 to 2017, with $3.72 million in taxes and 1,949 jobs created. In response to the industry’s growing need, Troup County’s Long Cane Middle School has used an $8,000 state grant to teach students aeronautic principles and drone-use ethics and prepare them for unmanned aerial systems careers and pathways to university programs. The courses also are taught at Callaway and Gardner Newman Middle Schools. “We want to engage students in classes that are relevant to what they are interested in,” says Yolanda Stephen, director of public relations for the Troup County Board of Education. “The drone courses provide an opportunity for hands-on learning in

an environment that removes the barriers of the four walls. Students are being prepared for careers that may not have even been established yet through this course. They are outside of the classroom flying drones as well as inside learning the laws of flight. It’s fun to see them learn principles of aeronautics and put them to the test.” In Coweta County, students can learn about drones as part of the existing aviation pathway, says Mark Whitlock, chief executive officer for the Central Educational Center. The district’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) course introduces students to drone operation, global positioning system flight programming, FAA regulations, new technologies, airspace requirements, aerial still and video photography, and opportunities and job potential in the UAS field. “We have always had the opportunity to employ industry experts who helped lead us to find and further develop curriculum relevant both to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle piloting and to ways that UAV piloting can be integrated with the existing aviation curriculum,” adds Whitlock. Putnam County High School, in partnership with Mercer University, offers its own advanced course related to drones. Graduates of the program can take the FAA exam and earn a drone pilot’s license. Putnam County’s drone pathway grew from a Putnam Development Authority

By December 2016, half of the initial cohort of students had passed the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Drone Pilots Part 107 Exam and were pursuing careers or entrepreneurship ventures to utilize their newly earned credentials — “a success story beyond what we could have expected.” — Putnam County High School Principal Marc Dastous request for the high school to help a local entrepreneur launch an unmanned aerial systems business. He needed pilots. “Using our charter flexibility, we developed a pilot program and incorporated it into our Summer Inspiration Camps,” says Putnam High Principal Marc Dastous. The full course was then implemented in August 2016 with 15 cohort members. By December 2016, half of the initial cohort had passed the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Drone Pilots Part 107 Exam and were pursuing careers or entrepreneurship ventures to utilize their newly earned credentials — “a success story beyond what we could have expected,” notes Dastous. Continued on next page

Putnam County HS

Long Cane MS (Troup)

Long Cane MS (Troup)


Sequoyah HS (Cherokee)

Sequoyah HS (Cherokee)

North Cobb HS (Cobb)

TV & FILM PRODUCTION PATHWAY Call it “Y’allywood” or the “Hollywood of the South” — Atlanta and Georgia have emerged as hot spots for the film and television industries. In fiscal 2015, they created tens of thousands of jobs and pumped about $6 billion into the economy, up from just $224 million in 2007. The reason for the growth: In 2008, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue signed

the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which gives a 20-percent tax credit to productions that spend at least $500,000 in the state. Another 10-percent tax credit is available if the production features Georgia’s logo in the final credits. Several studios have taken advantage of these perks and set up shop in the greater Atlanta area, with EUE/Screen




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January/February 2018

Gems Atlanta building a 33-acre film and television campus in 2010, and Pinewood Studios opening a 228-acre complex in 2013. There’s also the new 300-acre Tyler Perry Studios, located on the decommissioned Fort McPherson Army base. These businesses employ thousands of people and are always hunting for more. So, Georgia’s schools are responding, and giving students the chance to learn about television and film production. Cobb County Schools, for one, offers the pathway in all of its high schools and two of its middle schools, says Jacquelina Brown, supervisor for the district’s CTAE program. “We’re responding to the fact that Atlanta has become the mecca of the South for this industry,” she says. “There’s been a dramatic increase in interest among students.” The Technical College Committee of the Cobb Education Consortium developed a project called “Georgia’s Own Hollywood,” designed to acquaint secondary students with careers in film and television, and connect them with resources.

Cobb County students can take courses at Chattahoochee Technical College and earn a Technical Specialist Certificate in preparation for careers as digital imaging technicians, production assistants, makeup artists, hairstylists and set designers. “When studios and other employers interview our students for jobs, they see how well prepared the students are,” Brown says. “One student went on to become a cameraman for ‘The Walking Dead.’” Fulton County Schools also is preparing students for careers in film and television. The district offers several pathways that cater to those industries, including construction, and AV Technology & Film. Moreover, the district has partnered with Clayton State University and 404 Studio Partners to create scholarships for seniors who participate in Clayton State University’s Digital Film Technician Certificate Program. Troup County, about an hour’s drive south of Atlanta, offers AVTF pathways beginning in middle school. “Troup County students have shown

“The Georgia Film Academy externship directly impacted my classroom instruction. I have no industry experience, so I have never felt comfortable teaching film production. After completing the projects, I now have the confidence to teach my students film production and to discuss the impact this industry is having on our state.” — Sequoyah High School (Cherokee) TV/Video Production Instructor John Cribb

Continued on page 13

THE SCIENCE OF YOU Free Online Test Helps Georgia Students Find their Calling It’s an age-old conundrum faced by teens: “What should I be when I grow up?” Now, an innovative career test promises to help students find their true callings. The career guidance platform, called YouScience, is now being offered at no cost to Georgia high school students via the Georgia Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia. The YouScience online career path assessment system works like a brain game to help students understand their natural abilities, to broaden awareness of career opportunities, and to make decisions about their individual pathway from school to career. It tells them what they’re naturally good at and pairs their abilities with their interests to help find a career. In 2016, Georgia completed a YouScience pilot program with more than 11,400 high school students. The pilot uncovered a broader and more diverse talent pool than previously identified through Continued on page 13

January/February 2018


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January/February 2018

great interest in pursuing a career in this fast-paced career cluster,” notes district PR director Yolanda Stephen. “We want them to be prepared with cutting-edge knowledge when it comes to filming, editing, scripting and all other details within this burgeoning industry.” Earlier this school year, CNN senior photojournalist Rich Brooks gave students at Gardner Newman Middle School a lesson in camera operation and videography, using the same equipment he employs to document news stories from around the world. The Emmy award-winning photojournalist and director also captivated the young AVTF students with anecdotes about his 36-year-long career. In response to the growing demand to fill film production jobs, the Georgia Film Academy, in partner-

ship with the Georgia Department of Education, hosted last summer a two-week externship for AVTF teachers. Attendees, including Sequoyah High School (Cherokee County) TV/ video production instructor John Cribb, received GFA’s nine-week curriculum to implement in their classrooms. The curriculum covers roles of production crew members, including skills needed for “below-the-line” jobs. Students also learn how to operate cameras, lights and other production equipment. As of this writing, students at Cherokee’s Sequoyah High School were in week seven of the curriculum. They had been assigned various jobs — director, 1st assistant director, camera operator, 1st assistant camera, 2nd assistant camera, key grip, gaffer, sound mixer, boom operator, etc. — as they filmed a

interest-only career surveys. The yearlong study also found the assessment tool to be particularly effective for young women, minorities and lower-income students. “We ask our students to pick a career pathway; however, we do that without providing the equivalent of a map or a compass,” explained State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), who chairs the Senate Education and Youth Committee. “YouScience gives students a roadmap to make more informed decisions.” According to YouScience CEO Philip Hardin, the Georgia pilot showed that, “while there may be a skills gap for certain key industries, there is not a talent gap. The students of Georgia have the natural abilities to satisfy the economic demands of Georgia’s growing economy. In fact, the pilot found almost two times more students have the aptitude for careers in computer technology, and nine times more young women have the aptitude or natural ability for architecture and engineering careers than identified using traditional interest surveys.” YouScience is novel because it marries aptitude — which many consider to be fixed — with interests,

January/February 2018

scene set up to look like a coffee shop. “The Georgia Film Academy externship directly impacted my classroom instruction. I have no industry experience, so I have never felt comfortable teaching film production,” Cribb confides. “After completing the projects, I now have the confidence to teach my students film production and to discuss the impact this n industry is having on our state.”

which can change, said Hardin, a former WebMD executive. It reveals talent, he said. YouScience presents students with at least 25 strong-fit careers and 75 good-fit careers, while also revealing strengths and weaknesses. The test matches results with a U.S. Department of Labor career database known as O*NET, which correlates jobs and skills. It also lists the number of openings in each field, both nationally and by state, and reports entry-level, top-level and average salaries. In August, the Georgia Board of Education approved a contract making YouScience available to all high schools. The Georgia DOE and the Technical College System of Georgia will spend as much as $790,000 if all of the roughly half-million high school students in the state decide to take the test. n


Teacher Pipeline

How One District Successfully Grows its Own Teachers By Susan W. Mullins, Ed.D.


n 2000, Georgia’s first locally chartered College and Career Academy opened in Coweta County. The Central Educational Center (CEC) — a joint venture among businesses, the Coweta County School System (CCSS) and West Georgia Technical College — ­ aimed to address employment needs by providing dual-enrollment courses and centralizing high school Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education courses. Around the same time, the rapidly growing school system faced its own pressing workforce needs. It sought to: •  Attract and retain high-performing new teachers, especially with the nationwide trend of young people choosing careers other than education. •  Compete with larger metro Atlanta districts for teachers graduating from colleges of education. •  Introduce the district’s own highperforming high school students to

the possibility of pursuing education degrees and coming back to the district to teach. Thankfully, CCSS had a powerful tool: longitudinal data collected from 1998 to 2007 showing the outcomes of local, well-performing high school students who had been “tapped” to try an introductory teaching course and internship. The data showed that of the students who took the introductory teaching course and internship over those nine years, 88 percent completed the plan of study and 60 percent became certified teachers. Once the longitudinal data demonstrated the effectiveness of the teaching course and internships, the district centralized the high school teaching curriculum within the Central Educational Center. The center hired a work-based learning director, known as the Teacher Pipeline director, dedicated solely to the

supervision and instruction of education pathway students. (CCSS uses 4x4 block scheduling, which works well with workbased learning internships and career education coursework because it gives students the flexibility to take a variety of courses.) The director used the curricular flexibility with CEC’s charter status to incorporate the state curriculum guidelines and standards into extended internships in classrooms rather than teaching the suggested curriculum as face-to-face course work. The district also established chapters of Future Georgia Educators (FGE), a PAGE-sponsored program, in all of its middle and high schools. (PAGE can assist districts in establishing FGE chapters.) FGE, which is a co-curricular program in Coweta, provides a way to reach potential Teaching as a Profession (TAP) students, as well as students who lack time in their schedules to partici-

Home-Grown Teachers: In Their Own Words Brittany Hajzak Fifth-grade teacher at Ruth Hill Elementary The Teacher Pipeline program let me experience what it was like to be a teacher before I began college. The program wasn’t about observing classrooms; it was about working side-by-side with a veteran teacher, planning lessons, teaching centers and truly working with the students. After high school, I attended the


University of West Georgia because of the fourth-year internship program partnership with Coweta County Schools. While I was born and raised in New York, I knew from my two years in Coweta County and the experience from the Teacher Pipeline that I wanted to remain in Coweta. Every Continued on page 15

Brittany Hajzak

January/February 2018

pate in TAP. In Coweta, education pathway enrollment tends to be evenly divided between TAP students — those wanting to become educators within a subject area, such as early childhood education, foreign language, math, special education, counseling, etc. — and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) students, who seek to care for younger children.

TAP Students Return Home to Teach

Since 2007, about 60 percent of Coweta’s TAP students have chosen education as a career. Of that 60 percent, CCSS has been able to draw 94 percent of them back to the district as educators, retaining them at a rate of 98 percent. Today, 5.5 percent of the district’s certified workforce consists of these former TAP students.

Casey Pope

January/February 2018

In 2011, Coweta’s Central Educational Center was chosen as a site to field-test the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute exam. From the year of full implementation of the test until 2016, the district averaged a pass rate (with earned articulated credit for EDUC 2110) of 95 percent. This articulated credit is available to all University System of Georgia college of education students. (EDUC 2110 is the first of three pre-requisite courses in the core curriculum, and students must complete the other two core courses for acceptance into a USG college of education.)

For most of these educators, the deciding factor in pursuing teaching as a career on the post-secondary level was the high school practicum carried out within a classroom setting that closely matched each of their areas of interest. The center’s practicum is a “make-orbreak” experience: The students under-

stand a great deal more about teaching when they experience it from the other side of the desk. This approach also allows students to develop a working relationship with their mentor. In fact, mentors/teachers and the work-based learning Teacher Pipeline director usually

school in our county has teachers who work endlessly for their students. To educators, it’s about making every student succeed, and we do everything possible.

some of my former teachers. Many of them said, “Don’t teach. Run!” However, one did not: Julie Perkins. She told me that she had never regretted her decision to teach, and she encouraged me to pursue it. I chose to complete my internship with her at Smokey Road Middle School. After college, I was hired at Evans Middle School and worked alongside Mrs. Perkins, where she continued to help me grow in the profession.

Casey Pope Sixth-grade language arts teacher at Evans Middle I chose to teach in Coweta because I believe in the school system that worked so hard to educate me. Being part of the pipeline program allowed me to reconnect with

Continued on page 16

Continued on page 16


extend mentorship of students to their post-secondary experiences, to their time of seeking employment in CCSS, and through their first years of teaching. As to why the students chose to establish their careers in Coweta, most cite a desire to give back to the school system and the community. Coweta’s deep dive into developing its own Teacher Pipeline — by exposing high-achieving students to the education profession and by providing hands-on

Alexander Petch Third-grade teacher at Elm Street Elementary I returned to Coweta because I was familiar with standards and content, and I knew that teachers were well supported by the county. Not many other places that I know of have a pipeline program as in-depth as what Coweta County offers. My internship in high school was a great experience. I taught both second and sixth grades, so I was able to see two very different grade levels. That helped me decide that my heart is in elementary school. I did not sit in a corner all day and watch someone teach. Dr. Mullins (Susan Mullins, Ed.D.) made sure we were involved in every aspect in the classrooms. I taught lessons, worked in small groups, helped handle discipline and participated in extra events at the schools. The program provides an indepth view of what teachers do inside and outside the school. I was better prepared in college because of it. Fellow college students were constantly surprised by how much extra work was done outside of the classroom, or even the amount of work that had to be done in the classroom. I was not nearly so shocked, and it was easier for me to take it all in stride. I am so thankful that I was able to go through the program and be better prepared for education.


and well-supervised teaching internships — demonstrates that school districts can work from within to address teacher shortages. It’s useful to understand that the quality of the internship appears to be the most meaningful part of the Teaching as a Profession pathway experience. Furthermore, college and career academies — which offer work-based learning and flexibility for coursework and practicum experience — are the logical home n for TAP and ECCE coursework.

Alexander Petch

Susan W. Mullins, Ed.D., a former high school Spanish teacher, began instructing introductory teaching courses in Coweta County in 1999. In 2007, she became Coweta County Schools’ work-based learning and Teacher Pipeline director. Mullins retired from the district in 2016 and teaches in the University of West Georgia Newnan Center’s College of Education. A member of PAGE since 1976, she serves on the PAGE Board of Directors for the 6th district.

inspired me to become a language teacher.) After observing many classrooms in several schools, I chose Evans Middle School special education. In addition to the field experiences, the child development and psychology lessons taught us how learning happens in different ways for different children. When deciding on a college major, I knew that I was interested in middle grades education, thanks to my experience in high school. While attending the University of West Georgia, I was able to do my field experience at Elm Street Elementary, East Coweta Middle School and Arnall Middle School — all in Coweta County. During this time, I was blessed to work with many amazing teachers who encouraged me and challenged me to be the best teacher I could be. n

Jessica Pope Atkinson Elementary media specialist and 2016 Coweta Teacher of the Year Many amazing Coweta teachers invested themselves in me, whether during my time as a student, student teacher, graduate student or coworker. Through the Teacher Pipeline course, I gained confidence that I could become an educator. (And being in Mr. Andy Denny’s senior English class at the Central Jessica Pope Educational Center really

January/February 2018

Teacher Pipeline

Understanding Georgia’s Two Education Pathways By Susan W. Mullins, Ed.D.


ducation pathways in Georgia high schools consist of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Teaching as a Profession (TAP). While both pathways inform students about careers in education, they differ greatly: The ECCE pathway lays the foundation for a student to become a licensed childcare worker caring for preschool children via post-secondary course work at Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) institutions. TAP, on the other hand, provides a pathway to becoming a K-12 educator via a University System of Georgia college of education degree. Specifically, the ECCE pathway focuses on the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of a child from birth through age four. The pathway is a logical step to a TCSG college offering early childhood care and education courses. The ECCE standards generally align with Bright from the Start — ­ Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning for licensed childcare workers. The ECCE pathway has two routes: ECCE I and ECCE II, each consisting January/February 2018

of three sequenced courses. The difference is in course three. Course three for ECCE Pathway I is a face-to-face classroom course. ECCE II has two options: •  A practicum (with field work and internship, supervised in conjunction with work-based learning, preferably in a Bright from the Start facility or a public school PK-2 classroom). •  A Dual Enrollment-approved course from an institution within the TCSG. The TAP pathway introduces students to the following topics: •  Teacher preparation programs in the University System of Georgia; •  Contemporary issues in education; •  Georgia ethics for educators; •  Theories of learning; •  Careers in education outside of the classroom setting; •  Attending to diverse populations within educational contexts; •  An overview of Georgia Performance Standards; •  A required practicum within a class-

room setting supervised by a certified Georgia educator; •  Successful completion of an exam to receive one college course credit (three-hour college course). TAP students may pursue any area of teaching, from early childhood education in grades PK-5 to special education to specific subjects, such as English, math, science, social studies, foreign language, CTAE, etc. The practicum/internship component of TAP is geared toward a student’s area of interest. The TAP pathway’s practicum (as well as the ECCE II practicum) is supervised by the school or district’s work-based learning director. The end-of-pathway assessment is administered by the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute. Successful completion of all TAP coursework and a passing score on the exam earn the student a free articulated credit (K credit) for the University System of Georgia’s Area F Core Curriculum Course EDUC 2110: Investigating Critical and Contemporary Issues in Education. Continued on page 18 PAGE ONE  17

Dual Enrollment

Dual Enrollment (previously called Move on When Ready) in core and prerequisite classes for prospective education majors is attractive to high school students who qualify for admission to University System of Georgia institutions. Dual Enrollment allows students

to take at no cost all three Area F courses required for admission to USG institutions: EDUC 2110, EDUC 2120, EDUC 2130. The courses, which include fieldwork, are taken on a USG campus and are taught by USG professors. Dual Enrollment is available for qualifying high school students interested in Early

Teaching as a Profession (TAP) High School Coursework

Childhood Care and Education. The TCSG courses, available in some core courses as well as in specific areas, prepare students to complete a certificate, diploma or an associate’s degree in various ECCE fields. The following chart summarizes the options for Georgia high school students who wish to explore careers in education: n

Dual Enrollment College Coursework

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) High School Coursework


USG Focus:

TCSG Focus:


•  Understanding the training and preparation of Georgia’s certified workforce. •  Understanding contemporary issues that affect students, teachers, and schools. •  Understanding diverse populations, needs of all students, and developmental characteristics of age groups. •  Experiencing contemporary classrooms under the guidance of certified staff members.

•  Understanding training and preparation of Georgia’s certified PK-12 workforce. •  Understanding contemporary issues that affect students, teachers, and schools. •  Understanding diverse populations, needs of all students, and developmental characteristics of age groups. •  Understanding theories of learning. •  Observing instructional techniques in various educational settings other than public schools during the instructional day.

•  Understanding training and preparation of Georgia’s ECCE workers/teachers. •  Understanding development and needs of children, birth to age 4. •  Understanding the preparation, regulations and training for Bright from the Start workers/facilities. •  Understanding safety and best practices of ECCE workers/teachers. •  Understanding contemporary issues that affect students, teachers, and schools. •  Understanding diverse populations, needs of all students, and developmental characteristics of age groups. •  Understanding theories of learning.

•  Understanding development and needs of children, birth to age 4. •  Understanding the preparation, regulations and training for Bright f v rom the Start workers/facilities. •  Understanding safety and best practices of ECCE workers/teachers. •  Understanding contemporary issues that affect students, teachers, and schools. •  Understanding diverse populations, needs of all students, and developmental characteristics of age groups. •  Understanding theories of learning. •  Choice: Practicum (internship) at Bright from the Start or 3rd course (in-depth study of child development) or Dual Enrollment course in ECCE from a TCSG institution

Possible Outcomes:

Possible Outcomes:

Complete 1 or all of the following courses and exam: Examining the Teaching Profession Contemporary Issues in Education Teaching as a Profession Practicum NOCTI exam passing score Receive 1 college credit at a USG Institution for the course EDUC 2110*. Enroll in a USG institution to pursue a teaching degree or to pursue another area of study.

Students may take any or all of the three courses (Area F, Core Curriculum), pre-requisite courses for admission to college of education at USG institutions: EDUC 2110* EDUC 2120 EDUC 2130

Possible Outcomes: Receive credits at a TCSG or USG Institution, at no cost to the high school student. Receive HOPE weighting for each MOWR course taken at a TCSG institution or a USG institution. Complete AREA F of the core curriculum for students who are seeking admission to a USG college of education. For both Dual Enrollment options: Continue enrollment in a USG institution, working toward a teaching degree or considering another field of study.

Receive MOWR credit from TSCG institution (with HOPE weighting), possibly continuing enrollment and earning diplomas, certificates, and/or associate’s degree in Early Care and Education. Receive Industry Certification (if the district offers the program). Receive various TCSG credits leading toward the ECCE certificate, diploma, and associate’s degree. **As of this date, there is no statewide articulation agreement between TCSG and USG for acceptance of ECCE specific course work when transferring to a USG institution. Enroll in a USG institution to pursue a teaching degree.

Students may take as many of the TCSG Dual Enrollment courses as they wish. Considerations:



•  Districts must have WBL supervisors to supervise the practicum/internship experiences. •  Students must have 3 available course blocks/periods in which to take the sequence of courses. •  The receipt of college course credit is dependent upon successful completion of courses all three courses and a passing score on the NOCTI exam.

•  Students must be admitted to a USG or a TCSG institution in order to take the MOWR courses at the institution. •  Students must have transportation to able to complete a practicum (internship) as the 3rd course component (either pathway).

•  Students may take all three courses at high schools that offer the course work. •  Districts offer pathway options based on their workforce needs, TCSG accessibility and funding. •  Students who choose the TCSG option must be admitted to the TCSG institution in order to take the Dual Enrollment courses.


January/February 2018

Teacher Pipeline

To Help Georgia Grow Its Own Teachers, TAP Needs Increased Weighted Funding


top focus of PAGE is strengthening the teacher pipeline so that all Georgia students have well-prepared, quality teachers. To this end, PAGE is asking the state to fund the Teaching as a Profession (TAP) pathway — the CTAE program for students exploring a K-12 career — on equal footing with the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) pathway, which teaches students to care for children ages birth to four years old.

High schools and districts that can’t afford both pathways often choose the one that draws additional funding — ECCE — rather than TAP, which provides students with hands-on teaching experiences and mentorship, and thus helps Georgia grow our own teachers. Please review the PAGE legislative priorities below and encourage your local legislator to support additional funding n weight for TAP.

Professional Association of Georgia Educators 2018 Legislative Priorities EDUCATION BUDGET

Attract and retain high-quality Georgia educators by raising educator salaries. Ensure that educator raises are not consumed by healthcare costs and inflation, and that pay raises are awarded on the state salary schedule. Financially support struggling schools, fund First Priority turnaround effort, and add student poverty funding weight to the Quality Basic Education formula, ensuring that such funding weight accurately identifies student poverty.


Strengthen Georgia’s teacher mentoring program to address the teacher shortage. Compensate mentor teachers and fund professional development for both the new teachers and mentors (as recommended by the Teacher Advisory Committee of the governor’s Education Reform Commission). Strengthen the teacher pipeline to grow Georgia’s own teachers by increasing weighted funding for the Teaching as Profession Career Pathway to encourage high schools to offer the program.


Oppose efforts to mandate more high-stakes standardized testing in Georgia’s accountability plan, particularly with young students. Promote robust school accountability plans that encompass community needs and incorporate standardized testing along with other n evidence of student growth and success.

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Feb. 20 • Breakfast at the Capitol • Meetings and Lunch with Legislators Register now at January/February 2018


Legislative Survey Reveals Opposition to High Stakes K-2 Testing and a Reluctance to Recommend a Career in Education By Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Services


ore than 3,200 teachers, administrators, classified staff, teacher preparation students, and retired educators participated in PAGE’S 2017 Legislative Survey, which was designed to capture Georgia educator perceptions about issues affecting public schools. Though survey participants from across the state varied in years of experience within the education field, the largest cohort participating was wellseasoned educators with 16-20 years of experience. Seventy percent of respondents were classroom teachers. The survey questions gauged participant views on Georgia’s student assessment program, potential changes to the Teacher’s Retirement System, private school vouchers, educator pay raises, class size, access to technology, ongoing cuts to Georgia’s Quality Basic Education

funding formula, and other timely issues. As it has since 2013, the survey also asked educators whether they recommend a career in education and asked them to predict the likelihood that they will continue working in the field. ON RECOMMENDING A CAREER IN EDUCATION

Responses to the former question are troubling; 29.6 percent of participating Georgia educators are very unlikely to recommend a career in education, 24.2 percent are unlikely, and 25.3 percent are somewhat likely to do so. These numbers vastly outweigh the 14.2 percent who are likely and 6.9 percent who are very likely to recommend a career in education. For the past five years, PAGE has asked educators whether they recommend a career in education, so survey results are comparable over time. Although a major-

ity of surveyed educators continue to say they are unlikely to recommend a career in education, the number has dropped since 2015. (Chart 1) ON STUDENT TESTING

PAGE also asked respondents to quantify the time they spend preparing and administering standardized assessments, and the number of assessments they are required to administer. A plurality of respondents, 32.3 percent, noted they administer three to six state and locally required tests annually, though 23.2 percent report they administer seven or more tests. More than 35 percent (35.5) of respondents indicated they strongly disagree with this statement: The current standardized testing program benefits students; 39.2 percent disagreed with the statement. Conversely, a mere 2 percent of Georgia educators responding strongly

Percentage of educators unlikely to recommend a career in education













January/February 2018

Educators Continue to Oppose SSO Private School Voucher Program Since its creation by the state legislature in 2008, Georgia’s tuition tax credit program has diverted more than $300 million from the state general fund to Student Scholarship Organizations (SSO’s), which award private school vouchers. Currently, legislation seeking to expand the annual $58-million cap on the tax credit program sits in the Georgia Senate and has already passed the House of Representatives. HB 217, sponsored by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) does not contain needed fiscal transparency and academic accountability components. Nor does the legislation require that students using the private school vouchers lack the financial means to otherwise access private schools. In our 2017 legislative survey, PAGE asked educators for their thoughts on Georgia’s SSO program, including the application of a means test to ensure that only students from low socioeconomic backgrounds utilize the vouchers.

Expansion of the current SSO tax credit voucher program with means test (funds directed towards low income students)

2.9 17%

No expansion of the current SSO tax credit voucher program while adding a means test


Creation of an Education Savings Account private school voucher program

2.5 0.0








46% 24%















Rank the importance of the following issues. 7.3

Class size


Student discipline

“It is unfair to be compared to schools that are not poverty-level schools like ours. Many of our students depend on us for food, love, guidance, and life skills. Many teachers would be surprised at how well our students do with so many strikes against them.”

January/February 2018



As they have since 2014, participants in this year’s survey ranked class size and student discipline as the top two issues impacting school climate. (Chart 3.) They also shared 987 poignant comments to PAGE’S open-ended question. The following are a sampling of educator comments on school climate:

Continued on next page

Expansion of the current SSO tax credit voucher program w/o means test (funds directed to any students regardless of socioeconomic status - the current SSO program does not have a means test)

Rank your support for the creation of high stakes summative sessments for students in grades K-2 in English and mathematics

agreed with the premise that the current testing program benefits students. This year, PAGE asked participants for their views on creation of high-stakes English and math summative assessments in grades K-2. Georgia does not currently require such student testing, but Governor Deal’s letter dated Sept. 6, 2017, published in response to State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ submission of Georgia’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to the U.S. Department of Education, indicates that the governor supports the addition of such testing. Educators’ responses to the K-2 testing proposal were overwhelmingly negative. (Chart 2.) ON SCHOOL CLIMATE

Rank your support for the following school choice initiatives:

Satisfaction with school leadership


Student attendance

5.6 5.0

Access to technology


Staff retention


Staff attendance


Educator performance evaluations


Emphasis on standardized testing 0













Legislative “If we want to do what is best for students, we need to do what is best for teachers. Keeping your good teachers IS what is best for the students.” “Many local issues can be outweighed by strong administrative support and retention of skilled mentor teachers.” “Staff morale is an important component of student achievement. If teachers feel valued and trusted, and are treated as professionals, they perform better in the classroom and are more encouraging to their students.” “School climate issues should be surveyed anonymously. Actions should be taken for issues that are recurrent problems.” “No school should be penalized on their climate score for the amount of disciplinary actions they take. We should value leaders who implement

sufficient discipline in the school to facilitate learning in a safe environment. It is ridiculous to say that my school has a less appealing climate than another school because we have more disciplinary actions here. There are a lot of factors why a school might have less disciplinary actions, e.g. socioeconomic differences, parental consistency differences, higher rates of single parent homes, higher rates of homelessness, etc. Students may not say it, but they appreciate a school in control of itself. As long as the discipline is not excessive and unreasonable, this should not factor into whether a school has a good climate score or not. We have a great learning environment here and solid student achievement, but we get knocked down on our climate score because we keep our students on task, in the classroom, and hold them accountable for misbehavior. This is illogical. My own children went to this school and I appreciate the fact that we did not have any-

where close to the number of serious disciplinary infractions/crimes committed by students at our school as there have been in at least two of the high schools in our county with higher climate scores than us. There is a reason for that. The adults are in control, our students are in the classroom, and when they break a rule, there is a consequence.” “Schools in general are too large. Class size and teacher retention are major issues that need attention.” SURVEY RESULTS ARE BEING SHARED WITH POLICYMAKERS

Many thanks to PAGE members who participated in our annual legislative survey. Please review the complete survey results online at During the 2018 legislative session, PAGE is sharing survey results with policymakers to inform discussion on proposed education policy, and we encourage Georgia n educators to do so as well.

Think Independently. Lead Creatively. At Georgia College, our graduate programs in education inspire future leaders to develop new skills for success inside and outside of the classroom. Learn more about our highly-ranked, accredited programs at


January/February 2018

2017-2018 PAGE Officers & Board of Directors

Kelli De Guire President

Dr. Hayward Cordy President-Elect

Amy Denty Past President

Megan King Secretary

Lamar Scott Treasurer

Jamilya Mayo District 3

Jennie M. Persinger District 9






Lance James District 7


Nick Zomer District 5








10th Mc Du






Khrista Henry District 10



Rochelle Lofstrand District 4 (Atlanta City, DeKalb)





13th ery






1st Evans

Dr. Oatanisha Dawson District 1

Dr. Susan Mullins District 6





Lindsey Martin District 8


Donna Graham District 12

Dr. Sandra Owens District 11

Brecca Pope District 2

Daerzio Harris District 13

Vickie Hammond Retired Members

Stephanie Davis Howard Retired Members

AJC Celebrates Metro Teachers The Atlanta Journal-Constitution honored 10 outstanding metro Atlanta teachers in its inaugural AJC Celebrating Teachers Awards, a program aimed at giving educators the recognition they deserve. PAGE was a proud sponsor of the program. The honorees, among more than 375 educators nominated, have gone to extraordinary lengths to reach students and propel excellence. The winners were recognized at an exclusive event in October and were featured in a special commemorative edition of the newspaper. Profiles of each of the 10 educators follow on pages 26 and 27.


January/February 2018

January/February 2018



arhat Ahmad, who teaches 11th and 12th English literature at McClarin Success Academy (Fulton County) engages his students with technology and personalized learning. He helps fellow teachers implement technology in their learning practices as well. In fact, he earned the Governor’s Innovation in Teaching award in 2015. “Farhat works tirelessly with his students; for many of [them] this is their last chance to succeed academically,” noted colleague Alexandra Larsen, who nominated Ahmad. “He assesses students at the beginning of each course to determine what they need to know and what they already know. [And] he sits down with every student to co-plan their class,” Larsen told the AJC. The 11-year educator effectively takes cultural, economic, emotional and learning differences into consideration. “Students who were once shy


s a member of Fulton County’s fine arts leadership team, Lake Winward Elementary music instructor Susan Ahmad has coached music teachers across the district for nearly three decades. She has written curriculum guides, helped create state-level standards and assessments and has conducted new-teacher workshops. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “When individual school funds became scarce and teachers needed to find resources for performances, Susan had the great idea to start a choral music “library” where music teachers could lend or borrow choral music throughout Fulton County and extend their students’ performance repertoires,” colleague Myra Wheat told the AJC in nominating


ill Buchanan, a special education teacher since 1994, has worked at Dorsett Shoals Elementary (Douglas County) for 16 years. “I have met great teachers … but I have never met anyone who comes close to Jill,” stated parent Donna Minor, who credits Buchanan for turning her child’s school life around. “Having difficulties at two prior schools, Dakota [her son] struggled with anxiety, resulting in meltdowns,” Minor told the AJC. Once under Buchanan’s tutelage however, “Dakota


utch Soles, who has taught physical education at Arbor Station Elementary (Douglas County) for 23 years, “has changed the trajectory of many kids’ lives,” wrote parent Lynne Cole, who nominated the veteran teacher. Soles teaches students from a very young age about goal setting and personal bests, and he recognizes their physical education accomplishments, most notably running, with meticulous recordkeeping regarding every Arbor Station child from their first day in kindergarten until their last day in fifth grade. “It’s remarkable to witness the pride that


feel as though they have a voice. Students who once may not have passed the state assessment are finding themselves doing so,” noted Larsen. McClarin Success Academy also credits Ahmad for his students’ dramatic improvements in Georgia Milestones scores and in helping the school double its graduation rate from 2013 to 2016. Ahmad earned a bachelor’s in sociology and English/creative writing from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a master’s in secondary education English from Georgia Southern University.

Ahmad. “Not only did she conceive the idea, she ran it and continues to manage this program today.” Ahmad also helps Wheat conduct a countywide choral clinic each year. “She’s headed up the planning committee [for 15 years] and is involved in every aspect of the massive event,” noted Wheat. The Alpharetta native and PAGE member graduated from Shorter University with a degree in music education. She holds certificates for expert teacher, master teacher and teacher support specialist.


lkins Pointe Middle School business and computer science instructor and Fulton County pathway specialist Lynnette Lindesay was nominated by student Divya Nori, who credits Lindesay for igniting in her a passion to learn and succeed. “Now and then, a teacher is so dedicated that they show you that learning is not boring or pointless,” Nori told the AJC in nominating her teacher of three years. “She encouraged me to participate in the Georgia Educational Technology Fair when I was in seventh grade … [and] took time out of her day to mock judge me and help me prepare. Her feedback was extremely valuable, and I won third place in the state. Ms. Lindesay supported me again in eighth grade. Her constructive criticism gave me the confidence to help me win first place in the state.” Furthermore, “Her passion inspired me to continue app design and programming.” The student’s favorite project was a simulated ”Shark Tank” presentation in which students had to pitch a business idea. “This assignment was innovative and interesting, while also effectively teaching us important computer skills and the steps it takes to start a business,” Nori said. Lindesay earned her bachelor’s of science and master’s of education with honors in business education from Florida A&M University.

would cry when I came to pick him up because he wanted to stay.” Minor said Buchanan’s greatest strengths are listening and advocating. Once, when Minor came to school to eat with her son, Buchanan “watched us intently, picking up on how I motivated him to eat so she could use the same methods.” Minor added that, “Having a nonverbal child can be nerve-wracking because you can’t ask them how their day is going. [Jill] lets me know via text messages what they’re

doing at school so I can try to replicate at home. As such, Dakota is thriving both at home and at school.” Buchanan, a PAGE member who graduated with honors from the University of West Georgia, earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education.

these kids show when they look at their overall achievements over a six-year period. .... His dedication to this meticulous recordkeeping gives kids the structure they may not see anywhere else in their lives, to set goals, review them and plan for what they need to do in order to reach and/or exceed them,” wrote Cole. These skills are invaluable as the kids go off to middle school, high school and beyond. “Coach reiterates to each child that, “Doing your best is more important than being the best!” And the kids live by this philosophy,” added Coles. “Running is a sport that requires perseverance

and stamina.” With Coach Soles’ support, many of his charges have gone on to be top athletes in high school and college. Soles earned a bachelor’s in education and health from West George College, a master’s in early childhood education from Piedmont College, and an education specialist degree in curriculum and planning from Piedmont College.

January/February 2018


hen the students of Baggett Elementary (Gwinnett County) teacher Angela Gray grow up, they are sure to remember their first-grade teacher with glee. At the end of each school year, the veteran teacher decorates her car as a rocket ship and visits each child at home to deliver a warm goodbye and an engaging work packet for them to return on their first day back to school. Gray, who is the school’s first-grade literacy lead teacher, works hard to ensure that all of her students succeed, conveyed parent Diana Cabrera, who nominated Gray for the AJC award. “She is involved in their extracurricular activities, coming up with innovative ideas to keep the students engaged.” Gray created “Sunday Socials” at a local park, where parents, teachers and students gather for a fun day that helps motivate children to love school. On top of that, she gives her charges books to enjoy during the Christmas and New Year’s break. Outside of school, she is a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run. Gray, a member of PAGE, earned a bachelor’s in early childhood education at Georgia Gwinnett College and a master’s in curriculum, instruction and accomplished teaching from Valdosta State University.


ari Parlier, a 23-year educator from Duncan Creek Elementary (Gwinnett County) was nominated by parent Joyelle Metz, who told the AJC: “Mrs. Parlier believes children should be seen and heard, and [she] encourages them to be brave and make a difference.” Metz added that Parlier instilled a love of learning in both of her boys. “Mrs. Parlier always encouraged them to look for the good in situations, to think of solutions to problems, and to be world-changers. [She] lets


aureen Wales, a longtime special education adaptive PE teacher at Alpharetta Elementary, is a champion of special-needs persons. Beyond being the Special Olympics liaison for the Fulton County School System, she holds exercise classes for her former students — teens and adults with disabilities. She also plans parties for them, coordinates movie nights and takes them holiday shopping, noted former colleague Cindy Horowitz, who nominated Wales for the AJC honor.

January/February 2018


he philosophy of Duluth High (Gwinnett County) AP history teacher and swim team coach Jim Reason can be summed up by his favorite quote, “Be pleased, but never be satisfied.” He never wants his students and athletes to settle into complacency. “He is so much more than a swim coach and fabulous teacher. He is more like a second father to my children,” wrote parent Laura Ann Neas, who nominated Reason. “He has a way of connecting with all of the 180 kids on his summer league team,” said the mother of five. Duluth Middle School even has a swim team of sorts due to the volunteer efforts of Reason. The team — which is not officially affiliated with the school because Gwinnett middle schools do not have swim teams — competes against private schools.


iffany Bunch, 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for Rockbridge Elementary (DeKalb County), is “truly a catalyst for positive change in our school,” stated her principal, Derrick Brown, who nominated Bunch for the AJC Celebrating Teachers award. In only her fourth year of teaching at Rockbridge, the science/STEM coordinator has vast leadership experience. She mentors new teachers, chairs committees and has “a profound knowledge of the curriculum and instruction in regards to effective instructional strategies,” noted Brown. Bunch has provided curriculum training for teachers and has served as a professional learning liaison, a response-

“Jim sets expectations for his swimmers that they try to meet inside the classroom, outside the classroom and in the pool. … Jim is always there for not only the swim team children, but also [for] anyone who needs anything. He truly loves Duluth and his community,” Neas told the AJC. Lastly, Neas noted that Reason’s enthusiasm makes learning very interesting. “My children love U.S. history now,” she said. Reason, a PAGE member, graduated from the University of West Georgia and has been teaching since 1994.

to-intervention coordinator, an assistant testing administrator, and as a coordinator of after-school tutorials. A member of the school’s leadership team, she also helps develop effective ways to train and inspire fellow educators. Bunch, a PAGE member, earned an early childhood education degree from Kennesaw State University, where she graduated cum laude.

every child know that her door is always open for them. I think the best way to teach a child to be a world-changer is to be one, and she is just that,” wrote Metz. The third-grade teacher even asked the Metz boys for their sports schedules so she could cheer them on at several games. “During one baseball game, a terrible thunderstorm popped up, and I told her we would completely understand if she left, and she said, ‘Oh no, I would never do that because he might look over and see that I left. I

want to teach him it’s good to hang in there when situations aren’t always ideal.’” Parlier, who previously taught in Illinois, earned a bachelor’s from Illinois College, a master’s from Western Illinois University, and a specialist degree from Piedmont College.

The Long Island native’s impact reaches far. She mentors Georgia State students pursuing physical education degrees, is a longtime volunteer coach for the North Metro Miracle League (baseball league for those with special needs), and she runs a summer camp for special-needs kids and teens. “If her students aren’t able to pay for camp, she offers scholarships to them and will not turn them away,” wrote Horowitz. Wales shows up to work every day with “incredible enthusiasm and energy and passes it

along to her students,” noted her former coworker. “I have never met anyone more passionate and dedicated to her special education students and families.” The PAGE member graduated from Rhode Island College with a bachelor’s in science.



Principals and Teachers Focus on Leadership and Collaboration


ducators who comprise the 20162018 cohort of the PAGE Principal and Teacher Leadership Network are enjoying their second and final year of participation in the immersive leadershipdevelopment program. This school year, the 97 educators from 12 schools around Georgia are deepening their understanding of leadership, with emphasis on school change through collaborative work with colleagues.








12 28  PAGE ONE

January/February 2018



Photography by Lynn Varner



1.  (l-r) Educator Mary Ann Bruce, Principal Kim Erwin and educator Greg Linderman, Ringgold ES (Catoosa). 2.  (l-r) Educators Ashley Blackwell, Lois Nix and Elizabeth Tougaw, Westside ES (Catoosa). 3.  (l-r) Educators Dana Bridges and Valerie Bonine, Ringgold PS (Catoosa). 4.  (l-r) Principal Rusty Meadows and educator Kayla Craft, Cook County MS (Cook). 5.  (l-r) Educators Veda Ruiz, Jr., Matthew Brookins and Jenny Chadwick, Calhoun M/HS (Calhoun). 6.  (l-r)Educators Mary Payne and Holly Spivey, South Central MS (Bartow). 7.  (l-r) Principal Tiffany Franchiseur and educators Lori Morgan and Karen Slate, Northside ES (Paulding). 8.  (l-r) Principal Chris Lusk and educators Travis Allen, Nathan Erwin and Stephanie Wynne, of Heritage MS (Catoosa Ct). 9.  (l-r) Principal Ernie Ellis and educator Kandy Carter, Woodstation ES (Catoosa). 10.  (l-r) Educator Amy Wright and Principal Nancy Gurganus, Ringgold PS (Catoosa). 11.  (l-r) Assistant Principal Jacqueline Brock and educator Angela Wolfe, Hart County MS (Hart). 12.  (l-r) Educator Tiffany Heatherly, Principal Philena Johnson and educator Ginger Land, Kingston ES (Bartow).

13 January/February 2018

13.  ( l-r) Principal Alesia Stanley and educators Shanta Williams, Brittania Wright and Andrea Rankin, New Manchester ES (Douglas).



Letters of Intent and Other End-of-Year Transitions By Sean DeVetter, PAGE Staff Attorney


s the end of the school year approaches, teachers are asked to make decisions about their future plans. The most common choices teachers make are returning for another year, transferring to another district, retiring, or taking a few years off. Each option requires unique considerations, outlined below:


Near the start of second semester, teachers are asked to sign letters of intent. This is exactly what it sounds like: a letter to state your intention. The school is asking you, to the best of your knowledge, if you plan to return the following year. Letters of intent allow districts to start planning for the upcoming year. A letter of intent is not a contract. Should you initially indicate that you plan to return in the fall, you face no legal consequences if your plans change. If you sign in the affirmative, these letters are not legally binding. However, please be aware that many letters of intent contain a clause indicating that a negative response is the same as a resignation effective at the end of the year. Read the letter of intent carefully. Be warned, if you sign the letter and indicate that you do not plan to come back, you may be resigning your position for the upcoming year. If you sign and say you plan to come back, and something changes, you do not face any legal ramifications for changing your mind.


Contracts are legally distinct from letters of intent. Signing a contract carries with it serious legal ramifications. Educators need to read their contracts carefully. Educators should check contracts for the period of employment, salary, and when and how a contract may be broken. Do not sign your contract without considering all aspects of the contract. Breaking a contract carries with it poten-


tial consequences — lawsuits, referrals to the Professional Standards Commission (PSC), and liquidated damages. A contract should not be broken without first speaking to an attorney. For teachers who plan to change districts, the process can be complicated. Most districts do not know their teaching needs for the upcoming year until contracts are signed and returned. This puts some teachers in a position of choosing between signing and breaking a contract, or risking not signing for the upcoming year and potentially being without a job. For those who sign a contract, and choose to break it, there are many factors to consider. A contract is a legal document; breaking it carries the potential for a lawsuit. Some contracts contain a liquidated damages provision that imposes monetary damages for breaking them. The most common question regarding breaking contracts concerns penalties imposed against teacher certification by the PSC. The commission sets a date, before which contracts may be broken without penalty by the PSC. As of Jan. 1, 2018, that deadline is June 15. Any educator who wishes to break a contract after that date to take a job in another district must meet another exception (listed on the PSC’s website) or have their current contracting district’s permission. RETIREMENT

This also is the time of year when many long-time educators begin planning for retirement. If this is you, the first and most important step is to reach out to the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia (TRS). The earlier you submit your retirement paperwork, the less likely you are to face a delay in processing. Remember, the end of the year is the busiest time for TRS. Your official retirement date is the first of the month following your last working day. If your last day of work is

May 30, your retirement processes June 1. If your last day of work is June 4, your retirement processes July 1. If you have at least 60 accumulated sick leave days, you are eligible for additional service credit at the time of retirement. Purchasing “air time” (additional years of service) must be done at the time of retirement. Finally, whether you are retiring or taking a break from teaching, in order to have State Health Benefit Plan insurance continue into retirement, you must be a member when you retire. TAKING A BREAK FROM TEACHING

For those taking a break from the profession, important factors to consider are insurance and monies already contributed to TRS. Speak with your current employer before leaving the district to find out how long the district provides your insurance. Once the district stops paying for your insurance, you will have the option to continue your insurance through COBRA. While this may be a good option for some, it is far more expensive than what you currently pay as an employee. Contributions to TRS remain in your account, in your name, whether you are teaching or not. Once you pay into TRS for 10 years, you vest and become eligible to receive a monthly benefit upon retirement. If you choose to withdraw your money from TRS prior to vesting, you may only withdraw the money you contributed to TRS plus interest. You may not withdraw contributions made by your employer. Your TRS account remains active for four years after your last contribution. As long as your account is active, you will continue to accrue interest. Whether you plan to stay at your current school, move to another school, retire from teaching or take some time off, there are many decisions to consider. Before taking any of these actions, please call the n PAGE legal department. January/February 2018

Code of Ethics for Educators Revised


he Georgia Professional Standards Commission adopted a revision to the Code of Ethics for Educators regarding Abandonment of Contract issues, which became effective Jan. 1, 2018. The change eliminates Abandonment of Contract as an individual standard, which drops the number of standards from 11 to 10. New language focuses on Breach of Contract and is incorporated within newly numbered Standard 9 – Professional Conduct. The new definition is that a breach of contract occurs when an educator fails to honor a signed contract for employment with a school/school system by resigning in a manner that does not meet the guidelines established by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The GaPSC will not take action if an educator resigns before June 15 after signing a contract for the next school year. Additionally, the guidelines specify six reasons an educator may resign from a contract after June 15 without GaPSC consequences if a district fails to release the educator. •  Documented spousal transfer which requires an unreasonable commute •  Documented health problems of family member or educator which results in educator being unable to fulfill contract obligations •  Documented promotion in the field of education which meets the following three criteria: 1.  Increase in Job Responsibility 2.  Increase in Job Prestige

3.  Reasonable increase in Salary The educator must meet all three criteria unless movement is from the classroom to a service area, e.g. media specialist, counselor, technology, instructional coach, etc. •  School district issues an “at will” employment contract to the educator •  School district fails to fulfill its obligation in the contract, such as not providing reasonable instructional support as requested or needed •  Payment of liquidated damages after June 15 will be considered a release from contract. Superintendents and human resources directors also become subject to sanctions if their district offers a position to an educator already under contract with another district unless the educator has a letter of release from his or her current district. Standard 9 now reads: “Professional Conduct – An educator shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the education profession. Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to, a resignation that would equate to a breach of contract; any conduct that impairs and/or diminishes the certificate holder’s ability to function professionally in his or her employment position; or behavior or conduct that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline, or morals of students.” The rule can be accessed on the GaPSC’s website at www. n

Newest PAGE Attorney Has Deep Education Ties


he Professional Association of Georgia Educators welcomes to the PAGE legal team Graham Newsome, a 2017 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law. Newsome serves PAGE members from our Atlanta office, and, as do all of our staff attorneys, he travels throughout the state informing educators about Georgia’s Code of Ethics and addressing legal inquiries. A native of Washington, Georgia, (near Athens), Newsome had already amassed considerable legal experience before joining PAGE: He worked for two law firms and served as a law clerk and as a legal extern. “I come from a long line of educators, so it is a privilege to be able to assist educators with many of the same legal issues that my mother and grandmother experienced during their tenures as teachers in Georgia,” said Newsome. “My work at PAGE is rewarding, and I look forward to advocating for educators throughout Georgia.” With more than 93,000 members, PAGE continues to grow in membership. Thus, our in-house legal staff, as well as our statewide network of more than 40 attorneys, is expanding as well to serve the needs of n professional educators throughout Georgia.

January/February 2018

PAGE Attorney Graham Newsome was sworn in as a member of the State Bar last fall by The Hon. Regina Quick, Superior Court Judge of the Western Judicial Circuit


Have You Transferred Systems? If you transferred from another school system where you were on payroll deduction, you must fill out the short PAGE application (online or paper) to transfer your membership. Otherwise your membership will expire.

Have You Moved or Has Your Contact Information Changed? Update your contact information at

New Teachers Must Upgrade to ‘Professional’ Your PAGE student membership does not cover you for a paid position in a school, even if your student membership has not expired. You must upgrade to “Professional” membership to receive liability coverage and other critical PAGE benefits.

Benefits begin immediately when you join or renew online. Georgia’s Largest Professional Association for Educators. 93,000+ members and growing. OFFICERS President Kelli De Guire President-Elect Dr. Hayward Cordy Treasurer Lamar Scott Past-President Amy Denty Secretary Megan King DIRECTORS District 1 District 8 Dr. Oatanisha Dawson Lindsey Martin District 2 District 9 Brecca Pope Jennie Persinger District 3 District 10 Jamilya M. Mayo Khrista Henry District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Dr. Sandra Owens District 5 District 12 Nick Zomer Donna Graham District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Daerzio Harris District 7 Lance James DIRECTORS REPRESENTING RETIRED MEMBERS Vickie Hammond Stephanie Davis Howard


The articles published in PAGE One represent the views of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, except where clearly stated. Contact the editor: Craig Harper,; PAGE One, PAGE, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270; 770-216-8555 or 800-334-6861. Contributions/gifts to the PAGE Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions by federal law. Costs for PAGE lobbying on behalf of members are not deductible. PAGE estimates that 7 percent of the nondeductible portion of your 2018-19 dues is allocated to lobbying. PAGE One (ISSN 1523-6188) is mailed to all PAGE members, selected higher education units and other school-related professionals. An annual subscription is included in PAGE membership dues. A subscription for others is $10 annually. Periodicals class nonprofit postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE One, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141–2270. PAGE One is published five times a year (January, March, May, August and October) by New South Publishing Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350; 770-650-1102. Copyright ©2018.

January/February 2018

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